Music Reviews



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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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Artist: Suicide Commando (@)
Title: The Suicide Sessions 1: Critical Stage and bonus disc
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Differently to the last year released 6-CD-box-set of Suicide Commando's 'Suicide Sessions' (Out Of Line), the US-license partner Metropolis presents us step-by-step the same content available on 3 double-CD-sets. 'The Suicide Sessions' are consisting of the first three studio albums of the Belgian sound-slaughter 'Critical Stage', 'Stored Images', and 'Construct ' Destruct'. This is not only meant to present you a complete re-release, additionally all three studio albums got re-mastered and polished to represent the newest sound standard. Better than this, and here comes the point, which makes this series interesting for SC-die-hard fans too, you'll get to each album a bonus disc, which offers stuff of small releases like EP's, Singles, or compilation appearances released in between, or just some additional, mostly unreleased demo tracks, which have been sorted out during the album recording sessions. Completion of all recordings which occurred during the studio sessions to each album can unfortunately not be guaranteed, but that's a point of criticism I'll pick up album per album.
I had the honor to review this first album 'Critical Stage' 18 years before for a German fanzine and when I nowadays spin this album again, the old feelings return as it would have happened yesterday. The ghost and spirit of the Belgian cult-act The Kinik floats through this album and Johan van Roy to that time recognized pretty well the niche they left through their absence after 'Time' in 1990. Dirk Ivens established Dive, while Marc Verhaeghen continued after some side-projects like Para or X 10 under the Klinik-moniker. Both, Ivens and Verhaeghen, were still successful and highly accepted, but both also continued differently in their expression.
Johan van Roy already worked since 1986 to install his vision of Klinik-al sound environments and released various demo tapes until he could cause some attention by Stefan Herwig (nowadays label-chief of Dependent Records) and his very own Kugelblitz label. Kugelblitz also has seen the first four tracks of SC on CD, the 'Never Get Out'-EP as being part of the legendary 'Induktion, Varianz und deren Folgen' compilation, together with Digital Slaughter, Dementia Simplex, and Genital A-Tech. Herwig went over to Off Beat as being A & R manager and the successful mutual path between Herwig and van Roy started in 1994 and 'Critical Stage'. This album also features with 'Traumatize' and 'Necrophilia' two of Suicide Commando's most recognized tracks, which are still content of his live performances until today. Not to alter the euphoria I had in those days, and still have for this album, but a tiny mistake has happened the persons in charge during this re-release: The last track 'The Dreamhouse' (Mental Version)' has been, as the name announces it, an instrumental version of this track, while the version with Johan's growling vocal performance was only available on a 7 inch vinyl single-compilation of the Ant-Zen label. The track list here still states the 'Mental Version', but I do definitely hear Mr. van Roy violating the micro!
As for the bonus disk, you'll get three out of the four already mentioned tracks of the 'Never Get Out' EP, an original version of 'Save me', a track which later got revamped and included on Johan's second album 'Stored Images', plus with 'Sweet Jesus' a compilation appearance, which has been available on the 'Maschinenwelt Compilation 1' (Maschinenwelt Records). Five additional demo tracks can be discovered, produced and recorded under very limited circumstances during 1988 and 1992. The featured sound-quality generally of this bonus disc can of course in no way reach the level of the main album, but I guess these recordings are rather meant to give the younger SC-listeners a chance to get an impression, with which equipment and recording possibilities it all has started. Die-hard CD collectors still need the original version of all albums and compilations around that time. Same for the content of the bonus disc, the missing 'Never Get Out' Insecticide-remix could hurt the interested listener, while the value of the long out-of-print Kugelblitz-compilation remains the same. Nevertheless it is a nice idea to re-release all of these classic SC-albums especially to those fans, who know Johan van Roy's audio efforts only under the Harsh-EBM / Hellectro-banner. His being as the 'Godfather of Hellectro' has totally different roots, as this first DCD set proves.
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Artist: Outer Space
Title: Akashic Record (Events: 1986-1990)
Format: 12"
Label: Spectrum Spools/Mego (@)
Rated: *****
Just like a skilled team of competent mechanical engineers, whose assignment is the crossing of the highest peaks of technology or the improvement of an already perfect machine, the (musically) incontinent musician John Elliott, his precious assistant Andrew Veres and a strong cast of occasional and habitual collaborators - Jeff Hatfield from Fragments, Philip Whiteside from Wavehead and former Coil member Drew Mcdowall - equips winged steeds from notorious stables such as those ones by Klaus Schulze, Ozric Tentacles or Ash Ra Tempel with enhanced caparison, forged with the help of old-fashioned, but always tremendously incisive, sound machines suh as the glorious Korg MS20, Arp Solus, Moog or Roland Rs-101 in order to push his solo-project Outer Space amidst the cases of Akasha, a sort of all-embracing archive or a universal supercomputer including all fatcs about humans and cosmos, which can be accessed through a deep hypnotic state or so-called astral projections according to theosophy, and take some note from its huge records. Beyond its unavoidable mystical references, ascribable to that "vanity" of sound, which was stigmatized by Herr Schulze, it seems that John grinded Outer Space's sound with more aggressive synth cycles, whose gnashing sounds like tracing a Gaussian curve as it reaches its peak in the "central" track "The Fifth Column", whereas the ascending line begins with the hollow intro of "Ellipse" which precedes the first psychedelic sequence and continues on the heady synth-loops of "11:38" - maybe the most kindred to Schulze's cosmic trots - and the descending stretch begins with the entrancing computational melody of "October 27th, 1989 - Bay Village, Ohio" and softly lands on the placid waves of "February 8th, 1990 - Ashland, Ohio". "Akashic Record (Events: 1986 - 1990)" is definitively pure bliss for synth lovers!
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