Music Reviews



cover
Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Dark Past 02 – The Politics of Detroit
Format: CD
Label: Dark Past (@)
Rated: *****
A quite surprising comeback for this Chicago-based small label now releasing their second compilation. Dark Past stands mostly for the lighter side of Electro/Industrial music and offers in the first instance space for Future- and Electropop-genres. The line-up of this new CD compilation includes already discovered names like PULSE STATE, the label head himself, active under his very own name, TED CIKOWSKI, or the raw SOFTCORE, this time side by side with the COP-recording female artist CHIASM ("Soulprint"). PULSE STATE opens this compilation with the track "Escaping The Unknown" in a known kind with clear arrangements, easy-to-follow synth and drum patterns and a satisfying vocal performance. This act still counts to be an insider tip, but maybe with more satisfying tracks like this one, and especially with the winning remix for INFORMATIK, this project will start now into a brighter future? Label chief TED CIKOWSKI has received two free slots on this new compilation, his music is more raw compared with PULSE STATE, but to me it still lacks of a clearer production, especially on the vocals. Better constituted seems to be the second track "Pegasys" with a better synth play. I also would like to spend applause to D:KONSTRUCT for their track "Calling Out Your Name" for being a quite satisfying Futurepop-track in vein of PRIDE AND FALL, but the second track "This Regret" alters the first good impression, since the support of guitar riff sounds rather disturbing here. SOFTCORE don’t offer anything for the laughs, they rather try to reach a slot in the Guinness Book of records, because of their multiple usage of the evil "F..."-word in their track "Kick In The Face". The music is an angry bawling and filled with guitars, just like the lyrics performance would require it. Good to see/hear, that they’ve decided to include an instrumental tune for their second slot. Finally I would praise the marvelous done track "Pray" by FIREWERK, which reanimates the old Coldwave tradition of acts like the early 16 VOLT or SISTER MACHINE GUN. All bands are hailing out of the Chicago area, so to collect them and to offer them a CD compilation especially to reach the local scene makes sense. I have doubts that the content of this compilation has seriously anything to do with the local politics, but however, this second issue generally rivals with the quality and content of the first compilation.

Tracklist -

1 Pulse State - Escaping the Unknown
2 Ted Cikowski - Equestriani
3 d:Konstruct - Calling Out Your Name
4 Chiasm - Soulprint
5 Softcore - Kick in the Face
6 Der Nistler - Star Trippin
7 d:Konstrukt - This Regret
8 Ted Cikowski - Pegasys
9 Softcore - Dying Trying
10 Firewerk - Pray
image not
available
anymore
Artist: Psyclon Nine (@)
Title: We The Fallen
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Industrial Music
Rated: *****
That PSYCLON NINE wouldn’t return with an album comparable to "INRI", we had to learn already with their predecessor. "We The Fallen" picks up this rather ominous and morbid content of "Crwn Thy Frnicatr", but it also balances better the differences between the atmospheric Dark Industrial tunes and the Black Metal-related attacking guitar riffs. Other things of course do not change at all. There’s still the ugly-kid-of-the-neighborhood-like screaming vocal performance of frontman Ner0 Bellum – his assaulting input may penetrates your nerves once or another time – but it nevertheless has become a trademark of PSYCLON NINE – just like Ogre for PUPPY. "We The Fallen" is the expected soundtrack for your personal apocalypse, harsh, raw and angst-driven. The pressure pressed out of their machines, supported by devilish Black-Metal-like guitar riffs has still an authentic note. Their tracks of course aren’t no longer suitable for Electro/EBM-fanatics only, but I guess with tracks like "We The Fallen" or "There But For The Grace Of God" PSYCLON NINE will be able to kick in some door of the short-haired rivetheads. Other tracks like "Heartworm" or "Widowmaker" will let some Metalheads doing their head-banging. Accomplished with another tour throughout the States, you can be assured, that the successful story of this trio will continue.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: Assemblage 23 (@)
Title: Spark
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Industrial Music
Rated: *****
May the pauses between two albums get longer, because we all get older – but is it me, or has it really taken a tiny eternity until Tom Shear would continue with his marvelous career under his moniker ASSEMBLAGE 23? "Spark" – the appetizer for Tom’s upcoming new album "Compass" comes out like a long-missed friend. Quality composition meets catchy Synth arrangements with the right speed to reach dancefloor-compatibility, meets Tom’s deep male vocal performance. Sure, "Spark" won’t re-invent his self-initiated music genre Synth-/Futurepop, but to me this track is about light-years better than "Binary", the Si-CD release out of "Meta". Unfortunately this counts only for Tom’s self-produced original version of this track, I am not too happy with remix contributions provided by COMBICHRIST and by Jade of BLAQK AUDIO. It shows once again, that only very seldom a remix can be able to reach the quality of the original – but what the heavily overestimated COMBICHRIST have produced here with plain and minimal bass lines and cow bells (?) is noting else than ridiculous. Two additional b-sides are available, on which the instrumental "Helicopter Girl" with it’s abstract synth drops rather reminds on Tom’s side-project NERVE FILTER, while "The Poison Moon" is well done enough to take part on an album – no filling stuff at all. "Spark" is all in all a good appetizer for the new album, although the remix contributions can not avoid the impression, that they got included because of business-related reasons.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: SUICIDE COMMANDO (@)
Title: Until We Die / Severed Head
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Industrial Music
Rated: *****
2009 has been a year full of activity for Johan van Roy, but I guess you haven’t heard of it? No worries, several important things have happened in his private life. Johan has married and has become father. And besides all of these good things, his newly contracted deal with the German label giant Out Of Line seems to be the right tool to promote his now 23 years long career under the moniker SUICIDE COMMANDO. And to start this new deal, this 2-track release has been originally released in Germany as a limited 7 " vinyl-single edition. That’s indeed a hard-to-get-item especially dedicated to the collectors, for Johan it is the first time, that he could get out a release in this rare format. As usual licensed to Metropolis to service the North-American market, this is available as a digital download only format. The tracks itself are surprising arranged: "Until We Die" is rather a step back to roots and has nothing to do with the harsh and violent assault known from his last album "Bind, Torture and Kill". With ist rather mid-tempo foundation, it reminds strong on track like "State Of Emergency" and the still beloved first 3 albums. The b-side "Severed Head" picks up this mood, but it is an isntrumental tune, which proves Johan’s ability to install dramatic voice samples. Good and quality Dark Electro stuff, especially for fans a must-have item.
cover
Artist: Voice of Eye (@)
Title: Seven Directions Divergent
Format: CD
Label: Conundrum Unlimited (@)
Distributor: Conundrum Unlimited
Rated: *****
Voice of Eye is the duo of Bonnie McNaim and Jim Wilson that stated in Houston, Texas in 1989 and later removed to Talos, New Mexico. You wouldn’t expect music like this coming out of either of those locations, but then again there is nothing normal’ about Voice of Eye. I am familiar with project from their excellent Vespers’ CD from 1994, and did not realize they have at least 16 or 17 other releases on CD, CDR, cassette and vinyl. Most of them are limited and difficult (maybe impossible in some cases) to find now. I was really happy to receive their latest effort to review.

As Vespers’ is my only real basis of comparison for the work of Voice of Eye, I will have to use that as a reference point. On that CD Voice of Eye’s music was mostly dark ambient soundscape with a tribal undercurrent. Very atmospheric, somewhat along the lines of Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana, and most of it too dark to be mis-classified as New Age. It is an excellent work, one of the best dark ambient albums of the 1990’s and well worth owning if you can find it. I honestly don’t know how they achieved some of the sonics they came up with on Vespers’, it is that mind-bending at times. You not only get the impression of vast amounts of space, but it also conjures images of alien landscapes and primeval entities. Very cool.

Seven Directions Divergent’ is different though. And not in a bad way either. In fact, what Voice of Eye has done on this new album sets them well apart from so many other artists. The album opens with a strong dubby track ("Gates of Mysterious Fire") that recalls elements of krautrock, Frippertronics, Gong (the band, not the instrument), Pink Floyd, space-rock, psychedelia, and related. Bonnie’s vocals (I assume it is Bonnie singing) are wispy, ethereal tendrils of enchanted mystery, beckoning the listener ever onward and inward. What amazes me is the statement on the CD: "All sounds are acoustic in origin. No synthesizers were used." It wouldn’t matter to me if they did use synthesizers, but achieving this without them is simply incredible!

The track that follows, "Where are You?" keeps the music in the spacey realm while employing processed acoustic guitar, again with vocals by Bonnie. Although it could be considered a song, you get more of a certain "feeling" rather than anything traditionally resembling a song. "Fish Radio" is immersed in a swirl of psychedelic ambience and space-burbling. It seemed kind of transitional to me; perhaps the least engaging track on the album. That was immediately transcended by "Golden Space Funk Transmission". We’re really getting into space-rock territory here. Imagine the spacier elements of Hawkwind, Amon Duul, Ash Ra Temple, Ozric Tentacles, etc., and you get the drift. It could almost be called progressive in a way; there are certainly some progressive touches incorporated in the changes but it never strays into jazz or classical territory the way so many progressive rock bands did. Drums are there pumping the rhythm along but subdued; with all the cosmic elements at the forefront. How the hell was this done without synthesizers? It boggles the mind.

Eastern-themed overtones appropriately set the mood on "Om Shanti," with spiritually soothing vocals blended into the mix. If you listen to a lot of ambient chillout music, especially from the post-new age halcyon days when it seemed like there were so many compilations being put out you couldn’t keep up with them, then this should be familiar terrain. But this track is a cut above most of what passed for Eastern-Ambient back then.

"Remember" is a track that is much more a traditional song. Male lead vocals and acoustic guitar with psych ambience. Pink Floyd meets Pink Dots. It might make you think of Mercury Rev or Flaming Lips, but really better than either in capturing the essence of the psychedelic song form, in my estimation. Final track "Transformational Birth" heads off into deep ambient space for a little over eighteen minutes of cozmic bliss. When you return back to planet earth, you may not remember it all, but you WILL remember it was good. Very good. I recommend this as a strong buy. Even though I listed their main website in this review, go to the Voice of Eye MySpace site and listen to some of the tracks from this CD. If you’re not blown away, I’d be very surprised.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901] [902] [903] [904] [905] [906] [907] [908] [909] [910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha