Music Reviews



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Artist: Torque Order (@)
Title: Trust No One
Format: CD
Label: New Regime Records
Rated: *****
From Austin, Texas comes Torque Order, a three person Industrial Metal rock group consisting of Loz (vocals, programming); Josef Pfost (guitar); and Jaye Lee Vincent (percussion). The first and most obvious thing about this band is the album cover's obviously similarity to KFMDM album covers. (Not the same designer though.) The music is pretty similar too, except for the lack of the occasional KMFDM female vocals. Torque Order is a little heavier on the guitars and lighter on the electronics, and they also make copious use of dialogue samples as evidenced on the opener, "Nothing to Lose" as there are actually more spoken words on this track than Loz's lyrics. Loz sings in that screamed hoarse vocal style of Combichrist's Andy LaPlegua, suitably appropriate for this kind of guitar-driven Industrial. Further on down the line Torque Order relies more on Loz's vocals than samples, much to my relief. Songwriting is simple but effective, and nicely varied within the confines of the genre, which is all you could hope for from a band like this. Some tracks are better than others, and I can't pick a hit here, but a number of them should go down well on the dark dancefloor, taking names and kicking ass. I don't know why they chose to cover AwolNation's "Sail" but I actually found it more engaging than the original, given the Torque treatment. For a debut album, Torque Order's 'Trust No One' is pretty damn good. This is a band with an agenda though; they claim to be a movement to liberate the world from the System's, bland, cookie cutter music. Well, good luck with that, but they've got my vote. On the CD packaging is states: "Dedicated to exposing the corrupt systems of governance throughout the world, the legislators and enforcers of 'morality' and the greedy vultures who prey on the weak. Your days are numbered." Ah, the idealism of youth. Don't buy the rhetoric, buy the album.
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Artist: Accolade (@)
Title: Catharsis of Rhetorik
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Well, this is a release I've been waiting to get my hands on for a few months, not long after I favorably reviewed Accolade's 'Legends' album. This CD EP, 'Catharsis of Rhetorik' counts as the band's third release, and is markedly different than previous material, in part due to a more gothy-electronic format, and the participation of keyboardist Sean Henry. It was also mixed and mastered by Martin Bowes of Attrition. How's that for cred? Still, Accolade has not forsaken their Celtic/pagan leanings, and it works fine in this more electronic environment. Drums and percussion are programmed here as Cade Burkhammer does not appear on this one.

First track "Gaze" unfolds with shoegazer ambience in a medium slow tempo, and Stefanie's beautiful, ethereal vocals. Very nice melody, sparse but stately drum track. Reminds me a bit of Lush's more atmospheric side, and something you might hear on 4AD or Projekt Records. Stefanie's wordless vocals also float in the background like an angel. Pure bliss! "Bleeding Cry" continues in this vein picking up the tempo just a little with bit more flowery melody. Material here is a bit darker than on previous Accolade releases, but no less enchanting. "March" sounds like something that might play cinematically at the beginning of a medieval battle; lots of beating percussion, and a simple opening melody line sung wordlessly by Stefanie in unison with low strings. The beating of drums (and likely shields!) continues more intensely running into a rapid pace with some keyboard cellos improvising on the melody. Stefanie sings the lyrics of the song over the pounding of drums and nothing else. If you were a medieval warrior and had this as your battle cry, you'd probably be inspired to join the fray and die for your cause.

"Carthage Fog" is a slow, highly atmospheric instrumental, ominous, dark and full of mystery. Final track "Heaven" is a song about dying and going to...heaven, of course! Despite its somewhat melancholy ambience and stately pace, it is rather positive lyrically, and Stefanie's angelic voice and the musical arrangement makes it a grand exodus. Overall, a great EP, and I'm sure people are going to want to hear more of this version of Accolade. If you enjoy artists like Love is Colder Than Death, Chandeen, Emilie Autumn, Love Spirals Downward, Stoa, This Mortal Coil, Faith & Disease, Bel Canto and Attrition, you will undoubtedly like this. It would be an excellent addition to the "heavenly voices" portion of your collection.
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Artist: Fade (@)
Title: Discover Music
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Faded Music (@)
Rated: *****
Ukrainian producer Eugene Galushchenko aka Fade is in tip-top shape and as an evidence of this fact, just before the second part of The Futurist EP, which will review soon, he recently launched "Discover Music" on his own imprint. The first tune of this release that tickles my eardrum is "Bass Burger", whose opening hornets could be matched to that kind of dnb stuff such as Photek's "The Age Of Empires", which could fit a plague-doomsday, but he manages to let the rhythmical pattern bounce by means of gamelan-like hits and acidulous basslines, that got really catching and "sticky" while sneaking within a computational bleeping sequence and geyser-like streams on the title track "Discover Music", whose distorted bass that resurfaces after 4 minutes sounds like another hook to past stages of dnb (Dom'n'Roland or Konflikt classics could come to mind). "Error" is maybe the most chilling moment of the release, but he wisely mitigate an excessively relaxed atmosphere by means of kicking percussions, poisonous blurring and just a pad-synth which smells like 90ies junglism! The feverishly tech-ey "Quarantine" and the amazing cybernetic sliding of "Utopia" complete this EP.
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Artist: Mesak
Title: howto readme
Format: 12"
Label: Harmönia/Ausland Schläge
Rated: *****
The most embarassing situation for music writers occurs when a good release got forgotten under huge piles of other mediocre releases, so that I often hope that music makers could understand it's not really easy to listen to all the releases that reach our location - I think I wouldn't have time to carry bodily functions out and please consider the fact that I assume the expletives that got inspired by these situations could be elevated to the position of a typical bodily function! -. I hope that Turku-based Harmonia label manager and producer Tatuja Metsatahtija will forgive my late praise for his amazing declension of so-called skwee, a genre which combines simple synth-lines and chiptune bass with funk, sould and r'n'b sonorities, whose origin could be geographically located between Sweden and Finland. Besides the above-sketched features, Tatuja inoculates funny sound and more sophisticated computational textures that remind the first releases by Mouse On Mars to me, so that he manges to highlight the most playful aspect of this syncretic synthesis. Even if he decided to add a couple of vocal track in languages that wouldn't be understood by some listeners - "Friend'ey Edit" by Claws Costeau in Finnish and "Hilkat Garibeleri" which features Turkish toasting by Ethnique Punch -, his cheeky melting of sonic recipes is really enjoyable and often enthusing. Have a check and grab your copy if you manage to find it.
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Artist: Chra (@)
Title: Empty Airport
Format: CD
Label: Editions Mego
Rated: *****
The origin of ambient music was merely functional as you can easily verify by checking the various pristine releases with unambiguous titles such as "Music for Waiting Rooms", "Music for Elevators" and so on. The most famous one - many reviewers consider it as the very first ambient album - was Brian Eno's notorious "Music For Airports", which is also the departure point of this interesting album by Wien-based electronic musician Christina Nemec aka Chra - founder of Comfortzone label and member of Shampoo Boy (together with Peter Rehberg and Christian Schachinger -, who lands on Editions Mego platform by an isolationist revision of that functionality. Ambient music is no more a sort of more or less neutral piece of furniture, but stick to the cognitive process of feedforwarding and backpropagation of the user, where sounds portray a sort of heterotopia. Noises and sounds that could come from an empty terminal got juxtaposed to inners spaces, dimensions and mutations, so that they seem to render what an unlucky traveller experiences when he/she had to wait for a connecting flight, which departs early in the morning: tiredness and drowsiness alter perception until any external sonic stimulations deposit on the wall of consciousness and manage to render imaginary dimensions, where even empty spaces could be like the displays of a living entity - tracks such as "Fits Of Asthma", "The Story Of" or "Landmine" sound like turning noises into biological functions, while other ones such as the title-track "Empty Airport", "Soca Valley" or "Contaminated Landscapes" evoke hallucinatory dimensions -. Very interesting sonic output.
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