Music Reviews

Aug 20 2002
Title: Buried A- Live
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line
Distributor: Audioglobe
Active since 1995 Terminal Choice passed through different phases from the early industrial e.b.m. of "Totes Fleish", "In The Shadow Of Death" and "Khaosgott" 'til the late nineties club friendly guitar e.m.b. A lot of fans didn't dig how Terminal Choice's music changed. Personally I think that "Navigator" and "Venus" are good records even if the last E.P. "Collective Suicide" disappointed me. Anyway, let's talk about this live CD. BURIED A-LIVE is a collection of eleven tracks recorded directly from the mixer (or at least the sound is that one) during 2001/2002 live gigs. If you love the later sounds of the band you won't disappointed even if the recording doesn't catch the power of the gig indeed. Along with a video of "Der Schwarze Mann" live in Leipzig you can find eleven tracks: "Armageddon", "Collective Suicide", "Time", "Sons Of Doom", "The Saviour", "Castles In The Sky", "Der Schwarze Mann", "New World", "Deathfuck", "Someone" and "Dämonen".
Artist: Spellgate (@)
Title: Legends of Ardigm
Format: CD
Spellgate is a project whose sole aim seems to be to create music of fantasy and imagination. Every song is based on a storyline which they claim will span through subsequent releases. All the music is synthesized and they claim it has the speed and power of metal music and is called synth metal but I personally don’t see this at all really. To me it sounds like epic styled synth works and there are no metal sounds, styles or anything in my opinion at all. It seems that their previous works were known under the name Chivalra, at least the musical aspects by Darynlard. Dosashlia is the vocalist and the two entities seem rather well matched. Both artists have been composing for at least five years before they came together it seems. Vocally the only comparable similarity I can think of is Kate Bush. Musically there is a bit of range just from the first to the second track. The first track is very epic sounding and the second very dark and the supposed metal’ elements I can almost’ see but only in the rolling drumlins and the grinding synth pieces. The last piece is just plain happy synth music sort of like the pop-like New Age stuff that has dance beats and sing-songy melodies and rhythms. With only three tracks to judge from I’m not sure what I think of this project. I like the concept but since there are no lyrics in the inlay it will take some time for me to figure out the story scenarios. Also in all honesty the vocal style is not personally appealing to me, style-wise, however the singer does have a talented voice. While I’m curious to find out how this project progresses, especially to figure the story as it develops, I don’t think this is something that would be in my normal listening stack.
*NOTE: You can view the lyrics at the band’s website.
Artist: Spankinig Machine (@)
Title: Simple Solutions to Perverted Problems
Format: CD

This project is a bondage themed industrial rock project which has such a hard edge sound it borders on punk, or rather goth-punk in some cases. I first heard of Spanking Machine (SM) from the Megatropolis 2001 compilation project from Cybortronik Media featuring “Evil Kitty”. The first advice I’d give to anyone listening to this for the first time, skip the first track on your first listen then listen to it later – it’s so noisy and hard edge an less structured than the rest that it may turn listeners away from the album before you can hear what they are about and get to the ‘meat’ of the album. The second track, “Discipline” would have made a much better first track with it’s grinding guitar riffs, punk-esque female vocals and rhythmic electronics and live drums. “The Push” is just too difficult as an introductory track but on later listens it fits perfectly with it’s nearly Berlin-like structure and hard analog synth sounds. “Fallen Angel” begins like a combination of hard elektro vs Kraftwerk and builds into a dark synth-rock structure. “Deathryde…” has some nearly metal guitar and some very heavy rock oriented rhythms. SM shows they can truly rock as well and reminds me of something akin to Lords of Acid or White Zombie. In contrast “Flesh Chamber” is very dark and melodramatic and has a nearly Christian Death feel to it. “Evil Kitty” is one of the obvious favorites on this album combining hard dark elektro and rock-n-roll with in-your-face sexuality. “Pleasurebound” is mostly composed of sampled bits and noises with a touch of piano in the intro to create a bizarre, dark yet ethereal start but with a very heavy rock main composition. Just say, “Yes Mistress”. “Wet Nightmare” reminds me of those sampled bits from White Zombie where they use grinding guitars, drums, and samples from things like old Batman episodes or 1950’s documentaries. The vocal samples here are all in reference to ‘wet’ dreams or nocturnal emissions. The ninth track, “Nazi Love Slave” continues their hard edge punk-industrial-rock feel while maintaining their strong BDSM and fetish themes. The final track, a “Deathryde” remix is very elektro based and features almost no rock or guitar elements and is more industrial feeling instead and even includes the heavy noise-buzz bass beat found in some EBM or Noise projects and an interesting vocal effect. This last track is great for Goth-Industrial nightclub play. Overall Spanking Machine brings many elements of several years of underground music and culture into one highly original combination and do it in a manner that lends both a well structured and produced sound as well as some rawer elements as well. Punk fuckin’ rock!
Artist: Vehemence 6.2 (@)
Title: Skleros (Fourth Edition)
Format: Tape
Label: Christcrusher Productions (@)
This release is an independent release not for sale anywhere that I know of and is a collection of 83 unnamed tracks ranging between nine seconds to over six minutes in length. The music is composed by Kevin Schlueter and this solo project was started in 1999 when he was fifteen. From the outset it is an interesting collection of works combining ambient, atmospheric and noise elements. All electronic in origin and ranging from ambient beats and dark and moody atmospheres to heavy industrial pounding grinds, this proves to be some truly interesting pieces. Thoroughly experimental this is not for the timid or conservative type. The nine second tracks seem to be simple spacers (beginning at track 19) for a hidden’ track only a minute and a half in length (track 66). The remaining tracks are also spacers. All in all there is only about 35 minutes or so of actual audio on this CD-R release. There are no actual compositions per se as all the works seem to be completely experimental noise and ambience in nature. I’d like to see this artist create longer pieces to see where his creative mind would take him and I wonder why most of these are so short. In fact my only real gripe about this is that the pieces are too short and thus to not elaborate on their theme or have time for more variance. If the artist decided to put out more and longer pieces I think they would have an easier time getting people to listen to them as what he has done thus far is actually rather creative and would highly appeal to the eclectic and noise genre fans. According to the information sent with this CR-R Vehemence 6.2 will be releasing a split CD’ titled Maybrick soon so we’ll see what develops. This particular release will also be available as a limited tape edition with new material through Christcrusher Productions.
Artist: ThouShaltNot (@)
Title: You'll Wake Up Yesterday
Format: CD
Label: ADSR Musicwerks (@)

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This is a limited CD collection of live outtakes, remixes, covers, acoustic versions, and unreleased tracks by ThouShaltNot, known mainly for their unorthodox combinations of Noise, Darkwave, and Classical musical structures. The first track is a poundingly noise heavy version of “Without Faith”. This is followed by a dark industrial version of “Cracked”. Unfortunately I have not yet had the pleasure of hearing their debut self-titled release that this track comes from so I can’t make much of a comparison. The same applies for the other tracks from the same release; “Polarity” and “Crash”. The “Polarity” acoustic version is a guitar and vocal version. “We’re In This Together” is a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song from the The Fragile release. Their version is hard and heavy at times and very electronic while at other times softer and containing female vocals in the chorus. It even ends with an interesting acoustic guitar bit. My favorite parts of this are the female vocals and the acoustic ending however I don’t find this sounds anything like the original at all. I love the way they begin “The Weakness of Words” with acoustic guitar, almost Xymox-like, and seamlessly drop in the electronic beats. The version of “Crash” here is rather ambient with some electronic blips and bleeps and a touch of Noise influence in the distorted beats. This track drops right into a piano version of “In Hopes of Flight”. This is a very interesting acoustic performance. “Dying Boy” is a previously unreleased track and while it’s not a bad song it’s not one of my favorites on the album and one of two in which you can hear Alexx’s voice a bit more raw and with no effects. What I do really like about this track is the beat box part of it. The live version of “Without Faith” is actually ‘very’ raw and the track is sung to a somewhat different rhythm scheme than the original. I don’t really like this version much at all. Blackwater is a rather poetic interlude sort of track with more than a little effects on the vocals and heavy Noise beats but is only about a minute and a half long. This is followed by “Trench Warfare” which sounds like some old-school industrial rhythms mixed with orchestral pieces and hard vocals. Strangely “Scales On Scales” sounds familiar in regards to the vocal melody but I can’t figure why. Anyway the music for this piece is actually lounge-like and very nearly comical sounding. “Icepaper” is a 40 second track of a very mild ambient effect. This is followed by the David Bowie cover of “Within You” from the Labyrinth Soundtrack. ThouShaltNot’s version is actually darker than Bowie’s and more somber. It sounds almost like The Clan of Xymox in it’s general music structure complete with Cure-like guitar, electronic rhythms, electronic ambience and even a slight touch of what sounded like choral backing and moves into some hard and quick beat electronics. This is a very interesting and unique interpretation of this classic piece. What follows is a version of “S0ren Grey” which begins a bit simplistically; rim taps, backing ambience, and soft vocals. This changes as it becomes almost a hallow and somewhat haunting electronic ambient bit. “Pillbox Tales” begins with some electronic sounds much like mechanized hydraulics followed by a soft marching snare and soft bell-like tones. The beat slowly hardens but remains somber, a skill ThouShaltNot has perfected it seems. As with many of their songs they add short noise effects in this overall quiet track which somehow works to make the piece more contemplative. This track later drops into a very moving drum-n-bass rhythm. It seems this is actually a cover of a song by The Cure. Strangely I don’t remember this one as it seems to be a very limited release track from the 1986 version of Boy’s Don’t Cry and was featured only as a B-Side. At least that is as much as I’ve been able to find out about it so far. Thanks for making me do my homework on this one. It’s stuff like that that makes this industry more interesting at times. The next track is also one I like quite a bit, it’s an acoustic guitar version of “The Sting” originally from The Holiness of Now. The coda of “Cracked” is much harder, faster and heavier than the other version on this release. Now, nearing the end of the CD we have a cover of the Rolling Stones song “Paint It Black”. This is actually a live version with no overdubs and is really quite dark and actually used live drums instead of electronics and seems to have a minimum of electronics only as ambience. This version is sung with much passion. Lastly, and probably most amusingly, is a song called “If I Only Were A Goth” which is set to the music from The Wizard of Oz’s “If I Only Had A Heart”. This version however has lyrics like, “I’d be fitter, I’d be taller, go clubbing in my collar with skin pale as a moth. Dressed in black I’d go creeping when the normal folk are sleeping, if I only were a Goth. With my hair up I’d look fancy like Souixsie and the Banshees with silk or velvet cloth. Dressed in boots never sandals and the room would be lit with candles if I only were a Goth. Yes I’d want to die from the bottom of my heart impure. Would I like another clove well sure and after that we’ll go listen to The Cure.”. There are the usual vampire references and they manage to fit in the names of other well known people in the scene as well. This song reminds of something you’d expect by Voltaire and is quite hilarious. This album is an amazing collection of works by this rather new band to hit the scene and displays quite a bit more of their acoustic side as well. ThouShaltNot is a band with amazing versatility although there are a few times on this release where the vocals aren’t the cleanest but that’s because they were not studio productions so that fans and others can actually get a feel of what the band is capable of without all the electronics. They continue to astound me with their unique combinations of acoustic and electronic elements as well as both underground and classical forms of music. This is not the type of release I’d recommend for someone who is not at least a little familiar with the band or who are not sort of fans as there are many raw elements which would only cause others to become ‘very’ critical of them. Those people should stick to the studio releases like The Holiness of Now instead but for everyone else this is a very interesting bit of work with a few interesting surprises as well.

© Copyright 8/2001 TG Mondalf. All Rights Reserved
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