Music Reviews



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Artist: DISTORTED MEMORY (@)
Title: Burning Heaven
Format: CD
Label: NoiTekk (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
I heard it once, I heard it twice, and I could easily recognize why Marco of NoiTekk couldn’t resist to sign this newcomer act again hailing out of the USA. It’s really surprising to see that there’s nowadays a real movement of Harsh EBM/Hellektro newcomers out of America, after LIFE CRIED, DIE SEKTOR, DAWN OF ASHES and FGFC820 this project is already the fifth newcomer in 2K6 brought out through NoiTekk. The NoiTekk armed forces of Hellektro troops like to say welcome to this newbie, which shows some promising musically abilities. Of course, also DISTORTED MEMORY do not invent a new wheel, but their harsh and rude kind of EBM/Dark Electro fulfills all expectations. Also the lyrically content proclaims the ultimate end and works even stronger with the chosen anti-religious voice samples. The vocals are enormous, almost Alien-like distorted, at times a bit too much to my taste, but hey... the monsters are among us! It’s not all based on the Hellektro formula to take some inspiration out of Trance/Techno-like apperggio sounds, tracks like "Disciples Of The Watch" or "Confession" feature rather a constant good and well worked-out Dark Electro feeling. Some well arranged instrumental tunes featuring some more experimental samples, some orchestral-like string sounds and an ominous mood are filled in with "Hellion’s Fall" or "Sons Of Perdition" to interrupt the pounding float of this album. DISTORTED MEMORY can’t throw their colleagues of DIE SEKTOR from their throne, but are for sure face to face with LIFE CRIED or FGFC820. No music for the weak for sure, but a constant good and quality release.

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Artist: Instans (@)
Title: Common Ground
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya-Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
I like to quote Fredrik Djurfeldt of SEVERE ILLUSION out of our recent done interview soon up here somewhere else: "Well, if it wasn't for Black Flames being so encouraging in the first place, there would have been no INSTANS. For some reason they spent all their money on another band that no one liked, and now they are no more. During the two years that followed, we still had the Instans web site and a Myspace site up and running. Through this we soon learned that there was a demand for the album, so when Advoxya offered a contract we were happy to sign it." What does this mean? SEVERE ILLUSION on half power? INSTANS a waste of time? Cool down, almost everything’s all right with the debut of this SEVERE ILLUSION side-project. The authentic style which Fredrik Djurfeldt and Ulf Lundblad have successfully created and installed on all of their releases finds here a decent continuation. Described as being a lighter and more danceable edition than the main project, I moreover come to the conclusion that it wouldn’t make too much difference if they would have been decided to release "Common Ground" as a real SEVERE ILLUSION album. Yeah, some tunes are definitively straighter and rather danceable-friendly produced than the works of the last SEVERE ILLUSION studio album "Shortcut To Civilization", especially a track like "Hard Work" with its minimal old-school EBM flavor and some "sweat-muscle-work" vocals can bring a smile in my face. Favorites I like to name with "Cause And Effect" (features some great done Dark Electro-like layer sounds...) and "First Off", both pick up a bit more the traditionally noise-infiltrated SI sound. So in all this is a must-have for every SEVERE ILLUSION supporter as well as for old-school EBM and Minimal fans. Thumbs up!
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Artist: ENGELMACHER (@)
Title: Birds Of A Feather
Format: CD
Label: E-Rhythematosus Records
Distributor: E-Rhythematosus Records
Rated: *****
Behind this German name hides another self-released debut of an US-based Electro/Industrial act hailing from St. Louis, Missouri. This project consists mainly of Michael, who’s doing almost all production and vocals, and Natalie, who does some live synth work. Engelmacher describes metaphorically the term of population control, and this act just could enter a free slot on the international renowned Interbreeding compilation series (Interbreeding IX – Kuru, just out while I’m writing this...) of the BLC Productions label. Now out with this first CD which presents the musically dimension somewhere between dancefloor-compatible Electropop tunes up to pounding EBM/Dark Electro-related tracks. Both opening tracks, "Retribution" and "Circumstance" are harder-edged danceable Dark Electro tunes (NOT Trance-inspired Hellektro...) with distorted, whispering-like vocals and remind strong on some works of INFORMÄTIK or older EVILS TOY – for sure not a bad reference. Things get a bit smoother with some catchy Future-/Electropop-inspired works like "Bypass", "Useless Gestures" or "Thrust". Also the vocals on this tracks are rather clear and naturally placed, without the use of uncountable effects. With "Devotion" this act proves that they can also deal with some slower and rather creepy tunes. It has to mention that the programming abilities of this act and the detailed worked-out synth textures are the winning points for this production, the arrangements and sounds are well-thought and installed. Nice artwork too, so this is one of the most promising and still unsigned newcomer acts around. A strong recommendation to purchase this fine item, also for some labels a quality tip to give it a try...
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Interbreeding VIII: Elements of Violence
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: BLC Productions / e-noxe (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Winter time – Compilation time #1: Well, not really released in this winter, but until today still an undiscovered edition of the international extremely successful and renowned Interbreeding compilation series. Also for this edition label chief Brandon L. Clark could pick up and invite some promising newbies besides some already known forces of the internationally Electro/Industrial scene. Again released as a double-CD set, both CD’s are filled with up to 78 minutes to the maximum possible storage and you’ll get some new and refreshing appearances not to be missed. Like on most previous released editions the mass and the huge playing time maybe nails the listener at first and it needs some time and more rotations until the best pieces can be filtered. It is important to know that the first placed appearances on the so-called best slots are maybe not the best tunes; it was and is always target of this comp series to spread the favorites in every corner of the track list.
I would like to mention from the first CD entitled "Bloodthirst" the Chilean Electro/Metal-Crossover act VIGILANTE, which offer here a remix work done by the German act FUNKER VOGT. As usual – almost a trademark – remix works of FUNKER VOGT are very pleasant, at times more accessible than their own compositions. Their work on "The Other Side" is no exception, also nice to listen to a vocalist who sounds aggressive without the overdone use of distortion and overdrive effects. With BLC’s own THE PAIN MACHINERY the music gets rougher and more pounding, while the extremely dark sounding and rather old-school inspired one man act NECROTEK aka James Geist offers a "first cut" of the track "Wish You Dead" – one of the most remarkable pieces here. The French act NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT offers a pleasant Dark Electro instrumental work, which you should give a try under a good pair of headphones – maybe the best and most complex synth play here. Still into the Dark Electro vein comes the appearance of MIND CONFUSION, an act from which I haven’t heard of about more than three years now. Germany’s ACYLUM combines very effective some spooky Synth play drops with a hammering old-SC/DIOXYDE-inspired rhythm pattern work and an out-of-the-grave vocal performance of Kai Arnold aka WYNARDTAGE. Futuristic Electro as its best is offered again by the French act E.S.R., for the first time including a guitar performance, while the German SCHATTENSCHLAG give a high-speed tune in vein of HOCICO.
The second CD called "Brutality" starts with another Chilean act, the newcomer duo of PROYECTO CRISIS. The still recognized success formula to produce hard and speedy EBM with Spanish lyrics in vein of the favorites HOCICO or AMDUSCIA is an always discovered phenomenon of bands hailing from South America and this duo is no exception. But while HOCICO seem to take a longer break to collect some new inspiration, the rather filthy but refreshing tunes of some talented newcomers are welcome. Also back on track after a longer time in hiatus is the US act FUNCTION 13, here presented with an instrumental piece which got well done remixed by the German act MC1R. Some PUPPYan and rather old-school minded works can also be discovered by both heavily underrated acts LITTLE SAP DUNGEON with an edited version of "Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily" and the Slovakian act GAPING CHASM with a special remix of their track "Only Shadows Will Survive". The French act TAMTRUM, signed to Alfa Matrix, give us then their energetic and speedy recommendation to "Abort The Pope". Also hailing from France comes the duo of SKOYZ, which provides a remix by SCHATTENSCHLAG on one of their best tunes "Distorted Dreams". Also a recommendation to check out the great Russian project THE-PULSAR with a new and unreleased version of their track "Leaving Underground" featuring almost clear and undistorted well sounding male vocals.
As usual, to pick out and to mention this appearances belongs on subjective preferences – of course this doesn’t mean that the other not-mentioned tracks are worse. Different folks – different strokes. Another well compiled DCD set out of the BLC knowledge base which you better get NOW – before it is completely sold-out!

Tracklisting:

bloodthirst

1. Y-Luk-O: Resistance (deflektor mix by Brainclaw)
2. Stark: Rfamekong
3. SMP: Hacker Like Me
4. Process of Elimination: The Sleepers of Telos
5. Vigilante: The Other Side (Funker Vogt Remix)
6. Gydja: element001: Host
7. The Pain Machinery: Scar Tissue
8. Necrotek: Wish You Dead (First Cut)
9. Servo.Hatred: Rage (Interbreeding Mix)
10. Neon Cage Experiment: Sequenced Lives (Edit)
11. Mind Confusion: The Final Chapter (Remix)
12. Acylum: Trip of Hate (BLC Exclusive)
13. T.H. Industry -- Die Wut (Massiv in Mensch Remix)
14. Omen Machine: MindMelt
15. ESR: Blood on the Walls
16. Schattenschlag: Breathing Evil (Interbreeding VIII Remix)
17. Brainclaw: This Human Condition (Souls in Transit Remix)

brutality

1. Proyecto Crisis: El Juego de la Muerte
2. Implant: Fading Away
3. function13: Prostitute (g-u-n remix by mc1r)
4. Tyske Ludder: Betrayal (Wertstahl US Remix)
5. Ilion Conflict: Genocide
6. Gaping Chasm: Only Shadow will Survive
7. LSD: Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily (Edit)
8. Tamtrum: Abort the Pope
9. Tau Factor: Cold Core (Mixdown)
10. Stigmata: No Way Out (Evil Dead Mix)
11. Wynardtage: My Hell (BLC Exclusive)
12. Wertstahl: Der Mechanische Soldat
13. Invisible Asps: Scarlet Design (Ravishing Mix)
14. Skoyz: Distorted Dreams (Condition Zero Mix by Schattenschlag)
15. The Pulsar: Leaving Underground
16. Anders Manga: Burn
17. The Crystalline Effect: When the World Ends (Implant Remix)

Artist: Tears For Fears
Title: Tears Roll Down-Greatest Hits '82-'92
Format: DVD
Distributor: Universal
Rated: *****
This dvd is a collection of all Tears For Fears videos from 1982-1992. Watching some of these classic videos make me feel like I'm a teenager all over again. Nothing like watching good old videos from the 80's that you grew up seeing on MTV and other video stations and programs. The collection of videos includes "Sowing The Seed Of Love" that have that Beatle-esque feel, flying buddhas and other special effects going on make the video more quite interesting and fun to watch. In "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", Curt Smith looks so cool driving in a convertible, which was filmed in California. And of course, another favorite scene I like is when the two black guys who's all dressed up in a white shirt, black tie, a two piece suit, and wearing dark shades came out of the outhouse and start dancing. Who can forget "Head Over Heels", which was shot in a library. In teh beginning of the video, Roland's arms and hands filled with a bunch of books and barely could walk and finally made it to the librarian at the desk, who supposed to play his girlfriend. Curt plays the janitor who sweeps up the floor. "Mad World" shows Curt singing while sitting in a desk by the window and Roland outside on the patio staring at the trees and somewhere with his hands in his coat pockets. Then later on in the video he starts dancing. I like the hundreds of paper airplanes flying everywhere at the British new wave duo while walking and one of the paper planes hits Roland in the eye in "Pale Shelter". "Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)" have that animated visual effect. The black and white video "Woman In Chains" feature r&b artist Oleta Adams who Roland discovered at a night club bar. This video is six minutes long and have that powerful drama catch. The characters in the scenes feature a woman who is a stripper and a man portrays as a boxer and they're having a problem in their relationship. Later, both worked out the problem. Relive the memories of Tears For Fears by buying their 12 videos collection. A collector item to have to store in your 80's memorabilia.

Video Tracklistings:

Sowing The Seeds Of Love
Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Woman In Chains
Shout
Head Over Heels
Mad World
Pale Shelter
I Believe
Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)
Mothers Talk (UK Version)
Change
Advice For The Young At Heart
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