Music Reviews



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Artist: STAHLSCHLAG (@)
Title: Acousticophobie
Format: CD
Label: Hypervoxx Recordings (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Another new signing for the Telegrammetry/Hypervoxx label group, this time a fellow male/female duo out of Germany – and I’ve to admit that I’ve never ever heard of them before. Regarding the band name and the title of this release I expected a kind of retro-EBM project comparable to SPETSNAZ, PROCEED and colleagues. Unfortunately – and this is a constant point of criticism against the design of the cover art – links and references are still missing, a phenomenon I’ve already discovered also on both last Hypervoxx releases. If you like to get some more info on the bands, you’ve to google for them – and whoever will be able to look through the misleading search engines of the Myspace community? With STAHLSCHLAG the Hypervoxx label offers again a stylistically change – they provide us their version of rhythmically Powernoise. It can be surely not said, that they would invent a new wheel at all, but what they are doing here, they do it well and exciting. Musically very near to comparable acts signed to the German ProNoize label like XOTOX, CONTROL-SYSTEM or FABRIKC they’re smashing as hard as possible some disturbing rhythm patterns, heavy distortion effects at times combined with some efficient voice samples. I avoid it here to pick out favorites, since all tracks can convince. Of course the music is instrumental and genre-typical arranged, also the lack of originality and deeper compositional abilities can be noticed and have to be mentioned as well. But generally I see and hear no real flaw on this production which should be an obstacle for some international attention and success.
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Artist: TAXI TAXI!
Title: Taxi Taxi!
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Rumraket (@)
Rated: *****
Taxi Taxi! is a Swedish duo formed by two teen twin sisters. Their first MCD contains six tracks where the sisters play introspective pop folk acoustic songs. Try to imagine a mellow version of Kings Of Convenience with the only use of guitars, piano and harp. Even if in their teens the tracks sound convincing and balanced and in songs like "Mary" you can feel at the best their passionate style. If you love the genre they could be quite a surprise.
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Artist: LAUB (@)
Title: Deinetwegen
Format: CD
Label: AGF Producktion (@)
Distributor: Wide
Rated: *****
Born from a collaboration of Antye Greie (a.k.a. Poemproducer) and Jotka (producer and guitar player, motion graphic designer and founder of Arme Irre), Laub releases its first album for Antye's personal label AGF. The album see Antye singing and reciting her poems while Jotka create soft ambience built out from the interaction of blues music and glitch experimentations. The result sounds like a blues record with experimental arrangements as well as an experimental/ambient album played with rock/blues attitude. The atmosphere is gloomy and melancholic but I can't tell you about the lyrics, because unfortunately I don't understand the German language. The songs are in balance from pop attitude and improvisation and on most of them a bluesy guitar drive the melody and the structure of the track. Personally I appreciated most tracks like "Ruf" or "Schnee" where the characteristic blues structure is less interfering and the couple is free to experiment a little more.
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Artist: EISDRIVE (@)
Title: HOURS OF STEEL
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I must admit to being remiss when it comes to the CDs I’ve received to review that have somehow fallen through the cracks or ended up in stacks where they don’t belong. Such is the case with Eisdrive, and I call up an old Latin phrase to plead my case- BETA LATEN EVAH. Besides, most of he stuff I have left to catch up on either falls into the weird/experimental or somnambulistic categories, and there’s only so much of that you can listen to at a time. So good ole’ Industrial music suits me fine right now.

Eisdrive is comprised of two NYC industrial guys- Xian Engle (Vox & Programs) and Lance Marxen (Machines & Percussion). These guys have both paid a lot of dues in the New York Metro industrial music scene, so they obviously know what they’re doing. Citing some of their influences such as Nitzer Ebb, VNV Nation, Skinny Puppy, Covenant, Haujobb, Icon of Coil, Suicide Commando, Das Ich, BiGod20, SignalAout42, KMFDM, F/M, etc. etc., you may already have an idea what they sound like. On the EP, "Hours of Steel", the duo shows what they’re capable of, and in some spots, it’s really impressive. There are only 4 tracks here, but it serves as a good introduction to Eisdrive.

The first track, "Reeperbahn" begins a little herky-jerky, but picks up steam-like a freight train as it rolls along. Xian’s voice has that sufficiently angry/pained edge that suits electro-industrial EBM music just fine. A little on the old-school Chemlab side, but it works. The song is kind of a sonic mess, but the frenetic energy by the duo seems to propel it beyond the ordinary. "Clockwork" has a bit more cohesion to it, sort of an indictment of the humdrum existence so many people live robotically. Not something that hasn’t been done before, but Eisdrive manage to put it across effectively. Title track "Hours of Steel" is the best thing on the EP, and I’m sure they know it. It’s an industrial stomper incorporating some of the best elements of their aforementioned influences. The synths are spot-on, Xian’s voice is perfect and the beat is relentless. Nearly anthemic, what more could you ask for in raw electro-industrial? Just a little tweak in the sound production and you have an instant classic that screams to be on any modern industrial music compilation. (Hey, Metropolis, are ya listenin’?) Last track, "Scope" pushes Xian’s voice upfront where it really belongs. I really have to hand it to Lance too, the rhythm programming is quite intricate. Even though the song didn’t seem as focused as "Hours of Steel", it still has merit in its manic machinations. All too soon this little gem of an EP ends.

I went one step beyond and listened to some of their newer tracks and WHOAH! They seem to have taken firm control of the beast, turned down the vocal effects pedal and let the quality of Xian’s voice really come through. Really good stuff. Everything seemed a lot cleaner too. I think my rating here is more indicative of the band as a whole rather than just this EP, which I don’t even know of you can obtain anymore. I think that when they get around to a full release, it will probably be a "Must-have". In the meanwhile, visit either their myspace or zeBOX webites, or I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
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Artist: CREATURE (@)
Title: Mechanical
Format: CD
Label: hauntedhouserecords (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
We had already a review on this release, but thanks to a double-mailing I too come into the pleasure to consume this first full-length release by this British solo project. Behind CREATURE stands Stephen Haunts, who’s also responsible for the label Hauntedhouserecords. With a look on the cover I expected at first an effort woven into the Powernoise genre, so I was a bit surprised to enter an almost instrumental Dark Electronica/Ambient album, which obviously tries to explore some cinematic attitudes. The musically fundament is based on dark Synth basses, piano sounds and wide-ranging Synth layers sounds. Some diverse percussive elements are joining this relatively dark sounding scenario, while real vocals are only featured on two tracks "Daisy Cutter" and "Nox". The tracks which manage to provide rather complex structures with a constant melodic content like the title track, "Wish" or the already mentioned "Daisy Cutter" get my vote for being the best worked-out pieces here. CREATURE’s music isn’t designed to wrestle against the nowadays popular club sound virus, it rather needs to get heard under a pair of headphones for example. It’s an entertaining, filmic, although not sci-fi infiltrated kind of music, which also works well as a sedating background sound.
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