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Artist: November Process (@)
Title: Deafinition
Format: CD
Label: Vendetta-Music (@)
Distributor: KDG Media
Rated: *****
Well, I guess I’m a lot after schedule by reviewing this new EP of Germany’s Synth-/Futurepop-act NOVEMBER PROCESS, which has signed now on Vendetta-Music. A bit surprising though, since all acts of the Vendetta-roster are rather presenting the harder styles between old-school EBM and authentic Dark Electro music. After their first release on Germany’s Sonic-X label, they here offer a 39 minutes long new release – maybe opulent enough for an EP, but for sure not long enough to call it a full-length album. The music generally follows quite expected paths, it’s technically well-done Futurepop-music with elegant arrangements, solid compositions and a satisfying male vocal performance. Normally bands place for the both opening slots a club hit or such, in case of NP you’ll get an instrumental intro track ("Disharmonic") and the second track "Antiharmony", which seems to be the second chapter of the intro. Sad but true, it’s unexplainable to put both weakest tracks of this whole EP at this entrancing and important positions, because the overdriven use of repetitive and generic Techno sequences gives especially "Antiharmony" an unpleasant outfit. The enjoyment starts with track 3, "Men In Grey" as well as the follow-up "#Define Friend", which both impress with a much better song construction and the required doze of melodic components to bring them in sight with global players like EDGE OF DAWN or NOYCE TM. Danceable highlight is the title track, which pushes the speed even more, also the bass lines have been worked out more intense. A melodic and sentimental ballad hasn’t to be missed for bands out of this genre and "Coldwar" is a fine piano-driven example for this. Nothing to complain with the further tracks too, the last track "Lead The Way" surprises with some guitar insertions, so you’ll get a globally convincing new EP of this German act. Musically they’re surely talented enough to rival with the both above mentioned names, but this they still have to prove with perseverance and a coming next release.
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Artist: Stahlwerk 9 (@)
Title: Revolution Of The Anti-Christ
Format: CD
Label: Steinklang Industries (@)
Rated: *****
"Revolution Of The Antichrist (R.O.T.A)" is the new album from the well known Stahlwerk 9 project and shows a twist into pulsating ritual ambiences. They used to play a compelling mixture of death ambient with noisier moments but this one is a lot quieter with gloomy drones and some minimal rhythms. "R.O.T.A." is a concept album dealing with the coming of the Antichrist and we are accompained for this descent to hell by ten superb artworks (one for each track) by Alexander Nemkovsky. Those paintings show a very peculiar vision of hell full of allegories that reminded me of Jodorowsky's approach to religion and myth. Returning to the music - the sounds heard herein have to be absorbed carefully. The cd comes in three different editions - the basic is limited to 666 copies has the size of a 7" and contains the 10 pictures, the wooden box edition which is limited to 333 copies and the box with t-shirt which is limited to 66 copies. For sure this is the most intresting and compelling release by Stahlwerk 9.
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Artist: Airiel (@)
Title: The Battle Of Sealand
Format: CD
Label: Walking Bicycles (@)
Rated: *****
Ariel's new album brings the pop back into shoegaze, while lots of bands of the new generation are more focused on the atmospheres. The comparisons could be sunnier side of Secret Shine and the most accessible Spiritualized (how I miss them...). The opening track is called "Introduction" and is using many layers; it's hard to pigeonhole but it is somehow clichéed and reminds me of a guitar version of Herrmann & Kleine earlier stuff. "The Battle Of Sealand" contains at least two outstanding tracks, the first is "Sugar Crystals" which features Ulrich Schnauss and it's a mind blowing example of nu-gaze - I'm sure this will be a classic in their repertoire; the other one is "Mermaid In A Manhole" (quite strange to find a reference to a very graphic movie of the infamous Guinea Pig series on a record like this). The record is amazingly recorded and there are lots and lots of fuzzes and layers of distorted guitars - but personally I liked Airiel better when they were experimenting with ambiences and drones.
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Artist: NICK DIDKOVSKY (@)
Title: Tube Mouth Bow String
Format: CD
Label: Pogus (@)
Rated: *****
After sever listenings I can truly say I really love this release. For those who haven’t associated the name yet: this Didkovsky is a member of Doctor Nerve even if this work for guitar and string quartet is situated somewhere else if compared to that band. The territory is somehow that where generally you’re used to meet people like Fred Frith during some of his many contemporary trips but the compositional style plus the sound of Didkovsky are more noisy and I’d put in more severe. The music featured in this work has an high evocative impact and be it intentional or not the fact the cd opens with a sequence of notes really close to Morton Feldman's "triadic memories" (from "Crippled Symmetries") can give you an hint of the whole audio journey. The fact is that despite this similarity the music is considerably far from Feldman, just take the second track for solo electric guitar and computer: this music is more chaotic and noisy, it really reminded me of some old works by mighty Caspar Brotzmann when going less rock like in "Zulu time" where he teamed up with Page Hamilton. With the third episode the matter is more drone-oriented thought this guitarist's style slowly fuses with the string quartet, the magma is really well melted due to the fact every musician is using a talkbox thorough which they alter the sound of their instruments with the shape of their own mouths. The piece evolves gradually letting the string music come to surface, despite some really odd dissonances it reminds of some classic experimental composition by Maderna, Stockhausen or in the likes, the only difference is that the structure here is less fragmented and moves like a mantra from the outer space. "What sheep herd" offers something which probably would go really close to Giacinto Scelsi if he only would be still alive: it sounds like a monochord composition which owes so much to music coming from Asia. As you probably have guessed the final part of this work is more relaxed and silent and both the adjectives fits really well for the closing track where you have just the string quartet restrained and increasingly fading into silence. Didkovsky’s music is deeply influenced by some of the best composers hailing from the sixties and seventies, if you are into some Frith consider the last track has been appositely composed for his guitar quartet, the two musicians are not too similar, but you’ll probably find some interesting connections.

Artist: Mankind is Obsolete (@)
Title: Trapped Inside
Format: CD
Distributor: Mkio
Rated: *****

BUY from  HERE
Mankind is Obsolete is an amazing band hailing from Los Angeles. I discovered and seen recently live at The Nite Lite Cafe in Berwyn, Illinois. They put on an outstanding show and are playing all over the states and making history wherever they go. They are not signed yet but I can tell they will be in the nearer future. Trapped Inside is the name of the album and it is awesome all around. We open with track one " Awake " which is an upbeat track that is bouncy and alive. Nice guitar solo blending well wit melodic synths and Natashas sweet voice. Natashas sings, " The world whats asks for so much but leaves me worst than empty" " Is this all there is, theres nothing to see" makes us think about what mankind is really doing to exterminate this world. This track is sure to be a dance floor hit and a track to get the audience moving and groovin. She sings from the heart and soul with all members backing her singing their hearts out for a cry for help. Track two is " Picking at the Scab " which is a whimsical track that leaves us wanting more. Natasha sings, " So rip the bandage off to see what's underneath" " Picking at the scab to give me some relief." Real heavy lyrics at first then sweet sounding like a Tina Root in synth- phony then growling " but I still can't find relief " Hope, than no hope for this troubled soul singing her tragedies. Track three " Parasite " is another killer track on this album. A song that we can all relate to and share the same sentiment. Natasha sings, " The more I give the more you take, " " It's never enough, your feeding from me." With back up singing, " take it away." This track flows nicely and is hard driven and hard working on your psyche. It makes you think and feel her pain as we all feel pain from one that begged, borrowed and stealed our soul. I love this track and see it as another dance floor hit and a song to remember this band by. We proceed on to " Trapped Inside " and the title of the album is has almost punk beats and growls. It is a definate mosh-pit song and is designed for you to move your feet and go crazy to it. Natasha sings, " I'm trapped Inside " in repetition, letting you know the hell she is in. All and all the rest of the album proves to be angsty great fun and left me with a great impression and a thought that if Mankind if Obsolete, then we should all go down to our deaths with this band serenading our deaths. 4 stars ~ Michelle Russo
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