Music Reviews



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Artist: Terminal Sound System (@)
Title: Last Night I Dreamed of Armageddon
Format: CD
Label: Hive Records (@)
Rated: *****
"Last Night I Dreamed of Armageddon" is an interesting and minimalistic release from Terminal Sound System. While it is sometimes heavy on the glitchy/chaos end of things, this release mainly focuses on the space between the shockwaves and the silent melodies and rhythmic pings that dance throughout that space. Sounding rather morose and desperate, the music seems to be recalling happier times of a better world that has long since past. The music is for the most part constantly engaging but like with a lot of soundtrack/soundscape releases you'll need to be in the mood for it. Song titles like "before the snow comes ash" and (study of ) decay of elements" go a long way to project some imagery into the songs. All in all it's a strong release that could easily handle more than a few rotations. For those concerned with presentation, the packaging is also minimal but no where near as appealing as the music. I personally feel it doesn't do the release justice and unfortunately the casual listener might pass this CD up as it frankly LOOKS boring. In the end this doesn't affect the fantastic nature of the music contained within but it'd be nice to see more effort put into the artwork. The website follows a similar approach but it is slightly more effective despite it's relatively low content level. Recommended tracks: "when we are robots there will be peace" and "the structure of tasks".
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Artist: photophob (@)
Title: Your Majesty Machine
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Hive Records (@)
Rated: *****
photophob is one Herwig Holzman. This release, "your majesty machine" is immediately appealing. Intense rhythms, playful soundscapes and well executed melodic leads pretty sum up this release. It's an instrumental release and unlike many instrumental releases, this is dripping with character. Each song has a unique flavor but not too much to keep the CD from working as a whole either. Very well balanced. I'd love to hear some vocals with some of this music but on it's own it works perfectly. I'm just a fan of vocal narrative. The cover art on the release is absolutely fantastic and really goes a long way to sum up the entire vibe the CD has to offer. The only criticism I have is that a few of the tracks over stay their welcome. Too much of a good thing can sometimes take away from the initial impact a song can have. Stand out tracks include "The Starlight Eater" and "While Venting".
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Artist: TERESA 11 (@)
Title: Smoky Heaven
Format: CD
Label: Eibon Records (@)
Rated: *****
Teresa 11 is a Japanese band formed in 2003 which recently signed for Eibon Records. Their first full lenght release is titled SMOKY HEAVEN and it features ten tracks. The people involved into this project are also active with Cross vred, Roco + Rie, Lambdoll, Freeman and LSD Engineering. The peculiarity of Teresa 11 is the use of harp along with progressive improvisations and dub solutions. Creativity is a main point into the composition of the tracks and it isn't a surprise to find also European melodies (like on "Tell me" where the bass, the accordion and the passionate vocals give birth to a strange Spanish version of Portishead), Asian atmospheres ("Into the indian rhythm - impro"), western movies soundtracks mixed with dub and electronics ("The end of smoky days"), jazz (like on the closing "Don't explain" where the harp and the voice create a passionate song), etc. It is always a surprise when you are going to listen an album released by a Japanese band because they blend all the influences in a particular way but this time it has been a pleasantly surprise because Teresa 11 sound particular like the early Portishead but they do it following their peculiar idea of sound, made of "chansons" influenced by dub, ambient, progressive music and improvisation.
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Artist: COVENANT
Title: Skyshaper
Format: CD
Label: Synthetic Symphony/Metropolis
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****

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We at the Chain D.L.K. are proud and thankfully to get the possibility to review this release much earlier until it will be released officially. Of course, the release of the already 6th full-length CD of this Swedish Electro act will be a dominant theme in all scene-related print and press media and the official release is currently set to the 6th of March for Germany and a bit later for Europe. I don’t have an official release date for North America, but I ma sure that this piece also again available through Metropolis-Records right in time. 10 new tracks here and it starts with now released first single release "Ritual Noise", a danceable and linear Futurepop piece with some cool vocoder effects on the vocals for the refrain; it sounds a bit KRAFTWERKian. The track "Happy Man" is rather slow and the synth lines reminding me on some old C64-based sounds and the overall mood turns back into the good old Eighties. Another favorite for a next single release could be the track "The Men", another remarkable track in a typical COVENANT-style which convinces through melodic vocals. Both, "Sweet And Salty" and "Greater Than The Sun", then prove, that the band does not fall in any conformity to offer only mainstream stuff for high chart positions. The bass lines on both are sounding more dirty than before, also the vocals spread a darker mood. Comes then maybe one of the best tracks which COVENANT have ever written: 20 Hz. A strong melody, clear vocals, danceable and still with the special note of some experimentation which only COVENANT can produce – the worth of recognition is rich given with this track. Comes finally the slow and depressive last track "The World Is Growing Loud" with some outstanding synth layers. The best result out of this new CD is the fact, that COVENANT still remain COVENANT. They avoid it to use guitars for example to get a wider mainstream-influenced audience. Fans of the band will dig this plus they’ll add a remarkable new chapter of their successful story.

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Artist: SLIDING ELEMENTS
Title: Destination: Fear
Format: CD
Label: ProNoize (@)
Distributor: Broken Silence
Rated: *****
Another new signing for the growing Harsh Noise label ProNoize out of the Dark Dimension group, this time a project by the multi-talented Patrick Stevens from Belgium. Yes, Patrick Stevens, also the man behind known projects like DAS SCHRECKENSGESPENST, HYPNOSKULL, SONAR and, and, and. He also had a first solo effort called SONA EACT out on the ProNoize label and could release three full-length CD’s under this moniker. While I mostly thought that SONA EACT was too repetitive, things do change with SLIDING ELEMENTS. Patrick’s work here, to lay multiple rhythm patterns taken out of different and very diverse music styles, has something special and it turns this project away from the often used expectation to get just another Powernoise release which is impossible to separate from comparable releases. This project is also open for co-operations and so we find here some contributions by SCREAMBOY or ELEKTROSCHEISSE, both mostly offering vocals. Patrick also integrates the influences of his own HYPNOSKULL project into the track "Clash It Up!" with the result that this track is surely one of the harshest pieces here. Other favorites I could find in "Biest", "Bombenanschläge" and the title track. This release is filled with some strange acoustic surprises here and there and it reminds me somehow a bit on the latest works of a band like H.I.V.+. For fans of Patrick’s work, as well as for fans of the label, this is a must-have release, but it can also satisfy some open-minded friends of styles like Electro, Techno or Trance.
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