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Bochum, Germany
7th July to 10th July 2005
Mesh, Leaves Eyes, Faun, Qntal, Das Ich, ASP, Apoptygma Berzerk

Bochum Total is a city festival. Besides a lot of different food and drinks, music is the main issue. And all the bands you can see for free. It´s a festival that presents progressive and original music through all genres. Bochum Total not only presents the big names but is also a platform for musical experiments. During the last years, bands like “Donots”, “Wir sind Helden”, “Oomph”, “Mia” or “Die Happy” were playing here. Further more the festival gives new bands from the region a chance to perform live in front of a big audience. Bochum Total is the second biggest festival in Northrhine-Westfalia (region of Germany) after the “Ring-Fest” in Cologne. During the last years the amount of visitors increased steadily, so there were counted between 650,000 and 850,000 visitors in the last 3 years each.

This year was the 20th anniversary of the festival. Bands from different countries like Denmark, Switzerland, Italy or Great Britain were welcomed. Within the huge amount of bands playing this year, there were also some bands for the black souls.

Friday, 8th July 2005

Right after work I made my way to Bochum to meet some friends and listen to two bands: The synth-pop trio “Mesh” and the metallers of “Leaves eyes”. Just in time for the bands the rain stopped and we were fighting trough the masses to the “Ring-Stage” where the two bands should perform. As we arrived there, a crowd of black dressed people was listening to the band “Bloody, dead and sexy”, a German gothic-punk band. At 19.30 it was finally time for the British guys of “Mesh”.


Mesh stepped long ago out of the shadow of the great synth band “Depeche Mode”. “Mesh” are Mark Hockings, Neil Taylor and Richard Silverthorn from Bristol. They call their music some kind of "electronic/mainstream crossover". I would call it perfect synth-pop. A huge variety of sounds created with synthesizers and acoustic instruments is the trademark of the band. In combination with deep and critic lyrics they very soon gained a lot of fans. The latest released “Who watches over me” dates back to 2002. At the moment anyone is awaiting the new record the band is working at at the moment.

As the first sounds of the intro appeared in the warm summer night, another concert of the synth-pop heroes started. With their incomparable melodies and lyrics they bewitched the audience. Sad but true they had a lot of technical problems. First the guitar did not work at all and as Mark tried again at the end of the set it was much too loud and overmodulated. But it got better during the song. It was different with Marks voice which sounded clear through the evening. A bit unusual was the dance beat which was added to some of the songs.

Mesh is a typical electro band with 2 keyboards on stage and in the middle the vocalist. For some songs – well, today it was only one song – Mark adds some guitar chords to the songs. Different to other synth bands, Neil and Richard do not stand still behind the keyboards but jump and clap to motivate the audience. What is not necessary because the audience is motivated enough only by the music singing and clapping along the well known songs like “Trust you”, “Not prepared” or “Little missile”. During the set Mark announced two new songs which should be released on the forthcoming album which is hopefully out in the stores some when. Fans are awaiting it badly. After their show the threesome took some time to talk with fans and give autographs at their merchandising stand.

01. "Firefly" - Intro
02. From this height
03. Little missile
04. Trust you
05. Step by step (new song)
06. Not prepared
07. Friends like these
08. Open up the ground (new song)
09. Leave you nothing

Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 6
Light: 5
Total: 7 (6.95)

Leaves Eyes

In May 2005 the new album “Vinland Saga” was released. The follower of “Lovelorn” is again a fantastic and mystic album which takes the listener onto a journey to past times. Of course the fans of the band know that Liv Kristine had great success with the band “Theatre of Tragedy” before and that her husband Alex Krull is the band leader of “Atrocity”. This combination makes sure that you can count on a big performance on stage. The band consists of Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull (vocals), Thorsten Bauer (Guitar), Mathias Röderer (guitar), Christian Lukhaup (bass), Moritz Neuner (drums) and Alexander Krull (vocals, programming). 

During the sunset it was time for a big name within the gothic-metal genre. Dimmed sunlight was the perfect scope for “Leaves Eyes´” music which is moving betweens compositions ensnared in strings and kettledrums, loving flowing harmonies, and hammering metal arrangements. Over all stands the voice of Liv Kristine which skilfully navigates through the story. Also during that night Liv Kristine’s voice was magnificent and she was the brilliant star on stage.

As the band appeared on stage it was sure t hat we now will see something very different to the synth sounds of “Mesh” – a real metal performance. Banging heads, moving hair, screaming singers and a gorgeous Liv Kristine made the charm of the show. Together with her husband Alex Krull she led you to mystery lands and fairytales. While Liv Kristine seemed to be the chary part on stage, Alex constantly pushed the audience forward with his words and gesture. People listened to calmer and powerful songs like “Lovelorn” or “Leaves eyes”. The show ended with an intoxicating “Elegy”.

Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 6
Light: 7
Total: 7 (7.2)

Saturday, 9th July 2005

Did we yesterday fear it might be raining today such a fear was baseless. A beautiful day welcomed all the black people surging into town to see Faun, Das Ich, Qntal or ASP. The whole city was much more crowded then the day before and also in front of the “Schattenreich” stage masses of people found together so it was hard to get through them. At 17.00 it was time for the first band.


“Faun” were playing more than 200 concerts all over Europe during the last two years. The 2004 released CD “Faun – Licht” was sold more than 10,000 times. These figures make sure that “Faun” is now an important part of the mediaeval music genre. Faun are Fiona (vocals, back pipe, flutes, diverse other instruments), Oliver (vocals, Celtic harp, fiddle, lute, diverse percussion instruments), Lisa (vocals and hurdy-gurdy), Rüdi (a lot of different percussion instruments) and Niel. 


The virtuoso musicians of “Faun” understand very well to combine ancient instruments with modern influences to create an incredible mood. Different to many other bands from that genre, “Faun” work with chants for several voices. Celtic folk influences, mediaeval music and Arabic sounds melt with propulsive beats and impress growing amount of followers. It is incredible to see the band members changing from one strange looking instrument to the next. They really have a good command of their craft.

The stage design leads you back to the mediaeval ages. In the back you see a table entwined with ivy and a mounted goat scull. On top of it there is a notebook which lit is covered with wood to make it fit into the set. Within the stage there are spread a lot of ancient instruments, different percussions and a stand with a lot of different sized flutes. From the very beginning of the show you can see the fun being on stage in the happy faces of the band members. The songs range from mediaeval dances to elegies. For the song “Andro”, a traditional dance, they explain how it is to dance and some people in the first row just do like that and had obviously fun. The audience is so enthused that they demand an encore. Sadly they couldn’t give one because of the strict time plan.

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

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 6
Light: 4
Total: 7 (7.1)

Das Ich

After a lot of musical experiments, Stefan Ackermann (vocals, lyrics) and Bruno Kramm (Instruments, music, production) decided to found the formation „Das Ich” in 1989. The first releases (“Satanische Verse” and “Die Propheten”) date back to 1991. Kain Gabriel Simon joined the band in 2002. They understand to combine electronic, symphonic and industrial elements to an explosive cocktail which is outstanding in the often very clichéd German speaking music culture. “Das Ich” is cult! 

The sounds are hard, powerful, loud and danceable. And they are pure electronic. Bruno and Kain elicit all the strange noises out of their instruments while Stefan screams his messages about god and death out into the afternoon which is much too bright for the dark music of the band. The sound is just right for a band like “Das Ich” and people are dancing and jumping their asses off.

The stage design is again like we know it… the strange looking metal stand for Stefan in the middle and the 2 keyboards for the other guys mounted on a movable rusty metal construction. The band looks as cataclysmic as their music: Bruno in a black skirt, black shirt and some kind of a cassock with his hair dressed up to read devil’s horns; Stefan as usually in tight red pants and a bare, red painted upper part of the body. Stefan is a real live wire, pushing the audience up with his words and behaviour. During “Gottes Tod” he was climbing up his metal construction in the middle and gave some kind of strange crucified. Other highlights of the sets were surely the hit “Reanimat” or the dancefloor filler “Destillat” during which Stefan was jumping down into the pit to be near the audience. Encores are badly demanded but that wish cannot be fulfilled so the band left with the words “we are a shitty band anyway....”.

Music: 7
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 5
Total: 7 (7.3)


After the records “I”, “II” and “III”, the new album is entitled of course “IV” but it also has an additional title: “Ozymandias”. Qntal abide their style and combine mystic mediaeval music with classic, spherical layers, electronic beats, historic lyrics and the classical chant of vocalist Syrah. Within the band are Michael Popp and Philipp Groth. 


The music is mainly borne by the keyboards sounds. Drums, E-guitar or flutes are added. Over all there is the opera chant of Syrah. I have seen Qntal during fascinating concerts but today they could not really impress me with the music. Syrahs voice did not sound very good and also the sound was not well balanced. Perhaps it was bad luck that the band was standing in traffic jams for hours and arrived just very short before the gig.

Also the performance is nor that vivid. While Philipp whips forward and back behind his keyboard, Syrah moves slowly to the music. Michael changes from his guitar to lute or percussions. During one song, Syrah is playing flute. The whole set is quite calm and mostly based on songs from the latest Album. At the very end of the set they ad some speed to the music and play a stirring version of “Mortem Festinamus”.

01. Flamma
02. Blac
03. Am Morgen fruo
04. Palästinalied
05. Mainden in the Mor
06. Amor volat
07. Dulcis Amor
08. Ad Mortem Festinamus

Music: 5
Performance: 6
Sound: 6
Light: 5
Total: 5 (5.45)


The band was founded 1999 in Frankfurt/Germany and became fast well known within the black scene with songs like “Der schwarze Schmetterling” and “...und wir tanzten”. They made their final break through with the album “Weltunter” in 2003. With their Goth rock, ASP writing a new chapter in the gothic movement. They short before released their recent album “Aus der Tiefe”. 

Their Goth rock is surely nothing for anyone. But they seem to have a lot of fans anyway and so the space in front of the stage was very packed. According to some friends the voice was much better than during the last tour. Together with the quite good sound it sounded full and clear through the night. ASP used any facet of his voice to present the different moods of his songs. Together with drums, bass and guitar, the stage design was complete.

It´s not my kind of music, but they were rocking their and the audiences asses of. It seemed the people knew every line of every song. Incomparable is definitely the show ASP present and especially the appearance of the singer who is wearing black make-up around his eyes and on his lips as well as a black long skirt which gives you glimpses onto his bare legs from time to time. He is running across the stage, making faces and demanding from the audience to sing and clap. During the whole set, screams for the song “Ich will brennen” appear and the wish for that song is fulfilled at the very end of the set.

01. Intro / Welcome
02. Weltunter
03. Tiefenrausch
04. Stille der Nacht
05. Lyhanthropie
06. Kokon
07. Hunger
08. Schwarzes Blut
09. Sing child
10. She wore shadow
11. Und wir tanzten
12. Der schwarze Schmetterling
13. Ich will brennen

Music: 6
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7 (6.8)

Sunday, 10th July 2005

Another sunny summer day was the perfect surrounding for the last day of “Bochum Total”. I arrived quite early in Bochum so I had the chance to meet friends, have dinner and have a short glimpse into the shows of some other bands. First we passed by “Boppin´ B” who present rockabilly music. Then we arrived at the “Einslive” stage where “LAW” were playing and were heating up the people with their fast rock music. But during the set all were cooled down by a heavy rain shower which luckily was over just for the show we were coming to see.

Apoptygma Berzerk

Stephan Groth has music in his veins. His father is a successful blues musician and his mother a DJane. So Stephan was very early interested in music. His band “Apoptygma Berzerk” was founded in 1986 together with Jon Eric Martinsen. The music can be described as a mixture between modern Trance and electro. Recently there are also some guitar influences to be found. Soon the new single “In this together” will be released and comparisons to “Placebo” appear. 

If you see “Apoptygma Berzerk” live you will realize that the band more and more turns from a pure electro band into a real rock band using guitars and drums on stage as well as the well known keyboards. Pretty sure that not all fans from the old days like this development which becomes very obvious with the new track “In this together”. They also presented a very rocking version of “Kathy’s Song” which not all the people liked but which was celebrated from the bigger part of the audience. The sound on the big stage was as powerful as the music and the setlist deserved old and new fans. Now as “Apoptygma” are at the new label (Gun records), it might be that they become really big!

Nowadays the “Apoptygma Berzerk” performance is not the cool electronic show anymore. A drummer freaking out behind his drum set, head banging guitarists, half naked keyboarder jumping in front of the stage together with the drummer to push up the audience and a very stylish Stephan Groth with a white leather jacket – that’s the look of the show today. The chosen setlist works from the very beginning and makes the audience clap, scream and song along for what Stephan says thank you later in the show. As a special for the fans, three girls had the opportunity to experience the show on stage. All the other fans celebrated down in front of the stage and later in the set you could see some balloons flying over their heads. As encore the band played some “old stuff” – “Bitch” and “Love never dies”. As the show was over the fans screamed for more for long minutes. But unfortunately it was just 10 p.a. and it was not allowed to play more. So the keyboarder excused for that.

01. Eclipse
02. In this together
03. Non-stop Violence
04. Deep Red
05. Kathy’s Song
06. Until the end of the world
07. Starsign
08. Unicorn
09. Spindizzy
10. Bitch
11. Love never dies

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

More pics on Black-Cat-Net

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