Music Reviews



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Artist: Suicide Commando (@)
Title: Unterwelt
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
This is the perfect audible kick in your ass, if you actually had hopes that Harsh-Electro grandfather Johan van Roy would change too much his successfully course of music. His last studio album 'When Evil Speaks' has shown promising tendencies, that Johan searches for a comfortable way to unite his still strong fan-base of the early days with the newer supporters of the Hellectro-youth. The result was quite satisfying with tracks like 'Monster', 'Repent Or Perish', or the re-recording of his classic tune 'Time (Rewind)'. 'Unterwelt' features German lyrics and this one counts definitely to the more harsh arranged tracks and fits better with the newer fans. This Remix-EP offers 9 tracks and it looks like your typical remix contender released rather to share some business relations instead to offer a more valuable art expression of the artist. The content for fans on the hunt for unreleased tracks is limited: 'Body Machine Body (Demo Version)' has been placed on here as a first sign of things to come, but does this poor and unspectacular sounding track allow any euphoric reaction? Johan himself has revamped 'Unterwelt' with a far produced 'Single Edit' plus an 'Apocalypse' version, in which he rather integrates a rather hammering, Downtempo-like rhythm section. It would be a pure lie, if I rate this song as being a highlight of Johan's works, sorry. We then find remix contributions which are entitled to safe more or less dancefloor-movement: Reaper, Binary Park, Nitronoise, and Wynardtage providing the expected stuff. Two remixes need to be specially mentioned here, because they actually fill in some remarkable content: Germany's Acylum once again receives a big thumb-up to have always a quite different view on the given original composition. Their remix on 'Unterwelt' slows down the tempo, adds multiple, ominous sounding voice samples and offers the oppressive, dark mood so often discovered in Acylum's work. Fragilechild are in the position to have received the above mentioned 'Monster' for their remix contribution. The result drifts not too far away from the original, but to integrate flute- or oboe-like sounds into the remix is remarkable. As usual with those remix-contender releases: the result is a 2-sided-sword. The fans will inhale in this stuff and won't find a hair in the soup. To me this release is too obviously business-oriented, rather a fast shot instead to offer a bit more new, or musically more demanding stuff.

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anymore
Artist: Plastic Noose (@)
Title: Fractured Despondency
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
This is the new mind-scorching output by this Scottish Electro-Metal project of mastermind Snow King. This new EP picks globally up the path of the predecessor "Zu Allen" in his self-invented Misanthropic Industrial Metal genre, but shows slightly differences. It is still the unique mixture of Metal bass/guitar parts, Experimental Electronics and Snow Kings powerful vocal performance, but on this new release there are obviously more Metal-influences installed into the music. The tracks itself still leave a lot of space for the integration of multiple FX-elements, while nowadays the guitars provided in several different styles turn more and more into a leading role of Mr. Snow Kings sound. "Going Down" is a dry Metal-track with ongoing guitar-riffs but also a well-dozen content of synth-sounds included. One of the most intense produced tracks is "Let All Mankind Burn", another typical end-time scenario out of the rotten mind of Mr. Snow King, but with a high singing-along-the-chorus factor. Thumbs up also for "For Me" because of its almost catchy song structure. The musically environment of Plastic Noose is still a sinister and haunting one, but the more and more usage of FX-manipulated guitar sounds instead of a continuation of his more Experimental Electronica outfit, I tend to criticize. The debut sounded a bit more refreshing to me, while this one is still thrilling enough to bind a listener in front of a home entertainment.
Finally some special greetings to Mr. Nick Quarm of Juggernautservices for sending me this release. It should have been reviewed much earlier and times have changed as Juggernautservices has become a label. But again his work as being a promotional agency deserves deepest repect.
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Artist: T'ien Lai
Title: Da'at
Format: CD
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
Imagine you are walking alone in a desert street before passing through a dimensional gate by which you jump over a magnetic storm where otherworldly entities are trying to communicate by means of old radio broadcasting, synth refrains and attuning photons in order to have a vague idea of the listening experience that has been radiated by this Polish duo made up of Lukasz Jedrzejczak and Kuba Ziolek, who named their project from T'ien Lai (Japanese expression meaning "heavenly music"), the brand of cigarettes that Frank Frink, a secretly Jewish worker who got fired from Wyndham-Matson Corporation for having expressed his anger in the disquieting novel "The Man in the High Castle", where the visionary American writer Philip K.Dick imagined how daily life would be under nazi-fascist imperialism after an imaginary victory of the second world war. Their five neural heterotopies immediately hang on listener's eardrum by stunning electric discharges and dissonances which often unpredictably unfold in sonic clouds and heavenly soundscapes which sound like stripped epiphanies, whose revelatory effulgence sometimes meet modern simulacra and bugs of what a situationist could have named a contemporary trapping code, which sometimes look like mirages in a cognitive desert. Besides the references to Qabbalic symbolism and mystical beliefs - for instance the title of the album refers to the meeting point of the ten sephirot of the Tree of Life -, the description of their strategy for alluring audiences is eloquent when they invite them "to take part in an urban rite of liberation and disorder, within which kitsch and folk art intertwine with sanctity and truth, creating an unbreakable relationship". I cannot rule out the possibility you receive a visitation by Meyrink's Golem or green faced divine emissary (or alternatively the fiend who sometimes takes possession of Madonna's wit after she got sampled from some old radio broadcast on the overture of "Gloria") as you reaches the final dark-ambient psychedelic pool of "Tzimtzum III".
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anymore
Artist: Atropine
Title: Recurring Nightmares
Format: CD
Label: EK Product (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
With a fair look back on Norway's Electro/Industrial scene two decades before there we had Apoptygma Berzerk with the earliest releases, Angst Pop, Remyl and the 7-members collective Anstalt with their uncountable side-projects (Industrial Heads, Defcon 4, Teutonic Knights, etc.). The duo of Atropine consists of ALX and Cthulberg and has been a companion project to Anstalt. Already established in those heydays, but mostly they've been well hidden under the radar of the international-based audience. Both members have been more or less involved in Anstalt, but unfortunately never been that prominent. Too bad also that Atropine couldn't enter a slot on the legendary "Sex, Drugs and EBM" compilation of the Norwegian Tatra Records label in 1993. So after a few tape releases and two self-released CDR's mostly reserved to their local audience, there has been silence in the Atropine-camp for nearly 14 years. Musically this duo rather represents the darker and more aggressive side of the EBM/Electro/Industrial genre, although they still try to integrate some cold-melodic synth-pads. They actually seem to think about the course of action in the EBM genre lately and with their understanding they are able to offer us a diverse sounding official debut album, now newly signed and released by the Italian EK Product label. The connection of this Norwegian duo to the Italian-based label fits pretty well not only because of their veteran status. Atropine are true kids of the so-called second EBM wave and so they are acting. If it needs to throw some prominent names for comparison sakes into the ring, I would name early X Marks The Pedwalk meets Dive meets Absent Minded in a row. Already the opening tracks are demonstrating, that the sound environment of Atropine includes more than your usual floor stomper tune. "Glass Jaw" with its aggressive vocals and various noise-samples stalks slowly into your nightmares, while the more than 7 minutes long "Remaining Limb" impresses with part-wise hilarious voice-samples dealing on "delicious" things like necrophilia. The next tune "Retch Trigger" is ideal food for marching the floors of all dark clubs, although their brilliant synth layers and its cold melodic content are transforming this track to be one of the most attractive pieces. The album then turns a bit closer to that more experimental-minded Dive-like influence with mid-tempo tunes like "Coercion" or "Contrite". Dancefloor-compatibility returns with those pummeling tracks like "Luminax" and "Churn", while we find in between the to me best tune with "Bonesaw" - this one grabs you by the throat with its oppressive synth-arrangements and bizarre drum-patterns. Finally a remix of the Columbian EBM-project Struck 9 on "Churn" concludes this album. It needs to be said that this album features for the most part re-recordings of the tracks already released on their CDR "Master Raze", but of course completely revamped and mastered. But don't think that this alters the good quality of this release - it's rather the opposite. They named their album "Recurring Nightmares"? That's wrong because Atropine have produced a nightmarish sounding EBM album full of diversity and intelligent ideas!

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Artist: Severe Illusion (@)
Title: Deliberate Prefrontal Leucotomy
Format: CD
Label: Complete Control Productions (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
It's new to me that the both Severe Illusion peeps are going to study brain surgery. Their last year release 'Psychosurgery', a 5-track-EP physically available in a hard-to-get limited edition of 100 exemplars, fits thematically perfect and can be seen as the ideal preliminary degree examination. 'Deliberate Prefrontal Leucotomy' now represents their examination and delivers an ongoing conceptual release on 8 tracks. The musically expression of Fredrik Djurfeldt and Ulf Lundblad has changed rather in minor dimensions to their earlier works, but that was to expect. Compared to the last studio album 'No More Alive Than You Deserve', this new opus sounds harsher and more grinding; just like the right soundtrack to one of the most perverse themes committed in post-modern psychiatry. Their ability to spread salt in open socio-critical wounds is unbroken and I have to admit that to read about the theme of leucotomy and especially the 'ice-pick lobotomy' performed by Walter J. Freeman in the 1940's in more than 3000 cases has been shocking. The chorus of praise for Severe Illusion is well deserved, as they often tap our minds on barbaric past things of mankind, which nowadays fall often into the abyss of oblivion. The music delivery the typical harsh, cold, and noisy attitudes this duo is so well known for. 'Louder Than Words' and 'Postsynaptic Receptor Disruption' are both mid-tempo tracks with monotonous bass-lines and the hefty distorted vocal performance. 'Discontinuation syndrome' then offers some voice-samples based on the conceptual theme thrown into a noisy thunderstorm - it's a more Powernoise- / Experimental-minded tune than all other tracks available here. 'Hole' differs a lot to almost all tracks on 'D. P. L', because it is a lighter, very dancefloor-compatible tune with flute-like synth-pads. The most exciting track I discovered with the raw and nightmarish produced 'Tardative Dyskinesia' - already the starting metallic clanks leave scorch marks in my ear-channel! The one and only complaint on this fine and absolutely authentic sounding album is once again the far too short playing-time. C'mon guys, you've got more disturbance-stuff in your holster than to stop after 33 minutes only! It is nevertheless a must-have album filled with oppression presented in all 8 tracks.

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