Music Reviews

Artist: Alien Vampires
Title: Fuck Off And Die
Format: CD
Label: BLC productions (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
The Roman duo Alien Vampires made up of the showy characters of NightStalker (... and his gun-like electro-industrial shots of acid samples)and Nisrok Infernalien (... and his viscous sticky vocal emissions... who’s that bastard surgeon who transplanted to him a pharynx from a rabid cat suffering from adenoids? ) came back with another coarse intercourse entitled Fuck Off And Die, a storm of ebm and techno movements full of scrap iron-like sounds, interferences, dis/torsions and boomy 4/4 rhythmical patterns , which are an effective remedy for mummified dancers although it is quite uncouth and totally rough (... I’m getting allergic to synth-brass sessions inherited by some Italian hit-house... I’ve sneezed on the screen while listening to tracks like Far From Shadows even if it is co-signed by the Suicide Commando mastermind Johan V.R., which isn’t a greenhorn of this kind of records and brings his tribute to the microphones). We have to admit that Alien Vampires’ guys have hugely improved their formula if compared with their past productions even if there’s a substantial lack of refined tracks and it seems they’re just winking at ferocious and angry dancefloors (... maybe a choice partially justified by marketing considerations as most of their fans in Rome have been collected among disco clubs such as Alien or famous fetish parties such as Ritual from their very first steps in the scene... ) without any real innovation except of some tracks such as "The Convent Burns" or "Resistance Ain’t Futile" with a more darkish appeal and frightening atmospheres than just an obvious melting pot of harsh beats, hard rhythms, female whimpering and blasphemous lyrics. There’s a slight evolution towards better directions if you consider the fact that most of Alien Vampires’ notoriety was also built on cover artworks for collectors, satanic adepts and fetishists (one of the most funny as well as blaspheme one was that of Nuns Are Pregnant... ). The one they choose for Fuck Off And Die is even more elegant than the previous ones, maybe as even AV are conscious of the undeniable fact that their sound got more refined than before!!! Some choices (including a graphical format between splatter and sadistic-pornographic references including the one of involving Laura Panerai, a fetish Italian porno star which recently decided to sell even used underwear and pubis hair, for some snapshots on the booklet... ) seems to be excessively stretching yet to persuade people having a refined "musical" palate to buy their record, but we could reasonably argue that this record will have a great success among aliens, vampires and above all people boasting of both of these qualifications! A part of Johan V.R., we have to mention the presence of some other famous collaborators such as Jouni from In Slaughter Natives (... leaving his mark on the obscure march introducing this record... ) and Noisuf-X (the technoid manifestation of Jan Lehmkamper aka X-Fusion, treating the title-track adding some ingredients from breakcore style).
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Artist: Violet (@)
Title: Modern Life
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Equinoxe (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
If you're not totally unaware of the German Gothic-folk and Medieval scene, it's possible you already heard something about Violet '“ or maybe you were lucky enough and see them perform on the same stage with renowned acts such as Corvus Corax, Faun, Saltatio Mortis or Persephone... - as well as their side project Violetta, one of the most intriguing medieval music project from the German fertile ground, which gained a considerable acclaim among people addicted to that enchanted imagination crowded with princesses, knights and sometimes dragons, witches and necromancers and perceives as still anchored to forgotten habits and values clashing with modern times! If you already follow this band, you probably know that just one year ago they composed a sort of soundtrack for The Book Of Eden, the best selling book of the fantasy German novelist Kai Meyer... Well, that book begun as a sort of spiritual journey of a group of heroes starting from the Parisian Tour Eiffel - a steel giant which could be considered as one of the most emblematic symbol of the modernity '“ and going towards orient. It seems that for Modern Life, the same heroes come back to the modernity to fight against the false gods and believing of Modern Life. Such an interpretation could be easily verified since the beginning of the record: while Exult is a sort of ironic statement dealing with the misunderstanding of the concept of self-fulfillment '“ often confused with ephemeral material wellness... - with an apex reached in the final strophe ("they say it's healthy to be just a little selfish/to be a liar and a bitch sometimes/they say it's fine to be a little egocentric/just in case it suits you well"), Modern Life is the introduction to the other side of the so-called modernity, speaking about the sense of denying and annihilation of personal identity and the need to emerge of people laying like numbered balls in a ballot box hidden into an anonymous crowd. The first part of this record winking at rock-orientated dynamics end up with Home, which seems to be the page of an intimate diary inviting the listener to find home inside itself while walking on the endless path of life. There's a touching cover of Wreath Of Barbs '“ famous and lovely piece by the legendary Bavarian dj Rudy Ratzinger (just to dispel any doubt, he's not related to the Pope... as a body of evidence we could cite of the highest point of the insensively spiritual lyrics of this song sentencing "the injection religion/has a comalike effect/and bodies lay in decay/dreaming of a greener day"!)- with a goth-folk flow and a distinguishable oriental fragrance. You'll probably stand on ceremony after having a listen to a musical version of the Ode to Francisco Salinas, originally written by Fray Luis de Leon for this revolutionary musical theorist and organist, blind from birth (sometimes it's not a limit... ), who starting from the theories by the Franciscan monk Gioseffo Zarlino about music in High Renaissance (the "ars perfecta" in its own words!) elaborated some interesting theories frequently applied in modern music about harmony and rhythm, intuitions which according to the literary tenor of this ode are compared to the vision of high spheres ("alta esfera"), even if his scores have been lost and no one knows anything about his compositions for organ; the combo has chosen an elegant texture of dubby rhythms mixed to latin and celtic sounds with an oriental touch, a pot-pourri highlighting the intent of this exquisite combo to go over the stylistic boundaries. Oda a Francisco Salinas is not the only song entirely sung in Spanish, being the other one a foggy habanera interpretation of the famous caricature-like poem Poderoso Caballero by Francisco de Quevedo (words such as "poderoso caballero es don dinero" '“ "brave knight is mister money... !- reminded to us the El Pais reportage on Italian prime minister, the cavalier Berlusconi... .!!!), a poet, politician and nobleman who was endured by political persecutions for its frequent attacks on avidity and vices of the Spanish political establishment. The nice male/female vocal duet in White and the easy chords of the ballad Read My Lips are the more poppy acts of the whole album, while the formula mixing Celtic suggestions and athe brightening pop-rock melodic ballad in The Web could be perfect if Equinoxe will decide to issue a single from this album. Cembalo, guitar and bagpipe together with the mournful sing of Bianca Stücker in the melancholic vibes of I Wonder Why and the ritual appeal of Come Closer To The Fire close an album persuading us of the musical skills of this six musicians combo and even if they prefer to call their style "Medieval Crossover", they demonstrate their ability in drifting different style in their boiling pot. Hope to see them perform somewhere during the forthcoming summer as their live-shows are often enhanced by entrancing oriental dance elements and theatrical ones.
Title: A Girl And A Gun
Format: 7"
Label: Interstellar Records (@)
Rated: *****
The two track of this 7" "Canto de zafra" and "Canto de velorio" are two songs coming from the soundtrack of the independent movie titled "A girl and a gun" by Gustav Deutsch. Performed by a sort of super group of experimental music formed by Christian Fennesz, Martin Siewert and Burkhard Stangl the tracks are arrangements of two traditional Columbian songs. The people involved did a wonderful job by creating a suspended atmosphere made of minimal atmospheric sounds, acoustic guitar , piano and the beautiful/charming voice of Lucia Pulido (she's a well known Colombian singer) but also respecting the original song. With this new arrangement the original pathos of the songs is enhanced and find a new life. There's no need to be a lover of latin music to like "Canto de zafra" and "Canto de velorio" as considering yourself a person with feelings could be enough to convince you to purchase this 7".