Music Reviews



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Artist: High Blue Star
Title: High Blue Star
Format: CD
Label: Mutant Reasearch Technology
Rated: *****
High Blue Star is a duo from Minnesota consisting of the vocals of Laura Reade and the music of Brian Green. Their debut release titled "High Blue Star" is a mix of both old school sensibility and new school technology. Drawing on such sources as Massive Attack, X-Mal Deutschland, and Brian Eno their sound is a collision of industrial gothic walls of substructure and experimental tactfulness that works its way into your soul. Having had the pleasure of seeing them live I can tell you that they reproduce all of the nuances here. Laura Reade may be one of the best singers I have ever seen. She is powerful and charismatic and in control of some very unique pipes. I hear references to Siouxsie, Danielle Dax, and even Joy Division in the sound. Yet they are in no way an 80’s tribute sort of act. The music is very current and frankly is some of the best gothic electronics I have heard in the last five years. Brian Green works his instruments in synchronized layers of color waves that rush through the body making this a physical as well as psychological journey. Songs like "Serotonin" and "Dragonsaw" will claw their way into your mind and you will find yourself unable to escape these dark melodies. Highly Recommended!
Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Soundwave Assassins 2
Format: CD
Label: Backscatter (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Second volume of a CD compilation series which is designed for promotional use only and cost-free but hard to get for a normal consumer. Released again as co-operation between both labels Dungeon-Recordings and Backscatter with the distribution help of the infamous DSBP label this new comp brings us the newest efforts and appetizers directly taken from the upcoming new full-length releases by DIVERJE, LEXINCRYPT, BOUNDLESS, LITTLE SAP DUNGEON or P.C.P. to name a few. The skill and diversity is richly present here and I personally can’t await the release of the newest pieces. This remarkable comp starts with a dark gloomy co-operation project between P.C.P. and the new Dungeon signing IN’VEKTIV. Musically almost based on some dark and spooky LITTLE SAP DUNGEON efforts this track has still enough own identity to give fully satisfaction. Comes next a more traditional dark Electro smasher by LEXINCRYPT. Harsh distorted vocals, pounding rhythms, wide melodic layers – so are the trademarks of this solo project of Wrythe (SYMBIONT) – maybe a bit influenced by some harsh SUICIDE COMMANDO classics, but still with a stand-out in quality. BOUNDLESS is of course also present here and give us a new "Mechanos Failed" pretty much in their already known lighter Electro style. Xon offers with this track some nice varied vocal progression and the sequences sound more trendy than ever before. Follows then one of the main DSBP acts, DIVERJE, leaded by the very own label chief Tommy T. I have never heard and expected such a great evolution in complexity and production by this project with this track "Your Pleasure (Harsh)". It sounds and reminds me a bit on some works done by the great French act E.S.R. and maybe Vince Pujol of this band has put a helping hand on this track. But again – DIVERJE has never been so strong, so rich in composition and sequencing like on this marvelous dark Electro track. A must! Then I must admit that I have never heard a full length CD by CARPHAX FILES, a band recording for COP International. Uuuhm, big mistake, shame on me – they offer a decent and danceable Electro track with some angry vocals. Strong enough done to grab your attention, go and check it out. ROSES AND EXILE offer us a dark and weird piece with a harsh edge. Vocals are here destroyed through the use of some guitar effect machines and the globally structure of their piece is a bit chaotic. Follows then a marvelous and gloomy Electro dark piece by CIRCUIT SURGEON which offers here one of the biggest surprises with well worked out synth layers and Alien-like vocals. LITTLE SAP DUNGEON finally give us here the revamped version of their classic "Ask Alice (Acidland 25 Mix)" which I could already check out on their split-CD with BOUNDLESS, "Geist". It sounds almost like a new track and nothing remembers on the original version. Lately after this track this comp turned into some more or less weird and experimental music stuff which do not fit my personal preferences. Take some Rap (!!!) from FIXX & THE INSUFFERABLE NOISE MACHINE, some abstract experiments with strange sounds by SAVANT GARDE, Powernoise-efforts by SONIC DISORDER, TWILLIGHT TRANSMISSION's Dark Techno experiments and finally SCAPEGOAT’s dark Ambient-like piece you have an idea how diverse and mixed this comp went. Backscatter and Dungeon-Recordings in collaboration offer again a fine compilation which is worth to be a regular release. Highly recommend, try to get it!
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Artist: Virtual Space Industrial
Title: Gehenna
Format: CD
Label: Pandailectric (@)
Distributor: Alive
Rated: *****
Gehenna, the first full-length release by Poland’s Virtual Space Industrial [VSI], paints a dire picture of the future with its simmering mix of apocalyptic themes, highly charged electronic body music and thought-provoking samples. The album is named for a Latin word, meaning "a place of torment or suffering," and sure enough there are plenty of references to hell, including a number of thinly veiled suggestions that our world is headed quickly in that direction. The first track, "Holy Children," is mildly reminiscent of X Marks the Pedwalk in sound and feel, with its mildly processed vocals and smooth, catchy electro refrains. "Liar" slows down the musical pace and cranks up the vocal distortion. "Strange Films" grows from humble beginnings into a lengthy, deeply introspective examination of personal pain and anguish. "Traitor" lashes out angrily against the irresponsibility of those who would be guardians of the human race. "Return to Beginning" is a short, sweet musical interlude that connects nicely to the subtly evangelical "Rest of my Life." "Angel of Death" is fairly brimming with homily, Father and Son coming to kick our heathen asses for our dirty perversions. At least we’re given the courtesy of a decent dance beat during this righteous reaming! "Right Hand of God" puts war under the microscope, mocking man’s folly in the face of a higher power. "Love for a Moment" is lyrically cryptic, but pleasant nonetheless with its repetitive refrain. "Hope" injects a bit of their native Polish tongue into the mix with an incantation during the early part of the track, and chugs along on the rails of an arp refrain that is very similar to Evils Toy, circa Human Refuse. A much more languid pace drives the instrumental track, "Shadow of Death." The slow progression at the beginning of "Bad Dream" is something I’ve heard before, but I can’t remember the source for the life of me. It is quickly shed in favor of a fast-paced beat, evolving into the most solid dance track on the entire disc. The disc ends on a somewhat hopeful note, as VSI sing of a "New World Order."This album appears on Pandailectric, a German label, and follows an earlier EP entitled Angel of Death, which was released in 2002. Nice looking artwork and liner notes! The message isn’t necessarily my cup of tea, and there are some entertaining liberties taken with the English language, but the music is solid and the feeling sincere. Overall, it’s pretty damned good.
Artist: Celeste Noir (@)
Title: "...The Fire Inside"
Format: CD
Rated: *****
A new hugh smash hit in the underground synth-pop scene, Celeste Noir are back with their second full-length release and follow up to the ep "Beware Of..." Their latest cd "...The Fire Inside" is a continuation left off in its electronic pop and horror brilliance club and dance form. I worship this band very heavily still. Their hard work in making this record is very challenging. Every record they release never sound the same. Germany's trio always seem to keep their fans and listeners begging for more. This time the band add some new seasoning flavor, EBM, to some of their dope upbeat dance tracks like "The Maniac", a hardfloor tune about a demon who possessed a woman in her dreams and mind and watches over her. "Isolation" and "The One I Left Behind" is a top notch killer. There's a couple of mid-tempo songs such as "Candle" that reminds me of Depeche Mode 80's style. The drama suspense "Heartbeat" goes great to a thriller movie soundtrack. It features some dialogue samples from a German movie. And for a long cold winter season, the beautiful track "Winter People" will be a good theme for those who likes to gather around with their family, friends and neighbors singing outside with candles lit up or a lighter waving back and forth in hand. The melody of the piano accompaniment makes the song more very pleasurable to enjoy. This is an excellent release for fans of synth-pop and Depeche Mode. 100% highly recommended!