Music Reviews



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Artist: Grabstein (@)
Title: Wargasm
Format: CD
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
Another new collaboration for the German SkullLine label, this time with a one-man act out of Switzerland. GRABSTEIN offers Experimental/Ambient driven soundscapes which are complimented with dozens of voice samples taken out of different scenarios which happened during World War II. Especially in the German-speaking countries it seems to be still a shame to talk, to sing or to play with themes and signs out of the darkest years of the 19th millenium. However, GRABSTEIN strictly explains not to follow any particular political tendency, he just like to portray those things, while it all shouldn’t be forgotten. The use of Hitler-samples (track "III" for instance...) and related stuff still touches and polarizes several people, although these things happened more than 60 years before. Since the music here can’t be called tracks, maybe rather more different extract, the artist has decided to name his pieces simply from "I" to "X". The extract No. "IX" is a remix work done by the Japanese Cyberpunk-artist Kenji Siratori (...soon more about him...) and to me the best work. It took a while until I recognized on which track he has worked, the original seems to be track "III". A second bonus remix "X" got provided by Natja K. As usual for a SkullLine release, this one comes out strictly limited to 50 exemplars and specially packaged, so you’ll have to act ASAP to purchase it.
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Artist: DEKAD (@)
Title: Confidential Tears
Format: CD
Label: Boredom Product (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
After two years from their debut album "Sin Lab", Dekad are back with a new one titled CONFIDENTIAL TEARS. As you can check into my review of their previous one, I already appreciated their style in balance from synthpop and electropop. On this new one, Dekad, enhanced their writing skills and produced a real good album which sounds homogeneous and solid from the first listening. "Dive", which you can listen to by downloading it from their website, for example, shows really well how good their songwriting is nowadays: catchy melodies, upbeat tempo and a bit of dance attitude. Balancing the track-list with electro ballads with a strong rhythm section and upbeat tracks having, as the first ones, good melodies, the French trio is able now to gather a worldwide following, inheriting also the Gahan fans who aren't satisfied by his recent album which sounds too melancholic and fresh less.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Noise Terror 2
Format: CD
Label: Noise Terror Productions / Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Compilations compiled by Johan Van Roy (SUICIDE COMMANDO) have always been an enjoyable event, if you look back through the years with his legendary "Voltage" series (released on long-out-of-business-labels like Possessive Blindfold or Dying Culture). He has always proven his talent to dig in parts on this globe on the search for new Electro/Industrial acts, before someone could ever imagine the growing meaning of communities like MySpace. Nowadays the procedure to hunt down some unheard talents gets easier with the technically evolution of a world-wide communication. Since the name of this comp and the presenting label NTP (Johan’s very own Harsh-EBM companion label to Dependent) gives you surely the right hint, which kind of music is placed here, I was hoping that Johan would continue the tradition of his "Voltage" compilations, to offer besides the huge amount of newcomers a wide-spread diversity of different music styles. Well, let’s say that Johan only half fulfills the expectations. The opener ROSEWATER out of Latvia (look out for an interview with them somewhere else on here...) for instance is one of the very few acts I totally adore for their excellent skills to combine hard EBM/Dark Electro tunes with some rough Powernoise efforts. It’s good to see that Johan could remember them and it’s much appreciated that they get another appearance to show a wider audience their talent, but... Why the fuck had they to present "N.M.E.", the opener of their nearly 2 years old last album "Bloodcount"? Seriously, the track is great, one of the best on here, but they’re already in the production process for new stuff and something newer was possible to get. The British/Italian act ALIEN VAMPIRES has recently signed to BLC Productions and has brought out a new album, which currently hits every thinkable sales charts of the international retailers. They present the most-typically sort of Harsh EBM/Hellectro music with Trance-loaded textures and technoid rhythm work, distorted vocals and an overwhelming aggressive attitude. It is still an unsolved riddle to me, why the playing with hot themes and signs in music and cover art is possible and allowed in the Black/Death-Metal scene – but still a scandal in the Electro/Industrial scene. If you reduce their efforts on the music only, it wouldn’t explain their ongoing success. NOISUF-X continues with his "softer"-minded sort of rhythmically Powernoise music, which Jan L. has presented nicely on his last album "The Beauty of Destruction". While STRAFTANZ’ self-titled dancefloor-burner still provides a huge club movement, here comes a new tune which offers surprisingly Myk Jung of THE FAIR SEX doing the guest vocals. And Johan Van Roy also couldn’t resist to join his own comp and provides his very first track after his 20th anniversary box-set release. "Hate Me" is a quit good new floor-burner and features a very personal but also drastically view of Johan on his past relationship. Stuff which will be discussed hot in the coming months will be surely the first CD appearance ever of the duo KOMBAT UNIT. It is nothing else than the audio debut of Jan L.’s (X-FUSION, NOISUF-X) and Johan Van Roy’s new created side-project – a quite good and energetic one, let’s hope for some more mutual actions. Also worth to notice is the great remix work of Canada’s FRACTURED on the GRENDEL track "Judged Ones" featuring a lot of effective sound manipulations and the remix of the Mexican act COLD DRIVE on FIX8:SED8’s "Minotaurus". Although this remix offers a lot elements of the slow interpreted original version, it fits at least well to accomplish this compilation. Regarding the newcomer acts on here, they’re all doing well and no act falls through the quality sieve. Best appearances are the ones of the Ukrainian act GINGER SNAP5 and South Africa’s WINTER SOUL, from which I thought, they’ve heard some of the last NoiTekk-releases too much. Johan Van Roy’s compiling to collect acts out of very different countries like CHAOSKULT out of Norway, REAXION GUERILLA out of Peru or SADIZTIK INJEKTION out of Turkey offers a decent and satisfying exotic touch to this comp. I like to forgive him the fact that I was hoping for some wider musically diversity asides the always-and-ever-beating Hellectro-rush since the responsible people have decided to sell this compilation to a mid-price. A must-have item for the genre-lovers.

Track list:

01 Rosewater - N.M.E. *** (Latvia)
02 Alien Vampires - Evil Generation * (Italy)
03 Noisuf-X - Fine Line (Fast Forward Mix) * (Germany)
04 Chaoskult - Vengence Is Mine ** (Norway)
05 Ginger Snap5 - Feel My Rhythm *** (Ukraine)
06 Straftanz - Burn Down Heaven ** (Germany)
07 Controlled Collapse - Destiny * (Slavestage Remix by Egoist) (Poland)
08 Suicide Commando - Hate Me ** (Belgium)
09 Asphyxia - Sense Of Decay ** (France)
10 Kombat Unit - We Are Machines ** (Belgium/Germany)
11 Winter Soul - Reactor ** (South Africa)
12 Reaxion Guerrilla - Sacrifice * (Remixed by X-Fusion) (Peru)
13 Grendel - Judged Ones *** (Fractured Remix) (Netherlands)
14 Sadiztik Injektion - Realize The Suicide ** (Turkey)
15 Fix8:Sed8 - Minotaurus (Man vs Animal Mix by Cold Drive) * (Germany)

* Exclusive Version/Remix
** Exclusive/Previously Unreleased Track
*** Rare Version/Remix

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Artist: DIALIS (@)
Title: Dialis
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Rated: *****
Despite some uncertainty of the piano player and of some guitar solos, the five tracks of the Dialis self titled MCD are a nice example of new wave music with modern attitude. I have the feeling that the three guys of the band don't questioned themselves about what kind of music they had to play and if they had to follow a particular genre. This let their veiled melancholy be free to permeate upbeat ballads with prominent acoustic/electric guitar duets and piano lines which can't be defined simply rock or post rock. Without losing ourselves into musical definitions the main point is that Dialis have good ideas and they are able to create a good mood. According to my taste the tracks stick too much on the same mood and this could be a bad thing thinking about a possible full length but our goth/wave readers could see that this band has something to offer... On the website you can check the best track of the E.P. "Close ocean".
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: La nuit Des Fées
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Rated: *****
Organized by Prikosnovenie and held the 29th of September 2007 at the medieval French town Clisson, "La Nuit des Fées" (The Night of Fairies) was a sort of label festival where the bands of the "fairy" branch of Prikosnovenie's roster, were performing. The CD gathers ten new tracks of those bands (only Collection D'arnell-Andrea in my opinion is doing a different musical genre but in this case their "Closer to unicorn" thanks to its piano/guitars/orchestration structure and female/male vocal duet can fit well the style proposed by this compilation). Cécile Corbel, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Louisa John-Krol, Mediavolo, Caprice, Lys, Djaima, Fleur, Karin Hoghielm and Collection D'arnell Andrea are bringing to the lovers of dreamy and medieval atmospheres new tunes rich of pathos. The album is also enriched by other six tracks which propose the same artists' line up that did a session during the festival. Here Luigi Rubino (Ashram), Riccardo Prencipe's Corde Oblique, Pinknruby & Mediavolo perform six beautiful acoustic songs (try the one I prefer fist, "Fishing stars", and you'll feel a warm hug all over you while melodies similar to Cocteau Twins of the "Victorialand" period) that will please you. Maybe some of them sound a little too melancholic but you'll find something worth for sure. The CD has a special packaging which contains also a 24 pages booklet illustrated by Sabine Adelaide with many Illustrators. Each page presents a country, its 'fairy' and a poetic story about this creature.
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