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lovelike6Xpo, Kortijk, Belgium
22nd - 24th July 2011
Shadowplay Festival Day 2: Love Like Blood, A Split Second, Hocico, Absolute Body Control, Agonoize, The Beauty of Gemina, Solitary Experiments, Tying Tiffany, SAM, Lizard Smile, Mirexxx, Cruise[CTRL]

At 12.30, when the first band was supposed to start at the Peek-A-Boo Stage, the technicians were still working hard to build stage. The program thus started late again, leaving us some time socialise (and regret not having the chance of catching another hour of sleep). Luckily, today the organizers were able to make very swift transitions from one stage to another, so halfway of the event were more or less back to the original schedule again. Except for the headliner LOVE LIKE BLOOD, newer dark electro acts were mostly performing on the main stage and Peek-A-Boo stage had more old-school bands going on. This scheme was repeated on Sunday.

Cruise[CTRL] (Peek-A-Boo Stage)

This Belgian duo released its first album ‘I Heard It’ on Divine Comedy Records in 2008, featuring amongst others a collaboration with Jean-Luc De Meyer of FRONT 242. Venturing into the ambient / drone genre with the ‘Two.Lone.Snowmen.Sessions’, they returned to the confined territory in 2010 with the album ‘How’s Annie?’.

Music & Performance
First bands of the event usually do not get to use the full set of lights available at the venue to allow build-up towards the end of the evening CRUISE[CTRL] definitely left ample room for the bands to follow: They had chosen a strategy of absolute minimal lighting; there was only a very nominal amount of red light on stage, which made me feel sorry for the photographers who simply sat down in despair upon realising it was not going to get any better than that. I find it hard to rate their lighting: on one hand, you could respect it as an artistic choice to underline the importance of music over other aspects and give it the highest possible grade - or you could give them zero credit for not really trying to make an effort. As a compromise, I rate it halfway in between.


Instead of lighting, the duo used background video, but other than that, there was hardly anything going on in stage. The duo’s performance was decidedly understated. Again, this could be credited as an artistic choice to keep the music in the main role, unfortunately, I personally found that the music in this case was not captivating enough to excel on its own, even though its gently pulsating IDM / ambient soundscape were appealing.

Music: 6
Performance: 5
Sound: 8
Light: 5
Total: 6 / 10

Mirexxx (Main Stage)

MIREXX is just one of the many faces of musician S. De Sangre and got founded in 2005. At the time De Sangre had already been involved in several musical activities, ranging from being a bass-player, being a member of an anarcho punk band to Djing. Under the MIREXXX moniker there have been just two demo releases out with ‘Erratica’ (2008) and ‘Nine Angles’ (2011).

Music & Performance
It was not even 2 o’clock yet, when MIREXXX entered the stage, accompanied by a young lady holding a torch. It was perhaps a little early for their harsh Aggrotech - another mellower project would have perhaps worked better at this early time. I felt somewhat sorry for the De Sangre, who tried really hard to keep the show alive and make the crowd move, only to receive a lukewarm response.


The show did not run entirely smoothly. MIREXXX appeared to have serious trouble in having their drum machine properly programmed, which resulted in some off-beat glitches. Sound was below par and vocals were too loud in the mix. Again, the stage was very dark, with little else but subtle red light. Albeit being based in Mechelen, Belgium, MIREXXX is not your typical Belgian electro act: music-wise they are more reminiscent of especially Mexican Aggrotech and singer’s aggressive performance reminded me a lot of GRENDEL and the like. All in all, not bad for a relatively young project, but unfortunately I cannot avoid the feeling a little originality would have helped.

01. Intrexis
02. Nine angles
03. Mirexxx
04. Sunset(inbetween sounds)
05. Existence
06. Demon
07. Noir Desir(in between sounds)
08. Bloodresource
09. Dimension
10. Visions
11. Outro-Evocation

Music: 5
Performance: 6
Sound: 5
Light: 6
Total: 5.5 / 10


Lizard Smile (Peek-A-Boo Stage)

Another Belgian band, Antwerp-based LIZARD SMILE, started out in 1995 and toured actively over the following years before releasing their debut album ‘Press My Button’ on Reptile Recordings in 2000. Following the release, the band did lots of touring again and shared stages with the likes of DIVA DESTRUCTION, DEINE LAKAIEN or THE NEON JUDGEMENT. After a long pause, their new album finally ‘Wayward’ came out in 2009. LIZARD SMILE is Beatnick (vocals and programming), Strobo (guitars) and Albi (bass).


Music & Performance
LIZARD SMILE started without a warning with the opening track from their first album. The three Belgian men filled the stage quite well and the singer was performing very confidently. The sound of LIZARD SMILE is an interesting cross-over between gothic rock -like vocals and guitars and softly pulsating electronics. It’s not an obvious combination, which is exactly makes it interesting - however, at times I had the feeling all the elements weren’t mixing together seamlessly. Perhaps there was a tad too many things going on - at least the guitars appear to be a little out of place at times.

01. Kitchen Floor
02. How To Deal With This
03. Neon haze
04. Last one
05. Damage
06. Exit
07. State of void
08. Hard

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10


SAM (Main 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. Just two years later, in 2010, the guys bless the scene with their third album ‘Brainwasher. SAM is Daniel & Joe.


Music & Performance
The mere sight of Daniel and Joe, with their faces and upper bodies covered in black paint, was enough to make the audience excited. From the first track on, it was clear what their show was about: unbridled, raw energy. One doesn’t need to enjoy or appreciate their straightforward 4/4 Schranz-influenced über-harsh music to give credits that this is the way this type of music needs to be performed. Like two young roosters, they were whipping each other to give the most high-energy performance, climbing up and down the stage and generally raging around. The audience clearly loved this and why would it not?

01. Warning
02. Arm of Justice
03. 24 Stunden
04. Mad as Hell
05. World of Shit
06. Murder Inc.
07. Mindfuck
08. Corporate Violate
09. Halluzinogen
10. BFS

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.3 / 10


Tying Tiffany (Peek-A-Boo Stage)

TYING TIFFANY attracted first attention, releasing the song ‘You Know Me’ on a compilation for a Berlin-based label in 2005. The same year her debut ‘Undercover’ was released on Jato Music and subsequently hailed by music. Her second album, ‘Brain for Breakfast’, released in 2007 by I Scream Records, was followed by a more extensive tour that comprised of 80 dates all across Europe. After releasing ‘Peoples Temple’ on Trisol in 2010, TYING TIFFANY has now hit the stages again.


Music & Performance
Music of TYING TIFFANY is not an easy one to categorize. It is an eclectic mix of classic gothic rock guitar riffs such as those on ‘3 Circle’, EBM rhythms and punk aesthetics with the occasional Electroclash vibes (‘Show me what you got’). What is easy to say is that the vocalist has a tiny frame but big voice - it is around her intense stage presence that defines TYING TIFFANY. Personally, I would have preferred slightly less distortion - she has got a great voice, which is at times hard to figure out under all that processing. I was not too keen on the background projections, which were decidedly artistic, but a little too obvious and not particularly imaginative and most of all, not really necessary - in this case, the music and stage performance would have been enough to carry the show.


Lights were better than during most of the previous performances of the day and sound was rather good as well. This was the first time I saw TYING TIFFANY live and I got interested, but not yet enticed. I’m however very curious to hear more of this and to see where it evolves in the coming years.

01. 3 Circle
02. Storycide
03. She never dies
04. Lost way
05. Still in my head
06. Borderline
07. Miracle
08. School
09. Ghoul
10. Show me what you got
11. Slow motion

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


Solitary Experiments (Main Stage)

When the worlds of Dennis Schober and Michael Thieleman collided one day, they found out they were like-minded and made their first musical experiences under the name PLAGUE, before they decided to form the project SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS in 1994. By doing that, they were making the foundation for what was to become a successful story in the genre of electronic music, even though the way to getting that status was full of many stones. With every new album, they could enlist a bigger audience and a loyal fan base grew from that. Their newest album ‘In The Eye Of The Beholder’, which came out in late 2009 following a long time of dormancy since ‘Mind Over Matter’ in 2005, marked their triumphant return to the scene with powerful and melodic electro songs carried by a distinctive voice. SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS is Michael Thielemann (sampling, programming, engineering, recording), Dennis Schober (lyrics, vocals, effects, performance) and Steve Graeber (programming, sampling). /


Music & Performance
SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS has a VNV NATION like melodic but punchy sound, so friends of Future Pop were in for a treat when the band appeared on the stage in their red shirts, familiar from their latest album cover; Schober was also occasionally using a megaphone again. The band did not attract the biggest crow, but the ones who were there clearly enjoyed what they saw and heard. No wonder, SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS is certainly pleasurable to listen, however, the songs are very much alike and do not exactly add much to the existing canon of Future Pop. While lights were ok, sound, especially in the beginning, was not particularly good. Vocals were, especially in the beginning, again mixed up too high as with many previous performances.


01. Road to horizon
02. Pale candle light
03. Immortal
04. Delight
05. A rush of ecstasy
06. Still alive
07. Point of view
08. Rise and fall
09. Watching over you

Music: 6
Performance: 7
Sound: 6
Light: 8
Total: 6.7 / 10


The Beauty of Gemina (Peek-A-Boo Stage)

The band, emerging from former members of the Swiss band NUUK, debuted with the album ‘Diary of a Lost’ in 2007 and received overall positive feedback from fans and press alike, followed by some very successful concerts in support of the album. Rolling on to 2008, Michael Sele and his band were not lazy as the successor, entitled ‘A Stranger to Tears’ was released in autumn 2008 and earned favourable reviews. 2010 has seen the band returning with their latest album ‘At The End Of The Sea’.


Music & Performance
THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA was a band clearly waited by many. Starting with single outtake ‘Sacrificed to the Gods’ from their last album, they presented a well-balanced set that covered the highlights of all of their albums, with slight emphasis on the latest one. THE BEAUTY OF GEMINA combines elements from classic gothic rock to Synth Pop, with murmuring bass and pumping electronic rhythms, throwing in even hypnotising oriental tunes - a truly seducing combination. Surprisingly, the band actually sounded better live than on their albums and the lights were also well above the average, making an altogether strong performance.


01. Sacrificed to the Gods
02. Lonesome Death of a Goth DJ
03. Victims of Love
04. One Step to Heaven
05. Kings men come
06. Shadow Dancer
07. Suicide Landscape
08. This Time
09. Dark Rain
10. Rumours

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 9
Total: 8.5 / 10


Agonoize (Main Stage)

Berlin-based AGONOIZE is surely the most popular Aggrotech / Hellectro act of the German scene. Since AGONOIZE started in 2002 / 2003 their following is ever growing, and the industrious trio released six albums and six EPs in the last seven years. Last year’s AGONOIZE album, a double CD with the unpronounceable title ´Hexakosioihexekontahexa`, was just another success in the German Alternative Charts and spawned several club hits like `Bis das Blut gefriert`. AGONOIZE is Chris L (lyrics & vocals), Mike Johnson (composition, programming, production & mastering), and Oliver Senger (composition & programming). /


Music & Performance
AGONOIZE provided the audience what it was expecting: a one-man show centred around Chris L’s various stunts and strong stage presence. Quite honestly, I have difficulty understanding the popularity of AGONOIZE; sure, the show can be entertaining to follow with all those blood and fake scum effects, at least when you see it for the first time, but if the music is interesting, one does not need to pull off all those stunts, of which many are copied directly from other bands such as RAMMSTEIN. It is very much possible that I’m just getting old and whiny, but while I find many Aggrotech acts to be - if nothing else - at least great fun, the utter lack dynamics, creativity and wits in AGONOIZE’s music make it very hard for me to enjoy.


01. Blutverlust
02. Schaufensterpuppenarsch
03. Alarmstufe Rot
04. Running
05. New song (untitled)
06. Opus Dei
07. Bängbäng Goodbye
08. Paranoid
09. Gottlos
10. Bis Das Blut Gefriert

Music: 4
Performance: 5
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 5.5 / 10


Absolute Body Control (Peek-A-Boo Stage)

When you just mention the name Dirk Ivens, the one thing that comes to most people’s minds is THE KLINIK, but before he became a member of that legendary EBM music project there was ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL [ABC] which the Belgian founded in early 1980 together with Mark de Jonghe and Veerle de Schepper. While de Jonghe soon left the band after the release of a track on the ‘Blitzpop 1’ compilation and their first 7" single ‘Is there an exit?’ in 1981 and was replaced by Eric van Wonterghem who would remain Dirk’s musical counterpart for many years to come. ABC appeared on several compilations and tapes before they decided to continue the project as a duo. In 1984 both Dirk and Eric became members of THE KLINIK; the latter one left already after the second album and formed INSEKT.


Their last tape ‘Tracks’ released in 1989 contained all their compilation contributions. The first CD ‘Eat this’ was released as late as 1993 because of the lasting public interest. After 22 years ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL finally re-united in 2006 to play some festival shows and released a compilation called ‘Wind (re)Wind’ containing re-recorded tracks. Receiving more attention than ever before, ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL added more shows and tours and in 2010 they released 'Shattered Illusion' - strictly speaking their first CD album after amazing 30 years, as all the earlier releases before were either singles, tape cassettes or compilation CDs! /


Music & Performance
ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL stands with one foot on post-punk and wave and with one on the side of the early minimalist electro pioneers such as SUICIDE and DAF. The diversity of influences was also reflected in the audience. I loved to follow how Ivens, squirming on the stage in his white jacket, managed to excite a very mixed crowd, consisting of old Goths and young electro-heads alike, to enjoy the show. ABSOLUTE BODY CONTROL clearly enjoyed being on stage and played a rather extensive set spanning an amazing thirty years from their debut release (‘Weaving hands’, ‘So obvious’) to their latest album, from which half of the songs made their way to the gig tonight.

01. Melting away
02. Sorrow
03. Surrender no resistance
04. Love at first sight
05. Is there an exit?
06. Figures
07. So hard
08. Weaving hands
09. Never seen
10. Give me your hands
11. So obvious
12. Shattered Illusion
13. Stardust fever

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8 / 10


Hocico (Main Stage)

The Mexican cousins Erk Aicrag (vocals, lyrics) and Racso Agroyam (programming) started with making music at a young age. Finally, their interest in EBM sounds led to the founding of HOCICO in 1993. Four years later, HOCICO released the debut album `Odio Bajo El Alma´ that stood out from the crowd of other EBM long-players due to the especially flaming temper and raw-edged sounds that were perfectly in line with the explosive lyrics dealing with religion, sex, death and abuse. The rousing and exhausting live appearances of the guys excited a large audience in Germany in particular. Aicrag and Agroyam reached their final breakthrough on `Aqui Y Ahora En El Silencio´ (2000) and `Signos De Aberracion´ (2002). In 2008, HOCICO played in Japan for the first time. As the Osaka show was a very special experience, they recorded the live album `Tora! Tora! Tora!´ that delivers a great insight into the spectacular concert atmosphere of HOCICO appearances. Besides two early self-releases and two live albums, HOCICO has released 9 full-length albums so far, of which ‘Tiempos De Furia’ (Out Of Line, 2010) is the most recent. /


Music & Performance
HOCICO managed to attract perhaps the biggest and most enthusiastic crowd of the day, despite of many fans of harsher sound finding their way to Factory Noise side of the festival, where WINTERKÄLTE was just getting started. Most of the time the stage was very dimly lit so one could hardly see the man (Grigory Feil of RABIA SORDS) who was backing up instead of Racso Agroyan behind the rack. Besides the usual back projections, the show was solely dependent on Erc Aicrag. As always, “the little angry Mexican jumping bean” (as allegedly characterised by Darrin C. Huss, lead singer of PSYCHE) was able to fill the big stage with ease, running frantically back and forth. HOCICO left little to hope for in regarding performance, except perhaps a more varied setlist: the emphasis of the show of the night was clearly on the newer tracks.


Almost half of the set consisted from outtakes from the latest album, with the second-latest ‘Memorias Atrás’ (2008) also being well-presented. Long-time friends of HOCICO were treated with a few pieces from ‘Signos de Aberracion’ (2002), with ‘Forgotten Tears’ ending the show. The audience was screaming for more, but the time was up.

01. Breathe me tonight
02. Flesh to lacerate
03. A fatal desire
04. Untold blasphemies
05. Dog eat dog
06. About a dead
07. Bite me!
08. Spirals of time
09. Instincts of Perversion
10. Twist the Thorn
11. Tiempos de Furia
12. Forgotten Tears

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: 7
Total: 8 / 10


A Split Second (Peek-A-Boo Stage)

The Belgian duo was formed 1985 by Peter Bonne (aka Chrismar Chayell) and Marc Ickx. After various demos, they released their debut 12” ‘Flesh’ next year, followed by full-length albums ‘Ballistic Statues’ in 1987 and ‘…From The Inside’ in 1988. The band continued publishing new material in fast tempo up until ‘Kiss of Fury’ in 1990. The following year, the two members run into disagreements regarding the direction to which A SPLIT SECOND should evolve, and spent more time on their respective side and solo projects, eventually resulting A SPLIT SECOND to become a solo project of Ickx, who released the last album ‘Megabite’ (Hypnobeat) under the name in 1995. In the recent years, the original members have reunited again for a number of one-off shows.


Music & Performance
A SPLIT SECOND is a rather eclectic mix of new wave, 80s electro sounds not unlike SKINNY PUPPY and punching rhythms of the drum machine à la early DEPECHE MODE, complemented with murmuring guitars - albeit the latter did not always mix in quite seamlessly. At Shadowplay, A SPLIT SECOND offered the audience a nostalgia trip - not a single outtake from the last album and only one from the previous ‘Vengeance C.O.D.’ (1993)! The emphasis was on their 80s works, albeit many of them as revamped versions. The band gave a decent show, however the higher frequencies were dominating the sound and the lights were not something to tell home about either.


01. Colonial Discharge
02. Rigor Mortis
03. The Colosseum Crash
04. Crimewave
05. Muscle Machine
06. Scandinavian Bellydance
07. Baby Is A Mental Case
08. Close Combat
09. Flesh
10. Firewalker
11. Vengeance C.O.D.
12. Mambo Witch
13. On Command
14. Kiss of Fury
15. Bend My Body Armour

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.5


Love Like Blood (Main Stage)

The conception of LOVE LIKE BLOOD goes back to 1988. The debut EP ‘Sinister Dawn’ was record and released quickly afterwards, followed by performances with bands such as GIRLS UNDER GLASS. Their first full-length album ‘Flags of Revolution’ came out in 1990. The same year the band embarked on a tour of Germany. ‘An Irony of Fate’ was the first album to show significant hard rock influences and the next one ‘Exposure’ saw them turning towards Goth Metal then. The last regular album ‘Enslaved + Condemned’ was released in 2001. In June 2011, after a long hiatus, the band resurrected to play one of their last concerts at Wave Gotik Treffen, followed by a short tour. LOVE LIKE BLOOD is Yorck Eysel (vocals), Gunnar Eysel (bass), Timo Deininger (guitars), Alex Schädler (guitars) and Al Sauer (drums). /


Music & Performance
Around midnight, the audience was led in by waltz tunes as a mark of LOVE LIKE BLOOD being ready to hit the stage. Today, LOVE LIKE BLOOD leans more towards gothic metal rather than classic gothic rock sound, but the catchy guitar riffs and melancholy are still there. The concert started with two songs from their 1992 ‘Irony of Fate’. The band then moved on to older material, playing also a couple of songs from their debut album, and eventually introducing their first singer Pedrag 'Gonzo' Vulin to join the stage, welcomed by cheering crowd. The sound was, over all, good, although the female singer was having some problems with her voice and / or returns in the beginning.


There was plenty of things going on with six people on the stage: I always enjoy seeing musicians using their instruments creatively and LOVE LIKE BLOOD indeed did so: guitars were used as percussion instrument or as violins and besides hitting a piece of metal, the singer was using his microphone stand as a percussion instrument as well. Having seen outstanding performances earlier in the day, I, however, was hoping a little more burning enthusiasm from the part of performers, if for nothing else, then as a for the crowd, who was rather enthusiastic despite the late hour.


01. The Everlasting Dream
02. Walking In Demimondes
03. Out of Sight
04. Within The Realm of a Dying Sun
05. Fallacious World
06. Night Is Young
07. Johannesburg
08. Doomsday
09. Phrases
10. Ylene
11. Dear Catherine
12. Kiss & Tell
13. Heroes (David Bowie cover)
14. Liberation
15. Don’t Leave Me
16. A Means to an End
17. Remember

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 8.5 / 10


All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / / /
Written by Hemi Malkki & Sebastian Huhn (All band Intros)

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