Music Reviews



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Artist: KMFDM
Title: Sturm & Drang Tour 2002
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe


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After many years of "spit in your face" music KMFDM finally release their first live album. Recorded during their last tour STURM & DRANG bring us highlights of four different gigs they had during this US tour. The tracks have been selected directly by Sascha K. and they can make you feel the real power of the band's sound. Helped out by Raymond Watts of Pig the live line up is formed by six men and a girl: quite a big crew which is able to create an high impact on the audience. The thirteen tracks obviously cover a range of all their release with the preference of the last album "Attack" ("Attack/Reload", "Boots", "Yohoho" and "Sturm & Drang" are from that album) and for fifty seven minutes you'll be excited by driving guitar sounds, distorted rants and tons of power. Industrial, rock and metal are all blended together to create a tornado. This CD is not only for fans... P.s. Strange to notice that Sacha's voice live reminds me Foetus/Clint Ruin.
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Artist: Stromkern
Title: Re-Align
Format: CD EP
Label: WTII Records


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The first stand alone EP and second single from the highly acclaimed Armageddon album. Featuring remixes from Seabound, Haujobb, and cut.rate.box, Stromkern once again takes things to a higher level. This North American only EP contains 7 club friendly tracks and their own take on the Gang of Four's track "Anthrax". The mastermind behind this elaborate project is the classically trained Ned Kirby (vocals and programming). Ned's early experimentation with a 4 track and a sampler has laid the foundation for what Stromkern has become today. In its current form Ned has enlisted the help of long time friend and fellow musician Kelly Shafer (programming) to continue the bands progression. Stromkern is a band that has their own style of EBM and Ned's vocal style is quite unique in itself. He has a very distinct voice and singing style which combines smoothness with the strength of industrial. This EP has got some great club mixes by some great and rapidly rising EBM artists. The thump and pump of Stromkern's sound is heavily addictive in itself. When combined with the talents of other great artists you get one awesome EP/single. However, to be honest I do not like what cut.rate.box did to the vocals on part of their mix. It seems to detract from Stromkern's addictive pumping sound. The Seabound mix emphasizes the band's sound and brings it even more to life instead. There is a lot to be said for interpretation though. You will find quite a bit of varied musical interpretations in the mixes here like the heavier guitar additives on "Perfect Sunrise" which takes it much further into a rock-n-roll zone instead of the usual EBM/Industrial arena. Reminds me of when even Skinny Puppy went rock for awhile. It also shows that this type of music can rock just as hard if not harder than typical rock-n-roll as well. The remix of "Armegeddon" is quite bizarre and nearly indescribable. Bleeps, blips, pipes and factory sounds mix in atmospheric tonality on this one. The Echo Virus remix is a far cry from the original as well and has quite a bit of a Synthpop feel to it and some twistd piano sound structures. It is not without Stromkern's natural aggression and angst though and the pump of the beats remain with additives. "No Release" is a track I'm not familiar with but you can totally hear Haujobb all over this one and it has a sort of Techno-House overtone with a bleepy body and some almost Trance elements as well as some 'noise' samples - a bizarre mix for sure. Next is "Terrorist". The beats here, while remaining rather Industrial-ish, have a 'beat box' element to their form. I never realized how Ned practically 'raps' much of his lyrics but in his own bizarre style so that it almost doesn't sound like rap but this track makes it a bit more evident. This track, while containing mostly hard beats and noisey samples also has a bit of metal guitar and creates an odd assortment of chaos. Finally is the Gang of Four cover "Anthrax". Combining heavy synths with rock rhythms Stromkern proves again that they are not just a synth band but that they can totally rock too.
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Artist: TVMULUS SERAPHIM (@)
Title: Centenarians' Divine Lvnacy
Format: CD
Label: Beyond Prod. (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution


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Tvmvlvs Seraphim is an Italian band which explores the realm of classic dark ambient creating five long suites based on echoed sounds and sick atmospheres (only "Alamvth" has got a medieval overture). Recorded between 2000 and 2002 the album is really cryptic and even if the band didn't too many efforts about the sounds' production (the tracks sound as one long piece) it reminds me of early Lustmord's recordings. The music isn't the only cryptic thing, also the project is permeated by a veil of mistery as apart the tracks' titles the listener hasn't got any information about the band. Into the inner sleeve there's only a J. Conrad's extract and the graphic show pictures of a clock tower, a darkened room and some buildings: a particular choice that differences the band from similar ones giving to CENTENARIANS' DIVINE LUNACY a touch of urban claustrophobia. If I should give them a vote, it would be a six out of ten because in my opinion when you decide to deal with these kind of atmpospheres the sound has got to be more incisive, powerful and definite.
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Artist: Diverje
Title: 2:40am
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: DSBP


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This is a double disc set of Diverje remixes by various industrial musicians and friends of DSBP label founder Tommy-T. There are many great bands featurd on this collection such as Assemblage 23, SMP, Codec, Testube, Ceoxime (Headache), Symbiont, Monstrum Sepsis, Xyn, and many others. I've always loved remixes as it give the listener a chance to hear songs with slight modifications and interpretations by other artists in the field. It also gives musicians in the industry an excellent opportunity to collaborate with each other as well as sample and tweak each other's works. About the only negative thing I have to say about this is that there are not enough different songs from the Diverje music catalogue featured. There are a few mixes mostly of "On Skin", "Regret", "Stimulate", and "Reject" as well as a few other tracks. There is also a Devo cover on disc two and a brand new track called "Shivering Skies" which will also be featured on the new Electro Age compilation produced by our own site in collaboration with Latex Records when it comes out. For anyone into Industrial, EBM, Drum-n-Bass, or similar music styles with a dark flavor, fans of Diverje or DSBP records, or anyone into experimental electronic music - this collection is well worth the price. Priced at the value of a single CD it's a steal! It's really hard to pick favorites on this album and it's definitely going into the changer in my car when this review is completed. Unfortunately to give a breakdown of each and every track would take way too much space and time so I'll try to hit some highlights. Personally I love the first track remixed by Assemblage 23 as I am a big Assemblage fan but I also love how Tom Shear smoothed out Diverje's usually big-bodied 'static' sound to give it more of a modern EBM texture. I also love how Liar's Rosebush played off the Drum-n-Bass beats of "Regret". The fifth track mixed by Count To Infinity has a very clean almost techno-trance feel to it. I also really like Andrea Bellucci's remix of "On Skin" as it tends to highlight various aspects of the original track, namely the vocals, in such a way as to bring forth that which was blended. It also has some great pumpin' club EBM beats and other extras thrown into the mix. The SMP vs. Static Engine version of "Reject" is some wild shit. Then there is the Spellcaster mix of "On Skin". Throbbing, pulsating, with some great ambient-trance elements. I've always loved Testube but I've actually only been exposed to their music and not their mixes of others. I love what they did with "Put The Flesh In". They really made it their own. The Headache mix of "Stimulate" is very interesting as well. Headache has some weird way of manipulating bass rhythms and twisting the original track. DJ Riot takes "Damaged" and twists it with some rapid-fire Drum-n-Bass beats while distorting the rest of the track into oblivion. This track is damaged for sure! Love it. Babel-17 takes "Reject" into the outer limits and finally the last track is some wacked out beat tracks - not sure what to make of it. Okay I tried not to list all of them but it's hard as there are so many great, interesting, unique tracks on each disc. Let's go to disc two. We begin with a mix by another of my favorite bands, Symbiont. I don't remember the original but this mix includes some George W. Bush samples regarding the terrorist attacks on America. I love the how Symbiont edited much of the overall sound to sound like a Symbiont song with Tommy-T on vocals. Monstrum Sepsis utilize some twisty buzzing synth waveforms on their mix of "Reject". It's like Industrial, Noise, and Acid House colliding with a heavy crunch. Haven't previously heard of ML but after hearing their bizarre subterranean remix of "Regret" I'm curious to hear more from them. The Moon Rock version of "Retaliate" is a quick-paced EBM track some clean rhythms and kickin' beats. Another "On Skin" remix but no fear - it's by Xyn and it's so different from the original it sounds like something that could have come from The Orb or Fused with it's heavy Trance stylings. I specifically like the vocal sample of the title which waves about like resonating metallic machinery. We V.2 take "Stimulate" and break it down to it's bassest elements and then transform it Winterkalte style - Power Noise From Hell that twists and turns like an Acid House rhythm. Liar's Rosebush completely transform "Reject" into a early Kraftwerkian affair. This is amazing stuff! Imagine if Kraftwerk were into Noise and had harsh industrial vocals instead. Simulator's version of "Retaliate" begins with some rather ethereal tonality with the beats in the background. The new beats are brought in to create a rockin' dance EBM rhythm. We can't overlook the next track either as everyone loves DEVO! I never thought I'd hear Diverje doing Devo but here it is. I will say it's not the best track on the disc but it is interesting to hear Devo done like this. The next remix of "Reject" is another Power Noise track with some really odd and body rockin' rhythms. Da Riot Squad ad a bit of hip-hop to Diverje's "Damaged". N.N.M do a funky mix of "Stimulate" - only gripe is the vocals didn't meld as well on this as they could have. "In My Shell" is a slower track for Diverje. The final mix of "Damaged" us heavy on the Noise and throbs mightily. Lastly is "Shivering Skies" a brand new track by Diverje which is a heavy departure from previous works. It is more of an ambient instrumental than anything else but has some disturbingly dark and even eerie tonalities to it. Okay well I nearly covered them all anyway I guess. There are lots of great new and experimental mixes on this release that even if you didn't like Diverje much before it would be worth giving it a listen as each remixer put lots of thier own flavor into each and every track so it's almost like a compilation CD in some ways.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: DJ Program.01
Format: CD
Label: The Fossil Dungeon


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DJ Program.01 is a limited edition CDR presentation specifically geared towards club promotion. Primarily marketed towards DJs and radio programs, this release is also available, in very limited quantity, to the public. This CDR features two club edition tracks from The Soil Bleeds Black, "Mirror of the Middle Ages" LP, mixing ancient elements with the modern. The release also features the new Butterfly Messiah club track, "It's Time," as well as the acclaimed track "Serpentine" from their "Priestess" CD. In closing, this CDR also features the remarkable track "Nightingale" from Mephisto Walz, certain to gather 'old schoolers' to the dancefloor. The first track by The Soil Bleeds Black contains digital electronic rhythms and drum machine for percussion combined with ethereal overtones and vocals, medieval flute, and deep bass. Vocally it is female vocals in a classical, nearly madrigal, style. Musically it's very mixed and not easy to pin down but basically it's very danceable with a slight stomp and Delerium-like touches to it. A new form of Darkwave! It combines modern electronic dance textures with medieval instrumentation and vocals. "Palastinalied" follows a similar music structural format except that guitar takes part of the lead with medieveal flute and the percussive beats are a bit heavier. The vocals are male and have more of a bawdy sound. The vocals are in another language but I am unsure which. The drum rhythms have a slight carribean texture to them. The flute takes on a bit more of a Middle-Eastern feel. These two tracks alone are enough to peak interest in The Soil Bleeds Black. Both tracks can be found in their original version on the Mirror of the Middle Ages 12". Butterfly Messiah begins with "Serpentine" which I've heard from their Priestess album except that it has been remixed for this release adding extra effects to the vocals and a bit more body and clamour to the heavy percussive industrial rhythms. Shannon's voice is smooth yet cuts like a knife. The lead vocals are very in-your-face sharp while the backing vocals are very soft and ethereal. A band that has already created a rather intense mixture of Ethereal, Darkwave, and Industrial this track hits harder than anything before. The next track "It's Time" actually picks up the pace even further with it's strong EBM influence. This is the most technological I've heard Butterfly Messiah sound as this new (previously unreleased) track drives home their previously well thought out sound bringing it up several notches to be more befitting for club airplay. The EBM textures and trance-like soundscapes are on the line with many of the bands you've all heard come out of labels like Metropolis Records. With this one track alone Butterfly Messiah have moved themselves to a new level and I think if they continue releasing similar pieces they will see the returns they've already earned and truly deserve from a wider audience. I anxiously look forward to more on this level from them in the future! The last track is by Mephisto Walz, a band already hailed in Gothic/Darkwave circles. This track has a nearly Cocteau Twins gone darker sound to it as well as a bit of shoegazer rock influence. A bit different than what I've previously heard from Mephisto Walz although I'm not quite sure exactly what they are doing on this compilation except for their well-known name as the track is not very 'club oriented' in my mind. However, I do think this will have strong appeal to old Cocteau and maybe even Bauhaus fans more than anything as there is a little bit of Love & Rockets rock style in it too. Overall I was very pleasantly surprised by this release and very excited to hear the new Butterfly Messiah track bumped up into EBM and remixed. The Soil Bleeds Black tracks are strongly appealing as well and will likely confuse many with their unique combination of styles. They are extremely original and enjoyable. The least favorite, by surprise, is the one band I was the most anxious to hear what new items they were producing, Mephisto Walz.
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