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Nachthallen, Kassel, Germany
2nd October 2008
Dark Area Festival: Rozencrantz, SAM, Soko Friedhof, Noisuf-X, Qntal, Xotox, Diary of Dreams, Grendel, Die Krupps

The Dark Area Festival has taken place again on 2nd October and was one the biggest indoor festivals in autumn 2008. The venue - the Nachthallen in Kassel - offered an area of 2600 square metres with 9 live acts performing on 2 stages and simultaneously several DJs amongst them Bruno Kramm (Das Ich) and DJ Arsenal (Ward 6 / USA) who were making two party floors burn with a wide-spread, dark music program. As of 7:00 PM in the night prior to German Unification Day ROZENCRANTZ, SAM, NOISUF-X, SOKO FRIEDHOF, XOTOX, GRENDEL, QNTAL and as headliners DIARY OF DREAMS & DIE KRUPPS were rocking the stages. Besides the mandatory merchandize booths, also signing sessions with all artists took place.

Rozencrantz (Main Stage)

ROZENCRANTZ emerged in 2003 from the group ROMEO DISCHARGE, but before the production of the demo album ‘Diary’ in 2005, drummer Michelle leaves the band and until that void is eventually filled with Reddark Goodwill, a computer has to do the drumming. Thanks to the demo, the renowned Danse Macabre label offered them a record deal and the production for ‘Salvation’ which is released in 2007 and acquires positive feedback all over the place. At the end of 2007 ‘Reapercussion’, a collection of re-interpretations of various international artists sees the light of day. In 2008, production of the ‘Romancer’ EP started, due for release in December 2008. ROZENCRANTZ is Skye (vocals), Horatio C. Luvcraft (bass), Lucian Shye (keys), Gray (guitar) and Jackie Saint (drums). /

Music & Performance
ROZENCRANTZ were the ones to open the Dark Area Festival 2008 on the main stage. Not too many people were present at the early hour. The band on stage presented a seven song grasping set containing songs of their releases ‘Salvation - such as ‘Forsaken’ or ‘Dissolve’ - and the 2005 release ‘Diary’ - i.e. ‘Bound to you’. But also new songs of the upcoming EP were included into the set. On stage, the band still looked not very comfortable... maybe due to the lack of live experience so far.
01. Forsaken
02. Right from the Start
03. Bound to you
04. Dissolve
05. The Price we pay
06. Skin on Skin
07. Into my Heart

Music 7
Performance 5
Sound 7
Light 5
Total 6 / 10

SAM (Industrial Stage)

After their demo ‘Demo Lition’ took the dance floors by storm, SAM was born. They swiftly found a label with Pro Noize, who released their self-titled debut in November 2006, comprising ’24 Stunden’ (24 Hours) which became a club hit and cracked into several charts like the German Alternative Charts. In June 2008, the follow-up ‘Destruction Unit’ sees the light of day. SAM is Daniel & Joe.

Music & Performance
SAM (“Synthetic Adrenaline Music”) were performing at the very small stage at the Industrial area. Daniel and Jo were standing behind their desks on stage facing each other fiddling and turning knobs. Right from the start, people in the small room were dancing and making the air boiling. It became very hot and tight and it got much worse later during the evening. The aggressive set combined with lots of smoke and strobe lights together with the energy of the protagonists on stage was surely satisfying any cyber industrial fan in the room.
01. Intro
02. Arm of Justice
03. Catatonic Dreams
04. Hard Technology
05. World of Shit
06. 24 Stunden
07. Burn
08. Buzz Chamber
09. Enemy List
10. Bull Fucking Shit

Music 6
Performance 6
Sound 8
Light 4
Total 6 / 10

Soko Friedhof (Main Stage)

SOKO FRIEDHOF was born out of the idea of David A Line (UNTOTEN) and Damien to create their own club music, because they found the precompiled samplers pretty boring. The first result ‘Grabschönheiten’ (1999) was created with the help of a drum computer and lots of movie samples, a good year later the second release followed with ‘Im Beichtstuhl der Begierde’. In the same year, the project came to doubtful fame, when a Satanist couple committed a ritual murderer, having a SOKO FRIEDHOF button on their car. As a reaction ‘Die Geschichte eines Werwolfs’ was created asking the question if art can be made responsible for the crimes committed by their admirers. Their most recent release is called ‘Klingeltöne Satans’ and slashes at the medium television. SOKO FRIEDHOF is David A. Line (music, vocals), Demian (music) and Greta Csatlós (vocals). /

Music & Performance
Obviously, SOKO FREIDHOF was up to present a similar show like at this year’s Amphi. Greta was dressed very similar in a band shirt, a very short (for my taste much too short) white skirt not covering the white panty which I did not find very sexy. Additionally David and Greta brought three dancers with them dressed up in outfits which must be up to date in the scene right now. Does anyone think of clichés? Maybe you’re right. The show itself was trivial, the music was even more. Songs like ‘Ich bin der Müllmann’, ‘Mein Freund trägt Uniform’ or ‘Des Satans liebster Klingelton’ did not touch me at all. I really hope that the band is not serious about this. Not also the lyrics were trivial; also the music was pretty standard without any new influences. It did not take long until I left the hall for some reasonable talks.

Music 3
Performance 3
Sound 8
Light 6
Total 4 / 10

Noisuf-X (Industrial Stage)

NOISUF-X is a side-project of Jan L; if you spell the band name backwards you’re getting the name of his successful main project X-FUSION. The first official appearance of this project was the track ‘Happy Birthday’ on the Alfa Matrix compilation ‘Bunkertracks’, followed by the first album ‘Antipode’ and the EP ‘Tinnitus’. The project’s most recent release is the album ‘The Beauty of destruction’ from 2007, which became a great success and reached #2 of the German Alternative Charts. NOISUF-X is Jan L. (composing, production). /

Music & Performance
Because the industrial floor was very much crowded, I only had a very short glimpse into the coming performances of the bands there. NOISUF-X presented several new songs out off the upcoming release which are not titled yet. The show was accompanied by video projections. Very soon I left the room again. It was simply too crowded an loud for my taste.

01. Intro
02. Jezebel
03. Toccata del Terrore
04. New Song
05. Tinnitus
06. My Time
07. Orgasm
08. New Song 2
09. Geh zur Hölle
10. New Song 3
11. Hit me Hard
12. New Song 4

Qntal (Main Stage)

The project was formed in 1991 by Ernst Horn (DEINE LAKAIEN) and Michael Popp who was a live musician in the band at that time. Later they acquired Syrah (aka Sigrid Hausen), a classically trained vocalist, to complete the line-up. The debut ‘Qntal I’ was released via Chrome Records just a year later. Due to the awesome feedback they decided to continue work on the project and in 1995 ‘Qntal II’ saw the light of day, followed by the first live performance of the band ever. In 1999 Horn and Popp were falling out with each other eventually leading to Horn leaving the band, but it didn’t mean the end for QNTAL. With Philip Groth as new member QNTAL returned in 2003 with the album ‘Qntal III - Tristan & Isolde’. It was also Groths work that gave the band some fresh new impulses. The following years brought a always further growing reputation as live band as well as some new outputs with their most recent album being ‘Translucida’, but already at the end of October the double retrospective ‘Purpurea’ will hit the shops. QNTAL is Michael Popp (medieval instruments, composition), Sigrid “Syrah” Hausen (vocals), Philip Groth (keys) and Markus Köstner (live drums). /

Music & Performance
A little bit out of line was the following formation; even though QNTAL use electronic elements, they’re not as prominent as the spherical medieval sounds all of which are being created with unusual instruments. Founded in 1991 by Michael Popp, Sigrid ‘Syrah’ Hausen and Ernst Horn (DEINE LAKAIEN), the sixth studio album was released beginning of the year, whose title track served as opener for the evening. Well-known songs like ‘Palästinalied’ or the two love songs ‘Dulcis Amor’ and ‘Departir’ followed before the program was interrupted by Syrah for a little “advertising”, so she pointed out the band would be on tour soon and would look forward meeting some of the attendees there again. It went on with ‘Ecce Gratum’ and ‘Entre moi et mon amie’ and at this point I’d like to pay a compliment to the light engineer who had a gift for choosing the right lights to transcend the mood of the songs fairly good. Apart from the two new songs ‘Glacies’ and ‘Sumer’, two older songs followed with ‘Mayden in the Mor’ and ‘Veni’ to close the set followed by the very last song ‘Ad Mortem Festinamus’.

01. Translucida
02. Palästinalied
03. Dulcis Amor
04. Departir
05. Ecce Gratum
06. Entre moi et mon amie
07. Glacies
08. Maiden in the Mor
09. Veni
10. Sumer
11. Ad Mortem Festinamus

Music 8
Performance 7
Sound 8
Light 8
Total 7.8 / 10

Xotox (Industrial Stage)

Andreas Davids founded XOTOX as a solo project in 1998 and with the first albums, self-released by him; he could establish a small but constantly growing fan base. In 2003, he signed a record deal with the ProNoize label and ‘Lichtlos’ became the first album under the label’s moniker and the track ‘Eisenkiller’ went on heavy rotation in various clubs. Only a short period of time passed before Andreas pulled of his next album with ‘Die Unruhe’. The limited CD was a thank you to the loyal fan base and sold-out soon. The next album ‘[psi]’ hit the shops already in 2005 and peaked at #2 of the German Alternative Charts. Right in time for the 10th anniversary of the project ‘In den Zehn Morgen’, the third official studio album comes out and even reaches the #1 of the GAC. XOTOX is Andreas Davids (all music, production). /

Music & Performance
Again it was much too crowded and hot in the industrial area. No chance for me to get in for a review or even take pics of the show. So, for that matter, it must be enough to let you know the band performed there.

Diary of Dreams (Main Stage)

Formed in 1989 by singer and mastermind Adrian Hates, the project grew from an insider’s tip to one of the most popular bands in the scene and I really mean band, because DIARY OF DREAMS is no mere solo project anymore and meanwhile has become a real band, which is more like a family by now that, with a widely-spread devoted fan base has members in every corner of the world. From the very first flare with ‘Cholymelan’ to the current chapter ‘Nekrolog 43’, a central theme of the music of DIARY OF DREAMS always is the melancholy in all its nuances, but also a gleam of hope, like a fire in the sonic depths, shines through time and again to the present day. Right now the band works flat out on the yet untitled successor to ‘Nekrolog 43’ except some concerts and a few visits at festivals here and there. DIARY OF DREAMS is Adrian Hates (vocals, guitar), Gaun:A (guitar), D.N.S. (drums) and Taste (keyboard). /

Music & Performance
A little less spectacular than on the preceding tour, meaning without black frocks, DIARY OF DREAMS started tonight’s set with ‘Nekrolog 43’, everyone already in the right position. Adrian Hates and Gaun:A, both playing the guitar, stood on the stage rim, while D.N.S on the drums and Taste on the keys were in the background. In every singing break you could hear the excited audience, where you could spot many loyal fans of the band in fan shirts and jackets. ‘The Plague’ followed, also being from the current album ‘Nekrolog 43’. Adrian performed this song with distinctive mimics and gestures, supported by Gaun:A on the backing vocals. The people danced and sang along and the band was rewarded with thunderous applause. Already after the first sounds of ‘Chemicals’, it was clear to everyone which classic was about to follow and the thrilled crowds sang along all the way through the song and had their arms risen. Good tempered Adrian thanked everyone many times, displayed much joy on stage and the chemistry between the bend members to be just perfect as always. After ‘UnWanted!’, ‘Butterfly Dance!’ followed, a song being a good mood guarantor for the audience, altogether singing “Hellooo” with raised hands.

Drenched in green and blue light ‘Hypo)crypticK(al’ sounded though the hall, a song obviously giving great pleasure to Adrian, being performed extremely energetic. After another fast title ‘MenschFeind’, the calmingly starting ‘AmoK’ followed, turning out to be quite danceable as well. The first break came during ‘Traumtänzer’ but not a singing break as everyone usually sings the chorus alone one time. A tradition on DIARY OF DREAMS concerts and here in Kassel it worked out as well. Then it was time to move the legs again with ‘Soulstripper’ which even caused the last standing person to move, while Adrian turned his plaint into a flowing thatch and D.N.S showcased his incredible drum solo. Of course ‘The Curse’ couldn’t be missed out either. The audience was again involved into the song, they clapped, sang and couldn’t believe what they saw when the band said goodbye and left the stage afterwards.

“Encore” shouts sounded and soon the band returned to start the very last song ‘Kindrom’, the last chance to raise the arms and sing along, and then it was already over. The band was accompanied by a long applause while leaving the stage and we all agreed that festival gigs don’t reach the intensity and mood of a club gig for the most part.

01. Nekrolog 43
02. The Plague
03. Chemicals
04. UnWanted
05. Butterfly: Dance!
06. Hypo)crypticK(al
07. MenschFeind
08. AmoK
09. Traumtänzer
10. Soul Stripper
11. The Curse
12. Kindrom

Music 10
Performance 10
Sound 8
Light 8
Total 9.5 / 10

Grendel (Industrial Stage)

After his former band split up, [VLRK] decided to continue making music under the new name GRENDEL, which originates from a character from the old Anglo-Saxon tale ‘Beowulf’. Meanwhile grown to a duo, the project released its first promo with the club hit ‘Strangers’, followed by the first demo ‘Inhuman Amusement’ a half year later, which came to the attention of NoiTekk Records, who signed GRENDEL immediately. After some intensive re-work the demo became the first album. GRENDEL took their sound to new levels with each of the following releases such as the pretty melodic ‘End of Ages EP’ and the following album ‘Prescription Medicide’ which combines destructive beats with orchestral arrangements. In 2007, GRENDEL signed to the renowned German label Infacted Recordings and released their third album ‘Harsh Generation’. GRENDEL is [VLRK] (vocals, synths, programming, sampling), [M4RC] (live drums/percussion, programming (Studio)) and [MRKO] (live synthesis, engineering).

Music & Performance
”Headliner” on the Industrial stage were GRENDEL which could have been placed as well on the big stage, if you ask me. Also Jos would have agreed to that how I learned during a chat with him before his show. So he told me that it was an intentional change from distorted to more shouted vocals to contrast more from the pabulum. The new record will be released beginning of 2009 and follow musically the master piece ‘Harsh Generation’, but with the “new voice”. Very interesting as well that Jos is dealing with Dark Ambient music with his side project PREDELLA AVANT now; originally it came from the neo folk corner. Like during Amphi festival, Jos was supported by two other guys in the background as well as several video projections. His urge to move was hardly to pursue, especially after a Cyber Go Go was entering the stage craving for recognition. Anyway the slightly exhausted crowd did enjoy the danceable mix obviously. With i.e. ‘Dirty’, ‘New Flesh’, ‘One.Eight.Zero’, ‘Soilbleed’ or ‘End of Ages’, GRENDEL had brought enough material to entertain the audience for one hour and put people into the right mood for the upcoming disco evening.

Die Krupps

DIE KRUPPS have been founded by Jürgen Engler and Ralf Doerper in 1981. Their first release was ‘Stahlwerksinfonie’, a two track mini-album which was the foundation stone for DIE KRUPPS’ reputation as pioneers of Industrial and electronic music. The single ‘Wahre Arbeit, Wahrer Lohn’ was released during the same year and became one of the band’s biggest hits. The single ‘Goldfinger’ and the album ‘Volle Kraft Voraus’ followed in 1982 and followed the same direction with a more danceable approach. Together with DAF (Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft) they gave birth to another new style which should become the ‘Electronic Body Music’ later. With the album ‘One’ released in 1992, they incorporated heavy guitars into their formerly purely electronic sound and perfected this style with the following album ‘II - The Final Option’. Much to the discontent of some fans, they continued to walk deeper and deeper into the Metal genre with the following albums ‘III - Odyssey of the Mind’ and ‘Paradise Now’ and they lost some fans due to this. After ‘Paradise Now’ it remained silent around the band until 2005, when they celebrated their 25th anniversary, followed by various festival performances all across Europe. Two years later, ‘Too Much History’ was released, not a new album but a collection of re-recordings from almost every album the band has released together with some new and unreleased material and collaborations with Douglas McCarthy for example. A new album is planned for autumn 2008. DIE KRUPPS are Jürgen Engler (vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, steel percussion, programming), Ralf Doerper (samples), Marcel Zuercher (guitars) and Chris Lietz (engineering). /

Music & Performance
Way after midnight, at 1:15am, it was time for the headliner DIE KRUPPS, reminding me very much of this year’s Amphi festival in Cologne, when they also played quite late after DIARY OF DREAMS. But this time, far less spectators were waiting for the band, already existing since 1980, being a major influential factor for the Electro / Industrial scene ever since. Rüdiger Esch on bass, Achim Färber on drums, Chris Lietz on keys and Marcel Zürcher on the guitar joined the founding members Ralf Dörper (keys) and singer Jürgen Engler. Jürgen Engler started his energetic show to the intro of ‘Crossfire’, flashes and mist wafts and screamed his vocals into the mic. Always close to the audience and moving from one side to the other, he encouraged the people to join in. It stayed driving, stomping and explosive with the following ‘Isolation’. The audience slowly became unbend and especially in the first row, people raised the hands to tag with Jürgen. After the classics a newer song followed with ‘5 Millionen’ during which the chorus was sung by everyone and many hands clapped to the rhythm.

The EBM hit ‘Germaniac’ managed to increase the mood further and as every attendee had enough space to dance, you could spot wild movements on front of the main stage. Many times, Jürgen called a fan on stage to sing together with him. Even Engler’s impressing “Steelophone” was employed which he was maltreating like a berserk. The collaboration with CLIENT ‘Der Amboss’ and the PROPAGANDA cover ‘Dr. Mabuse’ in a special version complemented the perfect setlist. Still, the band wasn’t tired at all and pushed everyone with their hard and powerful sound. The finale belonged to the absolute cult hits, where everyone could at least sing the chorus, including ‘Metal Man Machine’, again with the sparkling “Steelophone”, as well as the classics ‘To the Hilt’ and ‘Fatherland’ and all people were in high spirits so it was no wonder that an encore followed a short time later, comprising ‘Machineries of Joy’, accompanied by loud “Arbeit, Lohn…” shouts and the explosive, metallic ‘Bloodsuckers’ being the closer for the show. Once more DIE KRUPPS managed to cement their cult status with a variety of their hits and a stirring, energetic show.

01. Crossfire
02. Isolation
03. The great Divide
04. 5 Millionen
05. Germaniac
06. Der Amboss
07. Dr. Mabuse
08. 2 Herzen 1 Rhythmus
09. Tod und Teufel
10. Alive
11. Dawning of Doom
12. High Tech Low Life
13. Metal Machine Music
14. To the Hilt
15. Fatherland
16. Machineries of Joy
17. Bloodsuckers

Music 9
Performance 9
Sound 8
Light 8
Total 8.7 / 10

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / / except Grendel by Karsten Thurau (

Written by Daniela Vorndran except Qntal, Grendel by Terrorverlag and Diary of Dream, Die Krupps by Cath Niemann. All Band intros and translations by Sebastian Huhn


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