Music Reviews



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Artist: ABSURD MINDS (@)
Title: The Cycle
Format: CD EP
Label: Scanner (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
This well-known German trio hailing from Dresden returns with a new EP, but with 11 tracks it looks nearly like an album. 5 new tracks you’ll got to hear, 1 unexpected cover version ("Hurt" of NIN, musically both acts differ light years...), plus at all 6 remix works based on the both main and outstanding tracks, "The Cycle" and "I Feel Alive". ABSURD MINDS provide again their already known formula of melodic and detailed worked-out Electropop, dark textures and layers and a vocal performance near to old PROJECT PITCHFORK. They’ve grown through the years for sure and could develop to a musically pleasant and catchy result, "The Cycle" is a fine example. For this piece you’ll need only 2 – 3 spins until it has bitten hard in your mind, a real smasher in their known mid-tempo style. Four different remix works of "The Cycle" are also available here, among others acts like LEGACY OF MUSIC and DAYS OF FATE (very Goth-like...) have worked on it. Not a bad work at all, but nothing on here which reaches the quality of the original. "I Feel Alive" instead pushes higher the speed and grows to a real cool dancefloor filler, also the featured "Jones-Mix" turns this fine track into a real aggressive percussion feast – thumbs up! What is still a riddle for me, is the fact that Metropolis until now hasn’t picked up this item – as far that they were responsible for almost all previous releases for the North-American market. This one is definitively worth to get featured and heard in every corner of this world.
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Artist: JAPANESE GUM (@)
Title: talking silently ep
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Marsiglia (@)
Rated: *****
I imagine many of you never heard the name Marsiglia records but while producing mainly debut cdr for new bands, the label should have developed a sort of magic touch since it looks like most of the bands they put out sooner or later make it on bigger labels. Just to prove these guys can smell it when it's good: here we have a promising electronic combo coming out of nowhere. Hailing from Genova, Japanese Gum are totally into the IDM/electronic-pop scene and you can hear it strongly underlined in the five tracks of this ep. This debut release is still a bit rough like it was the pre-mastered version of a cd and also still to be focussed (above all for the sound of some loops or for some vocal solutions) but they definitely know how to write that king of songs/tracks. It's true, they write songs much more than tracks, that's why they end to be really poppy sometimes, above all if compared to the glorious IDM hey-days or even to the average electronic release, but it doesn't depend exclusively form the vocals. "Melodic, melancholic and british"...no, that's not the next definition for Radiohead (another good name to enclose in the list of influences together with Sigur Ros and Mum), it's just a short definition that fits really well with this mcd. Port Royal made it on Resonant after a cdr like this... will they have the same luck? Keep your eyes and ears open.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Dependence 2
Format: CD
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Winter time - compilation time #2: A requiem release... For all of you out there who still haven’t heard the horrible news, but the included 24-sides long booklet to this compilation reports, that the famous and international renowned German label Dependent will close their doors during summer 2K7. Maybe this is the reason why this comp comes in a totally black designed jewel case. Anyhow, a stop of all business activities of this giant label is a hard slap against the international Electro/Industrial scene. I was shocked as I received this compilation – and I nearly had to sit down to realize and to believe what I had to read - I’m still shocked! I somehow wanted to present the booklet text here in this review, to give you the official literally word-by-word text by label chief Stefan Herwig, but for some reason I couldn’t find it on their site and also not in their forum. To cut a long story short, Herwig names reasons like the lack of sales of physical CD releases and the obviously higher rates of illegal downloads through Eastern European piracy websites. Also the lack of a clear statement to copyrights through the German government is a valid point Herwig argues here. I somehow think that this problem is only the top of an ice mountain, a lot of business frustration may comes along, too. Anyway, the text is worth a reading and if it will published completely somewhere else, I’ll gonna bring it on here in the news section. "Thanks" to this awful news, the content and this compilation generally have been moved a bit out of recognition. The second part of this compilation series holds again some goodies and special recordings of all main artists on board. It’s really hard to find any better opener for this comp than this marvelous "alternate version" of SEABOUND’s "The Promise" – this is perfect composed and played Electro/Futurepop music. Rather energetic and with some guitar-support comes then MINDLESS FAITH with an unreleased track. ROTERSAND offer the interested audience a new remix work on their classic "Merging Ocean", while Lukas Schneider aka AUTOAGGRESSION returns with a rather noisy and fast-forward pounding track "Speed". No club hit of SUICIDE COMMANDO, you’ll get instead a limited b-side, the instrumental piece "Second Death". MIND.IN.A.BOX preset with "Give Me My Life" a track you maybe already know, if you have visited their website. Last but not least, STROMKERN offer with "Hindsight" in its Extendet version the main track of their current download-only single release. Several nice pieces are on here, especially for those who aren’t the hard-stuff collectors which can purchase all limited editions of some release. But the smell of death lays over this compilation...

01 Seabound - The Promise (Alternate)*
02 Mindless Faith - Independence Day (Precursor Mix)*
03 Fractured - Cold Eyes (Reprise)*
04 Pride and Fall - Adored*
05 Rotersand - Merging Oceans (2007 re-work)*
06 Edge Of Dawn - Damage (Forma Tadre Remix)*
07 NNN feat. Dismantled - We Were*
08 Flesh Field - Swarm*
09 Ivory Frequency - Clock Is Ticking Fast (Demo Version)*
10 Autoaggression - Speed*
11 Insekt - Bambifucker (Remix Version)*
12 Suicide Commando - Second Death**
13 mind.in.a.box - Give Me My Life**
14 Stromkern - Hindsight (Extended)**

* Unreleased
** Rare
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Artist: :WUMPSCUT: (@)
Title: Body Census
Format: CD
Label: Beton Kopf Media / Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Soulfood / Nova Media
Rated: *****
"Welcome to :WUMPSCUT: and his 9th album called Body Census", so it "screams" against me in big letters. You all know the formula, although we still have some cold winter days here. Rudy R. returns and provides a new studio album ready to be released due spring time (release date: 7th of April 2K7). The album is now ready done and shipped out to all relevant places to start soon the marketing offensive to sale it in several formats (also a "Body Census" box set limited to 1515 pieces ). Also several release parties in Germany are just announced, more than ever before, and on a few Rudy will take part personally. This is how the life of Rudy R. goes, year by year the same procedure, the life of a musician who needs to take the fight against downloading piracy, because it screws his existence. Unfortunately this all doesn’t mean that the most important term of Rudy’s huge marketing strategy, the music, offers the expected quality. Was his last year’s album "Cannibal Anthem" a constant good move out of some routine and boredom which both predecessors "Evoke" and "Bone Peeler" may have been caused, this new one is rather a step back. First three tracks "The Beast Sleeps Within You", the rather calm "Remember One Thing" and "We Believe, We Believe" are all danceable-oriented Dark Electro tracks without an excessive doze of aggression, while the vocals got placed linear along the synth textures. Not bad at all – but also not essential compositions in the long :W: discography. "Ain’t That Hungry Yet" as being the fourth track here turns lyrically into some relation to the "Cannibal Anthem" album – with the difference that this track lacks of quality and originality. I’m not sure, but I’ve got the impression that this track is an outtake which didn’t fit with the "Cannibal Anthem" album – to right! Besides his always and forever used theme of collecting some death bodies, he likes to bring us on a new thematically idea, the important question of and about "Are You A Goth". You like to get a part of the lyrical content of this piece? Well, here: "Will you ever – Change your life – Will you never – Feel alive – Will you never – See the sun – You are always – On the run". Demanding, I guess that’s enough and tells a lot about the content. Accompanied with the slow and ominous arranged "Homo Gothikus Industrialis", which features lyrically Rudy’s hallucinating idea of a Goth-inspired prehistoric life form (!!!), we’ve reached the part which only causes head-shaking from my side. Well, what else has gone through Rudy’s head over the past year, instead to take care on this "groundbreaking" stuff? But calm down – the best pieces of this whole album he has placed in between. "My Dear Ghoul", for sure also not a compositional master piece, finally turns the mood into the harsher and speedy field. Also the vocals can point here by offering the awaited assault which the short-haired rivetheads have longed out for. And the best track follows with "Hide And Seek", an instrumental tune featuring melodic textures with remarkable Dark Electro synth layers. Your lordship Rudy is back on track with this little masterpiece, besides "My Dear Ghoul" a real oasis in a desert. Also the title track can somehow satisfy by giving some more inspiration on the rhythm patterns, it’s not all 4/4-on-the-floor here. The mood of this track is somehow comparable with the classic "Dr. Thodt" – with the difference that Rudy sings here. Comes then the biggest disappointment at all, "Adonai, My Lord", for sure the most boring title Rudy has ever composed so far. Foreseeable, yet amateurish and loveless produced arrangements, plain lyrics in a mood like "need-it-simple-and melodic". Baah, now I know very well why Rudy has decided to give this piece away to start a remix content. This piece is that weak and lacks of any good idea that every provided remix work can do it only better! Last but not least the track "The Fall", which provides female lyrics and vocals by Onca. Not a bad tune for sure, but the rather minimal instrumentation destroys any remarkable moment. While the predecessor "Cannibal Anthem" could offer a clear concept and a musically impressive result, the things differ with "Body Census". This new album seems to be shattered and burdens of several unfinished ideas. Some pieces really give the impression that they got created in a few hours and do really need some more refining. For sure, a :WUMPSCUT: production always stands out in art (very nice dead body drawings by Francois Launet/Goomi Studios) and packaging (here: a beautiful styled digi-pack...), but I claim from myself, that I can clearly hear the difference, when Rudy finds enough inner piece and dedication for a quality album. The German big printed magazines of course will hail this album to paradise for sure, but see it - "Body Census" is far away from being so. Rudy can do it better – Rudy must do it better!

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Artist: BRAINCLAW (@)
Title: Dead Monsters
Format: CD
Label: BLC Productions / e-noxe (@)
Distributor: Alive
Rated: *****
One of the most sought-after unsigned acts finally has agreed to sign a deal with the Arkansas-based label BLC Productions to release their new studio album "Dead Monsters". Strange is the fact that this band is already active since several years, I personally own a demo tape recording called "Pain-Selective" released in 1993 and that demo was already the third release of them. It seems they felt comfortable through the years to stay unsigned and independent – it definitively hasn’t anything to do with a lack of recognition. Reviews, support and promotion were always positive, also the movie and TV industry has already picked them up and they could add the track "When The Dark Rains Come" to take part on soundtrack for "Matrix" and "Spiderman". BRAINCLAW consists of David and Tara Giuffre, both responsible for music and vocals. Their music can be described as a detailed worked-out kind of Electro/Industrial, which isn’t afraid to integrate the use of guitars. Possible references for a comparison can be found with acts like MINDLESS FAITH or THE MERCY CAGE. The kind of Tara’s vocals offers another surprise, instead of a smooth and melodic performance, she prefers a rather energetic and FX-supported style. "Strike" – already well discovered on some comps – is the energetic and straight-forward moving opener featuring the mentioned guitars. Another remarkable track has to be named with "Feed The Machine" which satisfies the bass line addicts. Rather based on melodic synth textures they’ve created both tracks "Euphorium" and "Hypocritic" – while their best work they’ve placed to the very last position, the intense and catchy "Fallen". A well worked out Electro/Industrial album with a rather American influence – also for BLC a welcomed development to release music besides the EBM/Dark Electro formula – while BRAINCLAW are able to deal with this styles, too. Thumbs up, good stuff!
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