Music Reviews



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Artist: NEC PLUS ULTRA (@)
Title: Nec Plus Ultra
Format: CD
Label: Zona Records (@)
Rated: *****
This is another excursion into Eastern European music efforts, this time published by the Lithuanian / Latvian based label Zona Records. This label is already active since 1991, first of to serve the USSR market with Independent music. After the fall of the iron curtain and the join of the Baltic states to the EU, they redefine their structures now to introduce Independent music to the Western world. Their label program features a huge diversity featuring styles like Hard-Rock, Hip-Hop, Alternative, Ska-Punk, Electronica, yes, and this very extraordinary Russian project named NEC PLUS ULTRA. NPC is the solo effort by Leo Botzmann and hails from Perm, a city based in the Ural mountains (!!!). Life there must be hard, because so is his music. Leo’s music features definitively ideas and structures out of the EBM/Electro scene, but he combines it with several noises taken out of Experimental/Field Recordings sessions. Machines, noisy Industrial areas, driving trains – almost everything can be an inspiration for Leo. He seems to be one of the very few artists on this world who seem to see music still as a kind of art. So this whole album is filled with extremely noisy sounds, which easily can lead a track into a total climax ("Morgen" for example). The other strange point: when Leo integrates vocals into his tracks, he "sings" in German. I don’t know how, when and where he has learned my mother tongue, also it’s mostly quite funny for me to hear his accent and grammar, but I mostly understand what he tries to express. "Der Mensch kaput" gets my vote for the best track, it reminds me a lot on a classic old-school EBM piece, but of course well done with an own authentic touch. If you wanna discover something really unknown and new, then make sure to purchase this release from the growing Zona Records label. I hope the best for Leo and his cool project, that he can earn some international recognition which he surely deserves. Weiter so, Leo!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Noise Terror Volume One
Format: CD
Label: Dependent / NTP (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Don’t let this title lead you into the expectation that you’ll get here a Powernoise-inspired compilation. No, this is nothing else than the first label compilation of Germany’s Dependent evil twin, the division for hard and merciless EBM/Electro/Industrial music, Noise Terror Productions, leaded by Johan Van Roy alias SUICIDE COMMANDO. Mr. label chief himself is also responsible for the collection of the different artists, a mix between both, newcomers and established acts. That Johan has the ability to compile a well recognized compilation is not really a secret, just remember the legendary Voltage and Decoder series he compiled in the together with labels like Possessive Blindfold, Dying Culture or Infacted-Recordings. Now on his very own NTP label, this compilation follows a similar line, also nice to see that "label politics" don’t play a serious role and several already signed acts found a free slot. The very own NTP acts are featured here (SUICIDE COMMANDO, INSEKT, CONTROLLED COLLAPSE, FRACTURED and DIOXYDE) of course, but also acts signed to Noitekk (LIFE CRIED, DAWN OF ASHES, FGFC820), Alfa Matrix (UNTER NULL, LEAETHER STRIP) and Pandaimonium (SCHATTENSCHLAG) are on here. Excellent names generally someone would say, but the refreshing part comes as usual from the more or less unknown and so unsigned acts. CAPTIVE OF SOCIETY give a social critical "Das Tier", but more than this RO1OR, a new project of NOICE PROCESS mastermind Michael Renfield, giving us an amazing "Brain Dead" are definitively to mention here. I would have seen maybe 2 – 3 more unsigned acts, but okay – that’s not really a valid point to criticize. The best of this comp is the fact that almost all acts present us a special remix only designed for this comp or they give a new and still unreleased tune. With a sales price lesser than 10,-- Euro there’s no real reason not to purchase this well done compilation.

Track listing:


01 Distatix - Replicant
02 Schattenschlag - Sentenced To Death (noise terror edition)
03 minDecease - Tears Of Redemption (industrial accident mix)
04 Controlled Collapse - Insane Asylum (Naked Beat remix)
05 Insekt - Isolated (Anschlag edit)
06 Fractured - All That's Left
07 Leather Strip - Sleep Is Only Heartbreak (Jesper Schmidt remix)
08 Captive of Society - Das tier
09 Life Cried - Hallowed Be Thy Name
10 RO1OR - Brain Death
11 Dioxyde - Words Of Judas
12 Suicide Commando - We Are The Sinners (club edit)
13 Dawn Of Ashes - Maximum Damnation
14 FGFC820 - GBA
15 Unter Null - Your Nightmare (Grendel remix)
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Artist: DAS PRÄPARAT (@)
Title: Mein Schmerz Trägt Deinen Namen
Format: CD EP
Label: Scanner (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
This is a German male/female duo consisting of Dr. Hyde and Nachtschwester K. and they present us here their 5- track debut release on Scanner out of the Dark Dimension label group. Musically this release features mostly EBM/Electro structures filled with a few splatter/horror images. I don’t know if both band members have a serious medical or surgical background which would explain the band name and the inspiration of the presented images on this release. The vocals, on 4 out of 5 tracks mainly provided by Dr. Hyde, are dramatically filled in while the lyrics take their inspiration out of Goth/Neue Deutsche Todeskunst-inspired themes. Somehow this whole release awakes remembrances on early DAS ICH or DORSETSHIRE – not very new and original, but I think we haven’t had anything related for a while. The best piece here can be named in "Maschinenherz", which fits best with bands’ image and it is well arranged – a real cold thriller! The one and only conceptual exception here is the third track on this release, a piano–driven ballad called "Ist Das Leben Nur Ein Spiel?" leaded by thoughtful lyrics dealing mainly with the sense of life provided by the female band member Nachtschwester K. – this duo shows herewith musically and lyrically depth, this deserves respect. If this act can reach any comparable success like the above mentioned acts has to be proven, but some good first signs are available here.
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Artist: URKUMA (@)
Title: Rebilding Pantaleone's tree
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
It's not the first time I hear Urkuma's name, but finally I hear a whole record, nice discovery! What else can you say about that!?. Stefano De Santi's (aka Urkuma) music is a good paradigm of listening where nothing really happens, but at the same time where nothing is the same for a long of time. An electroacoustic experience but in a way truly different from the music of people like Evan Parker, Birgit Ulher or other by the Creative Sources’ catalogue in general. "Rebuilding..." is much more electronic oriented but at the same time as I’ve just said it maintains a "ambiental/acoustic" feel. You can perceive there's just one person behind the entire audio-collage of every track, every single sound take slowly/gently place in the scenario not with an irruption, but with the precise intent of becoming a complementary colour. Beyond the mere strength of proportions I'd say this release somehow sounds psychedelic... nothing induces properly to trance, but this complementary idea behind single parts make me think of a trip with landscape alternating in front of the windscreen. Probably that's the worst bullshit I'm gonna write in ages, but it really make me think of Pink Floyd's live at Pompey...take the parts where those old freaks don't play proper song, imagine a similar stream of consciousness and above all take the whole idea as it was Christof Migone's reinterpretation of it all and that's probably what could cone out of it. Soft, cold, difficult but intriguing.
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Artist: SLEPCY
Title: We Are The Newest Battle Models
Format: CD
Label: Cock Rock Disco (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by the Polish duo Piotr Kurek and Marcin Stefanski, Slepcy have been working on electronic music that had his proper sound. They released few stuff for DJ Scud’s Ambush records, Kool.Pop, and Suburban Trash Industries. Their new WE ARE THE NEWEST BATTLE MODEL mix in a clever and frenetic way low-fi electronic sources along with strange vocals coming from unknown sources. Their tracks span from hardcore electronics to junk electronic operas. The cut and paste style of dealing with rhythm is paired with a dramatic and cinematic sense. If you check "Laurence" the repetitive bass line along with the eerie main melody make me feel that something is going on. It's like they are representing someone’s life and I must say that there’s nothing funny going on. Fortunately the casual rhythm structure is present only in few tracks and most of them are built like weird soundtracks where electronica meet drama. I really appreciated the theatrical feelings I felt while listening to their music and it was something new for me. I hope that they will keep this quality of surprising the audience with violent crazy rhythms combined with particular orchestrations (and if you want a perfect example of this check the main track).
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