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01. Au Champ Des Morts
- Dans La Joie
02. Peter Bjärgö
- Animus Retinentia
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- Black Dawn
04. Saille
- Gnosis
05. Black Anvil
- As Was
06. Heretoir
- The Circle
07. Last Leaf Down
- Bright Wide Colder
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- Götzen.Dämmerung
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- Shores Of Mourning

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The Devil & The Universe - Haunted Summer (2014) - Review

Band: The Devil & The Universe
Album title: Haunted Summer
Release date: 31 October 2014
Label: [aufnahme + wiedergabe]

Tracklist:
01. Haunted Summer
02. Stygian
03. Cloak Of Dispersion
04. Danaus Plexippus
05. The Goat Head
06. The Curse Of Byron
07. Calling Of The Shades
08. Phantasmagoria
09. Gipfelrausch
10. Elisa Fields [Bonus]
11. Womb Of The Night [Bonus]
12. Haunted Meadow [Bonus]
13. Diodati 1816 [Bonus]

In 1816, Lord Byron invited a group of youthful art-lovers to spend an idyllic summer in his Geneva's lakeside mansion: the famed Villa Diodati. Included in that exceptional guest list were the literary couple Percy and Mary Shelley, Mary's step-sister Claire Clairmont and the physician John William Polidori - two women in their teens and three men in their twenties, afire with rebellion and revelry. To avoid the unexpected dreary weather, Byron and his invitees stayed indoors nearly the whole summertime and entertained themselves, not only by writing scary stories - Mary conceived the idea for her novel "Frankenstein" during those days - but also indulging in unfettered orgies of drug, sex and occult. Drawing on that spirit of free-thinking and transgression, Austrian musical project The Devil & The Universe has created its second full-length album: Haunted Summer. As has been customary since the release of the band's debut EP Evoking Eternity, magic and religion in themselves are at the back of the songwriting and John Carpenter's film scores also cast a long shadow over this new record.

The sounds in Haunted Summer bring us closer to that presumed tangle of eroticism, perversity and arcane experiences that were lived in Byron's holiday home at that time. Not for nothing, Ashley Dayour (Whispers In The Shadow, Coma Divine), David Pfister (Neigungsgruppe, Sex, Gewalt und gute Laune) and the recently joined Stefan Elsbacher (Black Manna), carried their goat masks, habits and Tarot cards to an small chapel located in a forest of Styria, where they spent an entire month to invoke those spectres of 1816. Inspired by the eerie environment and, furthermore, supported in creation by supernatural methods such as automatic writing or necromancy, The Devil & The Universe approaches us now to polymorphous, ritually dark realms where all the aforementioned can be truly felt.

But even most important is how naturally Haunted Summer holds the listener entranced from one fictional stage to another, due to its effective blend of ancient and modern, electronic and acoustic, computers and exotic instruments. Whatever your musical taste, you will certainly find much to appreciate in this album. There are addictive tracks woven with ethnic-trance, grinding rhythmical threads, such as "The Goat Head"; songs that bridge the immemorial and the cutting-edge in intriguing ways: either merging danceable, tribal-flavored percussion with ominous electronica sweeps and flourishes, like the ritual-paced "Calling Of The Shades" or "Stygian" - whose old-age strings loop sticks in mind for a long while; or triggering an occasional rapture on the basis of a defocussed cinematic style, as occurs in "Cloak Of Dispersion", "Phantasmagoria" and "Gipfelrausch". In other tracks, a dirge-like, chilly atmosphere prevails, as in the case of "The Curse Of Byron", which sounds archaic and cold-wavey at the same time; the advanced video-single "Danaus Plexippus", simultaneously bitter and lovely, with stringed drums and synth harmonies that embody the wistfulness of eons gone by, while its central beat keeps the things catchy; or the striking title track, which places us in 'haunted' context through road-to-perdition drum thuds and slowed-down, murky riffs with traces of Black Sabbath.

The bonus material includes "Elisa Fields" and "Womb Of The Night" (both previously released as part of the 12" single What Time Is Love?), as well as "Haunted Meadow" and "Diodati 1816", two brilliant score-style pieces that make art of spookyness by setting ethereal chords of guitar, suspenseful piano notes and ghostly voices in contrast against minimalist, horror-synthed backdrops. No wonder that John Carpenter himself likes the music of The Devil & The Universe. As far as I'm concerned, I'm hooked on these ancient-tronic jams with dashes of multiform perversion.

Review written by: Billyphobia
Rating: 9/10

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Album title: Identities
Release date: 19 June 2015
Label. Echozone/Ressurection Records

When the London based four piece Red Sun Revival released their debut album, Running From The Dawn, in 2012, the gothic rock fans were nothing but mesmerized and hooked by its ethereal emotional melodies, yet very personal and deeply moving songs. Then the EP named Embers brought one hell of a promising four tracks where the band showed even more matured compositional skills. With Identities the band got even more unique sound, even though the typical gothic rock elements perfected before by The Mission, Nosferatu, The Cure and Fields Of The Nephilim are present all over, but done in such kind of soundtrack-ish style, with pinch of pop like edge in some rhythmic lines, with emotions pouring out with every chord, every beat and every word, I don't believe we ever heard something alike before. Identities with all of the ten featured songs is as opposed to the debut album written not only by bands mastermind Rob Leydon, this time also bassist Panos Theodoropoulous took a part in the compositional process and the consequence are even more flowing, lush and original soundscapes, even Rob Leydon's voice has almost nothing to do anymore with Carl McCoy. In a way I can go as far and say that if later era Pink Floyd were ever going to make gothic rock then something similar could came up. Identities offers a myriad of amazing moments that flow like a tender warm breeze of the most refined darkness, thus exposing all of its beauty to the one who'll give to this release a careful listen.

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