Music Reviews

Artist: Godhead (@)
Title: The Shadow Realigned (remix album)
Format: CD
Label: Warrior Records (@)
Rated: *****
Godhead is a band I'm sure you've probably heard of, and likely even heard at one time or another as they've gotten quite a bit of exposure. If not, they're sort of an alternative melodic metal band that flirts with gothic-industrial. On this remix of their 2006 'The Shadow Line' album the flirting has gone full-tilt into goth-industrial territory (for the most part), which seems to be sort of a trend lately with some metal outfits. If nothing else, it's a way to get a review here on Chain D.L.K. (we don't do regular metal) and maybe pick up a few rivethead fans in the process.

Godhead is led by Jason C. Miller (lead vocals, guitars), a pretty talented guy with a great set of pipes for melodic metal and a knack for songs ideally suited for the genre. I should make it clear that I don't care much for alt-melodic-metal, so my previous acquaintance with the band is nearly nil. Remixers on this album include: Jason Miller, Ben Moody (Evanescence), Michael Wandmacher (aka Khursor), Ashburn "Creature" Miller (Orgy), Bryan Konietzko aka Ginormous (animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra), Jamison Boaz, Joe Bishara (Insidious, 11-11-11, Dark Skies, The Conjuring), Team Cybergeist, Shok (too many music production credits to even begin naming), and Psyclon Nine. A little familiarity with 'The Shadow Line' album may be in order, and you can find them easily enough on YouTube, so go check them out first (I'll wait)...Done? Good. Now without further ado, let's get into the remix tracks.

1. The Gift (Robotic Beehive Remix)
Synths replace some guitar and bass, autotune on voice (awful), vocal harmonies stripped away; move the track closer to the goth-industrial, but comes off more like edgey synth-pop.

2. Through The Cracks (Sweet Kill Remix)
Strong synths and and upfront drums, more open spaces allowing this track to breath and cook, and not messing with the vocals makes this remix a stronger effort than the original.

3. Unrequited (Ben Moody Remix)
Ben Moody turns this track into a strange electronic fantasia, but only messes with the vocals peripherally (some effects here and there). Actually, kind of a killer remix.

4. Hey You (Ginormous Remix)
Choirboy intro and all the metal completely stripped out of the track. Synths replace guitars, basic heavy programmed rhythm replaces drum battery. A little plodding but Nine Inch Nailsish. Metal fans won't like it, but I think it's okay.

5. Trapped In Your Lies (NeonGenesis Remix)
Very busy synthwork, dull, stilted drum programming, and very little of the vocals makes this an exercise in bad prog-rock geared for the dark dancefloor. I don't see how Jason let this one pass. Next.

6. Inside Your World (Dark Moon Remix)
The original was a power ballad. This beast of a remix turns the track into almost something completely different- very heavy exploding with dark energy. Best remix on the album so far.

7. Goodbye (Khursor Remix)
In the original, this breakup opus alternates between seething with anger and angst. The remix morphs the cliched material into a cool piece of cinematic cybernetics. If this was actually how Godhead usually sounded, I very well could see myself listening to them regularly.

8. Another Day (Shok's Other Way Remix)
Shok's remix picks up the pace of the drudgy original and makes it come alive. Good use of stuttering electronics and nifty crunchy percussion breaks make a big difference. I don't know if Godhead fans are going to like this one, but I do.

9. Once Before (Arritmic Remix)
Burbling electronics and a dancey beat take an average rock song and make it sound pretty cool. Good club fodder.

10. Push (Creature Remix)
A strange sort of cyber-ambient vibe with a beat, almost minimal with only snippets of the original vocals makes this one of the more experimental remixes on the album.

11. Your End Of Days (Jamison Boaz Remix)
Where the hell have I heard this song before? I know I've heard it somewhere... anyway, the Jamison Boaz Remix makes it sound just a little creepier. It's sort of a toss-up between this and the original.

12. Fall Down (Joe Bishara Remix)
One of Godhead's more mellow tracks off 'The Shadow Line' is given the shoegazer treatment by horror movie soundtrack composer Bishara. Keven Shields, eat your heart out.

13. Unrequited (Team Cybergeist Remix)
If Depeche Mode tried to become a hard rock band, they might sound a little something like this.

14. Trapped In Your Lies (Psyclon Nine Remix)
Well, it started off promisingly enough with a neat dark ambient opening, but Psyclon Nine decided to keep the vocals up front and put the band in a box. Sounds "phoned-in". Disappointing.

15. To Heal
One of the three non-remix tracks on the album, "To Heal" is a previously unreleased Godhead originial. It's kind of a slow-boiler straddling the line between melodic metal and something a little darker. Though there are keyboards, there's nothing really electro-industrial about it. Better than some of the songs off 'The Shadow Line' though.

16. God Of Thunder
Maybe a little better than the Kiss original, but that's mostly due to Jason Miler's voice more than anything else. Kiss is the last band on earth I'd want to pay any homage to though.

17. Never Let Me Down Again
This Depeche Mode cover shows what Godhead might sound like if they tried to become a synthopo band. (Recall track 13, turnabout is fair play.) Not bad actually, just don't expect a whole lot of synths.

Overall, 'The Shadow Realigned' is an interesting, if uneven album with its high and low points, fortunately with more highs than lows. Don't expect this to be a harbinger of a new direction for Godhead though. Jason Miller likes to experiment and deviate from the well-trodden melodic metal path now and then, but more than likely he'll return to the fold in order to keep the fan base he's got.
Artist: Joshua Bonnetta (@)
Title: Strange Lines and Distances
Format: 12" vinyl + DVD
Label: Experimedia (@)
Rated: *****
December 12th 1901. The first transmission of a wireless signal, the morse code for S (2 short dots), crossed Atlantic Ocean from Poldhu Cove in Cornwall, UK, to Fever Hospital in St.Johns, Newfoundland by means of the pioneering Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. There have already many musical and non-musical works which got inspired by that historical moment, but this one by interdisciplinary artist Joshua Bonnetta focused on the somehow artistic Marconi's belief about sound: the Italian marquis was sure about the fact that sound never completely disappear and a proper receiver could be even able to amplify aged sound which got "broadcasted" in the past. Joshua's audio-visual work could be considered the temporary objectification of such a technological reverie as his author combined hypnotical and dream-injecting emission of short and long radio frequencies with otherworldy transmission, archival material and field recordings, which got grabbed on the two poles of that historical communication in a couple of long-lasting sonic suites, the first of which seems to highlight the interference of human transmission over natural "emissions", while the latter attacks with holy sonorities which evoke the "sacredness" of that scientific discovery before the sonic sphere begins to get saturated by a tangle of radio frequencies. Such an entrancing historical remembrance and a masterpiece of hauntology got completed by a DVD-video, which looks like bridging the transmitting and the receiving points on our planet.
Artist: Costanza Francavilla & Alex Infascelli (@)
Title: Bushwick17
Format: 12"
Label: ZerOKilled Music (@)
Rated: *****
There are many evidences about the widespread obsession with the 23 enigma, other ones has a sort of devotion for their own lucky number, but besides sporadic fans of Heaven 17 or East 17, I've rarely heard about people who like number 17 till the moment I've read some notes around this collaborative release by Los Angeles-based movie maker Alex Infascelli, who gained a considerable notoriety for having signed a number of videclips of many well-known (mainly Italian) musicians, and Italian versatile artist Costanza Francavilla, whose name got known by many music lovers for having been partner-in-art (and according to some rumors, a proper personal muse) of Tricky, who referred to her "the female version of me". Out of respect for their beloved number, they recorded a 17 minutes lasting improvisation in Bushwick, NY, with no overdubs, effects or any other frills by means of a couple of microphones whoich got placed in front of the wall of their performative space where Costanza played synths and Alex built entrancing guitar drones and occasional out-spurts on drums, but listeners could hazard more than one guess around the connection between what they recorded and 17. For instance, you could read 17 according to the typical way to mask other meanings by different typefaces (the most known is AK47, which could be translitterated as "a key for this heaven") so that you could read that number as "one-seven" or "one's heaven" or consider other "esoteric" meanings - the angels or demonds which can be evoked are 17, knight templar were 17, which represent the radiant power of divine knowledge according to other numerologists -, which could have some connection with the somewhat mystical halo fo their improvisation, or 17 could be coniderd their favorite moment of the day (5PM), their personal tea-time! The general atmosphere could recall the sonic rendering of a ritual to get closer to the divine or to some undefined source of inspiration, where the opiate sonorities gradually absorb the sudden drumming explosions, which get slower and slower as if they got anesthetized as well. The end of the recording is a little bit abrupt, but they had to exactly stop recording after 17 minutes...
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Artist: The Silent (@)
Title: Volume 1: Wake
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Bastion Records
For this release, Edinburgh residents Connor Doherty and Stewart McLachlan (together otherwise known as Shudder) adopt the moniker 'The Silent' and endeavour over twenty-four hours to write and produce music from scratch. The fruits of this sleepless session are the three compositions on Volume 1: Wake. Sound sources are nearly exclusively acoustic rather than generated electronically: voice, instruments and diverse household objects make up the bulk of the material, although plenty of manipulation goes on. Together, the pieces seem to offer a rough corresponding narrative of the whole process as it unfolded: the EP begins with a fully fledged, lyrical song and follows up, as the effects of sleeplessness develop, with a pair of simpler experiments.

The song ('Wake') is a melodramatic number led by slow, textural piano. The vocals are mixed low, making their originator sound distant and a bit lost. As it trudges through a pair of crescendos, the tone is distinctly uneasy. Finishing on a gloomy piano motif, the song is followed by 'Glisten', which consists of scarcely more than a quiet, distorted beat and intermittent, piercing chimes. It's great though; the harsh metallic resonance and harmonics are very satisfying and slightly sinister, like a meditative environment turned abrasive. Finally, 'Howl' revisits the style of the first track, incorporating similarly clattering rhythms and use of piano. Guitar is more prominent and vocals provide wordless background texture.

The EP is impressive for something produced in a single extended session, though the limitations of these circumstances are readily apparent and there isn't a great deal we haven't heard elsewhere. One gets the feeling these pieces could have been improved over a longer period, but this is an issue already anticipated and dismissed as unimportant by the EP's underlying concept. While the band claim on their release page to have "suffered from the sleep deprivation aspect of it" in the later stages, for me the latter two tracks are more successful than 'Wake'. In particular, the simplicity of 'Glisten' works in its favour; narratively it resembles an interlude, but really holds its own as an atmospheric, redolent moment. It'll certainly be worth hearing what the duo comes up with on the second volume.
Artist: Rumpistol
Title: Away
Format: 12"
Label: Rump Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
According to the linear notes this album 'references ['¦] the isolation, absence and loss that comes with the creative process, but also the privilege of being able to disappear into another world and be 100% present in the music' and, almost oddly, this phrase is a clear description of this release as it reveals the implicit struggle between searching new sounds using old synths and being catchy with the radio listener being interesting with the bored reviewer.
From the evocative introduction of 'A dream' to the equally evocative and almost pop ending of 'Atacama' this release is a journey into this form of music that is equally equidistant from the banalities of pop and the autism of experimental. This means that, starting from the almost dull but dancey beats of 'A town', the rumpistol's musical offering is even honest in the depiction of his musical influences but his development is remarkable as it's not something only for the distracted listening but it's something revealing an experimental feel. So, if 'Amnesia' tries to develop the canon of drum 'n bass, 'Asleep' sounds as a dancey pop track that could features in the playlist in a radio that set hitself as 'the best italian dance radio' but it's too shy to explore something more demanding. ' A Glance' and 'Amar' seem an outtakes from the firsts autechre's album (and this is a true compliment).
This release is well developed and reveals an artist that stands in the balance between experimental path and pop allure. Highly recommended.
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