Music Reviews

FEAR OF DOLLS: Bless This Broken Body

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 24 2002
Artist: FEAR OF DOLLS (@)
Title: Bless This Broken Body
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Self Released
Fear Of Dolls is basically a Greg Forschler's project (which is also a member of Faith & Disease and former member of Ninth Circle) born in 1995, which basically gathers around him different artists' personalities (in fact actually he's seeking for new members). Some years ago I reviewed what I think it was their first demo tape and I remember that it impressed me because it was going beyond the classic concept of gothic music. Also this new MCD titled BLESS THIS BROKEN BODY shows a band which want to make of experimentation its aim. Even if the music is quite different, their approach remember me Virgin Prunes with their sick ballads and twisted marches. The three tracks of this MCD (plus the hidden intro and outro) are personal and sick as hell. "Screaming Inside Her", "Bless This Broken Body" and "She Was Laughing" are like tortured souls' screams which are echoing inside doubting beings. Keep on doubting and on experimenting and there will always be an interesting band worth the following...

the Frozen Autumn: Emotional Screening Device

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 22 2002
Artist: the Frozen Autumn
Title: Emotional Screening Device
Format: CD
Label: Eibon (@)
Five years (wow, time goes by!) after their highly acclaimed "Fragments of Memories", one of the most important and well-known Italian dark-wave bands is back with a new record. It's hard to make comparisons after half a decade (I don't have their previous album here with me) but I think it's safe to say that "Emotional Screening Device" maintains the classical dark wave approach, slightly reshaping it in favour of a more danceable electronic formula that is strong on rhythms, patterns, synthpads and obviously beautiful melodic male and female vocals! A great deal of importance is left up to the female singer, whose haunting and entwining excursions well complement the softer, mysterious, slower and more ethereal compositions (representing a fair amount of the 11 tracks) while the male vocal does the more nostalgic dark wave tunes. Add up beautiful and nostalgic with danceable and electronic and with ethereal and bewildering, and you'll likely get an "Emotional Screening Device"... This is Frozen Autumn ladies and gentlemen, there shouldn't be need to add much more to that, you know what to do if you are into this type of music. You can't afford not to have this among your records.
Unfortunately I only got a plain promo CD without the original artwork so I can't tell you much about it, but I am told that the first 1000 hand numbered copies will come in a luxury black leather box with two full color booklets, which I am sure must be astonishing! The regular edition will be digisleeve + booklet.

Butterfly Messiah: Priestess

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 22 2002
Artist: Butterfly Messiah (@)
Title: Priestess
Format: CD
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
It's been quite a while since I last heard F242 being mentioned as an influence, but thanks to Butterfly Messiah some good old memories came back ;-). Anyway, they also throw in Dead Can Dance, New Order, Die Form, Miranda Sex Garden and Loreena McKennit, so from that you can gather that we are dealing with a quite unique mix of synthpop, dark, ebm and industrial. I am not too much into this, but I can tell you that "Priestess" is nine tracks made up of very old drum machine sounds and bass lines, orchestral synth pads, reso synth lines, traditional ebm male vocal parts (often treated) and melodious dark female vocals (often angelic falsettos). Couple in music and in life (a third member has recently joined), they started in 1998 (after individual experiences) and seem to have a quite impressive following (claimed figures such as Top 5, 27'000 downloads, 10'000 monthly hits would be proof of that) and this is their first real debut CD (after an appearance on Cleopatra's "Unquiet Grave III" sampler and a couple of demos). Also worthy of mention are the symbolic and obscure lyrics, which allow for different interpretations. The CD comes with a never-seen-before mirror tray that looks like a heavy metallic surface (really really cool idea!!!) and a nice booklet.

Dark Star: Travelogue 2

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 17 2002
Artist: Dark Star (@)
Title: Travelogue 2
Format: CD
Label: Soleilmoon (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Wow, lots of things to say about this... I popped it in before even reading the info sheet and I immediately thought (I swear!) that these guys (or at least their vocalist) sound like the Legendary Pink Dots, but then of course I have learned that they sound like them 'cause the singer IS LPD's singer Edward Ka-Spel. In fact this is a collaboration project by Ka-Spel and Wolfgang Reffert (german musician and tour manager for Skinny Puppy and the Swiss trio Young Gods among others), who has been behind the Dark Star moniker for a decade or so. As a matter of fact this very record is a reworked re-issue of "Travelogue", originally recorded in the early nineties with the LPD, Italy's band Technogod and Gotz Adler (who also is on this re-edition). While omitting the last two songs of the original version, four new tracks have been added instead. The material is slow electronic wave music with a claustrophobic experimental vein and slow drum patterns. You can definitely still hear the echo of the eighties but also the ninetees are there. Songs like "Come To" (with the voice of Yorgos DK) might even sound a bit like Depoche Mode, but the rest of the album is less ebm/pop than that. There are more Joy Division/LPD-style beats with drum machines and industrial sounds and electronic synth-pads with a hard attack used to scan the beat and give it a musical entity (somehow Kirlian Camera style). When Ka-Spel sings it's obviously very hard to stop thinking about LPD... String pads and other layered sounds are used a lot too and even a distorted bass "Frantic Upstream" find place. Some lush distorted dark wave guitars are to be found too. There are also experimental pieces like "Solaris I" (which is one of the newer songs; '94-'97) with various sounds such as people playing pool in a bar, squeeking doors and pulsing electronic sounds. Electronic suites with more upbeat rhythmical structures and synthetic patterns ("Belvedere", also one of the four new ones). Of course all pieces feature special collaborations among which Volkmar Miedtke, Wolfgang Bear and the bass player from the german ironic-fun-punk outfit Die Artze (the doctors).
The front cover is by French illustrator Moebius (from the cult comic book "The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius").


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 17 2002
Title: Dust
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
If you listened to Peter Murphy's previous release (the double live album titled "aLive Just For Love") you already are familiar with the atmosphere this new DUST spreads. Finally Murphy found a way to make his definitive record because this album is packed with intense emotions, deep involvement and a bright performance. The nine tracks performed here could be view as a sum of all the influences he had in all these years: Middle Eastern sounds (he lived in Turkey for a long time), little eletronic arrangements, magical and mysterious atmospheres and his deep voice. Composed between Montreal and Istanbul, from July to September 2001, this album born as a collaboration between Peter and Mercan Dede. He discovered Mercan Dede's work via a CD his wife had been reviewing for one of her acclaimed Modern Dance Turkey company pieces, and just as Peter had been wondering who and where this man was, the phone rang and it was Mercan himself, so there begun their cooperation. Just listen to songs like "No Home Without Its Sire" or "Girlchild Aglow" and you'll realize that this eighth album redefined everything that man is. For sure this is a meditative album and you'll have to listen to it with the right mood but you'll find the listening plenty of satisfaction.

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