Music Reviews



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Artist: BODYHAMMER
Title: Neural Base Culture / Zero Dark
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Mizukis Box (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
The label Mizukis Box marks with this DCD set their comeback and have now one more fine Electro/Industrial artist in their growing roster. For all of you who’d expected behind this band name an old school EBM formation – you are wrong, because BODYHAMMER is a side-project by Heil of DUBOK, which he shares with a guy named Proto1. A side-project – yes – but somehow comparable to DUBOK – no, not at all! No Synth- or Futurepop at all here, Heil prefers to produce a very different – but surely not lesser attractive kind of Electro/Industrial music and – to my wonder – it’s really hard to find a related act for a possible comparison. Think of a refreshing mix of acts like the long out of business HEAVY WATER FACTORY, but lesser dark, INURE, but lesser danceable and older THD – definitively stuff from the intelligent part of this genre. There’s a lot of musically insight and care in all arrangements and sounds here. The vocals – also in contrary to DUBOK – are mostly dark and rough offered. Impressive to see and hear that the music avoids to fall into dominant cliches which currently seem to rule this scene. This DCD set consist of the both different chapters, "Neural Base Culture" with 11 tracks and "Zero Dark" with 7 tracks – although I’m not sure if we can talk on a rapid change of styles. The provided music has similarities on both CD’s. The first CD, "Neural Base Culture" therefor seems to be the main release, and already the well arranged opener "Echo", an instrumental cut – shows the given diversity of this release by starting calm and melodious up to a furious and haunting final provided through multi-layered drum patterns, also with some overdriving effects. "Disembogue" offers some nervous Break-beats well integrated into this steady track, while "Eviscerate" pushes the rhythms to a typical four-on-the-floor and should allow some dancefloor action. "harder" then slows down the tempo while still offering a catchy melodious content. The hardest piece here is "Null And Void" by offering a staccato feast with some distorted patterns as well. Most melodic piece is presented with "Optics", while "Center Mass" turns the tempo in highest measures.The second "Zero Dark" has also 4 new tracks to offer on which the opener "Connection" wins the contest of being the most remarkable piece here. Two different versions on "Disembogue" and one remix on "Harder" by PSYCHO5 are available as well. A lot of stuff to discover here on both CD’s and this provided in a great quality – you can’t ask for more. It has still to be proven if this release will reach the same attention like DUBOK, but maybe this one just receives some more attention? We’ll see that – first – go out and get it!
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Artist: VELVET ACID CHRIST
Title: Lust For Blood
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
We at the Chain D.L.K. can already proudly present you the new studio album of Bryan Erickson aka Hexfix93 with his famous project VELVET ACID CHRIST (official release date is set to 29th of September...). His last studio album is already 3 years old and also the 4 different "In Between The Eyes" collection series of older recordings, b-sides and outtakes couldn’t stop the greed for new compositions. With "Wound" previously released as the album teaser Mr. Erickson already provided a fine piece which already has proved that the master hasn’t unlearned anything. "Wound" already has that special kind of a composition and arrangement only VAC is able to offer. Musically still walking between the given genre boundaries between Electro/Industrial, Trance, Crossover and Noise this new album "Lust For Blood" has several attractive tracks on board which document Bryan's nice talent. Erickson can be called without any doubt as being one of the best synth players around – a kind of work on which several so-called Harsh EBM/Dark Electro acts can learn a lot from, just check out that great instrumental "Ghost In The Circuit" here. Was "Wound" with its 110 bpm a rather slow and creepy oriented track, here are some tunes like "Parasite", "Disconnected Nightmare", "Kashmir Crack Krishna" or the track "Lust" which offer typical VAC attitudes to start some dancefloor actions. The details are hidden and subtle in the tracks. Guitars for example had always played a role in VAC’s music, but I’ve seldom discovered such a raging piece like "Discolored Eyes". With "Crushed" Mr. Erickson leads us into his acoustic side, some calm guitar strings and some real picked bass playing plus his nice melodic synth work can easily build a decent Goth/Wave-like course. Well, if the purists will hate me, I think it is one of his finest tracks here. As usual, this new VAC release offers a wide range of diversity to satisfy all preferences of the listeners. This new album holds easily the quality of the past two studio albums "Twisted Thought Generator" and "Hex Angel (Utopia – Distopia)", while it can’t reached the throne of "Fun With Knifes". The right sign to the right time, Erickson sounds still refreshing and is far away from going in pension. Hopefully some live performances can prove this soon...
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Artist: AUTOCLAV1.1 (@)
Title: Indelible
Format: CD
Label: NEIN Records (@)
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
This is another release brought to us by the US-based label NEIN Records, which lately also could enter a distribution deal with the German SXDistribution. This is surely not the newest release around, as far that this label has committed the deal with SXDistribution only a few weeks ago, there’s no reason not to feature it here. AUTOCLAV1.1 is Tony Young and he has already released several stuff under this moniker, see also the interview somewhere hidden on our site. He offers us here 7 own productions globally placed into the Ambient/Electronica/IDM genre, with some trips into harder Powernoise-like attitudes (marvelous celebrated on "Ctrl Asgn"). Dark and ominous synth layers are filled in and mixed with some IDM-like break beat patterns. 6 further tracks are available here, all of them are remix works offered by more or less known names out of the wide musically field of this genre. The remix done by KEEF BAKER on the track "Deadulus" can satisfy through the given diversity by offering several more rhythm patterns. DISPLACER offer a remix on "Facility", the one and only track not available originally here. Dark voice samples get in a fine combination with a static Ambient-like synth layer and after a while several rhythm patterns joining this track, a marvelous work! ESA surprises with a guitar riff in their remix work. Josh Collela of SCRAP.EDX did the mastering of this release and also he and his well known and appreciated project offer a remix, this time on "Solvent". Also the Spanish NEIN-recording artist EPIDEMIA has done some manual work on "Solvent" plus we have a contribution of a for me unknown act named TRIAX. As usual the given quality is well from AUTOCLAV1.1 and the remix contributions add a nice diversity. For fans of this genre a must-have!
Aug 23 2006
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Artist: PUR NATURE (@)
Title: Egotrip
Format: CD
Label: TT23 Tecords
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
Another debut of a two men/one woman EBM act hailing from Koblenz/Germany. I’m not sure if their label TT23 Records can be called a real label or if this is only a pseudonym created by the PUR NATUR band members to release stuff on their own. Anyway, they have received a deal with SXDistribution, so that will safe availability in the mail order resources. The presented music can be named EBM with some dark impressions. The bass lines provide all that typical kind of the old school and also the rhythmically efforts can satisfy. Musically this band is quite competitive, the failure is hidden in the provided vocals. While the female vocals come to a sufficient result, the male vocals are really out of discussion and the singer can rarely hold any tone. That may doesn’t matter in some productions, but like a typical old school EBM band, the vocals have to be hard but mostly undistorted. Voila, so it is, evrything is understandable. Guys, if you decide to offer English lyrics, please make sure for the next release to have a proofing look after your content and the grammar by an expert. Don’t use the very first learned vocabulary. Brrr, this is an example how lyrics and some chaotic vocals can ruin the generally satisfying music. Work hard on this, get hard, be strong and develop!
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Artist: EXILANATION (@)
Title: The Matrix Is Real Loaded
Format: CD EP
Label: Codeline-Records (@)
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
The German EBM/Electro duo of EXILANATION returns here with a special re-release of their 2004 debut EP release. But this re-release also collects some new tracks, some remix works and unreleased remix works this duo has produced through the past years for other bands, which haven’t found consideration of the original compositors. In all we have here finally 18 (!!!) tracks, so that this release can be more seen as a real new full length CD. Musically there wasn’t the need to change too much, EXILANATION still installing EBM tunes with up-to-date sounds, generally inspired by some known German patterns like FUNKER VOGT and ACCESSORY. Their last full length "EBM Is Not Dead" is still in rotation and so you’ll get here some alternative and remixed stuff like "Infinity" (a live recording...), "Confusion" (remixed by MECHANCAL MOTH and the Powernoise act FABRIKC, both offer some of the best tunes here...), "Antiist" (remixed without surprises by DEEWHY and LEGACY OF MUSIC) or "Stronghold" (why a guitar mix of this track??? Unnecessary!). One of my favorites is definitively the reconstructed version of an older piece like "Love Religion", featuring a slight darker mood. The bonus section offers a special EXILANATION remake on a classic Zoth Ommog (r.i.p.) release, 1 AM – "1000 Beats". Also available a remix works for bands like ROTERSAND, the Swiss Synthpop act KARTAGON, or PANDIQUE. Not too specially for sure, but a nice bonus for who need-the-whole-stuff collectors. As usual also this release comes in a paper sheet, a trademark for this act. All tracks here are also pressed with a special new software produce, which acts like a watermark if someone decides to add this track on obscure online resources. This software was especially designed by the label Codeline-Records, so if you’re interested in a new possibility to save your recordings against some illegal downloading, check back their website for some info.
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