Music Reviews

Artist: Anabasis & Gargrim the Liar
Title: Two Worlds
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Waerloga Records (@)
Rated: *****
A new Waerloga release is always something to cherish and they almost never let you down. This time the album is called "Two Worlds" and is a 2CD Jewel Case release with two different debuting projects taking on one release each. Waerloga Records hired the very famous illustrator John Howe (famous for working as leading artist in Peter Jackson´s Lord of the Rings trilogy) who made a great cover which spans to the back of the jewel case too.

Without a doubt, both releases are built on and around strings - instruments that has become representative of Hollywood soundtracks. James Newton Howard comes to mind while listening to both Anabasis and Gargrim the Liar. I put "Two Worlds" into the same category as "Glory," "Legends of the Fall," and "The Last Samurai".

The production values of both these artists are very high. They sound a little bit alike at times but Anabasis is more classical oriented film music and Gargrim the Liar are a bit more varied. The sound of Anabasis is clear and beautiful but not near the depth of Gargrim the Liar which mix and master is top notch! The melodies on both albums are very good and I have favorite tracks on both albums.

The artwork is beautiful but a bit light to my eyes. No doubt though that John Howe is a true master!

The prospect of being able to write a score for a film filled with epic, bloodbaths, lovable, rough, good-guys and twisted, detestable villains, would make any composer lick their musical chops. When I listen to Anabasis it sounds like he should dare to go a little bit more all out, but hell this guy (Henrik Summanen) is talented! Very cinematic to say the least and the darkness of the fantasy genre is ever present.

These are very promising debut releases of both Gargrim the Liar and Anabasis. The 2CD idea is not bad but a bit brave.
Gargrim the Liar come across as the one with the best sound, mixing and master and Anabasis the one with the best action and adventure spirit.

Very enjoyable dark fantasy cinematic music in the veins of Erdenstern and Arcana.

Title: The Stones Of Naples
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Anticraft
Rated: *****
One year and half after "Volonta' D'Arte", Riccardo Prencipe is back with a new Corde Oblique album. This time on THE STONES OF NAPLES we have twelve tracks that sound less intimate paragoned to the ones of the previous album or to be more precise, there's a better balance between upbeat songs (with beautiful orchestrations, drums and charming female vocals), piano/acoustic guitar duets or guitar classical pieces (like the closing "Piscina Mirabilis"). Often we have songs that start quietly with guitar and female vocals just to blast thanks to the adding of drums, violin, percussions and bass. On THE STONES OF NAPLES we have different faces of Mediterranean folk music where traditional melodies/instruments are enriched also by pop sensibility like on "La gente che resta" or on "Venti di sale. Check some tracks on the label's website...
Artist: The Eternal Afflict feat. Qntal
Title: San Diego
Format: CD EP
Label: Afflict: Me records
Distributor: USA/Canada, UK France, Japan, Austria, Switzerland – Amazon Mexico/Mecanica Spain/Diskpol Belgium/TarantullaShop Netherlands/BOL Norway/Shadowland Sweden/Hotstuff Digital - I-Tunes
Rated: *****
The Eternal Afflict have provided electro fans with quality entertainment since 1990 when their first release hit the streets and the clubs. San Diego is one of the band’s most successful tracks and it was recently re-mixed in a 2k9 version by no less renowned artists as PROJECT PITCHFORK, the masters of Medieval tunes QNTAL and JESUS ON EXSTASY. The original version of San Diego is brilliant and there is no need to talk about it since it is rather familiar to the gothic clubbers. Five of the eleven track on the CD are remixes of the title song. Having such a great original to remix it is hard to do much wrong hence all the remixes turned out well. Each of the artists provided the song with his/her own spice. However five remixes of the same song pressed on the same CD are just a little bit too much. The remixes do not differ utterly from one another and at some point the listener gets the feeling of hearing the same song for the fourth or fifth time. As Led Zeppelin once put it: the song remains the same.
After it was shown how the other artist handle material of The Eternal Afflict, the time has come for Cyan and his men to demonstrate their skills in the same discipline. The classic song Paint It Black by the Stones was chosen to be covered. The same said above about San Diego is true about Paint It Black also; it is difficult to spoil great material and The Eternal Afflict did not do so either. It is always somewhat dangerous to pick a song that has already been covered by numerous other artists to cover anew because there is a basis for comparison and Pain It Black is just one of such songs. This new cover has lost nothing of its original’s (black) luster.
Nirvana is a typical Qntal song; slow & atmospheric. Syrahs deep voice puts its better sides on view, nevertheless this is rather a case for the fans who dig this specific sound. Dreams Take Blind Souls is a mid-tempo duet by Syrah and Cyan, where their voices complement each other. In Seventh Culture/The Awakening the intro is over two minutes long, which occurs a bit overrun. Additionally, there are videos for San Diego and Agony I Like to be found on the CD.
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Artist: Project Pitchfork
Title: Dream, Tiresias!
Format: CD
Label: Prussia Records (@)
Rated: *****
In the Greek mithology, the famous fortuneteller Tiresias got blind after a dispute between Zeus and Hera. One sunny day (as on Mount Olympus as well as on airplanes, the sun always shine, arguably!) those gods decided to summon him as a witness as he personally experienced both feminine and masculine sexual condition (just for having disturbed the copulation between two snakes... it should be a disgusting vision!) to solve a dramatic question: who has more pleasure in sex? The man, as from Hera's viewpoint, or the woman, as Zeus claimed? Mister Tiresias, who used to be a successful prostitute when he lived in the countenance of Lady Tiresias, unveiled the secret sentencing that women's sexual pleasure is far better than men's one. That's the reason why this unlucky forerunner of transgenderism obtained blindness by the angry goddess, but on the other hand he could predict future as a thanksgiving gift from Zeus... It could sound strange that the notorious German industrial/dark-electro band Project Pitchfork has chosen this mithological character to metaphorically represent all the rebels agitating our dirty society by a constant research of the hidden truth. An explanation of this choice could be justified by the fact that Tiresias was punished for revealing secrets to mankind... the same risky way some "fortunetellers" in our society are still running in order to contrast the will of blinding the whole mankind by governments and war lords, which looks like more interested in focusing mass attention on effects instead of causes... good conoisseurs don't need further explanations! It's not the first time this band uses interesting intellectual links to grab the attention of listeners all over the world. Nowadays they're followed by thousands of people, which are delighted by their unique mixture of whimsical and irriverent lyrics, exquisite 80s melodies and easy danceable rhythmical patterns... other thousands joined to the fanbase after discovering that Rammstein played side by side this band at their very first steps '“ could you imagine the powerful energy injected on audiences by this two great German bands sharing the same stage??? -. That's why there's nothing to wonder about if this release has been considered one of the longest awaited album in the beginning of 2009! ... and it seems they came up to their (and our) expectations! According to us, the choice of "staying electronic" is praiseworthy! Referring to his own personal and more experimental projects (Santa Hates You '“ a project fitting the "hard and loud" stylistic concept '“ and Imatem '“ which sounds more synth-poppy, focusing on deep melodies and enchanting harmonies -), Project Pitchfork's frontman and mastermind Peter Spilles stated: "Fulfilling the needs of these two musical alter-egos of mine, has the great side effect of generating a sort of creative "free space", providing me with clarity about where I really want Project Pitchfork's musical future to be, without trying to make it sound like something else. In other words: my two side projects allow Project Pitchfork to go back being Project Pitchfork, and to stay Project Pitchfork.". And the future of Project Pitchfork seems to be totally anchored to the combination of danceable beats and electronic well-crafted sounds pulsating synchronously with a provocative vein. All lyrics deals with contemporary problems and includes mind-blowing exhortations able to feed personal reflections without being too intimistic and obscure. There're an ironic condemnation of the (nasty!)habit of drugging children with psycho pills (finally a real parental advisory!!!), the easeness by which governments begin wars sacrificing young people in Darkness, the contradictions of some monotheistic religions in Your God. Other songs seem to run against personal experiences: Full of Life seems to be addressed to people who got their dreams lost blinded by life and its more offensive aspects, while The End fastens listeners' attention upon all kind of endings. But we adore Mr.Spilles' skill as a lyricist (and even its frightened eyes and possessed smile!) in the most "mystical" parentheses of the record... have a listen to The Tide to perceive the melting side of Tiresias' dream injection... Strophes saying "The moon was told to keep a distance/No one else could hear our call/An angel taught the word "resistance!" /and so the moon began to fall... " sounds prophetical enough... All songs are interlaced through inspiring "instrumental" parts called Dreams, with a considerable level of "transcendence"! So what... ? All Tiresias of the world unite... . And get ready to shake it! PS: Beware of the snakes!!!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Underscan Now Remix
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Underscan (@)
Rated: *****
The NOW project originally was formed by four 12" which have been also gathered on a CD. Since the label decided to go only on digital, the UNDERSCAN NOW REMIX project is about to be released on digital format only on April the third. I didn't had the chance to listen to the original tunes but I enjoyed a lot these remixes. We have: Honz (Icasean Tropics Repass by Team Doyobi) - Original by Bogger (here the English Team Doyobi give a particular i.d.m. touch to the original tune thanks to the use of Amiga computers without losing a cool melodic touch), Atmachb (Tammetõru Rmx) - Original by Pytlik (on this one Tammetõru, a.k.a. Indrek Tamm from Talinn, Estonia and one half of Myrakaru, mix breakbeat rhythms with dreamy sounds/melodies passing from dark to light atmospheres easily ), International (Bovaflux Rmx) - Original by Fibla (Bovaflux turned this track into a dreamy one using long synth pads, clean electric guitars and a light breakbeat rhythm), Interroom (Estonji Rmx) - Original by Scanner (Estonji, a.k.a. Jens Doering created a dark atmosphere rich of orchestrations and obsessive rhythms), Monocarbite (Nukua Rmx) - Original by Onethema (Nukua is Edwin de Maria from Mouscron, Belgium. His version of "Monocarbite" is a cool mix of electronica and i.d.m. with complex rhythmical patterns), Dusdatikaf (Hungryghost Rmx) - Original by Slemper (Alan Dobson also known as Arcadion and one of the production team Def Tex, here uses grime bass sounds, 4/4 syncopated rhythms and a bit of ambient sounds with a sprinkle of mystery), Querverweis (Dalezy Rmx) - Original by Menu:Exit (from Berlin and also part of the Underscan roster, we have Ronny Engmann/Dalezy. His version of the track is a bumping reverbered and distorted tune with house melodies and semi industrial intuitions) and Polaris (Hecq Rmx) - Original by Frank Bretschneider (Ben Lukas Boysen a.k.a. Hecq has many releases on Ant Zen, Hymen and Ad Noiseam and he gives to "Polaris" an ambient i.d.m. treatment turning it into a dark creepy track with choruses and reverb). Check this out...
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