Music Reviews



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Artist: ARTICA (@)
Title: Plastic Terror
Format: CD
Label: Decadance (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing two albums ("Ombra e luce" and "Natura") Artica come back with a revised musical style and a major change: the English language for the lyrics. It took almost eight years to refine the project but since the first riffs of the opening song "Black eyes" you can say that it was worth it. I mean, the band had already their sound that was personal and powerful enough but if you listen to "Sarayevo" (from "Ombra e luce") and "Angelica" (from "Natura) you can say that they were paying an high price to their influences (early Liftiba in my humble opinion). For PLASTIC TERROR the band decided to clean the blackboard with a firm wipe and to work really hard to define a new sound. Goth music is always their main influence but they added power to their guitars and to the vocals which now are more intriguing and almost growling. The songs are composed gathering different moments that pass from the energetic guitar riffs (that sound almost death metal) to the ones where the keyboard orchestration is the main actor. The band is good at creating pulsating tracks that sound never static or without inspiration. There's also space for good ballads such as "Ocean", "Fade away" and "I don't fit" (try to think what could mean the term "ballad" for a goth metal band and forget stuff like Evanescence) and for a couple of songs in Italian "Aggressione" and "Roma brucia" (which is the only song to remember the old style) where is evident the growth of the band. I think that they are definitely ready to be exported over the Italian border and their American gig of the 24th of February in California (check http://www.releasethebats.info) is a sign of it!
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Artist: ANDREW COLEMAN (@)
Title: Tony Alva's hair
Format: CD
Label: Cocosolidciti (@)
Rated: *****
This autumn I've seen "Lords of Dogtown", an ok movie, nothing special in comparison to the documentary "Dogtown and the Z-boys", but definitely worth of the ticket (above all if you're into skateboard, or underground culture). Even if the average skater nowadays listens to crappy third rate punk bands or even worse to cheap gangsta rap, this work has nothing to do with the afore mentioned categories. Cocosolidciti is interested in high-quality electronic music and judging by they back catalogue and listening to this their costumers won't be disappointed. The menu is: electronic music with a 4/4 relaxed beat, sometimes it recalls some stylish Warp artist like Prefuse 72 or Savath and Savalas minus the post rock/instrumental feel, but that's just one percent of the whole mixture. With a such a cool rhythmical skeleton I was awaiting some rapping and it finally came with the third track ("Not a speculation" where Dose One is the mc!) and the song is a pure kick ass hit. Another interesting characteristic of this release is represented by its heterogeneity, one good example could be the electro-jazzy sketch of "Fingertip control". Andrew Coleman put together a smart tracklist and while listening you won't have the time to get bored by a single kind of song, just give a listen to such another great stylish exercise like the piano of "Rain and dogs" or to the acoustic guitar of "Constraints, huddles and hoops". Melody, melody and again melody, a great dose of class and if you're into hip-hoppish rhythm, electronic music, melody and post jazzy influences I think you outta add "Tony Alva's hair" to your want list.
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Artist: ABSURD MINDS (@)
Title: Noumenon
Format: CD
Label: Scanner (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****

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This trio hailing from Landau/Germany is maybe the most successful act recording for the Scanner label and they give us here just another example of a continuous good work on their known success formula. While I made my fun with their kind to win a "singing like Peter Spilles" contest in the early days, I recognize that this obviously intended sound of male vocals works well with their fat arrangements. It is Dark Electro in vein of IN STRICT CONFIDENCE or comparable acts without that scary and mystic feeling – maybe mass compatible Dark Electro? Anyhow – music and production are worth to listen to and flawless. For the vocals – well, that’s a kind of taste. ABSURD MINDS remain mostly in their one and only style globally. There are some hints here on this 14 new tracks, some alternative beat programmings on "Lord", or the use of some guitar sounds in "Stop The Fall" and "A Man Received The Answer 05". Especially the both last tracks I would call outstanding here, because also the Synth layers offer some more life and seem to be better worked out – while I am not sure if I really should advise them to concentrate more on guitar efforts... The one and only flaw is that this band cannot really surprise with anything else what couldn’t be compared with their earlier works. I would like to advise them to change something that can be called a real improvement. Try to compose different, change the kind of vocals – simply do something that nobody would expect from you. Globally a well done release which gets a few rotations, but nothing what can become my favorite. This release is also available as a limited DCD edition with 5 extra tracks, remixes of three album tracks, a remix of their classic "Damn The Lie" and a new unreleased piece called "No Saints, No Sinners".

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Artist: SPIRITUAL REALITY (@)
Title: Fear Future
Format: CD
Label: Scanner (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
A new release on the Scanner label, out of the Dark Dimensions label group. SPIRITUAL REALITY is a German male/female duo presenting here their second full-length release. They already printed a nice style description on the sleeves of their CD, "Electronic – Independent – Pop". Well, that fits it for sure – I would maybe add a constant Futurepop feeling to almost all of their tracks here. The chosen sounds and arrangements do not offer any sense of experimentalism, almost all structures are known and can’t surprise – with the one and only exception named "The System (TRITOXIN Remix)" placed on the last position, track 13. I haven’t heard about this project named TRITOXIN, but this remix finally shows a harder and more experimental side falling into some Powernoise efforts. Nothing against their good sounding vocals which are their main used "instrument" and perfectly placed into the mix. But I would like to advise them to try at times something different. A lot of tracks walk on the same level – you hear them once, you hear them twice – but after this they are forgotten. Nice exceptions are luckily included here with "Lost In Lust", "The Way Is Not Clear" and of course with their best track "What Can I Do?" – it is one of the very few tracks which has the right balance between dancefloor attitude and slow melodic phases. There is also to mention the remix of the highly recognized band like MASSIV IN MENSCH on the good piece "The Way Is Not Clear" – but to destroy the given dark but melodious mood of the original with the replacement through some more dancefloor attitudes can’t end in a satisfying result. This isn’t at all a bad release – I recognize their good compositions, their tasty arrangements and the good production – but I do miss that surprising element which could help this duo to left the average behind.
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Artist: CANAAN (@)
Title: The Unsaid Words
Format: CD
Label: Eibon (@)
Rated: *****
THE UNSAID WORDS is the fifth Canaan studio album and it arrives four years after the previous one which was titled "A calling to weakness". The new album contains three kind of songs: the dark ambient ones, the ones influenced by doom metal sung in English and the ones influenced by doom metal but sung in Italian. Probably you would ask the reason of my distinction of the song sung in English and in Italian language. Well, they sound different and not only because of the sound of the language. I think that Mauro felt more intimate the songs sung in our mother language and for this reason they sound like a sort of modern Luigi Tenco. The dark ambient tracks aren't only based on drones and obscure hisses they also have mid-oriental influences (see the violin on "Sterile"), chants (like on "Fragment #1"), Asian influences ("Fragment #2" is a beautiful track that would fit movies like "Crouching Tiger, Hiddin Dragon" nicely) and ambient industrial ("Just another noise"). I must admit that these are my preferred ones but also the tracks influenced by doom metal show really well how much personal Canaan songs sound. I must say that it hasn't been easy to listen to all the tracks in a row, because the level of nihilism and isolationism is really high. It seems hard to think about it when you talk about tracks with a song structure, but I assure you that it has been difficult to avoid the sense of melancholy and depression when I listened to those ones. Mind you, depression because of the atmosphere created, not because the music is rubbish. Try them if you dare...
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