Music Reviews



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Artist: Cruciform Injection
Title: Critical
Format: CD
Label: Negative Gain
Distributor: Negative Gain
Listening to this Chicago group takes me back to way back in the day when I was a tiny (well tinier, I guess) little industrialite in VA, with Fracture and Haujobb CDs blaring aloud in a smoked filled dark room around the clock. And it’s a sensation I’ve been looking for again for the longest time, that sense of brave gearheads coming up with all these ultra cool samples and blips topped with that cyber aggression. This band definitely took their time and did their homework before starting out. With a list of inspirations that lists from Evil’s Toy to Haujobb to every important electro-industrial group under the sun, it is almost like a trip back in time when Pendragon was still around and 21st Circuitry blessed up as well. The group reminds me of a cross between Kevorkian Death Cycle, "Illusion" era Evil’s Toy, Headscan, Indvidual Totem and a bit of X Marks The Pedwalk. Subtle electro blips and synth lines overlap with the techno-industrial bass line ala XMTP and then are topped with those classical distorted vocals. Great stuff also from a city whose scene I’ve not been all too impressed with (shitty cookie cutter goth rock bands out there in Chicago, go home!). For those like me who need a trip into memory lane and a trip into the future. Classic, old school, rivet stomping gold! Rating: 10
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Artist: THE SAND (@)
Title: The Memory Of Dead Romances
Format: CD
Label: Self Produced
Born as a band in 1994 without a specific identity and without a name, the Sand shortly became the personal project of Umberto Marconi who decided to exorcise his own ghosts producing his own music. Even if their city is in Italy the symbol of summer days passed at the beach with children playing all over, Rimini didn't prevent the manifestation of Umberto's dark soul. The CDr titled THE MEMORY OF DEAD ROMANCES contains fifteen songs deeply influenced by 80s' new wave and early goth music. The main references are Sisters Of Mercy, Joy Division (there's also their version of "Transmission") and the early Italian wave of bands like Diaframma or Litfiba. Even if listening to this demo some naivety is evident, the intentions seem to be pure and full of real passion. Unfortunately the recording and the arrangements need additional work to give to the band a personal identity without being an incarnation of their musical heroes. Good intentions and some good ideas are the right beginning and half of the work is done. Check some mp3 at his website...
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Artist: DAYS OF FATE (@)
Title: Home Made Cake Of The Day
Format: CD
Label: EFA


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After some years since their debut album "Gates" (it has been released ufficially in 1996 and reprinted and world wide available since 1998) the Days Of Fate are coming back with an even more convincing album titled HOME MADE CAKE OF THE DAY. The new eleven tracks (plus the hidden one) show a band that is aware of his potential and knows how to use it. In fact tracks like "Nervous Times" (released the last years also as a single), the following "Open Sky" and generally each one have got something attractive that is able to catch immediately the attention of a occasional listener. Vocals and arrangements are the highlights of these tracks and for sure each of you will notice a melody or a tune that are able to please you. The album contains potential synth pop dance hits but it's restrictive to file it under a specific genre as good songs are simply good songs. The freshness and the melody of HOME MADE CAKE OF THE DAY for sure will astonish you and even if you aren't synthpop lovers you'll love Days Of Fate tunes and maybe you'll turn off that crap that radio stations force you to listen! Do yourself a favour and check this out, you won't be disappointed. P.s. If you have got the money to get only one CD this month and you are thinking about getting the new T.O.Y. album, check this one before and maybe you'll revise your shop list... You can wait one more month to get your copy of "White Lights".
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Artist: MANES
Title: Vilosophe
Format: CD
Label: Code666
Distributor: Audioglobe
Times change and people change. From 1993 to '99, Manes were a cult duo playing "true Norwegian black metal", and released three demos and an album, "Under ein blodraud maane". Now they have an extended line-up featuring Asgeir Hatlen and Tommy Sebastian (vocals), Eivind Fjoseide (guitars), Rune Hoemsnes (analogue drums), Torstein Parelius (bass, lyrics), and Tor-Helge Skei (guitars, electronics, programming, sequencing); somebody has described their new path as a jam between Katatonia, Radiohead and Aphex Twin. I really don't know about Katatonia, but there's definitely a lot of Radiohead-sounding ("Kid A"/"Amnesiac") spleen-rock, some drum'n'bass here and there and, all in all, a well-crafted mix of melancholic "wave", some psychedelia, electronic arrangements and heavier music (not strictly "metal", though). The sound is rich and multi-layered, and luckily the band tends to avoid the tacky "heavy guitars + electronic beats" formula which has been infesting the underground for years. The soundwriting is almost always pretty remarkable, indeed: listen to the tour-de-force of "Diving with your hands bound [nearly flying]" for example, which never loses ground in its 10'+ length. I just don't like some faster, more energetic tracks like "Death of the genuine" (which had appeared as "Redeemer" on the "Better dead than alive sampler") where the drum'n'bass + metal mix seems to prevail a bit. Manes are now a credible dark rock band which is obviously putting a lot of effort into writing good and someway original tunes. Certainly better than most gothic bands around today. Nice-looking layout too.
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Artist: DISMAL
Title: Rubino Liquido - three scarlet drops…
Format: CD
Label: DreamCell 11/Code666
Distributor: Audioglobe
Whew... I'm having a hard time reviewing this. Dismal are an Italian symphonic goth-metal trio formed by Bradac (keyboards, synths, piano, programming and rhythm guitar), Afelio (voices of howl, dismallian guitar - sic!) and Ae (female vocals), and highly acclaimed for their previous releases on Naumana, Pagan Moon and Beyond...prod, which got raving reviews all around. So let's immediately say this: if you like this genre, you'll probably want to buy "Rubino Liquido" and will find it a moving masterpiece of dark art. The musicianship and production is obviously hyper-professional and crystal-clear. Songs are complex and crafted, etc. But. I can't avoid writing it: I hate this kind of metal - it sums up any negative aspect I find in heavy metal music, and "professional"/technical HM in particular. I mean, Dismal play very well and all, they're accompanied by an orchestra, etc., but everything sounds totally cold to me. Clean male vocals and high, ethereal female ones become tedious after a while and the "aggressive" parts just don't balance them. The drum machine sound is annoying, totally static and artificial in its slow patterns; one craves for human rhythms after minute 1. As for writing complex suites... the various movements often sound very disjointed to my ear, like patchworks. Using the artwork as a methaphore: Dismal provide fascinating images (taken from Kubrik's "Eyes wide shut"), but ruin them with a banal logo. I don't know... I'm a sucker for extreme metal, doom and orchestral music, but this just doesn't work for me.
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