Music Reviews



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Artist: HIOCTAN (@)
Title: Concentration Overload
Format: CD
Label: Noitekk (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****

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This is already the second release of this one man project hailing from Rostock, Germany. Like on his first CD, Michael Senft presents here his version of harsh EBM/Electro music with already heard distorted vocals, rough and steady beats and overdriven sequencer bass lines. Comparable to older SUICIDE COMMANDO stuff like the "Critical Stage" era is surely a possible reference, but unfortunately are HIOCTAN not able to play in the same league like his alter ego act. Here is a lot of repetition on almost all tracks, a lift up in song structuring wouldn’t be bad at all. Also the choice of synth sounds cannot really convince me, most bass line and melodic strings are sounding careless and old. It is a pity that here isn’t too much interesting stuff which would help this project to gather a higher level than average. If you look out for some stuff with an edge, with a musically demand, you are wrong with HIOCTAN. This album (excellent cover artwork with nice photos by the way...) is only dedicated to harsh EBM short-cut-hair rivetheads.

Jul 28 2005
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Artist: GRENDEL (@)
Title: Soilbleed
Format: CD EP
Label: Noitekk (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
A new EP for currently Netherland’s finest Dark Electro acts GRENDEL which avoids to follow the trend to release too much of remixes done by some dear colleges with some payments here and there, that’s indeed a good initiative. Grendel do offer here mostly new tracks which are all very well worked out with a rich melodic content combined with the usually distorted male vocals and the driving Dark Electro bass lines comparable to synonymous acts ala SUICIDE COMMANDO. The idea to use voice samples taken from "Full Metal Jacket" is surely not new at all. On the other side I have never heard a music project which uses this samples that fine and rhythmically well placed like GRENDEL here on their title track. So we have finally three fine new tracks, 2 remix works done by OBSZÖN GESCHÖPF and Mr. Mike Johnson himself, AGONOIZE, a new version of the rare to get track "Zombienation", which was only available on the limited and long sold out DCD "Prescription: Medicine", plus finally a more atmospheric track named "Dream II (feat. ORDO ROSARIUS EQUILIBRIO). This last track surely is the strangest piece here, it goes to a musically different direction with the use of some melodic piano sounds, undistorted vocals and a really dark mood. I have noticed also – as far as recognizable through the use of FX on the vocals – the use of some engaged and socio-politically lyrics here and there. So the music of GRENDEL is not new at all, but it features an almost perfect combination between the roughness and the remarkable melodic synth layers. I would rate their stuff to be authentic and this EP will totally please you.
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Artist: CRIA CUERVOS (@)
Title: Leitfossilen
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea (@)
Rated: *****
This release follows Cria Cuervos appearance on the split sampler (together with Bio and The Beautiful Schizophonic) on the portuguese label Thisco. This new cdr is out on Mystery Sea and if you never heard about this label I think you'd better give a check to their full catalogue. I think this guy is on the right way to find his "personality" or at last that's my impression while listening his "concrete-isolationism" or maybe "field-droning" is better. Call it the way you want but the matter of "Leitfossilen" remains the same: no "melody" (just some distant drones completely absorbed by the audio "landscape"), every once in a while the scenario is randomly (not so "randomly" anyhow) crossed by new sound-sources kept in a constant and slow evolution. There's a great "bushido" (read "self-discipline") sensation carved inside these suites. Imagine Main gone "bad", or the isolationist answer to the "H.I.A.+Biosphere" project, and what if I say Thomas Koner and Eclipse caged in the ice of the arctic sea? This music somehow presents a constant duel between the composer's idea and the patience of the listeners and you can bet Eugenio Maggi should have had a lot of fun while trying to bring the listeners into a "desolated place". This record is far from the "music where something is happening all of a sudden" idea, elements are slowly and accurately combined like if it was a classical-piece. Koner once said: "My music becomes fully connected to my retirement from external life", I can't say if Cria Cuervos has the same opinion about his music, but that's the impression that "Leitfossilen" can give.
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Artist: Pillars of Nein (@)
Title: Apathy
Format: CD
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
Apathy is the self-released debut of Pillars of Nein, a guitar-oriented industrial rock band hailing from Portland, Oregon. Pillars of Nein is the project of Chuck Nein (vocals), Angel (guitars), Keith Sommers (keyboard/drums), and Chelle Beck (backing vocals). With Apathy, Pillars of Nein deliver an impassioned and intense release that sounds professional beyond anything you might expect to hear from an unsigned band.

Apathy walks a very fine line between alternative and industrial music and succeeds in doing justice to both. The highlight of this release, for me, is the compatibility of Chuck Nein and Chelle Beck’s vocal work. Nein’s vocals bear a remarkable resemblance to Bush’s Gavin Rosdale, and Chelle Beck’s strong, seductive backing vocals are the perfect match to an already commanding presence.

Apathy is a perfect balance of aggression and beauty, shifting from melancholic keyboard/piano themes to crushing Rammstien-like guitar sequences without a moment’s notice. Pillars of Nein have figured out the formula to both the alternative and industrial genres, if they can further harness that formula there will be no end to their potential.
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anymore
Artist: Things Outside the Skin (@)
Title: You Knew It All Along
Format: CD
Label: Facility records
Rated: *****
Brooklyn experimental music project Things Outside The Skin are back with a new full lenght CD that represents a definite evolution and improvement over their previous, more dark, release. "You Knew It All Along" packs together twenty-three tracks of cutting edge aggro-electronica that mixes together experimental vibes, aggressive electronic music, aggro-industrial attitude and mechanical noises, all complemented by a refreshing and intelligent political punk attitude... The band reminds me of australians Eye, but if you don't remember them, you might thing of T.O.T.S. as a well mixed cocktail of Skinny Puppy, Pop Will Eat Itself, Consolidated, Godflesh, Sloppy Wrenchbody, Flugschadel, Headcrash, Ministry and other similar bands. All these comparisons are very fitting, for one reason or another, and it's up to you to find out how these influences are mixed together. A good occasion for that, would be their visually-enhanced live shows. If you don't live in NYC, they'll be on tour in November to support the release of this record. Don't miss out.
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