Music Reviews



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Artist: XOTOX (@)
Title: In den zehn Morgen
Format: CD
Label: ProNoize / Dark Dimensions (@)
Distributor: Broken Silence
Rated: *****
People are often complaining of the repetitive kind and loop-oriented arrangements of that Harsh EBM/rhythmically Powernoise-genre, which often sounds very mechanically and emotionless installed. Also XOTOX isn’t surely free of repetition, but we are talking here on one of the initiators and leading acts of this genre. Andeas David’s solo-projects can already report of a strong fan-base, which has created an own website, www.lichtlos.org , plus he also got recently added to the new booking agency Protain, www.protain.de. A lot of good things and actions around this act and it fits, that the US-based label Vendetta-Music has recently released a special North-America-based "Best of..." album entitled "Hyperactive". Since it has become difficult to pick up all previous releases, such a collection does make sense. But later more on this Vendetta-compilation, back on track with this new studio album. "In den zehn Morgen" deals with an overwhelming conceptually impact, and this fact is more than most of his related acts are able to offer. It is the decay of life and time, which got also nice complimented by the artwork, done by Joao Diogo. Musically of course, this album offers a lot of the expected formula with some marching Powernoise tunes ("Ewig", "Grob Fahrlässig"), but it also takes here and there some breaks or surprises with some guest contributions. Already the starter "Verlust" offers unexpected ambience and chill-out moments, but even more worth to mention is the track "Habitat" with its KLINIK/DIVE-like instruments and a female vocal performance by the London-based Lahannya. Quite different and rather more leading into the Harsh-EBM genre is the mutual track "Keine Ruhe vor dem Sturm", which features Thomas Rainer of NACHTMAHR. Also included as a bonus track is a remix provided by the STEINKIND-musician Philipp Jackowski on "Verlust" – rather straight-forward oriented, but the more subtle original has my preference. This new and latest studio album of Andreas Davids can be surely seen as being his best and most experienced work so far. It also shows different musically directions, which finally offers the needed diversity. Recommended.
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Artist: Eden Synthetic Corps (@)
Title: Enhancer
Format: CD
Label: Scanner / Dark Dimensions (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Yeah, we had this Portugal-based act already presented on our pages and I’m quite ashamed that the review on their new album "Enhancer" has taken that long. ESC have done their best to offer a valuable follow-up to their successful debut "Matte". It is of course the same straight-forward raging Harsh-EBM/Hellectro music in the expected line, maybe with a grown progression in the manual of their instruments. But concept-wise, "Enhancer" differs to "Matte". The debut may was a sort of collection of tracks written since the beginning, while "Enhancer" draws a real story-board dealing with a violator and murderer of women (the "Enhancer"). This concept also got documented with an extremely well-done cover artwork focusing in this hard-to-take theme with photo-art, drawings, and comic strips. And of course, the provided lyrics offer that expected, but required content in this vein This stuff is sure not a theme for the fainthearted and maybe a bit chauvinistic, while some might say very genre-specific. However, this is and will remain the approach the corps around frontman Glamour Diesel has to live with. Musically and production-wise here’s nothing to complain, they are able to rival with some bigger and better-known acts, for example out of the NoiTekk-roster. Let’s hope that they haven’t sent out the Enhancer to get me....
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Artist: T.RAUMSCHMIERE
Title: I Tank U
Format: CD
Label: Shitkatapult (@)
Rated: *****
Multifaceted, melodic, energetic, full of guests and proposing a wide range or musical influences, I TANK U is the newest T.Raumschmiere album that will be released on September the 19th. The album represents the final part of the triptych begun with "Radio Blackout" and "Blitzkrieg Pop" released by Nova Mute. If you have in your ears the songs contained into the album "Random Noize Sessions Vol.1", forget about them and open your mind for something totally different. Maybe more pop/rock oriented but nonetheless powerful. Even if you checked the first single "E" you should prepare yourself for something varied. The album opens with the main track, a dark techno instrumental that crawling between distorted bass guitar sounds and true drum sounds deals also a good amount of electronic sounds. The second track "The front row is not for the fragile!" is the first surprise, because after its electro beginning, you'll find a song that sounds a bit like the best Marilyn Manson but more influenced by punk. "Animal territory" featuring Puppetmastaz on vocals is an electro distorted rap tune (besides being the next single) while "111 Kg DNA" having Barbara Panther on vocals is sounding like a blend of "Ellen Allien meet punkrock" with guitar riffs and dub synth bass sounds. "Crack a smile" recalls me the best Soundgarden (but always remember that here guitars and drums are mixed with synth distorted sounds and stuff). Next is "E", a great techno/electro hypnotic instrumental that I already reviewed. "Pedal to the metal" has Gene Serene on vocals and recalls to me the dissonant and particular D.A.F. drums/monofonic synth duets but this one sounds a little more sensual. "Untilted" has Warren Suicide on vocals and it sounds like a pop ride with a basic distorted bass/drums section enriched by other sounds here and there and by vocal duets. If you liked "E", "Brenner" is the top notch electro techno song and Marco Haas has to thank also his guests Deichkind & The Crack Whore Society for this result: great German vocals and blasting distorted synths will make of this a dance floor killer. "What are you talking about?" is another punk almost grunge distorted tune with Tim Vanhamel on guest vocals. The album closes with "Nuclear bedtime story" featuring Lilian Hak on vocals. That song is a sort of electro blues mysterious track and its the slowest one. Well done...
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Artist: Exocet
Title: Violation
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
A newbie for Ant-Zen, but behind EXOCET stands with Rene Klimaczewski somebody, who has made himself already a good name with some collaborations (ARCHITECT, CONVERTER) and remixes (DISPLACER). The album "Violation" can be seen as Rene’s first audio outfit, but it mainly extracts its inspiration out of the twisted mind of the New York based US-citizen and non-musician Dave Kean. Kean has left an impact on Rene with multiple ideas and extra-ordinary creative urges. This album therefore reflects different sights on Electronica/IDM, Ambient and Powernoise music – the fine and good thing is, that it is capable to deal with all of these styles in a quality kind. Tracks like "South End" with its straight-forward oriented kind are rather the minority. Mostly the EXOCET-tracks can impress through its breaks and interruptions which are mostly filled with moody and thrilling samples ("Retar A Muerte", "Perverso"). As usual for an Ant-Zen release, also this EXOCET release offers rhythmically Powernoise music far above the quality level of the 4/4-hard-tech-on-the-floor EBM acts. But it isn’t the noise factor which wows the listener, it is the high quality uniting of the different styles merged onto this album, which causes and ends into nothing else than applause. One of the highlights of Ant-Zen in this year – a must-have album.

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Artist: Dawn Of Ashes (@)
Title: The Crypt Injection
Format: CD
Label: NoiTekk (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
Even those people who’d assumed a possible end of business activities of the Hellectro/Harsh EBM flagship, the German label NoiTekk, since this latest release of them got deleted over and over again, can be assured, that only technically problems regarding the cover construction of this new DAWN OF ASHES album are reasons for the longer pause. The second half of 2008 and 2009 shall see more new stuff from them. Please note that this review refers on the European edition of this album, which differs to the longer available North-American version featuring a slightly different track-listing. And again – I’m a bit behind schedule also on this. But what I still remember is the fact, that the overall cliche-filled debut "In The Acts Of Violence" couldn’t impress me at all, while this couldn’t stop at all the successful trip behind this act. The building of an own street-team, the license deal to the Russian Gravitator label, a MySpace number of friends in "near-to-a-new-world-record-like" heights – these are only a few parts, which document the growing and development of this LA-based act. This follow-up album was awaited from their fans like an oasis in the desert. After a replacement in the band formation, DAWN OF ASHES are back and better than ever before. Especially sound- and production-wise, this new album is a milestone away from the debut. The tracks, although still feeding lyrically the expected "blood-terror-atrocity" path, have grown in their making, they are filled with attractive synths bass lines, moody layers, numerous voice samples and the rough screaming vocals of band-leader Khris. And they are able to write some excellent songs too, in which they are able to transform the tragic impressions of their lyrics into the music ("Still Born Defect" or "Where Angels Die"). But the fans will rather go mad with the stomping floor-filler tracks like "Torture Device" (on this European version also featured as a video-clip), "Portrait Of Homicide" (nothing beats the original, the attached remixes by XP8 and DIOXYDE on this track are unfortunately filling stuff...), "The Crypt Injection" or "Slasher". The hopes for a development after the debut where high and DAWN ASHES can fulfill all requirements. Sure, this is Hellectro/Harsh EBM filled with Trance/Techno elements as its best, a scene-related and maybe stagnant style, but who cares? Like it or not, this is definitely one of the better productions for this genre.
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