Music Reviews



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Artist: CYCLOTRON (@)
Title: Type Zero Civilization
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Cyclotron's TYPE ZERO CIVILIZATION is a really good album which since the first track convinced me. You know as a fan of early Scorn and Godflesh I immediately appreciated the band's mix of technologic metal and electronic industrialism. On some tracks like the six minutes long "The ministry" there's also space for a space rock intermezzo, just to start again the hammering made of samples, electronic drum machine and a distorted guitar. Melody is also a thing that the duo is aware of and the tracks mix very well industrial ambience (thanks to synth pads and to samples) with energetic riffs. The nine tracks of the CD project you toward apocalyptic scenarios and when Craig doesn't sing Cyclotron's music could be good for modern b-movies. TYPE ZERO CIVILIZATION is the band's third album, I hadn't the occasion to listen to the other ones but I assure you that this one is worth the listening!
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anymore
Artist: THE LAST DANCE (@)
Title: ONCE BEAUTIFUL
Format: CD
Label: dancing-ferret (@)
Rated: *****
From 1995’s debut EP to the new full-length album, The Last Dance has shown
to maintain the integrity of their sound, but in the meantime to search new ways, sometime taking some risks, for update their music. Combining different styles this veteran act here presents an anthemic dark-pop-dance album along the same lines as labelmates THE CRUXSHADOWS. They have always incoprporated elements of electronics into their dark wave sound to give it a unique and interesting twist to their music, including
dramatic background choruses which wrap around the lead deep vocals, and chiming guitars. The album includes the song Wish Me Closer’, featuring guest vocals by Tina Root - SWITCHBLADE SYMPHONY.Sure this album is superior in both production as well as musical arrangements to the previous works that also were great albums.Together with Second Skin, the best american goth sound.
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Artist: DECODED FEEDBACK (@)
Title: Combustion
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
It was round about 1990 when this Italian-/Canadian duo started to enter the acceptance and the success on all dancefloors of the dark clubs with their EBM/Electro sound, to that times inspired by classic EBM hymns. Several years later, with changes in styles and musical preferences, with the release of their 5th real studio album "Combustion" this band is back to kick some serious asses. While their musical highlight in their long-time history is still their classic "Mechanical Horizon", this new "Combustion" remarks again a development in their music especially since the mentioned one. Their music is more heavier and aggressive, the sounds are no longer that clean and polished like before. Add to this some more experimental sounds, rhythms and some heavy guitar riffs. This evolution we could already recognize on their last album "Shockwave" and it gets here its perfection. I should admit that I had at first some problems to accept their new kind, but after a few try-outs the magic of this stuff gets me. Excellent examples for the still rich Dark Electro content are in here with "Monument", "Supernova" or the inimitable "Time to Time". Also worth to check out is definitively the cover version of MENTALLO & THE FIXER’s classic "Sacrilege". While someone still needs to explain me the need that an Industrial band covers an Industrial band, I need to push my hat down for this encouraged cover. Totally different to the slow and creepy original, which is still my most favorite MENTALLO track, DECODED FEEDBACK include all important melodic layers and add a danceable rhythm. You find also a re-recording of the classic "Birth Of A Nation", a track which was available on their debut "Overdosing" or the re-edition from the Zoth Ommog label (RIP) "Technophobia". Whatever some people in different online sources may told you, this is again a top-notch release by DECODED FEEDBACK. The musically diversity between aggression and emotion is pretty rich included here. Worth to check out!This release is available and will be published in the USA through Metropolis-Records (www.metropolis-records.com).
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Artist: VIRTUAL EMBRACE (@)
Title: Hellektro
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Mike Johnson is not only the head behind VIRTUAL EMBRACE, he is also responsible for the music projects AGONOIZE, SERO.OVERDOSE and INFEKKTION, plus he has his own mastering studio Mao-Music and his own Tattoo studio as a daily job. His whole life seems to be dedicated of and about music and if you take a look to huge release output of his projects, you’ll get an idea how productive Mike is. Only one year after the release of his debut CD, this new full length CD of his sole effort VIRTUAL EMBRACE picks up the sound and ideas of the current ruling kind of harsh EBM/Terror-EBM – or just Hellektro – the name of this CD which has became a category in that genre. Currently he added also the helping hand of DJ Cyberchrist from London, who has an open eye to the lyrical content of VIRTUAL EMBRACE. You'll get the full dose of hard and rhythmic club-oriented EBM with rough distorted vocals, ripping bass lines, some Techno bleeps and hard destroying rhythm patterns packed in eternal monotony. Here is also the biggest flaw which this production has without any doubt to offer. In case of his huge output Mike’s music lacks of new and refreshing ideas. This "Hellektro"-CD has indeed a few good moments with "She-Speed" or the track "Virtual Embrace", but overall I would like to advise Mike to take a break and to think how about to come out of this musically death valley. Why still the hunt with repetitive sounds after the big pattern SUICIDE COMMANDO? How does VIRTUAL EMBRACE really differ from names like TACTICAL SEKT, RETRACTOR or just his own band AGONOIZE? It is quite disappointing for me to see and hear that Mike does not really think about to offer only one or two tracks in a different direction, something what could help VIRTUAL EMBRACE to be outstanding. This "Hellektro" is unfortunately nothing more than another repetitive mass production. On the other side I cannot blame Mike for playing with the formula of success, and this formula works on this whole album very well once again.
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anymore
Artist: HENRIK NORDVARGR BJOERKK
Title: Vitagen
Format: CD
Label: Essence Music
Rated: *****
As usual, this Essence Music release comes in a luxurious packaging: an oversize, 3-panel fold-out sleeve with embossed details, mimicking an old photo album with sepiatone portraits of young children. I honestly don't know how they could relate to Nordvargr's music, though, as this is quite obviously abysmal dark ambient with industrial overtones. Deep low-end drones form the basic layers to which Nordvargr adds a glitchy rhythm here and some, say, "symphonic" pattern there. The result is most of the times ok, reminding at best of Lustmord circa "The place where the black stars hang": a kind of black hole space music. But the main problem I have is that, as a whole, this is an alright cd but not much more, and from an experienced artist like Bjoerkk I expected something more challenging, or refined. These nine tracks, instead, are good examples of dark ambient synthesis, with everything you can expect from the genre, and of course a top notch production; but structure-wise, they often lack depth and variety. A pleasant listen, but not exactly a thrilling one.
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