Music Reviews



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Artist: Dead Raven Choir & Never Presence Forever
Title: Rozrywa Szwy Ciszy
Format: CD EP
Label: Somnambulant records (@)
Rated: *****
When two characters like, Dead Raven Choir, a.k.a. Smolken, an exiled Polish anti-Communist prolific folk-psyche-noise artist, and Never Presence Forever, an equally prosperous American noister, get together, you know it outta be weird sounding. And of course Somnambulant records is alwasy attentive of such heretic and shadedly grimy collaborations and put this out as a 200 copies limited edition CD-R in an elegant and unholy DVD-size plastic sleeved handmade textured hard-paper sheet.Musically the latter of the two noisicians seems to have taken over, for the most part, as you'll hear deep and murky drones, noises, distortions, voices much more than you'll actually hear acoustic instruments, exception made for traces of lush string instruments in the distant background. Reverb halls, dismal atmospheres, eerie noises, nightmarish voices and long track titles (written in Polish and in English) make up this interesting 5 track release, which was inspired by the short-lived poet Krzysztof Kamil Baczynski, shot at the age of 23 by a German sniper during 1944's uprising of Warsaw. You may find more info at: Dead Raven Choir's (http://wolves.tamu.edu) and Never Presence Forever's (http://www.holyterror.com/neverpresenceforever) respective internet homes.
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Artist: no Xicic (@)
Title: Uneksija
Format: CD
Label: Onyxia (@)
Distributor: Onyxia Mailorder
Rated: *****
After a CD-R, an EP, a 7" EP on Drone records and a 3" CD-R spanning from 1999 to 2004, Finnish artist and pharmacist (that is some combination, can you imagine what he would have done in the seventies?) Henkka Kylloenen, a.k.a. no Xivic, takes the big leap to the full lenght CD format with "Uneksija", featuring eight tracks of creepy and unearthy dark-ambient music. Even though it starts out with an only somewhat disquieting uncanny piano improvisation over voices and drones, it soon steps into a much scarier place, where eerie layers of sounds create hollow, wide, cold and aphotic atmospheres made of slowly breathing atramentous noises that sound as if they were alive and sore creatures waiting to enter your gloomy nightmares and soar around the most ill-lighted parts of your mind. Your state of mind will be affected by these tunes, enhancing its nebulous and tenebrous sides for over seventy minutes, so be ready for it.PS Check out the cool paintings of the art work of this CD by Samuli Kontio as well as the nice and impressive industrial-inspired website of his record label Onyxia.
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Artist: ONE FOR JUDE (@)
Title: Hélice
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
After releasing their first album in 2001 One For Jude focused their activity on live gigs and only in 2003 they started preparing the new album and this MCD titled HELICE is a sort of anticipation of it. HELICE contains three new tracks and a live version of the main title recorded in Prague two years ago. The French band on this release produced three tracks that someway are really different the one from the other but keeping a certain distinctive mark. The main track "Hélice" is a mix of post punk and apocalyptic folk a la Sol Invictus, while "The punishment of the white rose" has got a bass line that remember me a song of the early Death In June but keeping a lighter approach dear to the early new wave (this is the track I prefer). "L'ébloui" is a ballad that fortunately isn't focused on melancholy only but in some way it has got a certain joyful approach. The live version of "Hélice" in my opinion isn't worth my attention as it is the same version of the opening track but only recorded badly.
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Artist: Nerve Exhibit (@)
Title: The Horror of Amusement
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Rated: *****
Nerve Exhibit or N[EX] is a one man band whose debut MCD "The Horror of Amusement" comes with an appropriate title. Earlier works by him include appearances on compilation CDs such as "Strange as Angels: a Tribute to the Cure" (one of the influences you might recognize) and the TheSmokingSection.net series New National Anthem and Revolution vol.1.He claims early Skinny Puppy and New Order as his influences, but his approach is definitely different. Johnny NeRo mixes dark atmospheres of electronic sounds and drum machines with distorted vocals and pretty bad attempts at singing hooks. He seems to be stuck in the eighties with this, even though there are appreciable intentions and ideas leading toward a more modern sound, which isn't fully achieved yet. I never like it when I can't go higher than half the stars we've got available, but today's standards for recording quality and quality of music are so high (of course that is not entirely true and might start a whole different debate) that this just won't cut it and definitely doesn't nearly match any competition. Less is more, that's true, but as minimalistic as you want to go, in 2004 you just can't make a song with a kick+snare pattern, one arpeggiator and distant distorted vocals, sorry, that just doesn't do it for me anymore. But of course there is always a chance that somebody out there is looking for just that, a simple, minimal, '80es synth-ebm product. In my humble opinion, Johnny has to get down to business and keep the music pumping, 'cause that's the only way to improve his skills. Of course this is nothing but a MCD debut, so I'm not trying to be too hard or a jerk; besides whoever, like Johnny, self-releases their CDs always gets my respect anyway. I don't know if I should tell you to save the money for something better or to send him your loot to support his music and his good intentions, so I suggest you just check out his website (that by the way is REALLY a nice website, very very well done and stylish!) and listen to some of the tunes to make up your mind.
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Artist: Carfax Abbey (@)
Title: Second Skin
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Here is a band whose members you can tell most definitely had a past that involved heavy overdoses of hard rock, heavy metal, trash, glam rock and power metal... But fear not, these are not a bunch of cheesy wannabe rockers who sent us their demo by mistake. Philadelphia based Carfax Abbey take their experience and influences and pour it all into a crafty mixture of gothic, industrial, dark and electronic sounds. The programmming and the production are definitely the key element that lift Carfax Abbey off the ground to make them stand out. Fierce, glamorous and very eclectic vocals (from brilliant to corny), along with impactful scratchy aggro-guitars and ballsy bass lines are complemented by saavy DAW editing and fast-paced drum patters and allow them to retain their heritage and yet be an appetible cocktail of sounds for all you thirsty wide-horizon-ed music fans out there. Sure, they might be a little more "intense" than what we usually get here, but you all know we do appreciate mixtures of heavy guitars and electronic music around here, and even if this is not your average cup of tea, you don't have to be an english man or a drunk bum to appreciate some good old breakfast tea with a punchy kick, if you know what I mean... The truth always lies in between. I hear these guys pull off some great live shows (they opened for a list of who's who of today's industrial and metal industry scene and have been awarded multiple times), so if you are in area I suggest you line up at the box office.
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