Music Reviews



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Artist: Psyclon Nine
Title: Divine Infekt (re-release)
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Metropolis recently re-released one of the most impressive albums by Psyclon Nine. I'm one of those, who has never considered this band as controversial as some reviewers did in the past, when too many people still filtered anything surrounding them as rightwing, leftwing, communist or fascist, according to a blind and blinding watertight compartment-like vision of the world that came and keeps on coming in handy of well-known manoeuvres. In spite of the helpful clarification "No computers were used during the composition of this album", reprising some known messages that wink at animal rights activists, "Divine Infekt" is massively computerized: dating back 2003, it featured a higher dosage of synth-pop, aggrotech (particularly in the use of voice by P9's frontman Nero Bellum) and electro-industrial and just some traces of black metal (more clearly listenable in other outputs of the band). Specialists in synths will readily recognize the typical taste of some synth-squeezing such as the dynamics of the highly performative Nord Lead (maybe the 3 or the 4), the choruses on brass pads typical of EBM or the pre-delay of 30-35ms combined to some impressive sets of Pitch Shifter on the glorious Boss SE-50 to make the voice harsher. I won't say it could be considered still innovative from the technical viewpoint, but the content of its anguished lyrics could certainly be. This inflamed ring starts and ends on the title-track "Divine Infekt", whose refrain - a recorded voice repeating "We all deserve a life in hell" in a viscous web of synth-driven arpeggios and kicks - is the hypnotical motif of both the original opening version and the Aggrotech-oriented remix by Anthony Mather's band Tactical Sekt. A ring of fire, whose more interesting blazes are the more danceable "Clinik" (its medley "Bludgeon abortion/Lethal amputation/Onslaught of torment/Embrace the offering/Necrotic flesh/Design of tainted surgery/Cold steel blade/Neutralize mortality" could be echoed in your mind for a while), the brilliant synth programming that got forged for a genuinely provocatory song like "So Be It", the almost romantic "As You Sleep" (maybe the most melodic moment of the whole album) as weel as those songs (particularly "Clinik" and "Slaughter"), where you can hear the first bricks of the bridge joining electro-industrial and symphonic black metal, whose building would have been completed on their following album "INRI". Also available on a limited vinyl edition.
Oct 29 2009
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Artist: Life Cried (@)
Title: Banished Psalms
Format: CD
Label: NoiTekk (@)
Rated: *****
One of the most difficultly reachable goal of a plenty of ebm-gothic and electro dark bands consists mainly not only in finding a personal style, but keep on developing it without appearing banal and repetitive and carefully avoiding clichés and boring imitations. That's the goal Life Cried, the electro act led by the American musician Chris Reject (what a guessed nickname for such an artistic identity!), seems to have been reached in spite of the apparent stasis of the genre and that's maybe the reason they're not so prolific as other bands crossing the same musical fields: Banished Psalms is just their second full length album issued on the renowned German label Noitekk added to their discography even if the band's active since 1999 as it was necessary some ears to refine their sound which looks quite recognizable nowadays even if some tracks remind repertoires belonging to acknowledged mile stones and new levers of the scene such as Combichrist, Hocico, Dawn Of Ashes or Psyclon Nine.

The spellbound play of these banished psalms begin with a catching seraphic chorus and a tonal fragmentation on pianos introducing on the desperate self-tribulation of Another Sacrifice, which seems to narrate the psychological drama of an evil person divided between consciousness of guilt and the impossibility to avoid evil. Some chunky metallic screams and a bulldozing snare and bass-drum sequenced march of Bloodstained looks more accessible than similar electro-dark movements by other bands, while you'll easily appreciate the controversial between the harsh "rotulation" of kicks as well as the dirty percussive sets and the lull traced by piano and atmospheric sounds on the lush Dressed In Filth as well as the well-crafted hybrid of traditional Industrial style and brutal metal splinters exhibited in Bound In Hate, a track featuring the appearance of Nero Bellum (Psyclon Nine) on the keyboards (you'll get aware about the fact you should learn the art of refusing from Mr Reject when you're going to listen the scratchy guttural way he uses to sing "Hey, is this what you want from me? Oh that isn't enough, now bleed nut I said no, but I said No, this isn't what I want.."... really freezing and persuasive!!!). The evocative piano pieces Alone with realistic and dramatic samples of a weeping woman looks like a sort of prelude for the smashing fury of Preacher, whose infernal aura spitting fire and violence from a metallic 4/4 techno groove perfectly fits the ferocious and conscious '“stricken tormented words of the song reaching the peak when the shouting screams of the singer sing "we are crawling in ruins/ripped up inside/I've seen me insane/I felt my head fall/it took me to bleed"... words which look copied from a page of an imaginary notebook describing a fatal but temporary irritation. It seems the singer abandons its ferocious mood in the more melodic More To Tarnish, even if the lyrics oozes with desires of revenge and destructive purposes ("I used to hate myself for what I have done/Now I save myself from what went wrong/I destroy everything that comes my way"). Procession, Rigor Mortis stands as another prelude of the hard-hitting 5-minutes long Solemn, while Forbidden walks on the same path of the mentioned moods standing like an execration of the damages caused by despair and blind fury deriving from a blinded reason ("you fight the disease but you're causing the war/you fight the disease but you're causing more" are praiseful and prophetic words!). The enchanting and more experimental moody Derelict ends an interesting album which is going to disclose something deeply embedded in your memory!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: A Compilation 2
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Black Rain (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
A COMPILATION 2 is a budget double compilation where you can find 28 bands of the Black Rain, NoiTekk, Ars Musica Diffundere and Funk Welten rosters. The first CD is basically focused on the first two labels and it gathers the industrial e.b.m.sound of bands like Die Sektor Life Cried, Psyclon Nine, Iwr, Cyborg Attack, Distorted Memory, Tyske Ludder (a track from their come back album), Feindflug, Dawn Of Ashes, Supreme Court, Fgfc820, Vigilante, Tactical Sekt and Violent Entity. Their tracks are all taken from previously released albums and with these you can do yourself an opinion about the sound of those two labels (and if you love classic or industrial e.b.m. I suggest to check them). The second CD has different kind of sounds and gathers the ambient, electronic, goth and medieval bands of Black Rain, Ars Musica Diffundere and Funk Welten. In this case it's more difficult to find a balanced tracklist but it seems that the labels guys find a way to make it work. At the beginning you can find the orchestral goth of Novalis Deux, the goth of Rise And Fall Of A Decade (a track coming from the forthcoming re-release of "You or Sidney"), the ambient medieval atmospheres of Predella Avant, the ambient ethereal sound of Narsilion (with a track from their forthcoming album "Namarie"), Reliquary, Brillig (with a track from their next album "Mirror on the wall" which is also on their single I reviewed a week ago), Dandelion Wine, the theatrical distorted goth music of Killing Ophelia, the industrial metal of Jesus And The Gurus, the folk of Kutna Hora, the good electro medieval e.b.m. of Lamia, the ambient industrialism of Flint Glass, the really good electro ambient of Oil 10, and Amateur God. A good compilation that you can have for 5 euros plus postage directly from the label's shop page. A real bargain!
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Artist: PSYCLON NINE (@)
Title: Crwn Thy Frnicatr
Format: CD
Label: NoiTekk / Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
I know we had already a review on this current effort of this in between becoming very famous and recognized act (see also an interview with front man Ner0 somewhere here on our site...), which was rather concentrated to argue on the kind and sound of Ner0’s voice. Of course, also on this new release his vocals are sounding still like a raging Chucky, the killer puppet. But can this be the point of discussion? I somehow think, that especially this style of vocals has done a lot to make this band that recognizable and at least successful – it’s a matter of taste of course. But also musically a lot has changed compared to the predecessor "INRI", maybe the most successful album ever sold through their US label Metropolis Records. What could be called on "INRI" a first tendency to create a rather different sound than the once proclaimed Hellektro formula, finds here a continuation and a closer tendency to some Black/Death Metal sounds. This doesn’t only belong to the fact, that they now have added some more raging guitar riffs on the track "Scar Of The Deceiver" and "Crwn The Frnicatr", also the kind of arrangements and the rotating programming of the bass kicks (rather like an angry instrument...) tends more and more into this alternative kind. With some few exceptions ("Flesh Harvest", "Visceral Holocaust"), I really think that PSYCLON NINE will get problems to storm the dancefloors in comparison to the still growing army of Hellektro purist acts. It’s no longer a must to bring it all into a 4/4-on-the-floor mayhem, the tracks rather tend to integrate a chaotic, at times Punk-like attitude. The Electro/EBM purists need to be a bit more open-minded – difficult for Europe and the NoiTekk supporters – but I see the victory train in the USA, now completed with a long tour. "Crwn..." got mastered by Da5id Din (INFORMÄTIK) – I guess to work on this aggressive and infernal-like album was also a new experience for him...

PSYCLON NINE: INRI

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (2069)
Jul 18 2005
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Artist: PSYCLON NINE (@)
Title: INRI
Format: CD
Label: Noitekk, Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Nova Media, Metropolis
Rated: *****
The debut of this trio hailing from San Francisco, CA, "Divine Infect" has gathered a lot of success and recognition, more than band and label could expect. The reactions were that fine that the US label Metropolis Records finally decided to make a license commitment with the German label Noitekk to release this new CD "INRI" under own flag as an Metropolis artist. Congratulations to this. Well, the band has worked on a new release and here it is. The look on the cover lets you already realize that you hold a kind of a conceptual album in your hands. A naked "female" Jesus Christ with the nails of the crucifixion pinned through her arms could cause trouble with several pseudo-catholic communities which are richly present in the USA. "INRI" takes up the essential questions of the bible and/or the Christian belief and the band reinterprets it new in their very own style. Musically the band seems to make a development since their debut which was based pretty much into the Terror-EBM style. The elements are still rich present here and also the vocals (are they high pitched?) haven’t lost any form of aggression, they are sounding a bit like the ugly neighborhood boy and need some rotations to find acceptance. PSYCLON NINE could fill in some more melodic synth layers which have won more and more meaning, and also here and there some guitar riffs to thicken the bass lines. "The Feeding" is finally the most guitar-driven track here and I am sure the short-hair Electro purists will get toothache by listening to this! But calm down, here is enough energetic Electro-infiltrated stuff to blow out your mind. My favorites can be found with the tracks which feature the most remarkable melodic content like "Lamb of God", "Harlot" or "Nothing Left". Mass movements on the dark club floors are guarantied with "Faith : Disease" or "You Know What You Are". Finally I understand the enthusiasm at the Metropolis base, this act with this quality release is a must-have!

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