Music Reviews

May 11 2011
Title: Solar Flare
Format: CD
Label: Avant! Records (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by Amanda Eriksson and Hannes Norrvide, Lust For Youth are duo coming from Goteborg, Sweden that during the latest two years have already released six tapes and a split 7" with Blessure Grave. SOLAR FLARE is their first album and it has been released on vinyl and CD, both by Avant! and on tape by Jartecknet. The album contains twelve tracks that mix distorted guitars, analog noises, dark atmospheres and unintelligible lyrics/vocals. Try to imagine My Bloody Valentine playing Cabaret Voltaire covers using broken keyboards, basic drum machine 4/4 rhythms and mumbling voices. You can find dark wave and also sparse dance elements (like on "Sickness") here and there but the effect created by Lust For Youth is comparable to a constant flux of sounds where you can find melodies, noises, rhythms and emotions. You can check it here
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Artist: Black Wedding (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Black Wedding - 'Black Wedding'

After several years of collaborating on ideas and concepts, and the successful release of their previous EP 'Control', Joshua Heinrich and Julie Johnson return under the moniker of 'Black Wedding'.

Fusing traditional Goth, Electro, Rock and new wave, Black Wedding have, at times, a cure-esque vibe to them, with heavy reverberations echoing around each of these after dark musings.
But these are encountered just as often as the electro tinged tracks that offer a nice diversion from what would otherwise feel like a straightforward Gothic Rock record, and lend themselves towards the new wave period.

There is an almost haunting quality to the whispered and blunted vocals, which always seem slightly distant, and this adds to the faintly unsettling feeling that permeates the whole album, as it seeks to envelop you in it's melancholia.

Whilst this can be seen as a either a positive or a negative inflection depending upon your tastes, it does definitely add a 'togetherness' and consistency to the whole album.

My major concerns with this album are both the pacing, and to a degree with the production.

Firstly, not unexpectedly for a band heavily influenced by Gothic music, the pace is often a little on the slow side, and the focus is more on mood and atmosphere as opposed to driving rhythms and Riff-age.
However, I think it is fair to say that a casual listener's feelings on whether or not this is a good thing would depend a lot on their musical heritage, and personal tastes.

Secondly, what the album gains in consistency, it loses in variety. The production on the vocals in particular is very samey from song to song, and this can quickly lead to listener's lethargy.

That aside, there are some very strong songs on this album such as' Control', 'Visions' and 'In A Darkened Time', and as far as contemporary Gothic records go, this definitely has its place on the scene, although I think there will be better to come from them in time.

If you like your music emotional, atmospheric and with New wave sensibilities, this album is definitely worth a listen.

However, the claustrophobic reverb, and lack of track by track variety may make it heavy going for those not from a traditionally Gothic background.

If you are interested in knowing more about the group, or purchasing the album, you can find the details on their Myspace page:
Artist: END: the DJ (@)
Title: Fires On The Shore
Format: CD EP
Label: Nilaihah Records (@)
Distributor: Nilaihah Records
Rated: *****
This isn't exactly new, but I don't seem to get stuff to review until well past the release date. It's like I'm living on some kind of remote island'¦in upstate New York!! Okay so I've never heard of END: the DJ before. Apparently on the Goth-Industrial dance club scene he's a pretty well-known guy. Then again there are hundreds of Goth-Industrial DJs I've never hard of. Having only hit the scene in 2008, END: the DJ has apparently made his mark opening for such acts as Panzer AG, Assemblage 23, FGFC820, Slick Idiot, Angels On Acid, Man + Machines and a host of others. END is also a part of Komor Kommando with Sebastian Komor, and Northborne with Christian Lund, both of Icon of Coil fame, some pretty impressive Goth-Industrial credentials.

Anyway, credentials aside, 'Fires On The Shore' is a collaborative effort of END, Tom Shear (Assemblage 23), Richard 'Uberman' Pine (Uberbyte), Clint Carney (System Syn), and Miss FD, along with a bunch of others but we'll just keep it simple for now. The song is an indictment of not only the BP oil spill, but of all corporate heedless destruction of the environment for the sake of profit. On this EP (really a maxi-single, in my opinion) you get six versions of the track.

Within the song itself there are four vocalists on duty trading verses and choruses- first Tom Shear, then Miss FD, Uberman, and finally Clint Carney. Uberman is the raspy-voiced guy, in case you didn't know. It makes for interesting stylistic variety, and works well within the framework of the song's lyrics. Although the original version of 'Fires On The Shore' is attributed to the band Souless Affection, it sounds a lot more like an Assemblage 23 composition than anyone else with straight ahead four-on-the floor club beat, throbbing bass and wall 'o sequenced synths orchestration. The Northborne Version (longest of the bunch) has an early (but not too early) Front Line Assembly feel to it with sparser orchestration and a definitive sequenced synth line. Miss FD opens with melodic wordless vocals then a verse. Then it's Toms turn, followed by Clint. I like it that Shear Carney and Miss FD share the chorus vocals. There is no Uberman in this mix.

The Erektor Version picks up the pace and adds crunchy percussion and electro-distortion. It's my least favorite version on the CD; it sounds rushed and abrasive. Takes the humanity right out of the mix, which was probably the intention. Uberman's treated vocals sounds like he's drowning in Correxit fluid. Somebody is going to love this warped version though; just not me. The Touched by Stahlnebel & Black Selket remix seems to stripped-down version of the original. For some reason, Uberman's vocals work best in this one. It's a good beat-forward club mix.

The Angels on Acid Version introduces different synth lines and mixes up the vocals in a cool creative way. It's moodier, more dramatic, and even drops the beat to allow some breathing space. It may not be the best version for the dancefloor but still has a lot of merit. The Shiv_R Version begins with throbbing bass and Miss FD's wordless vocals, followed with only kick drum and eerie synth on the verse she takes. Uberman takes the choruses. Things pick up as the song progresses. It's a strange version you'll just have to hear. My personal favorite was the Angels on Acid remix, but there is something here for everybody. By the way, it's a really good song too; it will stick in your head after only a couple of listens and should be excellent for the dance club as well.

There is a little something here for everybody on this max (or EP if you prefer), and here's the best part- the money spent by you on this CD is going to benefit the Gulf Waterkeepers. In case you didn't know, they were the first line of defense against the BP oil disaster, and they're still working hard to salvage what they can from this terrible mess, but they need your help. Just because the media seems to have forgotten the debacle at the Deeepwater Horizon oil rig, that doesn't mean it's gone, or problem solved. It will continue to impact the environment for a long time to come, and if you think that BP or the government is going to make it all better, guess again Batman. This is a fine effort of the Goth-Industrial community pulling together and I commend END for spearheading the project, assembling the talent for this collaborative effort, and Nilaihah for putting it out, along with everyone else involved. I'm awarding 5 stars (a rarity for me) not only because it is great, but also because it was done for a really good cause. I think you should buy it; you will have some great music, and you can feel good that your money is going to a worthy cause.
Artist: JUPIT3R
Title: Zipperumpazoo
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Vermin Street
Distributor: Additech
Rated: *****
Inspired by a 1970's children's book, ZIPPERUMPAZOO is the latest Jupit3r's release. The release contains five new tracks and four remixes of the main track reworked by Ruff Hauser (he did a powerful dubstep mix), Stephan Jacobs (dubstep and electro robotic leads are the main elements of his remix), Sugarpill (breakbeat and dubstep with fast arpeggios and some stop and go are his formula), and Quade syncopated breaks and dub bass lines are the core of this remix). The original tune is a great powerful robotic electro track with break vocal samples. "Point of you" is a electro dub tune with apocalyptic atmospheres. "Lumis on the moon" has a dubstep rhythmic section with the add of distorted monster syth samples. "Lazy" sounds like a distorted remix of an hip hop hit. "This is on" closes the EP with a mix of dubstep and cinematic robotic atmospheres. Nice one!
May 07 2011
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Title: Unlike
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Conzoom
Rated: *****
Born in 2007 from an extemporary collaboration between Krister Pettersson (Chinese Theatre) and Richard Flow (Strangel), after the first recordings Vision Talk became something more that a fun project and in these years released two albums. Signed recently to Conzoom, the band is about to release their third album titled "Distance" but before that, here's as appetizer the digital single UNLIKE. The main track is a catchy syncopated synthpop song that confirm that Swedish people are able to write cool tunes. The single contains two versions of the main track (normal and extended) plus three remixes (Parralox, People Theatre and Lustobjekt reworked the song creating a retro version, an upbeat disco mix and seducing vocoder trained version). The single contains a second song titled "The loner", here remixed by F.P. and Arachnophobias. It is an upbeat ballad with catchy female vocal lines which into the Arachnophobias remix turns into a distorted melancholic mid tempo tune.
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