Music Reviews



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Artist: Mortiis (Era 3)
Title: Soul in a Hole (Live in London)
Format: DVD
Label: Earache (@)
Rated: *****
Mortiis' latest DVD "Soul in a Hole" is an impressive testament of his live act and how his music has developed on and after the release of his 2005 "The Grudge", in what he calls "Era 3". Although some might argue that Mortiis borderlines on suitability for our more electronic-oriented readers, we welcomingly grandfather him in because of the great attention to sound he devotes. Even in Era 3, Mortiis' guitar-heavy set still is based on very intensive use of electronics, in fact, although he has a live drummer, all bass lines are programmed and only add to the layers of sequences and sounds that the whole band plays to. I had never seen Mortiis live, but I must admit I was very impressed with the show on this DVD. Recorded live in London, it sports good lighting and sound and a track-list of fourteen songs, mostly from "The Grudge"'s tracklist. The band's attitude, moves and postures are definitely those of a heavy-metal band and although Mortiis himself has always had a pretty thick following of fans from the black-metal area, his stage-presence might remind some of Skinny Puppy's. Compared to "the Grudge" CD, the live set seems even more guitar heavy and will definitely echo Ministry's music more than a few times. All in all I really digged this DVD and Mortiis new-found down to earth no-bullshit attitude, which can also be seen in the bonus interviews footage. The DVD, which is very well packaged, also features four video clips and some additional bonus material.
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Artist: NEWCLEUS (@)
Title: Destination Earth
Format: 12"
Label: Dominance Electricity (@)
Rated: *****
Originally released back in the early 80's on their first two albums, "Destination earth" and "Why" were two tracks that met an unlucky destiny because on those releases they had been remixed by Jonathan Fearing who shortened the first one, rearranged it and made it into an instrumental. Also "Why", which wasn't intended to be released by the band because to them it was an experiment about funky reggae / Hip-Hop / Dance, met a similar destiny because Fearing put the stereo strings out of phase and faded them in and out, and he did the same with the beautiful programmed piano solo. The band was very unhappy with those treatments, so they took these beautiful tracks and decided to dismiss everything that wasn't originally intended to be part of them and they re-released them in their recent compilation "Destination: earth - the definitive Newcleus recordings". Dominance Electricity, which is one of the best electro music labels, noticed the release of the revamped versions and decided to put them out as a brand new EP, also adding two remixes of "Destination earth" reworked by two bands of the label's roster: Sbassship and Reeno. If you don't know Newcleus you have to realize that they were one of the first band who started the electro funk movement. At the end of the seventies a collective of DJ's know as Jam-On Productions decided to form a group called Positive Messenger, which soon turned into Newcleus. They started doing block parties as well as recording demos. At the end of one of their tapes they recorded "Jam-On's Revenge". The song impressed producer Joe Webb more than the other Newcleus material, so the song became their first successful single. After that the band released two other singles that did well and then two albums that didn't really sell all that much. Unfortunately their mixture of funk and electro in the early 80's had to face the advent of rap with Run-D.M.C. so they soon had to face facts. Now you have the opportunity to check out two great songs where synth rock and the soulful melodies of Ben "Cozmo D" Cenac, Yvette "Lady E" Cook, Monique Angevin and Bob "Chilly B" Crafton are capable of thrilling your senses. Be sure to also check the two remixes BY Sbassship and Reeno, where they re-arranged the main track giving it a modern electro treatment but staying true to the original version! Beware: this stuff rules!
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Artist: EDENYZED (@)
Title: Vanity Moves The World
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Edenyzed are an Italian duo that wanted to go beyond the barriers of musical genres. If we were in the 90s we'd call this way of melting genres, cross over but since in this case we aren't talking about rock we coul say that VANITY MOVES THE WORLD is a good record of symphonic black metal played with electronic instruments and with e.b.m. attitude. Try to imagine Hocico that do a carcrash with Burzum and the result would be Edenyzed. I'm not a black metal lover because many times melody is buried under tons of growlings and everything is so speeded up that you can't hear a thing. I prefer good old hardcore for instance, anyway... The eleven songs of the duo debut CD are capable of creating a good dark atmosphere without forgetting melody, energy and a certain theatricality. If you like e.b.m. and you don't give a damn if the tracks have also grinding guitars and a wolf that tries to find his way out from despair, well, you could check this out!
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Artist: ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE
Title: Starless and the Bible Black Sabbath
Format: CD
Label: Alien 8 (@)
Rated: *****

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"Starless and the Bible Black Sabbath" is Alien8’s third release with the Japanese psychedelic ensemble Acid Mothers Temple. They have recently changed the "Melting Paraiso UFO" in the heavier sounding "Cosmic Inferno". With that title, which refers both to King Crimson and Black Sabbath and the album cover, which sees AMT leader Kawabata Makoto standing in for the mysterious woman on the front of the first Black Sabbath album, they're paying a tribute to two bands they love. While this album is certainly a tribute record it doesn’t consist of covers. The band sound like if they are simultaneously paying respect to other Sabbath influenced projects such as Melvins. Having a lenght of about 40 minutes, this work might technically seem like a short album, but the majestic, mind-bending soundscapes you can find in it, are virtually infinite. It’s a monster jam of epic, amped-up proportions that seems more like a tribute to heavy Hawkwind or maybe Monster Magnet. "Starless and Bible Black Sabbath" consists of two tracks, the first is a mammoth, mostly instrumental 34 and a half minute workout full of plodding, heavy riffage and gibbering gobs which are then offset by the swirling, often beautiful atmospherics of the rest of the ensemble. Also notable is the use of two drummers playing virtually the same thing all along the lenght of the track, but with slightly different timing, once again adding a feeling of massive depth and space to the track. The second cut, "Woman from a Hell", is a mere 6:14, but it sounds like an outtake from the Nuggets box set with its jackhammer guitars, phased vocals and acid-rock accents. This piece has more in common with the gentler sound found on the "Mantra of Love" release or the recent "IAO Chant" release, a tribute to Gong. As usual, The Temple blend heavy-metal madness, krautrock pulses, free jamming and outer space sonics resulting into a thrilling, freaky effect. A must!
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Artist: Can
Title: Can DVD
Format: 2 x DVD
Label: Mute records / Spoon records
Rated: *****
As one of the most influential bands in the history of krautrock, Can, have contributed to changing the rules of the game and keep contributing with their many side and solo projects even today. This jam packed double DVD release is a re-release and comes without the third audio disc contained in its original form, but is still a very good testimony of all of that. Among other things, you'll be able to enjoy a documentary (compiled by Rudi Dolezal & Hannes Rossacher), a short tribute film by Brian Eno, footage from the Echo Awards, the "Can-Free-Concert" (shot by Robbie Mueller and directed by Peter Przygodda, who edited most of Wim Wenders films) filmed live at the Cologne Sporthalle in 1972, "Can Notes" (filmed by Hildegard Schmidt and compiled by Przygodda), classic and rare TV performances, studio footage, 4 new 5.1 mixes and the making of them in studio, interviews, photo gallery, biographies of all band members and collaborators, discography, history and more... Most content is in german but has english subtitles. Basically the content will just keep rolling out of of your media player, so if you like Can, it is pretty obvious what you outta do.
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