Music Reviews



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Artist: S.E.T.I.
Title: Corona
Format: CD
Label: Power And Steel (@)
Rated: *****
Active since 1992 with the S.E.T.I. moniker Andrew Lagowski (who's active with many other projects since 1982) is releasing for Power & Steel division of Loki Foundation his fifth album CORONA. Based on the sounds and emotions of deep space explorations CORONA with its mix of drones, hisses, bleeps and N.A.S.A. samples is able to awaken primordial memories. The seven tracks of the album alternate light melodic lines, cosmic like sounds and noises creating the effect of being back to your mother's womb. The rhythms are uniquely created using clashing electronic noises (see the opening track"Senior crown") that like lasers break the magmatic fluctuating synth waves with a blast. Another great track is the third one "Jece (Mix 1=4)" where the magnificence of cosmos is greeted by a sort of suite where synth long pads are coupled to orchestral organ like sounding crescendo. Mind that this is an album that needs to grow into your ears and needs you to take some time off from your frenetic activities just to join the flux...
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Artist: Ionic Vision (@)
Title: Bitter Isolation
Format: CD
Label: Machineries of Joy / COP International (@)
Distributor: DDT
Rated: *****
Well, isn’t this album already one year old? Anyway, COP and of course their sub-label MOJ (machineries of Joy) gave it recently out for promotional purposes, so here we go now. Back on top of the Old-School-EBM scene, the Belgian trio IONIC VISION offers for the most part again the known formula of their Neo-Body-Music. Musically very near to their idols of the veteran days like DAF or NEP, Sven Lauwers and Andy DeDecker themselves are meanwhile old enough to get called veterans – early demo tape recordings turn back to 1991 if I’m right, so may they are already idols for all the younger Neo-Body-acts like JÄGER 90, KOMMANDO XY or ADAC 8286. Not to forget the third, still hidden band-member Louis Zachert, who takes care to add the right mix and production tricks to their fat and smacking bass line sequencing work. IONIC VISION are still an appreciation for most of the short-haired EBM-maniacs, although they seem to be pissed regarding the poor amount of attention, they get in their home country. Belgium – in the good days the starting point of the true EBM movement, but nowadays only a small and relatively insignificant Mid-European country musically infiltrated by nameless plastic Pop music - doesn’t seem to have any interest to spend only glimpse of attention for IONIC’s efforts – they are definitely more recognized and renowned by the international audience. This maybe explains the chosen album title, the comfortable looking armchair they can’t explain – IONIC VISION are sounding more raw and rough than ever before. The older Sven Lauwers gets – the better he knows to set in his screamo voice – and a good and electrifying male shouter is pretty much important to guarantee success in this special music genre. "Bitter Isolation" offers 100 percent full-scale Old-School EBM separated into 16 tracks, from which 12 tracks are original compositions. Remix contributions can be heard from ORANGE SECTOR or THE HORRORIST on "Die Macht", one of the very few tunes, in which IONIC VISION are presenting German lyrics, as well as the two remixes of "Sleep", which are to me the better ones. With the hired Louis Zachert and his wizard-like golden hands in the back, IONIC VISION present themselves on the highest throne this specific genre has to offer.

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Artist: Hystakmine (@)
Title: Hedonistic
Format: CD
Label: Hellektro Holocaust Records (@)
Rated: *****
Another new release by the Hungarian label Hellektro Holocaust Records brings us the debut of a new Portugal-based three-men outfit. HYSTAKMINE got formed with prominent band members, since this project consists of Walter of IN[PERFECTION] (currently in the final stages to release an official debut album – more about this talented Portuguese music project soon in this heading...) and Hypecrash and Chainheart of EDEN SYNTHETIC CORPS (ESC – check our interview and reviews about them on here...). So here aren’t bloody greenhorns at work and this can be easily recognized, since the arrangements of HYSTAKMINE follow a higher technically standard compared with the label mate of SYNDROME X/209. "Hedonistic" shall feed the inner need of your usual Hellectro-consuming-experience and this works for the most part. "Thrill" or "Allergy" set fire under the feet of the dancefloor-junkie, while the highlights of this album can be rather found in the musically more thrilling tracks like "Winter’s Pulse" or "Lust", which impresses with a muscled bass-line programming. The overall good impression, which this album leaves, gets altered through the unnecessary integration of at least 5 pure instrumental tracks, which lack of originality or they are that uninspired arranged, that they can’t attract attention at all. Also the speedy "I Am The Reaper" feeds too obviously the often discovered cliche this genre seem to be trapped into. A must-have release for all the Harsh Electro enthusiasts – I agree on this with the label info – but it remains the question, why especially the both gentlemen of ESC felt the need, to come out with a side-project in a pretty much comparable music style...
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Artist: TONY WAKEFORD
Title: Not All Of Me Will Die
Format: CD
Label: The Eastern Front (@)
Rated: *****
Active for twenty years now under his main moniker Sol Invictus, Tony Wakeford during this time released also some albums with his name. NOT ALL OF ME WILL DIE is his fourth and it has been released two years after "In the woods" by the Israeli label The Eastern Front. Based on the life and work of the Polish-Ukrainian Jewish poetess Zuzanna Ginczanka, who was executed by the Gestapo in Kraków in 1944, the album contains six tracks which lyrics are based on her writings. Joined by guest musicians and vocalists, including avant-garde composer Susan Matthews and members of Orchestra Noir, Zunroyz and Sol Invictus, Wakeford opens the album with a twenty two minutes opus "Non Omnias Moriar" where acoustic guitars, percussions, oboe, strings and vocals perform a folkish experimental suites full of pathos. When vocals join in after eleven minutes the track already reached its top but Wakeford is able to add some magic to it. The second track has a bit of jazzy influence with that swing bass line but the other instruments play a mix of psychedelic improvisation where noises, effects and strings lead the dance. "Fullness Of August" is the third track and the second to have a proper title (other have only their track list position number) and it sounds like a slow joyful ballad which melodically remembered me Killing Joke of the "Brighter than a thousands suns" period. Here dulcimer, treated guitars and oboe create a sort of wavering sound that cradle the listener. Tracks number four is a dramatic instrumental strings based tune while on fifth guitars, oboe and vocal samples develop the sound of the previous one. The sixth and final track mix tribal percussions, treated guitar sounds (reverbs and reversed sounds are used) closing with a touch of dreaming atmosphere a good album.
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Artist: AGNIVOLOK / CHAOS AS SHELTER
Title: Hebane
Format: CD
Label: The Eastern Front (@)
Rated: *****
HEBANE isn't the newest Agnivolok release as it contains the very first recordings of the duo plus the early Vadim Gusis recordings under the Chaos As Shelter moniker. The album has been previously available as bootleg in 1999 with the title "Belena" and this The Eastern Front edition is its first official release. The five Agnivolok tracks mix folk, experimental sounds and tons of melancholy while the four Chas As Shelter ones are based on industrial experimental sounds where reverb and thin melodic sounds create a sort of clashing effect where everything is blent into a nightmarish wave. While Agnivolok, thanks to Vera Agnivolok's voice, to me represent the voice of thousands of souls in pain, Chaos As Shelter's music is the soundtrack to despair and titles like "Alien", "Purgatory" or "The sacrifice" make me think that I'm right. Agnivolok's tracks sometimes sounds like litanies full of sorrow and you have to be in the right mood to enjoy them.
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