Music Reviews



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Artist: Aktive][Hate (@)
Title: In Terrorem
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
After the both quite entertaining demo recordings, still freely downloadable by the Portuguese label Enough Records, I was quite pleased to see this one-man-project signed to a label. 'In Terrorem' is therefore the official CD debut for this talented artist active under his pseudonym ISK. And it is a filled release, you'll get 74 minutes of Harsh EBM/Hellectro music, which offers still some interesting components asides that usual experience. First of, and quite important, Mr. ISK has discovered the existence of a guitar, as he throws in some supportive Metal-like riffs. Musically not surprising for this genre, but I cannot imagine, that I heard any guitar on his demo recordings. Tracks like 'My Own God', 'Phantom' or 'Knee Deep' are rather more representing the usual course, while 'FU' (Yes, the 'magically' two words 'F... You'), or 'Diseased' are raging wild with this Metal guitar support. 'Mixed Feelings' rather surprises with a more melodic design, also the vocals (... is there a prominent guest singer at work...?) got contrary performed between abrasive and natural sounding. Another tune, which breaks out of this music formula has to be named with the dark, piano-driven tune 'Sacramentum', a sad, rather Goth-like instrumental ballad, which you wouldn't normally expect from a band-project out of this genre. 'Play The Game' seems to one of the main tracks for this album and leads Mr. ISK back on the straight course. This tune got additionally remixed by TWILLIGHT FREAKSHOW and accomplishes this album. 'In Terrorem doesn't re-invent the wheel, as this wasn't to expect. But it is an entertaining produced album, which balances musically somewhere between the last CEDIGEST album and ISK's country-mates E.S.C. ' not the worst references, don't you think?
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Artist: Pixel Hero
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Sturm (@)
Rated: *****
Latvia's PIXEL HERO isn't a graphic-designer, but an Electro/Industrial-music producing one-man-project founded by Wormboy. Signed to the Sturm label group and community, I was quite curious, how this album would sound. Let's say, that PIXEL HERO is strictly dedicated to all forms of Electronica music based in the early 80ies, at times where Atari computer have been in use to create some raw noises and play some early video-games. Some titles out of the track list are proving this dedication, like 'Alien Caverns', 'Asteroid Deathmatch', or 'Nebular Car Dump' for example. Be it early EBM, Minimal, or at least rhythmically Powernoise music, I was also astonished, how raw some of these tracks are coming out: 'Orbital Bombing', as being the opener., spits out all of that pseudo-aggression, which can be found quite often in the roster of this fine Latvian label-collective. The more exceptional tunes can be named with those, which leave a bit the monotonous minimal path, 'Squad '99' is such an example, which offers some nice hooks and cool Hi-Q percussion inserts. If you have found some satisfaction with projects like SYSTEM (Progess Productions), NEON COIL (Klangdynamik), or the last MIND.IN.A.BOX-recordings, then you should be informed, that PIXEL HERO is the more drastically outfit in a relative comparable kind music/sound programming. So let's hope, that this story doesn't end abruptly after the twelfth track aptly entitled 'End Boss / Death of The Pixel Hero'...
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Artist: Nexus VI
Title: Apocalypse
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
NEXUS VI are one of those newly discovered, refreshing Electro/Industrial projects out of the Russian underground scene, who decided to agree a contract for their official debut release with the Hungarian-based label Advoxya Records. Previously discovered here and there via MySpace and placed on some compilations, this project seemingly consists of two men / two women, who prefer to hide themselves behind those notorious pseudonyms like Neuromancer, Cyanic, Nike, and Neurobitch. However, this all hasn't anything to do with their music, which is a diverse mixture, which balances a bit between classic Goth-Rock featuring angelic female vocals, and a rather raw sounding Electro/Industrial-related outfit. It doesn't wonder too much, if a Russian colleague-project like PURPLE FOG SIDE can be named for comparable skills ' it fits perfectly that PFS also appear on this album with a remix contribution on the track 'Agony'. Also worth to mention are those tunes, which combine the best all elements out their musically dimension, 'Made Of Fear' and 'Forgotten Hero' are worth to mention. 'Apocalypse' has its moments and can entertain with a few tunes here ' although this Russian quartet isn't (yet) able to offer a high-end quality album, which takes an international-based audience by storm. Still a lot of work and space for development ' but nevertheless a quite fair debut.
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Artist: Geomatic
Title: 64 Light Years Away
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Another new signing for the still refreshing Tympanik Audio label is the Dutch project GEOMATIC, which could earn a lot of good reactions by both, press and audience, with the release of the debut 'Blue Beam' on the French IDM/Electronica label M-Tronic. And already with the dramatic and bombastic arranged opening track 'Nanu Ano', this project celebrates an impressive piece of work, which is able to set standards. Just imagine the most complex Dark Electronica music normally provided by bands like ZENTRIERT INS ANTLITZ, REMAIN SILENT or MC1R, and you'll should able to know about this fantastic track. Fair comparisons to this bombastic tune can be also drawn on 'Shesqi', 'Drifting Away' and 'Above Horizon'. This rather Blade-Runner-like Electro-stuff gets a bit more calm, lesser raging and pacing, while it still impresses with its dark mood and the bizarre, at times 'oriental'-like, voice samples and synth drops thrown in ('White Hole, Dark Soul'). GEOMATIC somehow reanimate the ideal, that to listen to their music always means to consume something unheard and unexpected. Let the too early gone GRIDLOCK or ACCESS TO ARASAKA being godfathers for one or another arrangement or sound design, in addition to the above mentioned artists - but who cares? The title '64 Light Years Away' can be taken seriously, as GEOMATIC offers a fantastic sounding trip influenced by an undiscovered outer-space-like environment. The programming skills of this mysterious project are top-notch and are kicking a lot of those so-called 'high complex' productions out of the field. GEOMATIC aren't unrivalled in the stable of Tympanik Audio, but already with this debut for this IL-based label, they cementing a kind of exceptional state in this highly recognized label roster. Fucking awesome, keep it on!
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Artist: Merzbow/Z'ev (@)
Title: Spiral Right/Spiral Left
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
After 20 years of rumors of a forthcoming collaboration, recantations, postponements, these two blazoned masters of noise, who don't actually need any introduction having both of them an enviable curriculum and a remarkably tried experience in their field, have finally co-signed a collaborative release, even if the two long-lasting cochlear corrosions, tympanic drillings or, if you prefer, spirals are mutual mixing and shaping of each sonic code. A mission accomplished by Cold Spring's appreciated label manager Justin Mitchell.

If I exclude the inevitable sonic rampage for a while and their skills in making typhoons acting more as sorcerers than as callow blunderers from mastered or digital noises, an art whose secrets are deeply known by Masami Akita aka Merzbow, and from percussions often obtained from scraps, whose craftsman is the American (even if actually living in Peckham, UK, with Barbara Steveni, where he also mixed Merzbow's code on 20th August 2008, the first track of this emisymmetrical issue, whose first 13 minutes are really going to let your ears bleed) artist, musician and trusted pioneer of industrial music Stefan Joel Weisser aka Z'ev, one of the first aspect which has stricken me is the substantial stylistical homogeneity of both rehashes. The above mentioned first spiral is maybe the most difficult to listen for untrained ears especially for its tremendously harsh first part, where the blast of noises could sound more irritating than an imaginary suite for a quartet of hoovers, supported by a food grinder, a jackhammer and a jet engine, while the second spiral featuring some guitar modulations is definitively more bearable and enriched with urban field recordings, but it's practically impossible to appreciate it without considering the ritual core of this issue, putting it up as a soundtrack for an imaginary metropolitan hell, whose cyclic chants sounds as frightening as seducing. Even if not intended for the masses, this experimental release, whose package features graphic arts by Abby Helasdottir, is really stunning.
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