Music Reviews



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Artist: VVAA
Title: Better undead than alive
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Code666 (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
A massive double-cd making a balance of Code666's increasing rooster, expanding from black metal to various fields of undeground extreme music. Definitely not the usual cheapo label sampler with ultra-known tracks and mediocre packaging, "Better undead than alive" comes with lavish booklet (the Code666 guys seem to be heavy into Lynch and old noir movies), a multimedia section on disc 2 with cd-rom information on all artists, a Negura Bunget video and a full Aghora live set on mp3 format. What's more, every project is represented with a remastered album track and one or two exclusive unreleased tracks. Thus, lots of stuff to sink your teeth into - even a devote label fan will find several motives of interest in this. As for the music, Aborym (with a techno remix of "Love the death as the life"), Diabolicum and Ephel Duath offer excellent examples of their bastard hybrids of black metal and electronic paranoia; along the same lines are the brilliant tracks by Void of Silence (more dark-industrial) and Thee Maldoror Kollective (crazy extreme post-metal/electronic assault). More extreme metal, minus the electronics, by Handful of Hate (great old-school BM), Negura Bunget, Atrox and Abortus; a kind of folk-epic-metal for Enid. Manes have allegedly shifted from their "true Norwegian black metal" to a kind of electro-EBM-d'n'b-wave... the label quotes Radiohead, Kathatonia and Aphex Twin as possible paragons, I'm just quite puzzled. I'll let you discover the rest of the sampler, just visit the Code666 site and you'll find all info you need. A shame there are no tracks by Nordvargr, since his recent cd co-released with Eibon was very good black ambient. Anyway, an impressive "business card" from a passionate and professional label.
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Artist: RAFFAELE SERRA
Title: Digital Avatar
Format: CD
Label: AFE (@)
A true veteran of the Italian electronic/ambient scene, with renown works like "Kodak Ghost Poem", "Ritual in transfigured time" and "A tapestry for the sorcerers", Raffaele Serra has been collaborating over the last few years with Andrea Marutti (Amon, Never Known, Lips Vago, Spiral...)'s AFE, now a kind of official label for his releases, like the most recent one, "Europe Endless". This work, released last year with the usual professional care (AFE's cdr's could undoubtly be mistaken for "official" releases), is explicit from its very title and layout: a blend of Oriental spirituality and modern technology, a sort of heartfelt prayer from an Occidental man of today. The opening track, "Morning Glory", and the closing one, "River of No Return", embrace the whole work with a frame of ritual ambient textures reminding of Steve Roach or Vidna Obmana; ethereal drones bearing light and shades. The rest of the work, while sharing a common atmosphere - like a sort of "unquiet trance", if you pass me the oxymoron -, is definitely more rhythmic, with remarkable tracks like "Water-Lily" and "The Glass Key", or the more serene "Wooden"; I can only say they reminded me A LOT of the works of the Portuguese duo Ras.Al.Ghul, possibly for a common "spiritual sense" as well.
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anymore
Artist: MOON ROCK (@)
Title: A Day Like This
Format: CD EP
Label: DSBP (@)
Third release for this band who refine slighly their sound introducing a little more a certain dance touch. See the opening track "A Day Like This" which is a sort of blend between New Order (the latest) meets Pet Shop Boys. The result is really cool and I confirm what I wrote on my previous reviews: Moon Rock deserve a wider audience, definitively. I don't know what's wrong with the American market. It seems that they don't care about good music and they care only about people that don't write their own songs either. Anyway... A DAY LIKE THIS as usual for Moon Rock see different guests on vocals but the fact isn't affecting that much their music. You know, this could mean a lack of sound personality, but luckily this isn't their case. Another song that is reflecting the New Order's influence is "When It's Real", where Jack D. Elliot voice creates the same mood without sounding awkward. The E.P. contains four new tracks and two remixes of "See A Lot" and one of "Everybody Everywhere". The first one has been taken from their last album "Eclipse of the Mood" while the latter is coming from their first album "Power To the People". I hadn't been thrilled by the remixes but the only song I didn't like has been "Life's A Gas" (a T Rex cover), because it's too different respect the other ones. With its soul influences was like listening a Yazoo's track into a techno record: something good on its own but that doesn't fit the rest. Instead the last new song "Surrender" is a beautiful tune where the band show all their skills into releasing a catching and sensual song. Really cool. Good release for people like you who likes synthpop and also for people that hates the bands influenced by 80's music but loves good electronic songs based on melody and catching/dancey atmospheres.
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anymore
Artist: ANTIQUE
Title: Book One
Format: CD
Label: Trostlos (@)
Antique formed in Canada back in year 2000 and produced a demo titled "Inception the year after. The same year they moved to Munich and they started to work on the project that later become BOOK ONE. Fascinated by soundscapes and dramatic artistic forms the band composed the eight songs of the BOOK ONE's two chapters. Being close to the gothic and metal scene the band mixed together the elements that they felt sympathetic with. In this way they created almost one hour of sick atmospheres done with few sounds: piano, violin and drums during the introductions and into the introspective moments and the usual guitar, bass and drums set on the remaining ones. Another peculiarity are the vocals that pass from the goth style to the metal (almost black) one, underlining in this way the emotional moments. Sometimes the song's structure is a little dispersive and the sounds mismatch but if we talk about the final effect, for sure Antique created a good blend that remember sometimes the first Christian Death and bands like Sopor Aeternus. If I may give an advice, I'd use more sounds and atmospheres if not the listener could lost the attention with long suites based pricipally on the dark vein of the tracks.
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anymore
Artist: EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN
Title: 9-15-2000 Brussels
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Indigo (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe


BUY from  BUY NOW from MUSIC NON STOP (MusicNonStop.co.uk)
I have never been an Einsturzende fan in the past, I knew them because of my brother which collected their early releases until "Halber Mensch". Anyway, I had the chance to see them live around 1987 and it has been a pleasantly shock. Their power and the sound were hypnotising and they almost made the stage collaps thanks to their pneumatic hammers: really impressive. Since then I never listened to one of their releases. There was no particular reason but I wasn't interested enough, maybe. I don't really know but it's not that important. This 2 CD digipak set features twenty two tracks coming from a live concert they did in Brussels back in September 2000. Including, among the others, are: "Silence Is Sexy" (from "Silence Is Sexy" 2000), "NNNAAAMMM" (from "Ende Neu" 1996), "Zebulan" (from "Tabla Rasa" 1993), "Salamandrina" (from "Interim" 1993) and the beautiful "Yu Gung" (from "1/2 Mensch" 1985). As I was expecting the Neubauten I saw are no more. The chaotic metallic structure has been replaced by a semi structured song based on dark atmospheres. It's like they replaced the noise searching for a quieter sound but trying to get the same result. I prefer tracks like "Yu Gung" and "Ende Neu" for their direct approach but also the others are particular and fascinating. In any case a thing is for sure: there are no other bands that sound like Einsturzende Neubauten. The "collapsing new buildings" are also collecting subscriptions to release their next album with the aid of their fans only. Go to their website for further informations. Notice that if you like in USA you don't have to look for this album as an import because Invisible Records just released it. Enjoy...
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