Music Reviews



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Artist: FABRIKC
Title: Impulsgeber
Format: CD
Label: ProNoize / Dark Dimensions (@)
Distributor: Broken Silence
Rated: *****
Hailing out of Hannover/Germany, the Powernoise/Industrial-musician Thorsten Berger a.k.a. FABRIKC returns with his second full-length album. Again released by the German ProNoize-label out of the Dark Dimension label group, Thorsten could already earn several laurels thanks to the unexpected success of his debut "Gleichstrom". "Impulsgeber" is that sort of a hard and rhythmically Powernoise-releases featuring a minimal EBM-like impact, which has become that famous, also thanks the roster of the ProNoize-label. Music which works at best at the clubs, while some of Thorsten’s works are accessible for a consumption at your home entertainment. FABRIKC also likes to integrate some remarkable voice-samples taken out of diverse and very different quells, which at least helps one or another of his tracks to gain a message. Whatever he has to complain against "Chinese Food"??? Hard to name out favorites, since almost all pieces provide a straight-forward moving attitude, which guarantees a hard dancefloor activity – so this seems to be a matter of personal preferences. "Klangaktiviert" comes up with some nice "screaming" metallic sounds penetrated through a big hall reverberation effect, while "Schalltod" deals with a nearly anarchic noise collage, until the beats lead the scenario. With the track "Absolvo Te (In Memoriam Francisca)", placed at the last position of this album, Thorsten also offer a rather calm, but still dark piece with a personal background. 3 remix works created by his appreciated label comrades NOISUF-X, XOTOX and S.A.M. accomplishing this album, which is a must-have item for the dedicated listener.
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Artist: ACYLUM (@)
Title: Mental Disorder
Format: CD
Label: Rupal Records / e-noxe (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
New and second full-length album release for this German one-man act. Often criticized, at times also insulted because of his radically chose of voice-samples and drastically photos out of the dark past of Germany’s period during WWII, Pedro Engel has had some hard early years in his being of a musician. "Thanks" to the still leading narrow-minded kind of Germany’s moral when it comes to talk or to reflect the actually happened atrocities during this darkest era, an earlier offered contract with another at least came never to reality. So Pedro has signed and collaborated with Kai Arnold’s (WYNARDTAGE) X-Cem collective and Pedro could produce his first full-length "Your Pain" during 2K5. After his unexpected success with "Your Pain", this Chemnitz-based Harsh Electro/Industrial-musician returns glorious, because he could mature in several terms of production since the debut. Having still his long-year friend Kai Arnold of WYNARDTAGE on board, responsible for the vocals and most of the lyrics, this new ACYLUM comes out as being one of the harshest album of the last quarter, maybe of the whole past year. Pedro still installs depressive and cold layered Dark Electro themes very often interspersed with several cinematic scenarios and voice samples. Kai’s vocal performance can be even named as hellish-aggressive, plus add to this Pedro’s well-chosen Powernoise rhythm construction and a dramatic and scary mood. Musically relations can be discovered in works of FEINDFLUG, DIOXYDE or older :WUMPSCUT:, while Pedro’s works can claim to be authentic. Most of his tracks are rather based in mid-tempo, this is maybe the style and speed where Pedro deals the best with, the rather few dancefloor-oriented works like the pounding "Rape" or "Hunger" are – against to Kai Arnold’s main project WYNARDTAGE – in a minority. This more than 76 minutes long album opens with "Ruthless Aggressions" and already this title works well to document the coming massive sonic assault. As usual, Pedro’s music output deals with the darkest themes man can think of – his at times provoking kind to realize the radically content of themes like the horrible amok-run in a school of Germany’s town Erfurt in 2K2 gets a drastically output ("Glock 17"). With "Face To Face" he returns to his more in the earlier years discovered and above mentioned kind, since this track offers surprisingly a sample of a soldier march-polka. It follows "Alone", a cold and dark ballad-like song which impresses with its multiple played layer sounds. The title track or "Your Devotion" are instrumental tunes, on which Pedro offers musically his hammering Powernoise-weapons. 3 remix works by the NoiTekk-act XENTRIFUGE, ACCESSORY and – as expected – WYNARDTAGE placed to the end accomplishing this album. Even if it still touches the tastes of the faint-hearted, Pedro’s music deals with things which happen or have been happened during the past – like it or not. This isn’t that sort of Cyberspace/Sci-Fi-sort of Hellectro, Pedro’s music reflects rather with the real things of life, even if it sounds cruel and tasteless to one or another. Who cares? This is a must-have release for any fan of hard Electro/Industrial music!

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Artist: A Place To Bury Strangers (@)
Title: A Place To Bury Strangers
Format: CD
Label: Killer Pimp (@)
Rated: *****
New York's Loudest Band says the sticker on the cd - A Place To Bury Strangers are a trio hailing from Brooklyn, born on the ashes of the brilliant Skywave. Musically it is a perfectly blended mix of Jesus & Mary Chain psychedelia with echoes of UK wave and a Big Black-esque view of rock'n'roll. Oliver's vocals sound great and in each track there are many asymmetrical layers of distorted guitars delivering a divine flurry of violence and the result is not so far from Swervedriver's almighty "Raise". As written above, the most pervasive elements are guitars filtered through Oliver's own Death By Audio pedals. That creates an incredible tension between the trippy pop melodies and the powerful rhythms. "To Fix A Gash In My Head" has a high speed straight drum machine and some mind-blowing repetitions. "The Falling Sun" is a slower track and adds layers and layers of thick distortions to the amazing vocal lines. "I Know I'll see you" seems like a twisted version of the early New-Order - outstanding track, my favourite here. Despite the use of so many comparisons to describe their sound, all the ten songs here are awesome and fiercely original. Prepare to bleed with a grin on your face because violence has never sounded so lovely. Essential album.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: John Barleycorn Reborn - Dark Britannica
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Created from the collaboration of Cold Spring and Wowen Wheat Whispers (a legal download service of folk and related music reachable at www.wovenwheatwhispers.co.uk) JOHN BARLEYCORN REBORN is a comprehensive compilation of modern British folk music. The double compilation contains 33 different bands/tracks but there's also a downloadable third part for whom who bought the double CD or downloaded it, with further 33 songs. It's hard to describe well what you can find into this compilation because each band, even if they could be filed as folk, give their personal interpretation of folk music. You can find echoes of classic folk music (with flutes, female vocals and strings), folk rock (I know a couple of bands active in the 70's because my brother had some of their tapes: The Pentangle and Steeleye Span and some of these remembered those two) but also experimental, psychedelic and post punk influences (check Clive Powell, English Eretic and While Angels Watch). There are bands known to the neo-folk people thanks to two Tony Wakeford's projects (Sol Invictus and The Triple Tree) and Martyn Bates. I appreciated a lot the whole atmosphere and the way the bands approached the sounds and the themes. You must know that beside the music, JOHN BARLEYCORN REBORN is a project really linked to English people's roots because John Barleycorn is the character of a traditional folk song. From Wikipedia: "...is a personification of the important cereal crop barley, and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky. In the song, John Barleycorn is represented as suffering attacks, death, and indignities that correspond to the various stages of barley cultivation, such as reaping and malting. Some have interpreted the story of John Barleycorn as representing a pagan practice It has also been suggested that John Barleycorn, or rather an early form of the song, may have been used by the early church in Saxon England to ease the conversion of pagans to Christianity from their native Anglo-Saxon polytheism. The reasoning behind this idea is that John Barleycorn represented the ideology of nature cycles, spirits and the harvest of the pagan religion (and may have represented human sacrifice also) but that the song was Christianized in order to show John Barleycorn as a Christ-like figure. Barleycorn, the personification of the barley, encounters great suffering before succumbing to an unpleasant death. However, as a result of this death bread can be produced; therefore, Barleycorn dies so that others may live. Finally his body will be eaten as the bread. Compare this with the Christian concepts of the Sacrament and of Transubstantiation and it is not difficult to imagine how the song might have been beneficial to Christianity. A popular hymn, "We Plough the Fields and Scatter", is often sung at Harvest Festival to the same tune. As shown above, the point of the tale told by the original versions is twofold: it focuses not only on the death and resurrection of John Barleycorn, but also on Barleycorn's revenge upon the tradesmen who misused him".
Reading this we can understand that the character of John Barleycorn is a multifaceted one with many meanings, from pagan to agricultural. It gathers the life cycle and it help people bonding under his tale.
JOHN BARLEYCORN REBORN is the first project of this kind and other will come. Check the two websites dedicated to the project at www.john-barleycorn-reborn.com and myspace.com/johnbarleycornreborn
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Artist: STEINKIND (@)
Title: Vom Hier Im Jetzt
Format: CD
Label: Vail Records (@)
Rated: *****
Coming to a quite German phenomenon released by this new German label Vail Records, the duo of STEINKIND could surprise and hit hard the dancefloors with their smasher "Deutschland Brennt". Also released in advance as an EP, this track represents their rough and aggressive attitude, musically provided through minimal constructed, but mostly very hard EBM bass lines, strange and at times distorted rhythm patterns and a straight-forward shouted male vocal performance, which slaps in its provocative kind mighty in your face. Think of a strange copulation between "That Total Age"-like NEP, STRAFTANZ, mixed with the lyrically most criticized pieces of RAMMSTEIN and you’ll get an idea how STEINKIND sounds. Sàndor F. and Phil J. spread a lot of hate, anger and frustration through their harsh and rough outfit, and they generally question the main stream, corruption, politically failures, inertia and imperfection of humanity, but also very own experiences out of the daily life – the term of Punk isn’t too far away. While the mentioned "Deutschland Brennt" comes out addictive and lyrically (sadly) right on target, the things turn into exaggeration with "Trink Mich", which offers a chauvinistic content – at least my wife couldn’t laugh by listening this piece. Favorites are also "Der Tag Danach", dealing with alcoholism or "Blind", from which I guess the only one with a deeper and thinkable meaning. "Wut" surprises also with the integration of some sampled guitar riffs, while after the last track you can discover another hidden fun-track entitled "Fubak (Furchtbar Böse Arschvoll Kriegen)". This album works excellent to kick some asses on the dancefloor, while most of the provided lyrically content can be reviewed with a smile...
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