Music Reviews



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Artist: AFTER THE SNOW (@)
Title: Fracture
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
Limited to only 350 copies and on vinyl the first After The Snow album will make you revive the sensations of the first time you listened Clair Obscure or early Death In June. Let's tell by now that After The Snow's music isn't a mere reproduction of past formulas, we can say that as the first bands of the electronic cold wave scene the project tend to canalize emotions into a minimal electronic wave, without caring too much about how many sounds there are into a song or how much catchy it could sound. The sound proposed is rarefied and cold and vocals are evocative and sometimes distant. You can name it also experimental electronic wave because of the basic structure of the tracks and if you lived the early days of post punk and new wave you can understand what I mean...
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Artist: EDEN SYNTHETIC CORPS (@)
Title: Matte
Format: CD
Label: Scanner (@)
Rated: *****
Portugal is one of those European countries which features some very well and hard producing Electro/Industrial acts - but unfortunately these acts like NUCLEAR DAWN or (IN)-PERFECTION got mostly ignored by the labels of the scene and a lot of talent and recorded stuff will remain unpublished. The things are changing for this 4-men-output of EDEN SYNTHETIC CORPS, or short ESC, who present us here signed on the German Scanner label their debut CD "Matte". Frank D’Angelo, label chief of the Dark Dimension group and band member of Germany’s well-known act [SITD], proves a fine nose for the talent, although – and this has to be said, too – he follows the currently hype and has signed a Harsh EBM or Hellektro act. From the provided quality this quartet offers there aren’t any doubts – it’s nice to hear their routine in the kind of programming, the chosen sounds and the effective use of Alien-like menacing vocals. The mostly violent attitude, also rich present in their lyrics ("Magenta", "Unit 06" "Matte") also won’t leave any need of the Rivethead junkie unfulfilled, but – if you really look out to discover something authentic, which can be named unique for this Portuguese act, you won’t find it here. 12 tracks in all, with 2 instrumental pieces and a cover version on KRAFTWERK’s "The Robots", but a real surprise asides the known formula they’ve left out. A good and promising debut for sure, also a nice and aptly fitting artwork (they are the ministry of scars... indeed!!!), but also some free space to develop musically. Go on and figure out.
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Artist: PSYCLON NINE (@)
Title: Crwn Thy Frnicatr
Format: CD
Label: NoiTekk / Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
I know we had already a review on this current effort of this in between becoming very famous and recognized act (see also an interview with front man Ner0 somewhere here on our site...), which was rather concentrated to argue on the kind and sound of Ner0’s voice. Of course, also on this new release his vocals are sounding still like a raging Chucky, the killer puppet. But can this be the point of discussion? I somehow think, that especially this style of vocals has done a lot to make this band that recognizable and at least successful – it’s a matter of taste of course. But also musically a lot has changed compared to the predecessor "INRI", maybe the most successful album ever sold through their US label Metropolis Records. What could be called on "INRI" a first tendency to create a rather different sound than the once proclaimed Hellektro formula, finds here a continuation and a closer tendency to some Black/Death Metal sounds. This doesn’t only belong to the fact, that they now have added some more raging guitar riffs on the track "Scar Of The Deceiver" and "Crwn The Frnicatr", also the kind of arrangements and the rotating programming of the bass kicks (rather like an angry instrument...) tends more and more into this alternative kind. With some few exceptions ("Flesh Harvest", "Visceral Holocaust"), I really think that PSYCLON NINE will get problems to storm the dancefloors in comparison to the still growing army of Hellektro purist acts. It’s no longer a must to bring it all into a 4/4-on-the-floor mayhem, the tracks rather tend to integrate a chaotic, at times Punk-like attitude. The Electro/EBM purists need to be a bit more open-minded – difficult for Europe and the NoiTekk supporters – but I see the victory train in the USA, now completed with a long tour. "Crwn..." got mastered by Da5id Din (INFORMÄTIK) – I guess to work on this aggressive and infernal-like album was also a new experience for him...

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Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: A Murderous Mix
Format: CD
Label: Music Ration Entertainment (@)
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
Anyone out there of the younger generation, who knows that AND CHRIST WEPT, KILL SWITCH...KLICK, NOISE BOX, NOXIOUS EMOTION or SMP aren’t names for new cultivated viruses in a secret laboratory? Well, all of these acts were founding members of a collective which was built up 12 years before in Seattle, the NEC. Like with many collectives, they also have built up to help and promote each other and to place a constant Industrial scene in Seattle or Vancouver, where at those days the Industrial scene was rather a candle in a wind influenced by Rock and Grunge music. These acts among others have done a pioneering work and one single person out of those days is still active. Jason Bazinet of SMP (Sound of Mass Production), and he stands behind this label, Music Ration Entertainment. Of course, this 18 tracks strong and filled compilation stands a lot under the influence of his own project SMP, with which he from time releases some CD’s. Lately official announced as a new signing of the suddenly quitting its business label Static Sky Records, but this collaboration therefor came unfortunately never to life. So Jason concentrates here on his own small label and he could unite some rather unknown acts besides SMP, which brought really back some remembrances of the past NEC days. This compilation offers a pleasing amount of diversity in the styles, it’s not always the same formula here to combine some electronic sounds with Rock/Metal guitars. SMP presents a music video of "This Perfect Day" to open this comp, 2 further tracks with the amazing "Tombstone" and the short Industrial-Rap (!!!) offering track "Three o’ Clock (Khopped and Skrewed)", plus a funny collaborative track with the highly underrated PENAL COLONY. Very electronic-minded arranged in vein of known bands like HATE DEPT. or CONTAGION are the both pieces of THE LOYAL OPPOSITION, while that Industrial-Rap gets some more slots with acts like ASCETIC and THE MARGINAL PROPHETS. Rather Punk-influenced are the more raging pieces of the female-vocals-leaded LUCID DEMENTIA or from the COP International-recording artists SLAVE UNIT, maybe the best known act here. Australia’s duo TANKT is on here, too, and provide with "Tribe Act I" a rather strange title taken from their last CD "Club Life", also this act has recently called its quit. A lot of stuff and different styles to discover here featuring the charm of some glorious US-Coldwave/Industrial tunes of already forgotten days. Rock on, Jason, a new SMP album called "Treatment" is already in the pipeline...

Track list:

00. SMP "A Perfect Day (MP4 video file)
01. SMP "Tombstone" 4:27
02. Ascetic "Soft Asylum" 4:07
03. The Loyal Opposition "Under the State" 4:32
04. Marginal Prophets "Do It Like That (Ill Media Mix) 4:02
05. Lucid Dementia "Controlled" 3:54
06. Penal Colony "Omega Man" Featuring SMP 4:42
07. Slave Unit "In Time" 3:06
08. Tankt "Tribe Act I" 4:19
09. A Murderous Interlude (Hymn of the 4th Beast) 0:45
10. The Loyal Opposition "Reality?" 5:23
11. Labwrk "Parasite" 3:12
12. Lucid Dementia "Queer" 4:54
13. Fatal Wisdom "Pandora's Box" 5:00
14. 64K "Numb" 3:47
15. SMP "Three O'Clock (Khopped and Skrewed) 2:08
16. The Punk Group "Toby Keith" 3:14
17. Dimension Zero "Nascentes Morimur" 4:11
18. A Murderous Epilogue (How Many Times?)
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Artist: FHIEVEL
Title: Preghiera per una stella
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: AFE Records
Rated: *****
After listening to his brilliant cdr on petite sono (see archive), I was looking forward to Luca Bergero/fhievel's next work, and this 22-minute, single-track cdr is no let down. Fhievel seems to have revised and integrated his earlier, harsher microsound style in a rich and ecstatic minimalism. There are crackles and soft digital/organic debris, but only streaking a warm, organ-like drone, or better, its various movements within the composition. I would repeat that this reminded me a lot of what Keith Berry does, along with jliat's droning works, though in a more fragmentary and intimate version. A heartfelt piece, put together with elegance and passion at the same time.
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