Music Reviews

Artist: Cheerleader 69 (@)
Title: Godriders in the Sky
Format: 12"
Label: Steelwork Maschine (@)
Rated: *****
First off, this is a vinyl release, but I cannot comment on the pressing, etc. itself because I was not sent a copy of the album itself, only a CDR of the songs. I know how some vinyl fetishists are (not that kind of vinyl fetish... .) – I’ve heard people describe particular albums as "beautifully pressed," etc. So if you want to know about the texture of the album you’ll have to go elsewhere. The disc I was sent was an unmarked CDR and a bad printout of the cover art. So already we were off to a bad start. Luckily, the music was excellent, even if the first impression didn’t win me over. I’ve never heard of this project or his other outfit, Punish Yourself. The man behind the project states two reasons for creating Cheerleader 69. The first one relates to the music: "I needed an output for this kind of music, because I couldn’t use these soundscapes with my regular band, Punish Yourself, ( - cyberpunk dancefloor chaos can mix with bombastic orchestral stuff, yeah, but only if you use a small amount of the strings’n’brass’n’marching drums extravaganza... And I wanted to use a full blast of soundtrack-like orchestrations." This should give a pretty good indication of what you are in for. But I was not prepared for how well done it was. This is some really good soundtrack-esque kind of work with militaristic percussion thrown in for good measure. From the first track, "Your Book is Full of Killings," Cheerleader 69 manages to keep a nice dark undertone going without it becoming too oppressive. On "Bad Tape," it sounds like he borrowed heavily from The Anti-Group’s "Union With Sirens" off Iso-Erotic Calibrations and anything that reminds me of TAGC is definitely a good thing. When we reach "Godriders (in the sky)," the music completely changes, with heavy percussion, chaotic brass, and what sounds like a choir singing. This track reminds me of the more bombastic elements of Coph Nia or In Slaughter Natives. This is by far the standout track on the album. The rest of the album vacillates between the two extremes of militaristic percussion with heavy orchestration and subdued soundscapes that bury voices and noise just beneath the surface. The final track on the album, "Transgression," is a good example of the latter. Drones and voices mixed with a repetitive melody that cycles through song. It is a peaceful, soothing track that still manages to keep an unsettling vibe throughout. The three tracks available on the limited edition CD also maintain the mixture of subdued ambience and militaristic soundtrack type music. "Rotta Flammis Circumsepta" reminds me of old Laibach, with heavy percussion and orchestration. This is an excellent album and well worth picking up. The other reason for picking it up may be ideological. Cheerleader 69 explains the other reason for forming this project: "I wanted to bring back some left-wing ideas into ambient/industrial/neoclassical stuff, there are WAY TOO MUCH fascists roaming that scene. So if you are one of these nazi fuckheads, or have any sympathy for them, you have to understand this is not music for you. Because I believe in everything you hate and hate everything you believe in." This LP is limited to 500 copies and is available in three versions: Black LP (93 copies), Yellow LP (357 copies), and a Special edition with a CD (50 copies). If you only get the LP, you aren’t missing a lot – the music is similar and the standout tracks are on the LP, but the CD music is not just filler - it is able to stand on its own merit.

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