Music Reviews



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Artist: Steven Severin (@)
Title: Vampyr
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Also known as "The Strange adventure of Allan Grey", Vampyr has been considered one of the miliar stones and cult classics of the whole vampire-related cinematography together with Murnau's "Nosferatu" and Browning's "Dracula", even if it's the only one which was not inspired by Bram Stoker: when Danish film director Carl Theodor Dreyer planned it together with its financial backer and leading actor Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg under the screen name Julian West, they preferred Sheridan Le Fanu writings to the ones by Stoker, so that Vampyr's plot contains a mixture of references taken not only to the sapphic vampire Carmilla, but mainly by Dr Hesselius, the first occult detective in literature, which after his debut in the pages of "In A Glass Darkly", quoted on this musical issue by the first track "Though A Glass Darkly", clearly inspired the portrait of Allan Gray and his most visionary moments of the movie, whereas the boundaries between real and unreal looks blurred. If you have the possibility to watch that movie, beyond the quotation of the Charon-like character appearing in the very first minutes of the movie by Arban on the sleeve design, you'll notice that Steven Severin, whose legendary past as bassist for Siouxsie and the Banshees doesn't seem to be eclipsed by his solo project as score composer - I've already introduced his previous soundtrack for Cocteau's "Blood of a Poet" -, perfectly follows the "rhythm" of the original movie by avoiding any temptation related to contemporary horror soundtracks so that the evoked scenes have been vividly called back by an evocative and sometimes stern dark-ambient suite. Sinister tolls, ectoplasmic atmospheres, haunting voices and other dusky imaginative suggestions are so catching that can fit a theme park focused on ghosts or haunted houses beyond its close connection to Dreyer's art.
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Artist: Suicide Commando (@)
Title: Attention Whore
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Back to his usual business, Johan van Roy seems to be currently buried into his studio to record a new full-length onslaught. 'Attention Whore' is a first teaser of his upcoming work, a fast raging Harsh-EBM tune with a crafty beat work, which will surely set fire under the international dancefloors of the dark clubs. Lyrically, 'Attention Whore' criticizes the egoistic and ruthless behavior of one to hunt for attention and honor on someone else's invoice. Musically solid arranged and overall satisfying for his die-hard fans, but it is to me far away from standing in a row of Johan's best compositions. Further remix contributions by foreign artists like Funker Vogt, [X]-RX, the Russians of Sleetgrout, and Nachtmahr are of course strengthening the dancefloor compatibility and are part of the usual business behavior, if it comes to release appetizer tracks for an upcoming new album. With 'Evacuate' Johan also provides us a b-side track, which is lyrically limited to the title, but it features additionally multiple, dramatic voice samples, sirens and noises, which fit pretty well to this track. Also this b-side track receives a straight and pummeling remix contribution from an unknown artist to me, entitled John Lord Fonda. Good stuff for the club-goers and dancefloor fanatics, it lesser fits to spin it at your home entertainment at a fair volume level, in case you don't like to disturb your neighbors.
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Artist: Wavefall (@)
Title: Future Rock ‘n’ Roll
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
This is not only the new title for this third full-length album of Russia's former Harsh-EBM/Hellectro institution Wavefall ' it is also the manifest for their musically development. Slava Busygin and his female, better half Tat'yana Borisova are returning with this new album and they have some surprises hidden in their backpack, which the interested Harsh-EBM listener wouldn't have expected. They may had already integrate some first hints for a style changing with their last release, the 'EP-Tronics' EP, and I thought already on a mutation from the Hellectro to a more Punk-driven genre, somehow comparable to classic Cat Rapes Dog inspired works. First of all, with the new band member Kirill Ivanushkin being responsible for electric, bass, and acoustic guitars, you may get a hint of what has Wavefall become. They are more than ever inspired by guitar-driven Punk and Rock 'n' Roll music. The electronic elements are still present, but got often reduced to a minimal insert. 'Collider' is a good example for the still active Electronica-side in their work, though this one has been taken part in a 'Speed'-Mix on their last 'EP-Tronics' EP. Their Punk-attitude can be also discovered through their track-list and their beautiful, comic-strip cover artwork. The artwork shows the both protagonists being green-colored, Alien-like bank robbers on the run. 'God, Guns, and Gasoline' has been a title of a classic Cat Rapes Dog album, Wavefall nowadays could name their album 'Cash, Guns, and Gasoline'. This album develops completely into new territories and results finally into a hard cake to bite for their old Electro-based fans. It really needs a lot of tolerance and an open horizon of the Rivetheads to accept and enjoy this release completely. I personally think that this release is also an experiment for their Advoxya-label, since the Hungarian label-giant is known for their 'only-Electronica' attitude. Wavefall seem to be quite convinced with their new direction, to me they are taking the risk and have to start from scratch again. Multiple live performances might be helpful to perform conviction work.
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Artist: Suicide Commando (@)
Title: The Suicide Sessions 3: Construct - Destruct and bonus disc
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Finally we come to the third chapter of Suicide Commando 'Suicide Sessions' series, which contains the third SC-album 'Construct ' Destruct'. Tunes like 'Better Off Dead', 'Desire', or the re-mastered version of his old classic track 'The Mirror' can be found on this album, as these tunes are well-known and approved club-food by the worldwide based DJ's. Not to forget the musically highlights like 'Acid Bath', a fine Dark Electro tune, on which Scott Sturgis (Converter / Pain Station) has written the lyrics, or the pretty much Dive-/Klinik-inspired track 'Pesticide'. 'Construct ' Destruct' can be seen without doubts as being the highlight of the pre-'Mindstrip'-era of Suicide Commando. Composition and arrangements have reached with this album the highest maturity, plus this album offers a nice floating between mid-tempo, slow and creepy tunes, up to the above mentioned dancefloor-attacking tracks. Congratulations to one of the outstanding SC-releases, also backed-up with the knowledge, that with 'Mindstrip' the things turned into a more commercial and more successful course. No one really could have expedted it during 1999/2000, but with 'Mindstrip' Johan van Roy started the rather Hellectro-/Harsh-EBM second career, which has finally made him that famous and sought-after until today.
Also for this third chapter you'll get a bonus disc, which provides for the most part the content of the limited 'Reconstruction' DCD set of the original album. 'Decoder' it its instrumental version (...is there existing a version featuring vocals? Someone needs to tell me...), the ultra-violent, noisy tune 'Violator', remix contributions of 'Better Off Dead' (Dive, Pierrepoint), 'Desire' (:Wumpscut:), and 'Massacre' (Plastic Noise Experience), plus a few more, so far unreleased b-side tracks like 'Final Suicide', 'Last Breath', 'Desire For Dead Bodies (Slow)', or 'Narcotica' got included too to keep this bonus disc valuable for his die-hard fans. Not to forget the track 'State Of Emergency', which has been part of the 3-track EP for the Off Beat compilation 'The O-Files II'. Also here a tiny word of criticism as the interested listener finally still needs to hunt for this long out-of-print compilation, because the 'Beat Beyond Recognition Mix' by Velvet Acid Christ of 'State Of Emergency', as well as the original recording of the b-side 'Come To Me' haven't been taken into consideration to get re-released on this bonus disc. But however, this third and final chapter concludes successfully the attractive 'Suicide Sessions' of one of the leading artists in the Dark Electro scene. If you're greenhorn with an interest to dive deep into the sound dimension of the Belgian sound-slaughter, all three 'Suicide Sessions' DCD sets would be an ideal investment to start with.

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Artist: Suicide Commando (@)
Title: The Suicide Sessions 2: Stored Images and bonus disc
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Second edition of the 'Suicide Sessions' brings us Johan van Roy's 'Stored Images' album, the album which features one of this most recognized club hits ever, 'See You In Hell'. I have never understood, what people found that outstanding on this, sorry, quite boring and simple structured tune, which has been placed to the last slot on this second SC studio album. That maybe has been decided intentional, since 'See You In Hell' with its straight dancefloor-oriented kick-and-snare-work differs to the rather raw, cold, and a bit Powernoise-inspired further rest of the 'Stored Images' album. Seriously: that this track would have become that famous, has no one, including Johan van Roy, never-ever expected. Personally I still fall in love with the drastic intro 'Murder', that track, with which Johan van Roy has started nearly every live performance around the year 1995. Also the magically arranged, ice-cold synthesizer-programming of 'Mortal Combat' is still one of the outstanding tunes of the whole era. Credit has to be paid, where it is deserved: special thanks for these moments needs to be send to Mr. Geert de Wilde (IC 434) for collaborating with Johan on this track. A remix of 'Save Me' and a re-recording of the very old tune 'Intercourse', a classic demo-track originally recorded in 1990, taken from his 'Into The Grave' demo-tape, are the additional tracks of 'Stored Images' still to remember, because also these both had a good fan call, or have been successful parts of his live performances.
Also this second edition brings us a bonus disc, which is mostly filled with the content of the 'Contamination' EP. This EP was a bit the result of the fan reaction after 'See You In Hell' and 'Traumatize', because both got remixed to a more club-oriented sound-outfit to feed the dancefloor masses. Furthermore there is available the track 'Last Decision' and an extended version of 'Murder'. Both have been only available on the US-release of the 'Contamination' EP, out on Bryan Erickson's Electric Death Trip Records. Finally a live recording of 'See You In Hell' concludes this bonus disc. Same voting as on chapter 1 of this series, also this second part introduces fair, while not complete the recordings of Johan van Roy around 1995 and is especially designed to give the younger SC-listeners some insight about the roots of the Belgian sound-slaughter.

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