Music Reviews



Majdanek Waltz: Hamlet's Childhood

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 10 2007
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Artist: Majdanek Waltz (@)
Title: Hamlet's Childhood
Format: CD
Label: The Eastern Front (@)
Rated: *****
Active since early 2000s the dark folk band, Majdanek Waltz already released eight albums and a mini of which HAMLET'S CHILDHOOD is the latest one. Released in conjunction by The Eastern Front and the Russian label KultFront, HAMLET'S CHILDHOOD contains ten new tracks of spoken word dark folk where the male and female vocals along with the different instruments used (piano, acoustic guitars, violins and traditional Russian accordion) create melancholic but still evocative tracks where the lyrics (original poems of Symbolist poets Boris Poplavsky 1903-1935, Maximilian Voloshin 1877-1932 and translated poems of German Expressionist poet Georg Heym 1887-1912) are enriched by neo classical moments and folk approach. Unfortunately every title and lyrics are in Russian language so I can't catch the band's poetry in full. Anyway, I really appreciated the atmosphere created and I suggest you to check them!

Solar Powered People: Hibernation

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 07 2007
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Artist: Solar Powered People (@)
Title: Hibernation
Format: CD
Label: Three Ring Records (@)
Rated: *****
Solar Powered People's peculiar name comes from the concern about global warming and the fact that, as explained from the band itself, there is the pro-global warming population VS the anti-global warming population. Cool. "Hibernation" is their debut album and can be described as a mixture of a slightly shoegaze and wave influenced dreampop. After the intro with a disquieting child voice and spooky sounds there's the first track called "They'll Never Know" with a guitarplay so cold and melanchonic that you'll hardly believe that the band comes from the sunny Central Valley - about an hour from San Fran - but the band states among the influencesThe Cure, Failure, Sunny Day Real Estate, Joy Division and Boards of Canada (argh...) among others. The third song is called "Commercial Flight" and it is a spacey track with a vocal line resembling the most inspired For Against - this is the standout track on "Hibernation": excellent pure rapture. The rest of the album is good but doesn't reach those heigths - contemporary dreampoppers of the new generation.
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Artist: Von Liebenfels (@)
Title: Všter Unser Im Walhall
Format: CD
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
Another new addition to the musically very diverse roster of the German SkullLine mail order, your underground specialist when it comes to get serviced with all styles between Industrial, Powernoise, Martial, Neo-Classic, Military or Experimental music. With VON LIEBENFELLS the SkullLine label turns for the first time into the Neo-Classic style, here and there accomplished with some Ambient elements. Torsten von Liebenfells – yes, that’s also his civil name – hails from New Zealand, but can for sure look on German ancestors. He calls classical compositions of Wagner, but also related artists like VON THRONSTAHL and ZHARK to be quells of inspiration. His dedication to ZHARK went that far, that he has decided to create a special tribute-track entitled "Neu-Schwabenland". Musically his form of Neo-Classic consists of orchestral-like layer sounds richly present over this whole album. Some classic tom-tom-like percussion elements and here and there some real piano tunes ("Vril I", which features also some spoken-word samples, "Night Of The Long Knifes") are complimented his musically outfit, which differs by far compared to the rather noisy and experimental-minded stuff released by SkullLine. This is musically a fine and sedating procedure and the artistically concept behind this release is enormous. Thumbs up for this release, which brings back to once recognized impression, that music can mean something more than the too often overrated "terror-noise-distort"-formula. Well done!

Blutengel: Labyrinth

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 03 2007
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Artist: Blutengel (@)
Title: Labyrinth
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
And once again a new full-length album for Germany’s scene-leader when it comes on romantic Electro/Wave/Pop-music. At least also the still growing success of BLUTENGEL has meanwhile brought up a lot of copy-cats, but at least nothing matches the original. For Chris Pohl this project reflects rather more the electronic-driven sound compared to the Goth-Rock-infiltrated TERMINAL CHOICE – and BLUTENGEL gets more successfully than ever before. On "Labyrinth" BLUTENGEL still offering their known formula by offering classic compositions with catchy melodies, Futurepop-like easy-to-consume arrangements and the clear vocal performance by Chris and his two female counterparts, Constanze Rudert and Ulrike Goldmann. Why slapping that cow before it stops to give milk? Of course, the sound quality is top-notch and crystal-clear, so are the vocals and several tracks offer a great singing-along-the-chorus-attitude ("Dreamland", "Shame") – but stop! Before I start complaining that nothing changes this sultry program, the track "Body Move" differs the most from the usually BLUTENGEL-recordings. Quite harder bass lines and a manipulated vocal performance by Chris give this track the required mood to figure out the desire of the lyrics. Not a high-end layered composition of an Electro/EBM-track, but a difference to interrupt a bit the mood of the BLUTENGEL empire. At least and as a conclusion, BLUTENGEL can surely impress the 14-years-young Goth-newbies the most with their rather simple-minded song structures and arrangements, while others may accept this album as the right soundtrack to recover after a broken relation at a dark autumn day. Nothing to spectacular, simply a new BLUTENGEL-album. In latest news, this album could climb on some high positions in the German album sale charts, congrats.
Dec 02 2007
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Artist: SNOG
Title: The Last Days Of Rome
Format: CD
Label: Hymen Records (@)
Distributor: ant-zen
Rated: *****
The Australian musician David Thrussel and his famous SNOG-project I surely don’t need to introduce any nearer. Active now since more than 15 years in the Electro/Industrial genre, he also can’t be musically sorted in to get a constant and remaining style description. On "The Last Days Of Rome" he offers some more or less subtle Electronica elements with a constant acoustic attitude through guitars and his still a bit strenuous sounding voice. Always and ever an eye-feast are Thrussel’s essays referring on politically and social-critically themes, which he of course likes to point out through his lyrics, too. The art deals with the influence of promotion banners regarding new cars and status symbols, while his essay "A Capital Day" describes and exaggerates the routine of our affluent society. Thanks to some quite different license deals he has given out, this version of this album, released by the Ant-Zen companion label Hymen Records at least offers several bonus tracks, so on this release you’ll get at least 20 tracks. Some have to be mentioned: "City" comes out calm and catchy, but with a melancholic mood. Also note, that it is "Christmas Everyday" for the freaks in the White House – what a fine track. It’s fun to follow Thrussel’s sarcasm richly spread through his lyrics, while it makes you think of on several things as well. You’re wrong with it, if you look for a new and modern sounding Electronica/IDM/Ambient-release, for which the Hymen is otherwise an excellent resource for. This one has to be seen as poetry - fine work, keep on the vision of a better world!



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