The Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera Mechanism

Nathaniel Johnstone and his band return for more excellent storytelling of both steampunk and mythologically influenced persuasion with their latest full album, The Antikythera Mechanism.

The all-new, fourteen-song full album contains musical journeys with tentacled friends, stories of yore and wonder and tales of heroes and villains from mythology. Each music to sing along to and dance to your heart’s content or simply to enjoy listening to in your favorite place(s).

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Skeleton Coast

Skeleton Coast

Ghostfire is one of my two favorite Steampunk bands, along with Victor Sierra, so I was eagerly awaiting their next release after The Tydburn Jig.

Strictly speaking, Skeleton Coast is not steampunk. As you can guess from the title, it is pirate-themed. This did not dim my enjoyment of the EP in the slightest. Skeleton Coast delivers four very atmospheric songs, ranging in style from shanties, “Fire In The Hole”, to classic Ghostfire style like we have heard on The Tydburn Jig, “Griminsky’s Soul”.

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Skyscrapers and Helicopters

Skyscrapers and Helicopters

Everyone even remotely interested in steampunk music is no doubt aware that Jody Ellen is one of the singers of steampunk band Abney Park. Now she also has her own solo project, something fewer people know.

Which is a right shame as this album is awesome. Simple as that. In my opinion, who is a fan of Ellen’s vocal work with Abney Park should give this twelve-song debut album, Skyscrapers & Helicopters, a chance.

Here’s why.

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The Violet Steam Experience

The Violet Steam Experience

The first, self-titled, album of the Violet Steam Experience is a good, solid German alternative-style album with hints of tribal and Jazz, making it more original, fresh and pleasant to listen to.

Contrary to many bands, this group does retain its own particular live vibe on record, which is something not heard very often these days when bands tend to sound better live than recorded. The songs are of a good mix between uptempo, slower and ballads, which brings a great variation to the album.

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Abney Park Live at Phantasium

Abney Park Phantasium Eindhoven Netherlands
Abney Park perform at Phantasium in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, February 22 (Hilde Heyvaert)

Last but not least out of the Phantasium live reports, the review of the group pretty much everyone in attendance showed up for at the fifth anniversary opening night: Abney Park, the Seattle-based sixtet that is probably the best-known steampunk band out there.

The first mainland European (as they have previously performed in the UK) concert of the band was something many steampunks and dieselpunks did not want to miss and so they came down from several countries to witness the musical exploits of the crew of the HMS Ophelia.

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Victor Sierra Live at Phantasium

Victor Sierra Phantasium Eindhoven Netherlands
Victor Sierra performs at Phantasium in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, February 22 (Hilde Heyvaert)

Even though Victor Sierra were the actual headliners of the day, most people had clearly come to see Abney Park, leaving the French steampunk band to sadly perform for a near empty venue. Regardless of this regrettable fact, the band gave its all, performed admirably and so the lucky few who did stick around were treated to the best steampunk music France has to offer that I’ve heard so far!

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The Violet Steam Experience Live at Phantasium

The Violet Steam Experience Phantasium Eindhoven Netherlands
The Violet Steam Experience perform at Phantasium in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, February 22 (Hilde Heyvaert)

With their visually enticing combination of beautiful steampunk tribal dance and Victoriana style costumes, taxidermy and adorable steampunk mechanical set pieces, all of this combined with their most excellent music, The Violet Steam Experience was the first of three steampunk bands to please the audience’s ears on the opening night of the fifth anniversary Phantasium convention held at the Eindhoven (The Netherlands) Beursgebouw.

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Evidence of Past Misdeeds

Evidence of Past Misdeeds

The talented Nathaniel Johnstone has compiled both his EPs Brazilian Surf Mafia and The Heart Unwound into Evidence of Past Misdeeds, which I’m pleased to review whatever title is used (although it really is Evidence of Past Misdeeds).

I really love how this work stands out among that of other (steampunk) artists. It’s a heavily ethnic-influenced, mostly instrumental work, but don’t let the lack of “proper” lyrics fool you, it really is an excellent collection of songs that pulls the heartstrings of the listener and that will make you dream of adventure, just as steampunk music is supposed to do.

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The Fires I Started

The Fires I Started

Before I start, I have to admit that before listening to Unwoman I was never much of a fan of the cello as an instrument. After listening to The Fires I Started, it has definitely earned a place in my heart. That alone says a lot about the skill displayed on this particular album.

The most recent full album by Erica Mulkey, better known as the solo performer Unwoman, The Fires I Started exceeded its Kickstarter campaign goal by several times and it’s easy to understand why. This sixteen-song release is a modern marvel, a brilliant juxtaposition between contemporary beats and classical cello-playing, combined with Unwoman’s strong vocals that hit the listener just right.

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