Music Reviews



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Artist: CRIMINAL ASYLUM (@)
Title: Zeit
Format: CD
Label: Rustblade (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Eight years after their debut album released by Radio Luxor titled "Choice", Cryminal Asylum are back with a new full length titled ZEIT. Released by Rustblade, the new album sees Criminal Asylum presenting thirteen tracks (one of them is a cover of Suicide's "Rocket USA") where the music become more minimal and extreme track after track. If the opening "Erased" is a good cold wave track with Mirosa's vocals in evidence, already with "Fear Of Life Eat My Soul" the band change the atmosphere by using obsessive rhythms and heavily filtered whispered vocals (Italian recitative lyrics about the difficult of living). "Ladies And Gentlemen - Welcome To The Violence Mk I" and "Ladies And Gentlemen - Welcome To The Violence Mk II" are even more obsessive and create a cold effect where the treated "Faster pussycat! kill! Kill!" samples are mixed with looped electronics which get an industrial e.b.m. treatment on the second version. The same goes for "Paranoid Disco Dance III" and "Paranoid Disco Dance IV", where the first one sounds more analog electro (but always keeping a repetitive structure) and the second one more industrial. The Suicide's cover is really extreme and it sounds almost disturbing because of its distorted high frequencies based monophonic sounds. With "Seeing Your Pain Again" we have an electro industrial tune a la Die Form while the following "Spear Of Life" is a little more dancey (a relief after all the previous cold hypnotic atmospheres). "Die By The Code (The Way Of The Samurai)" mixes analog dance sounds with a semi improvised structure where dissonant melodies clash creating a particular background for a spoken word taken from the "Ghost dog" movie. "The White Empty" and "When the gods call" close the album keeping always alive that sensation of uneasiness that permeates most of the album.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Cracknation: Artifacts II 1990 – 1994
Format: CD
Label: Crack Nation (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
"No guitars! No Jungle! The glory days of Industrial Dance Music revisited, Chicago style!" True nostalgia stands behind this new release of the Cracknation label. As the title announces it, this "artifacts" are taken out of the very early years of Jason Novak’s musically career, when his music projects ACUMEN, DJ ACUCRACK or the IRON LUNG CORP. have satisfied the needs of the Electro purists. Yes, it’s nearly unbelievable that these notorious and mostly quite Metal/Industrial-Crossover infiltrated acts can rely on a musically past with a straight Electro/EBM-minded sound outfit, pretty much fitting with the first licensing releases of the legendary Wax Trax-label. And indeed, this Artifacts collection is dedicated to Jim Nash, the founder of Wax Trax. As for a European EBM user, I tend to rate this album as a typically American-sounding Electro-album featuring a lot of voice samples ranging between strange and already too often heard, fast-forward moving beats and rotating bass lines and Jason’s vocal performance between angry with at times extra-ordinary effect manipulations.. The days of the REVOLTING COCKS, MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT, SISTER MACHINE GUN, 16 VOLT get definitely re-animated, although this release seriously doesn’t includes guitar sounds. Please note also the last not mentioned track "Oh Cynthia", which is sort of a fun track featuring some moaning female voice samples. Make also sure to visit the MySpace account www.myspace.com/cracknationrecords to download some further b-sides out of this era. An era in which acts could create and define styles with some refreshing ideas. This collection is the valuable proof in your hands that this counts for the different acts of the Cracknation label too.
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Artist: Mono-Anime
Title: Industrial Thought Patterns
Format: CD
Label: Vendetta Music (@)
Distributor: KGD Media
Rated: *****
This is the debut release of one of the new signings of the Denver-based Vendetta Music-label, which turns the roster more and more into the still club-floating Hard-Tec/rhythmically Powernoise genre. The actors behind this project may seem to enjoy secrecy a bit, because the cover art doesn’t feature too much background info on them, also their MySpace-account can’t bring light into darkness. Musically they bring up and follow the idea of acts like S.A.M. for instance to create a hard-driving and hammering Industrial music which combines elements of TBM, Techno and Noise into the mix. The speed on some tracks is breathtaking but this unfortunately burdens the dark Industrial-like ambience, which is definitely required to offer a more diverse impression. They reach a higher hypnotizing level since some of the tracks are coming out repetitive ("Layered Mindfuck" for example clocks more than 12 minutes of harsh and speeding loop-based Noise offering some oriental/Islamic-like voice samples), which is really a strenuous procedure. "Industrial Thought Patterns" is a merciless produced forward-moving Harsh Noise-album, which works well for some club movement, while compositional and musically depth need to be increased with their next album. Average for this time, let’s see what the future holds for them.
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Artist: Crisis Mode
Title: Firstborn
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: TriTech Records (@)
Rated: *****
This is a debut by a US-based newcomer act hailing out of New Jersey, which drifts musically very near to that still marching-forward Harsh EBM/Hellectro-movement. Aptly signed to the British TriTech Records label there has been lately occurred rumors about business inactivity, that’s one the reasons why Syn, so the pseudonym of the fellow behind CRISIS MODE, has decided to offer this full-length album as a free download-able item for your entertainment. So far so goo, the talent is quite convincing and here and there I tend only to recommend to increase with some minor things like a better balancing of the vocals in the mix. A bit more punch on the bass kick drums would do good as well, while the vocals itself got drastically manipulated and reminds very much on Nero of PSYCLON 9. Some do like this, some do hat it – this vocal penetration sounding like the dirty neighborhood-kid is rather a matter of your personal preferences. The additional integrated percussive work comes out raging and impressive, a good point which needs continuation. Best tracks can be named with "Virus" and "A Taste Of Sorrow", since both offer the best straight produced bass lines to keep a body in motion. "Firstborn" is generally a damned good debut release for this one-man act although it doesn’t revolutionize the genre. By erasing the above mentioned minor flaws – maybe through the assistance of an experienced expert (Jan L. of X-FUSION and his notorious X-M-P-studio comes to mind...) – Mr. Syn could be able to storm to a higher level of recognition. A new album probably entitled "Sacred" is already in the works. Be prepared for more of this act.
This debut album is freely downloadable under this link: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=KCRF69L6
Artist: The Psychedelic Furs
Title: All Of This And Nothing
Format: Tape
Label: Columbia
Distributor: Amazon
Rated: *****

This is a video collection of The Psychedelic Furs on VHS format. Not on dvd yet. The band was formed in England. The group started out as a six piece and then later on 1982, it was down to four. The PFs made their mark in the 80's, which is known as the new wave/new romantic era. The video starts off with 1980 "Sister Europe". In the video, you see a statue of an African woman. 1981 "Pretty In Pink" follows, my favorite song and video. The band later also re-recorded the song for John Hughes 1986 movie with the same title that starred Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer and Andrew McCarthy. This gave the band alot of recognition. Next is the slow motion images of the band doing their thing in "Dumb Waiters". Who can forever get their unforgettable 1982 black and white video "Love My Way" with background and outstanding images. The video shows the band standing and performing and moving around on a waterglass platform. The video was directed by Tim Pope who have directed numerous of bands videos including The Cure, Soft Cell, Hall & Oates, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Talk Talk and Men Without Hats. And later moved on to direct tv series and movies. We see Richard Butler in the bed sleeping and turning and a woman playing a cello in "Sleep Comes Down". Next is their 1984 "Heaven", which shows the band enjoying themselves playing in the rain as Richard sings. This video is also directed by Tim Pope. As 1987 rolls in, the British lads is in the Big Apple, New York City, where they moved to and shot another black and white video for "Heartbreak Beat". The final video is "All That Money Wants", which is filmed in black and white also. A collection of memories that any 80's child can remember when seeing this band on MTV and had their own signature sound and Richard Butler singing in baritone and voice very distinctive with amazement. The only video that's missing on this memorable collection is "The Ghost In You". Hopefully it'll be on dvd along with the rest of the videos collection, if ever it get to that.
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