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Universal D.O.G., Lahr, Germany
April 22nd 2006
Faun, Diorama, Kirlian Camera, Covenant

For the 17th Dark Dance Treffen in Lahr we decided to take the long way down to the south of Germany to see once again one of our all-time favourites Covenant besides some very nice other bands too. We arrived early enough at the venue to see Covenant’s sound check and get a short impression of what to expect later. Because we still had lot’s of time we decided to have some food nearby and returned to the venue around seven. The Universal D.O.G. is a very nice venue with several different rooms where the concerts took place and where different dance floors were spread. In the out-door area there was another dance floor as well as a merchandising market and an area where you could get food and where they held some BBQ.



First band in the big hall was the medieval ensemble ‘Faun’ who impressed once again with their traditional dances and songs brought on stage in a new dress. The whole band was full of fire and took the audience far away to ancient times. /


01. Punagra
02. Unda
03. Rosmarin
04. Wind & Geige
05. Sirena
06. Iyansa
07. Andro
08. Rhiannon


This band is on its way to being one of the most popular electronic acts of the dark underground in Germany – Diorama! After a very very successful 2005 they continued being on the road this year and also performed at the Dark Dance Treffen in Lahr. /

‘Diorama’ was founded between 1994 and 1996 by Torben Wendt. It didn't take long before his long-time friend and previous band member Felix Marc joined in as co-producer and keyboard player. Bass player Bernard Le Sigue and guitarist Sash Fiddler were fellow students of Torben and Felix who gradually grew into the line up over experimental music sessions and boozed through nights.
‘Diorama’ is often wrongly seen as a ‘Diary of Dreams’ side project, due to ‘Diorama’s’ vocalist and mastermind Torben Wendt long-time collaboration with this band. Torben is connected to ‘Diary of Dreams’ as something like a permanent guest. He has taken part in a lot of recordings, productions and concerts. So he has played a significant role in DOD, and both bands have quite a few things in common. Both work a lot with electronics, have a soft spot for haunting atmospheres and deliver excellent, thoughtful lyrics. But since last year ‘Diorama’ really took off and is no longer in the shadow of ‘Diary of Dreams’, who have gained a lot of success over the years. ‘Diorama’ released a total of three albums in 2005, the brand-new and excellent ‘Amaroid’, the remix album ‘Repale’ and the re-release of their debut ‘Pale’. This made them the second most successful album act in the German alternative chart DAC of the year 2005! A support tour for ‘VNV Nation’ opened a whole new audience for them, and a following headliner tour consolidated ‘Diorama’s’ new popularity.

Despite their very electronic sound of their studio outputs, ‘Diorama’ left the impression that their live line-up is a pretty conventional band setting with drums, guitar, bass, keys and vocals. But fans don’t have to worry – ‘Diorama’ didn’t present a guitar-driven version of their atmospheric Synth sound. I was rather surprised that ‘Diorama’s’ set list was so beat-heavy – probably because I wasn’t too familiar with their latest release at the time of the show…
Despite their dark sound the band members didn’t look like a Goth band at all, rather like the nice guys next door. They obviously don’t care too much about clichés or an image. Something I found quite refreshing. Vocalist Torben was obviously fully into his own music and although his moves on stage seemed a little awkward at times it was impressive how much this guy is living and enjoying his own music. I prefer that much to the calculated and faked image and stage presence which certain other Goth bands offer. As I mentioned, ‘Diorama’ included many upbeat songs in their set, especially towards the end. The crowd thanked them for that and really got ecstatic during the last few songs.
All in all a very refreshing gig - and after the show I decided that I should update my knowledge of ‘Diorama’s’ latest releases, as I’m more familiar with their earlier works. And in fact, ‘Amaroid’ is an album that NO-ONE should miss!

Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 9
Light: 7
Total: 8 (7.7)

Kirlian Camera

Italian band ‘Kirlian Camera’, founded by Angelo Bergamini as far back as 1980, is one of the most controversial bands of the dark scene. They have often been accused of promoting right-wing aesthetics and ideologies. Now once and for all, kids – that’s bullshit. ‘Kirlian Camera’ surely created their very own sonic world, ranging from cold minimalistic beats to acoustic Neo Folk-ballads. These days ‘Kirlian Camera’ shows are a rare thing in Germany, thanks to all the prejudices and actions by local Anti-Fa groups who tried to disturb or prevent the band’s shows in their hometowns. /

‘Kirlian Camera’ combine danceable and tranquil moments, poppy and experimental tracks. The music sounds very spacious and clear and contains a great deal of moody electronics with a very clear sound. Experimental structures, yet pleasant to listen to. Darkness is a very prominent feature in the atmosphere of their sound, in fact I would regard ‘Kirlian Camera’ as one of the most apocalyptical and gloomy acts on the scene. But it’s no hollow attitude - all this darkness inherits a certain kind of graveness and seriousness. Lyrically they also touch the darker sides of existence most of the time, and they obviously have a certain interest in apocalyptic visions, paranormal phenomena and psychology.
2006 saw the release of ‘Kirlian Camera’s’ new album ‘Coroner’s Sun’, the follow-up to 2004’s “Invisible Front.2005”. With both albums the band pushed the boundaries of their sonic world further, introducing new elements into their eclectic mix from Techno beats to piano ballads. Released on the label Trisol, ‘Coroner’s Sun’ is one of the most successful albums by the band.

This penchant for apocalyptic things resembles also in the visual side of the band, especially in their live performances. Their military style outfit and the  use of fascist imagery in the video screenings during the concerts as well as song titles like ‘Heldenplatz’ or ‘Birkenau’ led to the accuses of being a right-wing band. That ‘Kirlian Camera’ used parts from a speech of the Rumanian fascist leader Corneliu Codreanu in a track didn’t help much to weaken those accuses. But in fact ‘Kirlian Camera’ never ever argued for racism or anti-Semitism, mastermind Angelo Bergamini actually denounced war and violence in interviews, and several members of the band avow themselves as being rather left-wing. The black African Nancy Appiah has been member of the band for quite a while, and ‘Kirlian Camera’ also operated lyrically with the works of Jewish authors like Alfred Mombert. If this sounds like being right-wing and racist or not is left to the reader’s decision.

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 8
Total: 9 (8.6)


After 12 German shows in February, prior to the release of their most recent album ‘Skyshaper’, ‘Covenant’ returned to Germany in April to play a single show at the Dark Dance Treffen in Lahr. / 

Much has been said about ‘Covenant’ on Reflections of Darkness, so there’s really no need to introduce them. Their latest album ‘Skyshaper’ made it to number 44 in the official German album sales charts and the preceding single ‘Ritual Noise’ has become a huge club hit all over Europe. I was curious how people will react to the new material of the band this time, as the first leg of the tour in February started before the album was released. So most people didn’t know the new songs back then and I guess that’s why the atmosphere at those was sometimes a little calmer than usual. I was also curious which songs ‘Covenant’ chose to play at the Dark Dance in Lahr as they are well-known for changing their setlist a lot – rather unusual for an electronic band but a fantastic thing for the fans, for sure!

One thing was striking even before the show started – this time ‘Covenant’ didn’t bring this great LED display they used as a backdrop at their headlining shows earlier this year. I guess it was simply too costly to transport it for just one show. But after all that didn’t matter at all as an outstanding and brilliant light show truly made up for it.
The show started again with this great intro, Hertz numbers followed by a noise of the exact Hertz frequency announced by the computer voice before. When the countdown reached 20 Hertz the band entered the stage and the song of the same name started. The audience of the Dark Dance Treffen gave the band a very warm welcome, and ‘Spindrift’ followed. Judging by the album version one might think that this quite long and ambient, though still rather upbeat track wouldn’t work too good as the second song in the set, but in fact it set very nicely the tone for the show and got everybody in the right mood. The following ‘Bullet’ set the mood to “party time!” and was even topped by ‘Der Leiermann’, the German-languaged version of ‘Like Tears in Rain’ from their 2000 album ‘United States of Mind’. To my pleasure the show in Lahr saw this year’s first performance of the classic ‘Figurehead’ in continental Europe. ‘Figurehead’ is still one of ‘Covenant’s’ finest and definitely a crowd pleaser. At the front all the big boys (and some cute girls ;-) ) were jumping around and having fun, and the rest of the venue was smoothly grooving to this fan fave. ‘Covenant’ were performing really really well. Some of the shows earlier this year had to face some problems, especially technical ones, but after some weeks of touring everything as perfect. Front man Eskil Simonson did a great job, and his voice was in top form. It was cool to see so many different people enjoying ‘Covenant’s’ show – after all, it was a festival, and not everybody attended it to see ‘Covenant’. ‘Helicopter’ slowed down the pace but was highly enjoyable. Still a very strong live track, though I miss the great video projections with urban skylines they used for this song at previous tours.

Then it was time for more ‘Skyshaper’-material and the mind-blowing extended version of ‘The Men’ did a great job. By the way, this version is finally available on the highly recommended compilation ‘Septic VI’ and will be of course included on the forthcoming ‘Covenant’ live DVD. An album track from ‘Covenant’s’ 2002 output ‘Northern Light’ followed – ‘We Stand Alone’. It’s the most “future pop” song the band has to offer, and because of this (or despite, depending on your viewpoint ;) ) one of ‘Covenant’s’ biggest crowd pleasers. Then ‘Covenant’s’ first and most recent hit closed the set – ‘Ritual Noise’ and ‘Stalker’. But the show was of course not over – Clas, Eskil and Joakim came back for an encore packed with smash hits, including the poppy ‘Dead Stars’, the dance hysteria inducing ‘Call the Ships to Port’, and their forthcoming single ‘Brave New World’, a very radio friendly track which will be released as the second single from ‘Skyshaper’ in August this year. Considering the smooth and accessible nature of this Pop tune, plus the excellent and frenetic responses it already got at all the past shows, it’s very easy to predict another huge hit for the band with ‘Brave New World’.

01. Intro
02. 20 Hz
03. Spindrift
04. Bullet
05. Der Leiermann
06. Figurehead
07. Helicopter
08. The Men
09. We Stand Alone
10. Ritual Noise
11. Stalker
12. Brave New World
13. Call The Ships To Port
14. Dead Stars

Music: 10
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 9
Total: 9 (9.3)

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