Music Reviews

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Artist: THE GREEN MAN (@)
Title: From Irem To Summerisle
Format: CD
Label: HauRuck! SPQR (@)
Rated: *****
Originally self released four years ago, FROM IREM TO SUMMERISLE is the first band's album which contains also the four songs of the limited 10" titled "Irem" that have been released also by HauRuck! SPQR on the same year. The duo formed by Eliahu Giudice and Marco Garegnani on the first half of the album already showed the seed of their particular folk oriental sounding based spoken word. Style that on the following four tracks of the "Summerisle" part, finds its balance where the acoustic guitar is mixed with a good background structure made of synth sounds (strings, trumpets, etc) while Eliahu alternates spoken word and sung parts. Since the early days lyrics have been important as well as music was and already on this album the band dealt with religious or philosophic matters in a personal way. This lead them to compose the following album "The Teacher And The Man Of Lie" as a concept album (you can read more about the topic on the review I did). This new reissue contains full lyrics, a new graphics and two new songs: "Corn rigs" (an arrangement of Robert Burns ballads and Scottish, Irish, and English tunes) and "Liber Al", that is a partial version of Crowley's "Liber al vel legis" with a music commentary ("The book of the law" is the central sacred text of Thelema, written by Aleister Crowley in Cairo, Egypt in the year 1904. He claimed he wrote the text but the author was an entity named Aiwass, whom he later referred to as his personal Holy Guardian Angel).
Mar 16 2009
Artist: V2A
Title: Mechanized Machinery
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Biohazzard Records (@)
Distributor: AL!VE
Rated: *****
Some like it harder indeed. The German-English V2A trio is no newcomers in the EBM scene. In 2002 their debut album simply entitled "EBM" was released by Trisol and since then their fanbase has grown tremendously. V2A shared the stage at their numerous live performances with no lesser acts than Funker Vogt, Covenant, Suicide Commando and VNV Nation. As these lines are being written "Mechanized Infantry" occupies the tenth position of the DAC albums chart. The cyborgs among you that have already got works of The Retrosic, Suicide Commando, Megadump, Grendel and similar artists on their CD-shelf are going to dig this album. The tracks are aggressive, in your face and really loud. Both Kevin (the British) and Ines (the German) sing in English and German. So much bilingualism can only be welcomed. The female voice adds a relatively untypical element to the Industrial-EBM sound, which is normally associated with rough, masculine vocals. By the way, V2A is a kind of stainless steel. As far as the music is concerned all is just fine. This, still young, band demonstrates a rather advanced level of composing skills. All compositions were written in the best tradition of the genre. All the tracks are rather high tempo, catchy, danceable and not monotonous, while many believe monotonousness to be the greatest plague of the extreme electro music. The tracks are 3-5- minutes long; just the right length for a club. One is a soulless machine if he/she would not start off to the dance floor when he hears the V2A beats. The weakest link in the album are the lyrics. Topics-wise the band dealt with the majority of the subjects common for EBM: machines, military & war, and sure as hell anti-Christian content is there, too. (Thank god for the freedom of speech!). Most likely the band itself considers the lyrics as an inessential matter. It is doubtful that the vocals they were primarily meant to convey much serious meaning, but rather to serve as a complementary instrument (for the most part distorted). The line "one life, one sky" in Jesus Loves You echoes with "one world, one sky" by Covenant while "this is my rifle, this is my gun" on Contagen made me think of "this is my rifle, this is my life" by Combichrist. In "Deliver us from Evil"
V2A bash religious dogmas while they broadly use lines from canonic Christian prayers: "if I die before I wake, I pray lord my soul lord to take... " and "hallowed be thy name". Per se there is nothing wrong with striking your opponent with his own weapons, but those very lines were used more than just a couple of times in the dark scene and for that reason they sound overused by now. But one may see it otherwise, of course. Perhaps broadening the spectrum of issues dealt with would guarantee distinctiveness of the lyrics. The younger cyborgs are going to be utterly enthusiastic about Mechanized Infantry, whereas the veterans might miss a bit of unmechanized imaginativeness here that would make this release stand out of line of other very good albums and make V2A’s sound dissimilar to the rest of their electroconvulsive colleagues. One can look forward for V2A’s forthcoming concerts. Get your gasmasks and cyberlox ready!
Artist: WANG INC
Title: Meditations For A Better World Vol.2
Format: 12"
Label: Persitencebit
Distributor: Discomania
Rated: *****
Personal project of an Italian guy called Bartolomeo Sailer, Wang Inc is his outfit for exploring sound and rhythms. Often he uses concrete sounds on his tracks which sometimes sounds like soundtracks to psychic travels. His newest 12" EP is released on the Italian Persitencebit and it is titled MEDITATIONS FOR A BETTER WORLD VOL.2 (the first volume has been released by the same label two years ago). The first of the five tracks of the EP is the one I liked the most and it is titled "You are late": on this one Batolomeo created a thik web of bleeps and rhythms that are well sustained by a bouncing funky bass line. "Hyperactive dog" is a nice techno dilated track based on rhythm a driving bass line and effected sounds that create a good space effect. "Mind the gap" is the first track of the B side and is a techno obsessive track with a bit of acid. "Lake Michigan" creates an alienating mix of dance rhythms and ambient sounds that is almost experimental. The closing track, "This is the song to say goodbye", is an obsessive mix of techno, house and it couples a blues vocal sample saying the title with many rhythmical layer often reverbered. Exept the first track this EP is really club oriented, so you are warned...
Artist: The Pussybats
Title: Famous Last Songs
Format: CD
Label: Black Rain Rec.
Some bands are just like their band’s name while the others are not. Mötley Crew was certainly a colorful bunch, whereas there were no clerics in Judas Priest. The Pussybats belong to the second type; there are no pussies in the quartet from Stuttgart.
When I heard their song "Dance with the Devils" for the first time two years ago I thought: "not bad for the start, but hopefully they will turn into more than merely a German The 69 Eyes clone". And voilà; my wish was fulfilled. The Pussybats play a genuinely great Gothic Rock capable to sweep even mopey goths away.
If one’s heart was not amputated some lyrics will bring up memories and perhaps even traumas of the romantic sort to the listeners mind. This is the advantage of Rock over EBM. April and Most Beautiful Tales End Sadly are good examples of that. In No Romeo the lyric persona inquires why he is so utterly unromantic. Unfortunately no potential answers are suggested in the song. Well, I guess that is the way some dudes just are.
The title "Crimson Girl" even rhymes with "Poison Girl" by Her Inferential Majesty. Well, both songs are about a girl and the lyric personas do not tell of positive experiences in both cases. Nowadays it seems to be an absolute must to have a cover version on the debut album. Famous Last Songs is no exception. The Pussybats (or chiropterae vaginae in Latin) pimped Your Woman by White Town and provided it with some considerable rocker attitude. It is rather cool when a definitely masculine voice goes like: "I should never be your woman". Such ambiguities are usually welcomed by the gothic audience. Strangely enough Sean Brennan (London after Midnight) changed the lyrics of Sally’s Song into the masculine genus in spite of his "overloaded with testosterone" image.
One of the very few negative things to mention about the album is the refrain of Banshee’s Blues; it may start getting on your nerves after you listen to it for a couple of times.
The CD was produced by Chai Deveraux (Jesus on Extasy) and Hahn & Hahn, who worked with Nena and Kim Wilde in the past. It sounds like Chai is to hold responsible for the spoken vocals on Your Woman; it sounds very much like the ones on Assassinate me (from JOE debut album). The compositions are rather simplistic but still the ballads reach the listener and the high-tempo songs will give you a kick. Sid van Sin’s baritone is in fact comparable with the voices of Rob Vitacca (Lacrimas Profundere) and Jyrki (The 69 Eyes) but not mistakable for them. You can certainly assume that Famous Last Songs is an album title of an ironic nature and we are going to get to hear a lot from The Pussybats in the future.
Artist: Ysanne Spevack and Philip Clemo
Title: Soundzero
Format: CD
Rated: *****
This is the kind of thing that you really don’t expect to read about on ChainDLK. Now that we have that out of the way, this is really engaging stuff. Some comparisons that comes to mind is Peter Gabriel’s more ethnically tinged work, Paul Schütze (who Clermo thanks in the credits), and Dif Juz, a band on the 4AD label (back when 4AD was still good). Here is how Clermo’s site describes the album: "A second album with Spevack, soundzero, was completed in 1999 and will finally be widely available in early 2009. Phil Slater returned on trumpet, and Tarlochan (Bobby) Singh on tabla. Intriguingly, jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss was brought into the mix, his vocals processed in various ways. Everything, in fact, is processed one way or another." This is not a smooth jazz album. In fact this is exactly what I like jazz to be like – complex, fast, and loose. This is the aural equivalent to riding on a rickety roller coaster. The whole thing is swaying back and forth, and you’re probably going a bit too fast for comfort, but somehow it all holds together. Yet the album still retains a dreamlike quality that keeps the listener involved. This isn’t Sun Ra’s brand of jazz. It’s still accessible to the general public and a nice listen. Some of the standout tracks include "Surfing Dreams and Chaos" which highlights Spevack’s violin skills, and "Merkaba," which blends synth atmosphere with ethnic percussion and female vocals. The drum interludes, "Catching the First Train" and "Catching the Second Train" are also a lot of fun. The disc weighs in at about 66 minutes.
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