Music Reviews



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Artist: Cease2Xist (@)
Title: Living By The Bullet
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Cease2Xist is the brainchild of Dayve Yates, an Industrial Musician from the UK.

Stating influences such as Grendel, Leather Strip, Atari Teenage Riot, Marilyn Manson and Skinny Puppy, Cease2Xist provides an aggressive but melodic approach to Industrial which should please hardcore industrial fans as well as offer an accessible route into the genre for the more casual listener.

Living By The Bullet is a powerful debut indeed, with very high production values evident from the outset, with every kick felt, every lead line well placed, and every vocal line managing to maintain its clarity despite a good dose of distortion.

The track that perhaps best encapsulates the feel of the EP is tellingly enough the title track "Living By The Bullet".
Featuring an unrelenting series of punchy bass lines, well positioned samples and a powerful vocal performance, this track runs the full gamut of EBM from heavy, to melodic, and back again.

The rest of this EP maintains this standard with more beat driven anthems that are destined for dance floors in the industrial scene.

The one criticism might be that there isn't much variation in the tracks in terms of style and impetus, but the EP is about the right length to ensure that this doesn't become a big problem.

In summary, Living By The Bullet is a very solid debut release, with a good mixture of power and melody that is sure to have something to offer most fans of Industrial or EBM, and with the EP currently available to download for free, there is little reason not to give it a chance.
Jan 19 2011
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Artist: MetaComplex
Title: Hybrid Enzymes
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Auditory Cortex Records
Rated: *****
Out on Auditory Cortex Records as the previous two releases, "Metaverse" EP and the "We will eliminate" single, HYBRID ENZYMES is the latest one by MetaComplex. Coming from Budapest, Hungary, Tamas Olejnik is the man behind MetaComplex and he's also active with the Antendex, Dublicator and Retax Gorgon monikers. The release contains three version of "Hybrid Enzymes": the original tune, the one remixed by Digitizer (they recently released "Computer Controlled", always on Auditory Cortex Records and you can find here on CHAIN D.L.K. its review) and the one remixed by DVS NME (they released a month ago their debut release but on the Greek label Binalog Productions). "Hybrid enzymes" is very cool track which blends rich robotic rhythms, melodic pads and bleeps and mysterious atmospheres. Anyone named Dopplereffekt? Well'¦ they aren't their copy but they shared the same laboratory where they experimented with sounds. Digitizer for their remix decided to keep the main melodies and to add an acid touch on the rhythmic lines, while DVS NME opted for keeping the bit of mystery adding an electro flavor thanks to syncopated drums, some new melodies and a bouncing intermezzo with bass enhanced lines. The track is really nice and remixers didn't change it drastically, they rather personalized it.
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Artist: Synoiz (@)
Title: Shock! Horror!
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
One of the drawbacks as an independent music reviewer for Chain D.L.K. is that new CDs to review usually come in a lump-sum package, mostly when enough have accumulated at the Urselli address to ship, and often some time after their release date. So it is either feast or famine; no new releases to review, or LOTS of new releases to review. Like all Chain D.L.K. reviewers, I do this not for the money (because there isn't any!), but for the love of the music, and the opportunity to expound on it. The free CDs aren't a bad perk either for expanding my music library. As this isn't a J-O-B, my (free) reviewing time is limited to what I can accomplish in spare time when I'm not working making a living, which seems to consume most of my time. Fortunately, I have the ability to listen to new releases while I'm working, so at least there is time for the music to simmer in my psyche before I get down to writing about it. The reason for this little preamble has to do in some way with why this review is so far from the release date of October 25, 2010, interned as a Halloween promotion. Of course, there might be some Chain D.L.K. readers that believe every day is Halloween to some extent, and the timeliness hardly affects them. But this is not a 'Halloween CD' in spite of the October 31st promotion. This is one interesting little excursion in the realm of Dark Ambient.

The artist known as Synoiz is one Graeme Donaldson from Sunderland in the North East of England. Originally setting out to create his own brand of angst-ridden synthpop, Synoiz found himself much more involved in ambient soundtrack work. Synoiz cites game soundtrack composers Matt Uelmen (Diablo, Warcraft, Starcraft), Steve Henifin (Blood Omen: Legacy of Cain, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem) and Masami Ueda (Resident Evil 2 & 3) as some primary influences on what is done here, but since I don't play computer video games, I have little frame of reference in that regard. However, I DO know quite a bit about Dark Ambient music having an extensive collection of it, numerous reviews of Dark Ambient artists here at Chain D.L.K. to my credit, and have dabbled in the genre as a musician myself.

I'm not sure that 'Shock! Horror!' is an appropriately descriptive title for the music on this maxi-single CD. When I think of shock and horror, I tend to over over-the-top jarring, hair-raising or even gruesome images and possibly painful musical events. (Megaptera come to mind; so does Brighter Death Now, and a host of others.) This stuff is a lot more subtle than that. Macabre, unsettling, eerie, spooky all come to mind when listening to this Synoiz release. Although two of the tracks on this CD are remixes of the ('Shock! Horror') title track, they only bear a passing resemblance to each other with some elements. The title track kicks off the CD with a bit of a low drone tone, an unearthly processed ghostly voice, some extended low, murky piano notes and a repeating pattern of chalky, slightly abrasive pitched synth noise, and other vaguely spirit-like howling, as well as very subtle intermittent percussion that will emerge more prominently in subsequent tracks. Perhaps the most overt of all music on the CD, there is still a creepy subtlety to it that does not overwhelm, but does immediately immerse you in a nightmarish mood. Track 2, 'Indrid Cold' gives the impression of receiving radio transmissions from the dead, as it begins with radio frequency twiddlings giving way to unintelligible (processed) voices and other sonic effluvia. About a minute and a half into it, a pulsing bass is introduced along with minimal metallic tapping percussion. A deep processed string line is the only real melodic content here. Things warp, the metallic percussion turns into light hammering and before you know it, it's over. A curious piece.

Track 3, 'Shock! Horror' (Sinister Mix) begins with the sound of thunder and low moody strings before the ghostly moaning voice and the repeating pattern of chalky, slightly abrasive pitched synth noise are reintroduced. Other voices (a mournful woman crying, an unearthly bird, spirit moanings) appear and subtle percussion gives way to heavier, more defined ritualistic percussion for a while. It could have gone on longer and built up more suspense into some type of climax. Kind of like wine-tasting; when you find one you really like, you want the whole bottle, not just a sip. Last track, 'Shock! Horror' (Acoustic Edit) has a neoclassical aura about it with its string themes, piano rumblings and more spirit voices moaning in anguish. The percussion that was sparse and intermittent on the first track is given a little more play here. The overall effect is incidental soundtrack music for a very bleak film.

I found it interesting that each time I listened to the CD, it sounded a bit different. There are things you will pick up on subsequent listening after the first, and it is brief enough to dive right back in again to see what you missed. To me, this seems more of a sampler of what Synoiz is capable of, and hopefully a new full CD of this type of music might be forthcoming from Synoiz in the near future. If you go to Synoiz's website, you can get a free digital download of this music if you sign up for the newsletter. Synoiz is a project to watch as the music here is indicative of an artist to be reckoned with in the field of Dark Ambient.
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Artist: Edward Artemiev
Title: Mood Pictures
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock Records (@)
Distributor: DWM Music Company
Rated: *****
Well this came as a surprise! Have you ever seen the Tarkovsy films ' 'Solaris,' 'The Mirror, 'Stalker'? Well if you have, then you've heard some of the music of Edward Artemiev. But Artemiev is not just a soundtrack composer; he is an acknowledged leader of Russian electronic music. His credentials in synthesized music go way back to meeting with engineer Eugene Murzin - one of the first in the world to invent a synthesizer around 1960. Artemiev's compositions written in the 60s-the early 70s belong to the aesthetics of avant-garde, and since then he has many releases to his credit, both symphonic and electronic. (Hard to find in the U.S. but many available through Electroshock.) 'Mood-Pictures' contains mostly pieces from a number of his film scores, some utilizing the State Orchestra of Cinematography, and others just by Artemiev and an occasional guitarist or vocalist.

This CD is an incredible introduction to Artemiev's work, so rich and varied in themes, and magnificent in its execution. The first track 'Siberiada' (title track from the 4 part epic motion picture of the same name directed by Andrei Konchalovsky) sounds archetypically Russian as the theme builds with low strings and woodwinds and a martial cadence. I found it Morriconesque, especially the voices, and when the horns came in. It has a definite 70s sound as it is from 1979. The next two tracks are also from the film, but showcasing Artemiev's synth work. 'Swing' is a bit of very nice ethereal synth ambience, while 'Fire' is sequencer-heavy chaos with a stinging guitar overlay. This was my least favorite track on the album, but the pyrotechnics are impressive.

'Looking After the Victim' comes from a movie titled 'A Butcher' and it is a mysterious mood piece that begins with a Twilight Zone-like atmosphere that morphs into a medium tempo low synth sequence with the eerie strains of high strings. On 'Kamchatka ' Grand Voyage' (from the movie 'Mammon') Artemiev's synths play off the orchestral background developing a beautiful and memorable theme with flute and guitar string sounds as well as other sonics including unearthly voices. 'Fox Hunting' (from the movie of the same name) has Artemiev treading into Tangerine Dream territory, but with a sequencer-driven intensity and verve I've never heard from those guys. 'Premonition' comes from the film 'A Driver for Vera,' a romantic Cold War psychological drama, and the music here fits the description perfectly. 'Polygon' (from 'Rainbow Moon') sounds very prog-rocky at first with drums and elaborate synth work that eventually builds into a moody interlude before meandering off into other tangential expressions. A film called 'Requiem' is the source of 'Credo,' a heavy, Phantom of the Opera-like piece with uber-dramatic and spooky synths. The next three tracks are from the motion picture 'The End of Eternity'. 'Aria' features haunting voices that are sure to send shivers down your spine. One of my favorites on the CD, and a composition of pure genius! 'A Road to Nowhere' is an electronic extravaganza with plenty of tension and so much going on it's hard to describe. 'The Well of Eternity' reminds me of 'Mars' from 'The Planets' by Holst, yet is more modern and spacey, but no less ominous. 'Lullaby' is from the film 'Night of a Birth' and features 'Hearts of Space' style synths with some beautiful orchestral backing. Almost Tomita-ish. 'Serenade' is from the movie 'Facet,' and it is a lush track with synth-sax doing the melody with orchestral synths, electric bass and drums. I don't know why, but I was reminded of the Vangelis 'Blade Runner' soundtrack on this one. Romantic, yet dramatic; very 80s. The next two tracks, 'Dialogue with a Computer,' and 'Vocalize' come from a movie called 'By the Eyes of the Wolf'. The former is kinetic and sequencer-driven, while the latter sounds classically inspired and romantic with a wonderful wordless solo vocal by Tatiana Kuindji. 'Top of the World' is from the animated film 'Legends of Peruvian Indians' with thick pipe organ and heavenly synth voices and other synthesizer embellishments. Awesome. Final track 'Peregrini' is an excerpt from Artemiev's 'Symphony,' again with vocal by Tatiana Kuindji. It is a somewhat understated piece with Kuindji's soprano voice playing hauntingly off synthetic voices over a muted low tone sequenced background. Atmospheric incidentals such as chimes strings, pads, and other synthesizer tones and washes fill in the gaps and heighten the drama. Amazing stuff.

As good as all this is, and believe me, it is really, really good; as a complete album it lacks unity. Then again, it was only intended as a diverse compilation of the artist's film work, and on that level, it succeeds. I highly recommend this CD although you may have to go out of your way to obtain it if you're from the U.S. (U. S. distributor source noted) but it is well worth it. It also wasn't easy finding his MySpace site (the only thing close to the artist's website outside of Electroshock Records, and not updated since 2006) as the spelling of his name there was different, but there is so much about Artemiev on the net that you shouldn't have a difficult time finding plenty on him elsewhere.
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Artist: Obszön Geschöpf (@)
Title: Symphony Of Decay
Format: CD
Label: Twilight Vertrieb
Rated: *****
Interesting, that a 'delicious' cover artwork featuring ripped open female bodies and an obvious doze of cannibalism doesn't get censored in the Metal music genre - and only in this genre. However, that isn't the point. The French madman Remzi Kellici has at least left nearly all elements, which made him known in the EBM/Electro-genre. Already his last DCD album released by the in hiatus remaining Arkansas-based label BLC Productions, 'Erection Body Mutilated' has shown straight into this new direction, so this new album doesn't surprise musically too much. Also the track list speaks for itself, or how would you rate titles like 'How To Become A Killer With A Granny Dress'? This isn't stuff for the faint-hearted listeners. Be it SKREW, 16 VOLT, CLAY PEOPLE, MINISTRY, they all can be taken as possible references for Remzi and his new music style. Additionally he has hired a real band and tours the world - therefore it makes quite sense to sign with the German label and mail-order service Twilight, as this should be able to take care for a better financially background. 'Symphony Of Decay' is a raging hurricane featuring assaulting guitar riffs, monstrous vocals and a straight rhythmical, mostly still with a drum-computer supported outfit. The still Industrial-related components in Remzi's latest work can be noticed with several voice samples mostly with drastically background indiscriminately thrown in - and, thanks God - with the very few tracks still relying on Electronica components ('Zodiac', 'Secret Graveyard in The Garden'). I guess it isn't a secret, that I would prefer a more balancing kind of production, which doesn't reduce the Electronica elements to a minimum - as I think, that Remzi has his talent into this kind too. However, I understand his motifs. Whole life is Rock 'n' Roll, isn't it?

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