Music Reviews



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Artist: Informatik
Title: Beyond
Format: CD
Rated: *****
When Informatik released samples of their new album, "Beyond", some people were afraid that they follow the path of Apoptygma Berzerk, from EBM to something between synthpop and rock. Fortunately, the album as a whole proves that they did not change their style so much.
They started to use guitars. The guitar is dominant in a couple of songs (for example "As We Lay Silent") which makes them sound "warmer" than before. Those who expected this album to be as synthetic and cold as "Nymphomatik", let alone previous releases, may be disappointed, as it is not so gloomy indeed.
The difference between this and the previous release is visible even in their titles. "Nymphomatik" was sort of automatic, mechanical, while "Beyond" is much more organic. Also, there are no elements of trance music anymore. It may be perceived as drawback as well as an advantage. However, the band found a balance between new and old sound, and "Beyond" is a mixture of songs close to rock music ("As We Lay Silent") and electronic club hits, such as "Simple".

Lyrics have changed too. They are still about human relationships, but there is no trace of despair in them as in the case of "Nymphomatik". The lyrics are more mature and no one is singing that love is not for him anymore, which certainly is good.

If you like Informatik, or futurepop as such, give "Beyond" a try, but be aware that you will face new, less aggresive side of Informatik.
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Artist: SUM OF R
Title: Sum of R
Format: CD
Label: Utech Records
Rated: *****
Sum Of R born from an idea Reto Mader (a.k.a. RM74) had for a side project but it grew into a open structure musical project. Actually we find Roger Ziegler and Christoph Hess of Herpes O Deluxe are joining Reto for the first collective full length release. The band's homonymous album is divided into ten tracks/suites where the aim is the creation of a growing tense atmosphere which sound suspended in time. For the whole album you have a sort of cavernous reverb effect over all the sounds which is make you feeling dizzy. Most of the track are based on guitar noises/feedbacks but there are also tracks like "Basics of sleep": on this one we find a background of looped sounds (vinyl clicks and few percussive sounds) where a treated piano is free to improvise an obsessive piece. If your reference for guitar noise sound are Sunn 0, well, with Sum Of R be ready for something different: if Sunn 0 base their sound on bass frequencies growling guitars, Sum Of R make their guitars sound like a organ mixed using a vacuum cleaner and then they add to it effects and other instruments such like electronics, bass guitar, piano, drums, harmonium and Lenco turntables.
P.s. this release has a great deluxe packaging with silver printed black cardboard and a mini poster
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Artist: BLUE OCTOBER UK (@)
Title: Walk Amongst The Living
Format: CD
Label: A Different Drum (@)
Distributor: Alive
Rated: *****
After taking two years in the making, the latest Blue October UK album is out thanks always to A Different Drum. WALK AMONGST THE LIVING is a multifaceted album where the distinctive vocals of Ross Carter are well supported by the synthetic melodies created by his fellow band mates Glen Wisbey, Chris Taubert and Nic Johnston. The album has a balanced track list composed by thirteen songs which go from melancholic ballads (see "Let me see", "Tears of silvery rain") and introspective mid tempos ("City lights", "What's in your mind" or the closing "Beautiful skin") to upbeat synthpop dancey tracks (the great dark instrumental "Non compos mentis") and also some "rockish" ones (check the guitar based "All said and done" and "Spinning on the fullstop"). Great pop melodies and sensual atmospheres make of this album a must for the synthpop fans.
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Artist: SATORI
Title: Kanashibari
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring Records (@)
Rated: *****
Describing their sound as "fortean" (i.e. "pertaining to extraordinary and strange phenomenon and happenings"), Satori present to the fans of devilish atmospheres a CD reissue (containing also a bonus tracks titled "Pavor nocturnus") of their vinyl album released in 2007 by Dogma Chase. The title KANASHIBARI is a Japanese term for sleep paralysis (literally "bound or fastened in metal") and this made me recall the times I had a sort of o.b.e. experience when I was a youngster. You feel your body heavy while it's like you're staring at yourself from outside your body. You'd like to move but you're like made of cement. "Hypnagogic state" and "Nocturnal fury" create a nightmare atmosphere similar to the first moment you realize you aren't able to move, while "Unseen force" sound like an horde of demons that are rumbling because someone is evoking them. Justin and Neil are good at creating these anxious scenarios where horror and magick meet. Try them...
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Artist: AUTOPSIA (@)
Title: Factory Rituals
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Rated: *****
Available as free download at the Autopsia website, FACTORY RITUALS is a soundtrack they did for an exhibition held in Belgrade back in 1989. The seven tracks of the album bring me back to the sound of the early Autopsia releases (the "Palladium", "The Knife" and "Death is the Mother of Beauty" years") when they used choruses, industrial sounds and military rhythms. I really appreciated this release as the tracks are able to create an hypnotic atmosphere (see track IV for example with that looped strings/blows orchestra) avoiding the boredom effect. Mind you, Autopsia isn't offering these high quality mp3s for free because they aren't worth a CD release as all the seven tracks are good ones. Download them all while they are available!
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