Music Reviews

FIX8:SED8: Dormicum

 Posted by Marc Tater   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (5372)
Oct 16 2009
Artist: FIX8:SED8 (@)
Title: Dormicum
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
One of the very albums released during the last half year, which has often been with me, but which I haven’t reviewed so far. We’re writing a new chapter in the authentic Dark Electro music genre – one of my preferred styles. And again to all, who tend to mistake in genres: Authentic Dark Electro has nothing to do with Hellectro and related Trancewhackedgoregalore styles (copyrighted by Mr. Electrofreak)! We are talking on the one and only Dark Electro/EBM-related music with real dark moods, layered production and high-skilled programming abilities – take classics like older PUPPY, LEAETHER STRIP, MENTALLO & THE FIXER, PULSE LEGION or newer participants like OBJECT, NORDSCHLACHT, NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT or BRAIN LEISURE as a reference into this special league of talented music projects and start to consider, who’s inspired by whom. Germany’s newcomer of the year 2007 with "Humanophobia" also releases 2009 a new album, which got completely published on his very own mastermind, Mr. Martin Sane and it is available via his above linked MySpace account. For the recording and parts of the production process he has hired some established forces with DJ Barmherziger and Boris Posavic of BLAME. They did a great job and pushed the audio stuff to satisfy the highest needs – this counts especially for the mastering, which got subtle added to the audio material, instead to follow that dump and genre-related "reach-the-highest-possible-peaks"-game.
"Dormicum", a quite religious sounding title, was initially planned to get released via the German Klangdynamik label. However, and very sad to say that – this quite promising label (FEKTION FEKLER, NORDSCHLACHT, BLAME, NEON COIL, and more... ) went down too early from all business activities, so all of these plans had to be cancelled. There have been several other offers and options for Martin to move to a different label, but at least he has decided again to rely completely on his own abilities. His popularity is still unbroken, as several interviews in those expensive glossy magazines like Zillo or Sonic Seducer are proving this. And his music is popular too, with its intention, always to provide eerie and ominous atmospheres through opulent synth layers and arrangements, and diverse drum pattern programs. The hunt for that one favorite hit smasher available on "Dormicum" is in opposition to most of the current Hellectro-related productions quite unnecessary, too much good things could be reported out of every track. So, would it be rather easier to talk on weaknesses or faults available here? Well, too many Hellectro-junkies would tend to argue, that there aren’t real floor-fillers (yeah, again that one and only argument... ). Really? If I have to pick out "Blood Delta" and "The Needle" as being the most pummeling tunes, I’d tend to say, that these tracks are harsh enough to satisfy those needs – always with having in mind, that Martin’s best moments are the rather slow and creepy tunes ("Insomaniac", "Methadone"). Or let’s take the melodic and nearly fragile constructed, but damned effective produced track "Hiob" as a reference. Authentic Dark Electro has seldom sounded that intensive produced before. Fans of the above named projects won’t do anything wrong by purchasing this goody, which can be bought in two different formats. Check back Martin’s website for good and try to get it!

ATTRITION: Keepsakes And Reflections

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 14 2009
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Artist: ATTRITION (@)
Title: Keepsakes And Reflections
Format: CD
Label: Two Gods
Distributor: Voice Print
Rated: *****
Originally released in 2001 by Invisible Records, KEEPSAKES AND REFLECTIONS collects rare singles and compilation tracks coming from the 90's period of Attrition. Including covers of John Foxx's "Underpass", The Dead Kennedy's "Kill the poor" (boy, this does sound different!), Ministry's "Cannibal song" and Black Tape For A Blue Girl's "Memory, uncaring friend" this release is showing at its best the electronic dark period of the band. Upbeat tempos, male/female duets and intriguing melodies are joined by dark introspective tunes (see "Metamorphosis", the following "High tide" or "L'echange") showing the different sides of the band which has been able to update its sound always finding a way to be coherent. This new remastered edition contains two extra tracks "Nine tails, to follow you round" (a dark thrilling intermezzo with piano and samples) and "The cage - refrain" (an upbeat orchestral re-visitation of the tune). Good release not only for collectors.

SOUNDGAZER: Like Gravity

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 30 2009
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Artist: SOUNDGAZER (@)
Title: Like Gravity
Format: CD EP
Label: Pose 9 Entertainment
Rated: *****
Two years from their debut album "Screen feel" and with a new album in preparation, Soundgazer are back with an appetizer or what it will come. LIKE GRAVITY is a four tracks E.P. that shows how much the band improved from their previous release. Many reviewers pointed out the vocals as their major flaw so Voytek worked hard and succeeded into making four electro industrial songs with clean vocals (using also backing vocals), guitars, pounding rhythms and electronic sounds which sound convincing and well arranged. "Stay the same" is the song the band picked up as main one (you can find also its video directed by Rany Ly, the band's bass player, on the enhanced section of the CD) and is a particular one because if "Like gravity", "Thoughts felt" and "Generations" could make me think of an e.b.m. version of N.I.N., "Stay the same" to me sounds like and electronic version of Misfits. You know, it has choruses similar to what I used to listen with songs like "Skulls" or "I turned into a Martian". Be ready for their next full length...
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Septic VIII
Format: CD
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Welcome back at the front-line, Stefan, and fire free for the new and 8th edition of Dependent’s legendary "Septic"-compilation series. Germany’s label giant Dependent is back for good after they’ve decided two years ago to stop all business activities due to the ongoing stagnation of sales and illegal file piracy. But it is still a dangerous situation – the awful situation of illegal file-sharing is still imminent and a promising tool against this hasn’t been invented so far, and to run a label in professional structures requires fully attention and a lot of right decisions regarding the label roster. On the other side – and I say this out of deepest conviction – it does so good to have back a rivaling pendant to the too-big-too-arrogant operating Out Of Line giant. Coming to this release, the name "Septic" and to participate with a track still has still a lot of meaning for an Electro/Industrial project. And so Stefan could easily collect again some cool and promising newcomer acts to offer them a free slot to publish their talent to a widely interested audience. Some veteran and well-sounding global players of course needed to be added too, as they get the possibility to promote upcoming stuff. The winner is for the most part the listener, who receives always a wide ranging diversity between the styles. As for a point of criticism, "Septic VIII" acts a bit too obviously as a pure label collection, more than half of the participants have been collaborated in some or another way with Dependent before. Although MySpace and consorts offer for the most part uninspired mediocrity - the point which Stefan often picks up and argues - there’s out there quality music, you only have to search for it a bit better. And the listener even nowadays doesn’t understand the drama of label politics, so the pleasant return of Dependent would have been also a chance to bury some old hatchets.
Now turning the attention to the music, the good things are starting with Sweden’s legitimate answer on SKINNY PUPPY, the duo of NECRO FACILITY, which offers an energetic new track. "Do You Feel The Same" draws a fine balance between aggression and melodic calmness with typical Ogre-like vocals, some guitar riffs and tasteful Dark-Electro synth arrangements. INFORMATIK’s "Temporary", in this case remixed by THE SYTHETIC DREAM FOUNDATION, is one of the winners of their self-arranged remix contest following their last studio album "Beyond". This cool interpretation gets not only rewarded with a free slot on here, it will be too available on INFORMATIK’s new album "Arena". Back for good also for South-Africa’s ACRETONGUE with a musically demanding Dark-Electro tune – just try to sing along to that tricky rhythm programming! No surprise, but still a breathtaking quality – as usual – from MESH ("Who Says" sounds rather edgy like their earlier recordings... ), EDGE OF DAWN and BIOMEKKANIK (solo project of Sweden’s Christer Hermodsson, who been part of S.P.O.C.K and producer of among others AND ONE or CAT RAPES DOG), as they all can be thrown into the lesser dark, but modern and refreshing sounding Futurepop-genre. Denmark’s ARZT + PFUSCH and their Lo-Fi - Electro/Industrial-sound is something, I’ve missed through the years – unfortunately they seem to have no interest to reach again their best days with notorious hits like "Boneloc" or "Skumfuck" – their new one "Constipated Disembowelment" is a quite uninspired tedious piece of Dark Electro music, which does nothing else but boring. And how can Stefan explain us the sense to prostitute himself and to offer free slots for those toxic brownfields like AERODRONE (a demo version??? I as a listener of this self-entitled highly anticipated compilation would feel of being fooled - yes, it’s the new project of Gary Zon/DISMANTLED) and VELVET ACID CHRIST (a whiny Goth-like acoustic tune with "real" vocals? Can that be called "back to the very early roots", Bryan?). But luckily this compilation turns back on track by offering convincing appearances of GHOST & WRITER (an interesting new collaborative effort by J.-M. Lederman/The WEATHERMEN and Frank M. Spinath/SEABOUND, EDGE OF DAWN), ENCEPHALON (yes, they’ve also been known guests on an earlier issue of "Septic"), and Germany’s personified Dark Electro god FIX8:SED8. Also not to be missed is a musically trip to the pure Coldwave-related genre with appearances of KMFDM vs. SKOLD and WE GOT THIS FAR.
"Septic VIII" is another tireless appetizer, which works well to introduce talented newcomer acts asides already discovered and renowned global players. What’s good on this has been said – what’s bad and doesn’t satisfy has been mentioned too. As much as I enjoy the wide-ranging diversity of the presented styles and the big effort Stefan has once again invested to collect this compilation, I personally miss a bit of his often proved pioneering sense. By collecting this album to celebrate the return of Dependent, he has missed a really big chance to break with some inner boundaries and to search for valuable contacts – collaboration and the exchange of ideas of how to promote this still sort of niche-music can safe the medium CD with better sales for a longer time. Some labels out of IDM/Electronica-scene seemingly have recognized this already. Therefore "Septic VIII" entertains in a similar kind as all other parts out of this compilation series too. But it looks a bit, that nothing has changed too much...

1. Necro Facility - Do you feel the same
2. Informatik - Temporary (Synthetic Dream Foundation Mix)
3. Acretongue - Dragonfly (nymph)
4. Mesh - Who Says? (Rough Mix)
5. Apparat - Arcadia (Telefon Tel Aviv Remix Edit)
6. Edge Of Dawn - Stage Fright
7. Biomekkanik - Pitch Black Ocean
8. Arzt+Pfusch - Constipated Disembowelment
9. acid.milch&honig - Was ich seh
10. Non Plus Ultra - Free Falling
11. Aerodrone - Ready To Love (Demo Version)
12. Velvet Acid Christ - Black Rainbow
13. Ghost & Writer - Nightshift
14. Encephalon - Scar On Scar
15. KMFDM vs. Skold - Bloodsport
16. FÏX8:SËD8 - Dormicum
17. We Got This Far - Sedona
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Artist: Whispers In The Shadow (@)
Title: Borrowed Nightmares and Forgotten Dreams
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Some flares and flames from the Chaos-devoted Austrian gothic-rock band Whispers In The Shadow reached our headphones. If you still don't know them, you maybe have to update your rusty shrine of records as this band saw its dawn as a solo project of L'Ãme Immortelle guitarist Ashley Dayour in 1996, borrowing the name of the project from the story The Whisperer In Darkness by which H.P.Lovecraft mixed romantic, horror and sci-fi element to introduce the Mi-Go, an extraterrestrial fictitious race of creatures whose aspect was similar to mushrooms -!- and hairstyle and some recognizable influences from Robert Smith and his legendary band, The Cure, moving from traditional Gothic rock to a more heterogeneous style able to roll splinters of Fields of the Nephilim, dark, rock and progressive tracings and some psychedelic Pink Floyd-like strains to such a pitch that some one speaks about "Goth-Floyd" when referring to WITS' style, a magniloquent way to describe the transition from old-fashioned a sort of dark epic wave to a more original and synchretic musical language. Lyrics are mainly inspired by the so-called Chaos Magic as well from some writings of some notorious occultists such as Austin Omar Spare and Kenneth Grant of the so-called Typhonian Order and science-fiction writers such as the above-mentioned Lovecraft.

Well... after 5 album and 2 live recordings, the esteemed Echozone issues Borrowed Nightmares and Forgotten Dreams '“ a collection of "the remixed, the reworked and the abandoned, as the sub-title declares.. '“ by inviting a multitude of voices and remixers to join to the set Whispers In The Shadow are ideally playing in a undefinite place in the Nightside of Eden (just to mention a Miltonian-conscious tune from their last Into The Arms of Chaos, which should not to be confused with the hit by Him with the same name... ) to re-build and re-perform some of their rushing compositions by adding some great unpublished songs (..the forgotten dreams..) dated 2005. Either remixes and lost tapes are really vibrant and well-crafted. We mostly appreciated the second ones as well as they show the multi-faceted skills of this band; from the powerful sound walls and the psychedelic goth of tracks such as Everyday and Waste to the astonishing textures between a good drumming and guitar rhythms of Karma Revolution, showing all the qualities of Ashley Dayour as a vocal performer, the last track Optimistic Day is maybe the best song of this collection: it starts with strange electro vocals and keeps on tickling listener's ears and brains through a syncopated march and psychedelic soundscapes strengthening the mark some press impressed to their musical style (Goth Floyd).

The opening track of the first part of this release, the Shemhamforash mix of The Arrival (... and just as an example of how they're strongly influenced by occultist knowledge is given by the way they call this mix... Shemhamforash was an ancient Hebrew expression meaning "the explicit name" referred both to the impossibility to pronounce the name of God and to refer to one of the way (a 72-letter word) Hebrew used to name God and later adopted by Anton La Vey as a way of greeting Satan..), is maybe the most close to WITS style as it's a great assemblage of strong rockfish energy and intriguing sonorities, while the climax slightly changes with the Sieben remix of The Nightside of Eden: drums set is more syncopated and slow and some violins add a more touchy shadow if compared to the original version... for a strange reason it reminds to us a bizarre agglomeration of Royksopp's more melancholic songs, Faun and the most folk side of dark! Please don't ask me why! Among the following reworks we'd like to mention the strange ghostly version of Babylon Rising '“ considerably thinner than the original one '“ by Ice Ages, the Cure-like new wave (veeeery nostalgic!) 2009- The Eminence Version of Train (... describing the gradual death of mind inducted by a pendular life... ), the clubby version of Damned Nation (the one beginning with an exorcism trying to send back to hell devilish spirits hardly looking for justice in this troublesome society... !) by Thomas Rainer which enrich a "danceable" rhythmical pattern with an elegant background sound set and the lovely melancholy-thickened version with an unexpected rhythm variation of the great "remix" of Pandora's Calling by Persephone. This release could be a good starting point in order to digging inside the discography of this band, if never heard something about it. We're almost sure that even if some tracks could be heavily influenced by the personal musical visions (and hallucinations as well... ) of the remixers, it's good enough to rouse your curiosity about Whispers In The Shadows' short but really interesting musical path...

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