Music Reviews



Feb 03 2006
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Artist: Amen Orchestra
Title: 17 waves
Format: CD
Label: ArT-TeK Records (@)
Rated: *****

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From the beautiful front cover picturing a close-up of a violin with some russian lettering and an elegant western italic logo and album title, I expected something completely different, more along the lines of what Russian artists and composers in the Electroshock records roster usually sound like, instead ArT-TeK Records' artist Amen Orchestra caught me off guard with a fast-paced and crazed breakbeat-driven collage of d'n'b beats and pitch-ridden pads with an ear to classical music, which is used as inspiration, rather than medium. Russian artist Nizhny Novgorod delivers his version of clasically-trained electronic music programming with a shit load of stuff happening at once. Once you get past the frenziness you'll detect subtle orchestra arrangements (which in my opinion could/should have played a greater part in the greater scheme of things) and murky layers of droning dark-ambient influences, and, no matter what, you'll always be left with one of those super-fast-paced rhythm-noise/IDM albums that labels such as Hive or Daft records might have gotten you used to.
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Artist: PRIDE AND FALL
Title: Elements of Silence
Format: CD
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****

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This Norwegian trio returns with their long awaited second full length release on the rising Dependent label. And some things musically have changed in between for the band. The still have a guitarist on board but the more I listen to this release I must really ask why. Late, with track 6 I can recognize the need to have him in the band – but before? Clear and clean produced Futurepop is the kind and style they do follow here. The track "Border", an energetic dancefloor filler – was already released as a download-only free available from the Dependent website and by the German Download portal Grenzwellen (www.grenzwellen.com). Technically here is nothing to find faults on. Krischan of ROTERSAND is again responsible for a decent mastering work, the arrangements are well produced and recorded – everything is smooth and catchy. But is it me, or does anybody else miss here something? Mostly all of the latest releases out on this label scored high and offered excellent stuff musically. PRIDE AND FALL do obviously follow the style which made VNV Nation big and successful, but finally I come to the result that there is still a big abyss between the original and the followers. Average is maybe the right word to describe this release as a whole – and the throne of (the older) VNV NATION is not in danger. Here is also space for some well worked out instrumental pieces like "Scarred", but also this can not really surprise. This CD walks on almost all tracks on the same decent level of quality – but it’s not that outstanding compared to several other Dependent releases.

Artist: Nox Arcana (@)
Title: Transylvania
Format: CD
Label: Monolith (@)
Rated: *****

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Take a journey through the darkness of Romania, deep in the Carpathia Mountains, where vampires, witches, and werewolves lurk to haunt their prey who hears their echo whispers and beckoning call. The seduction of one's desire to be intoxicated and fall into the mysterium bliss by the sexual touch and kiss from the soulless demons; incubus and succubus. Nox Arcana delivers a visionary and visual effects of gothic beautiful soundscapes that's sinister with orchestrations, melodies very haunting, choirs and well produced eerie sound effects so creepy. A perfect soundtrack that wil go with Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula". Production work brilliant. Overall, the whole album is awesome, the musicianship excellent-melodic beauty mixed with chilling doom-laden darkness. The layer of each track that adds enough dimensions will keep the listener interested. "Transylvania" is a darkly atmospheric with its shadowy grace. The cd features artistry and quotes from Jonathan Harker and Van Helsing, which combines a psychodramatic narrative enhancing the overall superb creation. A timeless quality to have in your cd collection.


1. Transylvania Overture
2. The Voyage
3. Gossamer Mist
4. The Black Coach
5. Sentinels of Stone
6. Into The Shadows
7. Castle Dracula
8. Visitors in the Night
9. Brides to Darkness
10. Grande Masquerade
11. Memento Mori
12. The Howling
13. Nocturne
14. Bats in the Belfry
15. Gothic Sanctum
16. Gypsy Caravan
17. From Dusk Till Dawn
18. Night of the Wolf
19. Echoes from the Crypt
20. Shadow Hunters
21. Lair of the Vampire
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Artist: TAMTRUM (@)
Title: Some Atomik Songz 2005
Format: CD
Label: DSBP / La Chambre Froide (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
This is the remastered re-release of the 2003 debut album of this French duo which was only available officially in Europe in limited conditions. The US underground label DSBP had the idea and was looking for a band already thrown in into the scene with an authentic sound near to HOCICO and alike. Lately this band is often heard and in all mouths, because only a few weeks after the release of this 2005 edition the Belgium label Alfa Matrix has announced TAMTRUM to be a new signing for 2006. Strange that a band can change the label like other people their underwear. Anyway – some words to this re-release which features of course all of the little underground "hits" like "Datura Dream" (in two versions, original and the remix of H.I.V.+), "My Vile Venom" or "Extazy". For this re-release they added a special remix done by GRENDEL on "Le Son De La Pluie" – that track could enter some euphoric reactions on the last "Endzeit Bunkertracks Act 1" quadruple CD boxset and can be named as the stone which rolled the avalanche of their recognition. Here is also as special a video clip of the track "My Vile Venom". This release rocks hard and hefty straight in your face and the tempo in some of their tracks left me still breathless. Nevertheless people who own already the original release should check this piece out at first and then decide if the presented stuff here is worth enough to do some investments. Musically without any doubts – get it!
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Artist: NEXT LIFE (@)
Title: Electric Violence
Format: CD
Label: Cock Rock Disco (@)
Rated: *****
If I should sum my review I'd say: "wow". Next Life are so original and gather a lot of what I like about different musical genres: tension, distortion, dissonant melodies, originality and rage. Hailing from Oslo, Next Life are a duo formed by Hai Nguyen Dihn (guitar, programming and quadrasid) and Tormod Christensen (synthesizer). Their music is a sort of death metal played with Atari sounds, where most of the tracks sound like a soundtrack of violent arcade games. If the low bit sounds, bleeps and duet with the drum machine that nervously builds a web of upbeat tempos, the guitar cry out loud roaring while the processed vocals make me remember Naked City's Yamatsuka Eye but filtered and reduced to an angry toy. How would it be to be kicked in the balls by Big Jim? Anyway, most of the tracks are two minutes long explosions but sometimes tracks like "Storm" or "Under water" (that are without guitar) make me remember of Philip Glass compositions mixed with Vangelis. Here the melodies create intense moments where you don't bother about the low-fi sounds because they just sound perfect thatway. The longest one is the closing track titled "The dungeon". It starts as a dark ambient track with long notes/sounds just to spread its power after a minutes and a half: it has different moments which create a sort of stop and go effect and it's just beautiful! On the multimedia section you can also enjoy a live video of the band where you can check how much great they are.
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