Music Reviews



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Artist: BLACK LUNG
Title: The Coming Dark Age
Format: CD
Label: Crunch Pod Media (@)
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
Crunch Pod Media have to celebrate a little anniversary, because with the release of a new BLACK LUNG CD they celebrate their 50th release, a number not too much labels can reach. BLACK LUNG is a project of the Australian musician David Thrussel, who could be for some or another better known under his moniker SNOG. For BLACK LUNG this new album "The Coming Dark Age" is the first studio recording since their last album "The Disinformation Plague", out in 1997 under Metropolis-Records. Crunch Pod is known for quality music along the noisier side of life, but with this release they offer an album pretty much influenced by modern Electronic, Ambient, and Electronica, maybe a bit influenced of works of APHEX TWIN. Globally mostly straight produced instrumental stuff, which David likes to present us here, but not too much comparable to SNOG. I tend like enjoy the rather creepy ominous-arranged pieces the most like "The Sins Of Megalopolis", the title track or the destroying "Leibowitz’s Canticle". Not to forget I would like to mention the long and very drastically written words "Eating Fossil Fuels" by Dale Allen Pfeiffer readable in the booklet, which describes a very frightening vision of the growing human population and the multiple crises around us – a very disturbing work which comes to some frightening results, but it fits with some critical views David has always commented and stands for, last but not least it fits with the album title. Well packaged in a quality digi-pack, a nice anniversary release, congrats, Ben and Christian...
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Artist: Terence Fixmer
Title: Muscle Collection
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Masterhit Recordings (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
A DCD set for the French Electro/Techno/Industrial musician, DJ and produce Terence Fixmer, who could earn a lot of success especially with his mutual project with Douglas McCarthy of NITZER EBB. Released under the Out Of Line side-label Masterhit Recordings, this release gives some insight in the harsher and EBM-driven works Terence can offer. TBM = Techno Body Music is the name for this style which they have created here, but I don’t see the sense for it. This DCD simply offers repetitive old-school EBM bass lines with some steady rhythm patterns placed between EBM and Techno and here and there some vocal inputs of Terence. This stuff would offer much more kind of an old-school EBM feeling, if Douglas McCarthy would join his side here, Terence’s talent is rather limited behind the microphone. Of course, Techno/Trance-influenced Hellektro marching music doesn’t get any chance here, it strongly reminds musically on the pounding bass lines of old NITZER EBB, POUPPEE FABRIKK and colleagues. A kind of collection providing some highlights back to his beginnings at 1998 up till today, it also holds the long out of print classic album "Muscle Machine", several outtakes, b-sides and other unreleased goodies. Also two remix works he has done for some famous colleagues (CLIENT and THE HACKER) are featured here. Quality stuff with historically meaning, especially designed for the old-school EBM maniacs.
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Artist: BLEIBURG (@)
Title: Occidentem Appello!
Format: CD
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
Stefan Rukavina aka BLEIBURG returns earlier than expected with a new full-length album, just 5 months after his DCD "History In Flames" in collaboration with MAN-MACHINE, both out on the German special mail order service SkullLine. After the widely thrown in diversity which that DCD had to offer, this new album differs. Although the artwork presents a soldiers’ graveyard, it isn’t at all a release inspired by trendy Electro/harsh EBM styles. With his partner E. W. Schröder, who integrates some deep male vocals here and there, Stefan offers dark experimental electronic music somewhere based on Electronica, dark Ambient textures up to Ritual Industrial. The whole concept offers a very cinematic, at times futuristic background, rhythms or danceable tunes are mostly left out. Some rotations under a pair of headphones with fully attention should help to grab the content behind this work. Slow and creepy layering stuff, which should appeal you. As usual for SkullLine releases, also this item will be rather limited, this time to 150 numbered pieces and it is packed in a DVD box featuring 4 remarkable goodies (1 pin, 2 photos, 1 wired crucifix) as well. A hard-to-get collector's item and ONLY available at SkullLine.
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Artist: MENTALLO & THE FIXER (@)
Title: Enlightenment Through A Chemical Catalyst
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Gary Dassing finally tries to enlighten us with his new sooner awaited new full-length album. The term "full-length" fits extremely well with more than 73 minutes playing time – but only pressed into 9 tracks. So you’ll get a new MENTALLO release presenting the very own multi-layered and complex style Gary likes to create and is known for, almost in the same vein like the EP "Commandments For The Molecular Age" has announced it in spring last year. So this album needs the fullest attention of the listener and it is recommended to use a good pair of headphones. Futuristic-apocalyptic end time Electro/Industrial sound somewhere in vein of DOWNLOAD or SKINNY PUPPY, but I guess lesser accessible. The classic MENTALLO releases like "Revelations 23" or "Where Angels Fear To Tread" of course won’t get in danger to be thrown from their throne of history – also "Burnt Beyond Recognition" isn’t in reach with this. Somehow I have the impression that Gary could need a helping hand to put his stuff in order, somebody who – at times – tells him when a song definitively needs to find an end ("Amigdula" clocks more than 14 minutes...). I guess this album will find its audience with some old-school influenced fanatics and music junkies which can invest time enough to spin it several hours. The typical Electro/Industrial listener, who still prefers that repetitive Hellektro madness won’t find access to the rich content this album for sure offers. This isn’t a bad album at all, but I guess Gary overtaxes the "normal" listener a bit...
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Artist: TECHNOIR (@)
Title: Deliberately Fragile
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
The German male/female duo of TECHNOIR, presents us here their new full-length CD after their appetizing EP release "Manifesto", which got released in August 2006. Like you may expected, they play a catchy sort of Synthpop/Electronic dance music. While this EP scored enormous and could enter the German Alternative Charts thanks to the included club hits "Manifesto", "Silence" or "Liar", the expectations in between have been grown. TECHNOIR globally manage hard to satisfy this expectations and offer a quality release mostly driven by Julia’s melodious vocals well integrated in Steffen’s constant good synth play. With the track "Dying Star" they’ve also created a piece which can follow the way "Manifesto" has taken. Also included are some rather ballad-like arranged and heart-felting tracks like "Near You", a mysterious piece thanks to some ominous placed synth layers like "Darkest Days" and with the instrumental work "Beatitudes" Steffen’s abilities as a musician are asked for. Catchy and melodic Synthpop – yes - but Pop music, which can drive them near to some major chart positions – I guess rather no! Like with many releases this genre has to offer, it doesn’t really wonder that this album has found open ears at the Alfa-Matrix headquarter. Music along the expected line...
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