Music Reviews

Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Old School Electrology Volume One
Format: 4 x CD (quadruple CD boxset)
Label: Electro Aggression Records / COP International (@)
Distributor: Alive
Rated: *****
Yes, the dream became reality: what has started as an idea from scratch in late 2006 has taken finally 5 years in the making, until we all can hold the result now in our hands. Ladies and Gentlemen, Electro Aggression Records (E.A.R.) in collaboration with their new partner COP International proudly presents with 'Old School Electrology Volume One' its first release after the split with Vendetta Records. For all of our readers, who haven't heard anything about all of this, here's a short introduction of label and this compilation, which is far away from being a 'normal' collection of tracks.
E.A.R. is the label of Nader Moumneh, a Canadian citizen, who's mostly far better known under his pseudonym 'Electrofreak', highly active at the online forum of the prominent Belgian Side-Line magazine. As being a die-hard supporter of all forms of traditional, old-school-like EBM and authentic Dark Electro music, he absolutely avoids all kinds of the still club-leading Hellectro rush. Through the years he has gained a kind of notorious stardom at this prominent forum. The years haven't been that easy for him, as some heated discussions about music styles in this forum often ended in insults and finally temporary banishments. Nader had to endure quite often online derailments, because he simply had and still has his own point of view, which he defended with heart and soul, if needed.
A lot has changed with the building of Electro Aggression Records, in the early years under the wings of Vendetta Music, and the music quality of the E.A.R. releases. Be it Object, KIFOTH, or Brain Leisure, E.A.R. could score massively and Nader could prove to all of his beloved 'enemies' his abilities to release quality Electronica music. As he started to call for exclusive recordings for an upcoming compilation project, no one could have expected, that the release date of O.S.E. would have been delayed over and over again.
Initially it wasn't planned to come out as a quadruple box-set as you hold it today in your hands, but Nader could collect so much promising audio stuff, that he saw no other possibility than to let this 'baby' grow to a 'beast'. The more of quality appearances ended of course in a lot of more financial investments than planned initially, but the dream of a stellar, unbeatable compilation-project was born and has driven Nader through the last 5 years. The longer the release of this compilation got delayed, the more several people out of the scene started to get doubts on Nader's ongoing online promotion, and if this compilation 'beast' would ever see the light of a release. Finally all participants, as well as all of you listeners, who have pre-ordered this epic release should be now able to hold this product in your hands.
To hold this stellar, heavy-weight box in my hands has awaken a feeling, which has been slept in me throughout the years of digital downloads and a fast growing, seemingly more comfortable evolution of media generally. And so it was with me: I received the long awaited package a few days before (thank you, Breda). Nervously I opened the huge envelope to hold carefully this heavy-weight item in my hands. While removing the plastic foil I had to take care, not to let this 'beast' fall to the ground. The proudly and satisfying feeling of holding something special in my hands has returned like a long missed friend. It is the same feeling, that I had experienced many years before in the days, when LP's have been the leading form to press music in a circle - every LP was a treasure worth to collect and hunt for.
This heavy-weight quadruple CD box-set offers the best and most well-thought concept behind a compilation ever released. In the word 'artwork' hides the word 'ART' - this unique packaging, the storyboard with diverse proverbs, and especially the long essay about this history of EBM/Electro/Industrial music written by Sharon Ortiz kicks out all earlier released box-sets of the field, be it any 'Endzeit Bunkertracks' compilation, or the still deeply respected 'There Is No Time' quadruple-set by RAS DVA (Hello Ric). This 'beast' stands for art, no doubt. 64 all exclusive tracks, 4 revamped demo tunes never before released on CD, and 13 exclusive remixes by the 'creme de le creme of the old school scene' - so the facts behind the audio content, and yes, this most important content holds some mouthwatering surprises worth to discover in stock.

Let's start the journey:

CD1 Old School EBM

Agrezzior 'Statue of Liberty' 3:54
Astma 'Honor and Glory' 3:00
Darkmen 'Take It Back' 3:35
DRP 'Electro Pussy' 4:35
EkoBrottsMyndigheten 'Get Your Fists Up' * 3:40
Ionic Vision 'Hate' 3:58
K-bereit 'Blackened' 3:59
Lescure 13 'Destruktor' (Pouppée Fabrikk cover) ** 3:51
MachineSoldier 'Body Anonymous' 4:26
Oldschool Union 'Perkele' 3:17
Ondska 'Storm' 4:02
Orange Sector 'Noise (Head Mix)' * 4:15
Pact of Warsaw 'Domination' 4:08
PP? 'Repression (Dental Exilanation Remix)' * 5:47
Presto Fervant 'Bullseye' 3:25
Serpents 'Komm Naeher' * 4:30
Spark! 'Modern Slaves' 3:34
Synaptic Defect 'Electrofreak' 3:49
T.A.N.K. 'Game of Men' 4:20
UGH'¦! 'Rage Against Trancewhackedgoregalore' 3:38

Total Playing Time: 79:55

The name is program - if you search for an ideal soundtrack for your next body party, this first CD1 works excellent. Best recognized names include the Autodafeh side-project Agrezzior (signed to Infacted Recordings), the Belgium-based Ionic Vision, or Orange Sector - you'll get a full doze of blood- and sweat-driven muscle-EBM. Striking is the fact, that the compiler has left the track-list of this first CD alphabetically sorted. But since most of the bands are sharing a quite comparable form of sound expression, which follows the traditional lectures of the icons DAF, Nitzer Ebb or Die Krupps, this doesn't alter the floating of these 20 tracks.
Furthermore there are some of the here presented participants, which need to be mentioned: It does good to see and hear the Japanese flagship DRP still alive. 'Electro Pussy' slows down the straight mood of nearly all participations, but DRP's adventurous vocal acrobatic is still that special term in their productions. Their one and only album 'Electro Brain 586' got released 1990 via Dirk Ivens' Body Records - wouldn't it time to bring out a new one?
Lescure 13, the Belgian side-project of Stefan Bens (Stin Scatzor) and the grandfather of all Hellectro-clones, Johan van Roy (Suicide Commando), surprises the fans with a cover-version of "Destructor", originally composed by Pouppée Fabrikk. Danish dynamite-project MachineSoldier returns for a comeback 5 years after their debut on Idle Records - let's hope, that this great talent will stay with us a bit longer and more permanent. Apropos "permanent": my wife was amused to see Mr. Mark D. Chicken alias PP? alive and kicking, one of the few, always friendly scene-people she has met personally. Moving towards to the best appearance available on this first CD, provided by the Hamburg-based veteran project Serpents. Their track "Komm Näher" unites brilliant bass synth-sequences with clever interpreted German vocals - Kazim presents one of his best compositions ever, and I can hardly remember to have ever listened to his tunes that euphoric before.
All in all 80 minutes of a perfect Body-music experience, although it seems to be clear, that the musically more demanding participants focusing on the authentic Dark Electro style, have to be discovered on one of the other CD's.

CD2 Authentic Dark Elektro

Terminal State 'Black Salt' 5:02
IC 434 'Skullwatch (Primal Beats)' * 4:36
Brain Leisure 'Self Reality' 4:25
Amnistia 'Pretended' 5:35
Morgue Mechanism 'Simulation' 4:31
Second Disease 'Ecstatic' 4:19
Necrotek 'Revenant' 3:54
Severe Illusion 'My Car Is Burning In Hell' 3:43
Nordschlacht 'The Collective' * 5:07
Pro Patria 'H2S04' 3:13
Red+Test 'Holy War' 5:28
Object 'Humiliating Procedures' 4:38
tEaR!doWn 'Tempting Harlots' 4:43
Seven Trees 'Present Decay' ** 3:19
Putrefy Factor 7 'Confrontation' 4:27
God Experiment 'Shiver' 5:46
Trial 'Brothers In Arms- Old School Mission' * 3:30
Morticians 'Art of Pain' * 3:34

Total Playing Time: 79:59

I'm nailed already with the very first tone, because this second CD couldn't start any better than with Slovakia's Terminal State. Driving beats, excellent synth-play - 'Black Salt' is one of the winners of the whole compilation and I recommend to have always an open ear to the works of this talented Slovakian project. IC 434 a.k.a. Geert de Wilde, that's another Belgian veteran still active and hard working to keep his highly respected IC 434 project alive. His track 'Skullwatch' comes out straight and very EBM-like, so that this one may would fit well on CD1 too. Follows than another winner, Dominique "Brain Leisure" Debert, with a very near and more-than-ever-before Puppy-an sounding expression through his new track "Self Reality". I'm blasted, get ready a new album, Dominique! Musically relative comparable turns out the appearance of Germany's duo Nordschlacht, who have recently renamed into Pyrolline. 'The Collective' is a fine example of intense synth-pad harmonies, detailed bass lines and ominous, dark-sounding vocals. Pro Patria (welcome back Peter!) acts like a long-missed friend: unfortunately this Belgian EBM-veteran project has never received that attention, which it deserves. 'H2SO4' is one of those tracks, which doesn't fall under some strange copyrights of a greedy studio-engineer. Those awful right problems have blocked a possible and successful career until today - I hope for more, new recordings and a permanent comeback. Red+Test is a US-based newcomer and one of Nader's latest discoveries. In the first instance I really thought to hear Andreas Malik of Object providing the vocals, because the kind of fx-processing sounds relatively comparable. Also musically there are some relations between both projects, 'Holy War' is a layered Dark Electro anthem as its best! Same judgement counts for Andreas too, a new Object track entitled 'Humiliating Procedures' approves once again the magic programming abilities of this fine German Dark Electro artist. Never heard of tEaR!doWn? Well, it's the new project of the long-years Sleepwalk member Oliver Spring and another smasher in this 'best-of-the-best' overture to be listened on this second CD. I can easily continue to lay my ears on every participating track especially on this second part, because so much quality stuff pressed on one CD you won't receive again in many upcoming years. God Experiment, another newcomer out of Nader's secret stable, the biting snare drums of that sick Putrefy Factor 7 track (Don, come back and keep the dark flame burning!), the excellent, unreleased Seven Trees-track, or the return of the German veterans Trial, and, and, and...
I'm still blown - the only word right to describe this jeweled audio stuff is WOW!

CD3 Assemblage: Authentic Dark Elektro & Old School EBM

To Avoid 'Payback' 4:20
Breathe 'Im Raum Der Zeit' 4:15
Disharmony 'Access Points' 4:07
deltaE (Mortal Constraint) 'Acceleration' 6:20
MC1R 'Neuropathy' 5:54
kAlte fArben 'Retrospective' 4:11
The Holocaust Humanity 'Alive' 3:46
Jihad 'Seven Skies' 7:03
yelworC 'Teufels Dreizack Part 1' 5:02
Splatter Squall 'The Summoning' 6:00
One Eye Wanders 'Misdiagnosis' 4:34
Instans 'Robot' 4:32
Collapsed System 'Stay Tough' 4:55
Autodafeh 'Dog Tag' 3:24
A.D.A.C. 8286 'Störtebecker' 2:10
Neukampf 'Duell Duet' 2:20
NTRSN 'The Coming Ends' 3:38
Tech Nomader 'Nomad' * 2:48

Total Playing Time: 79:28

So we have reached only half of this fiesta for quality music, but now, with reaching CD3 and later CD4 the styles got mixed. 'Payback' by To Avoid is a good opener somehow offering intense stuff to balance Dark Electro with old school EBM. Breathe is the follow-up project of the German Axel Machens, one part of the too early gone Placebo Effect. Compared to his splatter-/horror-infected past, this tune turns out a bit too smooth. Authentic Dark Electro music has been throughout the years very near connected with the name Disharmony, although 'Access Points' is surprisingly straight and forward marching produced. Coming then to a personal favorite, Delta-E, or better said, the perfect reincarnation of Mortal Constraint with its original members Jürgen Fahner and Ingo Lindmeier. 'Acceleration' unites those typical Constraint-elements with noisy percussion works, unusual placed synth-drops and growling vocals, it's one of the revelations of this whole compilation box-set. Not to forget the integrated Verhaegen-like trumpet performance which awakes a true nostalgic feeling. Layered, this term also describes the sound outfit of the German one-man project MC1R. It is a shame, that Nick's music still flies under the radar because he proves to be one of the best and highly talented programming wizards available. Germany's kAlte fArben falls somehow into a comparable mood, 'Retrospective' can be taken word-by-word and reminds strong on the marvelous debut 'Trust', released by Danse Macabre in 1997. Thumbs up also for The Holocaust Humanity and their idea to install natural sounding male vocals with brilliant synthesizer sweeps - a high recognition value is save for them. Jihad, yelworC and Splatter Squall offer representative tracks in their very own style. Some would tend to say, the gods are on returning, and especially Peter Devin alias yelworC deserves applause for his surprising straight produced track. One Eye Wanders counts to the few artists, from which I haven't heard of so far. In this case I tend to rate this as being a gap of education, because such a fine worked-out tune filled with strange sounding, vocoderized vocals deserves to get heard multiple times! After One Eye Wanders this third part of the 'beast' turns more and more into the drastic old-school EBM style. The Severe Illusion side-project Instans sounds surprisingly more Illusion-like compared to the original main project, which we have discovered on CD 2. Anhalt-EBM provided by the German quartet of A.D.A.C. 8286 mostly keeps me smiling, 'Störtebecker' may is meant as a tribute to pirates? NTRSN, well, we have received another one of my favourites, offering a hard, typical Belgian-EBM-tune pretty much extracting influences from such cult projects like old Insekt or Liquid G. Just check for the difference in sound and production compared to the more NEP-inspired colleagues. No disappointment at all also for CD 3; it is rather the opposite, because you'll get the biggest diversity featured on this part. But the story goes on...

CD4 Amalgamation: Old School EBM & Authentic Dark Elektro

Armageddon Dildos 'Out of Control' 3:56
Digital Factor 'Electric Body' 4:33
Guerrilla 'Walk Away' 4:02
Sleepwalk 'Final Curtain' 4:14
The Blister Exists 'For The Squad' 4:33
Injector 'Scream' 4:33
Haujobb 'Letting The Demons Sleep' * 4:40
Venetian Blind 'Instead of Tears' 5:33
Total Harmonic Distortion 'Reversions/Mutations' 4:19
Elite! 'So Wie Wir' 3:39
Kraft 'Meine Liebe' 3:00
Stin Scatzor 'Noise in My Stomach' ** 2:54
Frontal 'Zeig Mir' * 3:38
tri-state 'avatar (king klang KHAOS)' 5:02
amGod 'Deathrider' 4:47
U.M.M.'Cocktail Molotov' 3:19
Kraftakt 'Ich Bin Nicht Da' 3:00
Defecto Nagrobek 'Ich War Ein Knabe' 3:17
BodyFarm 'EBM Macht Stark' 3:00
Page 12 'Season's End' 3:51

Total Playing Time: 79:59

The fourth chapter of this "beast" starts off with two German veteran projects, Armageddon Dildos and Digital Factor, both presenting tracks in their respectively styles. Sleepwalk surprises positively with richly arranged Dark Electro tune, which is better arranged than I initially expected, thumbs up for that good addition. Also Electric Tremors' very own project The Blister Exists impresses with a thick and fat arranged Body music tune. The biggest surprise of this whole compilation 'beast' is for sure the appearance of haujobb. Surprising in that case, that haujobb. have been always on the hunt for uniqueness through their long career when it comes to integrate more experimental elements into their music. The notorious old-school- / Dark Electro-factor they've seriously presented only with their debut 'Homes & Gardens', all further musically excursions of them normally don't fit into Nader's prey-pattern. However, 'Letting The Demons Sleep' is a new nice addition rather concentrating to point out details, instead to hunt for higher bpm. Venetian Blind then awakes again the feeling to have found a pearl, which I haven't discovered so far. Simply brilliant, I hope to hear more from this act! Total Harmonic Distortion, or shortly THD, haven't been gone and are still active signed to Tom Shear's 23dB label. But what a fine return they are presenting us with 'Reversions/Mutations'! Anyone out there remembering 'Mechanical Advantage' or the 'Hypocrisis' EP? This tracks is just like the well-received, FLA-inspired stuff available on these releases! With the exception of amGod alias Dominik van Reich, who stands a bit in the shadow compared to his old alter ego enemy Peter yelworC Devin, this 4th part of the 'beast' turns into the old-school EBM formula. U.M.M. is a Portuguese trio with a good talent, which still waits to get better recognized; the appearance on here should be helpful. The accents of some German lyricists of Frontal, Kraft, Defecto Nagrobek or Kraftakt are bringing back a smile in the faces of the Rivetheads, but this still proves the importance and influence of this language for the old-school EBM. Page 12 stands to closure this fourth CD offering a quite fair and well arranged tune, although I would prefer to have Axel Kleintjes a bit more energetic with his vocal performance, and better mixed to the foreground of this track.
So after all four CD's, this epic release ends normally. But the call for this 'beast' project has still be heard by a few more projects, so that a few more appearances came in and couldn't placed on the physical product.
Five so-called 'virtual diamonds' can be collected by a downloading procedure available through a password, which can be found in the booklet of this 'beast':

Virtual Diamonds

Parade Ground & P. Codenys 'Marble Mind' * 3:50
Container 90 'Bla Bla Bla' ** 3:55
Kälteidiotie 'Old School Addicts' 3:08
Mekanik Disorder 'Am I Falling?' 4:38
Void Kampf 'Karmeliet (Uno Mix By Collapsed System) * 4:45

All exclusive tracks except
* exclusive remix
** revamped demo tune never released on CD

It's hard to find more and more praising words asides terms like glorious, fantastic, marvelous, stellar, epic, monumental to describe the value and dedication behind this project. If you remember the 'mother' of all EBM compilations 'This Is Electronic Body Music' released in 1998, to me this 'beast' is able to reach a comparable meaning for the whole genre. It is an ultimate state-of-art for the true Dark Electro / old-school EBM listener, a release, which you surely won't be able to purchase soon again. It has seldom being available such a release, which fits that much on music and art like this one. It's a milestone, go out and buy it!

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