Music Reviews



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Artist: Scortilla
Title: Fahrenheit 451
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows Records (@)
Rated: *****
Formed in Genoa in 1979 Scortilla officially released only a 12" in 1984 which contained their hit "Fahrenheit 451". That song gathered into one danceable catchy tune, new wave and synthpop influences and brought the band to the attention of the media but that was also the thing that made them disband, because Scortilla were much more than a one catchy single band. In 2006, Pivio, their singer, who now is a movie soundtracks composer, released a CD/DVD compilation about them and watching their performances or only their rehearsals, you realize that they had a huge potential. Influenced by Devo and generally by the post wave sounds, Scortilla's sound was amazing: they used synths for noises or melodies, sax to enhance the nervous tense atmosphere of certain songs, guitar as a sharp knife, bass like a sensual funky weapon and above all, Pivio's vocals that was able to give power to their tracks while giving the impression to be about to have a nervous breakdown. They performed different times at the Psycho club in Genoa as well as at the Verona's arena at the peak of their career. Their live performance was near to art rock and it was an experience to live. This Synthetic Shadows Records album, reissue most of their first tape "Box", originally released in 1981, "Climax " recorded live in 1983 and a version of their hit "Fahrenheit 451" recorded on 1984. That tape contained live and studio tracks recorded in 1981 and since from the first song that opens this record, "Ribellione Programmata", you can agree with me that their sound was a blast! You can find irony, experimentation, energy and tension, all into one song! This is a release to have, definitely! Scortilla should be gone but they won't be forgotten...
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Artist: Marchoff & Droin
Title: Source Of Vectors
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This new release from Zoharum, part of IYHHH series, is dedicated to Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson so the linear notes from the label cite album like "Worship the Glitch" and "Time Machines". Musically speaking it wanders between electroacoustics and noise aesthetics and, to give flavor to the recipe, it features even dub/illbient so this could be described as a work of research.
The tunes titles are symbols so they will be referred as numbers. "1" opens this release with a sense of ritual clearly obtained with metallic resonance above silence while "2" is a noise track with an usual development as it feature a wide dynamics. "3" starts with drones until the drums start to color the soundscape. "4" starts with an almost noisy drone and develop in territories between dark ambient and industrial. "5" returns to quieter territories and features and almost dancey beat. "6" closes this release with a sharp drone and develops in a noisy manner.
This album is courageous in his search of new territories between ritual drones and noises. It's not an easy listening even for fans of the genre but it's something that will last for a long time in the playlist. Highly recommanded.
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Artist: Terminal State
Title: Illegal Space Activity / Trespassed Area 53
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Electro Aggression Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
It has surely taken far too long until this Slovakian Electro/Industrial project has finally released its second full-length after an international rather poor discovered debut entitled 'Unline Codes' on the long defunct Broken Seal label back in 1998. Those days have been fabulous for Slovakian bands with the first releases of KIFOTH and/or Disharmony. And so also Terminal State have been mostly euphoric welcomed with their dedication to follow musically one or another idea of some Canadian idols (FLA, Numb, lesser Puppy). 'Illegal Space Activity', and not to forget the companion second disc 'Trespassed Area 53', which offers much more than a dull collected remix contender, can be hardly compared with their early debut release. Since their debut has been released 15 years before, it was finally time to return and to invade the hearts of the interested listeners by storm. Whatever they've done through all the years, one thing is quite sure: Terminal State don't have an interest to mess up with the latest FLA works in vein of 'Artificial Soldier' or 'I. E. D.' - this album also is not at all a 'Caustic Grip'- clone. They surely have studied and at least inhaled a lot of the talent of the gentlemen Leeb / Fulber, which can be especially discovered in such breathtaking bass-line sequencing work, they are capable to provide. Straight, forward-marching tracks like 'Fatalist' (...what a well-fitting track-name...), 'Andromeda', 'Outbreak' or the last, but not least placed killer track 'Natural City' are brilliant examples of their high-skilled programming abilities. And - surprise, surprise - haven't I heard same guitar samples well installed in a track like 'Devastating Toxicity'? And it isn't only this component: also the rhythm and percussion section offers a lot of variety. Here and there it swings pretty often between Breakbeat and the expected 4-on-floor formula and this all fits so perfectly with the overall futuristic, on science fiction themes based foundation. The old school sounds futuristic? If this statement sounds paradox initially, it only proofs, that the musically efforts of the mentioned Canadian giants FLA and/or Numb are timeless. Terminal State do not rely to warm-up the ideas masters here, they rather add a constant good and very refreshing produced alternative recording, which can be placed side by side to the top-notch releases. 'Illegal Space Activity' is throughout a satisfying and respectable return for this Slovakian duo. As for me it leaves a smile when I listen to the last whispered lines of 'Natural State' and it pushes me often to press the 'repeat' button on my home entertainment - but wait: the reward named 'Trespassed Area 53' in form of full-length second CD still needs to be discovered. As already described above, this one offers much more than a usual collection of foreign remix works, it also features 6 unreleased tracks quite worth to discover. Be assured: there is no filler stuff at all! Remix works got provided by two times Brain Leisure, by Jihad, the German duo Pyrolline, and the new label colleagues of tEaR!doWn. They all are standing for an awesome line-up to guarantee quality remix impressions. The winner - to me - is nevertheless the alternative version of 'Andromeda' by Terminal State themselves: This is purest Blade-Runner-Entertainment as its best! 'Luc Cipher' is an opulent layered instrumental tune giving you another decent example of the richly depth in their programming skills. Maybe to discover 2 detailed and lasting produced full-length albums gets a bit time-consuming, it is nevertheless a masterpiece quite worth to invest the time. The whole album in its lasting effect will leave you deeply impressed. Double CD full-length releases have been seldom caused so much impression during this year so far.
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Artist: Bog ~ Morok
Title: The Inevitability
Format: CD
Label: Artificial Sun (@)
Rated: *****
Prominent in their home-based Metal scene since longer than 15 years by having played various styles (Black Metal, Death Metal, Nu Metal), now this Russian 4-men outfit hailing out of Rybinsk tries to transform this fame to an international audience. It surely won't fail if it comes to count the promotional efforts and activities of their new label Artificial Sun, but what finally counts is their music and here it gets a bit problematic. Quite too often I get the impression that they are definitely more inspired by Metal-styles than that there could be figured out a real Industrial- or Electro-vibe behind them. Compared to their Kaliningrad-based countrymen of Type V Blood I miss a bit that raw and uncontrollable drive provided by their Punk elements. A good example for this is the title track. Raw and energetic in its original version and the clear male vocals of band-leader Ilya 'Morok' Corzo celebrating the Moshpit pretty much, but the remix contributions of the already mentioned Type V Blood and moreover Reactor are able to kick the original out of the field. It looks pretty much that their new 'Industrial' identity got later added to get a bit more compatible to the label roster ' and this works only so and so. I like those tracks which tend to vary a bit with the drum programming, those Break-Beat inspired works ('T.M.O. (Burning Toxins Mix)', 'Take Me Away (Burning All Mix)'). Also worth to mention is their cover on Michael Jackson's 'Scream': I couldn't recognize the original. All in all not a bad effort, but if they seriously intent to storm the violent Industrial playground, it still needs a bit more blood and sweat by programming better synths- / fx-efforts in their studio rooms.

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Artist: Type V Blood
Title: Penta
Format: CD
Label: Artificial Sun (@)
Rated: *****
A new label we like to welcome in front of the international dark scene, which actually tries hard to survive on the hard fought and rotten conceptual field of physically releases. This Artificial Sun shines bright in these days and it is a conspicuous fact that they are hailing out of Russia. With the noble mission to lead mainly Russian Industrial-/Metal-/Crossover-projects into a sonic war to reach attention internationally, they have indeed some nice horses added to their stable, like this Kaliningrad-based duo for example. Type V Blood aren't at all bloody newcomers and can already look back on a handful releases on different underground labels, but also the legendary Russian Metal-institution Irond. 'Penta' could be indeed a kind of break-through for them, because they balance pretty well Nu-Metal with Electro/Industrial plus a constant portion of angry Punk-like influences. Think of rawest Angelspit meets Biopsy meets Acumen Nation, and you'll get a hint, how their pounding onslaught may sounds. The good and remarkable content of their music is surely the fact, that the electronic ingredients are playing an important role of their whole aural concept. Tracks like the raw, fast forward marching 'Wild & Dirty' will surely leave you breathless in front of your home entertainment. Diversity can be also discovered in their kind to install their male vocals. Be it that Death-Metal-like growling, that angry screaming, or a calm, natural sounding, unprocessed kind ' they are capable to present all thinkable styles. And even if some of their compositions take a stumbling, at times chaotic sounding path ('Black Metal Cenotaph', 'Christorium'), they contrary are also able to provide more calm elements and linearity, sometimes with an easy-minded 'singing-along-the-lyric-line' factor ('All My Girls (feat. Andrey Zodchly)', 'Go-Go-Gothic (feat. Nataly Protasova)'). 'Penta' stands globally for entertainment in a musically relative raw environment ' not the easiest cake to bite for sure, but with a respectable content of authenticity. With 19 tracks, among others also including a cover version of the Metal-veterans Accept ('Fast As A Shark'), this album is opulently filled, although I have some doubts in the quality and seriousness of their chosen remix contributors. Some of them alter a bit the overall positive impression, while others can take this opportunity for well-working self-promotion (Bleak Freak's remix of 'Hi Tech / Low Life' RAWKS!). Artificial Sun couldn't find any better kick-starter for their label debut, so let's hope to be able to check out more quality Russian Hybrid-Metal-stuff.
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