Music Reviews



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Artist: Lockweld
Title: Industrial Requiem
Format: CD
Label: Dragon Flight Recordings (@)
Somewhere along the lines of a record where dark meets noise, but not in the traditional dark industrial key, instead more like in the jap-noise key played on the darker side, with not as much piercing merciless distorted buzz and fuzz of Merzbow or Masonna but with the same intensity and a bloodier soul: that's what you can expect from Lockweld's "Industrial Requiem" CD. Banging and hammering on metals and scraps, sawing, flexing, screaming, burning and tweaking. You should try to check them out live, looks like their shows are a blast. The duo is formed by husband and wife, based in Ohio, and you can also listen to their power-noise at mp3.com/lockweld or check out their very nice-looking website and find out about their impressive discography, sporting a number of 7", CD, and compilation releases. Sounds like these two have been doing much more than usual in their bedroom, I'm just worried about their neighbors.
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Artist: Veiled Allusions (@)
Title: Rosenkranz
Format: CD
Label: Dragon Flight Recordings (@)
One of the most active members of the darker scenes is Karsten Hamre of Penitent and Arcane Art. This ever prolific artist has been involved in a visual arts, music, poetry and so on and his latest project is inspired by Bernt Edvard Egeland's novella film "Rosenkranz" and might be one of the darkest he's accountable for. Incestuous and obsessive industrialized rhythmical patterns explored with the thought-out approach of a minimalist and the devoted solemnity of a ritualizer. The hellish atmospheres make for no happy ride and definitely take away the illusion of a happy ending right away. Not much place of change is left either, so prepare for long (maybe even too long sometimes) immersions into worlds made of slow evolution of simple but most daring and haunting atmospheres. Slowed down chain-factory and other machinery sounds create repetitive textures that make up for both sound and beat so don't expect any melodic lines or cheering acoustic instruments either. In other words be prepared to dive into this head first, expect the worse and don't say we haven't warned you. Only 4 tracks but really really long ones.
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Artist: Helter Incendo + Hollowing + When Joy Becomes Saddness
Title: The Golden Age of Darkness II
Format: CD
Label: Dragon Flight Recordings (@)
This is a three way split CD between newcomer Helter Incendo (compared to Sephiroth, In Slaughter Natives, Protagonist), Hollowing (Rectrix records founder's project, also present on the recently reviewed three-way split CD "The Obsolete View") and When Joy Becomes Saddness (spelled that way on the CD so I guess that's the name of the band). The opener is about as diabolic and satanic as it gets, with its down-pitched backwards voices and sounds, breaths and whispers, dark-industrial mayhem, gloomy atmospheres and what not, a perfect soundtrack for a Polanski horror film. Hollowing is more into long suites of sinister sounds and minimal hypnotic beats, with occasional operatic vocals or other spoken/whispered material, continuous and cycling bursts of chaotic audio, a one-time-appearance classical guitar and other obscure material in theme with the title and the mood of this CD. The band with the unusual spelling (that already counts releases on Somnambulant Corpse, 26th Circle and Force of Nature) keeps the door to dark land wide open and draws out the path downwards with made-in-inferno murky and lumber material composed of windy analog synth knob-tweaking, sporadic distortions, prolix somber soundscapes with explicitly recited speeches about profane topics that would feel at home in Dante's. 7 tracks of dark industrial ready to go.
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Artist: LEGENDARY PINK DOTS
Title: All the King’s Horses
Format: CD
Label: Big Blue
Distributor: Audioglobe
The Pink Dots have been haunting our ears and brains for decades and they still do... Lyricist and vocalist Edward Ka-spel and keyboard-player Silverman have been joined by Dutch musicians on guitars, violins, sax and other wind instruments; all together they lead us down the dark visions that we have learnt to cherish, coming as they do from the Dots. Other bands wouldn’t get away with it, would be written off as self-indulgent. In fact, repetition over the years doesn’t lessen the impact at all, if anything it makes the picture ever richer with details. It is good that the this new Cd, published by a Polish label, has all the lyrics in the booklet. Most of the songs are ballads full of love cherished or remembered in the midst of ruin and apocalypse. Black humour has always been the Dots trademark: fancy opening a Cd with the words of love sent by a passenger on a crashing plane to a woman who is probably sleeping with her lover! Ka-spel may be the poet of day-to-day desperation, but he is painting the bleakness awaiting us with such an unusual and clear-eyed palette that we feel we have gained knowledge and not just shared in another queue to Doomsday.Musically, there haven’t been sharp revolutions over the years. The Dots are not the kind of bands who feel the need for a fashionable brush-up. You have to like Edward’s unique voice, sad, plaintive and warm; the use of keyboards as well as the arrangements will sound to someone eerily outdated, despite Raymond Steeg’s sound wizardry (far from brash and assertive). The Dots pursue a line of composition which has woven in a very personal way New wave, Progressive, complex songwriting: they have followed their own path in such a degree that they are virtually in their own field. If I have some reservations, they have to do with the tracks where the sax comes in (doesn’t do too much for me, I am afraid), or the partly improvised "A Bargain at Half a Price", a jazz-rock-prog piece. But as long as Ka-spel sings with his mellow voice disturbing fancy-tales such as "Lisa Goes Surfing", I for one don’t care if there is a sax too much. I have always believed that the Dots’ lyrics are on a par with the best poems around. They are steeped in fantasy and shot through with love and compassion, laughter and tears. And they are not afraid to point their finger at the biggest delusion of humankind: Power and powergames. There is also an uncomprising politics at the heart of it all, from a band that virtually chose exile rather than staying on in Thatcherite Britain. And the arrogant voice of the day-to-day imperialist (the Western tourist) can be heard in "It’s the real thing": "I’m a tourist at the poorest place on Earth. I’ve got a straw hat, palm tree shirt. Throw a cent, they’ll lick you – bring you Monkey-on-a-Stick.... Deep down they know they are here to serve the Sun King. Hear me hum God Save the Queen’". Amen.
Apr 21 2003
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Artist: Front 242
Title: Pulse
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Ok, I realize how psyched up the scene is about this CD coming out, since it is the first F242 in over a decade (not counting "ReBoot" the live CD). But also realize some changes within the group, which may leave some of the hardcore fans who thought ReBoot" was just a phase a little disappointed. Gone are the hard rhythms of "Tyranny For You" and the industrial danciness of earlier work, replaced now with a much more technofied edge, loaded to the brims with MIDI in and erratic patterns. This CD is very... ... ... ... .unique... ... .unpredictable... .and is up to the hype that this is a CD that will keep others in the electronic scene scrambling to keep up. You have to remember most of this band’s peers are bands they inspired thoroughly, so not too many people can give F242 a run for their money outside of Frontline Assembly. Gone also are the most of the vocals of earlier work, this time relying much more on just base structure than anthem tracks. Also it seems as if half the CD is one track with some sharp turns and some time shifts, to the point where you wonder how track 1, "SEQ666" suddenly became track 5 "Beyond The Scale Of Comprehension". After that comes, ummmmmmmmmm "Song", where Jean Luc DeMeyer’s vocals pop in, and the olden industrial rhythms (yeah!!!!! Rivet stomp time!) in the chorus. Good old school F242 shining through! Then comes the slow track, "One", with it’s plecking drum line and subtle backdrop of multiple soundlayers, all over Jean Luc DeMeyer’s softened vocals, ala C-Tec’s "Darker". Still seems like he has that same emotional juice left from that project, which I’m anxious to see if it’s in Gaiden and MorF. "Matrix" pops into the foray with it’s laid back grooves, and simplistic analog synth lines all layered over top of vocals and subdued, dubbed layers of sound. I absolutely love the faded drum line on this one, it kind of reminds me of a tap dance rhythm!And just when you think you got the last track on here, and the hardened 242 fans start to sob... ... ... .. welcome to hidden track heaven!!!! It’s simply hidden track after hidden track of whole complete, thought out songs, practically enough for most labels to shove onto a second CD and charge more. All in all, over 20 tracks, and too many strong ones to name here in detail since I’ve blabbed enough... ... .. So, all in all, if you’re looking for rivet stomping gold like the old days, may wanna stick to your older stuff and C-Tec. But, all generic bands that have been passing themselves off as EBM, be prepared to be like sickle before the grain! This CD is an odd combo of that and thick-ended techno, with a hint here and there of industrial, but overall done with a severe addiction factor and a danceable factor that may just leave many newer so called EBM bands (and Future Pop bands that pass themselves off as such) either tossing out their instruments in surrender or starting to upgrade their synth and programming skills. The masters are back and the sound is like a million mile totem pole looking down on all others in electronic with a loud fuck you’! Rating: 10. Very highly recommended.
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