Music Reviews



BRANDKOMMANDO: Pax Vobiscum

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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May 01 2007
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Artist: BRANDKOMMANDO
Title: Pax Vobiscum
Format: CD
Label: Beast Of Prey (@)
Rated: *****
The intent of the new album by Brandkommando is clear starting from a picture where you can read on a sign "Bush is the international terrorist". The eight untitled tracks try to translate this terror into sound and if you usually listen to music using an headphone, well... take it off!!! Brandkommando digital distortion creates sonic terror by blending pure noise to samples and to treated vocals. There's no way out and the excess is the way to go. I'd lie by telling that this is pure chaos which only tends to create pain and suffering into the listener because there's also a certain alternation of chaotic and calm but still tense moments (the one I preferred) but you have to love the genre to get the message.

CAUSTIC: Booze Up And Riot

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Apr 30 2007
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Artist: CAUSTIC (@)
Title: Booze Up And Riot
Format: CD
Label: Crunch Pod Media (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
"CAUSTIC is me, Matt Fanale, so it's actually all my bitch-ass fault." Yes, Matt DJ "Eurotic" Fanale is indeed a real sweetheart – but rather more for his label Crunch Pod Media for which he can be seen as the currently best-selling artist since his last years’ debut release. "Unicorns, Kittens, and Shit" could enter the Metropolis mail order Top 10 charts for some weeks – a not expected success for sure and meanwhile this debut seems to be sold-out. Lately Matt could also invade a free slot on the renowned "Septic" compilation series of the German Dependent label – right in time to take part on the 7th and last issue, since this label will close its doors in a few months. But another and important move for him to earn more recognition in Europe. Harsh electronic-driven Powernoise sounds with bombastic rhythmically efforts infiltrated with a raging Punk-like anarchic behavior – Matt’s musically output is surely not designed for the faint-hearted audience. Thanks to his nationwide work as a DJ and also to his aggressive live performances with global players like KMFDM, COMBICHRIST or TERRORFAKT the train of victory seems to continue on a constant level. "Booze Up And Riot" doesn’t take prisoners and spreads another immense reign of irony out of every track. "We make music to piss you off", the slogan of the Crunch Pod Media label fits on CAUSTIC like with no other else act of the label roster. It’s all about irony and the "we-take-our-business-seriously-behavior" which counts not only for the Electro/Industrial scene – it also seems to count for Matt’s daily life and the people around him. The CD starts "nice" with a sort of introducing rant done by Jared Louche of CHEM LAB aptly entitled "Another Fist in The Ass" (wow, delicious, Matt... aah, and I like you too, you’re for real;-)). It follows the title track, which is one of the very few pieces featuring real screaming vocals instead of using monotonous voice samples - it’s a speedy and angry-driven harsh effort. The price for the most strangest song title he will also win for "The Reason I Broke Up With You Is A Million You Psychotic Wang". But at least and if I try to accept and compare his musically efforts with the last glorious releases of his label comrades ENDIF or CERVELLO ELETTRONICO, which each brought out stellar releases – then Matt fails to reach their throne. He surely will reach much more recognition and better sales for sure, so he will easily accept this slight point of criticism. You'll have to hurry up to pick up an exemplar of the limited 2CD edition of "Booze Up & Riot/The Binge Edition" until also this item will be totally sold-out. Life’s a party, so... BOOZE UP AND RIOT!!!

Navicon Torture Technologies: PURE ~ SKIN

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Apr 22 2007
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Artist: Navicon Torture Technologies (@)
Title: PURE ~ SKIN
Format: CD
Label: NCC Records [Noise Control Corporation] (@)
Distributor: NCC Records
Rated: *****
This isn’t exactly my first experience with Navicon Torture Technologies; I encountered the entity on the Systemic Audio compilation "SYSTEMIC 02" that I reviewed here recently. I wouldn’t say that the track there adequately represents what NTT is all about. NTT is basically a one-member project (with occasional guesting/assistance/participation from others) by a guy named Leech, so any praise/damnation falls directly on his shoulders. Let me preface this review with the statement that I personally really don’t care much for "screaming noise projects." I don’t think it takes a lot of talent to scream heavily processed unintelligible vocals into a microphone with a lot of electronic crap blitzing and careening in the background. (It does take some guts, though.) A lot of so-called noise projects sound like this. So how can I give a fair review if I already have a chip on my shoulder about this type of music? Read on and find out.

"PURE~SKIN" doesn’t start out with a full frontal assault. Oh no. The initial track- "The Stars and the Scars", begins with an ominous expansive orchestral theme with a female voice in Germasn that vacillates from apprehension to a soothing sort of tone. Maybe it’s just resignation. Not what I expected at all... .and then the distorted screaming begins, somewhat in the background like curses hurled from some pissed off demon on another plane of existence. (Cradle of Filth fans would be ticked to death if Danny Filth had opened a COF album this way.)

Okay, now the gate is opened to NTT’s world of hurt, and the blast of buzzing of "No Hands No Teeth" obliterates Leech’s heavily processed vocals, drowning it a shitstorm of effects. I can hear plenty of screaming though, from some victim caught in this maelstrom of malevolence. Well, it IS effective...

The next track "Heart" begins with a little pensive, moody piano noodling and atmospherics, not unlike the beginning of Reznor’s "Something I Can Never Have". I am beginning to think this isn’t a noise album at all. It continues on for a while this way until some heavy distortion kicks in followed by Leech’s processed & echoed vocals. I can’t make out but an occasional word of what he’s saying, but he doesn’t sound happy. Disturbed would be putting it mild. The electronic droning intensifies, building, then just stops cold.

"Pariah" begins with a spoken word sample that states, "No human community is any farther away from barbarism than polished steel is from rust", then we get a mad juggernaut of noise-driven rhythm with Leech’s processed vocal again shouting things I can’t understand. This is way beyond industrial. Still, there’s an art to it, and that’s what I find somewhat unnerving. Over the next couple of tracks more noise and processed vocals follow interspersed with snippets of film dialog. Volcanic mountains of heavy orchestral doom erupt, threatening to obliterate the world as we know it. The warped sustained string section background of "Self Eviscerating Concepts" seems to present a near religious backdrop for Leech’s self-loathing confessional. "A Constellation of Skin" gets an incredibly infernal industrial rhythm going, like some gigantic multi-bladed machine that mows down everything in its path. There’s a vision for you: The International Harvester of Souls! More movie dialog samples on "It’s Better This Way", although the repetition does get old quickly. More noise and another distorted diatribe by Leech follows. Jeez- if I could only understand what he’s saying at least some of the time, I might at least get something out of it. A more intense reprise of "The Stars and the Scars" follows, and I swear I actually heard a word or two of what Leech was howling. Still, it didn’t bring me any closer to comprehension. I guess it’s all about feeling here, rather than intellectually understanding. "Sky Blue Mustang" follows, with more in-your-face droning sonic agony belying the arcadian imagery of the title. "This is How We Pray..We Prey" is likely the roughest track on the album. Play this one loud, and there’s an excellent chance you’ll be shredding your speakers. More movie dialog (which is about the only vocal element I can actually understand) and a tempest of trauma. Certain people are gonna like this one a lot, but I’m beginning to tire of the oppression of it all. Whoa! Lookie here- there’s a 3 minute bonus track and in spite of Leech’s steroidally overdriven vocals, it really sounds pretty good! Great way to end the album.

You know, I have few real criticisms here- one is the overuse of vocal processing. If I were Leech, I’d change it up every now and then and let people here what he had to say every so ofte, it might be more effective. Understanding a few words might make more listeners interested in what was going with that aspect of the performance. The other has to do with rhythmic content, which it could of used a little more of. Still, for a noise album, "PURE~SKIN" delivers a good deal more than your average noise-punter. What really amazes me is that Navicon Torture Technologies has a HUGE catalog of releases. Honestly, I didn’t realize there was such a big demand for this type of thing. For noise-addicts and those that thrive on the most ear-splitting industrial sonics this side of hell, I’d highly recommend this one. For the merely curious, I’d recommend you go to the NTT website first and download some sample tracks lest you think I’m joking about the speaker-shredding factor. This release was initially limited to 300, but I don’t know if that’s true anymore. Comes in a cool digipack with a nicely designed cover.

Fire In The Head: The Remedy Has Become The Affliction

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Apr 18 2007
cover
Artist: Fire In The Head (@)
Title: The Remedy Has Become The Affliction
Format: CD
Label: NCC RECORDS (Noise Control Corporation) (@)
Distributor: NCC RECORDS
Rated: *****
Okay, I admit that the "noise" genre isn’t my favorite sonic art form. It takes a special connoisseur of this type of dementia to fully appreciate it. However, when done well, it can be an interesting audial experience. Fire In The Head, (henceforth to be known as F/I/T/H for brevity’s sake) put in the effort and do it very well. Currently consisting of Michael Page and Benny Nelson from somewhere in Europe, Germany most likely, the duos create an ominous pastiche of brutal but engaging madness and menace. A lot of "The Remedy Has Become The Affliction" sounds like a nightmare in an underground metro station. Psychotic voices occasionally break through the industrial miasma like crazed homeless people you could imagine living in subterranean city tunnels. Even though the first track seemed to come on a bit too strong with distorted vocals, the majority of this album shows a certain maturity and refinement that F/I/T/H must have developed over a number of previous releases. Don’t expect beats or regular rhythmic content on this grinding, grating outing; it’s not that kind of "music". There is enough variety in the compositions on "TRHBTA" that for true lovers of esoteric noise, it will stand up to repeated listenings. The use of (heavily processed) vocals and vocal samples is mercifully sparse, excepting the first and last tracks. By the time you get to the last track, you’ll be looking for someone to tear it up vocally anyway, so it all works out pretty well. I can’t really take into account F/I/T/H’s socio-political agenda- as they say "TRHBTA is the carrion we collectively accept and ingest as reality, a dirty needle in the neck of a complacent society and a further descent into the bowels of unmitigated psychosis." I’d prefer to leave it open and let it feed my own inner demons. If you’re into well-constructed noise projects, I’d definitely recommend this CD. I think it’s limited to 300 copies, so get yours while you can.

VV.AA.: Nous sommes les morts

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Apr 16 2007
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Nous sommes les morts
Format: CD
Label: apocalyptic radio (@)
Distributor: De Luidspreker
Rated: *****
"Nous Sommes Les Morts" is an industrial/p.e. compilation from the Apocalyptic Radio label. Some of the true standout tracks that make this compilation worth hearing are Objekt/Urian's weird industrial-dancey blend with à-la-Suicide vocals, that would surely be a club hit if only there were a dj and a dancefloor brave enough; and Propergol, with their abrasive breed of addictive death-industrial utterly at home among the Steinklang cabal. Other highlights are Atrox, Flutwacht and Contagious Orgasm.


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