Music Reviews



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Artist: SHIVA IN EXILE
Title: Ethnic
Format: CD
Label: Trostlos (@)
Shiva In Exile is the solo project of Stefan Hertrich, vocalist of the German bands Darkseed and Betray my Secrets and ETHNIC is his first album under this monicker. ETHNIC contains fourteen suites of atmospheric dark gothic music deeply influenced by middle Eastern melodies and contains also Arab, Indian, Malaysian, native Canadian and Thai vocals. The result is for sure particular as the ambient ethnic sounds are in contrast with the goth influences. The result is like a soundtrack of a National Geographic documentary: do you know that kind of music they play when they show landscapes like the Peruvian pyramids or other mystic places of the middle East? Stefan Hertrich to get this effect used, along with synth, percussive instruments, various electronic sound effects, loops and female/male vocals from all over the world, including Nepalese shaman percussion recorded by the German author Dr. Phil Christian Raetsch who lived in the Rain forest for many years and regularily visits exotic countries. In my opinion this kind of sounds are functional if associated with images or movies but it's also true that you can prepare yourself a place where listening to this record with the right attitude. If you don't like exotic ethnic music don't approach yourself to this CD, but if you are curious enough here you can find particular sounds and atmopheres. For my tastes there are too many exotic chants / vocals but, you know...
Jul 25 2003
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Artist: HOCICO
Title: Disidencia Inquebrantable
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Out Of Line
Distributor: Audioglobe


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After ten years of activity and five album (without counting the live CD, the "El Dia Del La Ira" reissue and the previous MCD "Untold Blasphemies), Hocico are slowly refining their sound. Keeping their distinctive sound and themes, the duo is opting for a reduction of distortion and for a diversification of the "in your face" formula. The five tracks of this new MCD take inspiration from the old and experimented Hocico formula but including more ambient layers along the usual bleeps and distorted rhythms. In this way the tracks sound fresher than before but they keep the distinctive sound of the band thanks to the angry vocals and to their imagery of death and desolation. As on their latest releases the two cousins use both their mother language along with English and if on some tracks, like on "Grito De Las Entranas", they use few sounds (sometimes you can hear only the bass line along with the vocals and the distorted drums) on "Ruptura" or on "Silent Wrath" they use multi layered structures which help diversificating their sound. Even if Hocico have reached a certain position in the e.b.m. industrial scene, they are still looking for new solutions and sounds and this is good.
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Artist: Velvet Acid Christ
Title: Hex Angel (Utopia/Distopia)
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records/Dependant Records
Distributor: Metropolis Records/Dependant Records
Being one of my favorite industrial bands, and perhaps one of the last bastions of real industrial, this band has yet to ever disappoint. I’ve been a fan of the group since "Church Of Acid" came out, and in many ways the sound just gets better. You may have heard that Disease Factory, the head of the group, recently kicked all drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc. in exchange for raw food diets, exercising, and all that good stuff (I ended up doing the same thing years back, minus the raw food diet and getting rid of alcohol completely, which is rare as is around here. All the drugs and all that get boring as hell and are a total waste, you know). You’d think the man has dropped out, mellowed out, and calmed down, right? Well, not true at all, of course, as this man has industrial carved in his bones! The anger is still very much there, though done more darkly and slowly as opposed to past VAC works. Where "Fun With Knives" and "Twisted Thought Generator" were sheer sonic assaults laden with some of the most violent techno overtones on record (as well as Fun With Knives being in my top 20 all time CDs, and one of the most violent CDs ever made), this is more like VAC’s version of "Last Rights" (the Skinny Puppy CD), mixed with Frontline Assembly’s "Caustic Grip". The industrial feel, esp. in the drumming are very much there, like you’re attending one of those shows from when industrial first started, when it was raw, exciting and new. And no more samples where you can guess where they are from, this is laden totally with a lot more obscure samples this time around. Yet another masterpiece in the career of one of industrial’s true rising stars, and someone for the newbies to look up to. Rating: 10
Artist: Dynamic Masters
Title: Decade
Format: CD
Label: Intrapop
Distributor: Intrapop
First of all, not many bands out there stop to recognize fans and do autographs and such. But his band actually went out of their way to send me an autographed picture of the group, so I thank all of the members of the band for the kindness! Anywho, the band’s sound is your basic, tried and true synthpop along the lines of Donovan Tate’s work and in ways like Anything Box’s style of DIY synth work. The only weak spot I could find in the Cd was the male vocals. They have more than enough conviction, but he does need to work on the notes a little bit and gain a little more range in his voice. I think it will come around by the time the next CD comes out. Overall, if you’re into old school synthpop and none of the technofied synthpop that’s out there nowadays, then this may well be your pot of gold. Rating: 9.
Jul 21 2003
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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Electricity 2
Format: CD
Label: Ninthwave Records (@)
I was kinda thrilled when I received the new Ninthwave compilation of the Electricity serie, you know, the opening track is a new Heaven 17's one which is coming from their new album "Before And After", which will be released by Ninthwave (it's a great thing Dave, indeed!). "Hands Up To Heaven" (this is the title of that track) is an upbeat dancey one with a funky guitar and a punching bass. The vocals are cool as usual and the whole track is a perfect radio single and I hope it will be one of the next hit single all around the globe! This second volume of Electricity comes with classic synthpop acts such as Moulin Noir, Cosmicity, Soviet along with a bunch of Ninthwave / Cohaagen bans like Fr/Action, Nukleon, Empire State Human, Spray, Macondo, Masq, Symbion Project, Xero G and also with Freezepop, Electro Squad, Exhibition, Passion Planet, Astromill, White Town and Turd Ferguson. The whole compilation is kinda balanced, bringing to synthpop fans classic electro pop and futuristic pop with some ambient influence (like on the Freezepop song remixed by Empire State Human, where the first part recalled me the first Orb stuff). If you think that only the Moulin Noir track has been released, you'll release the value of this CD which brings you the best of modern synthpop and to be honest, can you wait to listen to a new Heaven 17 song?
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