Music Reviews



Artist: The Mythics
Title: lamentaVampira
Format: CD
I may not be a vampire but The Mythics "lamentaVampira" make me want to sup freely of the juice flowing through their music. Beautiful and just slightly sad new wave influenced goth rock is the order of the day and it's got just the right flavor to make me nostalgic even though it's not an old CD. You see there are moments when 80s new wave style flares through and hits me just right. But then, there are also the moments when you can almost hear soft alternative filtered through a goth sieve. And also to consider are the just straight electronically infused moments of pure goth pop. The music is written with such strong yet simple songwriting sensibilities that it's easy to get caught up in the artists' love of what they're doing. Pop isn't my thing, but I love the pop The Mythics do, pretty and a little shadowy and boasting multiple influences fused into a luscious whole. Catchy, pretty and a tad melancholy, The Mythics are a shining example of the pop side of the goth world.
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Artist: NIMH/NEFELHEIM (@)
Title: Whispers from the Ashes
Format: CD
Label: Amplexus (@)
Distributor: Soleilmoon (USA)
Rated: *****
Inspired by the Inquisition and witch-burning periods, "Whispers from the ashes" is a great collaborative effort by Roman artists Giuseppe Verticchio (Nimh) and Nefelheim. After a private cdr edition, the work is luckily made available by the ever active Amplexus, which has also re-released Nimh's "The Impossible Days" (see review). "Whispers..." is an inspired, flawless work which combines the best features of Cold Meat Industry-inspired dark ambient and a bit of acoustic folk, managing to avoid the n.1 problem with this genre, i.e. sounding cheesy and cliché. From the very beginning of the solemn, gregorian chant-driven "Last hours of the heretic", the listener is plunged into an atmosphere which is at the same time gloomy and epic, depressing and soothing - a quality which is common not only to good dark ambient, but also to the best black and doom metal, where Nefelheim's roots probably lie. "Age of stakes / Crying bard" rises into a menacing melody and heavy mechanical percussions, before dissolving into dripping rain and a melancholic guitar arpeggio. "Sounds from the Ossuary" is utter bass-heavy droning darkness, reminding of Nimh's solo "Frozen", but a funeral melody emerges from the final layer of distortion. "Malleus Maleficarum" goes back to the initial Raison d'Être-sounding fusion of gregorian chants, swirling drones and electronic throbs. "Peaceless Rest" closes the album with more gentle guitar picking and a thunderous underlying ambience. A very successful and cohesive work from start to end, which could reconcile many to the CMI/Northern wave of dark ambient, definitely not that thrilling over the last few years.
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anymore
Artist: INCANDESCENCE (@)
Title: Chapter One: The Second Phase. Songs and remixes
Format: CD
Label: Raw Nerve Promotions
Rated: *****
Incandescence is the solo project of UK artist Paul, former member of extreme metal/hardcore bands Tangaroa, Narcosis and Canvas, and half of the dark ambient outfit Eye of Phetkanha. This release is a collection of sorts of early material, meant as an opener for the first proper release, "Chapter Two, The Replacement Phase", which by the way is already out and will be reviewed anytime soon. Hum, I don't know if putting all the early works in this cd was a good idea. I suppose this could be a logical documentation for the artist, but it's not a particularly captivating experience for the listener. Incandescence play (here, at least) a mix of looped electronica, sparse rhythms and droning ambiences, but the final result is too static (in a negative sense) to engage me. The main problem is that the more promising tracks - the ambient ones - are just based on looped sounds, without much variations, and the loops themselves are not that strong to stand on their own for 10+ minutes. I craved for some change that never came. "Walking the corridors in the building that houses the final obstacle in life" is probably the best track here, though. The pieces that mix rhythmic parts and minimal electronics are equally unresolved: the opening "Day one, the wanderer returns", for example, has some interesting looped live drumming, but the accompanying electronics are quite anonymous. Oddly enough, the best conducted song is probably the dub remix of The Gathering's "These good people". We'll see how this project has, or hasn't, progressed with the more recent release.
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anymore
Artist: 3/4 Had Been Eliminated
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Bowindo
Distributor: Fringes
Rated: *****
3/4 HadBeenEliminated is a trio formed by Stefano Pilia (a solo cd on Last Visible Dog), Claudio Rocchetti (two releases on Bar La Muerte - see archive - and S'Agita) and Valerio Tricoli (a cd on Bowindo, plus collaborations and productions with Dean Roberts etc.). Not sure about who plays what, but listed sources are "guitars, harmonium, double bass, percussion, glass harmonica, resonant pipes, objects, turntables, synthesizer, tapes, electronics, field recordings", with help from Antonio Albanese (percussion and glass harmonica) and Tony Arrabito (drums). I regret not having seen 3/4... in one of their recent tour dates, because they must be pretty explosive live. This eponymous cd has its better moments when the electroacoustic scrabblings, the gigantic harmonium drones and some serene, almost bucolic guitar strumming converge: tracks like "Getsemany Fields under impossible rain", "The soul of their suits" and "Bedrock" are nothing short of moving. Strangely enough, I always get the impression that this is a quiet cd - on the contrary, 3/4...'s intimism also has its psychic black holes, like the ominous, monumental drone of "My smallest ego" and the electronic hoarfrost of "Bench/Frozen". But the trio has a somehow more humane, "folk" approach to minimalism and microsounds - there's often a feel of open spaces here. Great stuff indeed, also because it doesn't fossilize on a pre-digested set of sounds, but rather dares to fuck around and sweat on them. Along with the Dielectric Minimalist All Stars (with whom they share at least a similar approach to playing/recording), this is one of the best experimental releases that I've come across recently. A new cd is due out on S'Agita, and Logoplasm are definitely another valid "spiritual comparison" to 3/4...'s romantic electroacoustics.
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Artist: DEATH BY VISITATION OF GOD (@)
Title: Bossasupernova
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Gloria Mundi Records
Rated: *****
About one year ago I already reviewed a demo MCD from this band. Respect that release this new BOSSASUPERNOVA see the band widen up their influences including to their early goth/punk sound also some echoes of Fugazi (on the opening "Slaves of their minds"), Alarm (on the semi ballad "Strangeways"), Play Dead (on "Am I my brother's keeper?"), Furyo / Uk Decay and Killing Joke (on "Person (or persons) unknown"). "Twitch" instead is really personal and it is a sort of acid voyage with Brazilian spoken word parts really intriguing. On the previous review I told that Death By Visitation Of God had good ideas and this new MCD (their first official release) prove that. These five tracks are well balanced, inspired and catchy. You can't ask for more! P.s. Even if I mentioned al those '80s bands, don't wait for a nostalgic goth combo with no ideas, as everything has been personalised by the band ;-)
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