Music Reviews



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Artist: Leichenwetter (@)
Title: Zeitmaschine
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Less than six months ago, we introduced and appreciated Leichenwetter's Legende and I personally decided to relisten some of their past releases so that it was almost immediate to notice the significant improvement of their sound. The following step of a careful listener is quite logical and could consist of a sort of imaginary bookbinding of their past releases according to their renowned style and - abracadabra (or whichever hocus pocus you prefer!) - here it is playing in my headphones! Someone could malign saying it's too easy to do it if someone already wrote lyrics centuries ago...but that could be an unjust and hasty sentence they definitively don't deserve! The powerful and vibrant voice by Numen (there're many moments when his voice make listener's skin crawl such as when he roars Allerseelen by Georg Trakl, Schwanenlied by Gottfried August Burger or Im Nebel by Hermann Hesse) has been propelled by the female one by Nina twice (for the above-mentioned Schwanenelied, my favorite track, and Die Zeit Geht Nich, a great poem by Ottfried Keller...I've not premised they just sing German poems - mainly belonging to Expressionism, Sturm und Drang and Weimar Classicism - as I presumed you already know this feature of this German band...beware: they just use German - a detail I appreciated a lot -!), while their sound features more electronics side by side the massive epic guitar walls. Leichenwetter properly called such a maquillage Zeitmaschinee (Time-machine), even if it's quite controversial if they travel towards past glorious ages or if they just evoked past poets to let them live again in our ones...or just both! Intellectual (but not necessarily snobbish) musical surgery (or time travelling!), you'll easily enjoy!
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Artist: Vendemmian
Title: One In A Million
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
It seems Vendemmian managed to seize the white rabbit with the clock by ears after a long-lasting chase, grabbed neaby the musical coordinates of 80ies wave rock and roasted with delicious sweet potatoes and carrots as side dish on the red-hot pan of the genuine goth-metal spread by glorious bands such as Paradise Lost. After six albums between 1993 and 1997, they disappeared from radars for almost 12 years, then after their comeback album One More Time in 2008, they're trying to refresh a little bit their sound, a mission which is not easy to accomplish if such a sharpening has been made on blades wielded by many leading character of known past splendours of that scene. Many listeners could consider them old-fogeys, but the somewhat desperate declarations of love, who are going to be easily nibbled and digested by fans of notorious bands such as Sisters Of Mercy, Joy Division, Cure, The Mission or The Cassandra Complex, could be object of a sort of translitteration addressed to them. The chances of stimulating love amidst them could be one in a million (sorry for easy paraphrase!), but it's a chance the front-leader and singer Mark Douglas and Vendemmian Dave are going to take and these chances become higher especially when they let more danceable tunes off the leash, particularly in "lighter" tracks such as I'm Falling, Shine On (whereas lyrics such as "I never forget how I met you/drawn together in a moment/and everything's always right when you're with me/and I never felt this way before" act as spices in such a stylistical tensely past-tense soup!), the above-mentioned One In A Million or Innocent, the moving Innocent (looking like the ultimate pray to a deaf lover: "why will no-one listen to a word I have to say/I'm trying to tell you the truth please listen to me I pray/I write it down I spell it out but you turn your back away"). The way they bring this release to an end, the sad and whining Sea Of Colours, being a sort of honest act of awareness about some ineluctability in love affairs (a dark-gothic leitmotiv), sounds like a ray of light in a so pervasive nostalgic darkness...Even if this release doesn't include fireworks or surprising moments, it will be appreciated by many listener suffering from nostalgia....and arguably obsession as well!
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Artist: Verdiana Raw (@)
Title: Demo
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
This is a new project from Firenze, Italy, started by the young and talented artist Verdiana Raw, joined by Antonio Bacchi on guitar with the later addition of Fabio Chiari on percussions. All the compositions are based on Verdiana's vocals and piano. Songs are deeply evocative, not merely melancholic, the emotive spectrum is wider though the atmosphere is always pretty much ethereal. Some extremely rarefied guitar parts wisely overlapped strengthen the effect. Vocals are the outstanding point, ranging from sweet tones to some crazier pitches, capable of harmonic and timbric "jumps" like madame Diamanda Galas taught. And yes, I guess that Diamanda Galas is a strong influence, I dare say early Dead Can Dance are also a big influence. Maybe also because of the alleged esoteric topics, the reminded me a lot of Ordo Equitum Solis in their minimal version, I find a lot of similarities between Verdiana and Leithana's singing. This project deserves your attention, I'm sure that a bright future stands in front of them simply because they deserve it, talent won't be wasted, no crap!
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Artist: Atomic Neon
Title: Change
Format: CD
Label: Black Rain (@)
Rated: *****
I use to remember an italian band that was so fond of Ramones that was called Bernardones. The musical result was indeed not as hilarious as the monicker, and of course not as good as Ramones. That's the problem, when the role model is so clearly shown it's impossible to avoid comparisons with the original, and the result is always the same: you can't compete with the Gods. That's why I hate cover bands. That's why Atomic Neon job is very dangerous. After a first superficial listen you can already frame them in coldwave style, and most of all vocals are a complete Robert Smith rip-off'¦ but not as good. The only way to avoid comparisons with the Gods is trying to make the whole thing as much personal as possible, alternatively doing it in a "godly" way. Luckily music is not just an exercise of Cure-like playing, but it's 100% coldwave the way you would expect it. So fans of the genre will be very pleased from this album, music is sad, harmonization between bass, guitar and keyboards is melancholic, very well done, perfectly 80's if it wasn't for the sound. That's the only thing Atmoc Neon didn't stick to the 80's with, the sound is very modern, and maybe coldwave fans with ears that care might find it a bit overproduced and not raw and spontaneous enough. There's also a hidden ebm mix after the last and 13th track
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Artist: KAVAL
Title: Sky Of Mirrors
Format: 12"
Label: Das Drehmoment (@)
Rated: *****
Three years from the release of the Keen K EP, the label Das Drehmoment is back with the first release of Kaval titled SKY OF MIRRORS. Formed by Roberto Auser (he's based in Rotterdam and has at his active releases with Alden Tyrell on Bear Funk and solo on Bear Funk and Nature Records) and Ian Martin (he is an artist and DJ based in Rotterdam with releases on Strange Life Records, Bunker Records and Further Records at his active), Kaval on their fist vinyl album bring in ten tracks which form two long suites inspired by the electronic pioneers of the 70s (Vangelis and the all the cosmic synth voyagers of the likes of Klaus Schulze, Robert Schroeder, etc) and by John Carpenter' soundtracks. Sounding now experimental, then tribal, the duo succeeds into creating tense atmospheres that often have epic synth melodies and sparse rhythmic fill-ins. Being a middle way from horror soundtracks and cosmic/ambient trips, SKY OF MIRRORS is a nightmarish album that is able to hypnotize its audience and slowly weaving its web that will trap them. Check it out!
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