Music Reviews

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Artist: VIGILANTE (@)
Title: Juicio Final
Format: CD EP
Label: Black Rain (@)
Rated: *****
Formed back in 2004 Vigilante is an industrial metal e.b.m. band coming from Cile. It’s the first time I hear about an e.b.m. band coming from that country but I’m glad things are moving all around the world. For sure they, as well as the Mexican band Hocico, know really well what they are talking about when they sing about control, suppression and such kind of things. A year has passed since Vigilante released their debut album "The heroes’ code", so it was time to propose something new to their audience. JUICIO FINAL contains three Spanish versions of "The other side" (called now "Juicio final"), "One good reason" (now "Resistir") and "Survive" (now "Sangrar"). In addition to these there’s a preview of a new track "Justice" (a track that mix e.b.m. and Fear Factory kind of sound) that will be included into their next album. Along these new songs you can also find five remixes thanks to Funker Vogt, Z Prochek, Chiasm, Amateur God and Obszon Geschopf. Each remixer exalted the metal e.b.m. style of Vigilante mixing it with their characteristic sound. A good E.P. that will please the lovers of the genre. P.s. Into the CD extra section you can find a professional video of "The other side".
Artist: Cheerleader 69 (@)
Title: Godriders in the Sky
Format: 12"
Label: Steelwork Maschine (@)
Rated: *****
First off, this is a vinyl release, but I cannot comment on the pressing, etc. itself because I was not sent a copy of the album itself, only a CDR of the songs. I know how some vinyl fetishists are (not that kind of vinyl fetish... .) – I’ve heard people describe particular albums as "beautifully pressed," etc. So if you want to know about the texture of the album you’ll have to go elsewhere. The disc I was sent was an unmarked CDR and a bad printout of the cover art. So already we were off to a bad start. Luckily, the music was excellent, even if the first impression didn’t win me over. I’ve never heard of this project or his other outfit, Punish Yourself. The man behind the project states two reasons for creating Cheerleader 69. The first one relates to the music: "I needed an output for this kind of music, because I couldn’t use these soundscapes with my regular band, Punish Yourself, ( - cyberpunk dancefloor chaos can mix with bombastic orchestral stuff, yeah, but only if you use a small amount of the strings’n’brass’n’marching drums extravaganza... And I wanted to use a full blast of soundtrack-like orchestrations." This should give a pretty good indication of what you are in for. But I was not prepared for how well done it was. This is some really good soundtrack-esque kind of work with militaristic percussion thrown in for good measure. From the first track, "Your Book is Full of Killings," Cheerleader 69 manages to keep a nice dark undertone going without it becoming too oppressive. On "Bad Tape," it sounds like he borrowed heavily from The Anti-Group’s "Union With Sirens" off Iso-Erotic Calibrations and anything that reminds me of TAGC is definitely a good thing. When we reach "Godriders (in the sky)," the music completely changes, with heavy percussion, chaotic brass, and what sounds like a choir singing. This track reminds me of the more bombastic elements of Coph Nia or In Slaughter Natives. This is by far the standout track on the album. The rest of the album vacillates between the two extremes of militaristic percussion with heavy orchestration and subdued soundscapes that bury voices and noise just beneath the surface. The final track on the album, "Transgression," is a good example of the latter. Drones and voices mixed with a repetitive melody that cycles through song. It is a peaceful, soothing track that still manages to keep an unsettling vibe throughout. The three tracks available on the limited edition CD also maintain the mixture of subdued ambience and militaristic soundtrack type music. "Rotta Flammis Circumsepta" reminds me of old Laibach, with heavy percussion and orchestration. This is an excellent album and well worth picking up. The other reason for picking it up may be ideological. Cheerleader 69 explains the other reason for forming this project: "I wanted to bring back some left-wing ideas into ambient/industrial/neoclassical stuff, there are WAY TOO MUCH fascists roaming that scene. So if you are one of these nazi fuckheads, or have any sympathy for them, you have to understand this is not music for you. Because I believe in everything you hate and hate everything you believe in." This LP is limited to 500 copies and is available in three versions: Black LP (93 copies), Yellow LP (357 copies), and a Special edition with a CD (50 copies). If you only get the LP, you aren’t missing a lot – the music is similar and the standout tracks are on the LP, but the CD music is not just filler - it is able to stand on its own merit.
Artist: Technique Fabriquée Trop Tard (T.F.T.T.) (@)
Title: Un Oeil Autre Part
Format: CD
Label: Paranoise Records (@)
Rated: *****
This is a Belgian artist that I had not heard of before. And I have no idea what the name or album title translate out to. But what does it sound like? This is an album that sounds as if it were made in a junkyard. This is not to say that it is bad music – quite the contrary. But the sound source seems to consist mainly of metal that is struck or scratched. Other sources are not so easily recognizable. There are a lot of pulsing electronics that flutter over drones and the clanking of metal. The label describes this album as a "dark ritual ambient project from Belgium. Dreamlike sequences, spacey drones, rumbling noises and psychedelic tones to infiltrate the depths of your consciousness. Minimal half-rhythmic industrial spheres made with electronics and handmade sounds. Long repetitive patterns based on cold and metallic background." If, like me, you think of "dark ritual ambient" as something along the lines of Hybryds "The Ritual Must Be Kept Alive," you’re going to be disappointed. But the rest of it fits. The tracks blend well together to give the album a sense of coherence. Some of the tracks that stand out are Les Monstres and Les Forges Infernales. Les Monstres consists of steady pounding with pulsing electronics just beneath the surface. Plucked metal strings or wires intertwine with someone banging on metal. There is an odd sort of consistency in the randomness of this track that keeps it engaging. Les Forges Infernales brings in bells and drones but still maintains the noisiness with the clanging on metal that threads its way through this album. However, there are some places where the music begins to become tedious, such as Abscentation, which seemed to go on a bit too long without ever going anywhere. If noise is just too harsh but you want ambient that brings in more noisy elements, this is a good disc to take a chance on.
Artist: Scott Solter (@)
Title: One River
Format: CD
Label: Tell-All Records (@)
Rated: *****
First, the comparisons. Solter’s work reminds me of Vidna Obmana ("River of Appearance") and some of Harold Budd’s more ethereal work. If you like these artists, you will probably like this album. This album seems to lack some of the structure of Obmana or Budd but this is not a bad thing. Instead, Solter strips the sound down to textures and drones, creating peaceful soundscapes with processed guitars and other sound sources (I could swear that in one track I heard one of those plastic tubes that you whip around to make a whistling kind of noise... .) This seems to be a significant departure from Solter’s previous album on Manifold Records, "The Brief Light," which Manifold describes as "a complex tribal/percussive-ambient trek into the heart of bright rainforest worlds and afro-alien rhythms, an endless list of primitive instruments and ephemeral human voices" (I haven’t heard this disc but the sample on their site corroborates well with this description). One River seems to perform the drone/ambient formula well. The songs intertwine and blend together and work well as a whole. Nothing too startling in the mix – this is nice ambience that provides an ideal background for reading or other activities. According to the promo material that came with the disc, the disc takes inspiration from the movement of water and "combines to form a continuous flowing piece, with titles that suggest a journey both through physical space, and through memory." This is a pretty accurate description. The music is the aural equivalent of watching a river. The water moves and shifts, but it is difficult to perceive any real change. The only real problem with this album is that it is a bit short. Weighing in at just over 35 minutes, the album is not quite long enough to sink into. Other than that, this is well worth checking out.
Artist: Enya
Title: Amarantine
Format: CD
Label: Reprise Records
Distributor: Amazon
Rated: *****
The beautiful Irish new-age ethereal songstress, Enya, is back with another extraordinary tranquility atmospheric album that is a follow-up from her 2000 release "Only If". Like all her previous releases, she will take you on a magical and mystical journey where love serenes, the birds flying and chirping , the sky is blue and the clouds moving so freely across the sky, the sun's shining so bright, the moon is full and the night is dark and cold, you can hear crickets and other insects noises close by and miles away, children laugh and play, taking a strode by the river and sea and listening to it sing, lovers embrace one another, the snow and rain falling from the sky, a moment of being sadden because of a lost love or saying a long goodbye to a dear friend who you may not see for awhile. So many times I've listened to this cd and laid in my bed listening to it and went to sleep like a child. I felt so calm and hynotized by Enya's beautiful trained vocals and harmonies. All 12 overwhelming emotional tracks are coaxed with the strength of happiness, sadness, loneliness, and lost. "Amarantine" is truly a passionate and compassionate dreamy and heart-warming album that shines and is polished majestically. Some music critics like Rolling Stone magazine criticized Enya for making the same type of music for years and a decade and not being challenged by doing something else different. Who cares what they think or say. Enya is the only recording artist who can sell 45 million records worldwide without touring. That my friends, shows you how well Enya can accomplish by winning hearts with her gifted voice what God gave her to use.Tracklistings:1. Less Than Pearl2. Amarantine3. It's In The Rain4. If I Could Be Where You Are5. The River Sings6. Long Long Journey7. Sumiregusa8. Someone Said Goodbye9. A Moment Lost10. Drifting11. Amid The Falling Snow12. Water Shows The Hidden Heart
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