Music Reviews



STRAFTANZ: Straftanz

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (3230)
Dec 01 2006
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Artist: STRAFTANZ
Title: Straftanz
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
"Straftanz vor – zurück!" It’s STRAFTANZ time! Loud, very loud, like a command this words will blow out of the clubs right in your face. STRAFTANZ is a new mysterious project which hasn’t left any hint, contact or website printed on this SiCD, which is a part of the successful Dependent Club Invasion, in short DCI, series, a 3 single-CD collection of some more successful acts signed to this label. STRAFTANZ is a newcomer and gives here a debut, which is musically based on a hard pounding beat, a hysterical male EBM shouter giving the "Straftanz" command in 5 "different" versions, some female "Bestrafung" voice samples, a well done synth layer and a noisy pad – that’s it! Two of the 5 versions are remix works by REAPER and AGONOIZE – musically both acts following the given stuff here, but can offer luckily a bit of their own sounds and identity – both remix works hit the original! The other three versions are musically almost the same, they only difference can be separated through the vocals. The lyrical content features the mentioned names of more or less known clubs in the East, West and South of Germany. A bit sad, that there aren’t enough clubs in the North to provide also from this area a special version. Finally there’s a b-side called "Eintausendmal" on which the pounding beat starts slowly to get faster and faster, while this track globally reminds me on some EBM-clobber wannabe tunes, bah! I’m really wondering that the fine and successful Dependent label really likes to offer this low jackass-level only designed for pseudo-aggressive get-hard-be-strong-fanatics. The ugly word "Hellektro" comes to mind, but mostly bands categorized under this moniker have something more to offer. This stuff works well in the clubs, but ONLY in the clubs – in case you’re drunken and/or stoned enough!
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Artist: SAMHAIN (@)
Title: Violent Identity
Format: CD
Label: Aliens Production (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Already well-known in the Czech/Slovakian scene thanks to some hard-to-get recordings and thanks to some live performances and compilation appearances, this Slovakian trio brings finally out their official debut. While some of the band members have done through the years some remarkable collaborations with some better known Electro/EBM acts of the scene, like KIFOTH or LAST INFLUENCE OF BRAIN, they now joined together their forces and provide us here a full-length CD with more than 72 minutes playing time. Who already thought, that there can’t be anything darker or more experimental-oriented out of Slovakia than their countrymen of DISHARMONY or the Czech solo artist ANHEDONIA, well – here comes a new fine proof. Walls of sounds, hard-to-realize worked out rhythm patterns, a dark, at times scary cinematic mood – this all fits with SAMHAIN. Who already has thought that MENTALLO & THE FIXER have provided in their early days ("Revelations 23" – era) a hard-to-grip complexity, has stopped to learn – SAMHAIN is here to teach you better! Mix to that M&TF reference some Powernoise/Ambient-infiltrated tunes, like offered from the French act REMAIN SILENT and you have a possible comparison, which almost fits. Although vocals – and when integrated, they’re mostly dark, rough experimental-minded - are sparse filled in here, and besides the fact that several voice samples are included, there’s enough music here which makes this "human factor" forgettable. It’s hard to pick out favorites, the opener "Undefinable" follows pretty much the already mentioned M&TF style, while "Apparition" turns with some rotten layers and heavily distorted rhythms near to the Powernoise genre. It’s one of this extremely valuable albums, which content is impossible to realize and to pick up only after 3 – 4 rotations. Give it more spins and make sure, that you can offer some time and attention, you will be rewarded with an album which never starts to bore. Doubleplusgood!

DISHARMONY: Frames

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (3228)
Dec 01 2006
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Artist: DISHARMONY (@)
Title: Frames
Format: CD
Label: Aliens Production (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
This well-known Slovakian duo returns with their already 4th full-length release, and finally they officially release this new album under their very own Aliens Production label. This isn’t a new studio album, it moreover contains previously unreleased and never-heard-before stuff back to their early "Moonflower" era. It is a kind of collection to close the very first chapter in the evolution of this band through the years. But don’t call these tracks "b-sides" or such other negative word, that wouldn’t be fair and it wouldn’t reflect the offered quality here, which still is able to satisfy the highest expectations. DISHARMONY of course go on here with their fine worked out, slowly, creepy, with Ambient-textures infiltrated subtle kind of Dark Electro/Industrial music. They’re near – very near – to that sound and style which acts like MORTAL CONSTRAINT and/or the earlier KLINIK (Ivens/Verhaegen) have provided us – and which is nowadays sorely missed! But some tracks here really should surprise you, because here are some examples that this duo is also able to produce danceable tunes, just check "Blind" or "Masonic" here. Some remix works of tracks being originally available on their last full-length CD "Collapse" (out on Monopolrecords, www.monopolrecords.cz) are provided here as well, done by the Aliens label comrades GAPING CHASM, ANHEDONIA, as well as the French act FLINT GLASS. They all offer good worked out remix works – but can never hit the well done original version, which still is one of the finest pieces of DISHARMONY at all! Still unsolved is the secret, why there are especially in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic so many acts providing this special kind of Dark Electro/Industrial/Ambient-influenced kind of music. DISHARMONY, ANHEDONIA, or the also now released SAMHAIN – they all are more less dedicated to this special sound. Still so dark, still rich layered and arranged – and luckily without using any cliches, this release is again a must-have, if you like to check out a quality alternative to your usual Electro/Industrial listening. Note: like all releases out on this fine Slovakian label, also this piece here is limited to 550 exemplars and comes packaged in a DVD box. Get it!

SIVA SIX: Black Will

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (3224)
Nov 28 2006
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Artist: SIVA SIX
Title: Black Will
Format: CD
Label: Decadance Records (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
I liked the debut album "Rise New Flesh" that Siva Six released back the last year and also this BLACK WILL is a good one. At a first listening you realize that the Greek duo don’t base their sound on innovation of the e.b.m. current style as the 13 songs are powerful e.b.m. tunes with prominent bass lines, lightly distorted vocals, samples (Crowley is a must recently) and all. In these days I listened to it different times just to get familiar with it. I must admit that each time that I put the CD into my PC each song had something that catch my attention: a melody, a vocal line, a sound an atmosphere (cool the classical inserts on the opening "See the six" or on "The seal"). After these listening sessions I released that Siva Six have a really good at creating horror atmospheres a la "Halloween". If a lot of nowadays bands focus their attention on the "in your face" effect, fortunately Siva Six aren’t one of them because see for example the instrumental "Dark night of the soul": it has good atmosphere, samples and a sort of romantic/nostalgic wave. If a guy who is new to the genre would ask me, I won’t fear to suggest this album along with classics as :Wumpscut:’s "Bunkertor 7".
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Artist: Hansel
Title: Lorentzian Lineshaper
Format: CD
Label: D-Trash records (@)
Rated: *****
As I embark on the difficult task of attempting to review the latest CD by the Boston-based duo Hansel, I embrace my fate: I'll get flamed no matter what! The duo obviously have some serious gripe with the media who attempt to pigeonhole them into one boxed description or the promoters who try to file them under one category. So if I get the description somewhat right or accurate according to the fellow writers and reviewers, which of course could be argued is fairly relative anyway, I'll probably get shit from the band; and if I tell you that Hansel is a rock band (which is how they describe themselves to avoid any confusion) then I'll definitely get shit from the readers (since anybody that heard this record knows that Hansel doesn't share anything more than attitude and occasional distorted guitars with what you usually refer to as rock). Hansel is a little stressed out by the situation that came into being, and you can tell from their press release and some lyrics or samples in their record. So I could comply with their desire to not be labeled, hence doing a disservice to my readers and possibly getting a few very curious readers to go and actually listen to the music online to make up their own mind (but then they'll probably illegally download the album and then the band AND the label will hate me anyway) or I can just fuck all of that political correctness bullshit and mess with my destiny by giving a shot at trying to describe a band that's actually hard to describe or file under just one category or genre in the first place. Ultimately, I don't give a shit about getting shit, so what I'll do is I won't make any comparisons and I'll just try go give you a rough idea of what they sound like.First of all, if you are familiar with D-Trash records, think of Hansel as your non-typical D-Trash band. They implement elements of electronic music, industrial music, rhythm-noise, breakcore, glitch, rock, hop hop and what not (shall we say experimental electro-glitch-core crossover? or just e-ndustrial noise-core rock hop? just messing with you...). No matter what, it is going to be hard to give you an accurate picture of Hansel because they jump back and forth from any of the above to any other one of the above genres. This said, certain things that are actually facts could help you pin point (sort of) where Hansel stands: although they are not committed to them, they do use computers and electronics; most rhythmical/percussive material as well as most vocals are distorted; their sounds are sparse and simple at the source, but highly tweaked and saturated in complex ways; their sonic attack is minimal but aggressive and raw; they are genuine and spontaneous; they are very eclectic and across the board. If that doesn't get you any further you'll really have to go to the label's website and find out for yourself.In the meantime we want to tell the band that Chain D.L.K. loves them no matter what and we don't give a flying fuck about what the other media says about them (I haven't read a single other review of their music to try and find aid or inspiration or to try and align my views with those of others - why would I anyway?), nor do we have any expectations from them or anybody else, for that matter. I agree with Hansel that artists should just make music and let nothing other than their own creativity mold the music they write. That said, sometimes shit sucks, sometimes shit rocks, it's all subjective in the end anyway, and so are reviews (so bands shouldn't really give a damn about what people say anyway).This said I wanna hear that triple Dolly Parton cover album now!PS I don't think I ever filed any review I wrote in as many categories at the same time!


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