Music Reviews



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Artist: Dead Guitars (@)
Title: Flags
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
One of most relevant surprise carried by a gust whirling from the evergreen alternative grounds is without any doubt the one by these waving Flags, proudly waven by Dead Guitars, a collaborative project whose bandilleros have already walked over the decuman gates of the walls surrounding those fields: almost 7 years have elapsed since Pete Brough, one of the founder of German band Twelve Drummers Drumming , and Ralf Aussem, the man behind the curtain of the successful band Sun, decided to share their musical experiences and knowledge with vocalist Carlo van Putten (from The Convent), giving birth to Dead Guitars (sorry for the pun!), which signed the highly appreciated Airplanes, an album which let them gain the prominent role as a support band for the widespread European tour of The Mission, with whom Dead Guitars began a prolific collaboration as three members of The Mission have collaborated and performed on DG's new album, Wayne Hussey in Isolation (one of the most catchy track of the whole album as well as a potential reply to Fool's Garden's rejection of isolation!), Mark Gemini Thwaite in the lovely and heartbreaking freedom chant Pristine and Richie Vernon on the melancholic Blue (whose recognizable electronic drums are going to be replaced by real drums on live stage... ) . The way this skilled foundation develops sound is really impressive and their renowned creative wit seems to strike an attitude if compared to Airplanes: guitar arrangements are maniacally cared while drums and the evocative vocals by Carlo van Putten and his astonishing jauntiness are sometimes the elements making the real difference. It's almost impossible to tell which track is better than others. They shows an unbelievable skill in diversifying their masks passing from up to mid-tempo, showing a terrificly unconstrained style, covering a range of emotional setting whose wideness a psychologist could diagnose just on the most serious case of cyclothymia ranging from the rage of Pristine and Miss America, the romanthicism-tinged On A Trip To Elsewhere, moody pieces like Lazy Moon (with an amazing distorted piano tones and a sort of weeping motif...), Silver Cross River (my personally favorite one... I was almost totally ravished and absorbed by this entrancing track...) and Raise Your Flags, the purity of style of the wise Slowdown and the heavenly choral Watercolours featuring the wonderful voices of a group of Dutch students attending G2a... You should listen to this album as a sort of spiritual experience to better appreciate it...

Immediate, emotional, powerfully melancholic... Maybe one of the most balanced mix of gothic, wave, progressive and melancholic moods we've heard among recent releases... Dead Guitars will surely play the chords of your soul. It's a must-have if you love to refresh your ears with cool breeze of psychedelically epic stuff! I definitively hope to see them perform somewhere!
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Artist: Division Kent (@)
Title: Gravity
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Even if the Swiss '“ from Zurich... - band (actually a duo made up of the enchanting femme fatal sometimes turning-into-a-lolita Andrea B '“ you could wonder on the powerful of her voice to sound like an erotic scratch on your skin.. if you like scratches as well! -and the skilled Sky Antinori) classifies itself as an electro band, it's easy to notice some echoes in the visceral structure of their songs from the windy territories of Trip Hop, Nu Wave and the crowded ones of Rock and Pop. Their chamaleontic style covers a wide range of styles in Gravity, their second full-length after their debut-album, Monsterproof, issued three years ago, even it's quite easy to imagine which musical idols Division Kent devotionally adore: for instance you'll recognize some Depeche Mode influences in tracks such as No Kryptonite (... well this album it's about Gravity, the attractive force of big masses on smallest ones and even Superman's not exempt from this force, folks!) , Gravity (how many references buzzing in my head! ... the melodic similarities between these song and The Secret by the Italian electro-cinematic project Gone, inspired by Hitchcock's plot, let me think about the idea of gravity as a metaphor of death in the movie Vertigo... but this track let go to the surface other listening such as Cranes or the Dutch band The Gathering of the How to measure a planet?-era), In The Headlights or Salty (a track which seems to be an hip-hop grime-like blow-piping on some excerpts of Violator... both for the sound treatment and for the song structures while a bizarre disco face is showed in tracks such as Offshore (could you imagine a Suicide Girlie version of Kylie Minogue?), a glamouresque French electro stress in the funny L'Heure Bleue (you could imagine something like a bloody punching round between Fischerspooner, Visage and Royksopp to have an idea of what're going to listen up... ).

The conclusive The Year Of Magical Thinking sounds like a further body of evidence of their affection for David Gahan & C., even if we cannot say Division Kent is a DM clone and the fact that they're a source of inspiration could be easily demonstrated in the 13 remixes collection attached to the regular album in which a plenty of musicians from different angles of the planet (as well as from remarkably different musical perspectives... ) enjoyed discovering and adding different dimensions, which could be appreciated both by clubbers and by listeners close to sound experiments. My favs among them the Booka Shaded "Joe And Will Ask? Remix" of gravity, the punchy boombap Justin Faust remix of Salty, the sun-drenched house tunes of Dunwich Remix of She's Going Places, the 80ies underwater glam Shook Remix of L'Heure Bleue and the tickling of After Midnight one of Pat The Pan Am Pilot. Paraphrasing some of the sleeve-notes of the booklet ("Waiting on a sign/Louder than words/So Likely/To trigger corrosion"), we wait for a sign better showing their musical personality without any recognizable influence. Stop listening for a while Depeche Mode and then throw the door-key of studios, folks!
Sep 30 2009
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Artist: SOUNDGAZER (@)
Title: Like Gravity
Format: CD EP
Label: Pose 9 Entertainment
Rated: *****
Two years from their debut album "Screen feel" and with a new album in preparation, Soundgazer are back with an appetizer or what it will come. LIKE GRAVITY is a four tracks E.P. that shows how much the band improved from their previous release. Many reviewers pointed out the vocals as their major flaw so Voytek worked hard and succeeded into making four electro industrial songs with clean vocals (using also backing vocals), guitars, pounding rhythms and electronic sounds which sound convincing and well arranged. "Stay the same" is the song the band picked up as main one (you can find also its video directed by Rany Ly, the band's bass player, on the enhanced section of the CD) and is a particular one because if "Like gravity", "Thoughts felt" and "Generations" could make me think of an e.b.m. version of N.I.N., "Stay the same" to me sounds like and electronic version of Misfits. You know, it has choruses similar to what I used to listen with songs like "Skulls" or "I turned into a Martian". Be ready for their next full length...
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Artist: GREGOR TRESHER
Title: The Life Wire
Format: CD
Label: Break New Soil
Rated: *****
After his 2008 debut album "A Thousand Nights" Gregor Tresher has been really busy. He founded his own label Break New Soil (always part of the Great Stuff roster) and prepared his second album THE LIFE WIRE. Known by most of the audience for his fine techno style, Gregor decided to widen the spectrum of his music including vocals and giving to different tracks a certain electro touch that mix really well with his kind of techno sounds (his first album had already seeds of what had to come on "Full range madness") . Since from the opening "Ghosts" you realize that something interesting is going to happen: it opens with a mysterious atmosphere and a fat bass line that sounds so good mixed with the syncopated drum rhythm. On the second tune "The very end" we start the dances thanks to great deep vocals, riding bass lines and drums plus a bit of electro house touch. Electro, house and techno are the main elements of this thirteen tracks album and you won't find any filler. Tracks with vocals and catchy melodies alternate techno/house instrumentals giving to the album a feeling of freshness. On all the CD there's an overall nightly atmosphere that I appreciated. Check on the Great Stuff player at http://www.greatstuffmusic.eu/1998/01/bnscd001.html "Ghosts", "1982", "Awaking life inside" and "The very end" first and you'll realize that I was right... this album has so much to offer!
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Artist: Cyber Snake
Title: Internet Album
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: afmusic (@)
Rated: *****
While the silly title of the album might make you think otherwise, "Internet Album" is actually a very solid, well-produced effort. From what I can gather this is the first album by Cyber Snake, and it is a nice addition to the goth metal/ electro metal genres. Actually, there are various genres explored here, but the easiest points of reference are bands like Lullacry and Lacuna Coil, but with synths thrown in, and with a Russian vocalist and guitars that aren't afraid to get funky with the wah pedal on occasion.

This is nice stuff, though it does suffer a bit from the "let's combine various musical genres to cover up our lack of identity" syndrome. A lot of the songs start off in a more EBMish vein, before they eventually kick in to a metal or rock sound. I certainly wish they would stay with the former, as they have good beats and nice synth sounds. That said, Cyber Snake are talented musicians, and "Internet Album" is a good album. If you like your metal spiced with strong female vocals, prominent synths and the occasional funk bass, this is for you. It's available for free, so you may as well give it a chance.
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