Music Reviews



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Artist: NORDVARGR
Title: Interstellar
Format: CD
Label: Beast Of Prey (@)
Rated: *****
If you are used to listen to industrial music or if you read magazines which talk about this genre it's impossible that you hadn't the chance to read the name of one of the projects that have Mr. Henrik Nordvargr Bjorkk involved. Names like: MZ412, Folkstorm, Toroidh, etc. This time Nordvargr is bringing to your speakers four dark industrial suites which aim is to re-create the dark sidereal sound of the space. Inspired by the Haglund theoy of "Absolute evil", INTERSTELLAR has been recorded using field recordings and sounds made by space objects transmitted over satellites. Space and its mysteries have always been the subject of ambient explorations since early 70's and it's difficult to being able to release something new and which works well. "Nothingness approaching", "Massive interstellar darkness", "Expanding matter" and the 17" long "Returning to a balanced existence" don't sound innovative but they succeed into creating a convincing and involving painful atmosphere. To be full appreciated this album mush be listened on a good hi-fi system or good headphones.
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Artist: Himiko
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: D-Trash records (@)
Rated: *****
Japanese composer/keyboardist Himiko has been living in Alberta, Canada, where she has been making all sorts of crazed music. If you read her biography you'd never imagine what she is capable of, but this is her 6th album, and probably the most extreme of them all, right at home with DTrash records (but if you know the label it should come as no surprise).
Himiko is an electronics-empowered jazz trained piano player who blends her performing skills with high-powered, fast-paced, mind bogging cut ups of sped-up beats, distorted guitars and all sorts of other saturated sources. Little to no trace of jazz is left, unless of course you consider Zornian free-jazz, which I probably is one of Himiko's influences.
It's really quite hard to describe an album where so much happens in so little time and where so many influences and sounds fight for balance and attention. Sensory overload is the name of the game and if you are prepared and trained to take it, you should give Himiko her fair chance to fuck your brain up real good!
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Artist: Lucid Dementia (@)
Title: Trickery
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Next time I go to SxSW I'll be looking for the name Lucid Dementia, an Austin-based industrial-rock band inspired by KMFDM, NIN, Skinny Puppy, Marylin Manson, Gwar and the like, with a political agenda and an often spoken about live show that allegedly looks like the Muppet Show meets Iron Maiden's "Eddie" meets the Saw mask kind of thing (it involves a 6-foot tall singing puppet and is pretty theatrical and hard to describe, which is why I want to go check them out if they play in their native "weird" city).
As you might imagine from the above impressive list of influences, we're dealing with lots of guitars, samples, treated vocals, sequences and machine sounding drums (although they are supposed to have a drummer). The band is female-fronted but at times I could swear I was hearing a choir of children, which makes it oh so creepier I guess.
The musical complexity (flutes, asian instrument samples, harp etc) of their composition is ambitious and worthy of notice, the delivery might not as sonically dynamic and powerful as they maybe would like it to be, but nevertheless the intentions and ideas are there, but that might very well be a limitation of the genre.
Overall a well thought out album that speaks to their skills and dedication.
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Artist: Puscifer
Title: "V" is for Viagra - The Remixes
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Red Distribution
Rated: *****
Great record. For those who are not familiar with Puscifer, that would be another pseudonym for Tool/A Perfect Circle singer Maynard James Keenan's solo endeavors. He first released the debut album "V is for Vagina" and now present us with its deconstructed and reinterpreted remix album version called "V is for Viagra". Maynard's voice is immediately recognizable and unavoidably marks this record with that aura of mysteriousness and coolness that surrounds his two main projects. But even if you are not a Tool/APC fan, this record has legs of its own and it stands tall against what's out there in this niche genre. There are no rock guitars and Maynard barely ever sings. All the vocals are either recited in a grandiose and powerfully enunciated way (almost Laibach-style) or spoken and distorted like many electronic bands do, or just simply heavily treated, cut up and staggering. The music is electronic in almost its entirety but still sounds very organic, dynamic and exciting, ranging from minimal and dark to climatic and chaotic. Remixes by Josh Eustis (Telefon Televiv), Lustmord, Dave "Rave" Ogilvie and Colin Janz, Danny Lohner of NIN/Renholder, Mat Mitchell and Contradictator (QOTSA, APC), Joey Jordison (Slipknot), Paul Barker (Ministry, USSA), Aaron Turner (ISIS), Richard Devine, Michale Patterson and 8MM insure freshness of approach and style and a true and established connection with the electronic world that we support and represent. Highly recommended.
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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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