Music Reviews

Artist: Diverje
Title: 2:40am
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: DSBP

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This is a double disc set of Diverje remixes by various industrial musicians and friends of DSBP label founder Tommy-T. There are many great bands featurd on this collection such as Assemblage 23, SMP, Codec, Testube, Ceoxime (Headache), Symbiont, Monstrum Sepsis, Xyn, and many others. I've always loved remixes as it give the listener a chance to hear songs with slight modifications and interpretations by other artists in the field. It also gives musicians in the industry an excellent opportunity to collaborate with each other as well as sample and tweak each other's works. About the only negative thing I have to say about this is that there are not enough different songs from the Diverje music catalogue featured. There are a few mixes mostly of "On Skin", "Regret", "Stimulate", and "Reject" as well as a few other tracks. There is also a Devo cover on disc two and a brand new track called "Shivering Skies" which will also be featured on the new Electro Age compilation produced by our own site in collaboration with Latex Records when it comes out. For anyone into Industrial, EBM, Drum-n-Bass, or similar music styles with a dark flavor, fans of Diverje or DSBP records, or anyone into experimental electronic music - this collection is well worth the price. Priced at the value of a single CD it's a steal! It's really hard to pick favorites on this album and it's definitely going into the changer in my car when this review is completed. Unfortunately to give a breakdown of each and every track would take way too much space and time so I'll try to hit some highlights. Personally I love the first track remixed by Assemblage 23 as I am a big Assemblage fan but I also love how Tom Shear smoothed out Diverje's usually big-bodied 'static' sound to give it more of a modern EBM texture. I also love how Liar's Rosebush played off the Drum-n-Bass beats of "Regret". The fifth track mixed by Count To Infinity has a very clean almost techno-trance feel to it. I also really like Andrea Bellucci's remix of "On Skin" as it tends to highlight various aspects of the original track, namely the vocals, in such a way as to bring forth that which was blended. It also has some great pumpin' club EBM beats and other extras thrown into the mix. The SMP vs. Static Engine version of "Reject" is some wild shit. Then there is the Spellcaster mix of "On Skin". Throbbing, pulsating, with some great ambient-trance elements. I've always loved Testube but I've actually only been exposed to their music and not their mixes of others. I love what they did with "Put The Flesh In". They really made it their own. The Headache mix of "Stimulate" is very interesting as well. Headache has some weird way of manipulating bass rhythms and twisting the original track. DJ Riot takes "Damaged" and twists it with some rapid-fire Drum-n-Bass beats while distorting the rest of the track into oblivion. This track is damaged for sure! Love it. Babel-17 takes "Reject" into the outer limits and finally the last track is some wacked out beat tracks - not sure what to make of it. Okay I tried not to list all of them but it's hard as there are so many great, interesting, unique tracks on each disc. Let's go to disc two. We begin with a mix by another of my favorite bands, Symbiont. I don't remember the original but this mix includes some George W. Bush samples regarding the terrorist attacks on America. I love the how Symbiont edited much of the overall sound to sound like a Symbiont song with Tommy-T on vocals. Monstrum Sepsis utilize some twisty buzzing synth waveforms on their mix of "Reject". It's like Industrial, Noise, and Acid House colliding with a heavy crunch. Haven't previously heard of ML but after hearing their bizarre subterranean remix of "Regret" I'm curious to hear more from them. The Moon Rock version of "Retaliate" is a quick-paced EBM track some clean rhythms and kickin' beats. Another "On Skin" remix but no fear - it's by Xyn and it's so different from the original it sounds like something that could have come from The Orb or Fused with it's heavy Trance stylings. I specifically like the vocal sample of the title which waves about like resonating metallic machinery. We V.2 take "Stimulate" and break it down to it's bassest elements and then transform it Winterkalte style - Power Noise From Hell that twists and turns like an Acid House rhythm. Liar's Rosebush completely transform "Reject" into a early Kraftwerkian affair. This is amazing stuff! Imagine if Kraftwerk were into Noise and had harsh industrial vocals instead. Simulator's version of "Retaliate" begins with some rather ethereal tonality with the beats in the background. The new beats are brought in to create a rockin' dance EBM rhythm. We can't overlook the next track either as everyone loves DEVO! I never thought I'd hear Diverje doing Devo but here it is. I will say it's not the best track on the disc but it is interesting to hear Devo done like this. The next remix of "Reject" is another Power Noise track with some really odd and body rockin' rhythms. Da Riot Squad ad a bit of hip-hop to Diverje's "Damaged". N.N.M do a funky mix of "Stimulate" - only gripe is the vocals didn't meld as well on this as they could have. "In My Shell" is a slower track for Diverje. The final mix of "Damaged" us heavy on the Noise and throbs mightily. Lastly is "Shivering Skies" a brand new track by Diverje which is a heavy departure from previous works. It is more of an ambient instrumental than anything else but has some disturbingly dark and even eerie tonalities to it. Okay well I nearly covered them all anyway I guess. There are lots of great new and experimental mixes on this release that even if you didn't like Diverje much before it would be worth giving it a listen as each remixer put lots of thier own flavor into each and every track so it's almost like a compilation CD in some ways.
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: DJ Program.01
Format: CD
Label: The Fossil Dungeon

DJ Program.01 is a limited edition CDR presentation specifically geared towards club promotion. Primarily marketed towards DJs and radio programs, this release is also available, in very limited quantity, to the public. This CDR features two club edition tracks from The Soil Bleeds Black, "Mirror of the Middle Ages" LP, mixing ancient elements with the modern. The release also features the new Butterfly Messiah club track, "It's Time," as well as the acclaimed track "Serpentine" from their "Priestess" CD. In closing, this CDR also features the remarkable track "Nightingale" from Mephisto Walz, certain to gather 'old schoolers' to the dancefloor. The first track by The Soil Bleeds Black contains digital electronic rhythms and drum machine for percussion combined with ethereal overtones and vocals, medieval flute, and deep bass. Vocally it is female vocals in a classical, nearly madrigal, style. Musically it's very mixed and not easy to pin down but basically it's very danceable with a slight stomp and Delerium-like touches to it. A new form of Darkwave! It combines modern electronic dance textures with medieval instrumentation and vocals. "Palastinalied" follows a similar music structural format except that guitar takes part of the lead with medieveal flute and the percussive beats are a bit heavier. The vocals are male and have more of a bawdy sound. The vocals are in another language but I am unsure which. The drum rhythms have a slight carribean texture to them. The flute takes on a bit more of a Middle-Eastern feel. These two tracks alone are enough to peak interest in The Soil Bleeds Black. Both tracks can be found in their original version on the Mirror of the Middle Ages 12". Butterfly Messiah begins with "Serpentine" which I've heard from their Priestess album except that it has been remixed for this release adding extra effects to the vocals and a bit more body and clamour to the heavy percussive industrial rhythms. Shannon's voice is smooth yet cuts like a knife. The lead vocals are very in-your-face sharp while the backing vocals are very soft and ethereal. A band that has already created a rather intense mixture of Ethereal, Darkwave, and Industrial this track hits harder than anything before. The next track "It's Time" actually picks up the pace even further with it's strong EBM influence. This is the most technological I've heard Butterfly Messiah sound as this new (previously unreleased) track drives home their previously well thought out sound bringing it up several notches to be more befitting for club airplay. The EBM textures and trance-like soundscapes are on the line with many of the bands you've all heard come out of labels like Metropolis Records. With this one track alone Butterfly Messiah have moved themselves to a new level and I think if they continue releasing similar pieces they will see the returns they've already earned and truly deserve from a wider audience. I anxiously look forward to more on this level from them in the future! The last track is by Mephisto Walz, a band already hailed in Gothic/Darkwave circles. This track has a nearly Cocteau Twins gone darker sound to it as well as a bit of shoegazer rock influence. A bit different than what I've previously heard from Mephisto Walz although I'm not quite sure exactly what they are doing on this compilation except for their well-known name as the track is not very 'club oriented' in my mind. However, I do think this will have strong appeal to old Cocteau and maybe even Bauhaus fans more than anything as there is a little bit of Love & Rockets rock style in it too. Overall I was very pleasantly surprised by this release and very excited to hear the new Butterfly Messiah track bumped up into EBM and remixed. The Soil Bleeds Black tracks are strongly appealing as well and will likely confuse many with their unique combination of styles. They are extremely original and enjoyable. The least favorite, by surprise, is the one band I was the most anxious to hear what new items they were producing, Mephisto Walz.
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Title: Miserere
Format: CD
Label: Cold Meat Industry (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe

Just like I wrote for the last Sophia CDs this kind of sounds fascinate me, I don't know why but the amount of energy they carry is astonishing! Karjalan Sissit is the project of Markus Pesonen, a guy with Finnish roots, living in Sweden. The name of the project means "the Karelian Guerillas" and it is referring to the Finnish Sissi units during the Finnish Winter War: Markus grandfather served as a sniper in the Sissi units for 5 years. I named Sophia at the beginning of the review because this CD is produced by Peter Pettersson which is the guy behing Sophia and Arcana. He also wrote "Pig Society", "Inner Pain" and "She Was A Whore Anyways" along with Pesonen. The nine tracks are industrial martial composition with drums and percussions as main instruments and with distorted industrial sounds as background structure. The devastating effect is assured as along the power of the percussions your senses are stunned with the caothic symphony of clashing choruses and melancholic orchestrations. All this will amaze you in only thirty seven minutes of music. A perfect second release for Kajalan Sissit...indeed!
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Artist: VVAA
Title: WXJL Presents Music For The Masses
Format: CD
Label: Ninthwave Records (@)
Even if the title of this compilation is referred to a Depeche Mode's album fortunately this ISN'T a tribute CD. This compilation presents sixteen bands that you may not be aware of but for sure if you are a synthpop lover this low price CD (at the moment the label is selling it for the ridiculous price of 4.16$!) could mean somethig. In this years synthpop bands are growing and are releasing valuable songs even if it's tough to get exposure they keep on struggling. There are some labels you can count on if you love these sounds and Ninthwave is one of them because they love these sounds as much as you do. I liked each of the sixteen bands/songs which sounds are going from Erasure (see Shane Savant or Mark Lane with his minimal "The Walloon Love Song") passing to electro pop with ebm veins (The Sepia with their frightening "Stutter" or the Low Technicians with "Random Event") just to arrive to New Order (the voice of the Macondo reminded me about them). The quality of the tracks is really high and I'd like to invite you to purchase this release because: the price is absurd, you could know sixteen new cool bands, you could support the underground scene and finally you could please your ears with sixty five minutes of electronic delicatessen!
Artist: Aidan Baker
Title: Pretending to Be Fearless
Format: CD
Label: Flesh Made Word
Distributor: Flesh Made Word
Completely ambient journey of sound from yet another Flesh Made Word artist, this time focusing on atmosphere. The atmosphere through this whole CD is very laid back, focusing on just reverbs and a rather melancholy atmosphere, all washing over you after the first few listens through a comfortable set of repetition and drones. I’d advise waiting until sundown before you put this in and relax a bit. Track 3 would have to be my favorite, with it’s game of watch the little blip run through these different atmospheres". It reminds me of the cloud sequence in the anime Robot Carnival. Rating: 8.
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