Music Reviews



Artist: Soul Merchants
Title: Soul Merchants 1985-1987
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Smooch Records
Distributor: Smooch Records
Rated: *****
Soul Merchants is the name of the band that hails from Denver Colorado and is Goth/Deathrock Surrealism at it's best. Soul Merchants consists of a 5 piece Quartet starting with Malcolm Black on vocals and bass, Michael Moore on vocals and guitar, Robert Ferbrache on keyboards, guitar and vocals, Jerry Cuba on drums and Paul Cicora on drums as well to make up this Deathrock/ Gothic outfit. This album is a 2 disc cd dark/light that is a compilation through the years 1985-1987 and takes us back in time when music was raw and unprocessed. This is the first cd released ever, due to all the work being on tape only and other work only being on vinyl. Which truely makes it a memorable and enjoyable treasure for all to relish in. We take a walk on the dark side with track 1, " Blue Light which is a Bauhaus- esque track that is quite memorable. Dark vocals from 3 lads, singing, " I saw a pale light in your eyes." Haunting, deep and brooding and down and dirty just like we like it. We move to track 3, " Armoured Faction" which sounds so much like Peter Murphy antics with a whimsical spark added to it. " This road leads to heaven" is what they solemnly sing that mirrors Bauhaus's " Rose Garden Funeral of Sores ." This is the track that I feel I would danse to the most. Jumping a bit we move to track 6, " Cold Dark Bed " which sounds alot like Ian Curtis if he was singing on acid. " They sing, " I want to dive straight to the bottom." Psychedellic dark guitar lends the mood to the darkness that seeps in. Next is track 7, " Love " which is a moody, harpsicordy ditty that is dark and trippy and unique. They sing to us dreamy and overtoned by an overdubbed lurch-esque voice, " my hands reach out to free your spirit." " I contemplate my distance for you, truely unique lyrics for sure with dark desire and sentiment ". A dark love song that creeps under your skin and forever won't let go. Still progressing on we land on track 9, " Within Josephine" which is a lady we truely won't forget. Free flowing surreal and spiritual is the chemical makeup of this track. They sing to us, " everything within Josephine "," angels kiss your broken wings. "which is a guitar oriented track that digs deep into the crevices of our brains hearing the tale of one lady that haunts and taunts. I also found myself lost in the sentiment of this one. Still moving ahead we come to track 11, " Joshua's Song which is a pretty dark tale of a man that went away, something we can all relate to truely. Could possibly see this be the Soul Merchant anthem possibly. Another track that really truely stuck out is track 14, " Attics" which is a cool melancholy tale of the haunted attic we all have been in. They sing, " up in your attic, broken toys and games I see what you hide. " Truely spooky and all we know from the horror movies and memories we possessed as a child. The rest of the dark side is tales and tales of despair, deception, desire and delusions that make this first side of the dark a delight. Next we move onto the Light side and begin with track 1, " Crowns of Glory " which also reminded me of Joy Division-esque antics. Another song that should be remembered and cherished through the ages. The sing to us, " When you think of roses, do you think of thorns, any crown of glory always has it's horns." Truely witty, clever memorable lyrics that kick ass. This group is far from pretense and calls to the orginal. Next is another great track. " Johanna " which is badass and is another lady we will not forget. I particularly liked the drive this track had and it carried dark ambience as it described the setting it set. They sing to us, " black lace wedding dress and a room that smells of decay." How fitting for the Goth in all of us. I loved this track from start to finish, truely a masterpiece to listen to again and again. After hearing this track I had to move onto something faster to not get lost along the way writing this review due to being hypnotically charmed. So I moved onto track 6, " Save my Soul ", which was a face paced track still dark but very moving. It raced through my heart and grabbed me with it's hard hitting melody and feeling. They sing, " No one can save my soul." We have all felt this way at some point, enough said. Next is track 7, " Mental Clay." a fun depressing track with lovely pronounced keyboards in the background complimenting the darkness this track brings. Repetition is our friend this time and forever molds and shapes just like " Mental Clay " what the song calls for. The irony is the song itself, quite a clever notion, I must say. Still moving farther ahead we come to track 10, " Marianne " which we could expect to be Sistery is not. Sometimes what you would expect is not always what you get. This track by far is quite the opposite, still in the Joy Divisiony vein but something far different. You get uplifting and even they sing, " hey" punkesque and fun. With Soul Merchants you never know what you are going to get which makes this album exciting and leaves a promise if this band could re-surface someday soon. One can only hope but it would be amazing if they do. We will cross our fingers and pray to the elder gods for this to perhaps happen. Progressing farther we fall onto, track 13, which is " Valentines Day." First of all the number the track landed on was quite appropriate and again, this track had tricks and treats for the listener. This track reminded me of early Damned and Christian Death with a twist. which is two of the best bands I feel by far for old skool and greatness. Twilight Zoned doo- doo- doos came from the floorboards and jumped out and made this track undescribable but stuck in my mind and made me see this Hallmark holiday in a different light. This whole album is music to go on a quest, complete a mission and celebrate and just to complete it all off, we come to track 19, " Ceremony." which seals the deal of writing music that speaks it's spells, weaves it's webs and lures us in. Soul Merchants will own your soul, do you dare to surrender to them and forever own gratitude for doing so? ~ 4 stars Michelle Russo
Artist: VV.AA
Title: NEGATIVE IMPACT VOL 3
Format: CD
Rated: *****
The long awaited Negative Impact Volume 3 is now out, get your copy from http://www.myspace.com/negative. It is a self released various compilation with many awesome Indeadstrial/Aggrotech/Ebm artists on there. PFP Productions has done it again and put out this cool compilation to make a trilogy of a plethora of various talents out there. It picks up where Negative Impact 2 left off but it is newly improved and a wider range of genres that are surfacing in todays indeadstrial vein. Focusing on this compilation we begin with track one, " Digital Antichrist " from Critical System Error which is a band that hails from Chicago that is taking the terror Ebm circuit by storm. " Digital Antichrist " screams at you with it's harsh break beats and badass dark in your face voice singing over overdubs of " don't believe in god." This track is reminiscent of Agonoise and is pure harsh danse material. We proceed onto track 3, " Burn Baby Burn ", by Chicago band BioCarbon 13 which is another great band and the singer of this band Igor is the mastermind behind putting out this what I feel best compilation to date. " Burn Baby Burn " is a indeadstrial danse dream that calls to us with it's clever lyrics and dark charm. Igor sings to us, " Burn Baby Burn, I am your human sacrifice." Igor writes beautiful music to match the music we so long for and look forward to again and again. I just saw Biocarbon 13 live and they were amazing live definately a band to catch in all their action. Next is Track 5, " Brutalesspiel" by Sealed in Silence which is an abstract indeadstrial band that has haunting imagery and surreal landscapes to join with the marches of strife it projects to you. This was an interesting track that holds great promise to the world of indeadstrial music. We move to track 9, " Embrace" by Chicago band Jilt that is also hitting the circuit hard. Peter Propaganda is the brainchild behind this killer band that always seem to stick out the most. An indeadstrial windstorm of samples and just pure energy that will get you stomping to the beats. As we progress through this compilation one thing that is the theme of these various bands is noise, samples and the beauty of indeadstrial and let me say each band seems to excel in all catagories. Another track that stuck out among the rest if track 11, " The Bright Ones" by Asmodeus X a familar danse floor hit that we all know. It is awesome it appears on this compilation and only makes this stronger. " He sings to us, " here comes the bright ones", with all the beauty and pain it possesses, it is sure to melt our heart and forever call to us to danse to it's message. Still moving further we move to track 14, " Lost " which is by well known artists, " Phase Theory" which reigns in danse floor greatness. Lost is a great arsensal of pure genius. It reigns and takes over and moved me across my keyboard to the message it brings. Catchy lyrics rhyming and leaving us with death, now nothing couldn't be greater with that final equation, danse or die. All together this full compilation is one of the finest and put together with great thought and hard work. Negative impact brings positive feedback. ~ 4 stars Michelle Russo
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Artist: KINIT HER
Title: glyms
Format: CD
Label: Hinter Zimmer (@)
Rated: *****
Funny, when I first got the package from Dense, knowing it was on Hinterzimmer I was almost sure it would have been something dealing with "experimental-music-concrete-electronic-and-the-hell-knows-what-else", it was dark, I was driving home from work and I put it in the player for the "dangerous" first listening and surprise surprise: the cd had nothing to do with the aforementioned categories. To say it all this release is quite weird, above all if you add this band comes from the States, this' a elegant and sick mix of weird folk (really Current 93 alike) and norwegian black metal... ok, nothing surprising here, there're so many bands crossing this black area lately but Kinit Her sounds both honest an quite personal. The atmosphere sometimes is dark and scary, sometimes brings you in a weird middle aged dimension, the vocals have been probably treated in some bizarre way so it ends up resulting as the main vocals have been sung by a bunch of devil-possessed children. The recording and the production are brilliant and while giving this odd-darkened impression it also results quite warm above all in its folk components, in the same song they work with stop and go and at the same time alternate different sounds to reach the climax, the global impression I got is this cd has been well pondered. Despite the fact here and there they've this heavy guitar riffs and some "darkness will prevail" episodes the majority of the release is quite melodic, listenable and recreates atmospheres not so far from Dead Can Dance during their Aion-era, stylistically they've nothing to share with Perry-Gerald but I wish you will get what I mean. Ancient arias/arrangements, odd-folk, some old-acid-rock passages, black metal, a spruce of ambient and these strange voices are coming and going for the whole length of a cd that appears as a real narrative plot... I'm still waiting from some dwarves and witches to come and bring me back in the past like in Raimi's "Army of darkness". "Lucifer over London"?... ha, ha... we're living in such a dark age that I see Lucifer is over the whole globe.



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Artist: SOLVENT
Title: Demonstration Tape (1997-2007)
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Ghostly International
Rated: *****
Active since 1997, Solvent is the personal musical project of Jason Amm (he's also one half of the founders of the now defunct Suction Records label). DEMONSTRATION TAPE (1997-2007) is a double compilation of rare (you can find seven tracks from the now deleted "Solvently one listens" and "Solvent"), unreleased (we have three new tunes recorded in 2007 titled "In light", "Creepy crawler" and "Sample and hold") and released songs (we have three tracks from "Solvent city", the album released on Morr music back in 2001, four from "Apples and synthesizers" and four from "Elevators and oscillators", released in 2004 and 2005 by Ghostly International). On this twenty three songs track list we have the chance to get acquainted to Solvent music. Jason uses always analog synthetic sounds and his style span from the mysterious dark electronica of "Creepy crawler", to the robot upbeats of the following "Think like us" but passing through particular semi i.d.m. atmospheres of "Googly eyes" and "My blue car", the light synthpop melodies of "For you" or "Quite life" and the particular fragile suspended in time structures of instrumentals such like "An introduction to ghosts (extended)", "Flexidisc", "Black turtleneck" or "Some assembly required". Most of the time Jason's songs sound a bit melancholic and make me think about a robot with a soul. This double compilation contains also four bonus remixes. We have Adult giving a creepy treatment to "Flexidisc", "Alter Ego" pumping up "Think like us" thanks to a bit of distorted bass and new drum sounds. The Mitang Audio remix of "My radio" turn it into a nice electro dancey tune and the Jdsy mix of "For you" is a mix of i.d.m. rhythms and synthpop melodies. If you always wanted to check Solvent's music, this is the perfect beginning... but hurry the release is limited to 700 copies and I'm really late reviewing it!
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Artist: Stendeck
Title: Sonnambula
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Rated: *****
Stendeck’s latest effort "Sonnambula" is perhaps the best release that Tympanik Audio has put out to date. This says a lot because Tympanik Audio consistently puts out quality music. As someone who has reviewed several albums from the label, I have no qualms in saying that I think the future of dark electronic music lies with them. Stendeck’s latest effort is no exception. "Sonnanbula" offers a very sophisticated blend of EBM, IDM, and modern classical. What is great about this album is that in infuses emotion into electronic music, which has become increasingly rare these days. This is an album that has something for everyone from intense synth-lines, to delicate piano and synth string parts, to highly complex rhythms. It’s all here, from the beautiful to the unsettling. One thing that is particularly impressive about this album is its rhythmic compositions, which completely dispenses with the standard 4/4 convention to showcase intricate drum patterns that constantly shift tempos. However, what is even more unique is that the rhythm tracks, while highly complex, do not dominate the songs at all. On the contrary, the songs sound extremely spacious and ethereal, as opposed to the cluttered sound that one often gets with IDM albums. I would highly recommend "Sonnanbula" to anyone that is looking for an album that pushes boundaries.
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