Music Reviews



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Artist: POLYSTAR (@)
Title: E.P.
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Polystar project started in 1999 and sees Ted Fraser, Danny Gold and Sean Drinkwater team together. Each band member already had their own job (Sean plays also with Frezepop and Lifestyle) but they decided to play together without sending promos or material to press or anything. They are about to release some new stuff so they sent me, convinced by Aug Stone (another Lifestyle's member who has got also a solo career with the Rock Stone monicker), this mini CD. The five tracks they sent me are the most fresh stuff I listened recently and they blend together early Duran Duran atmospheres (like on "Hyperspace", on the really good "Face The Rain" and on "Upside Down"), synthpop tunes and a little bit of sixties touch. With a couple of ballads and three fresh tunes they'll catch you just like happened to me!
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Artist: Black Tape For A Blue Girl
Title: With A Million Tear Stained Memories
Format: CD
Label: Projekt Records
Distributor: Projekt Records
BTFABG="Million Tear Stained Memories"Shortly after their latest, "Scavenger Bride" comes a comprehensive intro into this incredibly gifted group. Their sound has never been an easy intake for even those in the gothic scene, for it’s disregard of rules in the genre and it’s sheerly overwhelming sense of heart-breaking, melancholy emotion that even defies some of the biggest emotion seekers. But for those who enjoy music for it’s emotions, this group holds a goldmine of them! The older material dwells upon very lonely, confused and emotional times in the life of founder/Projekt president Sam Rosenthal, covering times of unattainable love, crushing heartbreak, constant isolation with constant thought of escape, and even at times self obsession. Their newer material covers a more sculpted mode, taking that past knowledge and covering the state of love itself, combined with some Kafka influences. This is short is gothic for the thinking man, and songs in celebration of both love itself, it’s transience, Sam’s powerful love for his wife Lisa, and the female in all it’s forms. As you may remember, I mentioned Black Tape’s CD "As One Aflame Laid Bare By Desire" in the forum as being one of my 5 all time favorite CD’s as well. Haha and I’m coincidently wearing my Black Tape shirt as well! The CD includes a new version of "Memory, Uncaring Friend", which brings to my mind the sound of Audra, an acoustic and wonderous version of "Could I Stay The Honest One?", and a 2000 version of "Overwhelmed Beneath Me". This CD oozes out classic after dark classic, though I’m kind of sad that "Given" and "As One Aflame... ... ." Didn’t get on here, but eh everyone has different thoughts on best of sets as to songs. Gladly "Russia" made it on here, another favorite of mine J. Hardened BTFABG fans like me also get taken back down memory lane, to isolated times filled with such beautiful melancholy and self-searching, to one of my most pivotal times in lyric and poetry writing spending hours listening to their music and simply sucking up the inspiration. And for those more laid back times, the second CD is filled with all instrumentals any Black Tape fan could ever need. Hearing the vocals of Oscar Herrara also is a treat we now miss (he left right after "As One... ..") listening to this, but it also gives us a retrospect into his captivating and unique vocal style (check him out in El Deundo, his new project). Add that to Lisa’s trancey flutes, Sam’s masterful ambient layers, and a cast of players carved out of pure classical genius and you have a force that changed the landscape of both classical and gothic music forever. This is highly recommended, though it’s limited, to anyone curious to the group’s sound, Projekt’s ideas, and anyone tired of listening to corporate gothic tripe bands who wants to learn what real gothic is supposed to sound like. Not to mention one of the greatest fucking bands to walk this earth ;-).Rating: 10. Also recommended are the Projekt 100 compilation, In The Nursery and older Clan of Xymox. Well, Das Ich too if you’re up for a more chaotic version of this sound.
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Artist: Entropic Advance (@)
Title: Monkey with a Gun
Format: CD
Label: Symbolic Insight
Seattle KMLP i-radio Dj's Wesley Davis' and Casey Jones' 5th release is a great example of how parts of hostile glitch experimental extravaganzas can be combined with parts of spacey lounge electronics. Their temporal and structural underpinnings evolve around broken d'n'b fragments; their gluing manipulation involves ambient noises and progressive pads tweaking. Occasional odd field recordings and tv samplings render it all more tangible, like if they want you to keep in touch with real life. With or without those reminders it's easy to get carried away by the beautiful atmospheres by Entropic Advance, with their reverb-washed and soaked treated trumpet, their deep-end subsonic component, their tranquil and classy pace, their elegant and sophisticated chord sequences (when there is such thing as a chord sequence), their dreamy and disturbing alien beats and so forth. Interestingly the duo also get exciting when they sing to what they do (think of Roger Waters, Trent Reznor, Tweaker, Dream Into Dust, think vaguely...). A pleasant surprise that you should take into consideration.
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Artist: Proscriptor
Title: The Serpentine Has Risen
Format: CD
Label: Dragon Flight Recordings (@)
An epic blend of folk noire, occult atmospheric wave, magical and ritual passages, Celtic paganism, neo-classicism and such... As you might have already understood, this is the kind of CD that will please fans of labels such as World Serpent, 4AD or Projekt and bands such as the Butterfly Messiah, Lacrimosa, La Camerata Mediolanense, Argine, Dead Can Dance or The Soil Bleeds Black (why wasn't I surprised to see Mike Riddick's name among the credits? He's responsible for the front cover art work - also reviewed on these pages are records by Brave and Rain Fell Within, which also carry Riddick's signature in the visual dept.). Although this is not primarily my cup of tea I feel pretty confident stating that Proscriptor (previously on Cruel Moon and Cold Meat) should stick to their darker side and let go of the kitsch industrial-rock or epic-metal experiments (not only out of context, musically at least, but also not reaching the highs of bands that perform such genres every day). Their orchestral and epic visionary pieces are far superior I think. They also seem to be more into that than anything else (judging from the texts contained in the booklet and the fact that founding member and leader of the band Sir Proscriptor McGovern even claims to have founded the phantomatic Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn, in Dallas, Texas). Anyway, besides all this extra-musical things that one might or might not believe in, "The Serpentine Has Risen" contains well-performed dark-folk music with, primarily, real percussions and string instruments. There is also a persistent usage of electronics, that sometimes fits in pretty well, but other times doesn't really help, in my opinion. The album contains eight voyages with different theme names.
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Artist: Lockweld
Title: Industrial Requiem
Format: CD
Label: Dragon Flight Recordings (@)
Somewhere along the lines of a record where dark meets noise, but not in the traditional dark industrial key, instead more like in the jap-noise key played on the darker side, with not as much piercing merciless distorted buzz and fuzz of Merzbow or Masonna but with the same intensity and a bloodier soul: that's what you can expect from Lockweld's "Industrial Requiem" CD. Banging and hammering on metals and scraps, sawing, flexing, screaming, burning and tweaking. You should try to check them out live, looks like their shows are a blast. The duo is formed by husband and wife, based in Ohio, and you can also listen to their power-noise at mp3.com/lockweld or check out their very nice-looking website and find out about their impressive discography, sporting a number of 7", CD, and compilation releases. Sounds like these two have been doing much more than usual in their bedroom, I'm just worried about their neighbors.
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