Music Reviews



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Artist: FGFC 820 (@)
Title: Law And Ordnance
Format: CD
Label: NoiTekk / COP (@)
Distributor: COP International
Rated: *****
The return of the both New York-based DJ’s Dräcos and Rexx Arkana under their moniker FGFC 820 comes out in a quite expected kind. Their second album aptly entitled "Law And Ordnance" is another onslaught musically following the path of a Harsh-EBM/Club-oriented Hellectro-sound, while it lyrically may speaks out a bit louder the things going wrong in the huge and almighty USA. Be it to name social, political or at least the problems of the strict mass-media-driven separation between "red" and "blue" states – FGFC 820 have never been shy to name the hard content. This isn’t surely the relaxing way of being a Harsh-Electro act and "Law And Ordnance" doesn’t at all provide a "Yes, We Can" – mood full of hope and confidence – no wonder, this album has been produced in the icy times before the presidential election. Also optically they still "play" with the typical-EBM-related Military-inspired outfit, also provided through their cover art (yep, the tank still rolls and has left ruins behind...). Musically, "Law And Ordnance" follows rather the already walked path already discovered with the predecessor "Urban Audio Warfare". Straight-to-the-legs oriented Harsh EBM tunes, which for the most part avoids to integrate surprises. FGFC 820 aren’t offering high-end programming skills and some tunes really turn into purest simplicity and minimal constructed ideas – it rather all depends on the message and the energetic kind especially provided through Rexx’ vocal performance, which sounds still as one of the best the genre has to offer. Maybe this minimal kind also separates them from any label colleagues like DAWN OF ASHES or TACTICAL SEKT, because a more reduced arrangement can’t offer to much Techno/Trance-related outfit and this is still more preferred. As for musically surprises, you’ll get a cover version on Pop Will Eat Itself’s "Ich bin ein Ausländer", which offers next to the Breakcore-like beats some Black-Metal-like guitar-riffs provided by Dräcos. As for perfect club burners, well, the whole album has enough to offer, but "Welcome To Baghdad", "Killing Fields" and of course "The Heart Of America" are the best worked out tunes to appeal anyone. Not bad at all, gentlemen, and quite effective produced.
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Artist: Bahntier (@)
Title: Venal
Format: CD
Label: Rustblade (@)
Distributor: COP International / Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Italian label Rustblade continues its march to be a leader in the European Electro/Industrial-scene at least mostly for that special area. Their main act BAHNTIER returns with a new studio album two years after the predecessor "Blindoom". Because of the growing success this act could reach before with the mentioned album, as well as with mouthwatering live-performances, the expectations on this multi-diverse act have grown high. The end result at first, BAHNTIER in the year 2008 are still able to convince higher listening demands. Woven in a mixture of EBM, Industrial, Tribal, Noise, Ambient, IDM and Electronica, the fabulous three band members Stefano Rosello, Fillippo Corradin and the SKINNY PUPPY live-drummer Justin Bennett are able to create a very own and authentic sort of music. This mixture still finds quells of inspiration by ideas of acts like the mentioned SKINNY PUPPY, North-American-like Electro/Crossover-influences and some Belgium-based veterans like DIVE and/or MONOLITH for sure, but in this kind how BAHNTIER are producing their music, it still sounds unique. "Roots" is surely the most traditional-like Electro/Crossover-tune featuring a guitar performance by William Morrission of OHGR. The speed grows enormous with the pounding tracks "My God" or "Neurosickness" and "Loud" is not only a four-letter-word. "The Drown" at least is a layered Dark-Electro-like instrumental-tune which leaves the listener impressed to the final end. As for a point of criticism, well, to offer only a playing time of just 35 minutes for a full-length is at least not enough, especially not, if the quality walks on a high path like on "Venal". But to keep on the tradition to offer a special goodie to the fans, also for "Venal" there’s available a rare and limited boxset, which is available directly from the Rustblade-shop. A collectors item to hunt for immediately. A full recommendation for this varied album, which celebrates the fact that this band has found a niche which sounds different to your usual Electro/Industrial listening procedure.

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Artist: Lucidstatic (@)
Title: Gravedigger
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Nowadays Electro/Industrial scene brings only very seldom artists to the daylight, which can use the term "innovative" to describe someone’s music style. The Alaska-based sole effort of Jimmy Church, LUCIDSTATIC, is surely one of this few acts, on which this term doesn’t sound platitudinous. We had Jimmy and LUCIDSTATIC, as well as his rather Downtempo-like side-project PANDORA’S BLACK BOOK already with some previous and self-released items on here. So I’ve been warned in advance what kind of storm would join my home entertainment. Even if it is fucking cold for the most part in Alaska, LUCIDSTATIC offers a hot and heavily pounding rhythm torturing kind of music. By taking inspiration out of styles like IDM, Breakcore, Powernoise and classic Industrial tunes, the percussive elements are the leading and driving force behind this act. Complex rhythm programming can sound layered, here you’ll get the proof for this thesis. And if Jimmy integrates too a sort of a synth-driven ambience in between his percussion rows, he earns surely the most applause for tracks like "Mercy Of A Bullet", "Unknown Test Subject" or P4tr10t". Some special collaboration with different but rather more unknown acts like IAMMYNEWT, SUMBRAXIS or THE PLASTIC EULOGY are featured as well. "Gravedigger" is a pure adrenaline-driven onslaught, whose valuable content needs to get discovered. Worth to spend your bucks on!.
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Artist: Endif (@)
Title: Carbon
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Jason Hollis’ debut album "Meta" released 2 years ago on Crunch Pod has been surely one of the highlights for the Harsh Tech/rhythmically Powernoise genre, since it has defined standards. This follow-up album was long awaited, but the message, that Jason would leave the seemingly save haven Crunch Pod to join the relatively new label Tympanik Audio was a big surprise. However, "Carbon" is out and continues in that style, which "Meta" has gone before. "Also "Carbon" is filled with mostly straight and forward-oriented Hard-Tech Noise tunes, which will surely set fire under the dancefloors. Still interesting also for pure Electro/Industrial-fans (...check out "Between Two Worlds"!!!), since Jason once again proves that his arrangements are still filled with diversity and interesting effects, which avoid to cause the impression of a never-ending monotony. "Carbon" is once again the expected masterpiece, although Jason has completely avoided to use vocals for his new compositions. Produced and mastered with the helping hand of the notorious Noise-wizard Justin Brink of PNEUMATIC DETACH (make sure to check out his fine remix work on "Police State"), "Carbon" once again integrates the best elements out of the pure Noise and the straight hi-end Tech sound of nowadays productions. Awesome from the first to the last tune.
Jan 05 2009
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Artist: TWZ (@)
Title: Evolution
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
Yes, this Swedish trio consisting of Richard, Lars and the female member Karin we had quite often on here with reviews on their self-released and –produced albums or in collaboration with the long defunct labels Plutonium and Deathpropaganda Records. TWZ are back, now signed to the Hungary-based Advoxya Records label, and this "Evolution"-album is a sort of combination consisting in parts of a retrospective of some demo favorites ("Clairvoyance" "My Friend Disorder" or "We Don’t Walk The Same Path" for example) and in other parts of new compositions ("Souljourner" or "The Grid"). Musically TWZ are following still an own kind of harsh Electro/Industrial music. The snatching and brutal distorted vocals by band leader Richard are a synonym for the often heard Hellectro-like pseudo-aggression, but musically they luckily avoid any Techno-/Trance-related outfit. TWZ still create through their bass-line-programming a sort of a melodic and I tend to say unique background instrumental scenario. Their tracks don’t offer normally the catchy content to get a singing- or summing-along-the-line experience and their compositions do definitely need a few more spins to impress the listener. The listener gets rewarded with a dark sounding synth arrangements quite different to the usual kind. Favorites of this album have to be named with the compilation-approved "The Grid" or "Flawed, Weak Ad Organic", which also features a co-vocal performance by the female member Karin. Thumbs up too for the experiment on "Crawling" to try out undistorted and nearly natural sounding male vocals. This is an ingredient, which could need some further continuations on their next releases. Also the both scary and ominous sounding intro and outro works "The Time In This Corridor Is Not As It Should Be" and "Confession" causing attention, although I would suggest to place comparable works in between the track list, since this would give the album a more varied floating. As for flaws, well, the drum programming comes out quite monotonous and the too often usage of same sounding kick and snares leaves enough room for a more refreshing and experimental work for future releases. Dark Electro-freaks longing for something different then the too often copied Hellectro-storm blowing out of the clubs will receive an excellent album, which entertains both, body and mind. Well done, keep it on!
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