Music Reviews



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Artist: SYNAPSCAPE
Title: Now
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Rated: *****
One of the veteran acts signed to world-wide renowned Ant-Zen label returns with its sixth full-length album (without counting their various collaborations in between...): SYNAPSCAPE, hailing out of Bielefeld, Germany. And what has started 12 years before, finds once again a remarkable and unique continuation. Tim Kniep and Phillip Münch have produced 13 remarkable tracks (okay, only 12 tracks although the art lists 13 tracks...) reflecting different influences, while still remaining their own authentic style. Already the opening instrumental tune "Hormona" takes influences out of Electronica and IDM-influences, while only offering a slight distorted outfit. The speed to offer the best possibilities for some dancefloor action is richly given with tracks like "Tale", "Relate", "Blades" and most of all "Bodies". Besides the heavily use of polyrhythmic distortion elements and strange manipulated synth texture, all of these pieces feature Tim Kniep’s alienated and distorted vocals – the fact that they like to integrate the factor "human" to their music makes them even more unique. This is welcomed and a side-kick to all related and mostly instrumental-producing Powernoise-acts offering repetitions. The track "Espionage" then deals with some Dark Ambient influences by using ominous and atonal synth textures, another remarkable piece. Although that SYNAPSCAPE have lost through their long career a bit of aggression of their early works, this release still holds a lot of hard cakes to bite. But besides all this, it still gives a lecture to acts producing the repetitive Harsh EBM formula featuring annoying voice-samples and a loop-based kind of work. Thumbs up once again for the prove that Powernoise can be diverse but also intelligent and attractive.
Oct 01 2007
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Artist: HOCICO
Title: About A Dead
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
The well-known Mexican duo HOCICO returns with a new teasing CDS-release to introduce their new and upcoming album. This release also should work well to appease the critical voices proclaiming the end of this act, since the predecessor "Wrack And Ruin" was reviewed scanty and that front man and vocalist Erk could earn success and respect with his own solo project RABIA SORDA (check out the interview with him somewhere also on our site here...). "About A Dead" is a typically fast-placed HOCICO-smasher, with which the band will definitely strengthen their own worked-out status – nothing and no one of the upcoming copycats will ever enter their throne. Club-hit, for sure! The surprise is the second new track "The Last Warning", which is contrary to the main title a creepy and sinister arranged item. It is striking that HOCICO can easily produce an ominous and still aggressive tune, also thanks to the fact that Erk’s vocal performance is present here. Follows then 3 different remix works of "About A Dead" provided by PROCEED, Out Of Line’s newcomer act LOLA ANGST and CEPHALGY. PROCEED are concentrating successfully to reduce the richer layered original to their known minimal EBM textures, while the work of CEPHALGY acts inconspicuous. The remix of LOLA ANGST, aptly entitled "Speedy Conzales-Remix", integrates some Mexican-Siesta-like trumpet sounds – spread in some humor into the straight HOCICO works, what a nice idea. HOCICO return here in best conditions and they’ll also headlining the upcoming Out Of Line-festival tour through Europe – therefore no serious reasons to doubt on them.

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Artist: Zelienople (@)
Title: His/Hers
Format: CD
Label: Type Records (@)
Rated: *****
Zelienople are a trio hailing from Chicago, formed by Matt Christensen, Mike Weis and Brian Harding. This is their first release on the eclectic Type label and comes after some awesome releases on Last Visible Dog, Digitalis Industries, Time-Lag and Root Strata. The album fires into action with the most canonical track on the album called "Family Beast", a sludgy and tormented composition. "Moss Man" shows beautifully filtered vocals and overwhelming feedbacks that somehow reminded me of Flying Saucer Attack. A cascading build-up of melted acoustic sources is the core of "Forced March", harsh avant-folk soaked in LSD. And after the freakout of the 4th track things go back to normal with the last track called "Sweet Ali". A 45-minute album that evolves on each track, "His/Hers" can seriously grow on you if you let it. Essential blues-tinged psychedelic folk with a skilled use of feedback - a perfect record for the winter to come.

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Artist: Pride And Fall
Title: In My Time Of Dying
Format: CD
Label: Dependent / Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Only one year after their predecessor release, the Norwegian-based Futurepop-act PRIDE AND FALL returns with a new full-length album. It also marks one of the very last releases by the German Dependent label and since this happening is more than sad enough, the band has decided to include some dedicated words to thank the label for the fruitful cooperation. Musically not too much has changed in the PRIDE AND FALL outfit. Still balancing out the genres between Synth-/Futurepop up to EBM, it nevertheless can’t be ignored that the term "epic" has to be added. Their arrangements are sounding rich, detailed and multi-layered, while I sometimes miss a bit the try to experiment with additional synth-sounds. Another striking point is the sad and romantic mood which the compositions of PRIDE AND FALL offer. All of you who draw relations of Synth-/Futurepop with happiness should use and listen this release to experience something different. Of course, as the title announces it already, globally the featured content here deals with dark, sad or depressive themes ("I Wither") – arrangements and lyrics full of "sunshine-reggae" would be misplaced. For sure the right album for some cold and dark autumn evenings in front of a fireplace, I also like to forgive them the here and there obviously try to sound like VNV NATION at their "Empires"-phase. "Adored" is a fine and catchy worked out Futurepop-tune, which should be able to cause some action on the dancefloors. "The Burning Faith" surprises with a cooperation-effort by the Japan-based Ambient-musician KENJI SIRATORI, who’s responsible for the lyrics and vocals. "In My Time Of Dying" is a very good produced album which deserves the so-called Dependent quality-seal, although nobody should expect the re-invention of the light bulb.
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Artist: MARY AND THE BOY
Title: Mary And The Boy
Format: CD
Label: Low Impedance Recordings (@)
Distributor: Msen Music
Rated: *****
Formed in 2004 as Mougra Band, Mary And The Boy during these years produced music for dance shows and theater. Coming from Greece the band is formed by two musicians and a dancer. Their first self titled album has a high dramatic and theatrical component and (not only because they're coming from Greece) the female vocals sometimes remember me of Diamanda Galas. The tracks are based on electronics and guitars but the main part is represented by the vocals (both female and male). In this way we have musical experimentations with a melodic structure which is functional to the theatrical aspect of the project. Lyrics deals with sex, death, humiliation and failure and they aren't descriptive of a particular situation, instead they are like flashes. "Black terror" for example opens with: "Oh black terror. Black whore of silence. That man nailed me down. He took his knife and ripped my heart". Musically the album opens with a duet with chants and piano just to explode with the second track, "Death", where a distorted guitar and a bass line create the right background for a crying woman. The band is good at the creation of these particular dramatic atmospheres and they deserve your attention.
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