Tag Archive: Despair

Despair :: Rewired Riot TechnologyThe pure live Despair experience from Deserted Technology Riot (review here, buy from Music Non Stop) has been picked up, dropped into the audio shredder and put back together in novel new dance-mosh-friendly electro-technoise tracks. Rewired Riot Technology is a Despair album like no other and probably the coolest remixed album I’ve heard for a long time. The concept is similar to the twin Sins of the Flesh album (review here) that featured the original songs of the first CD and remixes on the second CD.

According to the official announcement Despair’s songs were “mangled and reprocessed into a unique and unprecedented sonic cocktail that takes the trademark beauty and brutality of Despair to new and unimaginable levels,” and that is not far from the truth.

Rewired Riot Technology starts with MPD Conflict: A New Model producing heavy noise and vocals cruising in on top of the whole noise-scape. It switches tempo several times during the song and gives doses of harsh sound and electro.

Jarring GOD: Rebel Action Remix just crashes the Jarring God original into a technoid beat with Ana at the center screaming out her anthem of mayhem, and Rieu’s deep growls coming in halfway through. This one is a daring track that would play well at a heavy club that allows moshing!

Mechanical Rabies: No Vaccine For You is one for the noise addicts playing more as a straight noise with glitch feeds and limited lyrics to emphasize the glitch-noise.

MPD Conflict: Mind Control Mix is a much more subliminal track with light glitch-noise and solid beat. The vocals are limited throughout the track and is certainly a track to chill out to (that’s alright).

Jarring GOD: The Devil Built My Beatbox mix is a heavy hellish noise-beat with vocals crashing down from time to time to give this song a real kick.

Aside from being a reference to cannibalism, Long Pig is also an interesting song, opening with sounds something like a monastery with Ana and Rieu’s vocals coming in later during the mix. The keyboards are a strong feature in this track creating a relaxing soundscape and with Ana and Rieu’s suppressed vocals make for a very easy-listening industrial track!

Junk Whore crashes open with Rieu’s belching out the evil in his vocals. The beat hits very hard here with Rieu and Ana beating down the noise. This one almost plays like a live Despair version and makes me want to get out and scream at someone.

MPD Conflict: A New Machine kicks in with serious industrial noise. Rieu and Ana get their freak on and deliver strong vocals throughout the song.

Becoming God starts with ambiance and a rolling voice-over. It is a very mellow track for the first half until the “Fuck tha’ Shit” sound sample cranks up the track to the heavy tech-noise. It springs out with a new anthem lyric from Ana – “Somebody fucked us. Who?” Amen guys, that rocks.

Overall the CD as remixed by keytarist, Jude, under the supervision of Rieu is one helluva piece of work! By the end of the CD I decided Rewired Riot Technology FREAKING ROCKS! This shows Despair in a new light with a mixture of heavy, and not-so-heavy sounds. It is unlike any Despair recording that I’ve heard before (sample or otherwise that I’ve managed to pick up) and works very well as the remixed version of Deserted Technology Riot. Despair fans with the original Deserted Technology Riot should really enjoy the added dimensions in this album and newbies should find Rewired Riot Technology a very accessible album. My personal favorites were the first MPD Conflict remix, Mechanical Rabies and Junk Whore

Despair :: Rewired Riot TechnologyRewired Riot Technology :: Track List
01. MPD Conflict: A New Model (4.33) Sample
02. Jarring God: Rebel Action Remix (4.11)
03. Mechanical Rabies: No Vaccine For Your Machines (2.58) Sample
04. MPD Conflict: Mind Control Mix (3.38)
05. Jarring God: The Devil Built My Beatbox (4.11)
06. Long Pig (6.29)
07. Junk Whore (3.43) Sample
08. MPD Conflict: A New Machine (3.35)
09. Becoming God (5.42)
Total time: 39:00
More samples available on Despair’s page.

You can find distribution on the DeathWatch Asia distribution list or buy direct from Music Non Stop internationally.

I was about to get ready to write some more reviews from the Greek Goth label, Dead Scarlet Records, when I received three really interesting CDs.

The first two came from the main man at DeathWatch Asia, Jude. Despair and Sawdust in Me are Japanese bands who are making waves in the Gothic/underground world. Two pops to Jude for sending these across. Jude who, apart from running the DeathWatch Asia label, heads up Sins of the Flesh and does keytair for Despair. I will get onto the reviews soonish – latest in the new year.

If you cannot wait for a review, you can buy either CD internationally from Music Non Stop (click here for Despair’s Rewired Riot Technology CD, click here for Sawdust in Me’s Mortification Made Me single).

The other CD received was from Chris of The Stompcrash (MySpace), a Goth band in Italy. The CD is called Requiem Rosa and the lyrics have their origins from a site of the same name created by an unknown songwriter. Quite a dark, mysterious provenance, which has certainly caught my attention!

Anyway, more events will be added in the days ahead and reviews soon after that.

Have a Merry Christmas!


[Industrial and more!] This event it is definitely worth going to. The previous two Junk Baptisms even inspired Igor’s poetic side, which is a very rare thing indeed – perhaps this is a good thing. The truth is that Junk Baptism represents the alignment of hard electro-industrial units with past events including performances from Baal, Despair, Demonoid 13 (DJ Doomspider’s band) and Scorpian’s Death Rock. Get gothed up or industrialized and prepare for an exciting night.

BSL Junk BaptismThis time the lords of hard-techno-industrial, Despair, will be playing wih Utero Zzz Aaa, referred to as an industrial noise terrorists by one of Igor’s cohorts. So the live acts will be crashing waves of non-stop industrial sounds! They will be supported by DJ’s Kenzo A (Gadget., Stigmata), Raveman (Aural Vampire) and guest DJ Hecate from Switzerland.

Remember this is an all night event so you will need a photo ID to get in (people under 18 and/or high school students will not be permitted entry.

When: December 8, 2007 :: Junk Baptism #3
Where: Motion Shinjuku
Address: 5F Just Bldg. 2-45-2 Kabuki-Cho, Shinjuku, Tokyo :: 新宿区歌舞伎町2-45-2ジャストビル5F :: Map :: Google Map
Tel: 03-6825-5858
Live: Despair, UTERO ZZZ AAA (Osaka extreme noise)
DJ’s: Kenzo-A (from Stigmata) and Raveman (from Aural Vampire)
Guest DJ: Hecate (from Switzerland)
Open: 24:00
Price: 2,000 yen adv. :: 2,500 yen @ door

Demons’ Evil Roll is a three day event featuring a lot of metal, industrial and hard rock. The event information is all below along with a couple of clips featuring Twisted Clock and Despair.

Where: Club Chop
Address: Floor B1, 2-46-3 Ikebukuro Toshimaku, Tokyo 171-0014 :: 〒171-0014 東京都豊島区池袋2丁目46-3 :: Map

Date: Friday November 9
Bands: Apologist, Killer Chainsaw, Spike Honey, Mach Trigger and the Demons
Price: 1,500 yen advance :: 2,000 yen @ door.
Open: 18:30 :: Start: 18:50

Date: Saturday November 10
Bands: Dazzle, Skull Smash, Unholy the 13th Preachers, Twisted Clock (ex. Calmando
Qual) and Demons
Price: 1,500 yen advance :: 2,000 yen @ door.
Open: 18:30 :: Start: 18:50

Date: Sunday November 11
Bands: The Lechery from Mars, Der Eisen Rost, Despair (yay!), Shrine and Demons
Price: 1,500 yen advance :: 2,000 yen @ door.
Open: 18:30 :: Start: 18:50

Twisted Clock

[youtube rDdQebXL5ZM]

Despair :: Junk War Live

[youtube jMLa_hB3lDE]

Tokyo Dark Castle #17 once more showed why it is the biggest event in the Japanese Goth scene with more hot bands than you can point a sharp pointy thing at and a large crowd to push things into overdrive. While the sadness of Isola’s passing was not forgotten, the celebration of life was supreme.

Crowd As beautiful as ever. The dress was more style-oriented than fantasy-oriented tonight. There were more people than normal for TDC as it was in part kind of wake for Isola. Cheers to the guys who made it out, said hello, etc. There were quite a few gaijin from various corners of the globe about to boot.

Venue While I like Marz for the funky two-floor layout, it pales compared to Deseo, which had a nice foyer space to talk and more space in general. Marz works very well for smaller events, but once you reach a certain crowd size it just gets uncomfortable – tonight’s TDC was probably a comfortable size for Deseo, but not for Marz space. There was nowhere to escape to and talk (unless you’re “staff”) and if there is a fire, then you’re all going to die! Don’t get me wrong, it is a good mid-size place for events, and would be good for a quiet TDC (Golden Week for example), but regular TDC nights will be a bit of a squeeze. I hope they move the event for Halloween, which shall be most insane!

Up to the usual high standard of TDC, there were no misses. The sounds ranged from the ambient, classical to extra industrial.

Slightly longer set with some Hindi-like riffs being added. The new direction works well for the band, bringing out a new accent for the band along with Selia’s addition in back-up vocals. Would I go to a gig just to see them? Goth/metal rock events – for sure.

Speed ID
Liked them a lot and strong Goth sound. I shall keep looking for their outings in future. Would I go to a gig just to see them? Yes – quite an interesting group I want to learn more.

More ambient sounds with two sweet voices plus violin. The singers are very good (as usual) with an operatic style, but the performance seemed lack-luster due to a heavy reliance on taped sounds. I guess I shouldn’t complaint, but with the interlude live acts at previous TDCs (e.g. Vexation and Selia) had more power with straight live performance. Would I go to an event just to see them? Hard call. The voices are great and work well in Goth or ambient scenes, but I just feel they need one more musician…

Destruct System
Hard-assed all the way. Sounds to riot by – and people did with a bit of light moshing and surfing. Would I go to an event just to see them? Oh yeah, as long as I had some Japanese genki drinks (power drinks like Red Bull… except more potent with liquid nicotine and other stuff you wouldn’t believe).

Calmando Qual
Showing that a band from the visual kei scene can rip out some good dark, rocky, gritty sets. Would I go to a gig just to see them? Hmmmmm. Yes, I think they’ve got a good mix of sound and delivery.

As always the craziest, maddest industrialists around – more mosh-stuff, I just held the stage barrier and tried not to bounce back into the riot behind me! Would I go to an event just to see them? Absolutely! Yes damn it! Yes, yes, yes.

The addition of Jude, Wakana and Taizo to Chihiro and Violet made the DJ sets as zesty as the bands themselves.

Armed with his harp, the supremely beautiful sweet soprano provided a last farewell for the night. Smooth as honey the whole way through. Would I go to an event just to see Selia? Absolutely.

Overall, a very good event. In terms of the bands and DJs it was one of the better TDCs. However, venue size was an issue. While it was a sad closure for many, it also re-affirmed that life goes on and should be celebrated.

Despair @ ElectrockAs I sit in an Internet cafe on the outskirts of Nagoya remembering Electrock from a couple of days earlier, I must say that I liked it. I liked it a lot.

[b]UPDATE![/b] [url=http://www.jgoth.com/modules/myalbum/viewcat.php?cid=3]Pixies are up Die!!Die!!Color!! and Despair![/url]

[b]Rushing to get there[/b]
So I finished washing and preparing the ferrets for the annual road trip to Nagoya and raced off to catch at least half the Electrock show. Sure the Electrock is not about Goth, but 1) electro-rock is pretty cool, 2) [url=http://www.despair-nation.com/]Despair[/url] put in a performance and 3) Jude did his debut for Despair on the ax-board.

[url=http://www.urga.net/]Urga’s[/url] space is kind of nice and cosy. It works out pretty well regardless of the crowd density so a quiet night is okay and a packed night rocks. Tonight it was quite packed so it was rocking nicely.

[b]Kwick Kick Mummy Lee[/b]
First up (when I got there) was a remix performance from Kwick Kick Mummy Lee. Lively and enjoyable affair with KKML with some successful (if mild) moshing going on upfront and even a couple of crowdsurfs by the mixer. Not bad at all. He also distinguished himself by being visually entertaining while doing the performance – something that most of these remix artists fail to do. Worth looking at again.

Die!Die!Color! were hot with some psyched digital rock. The instrumental-side would be speedy hard rock/metal traditional with extra elektro layers. However, it is the vocals that give this band something extra, with Hiroaki doing male attack screeches and Anna ripping out great power femme. Lots of energy onstage and a sound that keeps making me think “Fight Club.” Die!Die!Color! have balls. I will see them again.

Despair just keeps sending shivers down my spine. There is something otherworldly about this unit when they’re onstage. Just a total aural assault with Rieu and Ana fighting for their lives to subdue the machine noise. The band sported a blonde gaijin on the ax-board tonight called Jude! Yes, Sins of the Flesh’s lead vocalist (and many other things), and JGoth.com’s Kansai chief, was doing a special spot for the band, putting in his 100% to keep the band running at its regular energy level (i.e. fucking overdrive!). Nothing can touch Despair when it comes to total industrial and that is why I will go to every performance I possibly can.

The last band I saw was Far East Eclipse. They had a good live sound suited to Electrock’s theme. A technical glitch hit them half-way through the set, which took a while to fix (and lost them the moment I think), but they were good live rockers.

Overall, Electrock is definitely worth seeing for some good live rocky sounds and I’ll be adding that to my list of regular events to mention here. I loved Die!Die!Color! and Despair, especially with two power femmes back-to-back.

And happy new year from Nagoya, origin of the Mangakiss.

BSL Junk BaptismBlood-stained gloves, gas masks and cattle prods greet the new slaves. Raw fear at the knowledge of their fate seeps into damaged brains. Re-animating the dead to serve the overlords of the final industrial revolution. Serving beyond the grave.

Death certificates already signed; the rights of the living are denied. Screams of the half-destroyed minds of society’s victims. Destinies sealed to exist in squalor, to serve the corrupted elite, to fight wars they did not understand, to test the latest nanites, to suffer until their bodies are ruined beyond repair.

The scientists rejoiced. The powerful nodded approval. Those on the edges applauded, simply glad to avoid the fate. The slaves hung their heads in the hazed knowledge that they were already born into hell. Even in final body death they served. Like the farms of the 20th century the bodies were reprocessed and served to the slave populace.

Some slaves escaped their fate. First-lifers and those who survived the re-animation with minds relatively intact. And there was always the madmen. All who escaped had only one place to go, wastelands.

In the wastelands surrounding the cities, the toxic landscape, cultivated from decades of man-made catastrophes, kept the elites in their urban cradle. In these areas where no-one else would dare venture, small communities of slaves developed. Death and pain are abundant, but one word keeps the slaves coming, Freedom.

Near the massive labor camps of what was once called Tokyo, a new escapee community has risen. Stealing decades-old technology from the ruins of the old city, the community has built a rogue lab to remove bio-circuit tags from the bodies of new arrivals and treat what can be cured. Known among the warlords controlling the area as Brain Scan Laboratory, it is viewed with fear as a challenge to the slaver system in the local region. The first riots ignited in the city three months ago.

Already named by historians as the Slave’s Midnight Riot, it is seen as the first direct attack on the elite since they took control decades earlier. Melting into the landscape after inciting the first of the Slave Riots, the guerrilla leaders have waged skirmishes at times and locations of their choosing.

The guerrilla leaders have already been marked for collection and reprocessing. The ex-slave units in charge of the first riots have been named in official and unofficial media: , Baal, Demonoid and Scorpions Death Rock. Individuals, including 666Fox, Undermine and Doom Spider have also been implicated.

Official reports within the warlord councils point to a new uprising likely to occur in late January. There appears to be a movement towards the new action in the URGA district no later than January 21, 2006. Unconfirmed reports suggest the rebels will be led by the unit known as Baal, with tactical support from 666Fox, Undermine and Margath Orgia from another underground unit known amongst sympathizers as Golgotha.

While the warlords are seeking to secure the zone surrounding URGA, matters have been complicated by continued unrest in this and other areas.

The night closed with DJ Violet speeding away on a scooter in full Victorian dress. With blue ringlets spilling from under his helmet and a smile of pure delight, Violet shot down the deserted street into the heart of Shibuya. Just eight hours ago the Goths of Tokyo, and beyond, had poured into Deseo for an underground event like none other. Welcome to Tokyo Dark Castle.

Tokyo Dark Castle 101
Tokyo Dark Castle, for those who just dropped in, is Japan’s leading Gothic event. The creme de la creme of Japan’s darker side come here to perform everything from the hardest industrial overdrive to the sweetest neo-opera sounds. For six hours guests are treated to the total Goth package. The night is filled with the best-dressed Goths, Gothic-Lolitas, metallers, glam-lovers and more. Imagine a night where Marilyn Manson would sweep through unnoticed in the crowd.

TDC’s Halloween
The October 29 event was doubly special as it celebrated Halloween and the 25th Anniversary of Auto-Mod, who have been at the helm of Japan’s dark underground scene for a generation and whose lead singer, Genet, is responsible for bringing Tokyo Dark Castle to the people. The pure creativity of Auto-Mod cannot be underestimated in Japan’s narrow mass market. In an environment where institutions like Johnnies and the Morning Musume industrial complex have produced bands and music that hold to a very thin template of J-Pop, Auto-Mod is one of the standouts who have led Goth and underground rock sounds since the 1980s.

Let’s have a party
Deseo’s not a small place and previous forays have left me with enough space to scope things or bounce with abandon, but tonight the dark lords and ladies arrived en masse filling the entire space with glorious visions of phantsy wherever you looked. There were also many new faces in the crowd so it was full of surprises. Igor felt pretty normal in his loafers, but thankfully people overlook the underdressings of foreigners here and we could all have a good time. The shops had all kinds of displays, but it was hard to concentrate on the pretty things on the tables, when you’re surrounded by it! I did manage to pick up a new Auto-Mod CD though – thanks to my audacious dancing skills (or lack thereof) the Auto-Mod crew member remembered me and gave me a nice discount (you see, it pays to lose yourself from time to time). Everyone was so friendly (as always) and once you find one new person to speak to, you’ll discover three more and so on. This is one aspect of all the Goth events that I have found – people really are open. It’s something that I have never found at any regular night spot in Tokyo – the bridge is so much easier to cross.

But let’s get onto the sounds.

DJ’s Voilet & Chihiro & VJ Kihito
The DJ’s were cooking some great stuff tonight. Often overlooked when they do there job right (and Chihiro and Voilet are good) I would just like to give a quick w00t! to them for keeping the night on pace! As always, Kihitio kept the visuals rolling smoothly with all kinds of great footage mixed in.

Calmando Qual
Because the line outside Deseo was long (and I grabbed another chu-hi beforehand) I missed the first act, Calmando Qual. Technically, I think they are in the visual kei crowd, but as I have come to learn not all visual kei is popsy-cute Shazna wannabes – actually there are a couple of pretty hard mutherfuckers around in the visual scene. One thing about Calmando Qual is that they know how to get it on! Definitely a band worth catching and seem to be doing a lot of places that would not usually get Goth bands (like Fukuoka). So keep tabs on them.

Genet and his boys went fell knell for over an hour! Slamming out some great classics that us recent visitors may have missed this year and drilling them into our skulls. It was the full deal tonight with theatrics reminiscent from earlier years’ events intersticing the songs and guest appearances abounding. Tonight was one special show and if you missed it – shame on you! With dark dance and performances in the mosh area, and Selia’s haunting support vocals and the vampire visuals from Genet and co. it was a very special performance.

Oh, god. These guys were hot when I first saw them and they just get better with each performance. Solid new generation industrial-rock, this stuff is heart-beltingly good. Between Mikito’s all-too-cool demeanor grinding his axe and managing the mix, U-Tarou’s total vocal attack and Chihiro’s manic drumming, these guys are one tight unit. If you like rock, industrial, or just plain dark stuff, these guys should not be missed! Capping off tonight’s performance was an invasion by Destruct System’s Kohki who just took things up one more peg. Ripping stuff.

You want audio assault? These guys are it! Industrial sounds mainline straight to your brain with the vocals driving their voices into the mix. Every time they are on it’s a crazy, mad, sexed-up sound that takes your breath away. All three players have their stage craft working full tilt for an exhausting set of hot industrial sounds.

I’m spent baby!
After that madness it was time to relax. I should feel bad for not checking out the performance sets of the night, but the triple hit with the bands just took me out of action. Auto-mod got me going hard, Baal took me to overdrive, Despair hit me like a train on Chou line!

So, for a couple of hours we could enjoy the slow approach of dawn, catching up with friends and discovering what was going on from people coming out. It was chill time at the end of a great night. And as I wound down with friends – punters like me, musicians, DJs and more – I realized just how many friends I have found here at TDC and beyond. In all my 8+ years in Tokyo this was the first time I felt “at home.” Thank you.

It was a night of magic in many ways, but there’s still one more to go!!

Tokyo Dark Castle Xmas!
The final Tokyo Dark Castle for the year (and the last one at Deseo) is set to be explosive. With 12 bands prepping take you to nirvana and back on Xmas eve. And what great freaking bands!! Auto-Mod (the lords of underground), Destruct System (hell yeah!), Jubilee (legendary Osakans), Agent Murder (psychotically great), Phantasmagoria (darkly sweet sounds), BAAL (industro-complex attack), Vexation (Sisters Grimm), Seirenes (siren Selia & Violet), Gadget (great retro harsh rock), Euthanasie (hard elektro), Aural Vampire (sexy & dark elektro) and Cut the Crap (hard rocking mofos with “the bassist”)! Man, book with one of them bands and support the cause (and save one drink on the entrance fee!). December 24 :: 23:30~ @ Shibuya Deseo (3,000/3,500 yen).

Castle-master, Genet, took TDC to a new level with the best mix of live Goth-flavorings yet!

Despite the Osakan invasion from Midnight Necropolis, the Goths were out in force @ TDC and they were the best-dressed, most-dressed Goth’s I have seen. The crowd was larger than the last two events and the punters had decked themselves out in costumes you wouldn’t believe… except Igor, who’s really just a nerdy dreg capable of sleeping in a dumpster when required. But I digress.

Execution of tonight’s event was superb. Past TDCs have been great, but TDC 13 was just damned slick. All the sets were nailed tight and the night moved with a feline grace. This level of quality shows TDC as a true international-class underground event that SHOULD NOT BE MISSED. There should be tours for this.

Gaijin invasion
Between the regulars, the irregulars, the new arrivals, and an Australian guy with a very big camera, the foreigners were a major minority @ TDC 13 and the gaijin/local mix looked fantastic. Maybe around 20 or so exquisitely dressed and painted Gothic gaijin were igniting the landscape throughout the night.

There are good bands out there that will never get a night at Tokyo Dark Castle, but TDC is the quality-assurance sticker for Japan’s Goth scene. Any band making it to TDC is worth seeing – not only at TDC, but wherever they play. So, if you’re looking for some J-Goth and not sure where to look then you can’t go wrong with the bands who have done a tour or two of the Castle.

Tonight’s bands were on fire. Hell, they were infernos from start to finish. No flubs, no anarchic over-runs, no worried looks, just plug it in and rip through the f*cking set. It was a Hell Yeah, kind of night folks.

These Osakans were back for revenge after their first blooding in Tokyo saw them stuck in a distinctly non-Goth club event. Taking the first slot Satanyanko let rip from the start. The band has forged itself into a moody, lively punk group who work the stage with aplomb. It was great to see the axes getting it on and lead-kitty Rie-nyan putting out some great femme angst in her vocals.

Auto-Mod with Tamaki Carmilla
Tonight’s set was driven hard like a rivet to the forehead. True veterans of the business, Auto-Mod know their craft and can deliver any night of the week, but tonight they were playing like a band possessed. Great dark rock sounds from the Goth-Daddy and his crew. It’s sad to note that tonight was Tamaki Carmilla’s last performance with the band – her dark femme voice added an extra dimension to the band.

Destruct System
It’s great to finally hear these guys as I’ve heard such good things about them. They had a lot of aggression going from the start and were obviously seasoned performers – very smooth delivery of the hard stuff. I bet they must have been shocked by the foreign gothers madly seeking to buy their CD (selling CDs is usually a very tough part of the business).

Cut the Crap
Igor was too busy socializing outside to catch these guys, but when the other Gaijin came out they were totally fucking pumped. Why? The tiny bassist had blew them to bits. Man, why do I always miss out on the legendary bits? Now, I have just got to get my ass to one of their gigs. More CD hunting could be seen after their set.

Oh, these guys know how to work the crowd during a set. The veteran Glam-gothers from Osaka got going at a nice pace, then cranked it up to another level mid-way through the set. Good sound throughout and the mid-set ignition was great.

Ah, it was time to enjoy the more ambient/classical sounds of Selia. Truly a siren of the night, Selia had all sitting to appreciate a voice that could make you cry…

Unfortunately, my night drew to an early close thanks to a phone call. After a quick exit to take the call, Igor found himself talking to some drunk who had the wrong number. The drunk was looking for his friend, but ended up befriending Igor and scoring himself an impromptu English lesson in the process…. Alas, the wind was taken from my sails, my wings were clipped. It was such a shame as I was looking to catch…

I missed them (DAMN!), but let me just do a short spiel, because they are one hot electro-industrial band with a mad dose of sex appeal. They do a mighty set working a slick delivery style into their sounds and building the energy the whole way through. Definitely worth catching wherever they play. Sorry Andro!

Ah, a lovely night. ‘Twas a pity it was cut short by that most peculiar phone call…

Tokyo Dark Castle #14 :: October 29
This takes place on Halloween and you know what that means?! A Goth parade through the streets of Shibuya before the night kicks off! The event promises to be just as good, or even better than TDC 13 and will be the second last TDC of the year. Check Tokyo Dark Castle.

The dark side is sexier, and it doesn’t come any sexier than Tokyo Dark Castle. Mixing the cutest gothic-lolitas with the harshest industrialists and everything in between makes TDC a dark fantasy like none other in Tokyo. The twelfth rendition of this hallowed underground event was huge delivering the hottest mix of bands covering Japanese Goth, darkwave, metal and industrial styles. Quite simply, TDC 12 hit the sweet spot right from the start and held the pace right through the night.

Fashion and space
TDC 12 was a tour de force of Japanese underground fashion. Gothic-lolitas were very well represented at the night’s event, showing off the most amazing (and amazingly matched) outfits that I have ever seen. There were even small knots of gothic-lolitas who matched co-ordinated outfits with each other to the point you started wondering if they were twins, triplets or even goth-loli clones. There was even a cutter-lolita to be found amongst the shadows, sporting bandages to cover her ersatz wounds. However, the most amazing ensemble in the gothic-lolita stakes on the night was a guy dressed to the nines and make-upped to within an inch of his life. Even his day-luggage was cute, with furry purple spikes sprouting from his backpack!

Of course, the darker side of Goth was exceptionally well-represented with slick black vinyl, leather and much more mixed in with lots of silver. And the boots! My god, the footwear was to die for. Custom-colored contact lenses, custom face and body make-up, corsets and so much more. It was pure dark fantasy the entire night.

Not everybody was dressed to thrill, but that would be only a few people. Igor felt very average as he skulked along in his basic black, but Igor is not a dressy fellow.

The space is well organized and people free to go outside for a breather anytime during the night. The entrance space is goodly-sized and suitable for mingling. There’s a video-projection running on one wall and a bar in easy reach – rum and coke please. The merchant tables had various items on sale from CDs (I picked up a 60-minute Gadget CD for 1,000 yen), gothic wear, some silver & pewter jewelry and one table that had things that looked suspiciously like claw-shaped treated ginseng roots. There was not a lot of business going on at the stalls, which is a shame – I quite like browsing the event markets.

Oh there were bands too!

The quality of the bands at TDC 12 was superb. This is to be expected as TDC is the biggest regular Goth event going in Japan (Kansai has the Kobe Underground Festival, but that’s only once a year). However, Genet outdid himself this time by pulling together some of the hottest bands from Japan’s underground scene from Goth-rock to metallic- and electro darkwave (is that the right way to put it), industrial, extreme industrial and retro-psychedelia. The night’s quieter offering of the night delivered a mix of classical and dark narration that captivated the audience to the point where everyone sat down to listen to the sisters Grim weave their spell. There were no misses in tonight’s line up.

Genet’s Auto-Mod with Carmilla Tamaki

It’s great to see the master is not afraid to take the always-difficult first slot. The audience is still milling around and the mood hasn’t sunk in, but the 25-year veterans got in and did the job damned well. The performance was silky smooth as Auto-Mod delivered their brand of Gothic-rock and it got the audience bouncing right from the get-go. I’ve got some old Auto-Mod from the mid-1980s and that stuff still has more grit and balls than most of today’s heavier mainstream groups. I particularly enjoyed Mind Suicide, a higher tempo number that does strange things to my mind and makes me want to mosh!

Agent Murder

Awi and co. returned to TDC with a vengance, taking the audience screaming through the set. Agent Murder exploded from the first song and then cranked up the dark energy the whole way through. Tonight’s mix started with Earth of Hypocrisy, an industrial-electro piece laced with screaming harmonics (I love that one). Thank you to Lee for letting Igor scream into the mike a bit! Agent Murder were possessed tonight, nailing each number with manic perfection and moving the audience smoothly from lighter electro sounds at the start to harsher splintered-metal numbers towards the end.

Sins of the Flesh

What could be better after Agent Murder than an electro-industrial attack from Sins of the Flesh. Originating from the UK in the late-80s, SOTF have re-ignited in Japan to bring new audiences into their world of angst-laced musical world. The sounds got everyone bouncing, the lyrics came through crystal clear, and the femme dancer was just incredible as Jude and his crew took everyone to the next level. At one stage the dancer was having her way with a blow-up sex doll after donning a codpiece onstage! To top things off, Awi climbed out from backstage to join Jude and the crew in one song! Totally awesome mix of sound and visuals.


Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, in comes Despair. These guys aren’t industrial, they’re freaking nuclear! Returning from Wave-Gotik-Treffen, where they blew audiences away, Rieu and crew did the same again at TDC 12. They are totally industrial and you will be drowned in Despair’s flood of sound… and you’ll love every minute of it. Rieu had flashlights strapped to his wrist and mike, spotlighting the audience as he erupted during the set. Both Rieu and femme screamer, A≠A, powered their voices through the orgy of noise. Totally freaking awesome – a must-see for anyone with a penchant for industrial, hard electro, noise and any harder styles.


And then it was time to chill and enjoy the romance of the night! Featuring classical keyboards, operatic vocals and strings, Vexation has enough of a macabre twist with its dark narration to remind one they are indeed Gothique. They captivated the night’s adrenaline-drenched audience immediately. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) sat down on the floor like school children ready to listen to a story read by their favorite teacher. That kind of effect (especially after Despair!) says a lot about how good they are at what they do. They’ll be releasing a CD at the end of this month too, which Igor plans on picking up.


Oh, they may be relatively new to Tokyo Dark Castle, but Gadget has cultivated a sound with wide appeal. The band’s retro-psychedelia along the lead singer’s raw energy and charisma make them well worth catching at any event they play. They connected with the audience (especially the girls, notes Igor) instantly and didn’t let go. I picked up the 60-minute CD they had that night and it is damnable cool. Photographers please take note: When Kenzo is gesturing madly that he’s gonna dive into the crowd it might be wise to take heed! Great young band with a lot to offer… and you can bet there will be more in the near future.

Chronotrigger [Editor's note: now called Baal]

The night finished hot with this amazingly together three-piece metal industrial outfit. Chronotrigger is the yin to Despair’s yang with lead singer, U-Tarou, riding through her deep vocals to power over the industrial sounds. Mikito worked a storm with his ax-grinding and mixing to give an amazing industrial sound-scape. Finally there was Chihiro who held the beat together on his kit. U-Tarou was dynamic and visually stunning working her space on the stage. Mikito kept the balance with his own stage work throughout the set. A fresh, harsh industrial group who’ll blow you away.

DJ’s & VJ

Lest we forget, DJ’s Chiharo and Violet and VJ Kihito held the night together with great sounds and visuals between sets. The choice of mixes was good and the continuity consistent with few skips. It is always good to know the sounds will keep coming the whole night and these guys did a fantastic job. Kihito’s range of visuals on the screens has expanded quite a lot since the last TDC too. I can’t wait for TDC 13.


A couple of bands seemed a bit concerned about going over their allotted time towards the end of the set. It is a small thing, but it would be nice if there was a clock or backstage helper giving the band a five-minute warning. Also, I wish I wasn’t such a wallflower. I wanted to run up to Awi and say that tonight was freaking great, but I was too shy to say hello… Sorry.


This was easily the best party I’ve seen in Tokyo. The caliber of the players combined with the dress-sense and enthusiasm of the audience was just plain great. I’ll look forward to more skulking at TDC 13.

Tokyo Dark Castle 13 on September 3

Less industrial than TDC 12, but a great line up of experience and quality new blood. Bands will include veteran Goth-Rockers Auto-Mod, Destruct System, Neo-Glam flash from Jubilee, electro from Euthanasie, Neo-Punk from Satanyanko, operatic Selia, and Cut The Crap (need to check them).