Music Reviews



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Artist: NOCTIS NULL (@)
Title: End Times EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: TriTech Records (@)
Rated: *****
Life seems to be hard in United Kingdom, because Harsh EBM/Hellectro has seldom received any wider recognition in the land of chips and fish. Since we have recently changed some of our policies and submission guide-lines, I come finally on the review of this first release of the new UK-based label TriTech Records. Initially planned to be released as a physically CDEP, I quite doubt that this one is or will ever be available as a hard copy. Available as a download through the website of the label and of course through some legal and known downloading portals. "End Times" is an 8-track debut release for this one-man project consisting of Tony, who acts under his pseudonym [Valtiel]. As I could read at an online info sheet, the music is that sort of your typically daily doze of Harsh EBM/Hellectro music, very much in the known paths, which have been walked before by acts like DAWN OF ASHES or TACTICAL SEKT. Surely not at all the re-invention of the bulb, NOCTIS NULL leave especially on the fast-forward moving tracks like "New Dawn" and "Hands Of The Creator" the wish for a more authentic and personally style. 4 own tracks in a similar style with the one exception, the track "End Times" starts with an ominous dark instrumental intro filled with menacing female screams, until the beat invades – surely that one track to push NOCTIS NULL above the average. 4 additional remix works mostly done by label comrades and friends acts are complimenting this generally satisfying debut, on which some appearances have interesting alternative interpretations to offer. CEDIGEST for example give NOCTIS NULL a lecture with a more efficient remix on "New Dawn" – it happens seldom that a remix can match the original by miles. Besides CEDIGEST also SELLAFIELD are hailing out of the same label stable, while they turning "Hands Of The Creator" into a rhythmically Powernoise track. At least diversity is included thanks to the good remix contributions, also the additional works of REZUMAKI and NOISE PROGRAM are worth to check out. As I said, quite okay for a debut while the end of the rope isn’t reached. Let’s watch out for more activities of this British label, since their MySpace account, www.myspace.com/tritechrecords, announces some promising new additions to the roster.
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Artist: Unterm Rad
Title: The Rake's Progress
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Difficult, quite difficult release from the Chicago Heights-based Tympanik Audio label. I know that Experimental-Electronica can take a quite strange course, which seldom follows and satisfies your typically listening experiences. That’s something which fits on this solo-project of Mike Slansky, who stands behind this mysterious project with the German title. Mike is also known with some different other projects like REKT and AURAL and through some contributions for TEXTBEAK. Described with polemic, the music of UNTERM RAD is a sort of minimal and fragmented D’n’B-IDM/Electronica which mostly avoids any straight structures, with the both exceptions "Sick" and "On The Brink". 9 original tracks plus 7 remix contributions by acts like SYMMETRICAL SYNDROME, ATOMATIK 13 (whose member Alex Stilts has helped out with some additional programming...), DREAMS ARE MAPS or TEXTBEAK are featured on here. Personally I miss something which adds "ground", something on which I could use the term "remarkable" in the music of UNTERM RAD. I hear and recognize the unique kind in Mike’s very personal sound, but at least it includes nothing interesting I would be able to remember 2 hours after another useless try to pick up the content of this album.
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Artist: KETVECTOR (@)
Title: The Infinite Regress
Format: CD
Label: Rustblade (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Another new collaborative effort signed to the Italian Experimental/Industrial-label Rustblade. KETVECTOR consist of the DETUNE-X/BAHNTIER-musician Stefano Rosello and the US citizen, musician and producer Justin Gabriel Isaac Bennett, who can look back on fruitful activities with some global-players like Rozz Williams, MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT, SKINNY PUPPY or Peter Murphy (BAUHAUS). With KETVECTOR both musicians concentrate to produce speedy EBM-like rhythm patters with some Tribal influences, combined several strange and noisy textures and effect manipulations thrown in. Good and well done stuff mostly designed for some dancefloor-action, some of the tunes like "Struttura" for instance with it’s growing layer sounds and monotonous construction are candy for the ears. The whole album comes out as floating unit, all tracks are faded together and this gives the impression to walk through an unknown Sci-Fi-related area. Although quite entertaining as a complete instrumental Electronica-album, I miss a vocal performance, which would definitely help to add more personality into the efforts of this project – with respect to the exception "Metacognition". This album is also available as a special and only to 150 exemplars limited edition featuring several additional goodies and a bonus mini-CD in a special package. Check out this release and move over to the Rustblade website to pick up this limited item, before its gone completely.
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Artist: TRONUS ABYSS (@)
Title: Kampf
Format: CD
Label: ATMF (@)
Rated: *****
Reissued in a luxury 16 pages high quality digi-book, with 2 bonus tracks "Tema del destino" and "Mabuse MK.I", "Kampf" is finally back available. Tronus Abyss history has started in the '94 as an active part of the Black Metal scene but lately become something out of any easy classification. Being praised by the underground scene for their two previous releases containing a blend of medieval sounds mixed with Black Metal, the Italian trio developed their music and pushed it towards more electronic- and ambient-oriented territories. They’ve always been considered a serious, cult band in the so-called extreme scene. The members have always been seriously involved in esoteric and cultural background activities, sometimes disturbing to the most due to their flirting with extreme traditional right-wing topics (not political, but mostly related with Traditional esoteric philosophies and philosophers - Evola, Guénon, Codreanu, etc.) in lyrics and aesthetics. Musically, after four years from the release date, is still personal and innovative, not only black metal but also electro-folk, ambient and industrial moods, crossing the border of a genre. Bombastic sounds are being blended together with dark electronic, distorted and acoustic guitar, whispering/spoken word, and gothic sounds. The first two songs 'Kampf' and 'Mabuse' give a good presentation of the atmosphere throughout the album; dark, depressive, and most of the time threatening. The third song, "L’eredità del cinghiale" is again very folk & medieval sounding with epic spoken vocals and some grand keyboards. The fourth song, "Funeral" is where things start to get very odd. This is more of a dark ambient/electronic song with peculiarly spoken robotic like vocals. From here on we keep seeing the band exploring and incorporating these various influences into the rest of the songs. The tracks 'Sth.492', and 'Epilogo' make a welcome distraction from the harshness throughout this album and can be regarded as distorted piano/organ pieces. Later on the track list there’s a fragment which seems to be an excerpt from some sort of propaganda film. In addition to this I can’t forget mentioning the track number 9 which has already earlier appeared on a compilation dedicated to Burzum. This song is called "Moti Ragnarokum" and was originally performed by Varg Vikernes on "Daudi Baldrs" album.
Additional compliments for the artwork of the digi-pack which displays fitting images with the coldness presented on this album.
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Artist: ABANDONED PLACE (@)
Title: Shadow Of Memory
Format: CD
Label: Thonar Records (@)
Rated: *****
Born in 2006, Abadoned Place is a dark ambient project headed by Romain Lemenorel (the same guy who's behind March Of Heroes) and SHADOW OF MEMORY is his debut album under this moniker. Presenting eight untitled tracks or eight movements of the SHADOW OF MEMORY suite, Romain created one hour long cinematic album where the main theme, by looking at the album's art and pictures, seems to be concerning the abandoned houses and the memories which like haunted souls are chained to those places. Reverbered noises, synths and violins are the main instruments used. The atmosphere created is working well although the sound construction doesn't change too much as it is focused on the effect/ambience created. The album has been mastered by Frederic Arbour of Cyclic Law.
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