Music Reviews



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Artist: Life in Sodom (@)
Title: And Then We Fall
Format: CD EP
Label: Nutrix (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this band before receiving this in the mail. My first thoughts were, "Life in Sodom? Chain DLK didn’t send me black metal to review, did they?" I was relieved when I put it in the CD player and heard some standard gothic rock / darkwave. According to their website, this disc is "a driving 6 song CD EP geared for the dance floor." I’m not sure if I agree with that statement. This has a beat, but overall the songs seem too atmospheric to be very club friendly. For example, "Starving Hunger" seems to clock in at just over 80bpm. It has a nice slow groove, and soulful lyrics, but not quite what I think of when I think dance music. One disappointment is that "And Then We Fall" (track 5) is just "The Stains" (track 1) with most of the vocals removed. "Your Silence is Indifference" doesn’t quite seem to fit on this album, but it’s an interesting acoustic piece – sort of has a Christian Death feel to it. Overall, the feel is somewhere between Rosetta Stone and Black Tape for a Blue Girl without sounding too much like either of them. If this sounds good, give it a try. The disc runs just over 25 minutes.
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Artist: Radium88 (@)
Title: Only Science Can Tell Us the Truth
Format: CD
Label: Lotek Recordings
Rated: *****
This is pleasant trancey psychedelic music - pianos, beats, synth pads, and drones all meld together for a pleasant listen with some vocals thrown in for good measure. The press release that came with the disc has a pretty accurate description: "Mellower, more musical than before, more purely electronic, it sounds a bit like Philip Glass jamming with the Orb, back before they got too clever. It’s the ideal soundtrack to falling asleep underwater." Although I am not familiar with their previous works, they seem to have mellowed out a bit. Their website describes this album thus: "Our latest album keeps us firmly on track to a less aggressive future. Still bitter, but not shouting anymore." Overall, this isn’t very aggressive stuff – some of the tracks could work on the dance floor, but that doesn’t seem to be the primary function of this album. There is a nice sense of continuity in that the songs seem to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. However, at times the vocals don’t seem to work well, for example, on "The Man Who Invented Himself." At other times, the vocals provide a nice dreamlike quality, such as on "Sleepwalk." Some of my favorite tracks include "... and the Deep Blue Sea," which is a nice piano piece, "The Sound of Light," which has nice breaks and engaging rhythm, and "Lullaby," which has a repetitive, dreamlike quality. This is a long album, weighing in at 71.21, so if you take a chance on it, you’d at least be getting your money’s worth. Also, with the various changes in the style throughout the album, it would be likely that most people would like at least something on it.
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Artist: The Future Process (@)
Title: Change
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Atmosphere is one of those things that often get forgotten in industrial music, but one only needs to listen to some old Skinny Puppy to see how much better the music is because of it. The Future Process is not really like Skinny Puppy, but they do a good job of trying to have some nice synth-based atmosphere. They list as influences NIN, Manson, Depeche Mode, MSI, KMFDM. I can see the influences, but they don’t really sound like any of them - they aren’t really as harsh as KMFDM, NIN, etc. I’m trying to come up with comparisons, but I’m having a hard time doing it and that is a good thing in my book. Maybe a bit like Deathline International meets Gravity Kills? Some of the tracks toward the end didn’t quite work. For example, "Ridin" was a bit too slow – almost lethargic - and not as interesting as some of the other tracks. It was almost as if the band was tired by the end of the album. However, Fractures was a good noisy finish to the album. For the hardcore rivetheads out there, this may not be heavy enough, but this is a good crossover album. The Future Process never seems to really let loose, but it’s a pleasant listen and I’d be willing to bet that they put on a good show. Certainly worth checking out their myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/thefutureprocess) to hear some tracks.
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Artist: FMTA (@)
Title: In the End, You Don’t Exist
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
The website describes this EP as "not recommended for the faint of heart, with in-your-face punchy industrial percussion, sharp guitar riffs, dark ominous synthwork and surprisingly aggressive vocals." Maybe I have different definitions of "industrial percussion" (Einsturzende Neubauten, Test Dept., Throbbing Gristle) and "ominous synthwork (Skinny Puppy, Das Ich). For the most part, the synthwork gets buried by the guitars, with the exception of "Mistakes," which is the least aggressive track on the EP. In other words, this sounds more like a harsh metal album to me. Perhaps it is the screaming vocals that do it for me but this doesn’t even seem like industrial metal a la old Sielwolf, Ministry, or Acumen. For the most part, the lyrics are a bit difficult to understand (with the exception of "Time Out of Mind" with its refrain of "I fucking hate you"). Crunchy guitars and overdriven screamed vocals figure prominently here. If you are looking for angry, aggressive music, this will suit you well.
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Artist: Seht & Stelzer (@)
Title: Exactly What You Lost
Format: CD
Label: Intransitive Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of either of the artists or the label for that matter. First, the basic description. This is experimental music. A bit on the noisy side, but not really noise. The main comparisons that come to mind are Arcane Device (but much more engaging) and Lustmord. The disc weighs in at 46.53. On to the individual tracks.
Track 1 – At 2.47, this is one of the shorter tracks on the disc but it certainly has intensity. It sounds like someone standing with a microphone at the top of a very windy mountaintop constantly cycling through a shortwave radio. I think it was just about the right length because it ended just about the time I was beginning to lose interest in it.
Track 2 – I didn’t expect this kind of complete shift in sound. This track is soothing drone that sort of gains a kind of noisiness toward the end, but nowhere near the level of spasticness with which the disc begins.
Track 3 – Begins in a very minimal way with some field recordings and some processed synth. The synth provides a nice dark undertone to the piece and different elements of the filed recordings emerge, only to submerge back into the track. Much more subdued and not noisy at all, but one of the best tracks on the disc. This would make nice background music to a disturbing film – very nicely done.
Track 4 – At 2.02, this is the shortest track on the disc. It mainly consists of staticy field recordings and drone that seems to threaten at any moment to completely fall apart.
Track 5 – At 26.24, this is by far the longest track on the disc. This track builds slowly, starting at almost nothing, building with heavy dark drones. This is really good dark ambient for the first 22 minutes – something that could be an outtake from Lustmord’s "The Monstrous Soul." Drones and light static permeate the track. It evolves almost glacially and never really seems to go anywhere, but that’s OK because the scenery along the way is so pleasant. At about 22 minutes in, it shifts, becoming more noisy, with what sounds like constant footsteps and noisy bursts. To me it didn’t quite work with the rest of the track. Even so, this was my favorite track on the disc.
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