Music Reviews



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Artist: Kosmodromm (@)
Title: Kosmodromm 1.0
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Synthematik (@)
Rated: *****
Some new stuff brought to us by the Russian Synthematik netlabel, KOSMODROMM is a Dark Synthpop/Goth-project out of Belarus. Consisting since 2010 as being the one-man project by Eiden Dark (vocals, lyrics), he can still rely on the musically helping hand of D-emsi (programming, arrangements) and several session musicians. This project unites the ability to produce smooth synthesizer melodies, combined electronic beats and gently Dark-Wave atmospheres. Most striking in their sound environment is the sound of the baritone-like vocal performance of band-leader Eiden Dark. In combination with the Russian language and all of its difficult accents and punctuation, this vocal performance seriously reminds on some opera-like stuff taken out of a 50-years-old past. This release is a collection of some self-produced singles entitled 'Stalker' and 'Pustoj Gorod', originally released by the band in 2009. For this free downloadable album, these tracks got completely revamped and newly mastered. Additional remix contributions by up and coming acts like ALIEN 2064 and FRACTAL DECAY offer at least a bit more dancefloor compatibility, which is more than the originals would be able to offer. Not a bad one, but this sound outfit generally needs some usage through multiple spins to get completely satisfying.
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Artist: X Marks The Pedwalk (@)
Title: Inner Zone Journey
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records / Infacted Reocrdings (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
It's indeed a good year for comebacks of veteran acts, and this one once-in-a-lifetime-giant of the legendary Zoth Ommog label isn't an exception. It fits perfectly that Sevren Ni-arb, his better female half Estefania and his old partner in crime, Raive Yarx, have decided to collaborate with Infacted Recordings for their comeback ' since Infacted label-chief Torben Schmidt (LIGHTS OF EUPHORIA) is another important time witness of this glorious label. So how big can expectations grow after so many years without any audio sign of life? I think it rather belongs on personal preferences, to each one its own taste. XMTP have earned a lot of appreciation during their early years for the try not to repeat themselves over and over again ' and to me, this can be noticed on this new album too, because 'Inner Zone Journey' sounds like none of the previous released albums before. 'Inner Zone Journey' and its chosen sounds and arrangements are the work of true Electro/Industrial experts with real and senses-touching compositions and a matured state-of-the-art-like sound-design. If it really comes to search for a hair in the soup, I tend to criticize one or another track as being too obviously infected with that often discovered 'we-need-a-catchy-club-hit-to-appease-the-masses'-syndrome ('Run Away', 'Seventeen'), as these tracks are losing intensity in sound and composition. But tracks like 'Human Scientists' or 'Snapshots In A Dark Room' are true masterpieces, which surely appeal the rather Dark-Electro-inspired fans of their golden days ' maybe these tunes are more comparable to the XMTP-side-project RINGTAILED SNORTER and their deep sadness-spreading 'Absolute Void'-times ' but hasn't this historic masterpiece received the best reviews in those days? It does good to have XMTP back, although the release of 'Inner Zone Journey' has produced a lesser euphoric reaction compared to the release of some other cult acts. Quite logical, because this album is rather dedicated to satisfy the parental and experienced Electro/Industrial listener, as it doesn't offer any pseudo-aggressive Hellectro-like bawling - it is nevertheless one of the best comeback releases of this year so far.
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Artist: We Love
Title: We Love
Format: CD
Label: BPitch Control
Rated: *****
We Love is a new band that recently signed for BPitch Control. Coming from South Italy, Giorgia Angiuli and Pietro Fragola moved to Florence and there they found a new artistic life being involved into different multimedia projects (Giorgia has appeared with the Paris fashion designer Amelie Labarthe as Metsuo and Piero is as a designer, VJ and university tutor who works also with musicians, theatre groups and film directors). In the past Giorgia, after studying classical guitar, played with black metal and hardcore bands. She discovered electronic music thanks to a birthday gift some friends gave her: it was a CD: "Berlinette" by Ellen Allien. The discovery of those sounds made her decide to purchase a laptop and a audio card and to start experimenting with electronic music. We Love formed in 2009 and by looking to the photos I received I can say that the duo (musically helped by Marco Palazzo) decided to use they theatrical experience also into this project, because they mix fashion and theatrical performance thanks to the use of futuristic dresses which ends into some kind of helmets with sun protection shields. Musically they mix obsessive minimal electronic sound layers to upbeat mid tempos, sparse guitar parts and dreamy male / female duets. A characteristic of the ten songs of the album is that melody is a constant of the sound and even if we can't talk of pure pop songs, you'll always find a bass line or a melodic refrain that is freshen up the atmosphere. So, we pass from pure dance on 'Escape destination' to melancholic dance mid tempos of the opening "Ice lips" and "Cruise control" (with a upfront viola driving the main melody) passing from the electronic wave of "Even if". If you loved the latest Ellen Allien and Moderat albums, I suggest to check also this one. It will be out on September the 13th.
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Artist: Athana (@)
Title: Beats & Pieces
Format: 12"
Label: West Audio Music
Rated: *****
Each time I approach to Alf Terje Hana's guitar compositions I tend to think about Fripp and his tunes where without any kind of boundaries he express himself using the guitar as a medium. Since from the opening track of the latest Athana album titled BEATS & PIECES, Alf mix free jazz, rock and a bit of funk to create a running train called 'I.O. Roni' (which is inspired by a Roni Size performance he watched on BBC at the 'Jools Holland' show). This album gathers new tracks, collaboration and remixes and the second track is one of the two remixes you'll find here. Sternklang (an electronic artist coming from Norway), remix 'Luskesangen' and after an initial ambient start he started the song keeping the distinctive Athana sound adding processed sounds. 'Lifeform 47' is an experimental i.d.m./dub track and sees Togeir Nes (the band member behind the electronic programming) giving his best. 'Fuzz off' born from a collaboration with an electronic musician hidden behind the Kaoss 99 moniker and it sounds like a fuzz guitar preparing to ride the space to land on a new planet. 'Alien elephants' is the second remix and the Parisian electronic artist Lingouf is at the mixing desk giving to the jazzy mysterious original tune a distorted break beat treatment, making of it a furious track which goes insane at end of its ten minutes of length. The closing track is a radio edit version (four minutes shorter) of the opening 'I.O. Roni'. It sounds good and I prefer this one to the longer version but I don't know why Athana did such choice, because they don't differ too much. Anyway, BEATS & PIECES confirms Athana as an inspired project that is willing to create out of time involving music.
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Artist: Front Line Assembly (@)
Title: Improvised Electronic Device
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****

BUY from  HERE
So FLA have a new album out which hardcore fans already know, and most probably already have. The member roster for 'Improvised Electronic Device' is similar to that on 'Artificial Solder' sans Rhys Fulber, with Jared Slingerland moving out of the auxiliary role and into membership status, as much a member as anyone can be in FLA besides Bill Leeb, without whom there would be no Front Line Assembly. Chris Peterson and Jeremy Inkel are back for another tour of duty.

The album begins with a typical FLA industrial atmospheric opening on the title track before charging across the battlefield of musical malevolence. Staccato martial industrial guitar drives home the opening salvo of Leeb's dystopian vision in his typical fashion. A few rounds of piano triplets adds a little novelty, but this isn't anything you haven't heard before from FLA. In fact, quite a bit of 'IED' is recycled from the band's bag of tricks employed on previous albums. You'll hear echoes of 'Civilization' on the beginning of 'Angriff'. The track takes a while to pick up steam but when it does, it's as hard as Rammstein. More varied vocal processing and Leeb's 'Deutsche stimme' makes it so, and there is plenty of neat programmed percussion to fill in the gaps. Yet I can't help but feel that I've heard parts of this song elsewhere, definitely modified but all too familiar. 'Hostage' ups the BPM to a pace somewhere between 'Unleashed' and 'Buried Alive,' and in fact, it is so reminiscent of the material on 'Artificial Soldier' you'll find yourself wondering if you haven't heard this song before. Unfortunately, the track depends on a descending progression for its hook, and not much else (although there are plenty of other elements in it, as usual with FLA.)

'Release' slows it down a bit and has a classic early FLA chorus dredging up memories of 'Hardwired' and 'Tactical Neural Implant' yet beefed up with a lot more abrasive power. 'As I watch this life disappear, salvation is my only fear. Underneath where it all has to end, echoing sound of hell never ends.' Uh huh. Well Leeb will never be mistaken for a poet laureate. 'Shifting Through the Lens' has a catchy techno synth sequence as its predominant feature, and vocoder vocals. It's kind of a one-and-a-half trick pony, but ought to be a good dance floor mover. 'Laws of Deception' reminds of 'Dopemine' from 'Artificial Soldier' combined with 'Surface Patterns' from 'Millennium' but sounds too derivative to be as good as either of them. Heavy Neubattenish industrial drums herald 'Pressure Wave' and although the track isn't particularly outstanding, it's adequate with metal power.

'Afterlife' has a Diabolo-esque (the game) guitar intro and is the closest thing here to a ballad, and a power ballad at that. It is also one of the best songs on the album. The theme and introspection is reminiscent of 'Everything Must Perish'. 'Stupidity' features Al Jourgensen on vocals and sounds like'¦Ministry. A no-brainer. What else would you expect? Seems as though FLA are keen of late on having album guests, but in the context of this album it doesn't make a lot of sense. It's all industrial speed metal, not the kind of stuff you ever hear from FLA. Maybe the intent was to pick up a few disenfranchised Ministry fans. Maybe Jourgey had nothing better to do, but Bill, I implore you- please, please don't let him join the band. One track is enough to last me a lifetime.

'Downfall' is the final track on the physical CD version (more on that soon) and as is typical with last tracks on FLA albums, it's quite atmospheric, but also with beats, melody and samples. It's good to hear they're still doing this kind of stuff. Now if you actually bought the CD, you'll be cheated out of the last two tracks ' 'Day of Violence' and 'Attack the Masses' which are only available by download. Personally, I think that sucks. The CD is more expensive than the download. If you have to pay more, you ought to get more. This is the FIRST Front Line Assembly album I've ever acquired through download (I'd much prefer having the physical CD) only because I was not going to be cheated out of the last two tracks, and they're worth having. 'Day of Violence' has great atmosphere, sweeping strings, cool synth sequences, vocoded vocal, a catchy chorus, the works. 'Attack the Masses' is heavy-duty electro-industrial at its finest. To not have these tracks would just be sad.

This may not be FLA's best album, and might disappoint a few fans but overall, is pretty solid. There are elements that might seem clichéd by now (that dark future you keep prophesizing is here already) and the transition from 'Artificial Soldier' to 'IED' isn't as dramatic as from 'Civilization' to 'Artificial Soldier' was, but Front Line fans will just about get their money's worth, considering the dollar ain't worth what it used to be.
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