Music Reviews

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Title: Symbol
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: GrenTzwert (@)
Distributor: Alive
Rated: *****
The Bavarian-based mysterious GREIFENKEIL project returns with a complete new studio album. Their label GrenTzwert has decided to change the distributor, so from now all of their releases are coming out under wings of the German distributor Alive! – for sure a right and wise decision. That they could also arrange a totally DJ support with the helping hand of the Hamburg-based Hardbeat Propaganda still surprises – I at least like to get introduced to the open-minded DJ, who’s seriously be able to deal with the diverse musically onslaught of GREIFENKEIL. Besides the "normal" 1CD edition, which already caused attention thanks to an extraordinary package and artwork, this release comes also out as a limited DCD collectors item edition featuring a more detailed art packed into a DVD-like paper box set, a booklet featuring expansive explanations on every single track, a mystic "touch key" with detailed descriptions how to use it and of course a second full-length CD offering alternative Club versions on the GREIFENKEIL tracks and several remix collaborations by diverse artists.
As expected, the music of GREIFENKEIL is mostly a very dark and spooky arranged output by integrating elements out of Dark Electro, rhythmically Powernoise, Dark Ambient and Ritual-Industrial impressions. GREIFENKEIL can be described as a whole artistic concept, consisting not only out of the audio results, they are also a kind of performance act. Musically on the hunt to pick up the ideas and tendencies of some 4AD legends like THIS MORTAL COIL or DEAD CAN DANCE, the like to re-interpret these artistic aspects without known boundaries mainly based into harsh Electronic-/Industrial-minded fields. You’ll be warned, because it isn’t all the Trance-infiltrated Harsh EBM formula which unfortunately still floats nationwide through the dark clubs – therefore I tend to call this DJ initiative as being courageous. On the other hand and if you seriously like to grab attention by the unprepared listener, you have to start actions like this, because mostly this music still gets heard for the first time in the clubs – as sad as this maybe is.
As "usual" for GREIFENKEIL and the band leader A. von Greifenkeil, they like to pick up again a thematically mixture out of the critically consideration of "prominent" religions, the European finding and its cultural and historically background – and, to my surprise – they nowadays deal with politically inspired themes like the Iraq crisis ("Survivor") and the generally, but unfortunately questionable right to present an own opinion ("Democracy"). What differs to the self-titled debut is the fact, that GREIFENKEIL more than ever before draw offensive their aversion against Christianity and the questionable kind how the church and its legations like to act. This was rather hidden or subtle presented on their debut ("Irina") and only recognizable with some background info, but on "Symbol" (here the track "Untergang") they offer an open statement. But main theme and maybe the most important quell for the creation of this album is the finding of some archaeologically stones ("Platz Der Alten Steine") in Goseck/Germany – a sign ("Symbol"), maybe a kind of forefathers temple of a culture which historians and scientists expecting to be 7000 years old – therefore older than the pyramids. Do we have completely to re-write all historically textbooks?
As for the limited second CD of this album, GREIFENKEIL themselves are offering alternative and rather club-oriented versions on the tracks "Symbol", "Democracy", "Untergang" and "Survivor". Several colleagues based into stylistically very different kinds of Electro/Industrial music with the best known names like IMPLANT, FIL/QNTAL, MONOLITH or ACYLUM are providing remix works based on both tracks "Symbol" and "Democracy". Regarding the fact that I am personally involved with my own music project providing a remix work on "Democracy", I come here to the point, where I don’t fall into the mistake to rate any of the appearances here. At least there will be out several other dedicated colleagues writing for different resources, which should be able to review this item and aren’t personally involved.
Anyway, musically also this new GREIFENKEIL effort is a release which requires your fully attention. Several rotations are needed to get a simple glimpse of the idea and impression behind the artistic work of GREIFENKEIL. You got also warned if you’re heavily follow your whole life the catholic ideal of a Christ – without being open-minded to different kinds of a belief, you’ll could be offended by some musical/lyrical/artistically content here. To me personally, I’ve given it now several spins here – and like on the debut I still have the impression, that I’ve missed some content. The atmosphere and mysticism which GREIFENKEIL likes to explore and present is a dark and complex one - free time without disturbing influences seems to be required to sink into this...

Track list

1. Symbol
2. Untergang
3. Survivor
4. Democracy
5. Selling your Souls
6. Curse
7. Departed
8. Platz der Alten Steine
9. Ahnentempel
10. WinterSolstice
11. Symbol (Reprise)

Track list Remixes

1. Symbol (Greifenkeil Club Version)
2. Symbol (FIL / Qntal Remix)
3. Symbol (Implant Remix)
4. Symbol (La Magra Remix)
5. Symbol (Puissance Remix)
6. Untergang (Greifenkeil Club Version)
7. Survivor (Greifenkeil Club Version)
8. Democracy (Greifenkeil Club Version)
9. Democracy (DemoCrazy RMX by Monolith)
10. Democracy (violent nation RMX by acylum)
11. Democracy (Synaptic Defect Remix)
12. Democracy (Puissance Remix)

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Title: Adrenaline
Format: CD
Label: Rustblade (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Active since 1997 Luca Torasso's personal project Sandblasting is presenting to the fans of noise industrial percussive sounds his latest release titled ADRENALINE. Starting from its name, Sandblasting wanted to define its target and its sound: grinding noise which is able to remove rust from listener's heads. With this purpose in mind, Luca recorded, helped by Stefano Rossello (:Bahntier:) and Justin Bennet (who produced and played on the latest :Bahntier:'s album), eleven tracks in balance from percussive industrial noise and breakcore which are influenced by early Test Department (see the metallic percussive sounds used), Merzbow (see the white noise parts) and early Ant Zen bands (see how the rhythm layers are built). The result will please the lovers of the genre and if with the opening track "Near the dead" I feared of being about to listen 70 minutes of wild noise, the second one (the first rhythmical one on the album) made me realize that something else was going on. Luca is good at blending all his sound, being able to build a well working wall of sound but, for my tastes, sometimes he's stuck into a loop and someway the tracks end into repeating themselves with the noise and the rhythms going back and forth like a wave of liquid concrete. I'd rather prefer tension and dark ambience to this amount of noise but it's only my opinion and if you love industrial rage check this out...
Artist: DUAL
Title: Tocsin
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Rated: *****
Mostly a solo expression of UK soundmaker Colin Bradley (who used to play with Splintered, for those who remember them), the Dual project has been releasing records since 1993, and though I have only listened to a handful of them, I think the main ingredients remain the same: guitar-generated dronescapes that some years ago would have been tagged as "isolationism". Bradley definitely knows how to handle his tools, and the result is a fascinating journey through underwater visions, in the purest Mystery Sea tradition (hell, after 32 releases we can safely speak of a label identity, correct?). What is great is Bradley's ability to vary the typical sustained drones with almost percussive patterns, generally made of simple looped strummings; not to mention the superb, ultra-bleak track which closes the album dragging you right to the ocean bottom with a leaden hand. My favourite disc out of the recent MS output.
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Artist: AUDELA
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Plague Recordings
Rated: *****
My first meeting with the (Belgian?) project Audela, about which I know next to nothing, except that it has recently released another cd(r) on Plague, which I'll review soon. This eponymous debut is packed in an aptly cosmic layout and unsurprisingly "inspired by Jupiter's Great Red Spot, an ongoing storm first glimpsed 400 years ago". Nothing new in the ambient niche, but it surely works fine as an introduction: Audela's drones would actually be a good soundtrack for a documentary about galactic disasters. The first track features spacey, vaguely retro synth pads disturbed by stabs of noisy waves, somehow announcing that the record is going to get darker and darker throughout. Track 2 is a kind of underwater gurgle to which more atmospheric layers are progressively added, with a few odd bleeps here and there; the following piece follows its wake with a frightening stasis streaked by metallic drones and psychedelic reflections, while the final tracks are lost in outer-space darkness, close to the cold ambient isolationism of projects like Netherworld or Amon. No doubt that Audela is not breaking any new ground, and probably doesn't pretend to; this is also a lengthy record, and maybe I would have left out a track, but I've been told the same about my records, so who am I to give advice. What's already there is good sturdy dark ambient, and those into the genre will surely appreciate this.
Artist: MGM
Title: The Addams Family Vol. 2
Format: DVD
Label: MGM
Rated: *****
This is a second volume that picks up where volume one left off. Television first American fiendish favorite family is back for more frightful hair-raising fun and to terrify their neighbors and people. Get ready for a macabre ghastly giddiness. Favorite ghoulish episodes form Lurch's harpsicord is donated to the museum; Morticia donates unique Addams items to a charity; Uncle Fester gets a toupee to impress his pen pal; Lurch becomes a pop teen idol and learn the price of being famous; and Gomez runs for mayor. An enjoyable 21 episodes on a 3 discs set collection that's delightful to see. A 541 minutes to watch. The Addams Family is a cult tv classic. They maybe spooky, abnormal and weird, but lovable.

Disc 1 Side A:
1. Thing is Missing
2. Crisis in the Addams Family
3. Lurch and His Harpsichord
4. Morticia, the Breadwinner

Disc 1 Side B:
5. The Addams Family and the Spaceman
6. My Son, the Chimp
7. Morticia's Favorite Charity
8. Progress and the Addams Family

Disc 2 Side A:
9. Uncle Fester's Toupee
10. Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor
11. Lurch, the Teenage Idol
12. The Winning of Morticia Addams

Disc 2 Side B:
13. My Fair Cousin Itt
14. Morticia's Romance, Part 1
15. Morticia's Romance, Part 2
16. Morticia Meets Royalty

Disc 3 Side A:
17. Gomez, the People's Choice
18. Cousin Itt's Problem
19. Halloween, Addams Style
20. Morticia, the Writer

Disc 3 Side B:
21. Morticia, the Sculptress

Special Features:
* Commentary: On select scenes by Thing and Cousin Itt
* Commentary: On "Morticia Meets Royalty" by Steven Cox, author of "The Addams Chronicles"
* Featurette: "Mad About The Addams"
* Tombstone Trivia: On "Morticia's Romance" (Part I)
* Bonus: Guest Star Seance with Parley Baer, Milton Frome, Vito Scotti, Elizabeth Frazer, Richard Deacon, Sig Ruman, Margaret Hamilton, Elvia Allman, Eddie Quillan and Peter Bonerz

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