Music Reviews



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Artist: Fun Every Friday (@)
Title: Heart Puke
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Previously known as F.E.F. aka Flesh Eating Foundation, Fun Every Friday are John E Smoke, The Juddaman, Mash, Big Un and Crooknose. The last release I reviewed and which I'm aware of was the EP "So Yeah", released in 2011. Now the guys are back with a free download album titled "Heart Puke". The album contains twelve new tracks which are able to communicate to the listener the urge they felt when they composed them. An album composed, as they wrote, "on guitars, not laptops and synths. Proper riffs first, the synths and laptops are still there but they came after". Musically you can hear influences that go from Ministry, to Alien Sex Fiend passing through Killing Joke and Skinny Puppy. Guitars are well sustained by hammer like drum machine beats and razor sounding synth sounds. Power and melody are the core elements of the album and tracks like "Who's Rules", "Without Light" or the closing "Lazarus" are working really well: direct, powerful and catchy. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for the release date.
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Artist: Death In June
Title: Lives At The Edge of the World
Format: DVD
Label: Steelwork Maschine (@)
Rated: *****
I have been listening to Death In June for the better part of two decades, so I was quite interested to see this DVD. This DVD features three different performances recorded in Brest, Brittany, from December 2011, May 2005 and April 2002. The label boasts '45 Different songs and 81 different performances. Massive gallery of unseen photos + poster. Certainly the most complete collection of Death In June songs on one single release.' Now on to the music itself. I have to admit that visually Death In June is not terribly engaging. This is partly because the live performance is a duo of Douglas Pearce mainly on acoustic guitar and John Murphy on various percussion instruments. But the music is stripped down and raw, which gives it a kind of urgency not found on the studio albums or even the live album 'Something is Coming.' But the music is done very well and takes on quite a span. Unlike many performers who focus mainly on new material with a few crowd favorites thrown in, this covers much of DIJ's creative output, ranging from 1983's 'The Guilty Have No Pride' to 2010's 'Peaceful Snow.' I was surprised to find some of my favorites on this disc, with a breathlessly fast 'The Honour of Silence' and '13 Years of Carrion' (although along that same trajectory, I would have loved to hear a live version of 'God's Golden Sperm' or 'Torture by Roses'). For Boyd Rice fans, there is a rendition of 'Où Est Boyd Rice?' finishing off with an acoustic rendition of 'Total War' with Rice on vocals during the 2002 concert. I found that Pearce was a lot chattier in the 2005 concert than in the 2010 or 2002 performances, providing commentary on several of the songs, which was interesting (we find out the 'Hollows of Devotion' was inspired by a bathroom rendezvous with a priest in Heathrow Airport, for example ' I'll avoid spoiling the moment for you, but, hint, ' it may have something to do with the gay pride flag he brought out partway through). The 2002 concert cinematography could have been much better. It is clear that this was not professionally taped for posterity. Imagine that a friend held up a camera phone and videotaped the concert and then ran it through a sepia filter with some abrupt cuts. There you have it, but then again we didn't get this for the special effects. This is the shortest of the three concerts, but still demonstrates the continuity of the live experience. It seems that the 2002 concert is less essential than the 2005 and 2011 ones, but there are songs in this concert not found in the other two ('The Night of the Knives,' Smashed to Bits (In the Peace of the Night,' and the collaboration with Boyd Rice), so it still earns its keep on the DVD. Overall, this is 4 hours of DIJ video. If that doesn't sell you, then nothing will. This is pretty much a must for all DIJ fans.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Dark Ambient Radio Vol. 3 – Muzak for the Final Elevation
Format: CD
Label: Dark Ambient Radio (@)
Rated: *****
This compilation lets you know what it is right up front, and in some ways it flows together like a good radio show should. If you didn't know it was a compilation, it would be easy to think that it was the work of the same artist for several tracks. I had not heard of any of these artists, so I was interested to see what this group had to offer. Aspectee, Nepenthe, and Valerio Orlandini open the disc with three tracks respectively of nice spacey ambient. Mortaja mixes it up a bit with some ritualistic chanting. Crepuscular throws down some crunchy ambient with the feel of tectonic plates shifting. Myth Industries and Sjellos also departs from the space ambient feel with slow waves of rattling and light drumming. Sjellos takes on his own track with some drums that I didn't really expect to kick in, but it worked. Then he goes back to the comfort of droning ambiance. Winterbound provides the base for your next Halloween mix ' this has a nice horror movie soundtrack feel to it. Mytrip finishes us off with 'Small Humyn,' which has a nice heaviness to it. There is a feeling of pressure and depth, like the thick drone that you might find in the inside of a beehive. For me this was one of the standout tracks on this disc. Overall this was interesting dark ambient and it was curated well. If you want to hear some new blood in the dark ambient scene, this is one to pick up. This compilation is limited to 500 copies and weighs in at around 72 minutes.
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Artist: Andrea Bolzoni and Daniele Frati (@)
Title: Dialvogue: Improvising Dialogues
Format: CD
Label: Setola Di Maiale
Rated: *****
These two artists comprise two thirds of Swedish Mobilia, and I had previously reviewed their album "Knife, Fork and Spoon," so I had some idea of what these artists were capable of. The label describes them thus: 'A fresh duo, young and precise. Musicians active in many projects, here are grappling with radical improvisations that vary the point of focus, with attention to timbres and rhythmic relations.' This album is a testament to what you can accomplish with just two musicians. From the opening track, 'Reunion,' it is clear to tell that there will be a lot going on in each track. Overall, the music is sparse, but has a good amount of energy. Tracks like 'Disagreement' and 'Interstellar Dialogues' vacillate between sheer intensity and slowed down weird, spacey electronic loops. Other tracks, like 'Expressed Monologue' and 'Butterflies' are almost mellow, but keep the weird loops going. Still others, like 'Surgery Room 3 Blurry' keep a restrained pressure going ' not frantic like others, but suppressed'gradually letting loose, but only to an extent. Overall, this is a pretty good album of improvisation. With only a duo of guitar and drums, you might think that it would get dull and repetitive, but Bolzoni and Frati manage to keep things lively and interesting. This album weighs in at around 55 minutes.
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Artist: Svarte Fjell
Title: Horisont
Format: CD
Label: Le Crépuscule du Soir (@)
Rated: *****
This seems to be the debut of Norwegian artist Roy-Arne Knutsen. I was also unfamiliar with the label Le Crépuscule du Soir, but then again I am not into black metal. No problem, this is not black metal, but rather solid dark ambient that would be quite at home a country over on Cold Meat Industries with fellow Scandinavians Mortiis or Arcana. We get off to a slow start though, as 'Frostland' lays down some noisy, repetitive synth drone. Not too engaging, and 'A Road to Nowhere' begins where 'Frostland' ends, but then moves into a slow cello line with scratching that makes it sound like an old record. Now we're getting somewhere. 'Svarte Fjell' is where the going gets good though, as we move into a more epic feel with strings, militaristic percussion, and synth washes that give it a cinematic feel. Cue the battle scene. Definitely reminds me of old Mortiis. 'Bamse Brakar' slows it down a bit with staccato strings over dark atmosphere and a plodding bass drone that reminds me of Arcana's 'Dark Age of Reason.' By the time we reach 'Nordavinden,' the battle is over. The percussion is gone. All that remains is mournful synth. By the time we get to 'Horisont,' there is little left but the earth and the dead on the fields. A bit of synth and space. Overall this is pretty good dark ambient and a good introduction to this artist. I'll definitely be interested to see how this artist progresses. This is limited to 200 copies, so if you want this you'll want to get it quickly. This album weighs in at around 45 minutes.
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