Music Reviews



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Artist: ERNESTO DIAZ INFANTE + BOB MARSH
Title: Rags and Stones
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Ernesto Díaz-Infante at prepared guitar and Bob Marsh at violin and cello for 50' of extreme improvisation. Strings are plucked, beaten and caressed without any kind of structure, rhythm or progression. I could honestly say I've found this cd-r incredibly tedious. I guess it's a matter of gut-feeling, these sessions left me without any kind of emotion, suggested no image, and my general impression was that of a casual (in the negative sense of the word) string-plucking - probably appealing to the players but sterile to my ear. I hate to write this as I generally like improvisation and noise, but this is just what improvisation should avoid being - boring.
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Artist: ASP
Title: Der Schwarze Schmetterling, Teil II, :DUETT
Format: CD
Label: Richterskala/Trisol (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
I'm not really sure I got the name of the band and the title right, but oh well. ASP play a blend of electro, wave and rockish, radio-friendly music with great care for arrangement and details. No wonder they play live with an extended line-up with non-electronic instrumentation, since all tracks have distinct melodies and are arranged like "real" songs - thus, though rhythms are exclusively electronic, they skillfully avoid the classic feeling of monotonous repetition which plagues most electro acts. But the song structure itself seems to be based more on melody than on rhythm, and tracks like "Maybe" have those catchy pop lines that could guarantee proper airplay. Really not my cup of tea, but definitely better than most EBM stuff I've listened to over the past few months. Uh, comes in digipack with booklet (good layout).
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Artist: Lacuna Coil
Title: Unleashed Memories
Format: CD
Label: Century Media Records
I know this review may be a bit late,but most people in the ethereal genre may tend to overlook this great band for the reason it's on a label associated more with metal than ethereal, though it gave us great bands like The Gathering. After hearing this band's "To Myself I Turned" on MP3.com, this Italian band hooked me. Extrememly strong female vocals, at times subtle guitars sometimes louder guitars, and intersesting drumming,make for a very strong formula,especially the vocalist,Christina Scabbia.
The album is strong throughtout,though a bit heavy for most ethereal fans. Think This Ascension with a brighter side and more versatile vocals, or TA crossed with the Gathering.
The strongest points on the CD are "Heir To a Dying Day" and "Senzafine" which is all done in their native Italian.
The band, though they tend to go heavy at times,are best at their most subtle, adding sprinkles of keyboard to add to their uniquely dreamy mood.
Overall, a very strong CD, and to me,a must for fans of both the hard gothic rock and ethereal sides of the spectrum. Rating: 9.
Artist: Das Ich (@)
Title: Anti'Christ
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Amazon.com


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Harsh dark German symphonic industrial in the vein of Neubauten, Laibach, Wumpscut, Hocico and The Young Gods. Das Ich follow a precarious balance between Industrial and Gothic as well as harmony and chaos. Pounding beats and classical strings meld in rhythm with Stefan Ackerman's gritty vocals. There is much here that would appeal the the Naubauten fan or any fan of German industrial as most of the lyrics are in German and the vocals are of a similar style to Blixa Bargeld on early Einstuerzende pieces. However, the music is much more modern and a bit less experimental as the compositions remind me much of Laibach. It smoothly combines hard industrial rhythms and percussion with classical strings and orchestral styled pieces as well as some heavy Gothic choir and ethereal overtones while utilizing bits of modern EBM to bring it all to the modern ear.
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Artist: LoveSpirals (@)
Title: WindBlown Kiss
Format: CD
Label: Projekt Records
When Love Spirals Downwards left off/disbanded, the last effort, "Flux" a masterpiece by all means,left us with a poppier,more upbeat version of ethereal. And like me, alot of people may have expected those influences to seep through. But with the new group,which appropriates the name change, new influences have come through, with a strong jazz element. To think of it this is like Billy Holiday with better vocals and more of a mood!
The first track, "Oh So Long" starts off with a sensual horn section and Anji Bee's masterful ethereal vocals, which go for mood and emotion,not a high pitch like alot of ethereal vocalists. She reminds me alot of the girl from Portishead a bit,but softer. As good as Suzanne Perry was, Anji Bee has her matched,though I would damn well love to see them do a song together. The rest of the album flows with a very controlled calm,very laid back and sensual.
Overall, I still like "Flux" better mostly because I have great memories with that CD,and soothed me in some bad times. But this is still a welcome shift of direction,and should please fans of both jazz, ethereal, and emotional folk music. And if you're looking for that CD for you and your lover to listen to under some candlelight,this is it!Very recommended. Rating: 9
P.S.,
Look for an interview with the group I'm conducting right now as we speak! And find out the shocking news on what has become of Suzanne Perry of Love Spirals Downward! You will never guess.Thanks to Anji Bee and Ryan for the CD!
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