Music Reviews

Jul 18 2005
Title: Overkill
Format: CD
Label: Accession-Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****

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"Overkill" is already the second full length album of PAINBASTARD, a German one man project consisting of Alex P. I see the cover with a black angel (the angel of death...?) in front of rotten industrial areas and it is all colored in black and gray. The used fonts of the track list are old Germany-like based on WWII ideas and I’m sure that Alex has seen and heard very often the stuff of :WUMPSCUT: for example. Almost the same goes out to the music. I am sure that Alex has taken in his career a deep look into all efficient ingredients acts like the already mentioned :W:, plus HOCICO and/or SUICIDE COMMANDO have already produced before and so nothing is really new here. PAINBASTARD play hard along the allowed cliches this music genre has to offer, nevertheless this new album has blown me totally away. It is really hard to look for an almost comparable album which hit me that hard like this "Overkill" has done. It must belong on the pure and naked aggression this project has to offer on almost all tracks of this release. I am impressed by the overall "slab-in your-face" attitude caused through the very aggressive vocals and the straight hitting beats. This is hard and ripping EBM par excellence played with known weapons, but still unique arranged. PAINBASTARD fills also in some guitar sounds ("System Failed" or "Final Day") to support the bass lines and the melodic content is tasteful arranged. So finally I am still searching for the track or the band in where I have already discovered the music from PAINBASTARD without success. Excellent mastering work again was done by Krischan of the talented ROTERSAND, who was also responsible for this on the last [:SITD:] release. Congrats to the label to this release, congrats to the band for giving a fine produced hard Electro/EBM album which can stand all comparisons.
Artist: DésAccordes
Title: In C - Terry Riley
Format: CD
Label: Musea / Gazul Records
I had no idea what to expect when I put this in my CD player. Instrumentation listed classic guitars, electric guitars, electric basses, harp, chello, percussion, and drums. There was a credit for "conductor and bass". I had never heard of DésAccordes, Terry Riley, or even Gazul Records so I was pretty much a blank slate for this one. Seems that Riley is a frequent collaborator with Kronos Quartet (with whom I am much enamored) so I was interested to check this out. The piece was originally composed in 1964 and is now being reproduced by French outfit DésAccordes. There are 5 unnamed tracks that run for a total of 48.54. On to the music. According to the liner notes, "Terry Riley set down on paper within a few hours the 53 patterns that compose the one page score of In C." It’s all about interlocking patterns, but often we seem to hear the same thing over and over again. Track 1 is the shortest track, consisting of nice drone with an interesting build. Track 2 starts off being a bit more repetitive. It gets old pretty quick. Shifts slowly over time in an almost imperceptible way. About ¾ of the way through, gets a bit less like listening to a metronome hitting a steady 4 / 4 beat on strings at 200 beats per minute. Starts to sort of fall apart, which is where I think it becomes interesting. Track 2 flows well into track 3, which is unsurprising as the liner notes state that this was always meant to be performed as one continual piece. Repitition still reigns, but much more varied than track 2 and a bit more variation in dynamics. Track 4 was going along fine, until about halfway through when it kicked into what sounded like minimalism mixed with something out of a musical - a jarring, unholy union. It was as if DésAccordes suddenly decided that what Riley had written did not "rock" enough and they were going to fix it. Luckily it didn’t last long, and after about a minute they went back to what they were doing. I thought track 2 was the low point of the disc. I was wrong. This one minute pretty much ruined the track for me. Track 5 is an interesting track but it seems to end a couple of times, leaving you wondering if it will really end this time. I must admit that this was not really my thing. I like repetition as much as the next experimentalist and I have enjoyed other minimalist composers like Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. But if you thought that Steve Reich was not minimalist enough, this may be just the disc for you.
Artist: Vidna Obmana / Bass Communion
Title: Continuum
Format: CD
Label: Soleilmoon
Rated: *****
This disc consists of three tracks, each about 20 minutes each. Nice oversize packaging with three art inserts about the size of a postcard. The artwork was done by Lasse Hoile and is reminiscent of Ben Didier’s work for Ad Noiseam. Reminds me of Amplexus releases in their glory days. I have some of Vidna Obmana’s work, although I was unfamiliar with Bass Communion (he also records under the name Porcupine Tree, which I do have and that project is nowhere near as good as this disc).

On to the music. If you are expecting something more new age like Vidna Obmana's River of Appearance, you’ll be disappointed. The first track starts off a bit more dissonant, although no so much as with Obmana’s collaboration with Asmus Tietchens, employing long drones that shift subtly. However, about halfway through it shifts to a more minimalist stance, becoming more and more minimalist as the track nears the ending, to the point where I had to check the player to see if it was still playing. Track 2 starts off as quietly as the last track left off. This track takes on a darker tone, reminiscent of Lustmord, only not quite so sparse. (Doesn’t everything in the dark ambient realm get compared to Lustmord eventually?) This track also shifts about halfway through into lush drone with a bit less dissonance than the previous track. I like the complexity of this track. There is a lot happening under the surface that keeps it interesting. As expected, Track 3 also starts off quietly, building up to soft drones. This track has a slightly noisier undercurrent, but by no means is this harsh. Once again, at the halfway point it gets a bit more interesting with some bass synth kicking in to provide some melody at which point the noisy undercurrent becomes a bit more demanding. Track 3 is by far the high point of this disc. I really wish that the whole disc was like the last 10 minutes! Outstanding.

Overall, this is a decent disc, but I found myself wanting more from the music. It was almost too subtle. After 40 minutes, I found myself wanting to change discs, not because it was bad, but because it was no longer engaging. Luckily, it got better halfway through track 3. Even so, according to Soleilmoon this CD is limited to 1000 copies and already sold out and out of print. You can still get it on Itunes, but then you are missing out on the exquisite packaging.

Artist: Ghost Orgy (@)
Title: Lullabies For Lunatics
Format: CD
Label: Thoth Music (@)
Distributor: Ear Split
Rated: *****
A unique develope sound this band created. Ghost Orgy is a five piece goth-metal band with a beautiful Filipino female singer fronting, held out of Jersey City, New Jersey. Dark twisted lyrics that will entice you to hell's fury. Their songs cover from pain, sorrow, death, despair and to black magic. Menacing guitar with viola played by Elena Doroftei, giving it a sweet bitter twist. A perfect chaos effect for one's demise. To name a few tracks for listening pleasure; "Mortal Coil" "Twisted Into Oblivion", "Thirteen", "Nothing", and my favorite "Diva Of Destruction". I even like the cd cover, which portrays the female songstress hanging on a rope from a tree in a red dress. The album "Lullabies For Lunatics" is indeed a killer that unleash mysterious power of disintegration and downfall of one's life that will fade into eternal darkness. A vision of hell has blur the weak one's eyes and mind.
Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: In this Cold Terrific Room 2
Format: CD
Label: La Chambre Froide (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
French label La Chambre Froide proudly presents a new compilation of French-only Electro-/Industrial acts from which are a few already known through well recognized releases while others are totally new to me. There is a lot of excellent stuff coming or still to come out of this country and this compilation does very well and offers especially unknown acts a big chance to get heard worldwide. Already known acts are here to find with H.I.V.+ (in collaboration with WIRED BRAIN) which present here their track "Havoc 2027 (Drug Addict Remix by TAMTRUM)", a piece I have already discovered on the BLC compilation "Interbreeding V: Terrorland". Then we have here E.S.R., licensed from the US label DSBP, with an unreleased "Tactical Mix" of their track "Fight Power", which shows and presents the fine programming abilities this one-man act has as usually to offer. Marvellous new and still unreleased is also the track by the rising NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT from Cortex-Records, their "Breathing Cities" can easily deal with the best pieces from their strong debut "Oscillations". La Chambre’s very own TAMTRUM, just licensed to the US label DSBP for a special re-release of their fantastic "Some Atomik Songz" debut CD are of course also present with a new track and they push the speed again to a maximum pace. In all very good stuff by the already known acts, but as usual the more unknown acts have to offer the surprising appearances. However the name of the drug is which has made somebody to name a band ARSCH DOLLS, the music is finest Dark Electro with some nice sound ideas. EX_TENSION do make also a nice piece here – unfortunately the mixing quality of their track "Pixel" destroys a lot. ASEPTIE made their first comp appearance here with a strong Terror-EBM stomper a la SUICIDE COMMANDO or AGONOIZE and I am waiting to hear more from them, they are already signed to La Chambre Froide. Another highlight is finally the Dark Electro track "Life is Suffering" from PSY with excellent programmings, good chosen sounds and remarkable vocals. You see here the rich content of this compilation and I can only advise you to make your contact to La Chambre Froide to order this essential and very well compiled French band contest. Promising new acts and soon to be giants acts are well present here, so no time to hesitate if Dark Electro/EBM/Industrial music is the drug you need.

01 - Shizuka - Les Souterrains
02 - Arsch Dolls - Fetish Process
03 - HIV+ vs Wired Brain - Havoc 2027 (Drug Addict Mix By Tamtrum)
04 - Bran Terror - Traieste
05 - Ex_Tension - Pixel (LCF Edit)
06 - Aseptie - Pray (This Agony)
07 - ESR - Fight Power (Tactical Mix)
08 - Wytlyt - So Many Lies
09 - Neon Cage Experiment - Breathing Cities
10 - Tamtrum - In This Terrific Cold Room
11 - I Am Noth - Mue Urae
12 - Psy - Life Is Suffering
13 - Void Kampf - Death At Corner (Schneller Mix By Skoyz)
14 - SCR - On My Own
15 - Muckrackers vs Lith - Hexe Nacht
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