HAVALINA: Islas De Cemento (Origami Records 2015)...

Many of the people who have seen that I was publishing this review put their hands above their head. Many of you have thought what has Havalina to do with laletracapital or with its regular readers: those who like to listen to gothic rock, neofolk, dark ambient, deathrock, postpunk or any other label you would like to set to the music you like to listen to. Many people have thought that we (I) have gone crazy or that we (I) have changed or that we (I) have pervert all what this ancient webpage means. You can stop reading this, you can stop entering the website when you want to. No one has ever forced you to. But I want to ask you first, just before leaving behing this letters forever; before, a moment before closing the browser and stop reading this site (maybe forever); before choosing the words to curse us (me), listen to Islas de Cemento. Look at the magnificent jacket by Elba Fernández, pay attention to the lyrics (six of the eleven songs are adapted from the «Manual Para Conductores Borrachos» by JJ Cabezalí) or (and) take the trouble to listen to Un Reloj De Pulsera Con La Esfera Rota in Youtube (for example): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyiPZmaNvQY. After doing this you can decide if you’ll keep reading or if you give up on us (me, again). At least it will be a reasoned decision. And that is that Mr. Cabezalí and his trip mates (Jaime Olmedo’s bass and Javier Couceiro’s drumsticks) did it again. They have perpetrated a small musical masterpiece. They have collected some hard-to-label, complex songs, full of shades, songs for anyone who is able to appreciate what those nine lyrics mean. Dark when they have to be. Clear when the chance...

NEW BREED: From The Vaults (Selfreleased 2015)...

The norwegians, New Breed, released in January this old song compilation, only available for direct download and with the intention of releasing songs that, for some reason, have been forgotten. Not so long ago we commented their last album, the Pleasure & Pain remaster eleven years after its releasing. So this is the last snack before an LP with new songs, we wish it will be soon. It urges us. This need is because with this scarce eight songs, the ones from Stavanger show us again how the lifelong goth rock has no secrets for them, and they do it with a song compilation that brings together the best parts of the said style: powerful guitars, deep voices, strong basses and sharp percussion. In such way, the fact that Tilt is almost instrumental or that Rain has in its shattered epic all the coldness of the best tunes of the Scandinavian scene doesn’t really matter. The powerful bass and the tremendous guitar guide a sober, intense and projected voice, that reminds you the great ones without you missing none of them and with the dark key factors (specially in the last third of the album). Outside has in its initial keyboard a differential point, of the noir-rockers’ line Les Fleurs Du Mal, an important detail that doesn’t fog up the guitar’s melody. It has less appeal than Rain, but not less emotion. That’s why we chose it for the sixth chapter of the podcast. Electra is slower, even darker, less impressive in its structure but full of little details that make it great. Kristian Gundersen’s vocal register gets more dramatic and near. Ecstasy is, for me, not the weakest song but the one that touches me less. The choir and the keyboard gives the...

HAR BELEX + DARKWOOD, 28 February 2015, Gruta 77 concert hall, Madrid...

I had the chance to enjoy a concert by Har Belex before and (I didn’t know them) I was impressed. Time passed, I got to know their repertoire and songs that, little by little started to take up some important places of my life and routine. In addition, we had the chance to interview them for the podcast and they showed that, apart from excellent musicians, they were great people. That said, you can get to know how much I wanted this 28 February to arrive and enjoy this duo (quartet live) face to face. Well, the day had come. The concert hall was Gruta 77 again, a guarantee of quality, comfort (normally) and good sound. The company was the best one. I am getting used to go to concerts with people whose only presence is worth the ticket. I hope it lasts. Besides, Har Belex came with Darkwood, another guarantee for a magical night. Punctuality in the opening of the doors, the recital began a little late but in a very prudential hour for what it is normal in this hall. We knew that the repertoire was going to be short: a very recent CD, a shared EP that could provide a song and another one from the Places compilation; if they play everything. Maybe some version that could stretch on the show. It didn’t matter. The weight of the songs was more important than the number. A Ray Of Moon and its ‘bequerian’ lyrics to get started. The sound, perfect. The vocal-instrumental conjunction, flawless. The addition of David Sagastume’s cello or Aritz Uriarte’s guitar (or whatever this guy brought to his hands) for the concert, excellent. Salva’s deep voice (I don’t know where he leaves the accent when he sings) sings every...

TREPANERINGSRITUALEN: VEIL THE WORLD (COLD SPRING RECORDS 2015)...

At the beginning of 2015, we found a new album by Trepaneringsritualen, Thomas Martin Ekelund’s nom de guerre. This time, it is the reedition in CD by the prestigious Cold Spring Records of its great album that was edited by Kości Tape in 2011, on cassette and in a super limited edition of 40 copies with a spectacular packaging. What we have here is their second discography work (brilliantly remastered), three years after their astonishing “Ritualer, Blot Och Botgöring” from 2008. The presentation of this album in digipack seems very remarkable while watching their pictures and the design of the artwork, (b&w) and in limited edition of 1000 copies to reach the true ones of this artist. In its inside we can find 9 songs where the darkness, the mysticism and the pagan rituals are the basis on which the composition is structured. The topic, as usual in T × R × P, is supported by Ritual, Dark-Ambient and Death Industrial foundations. Trepaneringsritualen went deep in this album in the clasic roots of bands like Brighter Death Now. Religion, death, pain, magic, occultism and suffering are the topics that this project covers and its sounds awaken the darkest parts of conciousness. Every composition is remarkable, however I will focus on some of them, the ones that caught my attention or the ones that reflect the concept that this work wants to transmit. «Cherem», song that opens up the album, sounds apocalyptic, and shows us, as an introduction, the shadows and darkness that surround every composition by this artist. “Veil the World”, song that gives name to the album in a brilliant and sensationalist composition; its post-industrial rythm makes it, without any doubt, in one of the best songs of the album. “Lightbringer”, with guttural...

NU:N: Nothing Unveils Nothing (NU:N) (Black Genesis Records 2015)...

The Portuguese scene is quite unknown in Spain. There are bands that have managed to go beyond the borders, but in general they are few and with relative success. For too many years, we have only focused in the UK and Germany (and a little in Italia, France and USA). Thus, for years and years, it seemed that in Portugal, apart from fados, they only made what came from The IDS, Isiphilon, Phantom Vision, Aenima o Poetry Of Shadows. Yes, ok, Moonspell, of course. But little more and, except for the last ones (and more metal) with a discreet success. Being generous.   About all this, we can deduce that I think knowing a Portuguese band capable of changing all said above is a big new. However, the members of NU:N (Nothing Unveils Nothing) aren’t newcomers. That is noticed in the quality of the compositions and in the way of performing them. NU:N practices a more than pure orthodox gothic rock, that one that links with the great ones -specially- 90’s, you know, Love Like Blood, Dreadful Shadows, Garden Of Delight, etc. Canonical but softened by the keyboard, lightly, almost unintentionally, getting that original sound in despite of that influences.   This guys from Oporto must have something special if they got to bring the attention of half of the world with such a short a debut album and without any live. They must have something special when they are even going to play in the Sacrosanct next year. Let’s see what is it:   Entrance To Illumination provides an intro and makes you enter the atmosphere. Smoke, white and black light, the required ingredients to enter the album. In April Of 1984, version from Vestigia (song and band which I didn’t know about)....

WINTER SEVERITY INDEX: Slanting Ray (Blood Rock Records 2014)...

I remember when I first heard this band formed in Rome. It was an accidental discovery that stunned me. And that happened in 2011. A year before, they released their first EP “Winter Severity Index”. Their special and cared sound cached me almost immediately, and became a band whose work I am following passionately to date. In 2013, they released their second EP “Survival Rate”, but we had to wait until 2014, when they introduced a «long work». Over the years, and in despite of their short professional career, the band has undergone significant changes in their forming until now, in which Simona Ferrucci’s project (guitar, vocals, bass, programming and composition) has the support of Alessandra Romeo (keyboard and sythesizer and former member of Cat Fud and Bohemien). They are the authors of this last and splendid work in which we can perceive clear Joy Division and “Pornography” by The Cure influences, blending with the cold spots of bands like Cranes and classic 4AD groups (such as Cocteau Twins). Heirs of Post Punk sounds with the frigidity of Cold Wave, in a logic and right evolution from the band’s foundation by Simona back in 2009, in songs like «Fishblood», «A Sudden Cold» or «Bianca», the powerful and marked bass line stands out and envelops the songs.  Melancholic and frozen atmospheres that are filled with passion in compositions like “The Brightest Days” (one of the best songs of all the album…). In “Ordinary Love”, the incorporation of the saxo provides a point of freshness and joy among darkness. “At Least the Snow “, brilliant piece that opens up the album, impels and rises to what awaits us in the rest of the CD. “Embracing the Void”, song that closes the album, adds a quiet but...

SORRY, HEELS – The Accuracy Of Silence (Gothic Music Records 2014)...

The Chants of Maldoror was one of the most outstanding band from the italian dark scene from the late twentieth century and the beginning of this one. From the ashes of those who were going to emerge afterwards (in 2011), Sorry, Heels now introduce their first album. Fabiano (now guitarrist, but bass in The Spiritual Bats) and David M (bassist) decide with Simona Pietrucci (vocalist) to respond to their musical concerns, close relatives of the ones mentioned above, but relatives in second or third degree. And that is that Sorry, Heels move in different parameters from the ones that distinguished CHoM in the past: the sharp guitars still there, the basses hammer on without any pity as always, but maybe because of Simona’s velvety voice or because of subsequent reasons, all of The Accuracy Of Silence is covered by an enhanced elegance, a decadent and beautiful atmosphere, and with a lot of softened strength.   Light’s End starts the album and it is a good exaple of what I have said thus far, melody, beauty, and the feminine voice above all. A lot more darkwave than deathrock, it hooks you up from the first chord. On the contrary, Carving a Smile is more in the line of the chants, roughness, sharp strings, the canonical pureness of  always. One of the best cuts of an album that is full of them.  Passing Through returns to the sinister essence, with the bass at full speed and the guitar drawing over it, a look back to the 90’s that will be more obvious in the next cut: Last Day On Earth (it was the one we choosed for the podcast «Tarteras y Calaveras«). Supported in the new quality and warmth of Pietrucci’s voice, this last day on Earth...

FIXION: PARAÍSO (SELF-RELEASED 2014)...

Fixion is a rock band from Montevideo, it was assembled in 2002 as a personal project within Daniel César’s career (guitar and voice) who had already taken part in punk and post punk bands from his country. Fixion’s style can be encompassed between gothic rock, gothic metal and alternative, and they have shared stage with bands like Lacrimosa or The Sisters of Mercy. Besides Daniel, he is accompanied by Tina Souto with the voice, Seba Etchecopar (drums) and Guille Albano (bass). “Paraíso”, is their third LP.   And the homonymous song starts the album, full of metal sounds from the 80’s but without being plain and repetitive. Paraíso is full of guitars, good voices and a rythm that is simple but not because of that is less special. Espectral, performed by Martina, is a song about the search and the flight, where it is highlited not only the voice but the guitars, which are «rammsteinian».   Hasta el Amanecer sounds a bit more tecno, but maybe just the beginning, because the rock sound of the guitar is almost essential in their songs. Infected by the passion and the strength of the previous cuts, comes Herejía, this time performed as a duo, it’s a song with a «moment of lucidity waiting to bite» as they say in the lyrics.   El Impulso is the chosen single to introduce the record and they couldn’t be a better one. Adrenalin, that is what this four minutes are. Inmaterial picks up the ashes of the passion and the strength from the last song, a quieter tone accompained by a more gothic-romantic lyrics. Reina del Hielo has one of those lyrics that make you smile as woman, queen and freezing cold sometimes; Siguiendo al Animal is a song that...

HAR BELEX: A UNIQUE PERSONALITY...

LISTEN (IN SPANISH) THIS INTERVIEW IN OUR PODCAST (ESPECIAL HAR BELEX)    Firstly, it would be nice to introduce yourselves for those who don’t know you yet. Manix S.: Har belex is composed by Salva and me, Manix, although at concerts we are supported  by two musicians from Vitoria, Aritz Uriarte and David Sagastume. Salva lives in Granada and I’m from Vitoria, so H Belex’s home is these two cities. Salva Maine: Manix and I met a lot of years ago as a result of our electronic music bands and well, we have continued to have a good friendship all this time and now has appeared this new project and here we are…   You just published your new album (CD and vinyl), ¿How is the public feedback being? We are fascinated about it… M: Well, thank you, we are very very very happy, the feedback from the public and the critics are unbeatable. As courtesy, sales both through Caustic Records and some european mailorders and Rara Avis in Madrid… The record it has been a bestseller in all this places this months. Then well, we’re very happy as we’ve told you.   The CD (and vinyl) has a beautiful and cared design. ¿How important is this for you? M: Yes, of course, from our point of view the design of an album is fundamental and we think that it has to collect the spirit of what we, musically, have done. The design was made by Juan Pablo from Stillme and he truly has made a great job and we are delighted with the result.   Musically you handle different registers but you join them perfectly. Purely acoustic guitar sounds, sometimes almost martial percussions, cellos, pianos. Some songs are more ethereal, some others are stronger....

UMBRA ET IMAGO: Die Unsterblichen (Oblivion 2015)...

When someone faces a new album of Umbra, normally knows what he is going to find. In fact, with all the changes that exist in the european goth scene, it could be said that Mr Mozart’s band is the real PUNK. External from styles, changes and fake musical and aesthetic evolutions, creating an underground empire around them composed by the record label, tv channel and a vast showcase with all anyone would like from their favorite bands. From their last work, “Opus Magnum” from 2010, in which Mozart sugested that it was going to be his last “physical” CD, there have been all kind of things, new DVD’s, new singles, records and all types of memorabilia for the fans to not forget about them. Fortunately, there has been some time for, at least, one more album. After the departure of his right hand and a cornerstone in the band Lutz Demmler, (now with ASP ) and with, curiously, part of the normal formation of ASP now in Umbra et Imago, even with the participation of the great Tom O’Connell (now in the House of Usher), on the guitars, Umbra offers a summary of 14 songs in the regular edition, and reaching out the number of 19 in the special edition, including remixes of some of the album’s songs. Lately they have been leaving apart the obsessive sexual topic, even though in some great songs like “Viva Vulva” (one of my favorites and that I imagine it might be the second part of “Viva Lesbian” from “Gendaken eines Vampires”), or “Sex Vampire”, they still are those who were in their beginning. Otherwise, the songs are based in topics that move between the usual social criticism that appears in Mozart’s works, like “Get Off” (the best...