Music Reviews



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Artist: Spirited Machine (@)
Title: As We Count The Days
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Spirited Machine is the solo project of the Iowa-based Electro/Industrial-musician Andrew Johnson. Starting a music career full of hopes, this 9-tracker As We Count The Days" is the self-produced debut release for him. Andrew simply considers his music as being "Electro" – that surely fits, but a dedication to some Futurepop/Synthpop-artists in sound and arrangements can be added. This album is a relatively sedating procedure, danceable and skillfully arranged, without any pseudo-aggressive attitudes to fall into harder EBM-minded textures. Regarding the fact that Andrew has avoided for this release to pick up a microphone and to add a vocal performance, his multiple and detailed worked out sequencing lines are appreciated. Surely nice and consumable stuff for the hook-line-addicts, but I nevertheless do recommend to add vocals. If Andrew doesn’t feel comfortable to do this on his own, the hiring of a capable vocalist seems to be required, especially if it comes to hunt for some more international exposure. The title track gets the vote for being the best worked out track, while "Resonance (Instrumental Mix)" (Huh??? So the original features vocals???) can be named as being the straightest piece. Quite interesting and entertaining first work, lets hope for a continuation.
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Artist: Von Liebenfels (@)
Title: Všter Unser Im Walhall
Format: CD
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
Another new addition to the musically very diverse roster of the German SkullLine mail order, your underground specialist when it comes to get serviced with all styles between Industrial, Powernoise, Martial, Neo-Classic, Military or Experimental music. With VON LIEBENFELLS the SkullLine label turns for the first time into the Neo-Classic style, here and there accomplished with some Ambient elements. Torsten von Liebenfells – yes, that’s also his civil name – hails from New Zealand, but can for sure look on German ancestors. He calls classical compositions of Wagner, but also related artists like VON THRONSTAHL and ZHARK to be quells of inspiration. His dedication to ZHARK went that far, that he has decided to create a special tribute-track entitled "Neu-Schwabenland". Musically his form of Neo-Classic consists of orchestral-like layer sounds richly present over this whole album. Some classic tom-tom-like percussion elements and here and there some real piano tunes ("Vril I", which features also some spoken-word samples, "Night Of The Long Knifes") are complimented his musically outfit, which differs by far compared to the rather noisy and experimental-minded stuff released by SkullLine. This is musically a fine and sedating procedure and the artistically concept behind this release is enormous. Thumbs up for this release, which brings back to once recognized impression, that music can mean something more than the too often overrated "terror-noise-distort"-formula. Well done!
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Artist: ISIS SIGNUM (@)
Title: Electrosensual
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Advanced Synergy (@)
Distributor: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
So finally here comes the new ISIS SIGNUM full-length album packed in a special paper box and strictly limited. Besides the album it features an additional CD-EP dedicated to the track "Destroy The Wall" well hidden in here. Talking at first on the full-length album, Helder continues to produce danceable Electro-Clash tunes in a rather static and cold mood and he once again likes to pick up female guest vocalists. SARA NOXX, KINDEL of LIQUEFACTION (both already available on the both predecessor EP "Heartbreaker" and "Communication") and TYING TIFFANY are sharing the microphone to offer their abilities to fulfill Helder’s tracks with the right human factor. Besides the fact that Helder seems to have a favor to use only analogue hardware equipment, it is conspicuous that the music generally doesn’t concentrate to storm through the ears in your brain. A calm and remarkable melodic content which would point out the tracks is a bit missed. But maybe this is intentional and shall explain his musically difference to all Futurepop-/Electro-Clash acts out there? Helder works as a DJ and is internationally renowned, he therefore should know which elements in his music work at best to entertain the masses or to fill the floors. The nearly old-school EBM-like "Not Defined", available in two versions, is a favorite, "Destroy The Wall", the into German translated "Herzensbrecher" have to be named too. 12 tracks at all on this album, plus you’ll get a video clip on "Destroy The Wall".
The additional inserted CD-EP of "Destroy The Wall" is comparable with the content of both predecessor EP’s "Heartbreaker" and "Communication". 9 tracks at all on this item which features some new interpretations by internationally renowned names like Daniel Myer (haujobb., DESTROID), the German Black-Rain-recording artist SUPREME COURT or STRAFBOMBER. This EP is a fine additions for the die-hard fans for sure, while I tend to rate the last EP "Communication" to be the better alternative. Anyhow, with this nice package, which features additional info sheets, flyers and goodies all around, DJ Helder has created to himself a kind of monument. The signals out of the clubs world-wide made it possible and Helder grows from release to release. Check out a rather calm-minded electronic music output hailing out of Mexico asides the known HOCICO/AMDUSCIA-formula...
Dec 06 2007
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Artist: Mulphia (@)
Title: Bleeding
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
Right before Santa storms into your living room to bring the rod, the Czech Republic-based one-man project MULPHIA a.k.a. Richard Viduna returns with a new studio album. He has already released his debut "Dark Sides" very early this year through the Hungarian Advoxya Records label, so already another new album comes out surprisingly fast, but with some good reasons. "Dark Sides" was a kind of collection of earlier MULPHIA-recordings, maybe sort of some first sessions, while this new album "Bleeding" is a huge step towards to some new sound territories. MULPHIA has grown and developed to a more layered and attractive Dark Electro-outfit, the arrangements nowadays can rival with the audio results of some up and coming artists like OBJECT, KIFOTH or LAST INFLUENCE OF BRAIN. The vocals are that typical sort of distorted and mostly vocoderized kind of whispers, while some of the provided lyrics bring back the memory on the early morning bowel movement, tz-tz. ("Feeding Time", "Believe (U Fucking Asshole)"). Whatever has driven Richard to such a raging content, I forgive him this little flaw, since the music fits and reaches the higher courts. "Counthing" (no typo?!) for instance features this sinister and rather PUPPYan-influenced element provided by its dark synth layer sounds, while "Voltage" surprises with a drastically change of the song tempo, turning this track from a FLA-like mid-tempo tune into a raging Harsh EBM-smasher. "Re-Deemer" likes to adds some Metal-Guitar riffs to strengthen the chorus part, while "Something Sometimes (2nd Version)" earns the gold medal for the integration of awesome "interrupting" studio effects, what a great track! While I’m not completely sure, if this album features Richard’s up-to-date abilities, or if it is just another collection of the after-"Dark-Sides"-phase, I must admit, that this album and its interesting outfit nails me for a longer period. This is that kind of an attractive Dark Electro album, which may doesn’t hold the upper-class hit smasher, but which is worth enough to get some more rotations than usual and to become a secret favorite tip. Good stuff, keep it on!
Dec 03 2007
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Artist: DIFFUZION (@)
Title: Wired Tunes
Format: CD
Label: Machinist Records (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by three Belorussians (one girl and two guys) Diffuzion started their activity on 2004 and during these three years they worked hard. This effort is bringing to the electro e.b.m. audience a nice CD packed with sixteen tracks (of which three remixes and different mix of four tracks previously available on singles). The Diffuzion's style is in balance between e.b.m., future pop and electro and the characteristic vocals of Xev are able to make them switch from one genre to the other changing her way of singing: a little dreamy for the electro tunes a little more dark and mysterious for the e.b.m./future pop ones. In my opinion these latter ones are their best tracks as the upbeat tempo and the synthetic melody create a convincing web which don't push too much the pedal on the distorted side. On these ones Xev sounds intriguing and she enrich the whole result. Tracks like "Wired tunes", "One way" or "Fire" give the right portion of energy and melody while I find their "romantic" tunes and the electro ones (like "Our wings are gone" or the following "Round") missing a bit their target. In my opinion, the cold sounds don't match too much with the atmospheres created. It could be that this contrast will be their winning point, in any case they showed to me their quality on the other tracks and this is a good thing anyway...
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