Music Reviews



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Artist: Afflicted By Design (@)
Title: #nameless
Format: CD EP
Label: AGCruxansata Music
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
This is a first CD-EP release of the Austin-based newcomer project Afflicted By Design. ABD has been established in 2012 by the mastermind behind, S.A. Sebastian Gnolfo, from whom you can also find some reviews on our site. Under ABD he likes to introduce us into his musically world filled with a genre-bending mix of Industrial-Metal, Gothic and Electronica elements. This EP features 3 original compositions with 'Jesus Christ Machine', 'South Side of Sickness', and 'Dreaming Mona'. Additionally you'll get a bonus remix of 'Jesus Christ Machine' plus an instrumental-take of 'Dreaming Mona'. 'Jesus Christ Machine' in its original version is a mid-tempo driven, powerful Industrial-track, which scores with its energetic screamo-vocals in the chorus and the attacking guitar-loops widely spread into the mix. 'South Side of Sickness' pushes a bit faster the tempo-screw and the chorus offers a good 'bawling-along-the-line' factor. 'Dreaming Mona' offers a totally different scenario: It's a slowed-down, ballad-like tune filled with beautiful piano-/string-sound arrangements and an overall catch sound-outfit. This is the tune where Sebastian's Goth-inspired side shines through at best. Coming to the bonus content and here needs the S.A. Sebastian Thump Remix of 'Jesus Christ Machine' to be mentioned. This remix differs a lot to the very acoustic sounding original and reminds with filthy, rough Techno-Industrial arrangements on the best moments of classic Coldwave-projects like Mindless Faith, Hate Dept., or Chem Lab. The remix abilities of Sebastian are not to underestimate! This EP offers an impressive amount of diversity and satisfies with all tracks. I hope for an upcoming full-length album.
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Artist: Neuro-Sentence (@)
Title: The Shores of Anhedonia
Format: CD
Label: Xperiment XIII (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
From a music distributor to a label: Australian-based agency Xperiment XIII has decided to concentrate from now on completely as a Electronica-based label and presents us with the US-duo Neuro-Sentence one of their first releases. Neuro-Sentence has been established in 2009 in Colorado Springs and both members, Count W and Elipsis, can look back on a first EP entitled 'Victims & Virtues'. Their track 'Dominion' has already gained some local-based recognition, since some DJ's started to spin this track. 'Dominion' also opens this new full-length-album and it is arranged in kind of your usual Harsh EBM track with raw beats, Techno-fanfare-like synthesizer-leads and highest dancefloor-compatibility. The music generally presented on this album rather stands for the state-of-art of the notorious Hellectro-camp, but luckily both band-members have some more elements in their holster which they manage to throw in. First worth to mention is their kind of vocal processing, which rather sounds like taken out of a Goth-/Dark Wave-related production. It reminds a bit on Andrew Szava-Kovats (Data Bank A) on LSD, if it needs comparisons. There's also available a kind of a Black-Metal-vibe pretty nice installed through some pounding guitar-riffs. The guitars do not sound as if they've been taken out of overused sample-quells ('Inferno (For A Heart)', 'Kali'). Their best ability is without doubt their morbid and haunting sound-environment and their dark and sinister mood. They often install depressive piano sounds to lead the tracks. Also their cold and mechanic synth-pads skillfully integrated in such brilliant tunes like 'Anhedonia' nails the listener. Just when they tend to leave their raw and repetitive Harsh-EBM course for a while, they offer their musically strongest moments. There's multi-facetted talent behind Neuro-Sentence. If they can decide to work out better the overused Harsh-EBM sound ingredients to reach a more original sound-design, they might be able to be one of the upcoming global-players in the scene. So let's keep the fingers crossed for them.
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Artist: [Electric Resistance] (@)
Title: Brave New Day
Format: CD EP
Label: Insane Records (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
New Russian Electro-/Industrial label Insane Records has been seemingly founded out of the ruins of the Artificial Sun-label. But differently to Artificial Sun focusing mostly on Industrial- / Metal-Crossover music, this new label is rather more dedicated to the Electronica side of life. [Electric Resistance] has been already active under Artificial Sun and this Moscow-based project can look back on a first EP-release. To start off with Insane Records, label and band have decided to give this new 6-track-EP away to a "pay-what-you-want-procedure' as a download via Bandcamp, but there is also available a 9-track physical CD-version which offers 3 additional remix contributions by such prominent Russian scene-marauders like Cutoff:Sky, the Kaliningrad-based Industrial-Chaostronica-brothers of Type V Blood, and Deviant Haze. The music of [Electric Resistance] is a raw and straight driving form of Electro/EBM/Industrial music, at times supported by some raging guitar riffs. Although all song-titles are in English, the lyrics are nearly completely provided in Russian language by the mastermind behind, Alexander Dmitriev. For the most part in the music of [Electric Resistance], Alexander avoids it to fall into the repetitive Harsh EBM/Hellectro rush; he can be rather sorted to be a classic-inspired Electronica musician, who has rather taken his lessons out of EBM and Rock/Metal-music styles. To point out the best track out of the 6 original tunes is a bit difficult, because they all have preferences. The energetic screamo-vocals of 'Remember' and 'City' are worth a mention for instance, while 'Electric Trash' could be pointed out as being the most accessible track and it doesn't wonder, that Cutoff:Sky and Type V Blood have taken this one to produce their remixes on it. I see this second release of this project as the much better conceived one compared to the debut, it mainly introduces much better the sound outfit of this up- and coming Moscow-based project. Good and well produced EBM stuff so let's keep the finger crossed that this project continues to produce a full-length album.
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Artist: Control (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
Maybe the clocks in Fairfield, Iowa, are ticking differently to any other thinkable place in States, but c'mon guys, wasn't it possible to find any other more original band-name than a simple 'Control', which is already in use by some other Electronica music-projects? Although 'different' is a good paraphrase which could be often used when it comes to talk on the content this self-titled debut album. Control is a three-man outfit consisting of Joseph Mayfield (vocals), Joey Del Re (guitars, programming) and Dominic Rabalais (synths, programming). Being pretty much inspired by the Synthpop-driven Pop- / New Wave -music culture of the 80s (darkest Depeche Mode, Ultravox, New Order, The Cure to name the idols'¦), they create a post-modern sound-outfit filled additionally with their own area-based cultural background. And so this 13-track album swims in inspiration and into stylistically diversity which surprises here and there. The listing of additional, mostly unusual instruments in their Electronica music outfit is a long one (for example mandolin in 'Tonight' / saxophone on 'Condemned To Feel' and 'Corpse') and absolutely proofs their diversity. A lot of different moods and impressions mostly provided through the at times quite sarcastic lyrics have been tested and at least installed. Lyricist/vocalist Joseph Mayfield offers a lot of blood and sweat with his timbre and the lyrical content dealing of one's inner pain to keep control over the musically course both his band-mates manage to produce. The 'Personal Jesus'-like guitar-riff of 'Hardwired' gets soon vanished by the bubbling synth bass-lines and a catchy chorus-passage, which a kid is able to sing along. 'Corpse', a track which has been specially supported with a video clip-production, impresses with its scratching bass-line sequences and the upbeat tempo. In between 'Tonight' slows down the speed and offers nearly romantic lyrics dealing with endless yearning. 'No One Knows' is another favorite worth to check out because of its quite accessible composition full of Pop-aesthetics. 'Condemned To Feel' and especially Joseph's emotional kind to sing on this track brings back reminiscences of the better DM-days and he could win the imaginary 'let's-sing-like-Gahan' song contest. The row of highlights could be continued as all of these featured 13 tracks are sort of favorites and have their very own preferences. No doubt, this Iowa-based Control music-project has already found an ideal niche to play with Wave-/Pop music-accessibility, while they never fall the same time into redundancy or mediocrity. That's nice entertainment which deserves the few more spins until the whole meaning behind takes effect.
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Artist: Fennesz
Title: Bécs
Format: CD
Label: Editions Mego
Rated: *****
I'm pretty sure that many lovers of Fennesz sound bought this record, which is the conceptual follow-up of "Endless Summer" after 13 years on renowned Austrian label Editions Mego, for sight unseen and many of them are delighting their eardrums and their brains by continuous listening. The sonic strategies to throw the sound of guitar towards computational and sideral heavens by means of heavy sound processing and thunderous drone-like electronic scraping are so guessed that even the noisier moments of the album such as "The Liar" and "Liminality", unpredictable and quicksilver entities after the opening jazzy drumming and the lukewarm psychedelia of strummed acoustic guitars of the opening "Static Kings", are really blissful. The warm embrace of infinite space looks like a thrilling bear hug while listening the hypnotic deep organ and the skylarking bleeps of "Pallas Athene", whose rising effulgence could let you imagine that Christian Fennesz experieenced a close encounter of the third kind with some Greek God (or Goddess). The distortions of the blissful guitar strumming on the title-track, the Hungarian name of Wien, sounds like the removal of coronary occlusions which blocked that feeling of infinite love and compassion that soaked some previous stuff by this talented sound-poet. After "Sav", the collaborative track with Cedric Stevens and maybe the haziest parenthesis of the album with its impenetrable layers of microsopunds and gurgles, the final "Paroles" goes out in style by means of a mainly acoustic track, where electronic residual clinkers are just trifling interferences which got fully absorbed by the delicate beauty of an immaculate guitar plucking.
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