Music Reviews

Artist: TECHNOIR (@)
Title: Manifesto
Format: CD EP
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
A new signing for the Belgium-based label Alfa Matrix – where could be a more decent label to sign with, if you’re a female-leaded Synthpop/Electro/Industrial act? So is TECHNOIR, consisting of Julia Beyer (vocals) and Steffen Gehring, and this act is for sure one of the leaders in their genre, thanks to their past collaboration with the now defunct Bloodline label. Especially Julia Beyer we have lately well discovered on her guest vocalism contribution to the last ROTERSAND EP. With this "Manifesto" EP they come back after a longer break and they show their talent like they’ve never been really away. "Manifesto" is a decent and melodic Synthpop piece and this track here gets some great remix works done by peoples and acts not only based in the Electro/Industrial genre. We have here the House specialists DELOBBO who proves his great technically abilities plus also the German Synthpop institution of BEBORN BETON is well presented. Second main track of this EP is the track "Silence" featured with two remixes created by the Russian DJ RAM and the Hip-Hop producer RABAUKE. For the third track "Liar" we have scene-related remix contributions by Daniel Myer (haujobb.) and ROTERSAND. The eighth and last track is a new version of the track "Breathe" done by TECHNOIR themselves. I prefer somehow always the original works of the band, although the DELOBBO remix gets my vote for the best work here. But the originals give the best impression to the upcoming full length CD on which we can now eagerly waiting for. TECHNOIR have made a good teaser to start a new chapter of their successful journey so far.
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Accession Records Vol. 3
Format: CD
Label: Accession Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****
Their 10th year of existence this well known German label likes to celebrate with a new compilation presenting all active acts in their roster. It can and should make the people behind this label proud to resist all good and bad happenings in this shark-infiltrated indoor pool we call music business. Also the nice growing roster of quality bands should offer a satisfying look back – but also an optimistic look into the next 10 years. Packaged in a nice carton digi-pack and specially designed by, this compilation features only new and still unreleased stuff. We might hear one or another track soon on upcoming single releases of the presented bands here, but this comp works well as being a teaser of things to come. The Slovenian act SILENCE (please check our new interview here...) has the honor to offer two instrumental pieces at the start and at the end of this comp. They completely surprised me with two tracks featuring mainly thick synth layers and some distorted rhythm patterns with a strong dedication to some GRIDLOCK works – a really new facet in their marvelous work I haven’t expected. One of the leading acts of this label, [:SITD:] presenting us a new and reworked "2K6" version of their track "Area 51" which combines danceable beats and an excellent synth play ala SUICIDE COMMANDO’s "Mortal Combat" intro sequence plus a remarkable melodic content. Their usually fine stuff and kind – always and ever listened again! Also the Hamburg-based newcomer FADERHEAD gives us a straight and danceable new piece called "Bassgod" in their usual style by reducing the bass lines to the minimal required effort, an excellent and crystal-clear mixing and the attacking voice of the singer – hefty mass motions on the floor guaranteed! DIARY OF DREAMS – well, Wave/Goth Rock was never my preference – offer a luckily electronic-driven and enjoyable piece with varied vocal insertions between smooth and melodic up to rough and energetic. PANZER AG, the solo project of Andy LaPlegua, also comes with a new piece called "Gateway". Why the fuck hasn’t he offered this track on his last full length "Your World Is Burning" instead of experimenting with some Country/Western inspired themes? This well done track would offer any better rating and is a proof of his talent. Comes then with "Make My Day" a new stomping Dark Electro track done by one of my label favs, PAINBASTARD. As usual hard, danceable and near to the required perfection to enter the hall of fame of the big players like :WUMPSCUT: and SUICIDE COMMANDO. There are also still some acts in the stable of Accession records which I haven’t discovered before. HUMAN DECAY is one of these acts offering a decent Futurepop piece. DIORAMA also show a danceable Electro piece which flows well with already discovered flow of this compilation. PSYCHE aka Darrin Huss is still alive, although this legend can surely soon go into pension. Not for the music of course, PSYCHE presenting with themselves with "Absolute" more alive then ever, also thanks to the still charismatic voice of Darrin. BELIEF comes next, also an act I haven’t discovered before, offering again a Futurepop-inspired piece near to the almighty ASSEMBLAGE 23 pattern. Tom Shear then comes next with a new track called "Decades" – although it is the typical A23 track heard often before, he simply shows his followers his reached and deserved status easily. Also for me personally and my relation to A23 it’s the 10th anniversary, because in 1996 I discovered him for the first time on a compilation of the US label Arts Industria. The Danish/German collaboration LIGHTS OF EUPHORIA also returns with a light Electro piece "Emptyness (Accession To Euphoria Mix)" until the latest discovered Norwegian act SPEKTRALIZED comes along with a new cut named "Strange Reactions". No strange reaction from my side, it’s the best Synth-/Futurepop here – somehow these Scandinavians have the better feeling for decent and working melody lines. Comes then to an end ANGELS OF VENICE with Wave-inspired "Primitive Kiss (Accession Version)" featuring some real violin strings, clear male vocals and a mood reminding me to some works of THE ESCAPE, finally then the already mentioned SILENCE, still string-leaded, but this time without the disruptive rhythms. So we have as the final result amore than satisfying compilation proving once again the excellent quality. I’m missing Tom Shear’s side-project NERVE FILTER a bit, but it has my understanding that A23 has priority. Lets also hope that a fine day will make a comeback and join again this strong stable of Accession Records. Let’s start to discover the unknown territories of the next 10 years!

01 SILENCE | Present, Unexistent
02 [:SITD:] | AREA 51 [2K6]
03 FADERHEAD | Bassgod
04 DIARY OF DREAMS | leb-los!
05 PANZER AG | Gateway
06 PAINBASTARD | Make my day
07 HUMAN DECAY | Grievance again
08 DIORAMA | The pulse of life
09 PSYCHE | Absolute
10 BELIEF | Changer
11 ASSEMBLAGE 23 | Decades
12 LIGHTS OF EUPHORIA | Emptyness (Accession to Euphoria Mix)
13 SPEKTRALIZED | Strange Reactions
14 ANGELS OF VENICE | Primitive Kiss
15 SILENCE | Veronika - End Score

Artist: Massiv In Mensch
Title: Clubber Lang
Format: CD
Label: Art of Fact (@)
Distributor: Storming The Base
Rated: *****
Well I'll be damn! Germany's band Massiv In Mensch is back with another full-length hard stomping dance album. The talented group feature new vocalists Anna-Maria Straalmann and Daniel Logemann. MIM is very well known for making dark rave music; ranging from techno to EBM. They've gone through changes now by doing electro-pop, but the techno and EBM composition is still there. The short track "In Mensch" starts the album off with Bono himself. Track 2 is a re-make of U2 80's hit "Sunday Bloody Sunday". A superb well done job in electro-pop style featuring the vocals from Sven Enzelmann from the band The Promise. The hardfloor techno/EBM tracks "Endless", "Klang Der Unsterblichkeit", "Clubber Lang", "Selig (Reloaded)", and "Toast" have an extremely strong groove impact. Some of the other tracks are on the softer edge of electronic-pop like "Einen Augenblick", "Green", and the beautiful catchy love song "Around My Heart" with Anna-Maria doing the lead vocal. A nice dance record so diversified between electronic-pop, techno, and EBM with smooth and harsh vocals stirring in a light and dark pattern. A unique combination creating a symmetry spellbinding club atmospheric that will want you crave for more. I want more!