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Current Issue: VOL. 3 - NO. 1 January 18th – February 14th, 2006


==== Your RED BLOOD Radio News ====

The station has doubled it's server space/storage. Keep an ear out for new tracks as the station now has over 40 hours of unrepeated music, so far, for your Darkest Desires.

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This Ascension

“This Ascension” was among the fleet of bands in the 4AD mold that emerged in the late 80's. The Santa Barbara based group first drew attention following their first album “Tears in the Rain” in 1988. A finely conceived piece, it showed the tentative steps toward the refinement of the brooding, deeply textured swirly Goth sound that would become their hallmark. The album fared well despite the rather thin production that so often plagues self produced initial efforts.

Often compared to perhaps the Cocteau Twins, or early The Mission, the critics and fans alike managed to see the jewel beneath the flaws, and This Ascension had a foothold. Yet somehow this album was largely overlooked due to the barrage of like-minded, similar sounding bands of that time and the album soon went out of print.

The band comprised of Vocalist Dru, Keyboardist Tim Tuttle, bassist Terry Holgate, drummer Matt Ballesteros, and guitarist Kevin Sierra, arguably the musical heart of the band. They hoped to fare better with their second effort 1992's "Light and Shade" produced by "Faith and the Muse"'s William Faith. The song "Ill Met By Moonlight" and accompanying video took the band to that level they'd hope to reach. The confidence showed, as Sierra's driving guitar excursions mapped the peaks and valleys Dru's amazing vocals would reach; another strong effort to bolster the bands growing audience, and expand their own musical ambitions.

Guitarist Ashkelon Sain (Blood Fetish, Trance to the Sun) sharing the guitar chores with Sierra. Bassist Holgate had departed for the bands second Faith produced album, "Walk Softly, a Dream Lies Here" in 1994. Faith's sister, Cynthia Coulter providing the bass lines compensates admirably. "Walk" was yet another outstanding album in the band's resume. Both the diversity in sound and even instrumentation showed new potential the band had only begun to explore.

By this point, they had taken to include twin guitars on some tracks. Again by this point, 'This Ascension' had shown that Goth did not flounder following the '80's, that it was living and growing and this band was the proof. Just when it seemed there was nothing short of international acclaim left to achieve, 'This Ascension' produced what might be considered among the best Gothic albums of the '90's, 'Sever'. Any number of superlatives would serve to describe this album, but nothing but listen would do it justice.

Sever is more than a culmination of efforts, it was also the result of the of elementary changes. A new producer, John Rivers, who had worked with the Love and Rockets and Dead Can Dance. Also, the band had swelled to a six piece, including extra strings and percussion. It gave them every resource to fully realize their sound. Building gradually, it improves on the faster tempo numbers that Sierra had been increasingly including yet still was filled with Dru's withering soliloquies of love, loss, and remorse. Like an unwavering ray of shinning purity piercing a churning black cloud, this would prove to be the pinnacle of their creative endeavors, and would bring them their largest audience yet.

"Sever' had brought them to the attention of record label 'Projekt', who signed them at the turn of the century. They also became personally acquainted with Lady J, who added them to 'Red Blood Radio' about this time. Up until this point, 'This Ascension' had released their work on their own 'Tess' label.. Managing , as well as attempting to expand the label's roster proved daunting. Projekt resurrected all of the bands back catalog, to the joy of many. The early albums, that were now considered lost treasures to some, were now easily obtainable. Despite all this, the catalyst that provided this energy may have caused it to self destruct. After 'Sever's failure to launch them into a mainstream career, it would appears the members may well have begun perusing other courses. Sadly it appears they ended not with a bang, but a pop. ccording to the bands website their last scheduled show was in November, 2004, as an opening act a cafe. If ever there was a band that could use a well chosen compilation album, it would be ( 'This Ascension'.


VNV Nation

Irishman Ronan Harris' lifelong fascination with electronic music led him to London in the late eighties. This was a pretty good place to be for most musicians hoping to make the scene. Yet somehow, Harris' experiments and early recording using loops and found sounds mixed with a variety themes didn't seem to catch on. Two limited releases "Body Pulse" and “Strength of Youth" in 1990 were met indifferently, and Harris departed for Toronto. There he continued to work on material until he was signed to the tiny German 'Discordia' label.

By this time his solo projects had taken a cohesive shape, and VNV Nation came in to being. "Dervied from the words "Victory not Vengence" gradually evolving sound owes much to the German bands of the '70 and '80 as much as it actual German contemporaries such as Apoptygma Berzerk, Wumpscut or Covenant. Dark Euro Synth-Pop, that might sometimes be mistaken of the Pet Shop Boys were it not for the lack of the happy, catchy hooks. Lots of layered repetitive keyboards laid over dance beats would grow to become VNV's M.O.

The first offering, 1995's "Advance and Follow" with it's military overtures, covered no new ground, but garnered enough attention to prompt some live dates. Harris quickly realized that he could not sufficiently supply the percussion need for the shows, and enlisted drummer Mark Jackson. However, Discordia failed to promote VNV any further, and Harris went in search of greener pastures, landing with another German Label "Off beat" in 1998. This saw the production of a second album the downcast "Praise the Fallen.” Again in a navy-grey cast, this strong step toward industrial drew them closer yet to their Deutsch comrades in sound.

1998 also saw the release of the EP "Solitary" and perhaps most importantly, their first show headlining. Yet again, stagnation brought about a quick falling out, and Harris quickly signed with a new label, 'Dependant'. In late 1999, VNV's landmark "Empires" set a milestone along the Goth/Industrial road. At last, it seemed he had connected with the audience that had managed to elude him. The quickly recorded "Empires" showed a marked direction and definition in VNV's sound, with the most confident music and lyrics to date. Rife with doom, it embraces, even encourages the apocalypse. It spent two months atop the German alternative charts. Singles "Dark Angel" and the award winning "Standing" led the assault. Harris was vindicated.

In 2001, the single "Genesis" immediately topped independent charts, and managed to reach as high as 67 on the German pop charts. An interest in their earlier material saw the re-release of their debut. A full scale tour of both Europe and the U.S. was launched in support of their upcoming album. Having jumped labels yet again (this time to Gothic Kingpins Metropolis), the 2 disc compilation "Standing (Burning Empires)" was released by former label "Dependant".

"Future Perfect" was released in early 2002 by Metropolis and saw VNV shedding much of their gloom for their newly derived sub-genre 'futurepop". Gone were many of the dance-beat driven tunes, replaced by almost ballad-esq melodies and semi-ambient EBM. While not as strong as 'Empires', the album still made impressions. A second single, the moving "Beloved' is released, and the band sets about their second U.S. tour in six months. This would prove to be the last time they would perform live for three years. The following year, VNV forms their own label, 'Anachon Sounds', and christen it by releasing the EP 'Honour'. 2004 saw the successful release of the bands first DVD, chronicling their outstanding live show.

Finally, in 2005 VNV hit the road again for 60 dates, in support of their album "Matter and Form". While still in the mood of its predecessors, it showed no lack of enthusiasm, while covering no new real ground. Still it managed to reach #32 on Billboards independent chart. Harris has since participated with Front 242 member in a side project, 'Code23'. To this point in time, ( / .net) VNV Nation shows no signs of slowing down. Harris has proved himself a grand master of electronic composition, and not a bad lyrist/vocalist either. He has continually mount new horizons while never loosing sight of the essential base the spawned the electronic music realm.

Top 10 Tracks as of 6-28-06
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