Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 74 x 13
Format: CD
Label: DTA records (@)
An excellent dark ambient sampler - as the title suggests, 13 projects for 74' of bleak atmospheres. I can honestly say I liked every single track, which is rare for a compilation; moreover, each one has a sound of its own, thus you can sink deep in the listening flux without being bored at the same time. Styles vary from cosmic (Emulsion, similar to some Runes Order stuff) to quasi-rhythmic (15 degress below 0) to pure isolationism (Narc); Lux Mammoth have an interesting played approach, with droning riffs of bass, guitar and possibly some electronics - on the other side of the spectrum, Nihil Est Excellence only uses simple sine waves. Both Wilt and Chaos as Shelter prove to be brilliant, as always; the former with the clankings and drones of "Metal rimming the low ridge", the latter with "Ultima Thule", merging hypnotic metallic sounds with a melancholic accordeon drone. Definitely two of the best names in the field! Other remarkable tracks are offered by Bloodflowers (with buried vocals becoming scary noises, or vice versa) and Manherringbone (crushing ambiences à la Bastard Noise, but with a soothing melody underneath). Layout is nice, too, with b/w photos of industrial buildings by David Balogh.
Artist: Virgin Black (@)
Title: Sombre Romantic
Format: CD
Label: The End
Virgin Black"Sombre Romantic"The End RecordsThis is one pure unique beautiful album by Australia's band, Virgin Black. Their music is goth/metal mixed with classical, gregorian chant, choir and opera. So brilliant, it's also sad, a feeling of sorrow and death. The cello that's playing on some of the tracks brings out the sadness and darkening gloom. There's an industrial track called "Walk Without Limbs" that's great for a club play. Also included a second cd of the band's three song ep "Trance." "Sombre Romantic" is an outstand-ing incredible album to get your hands on, only if you're an goth and metal fan.
Artist: VNV NATION
Title: FUTUREPERFECT
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
VNV Nation"FuturePerfect"Metropolis RecordsPrepare yourself for the ultimate electronic synth-pop industrial ebm dance album by UK's own, VNV Nation, which stands for Victory Not Vengeance. Ronan and crew really hypes things up with powerful synths and electro beats that will make you bounce with such songs as "Epicentre", "Genesis", "Electronaut" and "Fearless". The band slows things down with a mid-tempo on "Holding On", and "Carbon". Once you pop this cd in your player, you'll never want to stop playing it.
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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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