Music Reviews



TWZ: Evolution

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 05 2009
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Artist: TWZ (@)
Title: Evolution
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
Yes, this Swedish trio consisting of Richard, Lars and the female member Karin we had quite often on here with reviews on their self-released and –produced albums or in collaboration with the long defunct labels Plutonium and Deathpropaganda Records. TWZ are back, now signed to the Hungary-based Advoxya Records label, and this "Evolution"-album is a sort of combination consisting in parts of a retrospective of some demo favorites ("Clairvoyance" "My Friend Disorder" or "We Don’t Walk The Same Path" for example) and in other parts of new compositions ("Souljourner" or "The Grid"). Musically TWZ are following still an own kind of harsh Electro/Industrial music. The snatching and brutal distorted vocals by band leader Richard are a synonym for the often heard Hellectro-like pseudo-aggression, but musically they luckily avoid any Techno-/Trance-related outfit. TWZ still create through their bass-line-programming a sort of a melodic and I tend to say unique background instrumental scenario. Their tracks don’t offer normally the catchy content to get a singing- or summing-along-the-line experience and their compositions do definitely need a few more spins to impress the listener. The listener gets rewarded with a dark sounding synth arrangements quite different to the usual kind. Favorites of this album have to be named with the compilation-approved "The Grid" or "Flawed, Weak Ad Organic", which also features a co-vocal performance by the female member Karin. Thumbs up too for the experiment on "Crawling" to try out undistorted and nearly natural sounding male vocals. This is an ingredient, which could need some further continuations on their next releases. Also the both scary and ominous sounding intro and outro works "The Time In This Corridor Is Not As It Should Be" and "Confession" causing attention, although I would suggest to place comparable works in between the track list, since this would give the album a more varied floating. As for flaws, well, the drum programming comes out quite monotonous and the too often usage of same sounding kick and snares leaves enough room for a more refreshing and experimental work for future releases. Dark Electro-freaks longing for something different then the too often copied Hellectro-storm blowing out of the clubs will receive an excellent album, which entertains both, body and mind. Well done, keep it on!
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Artist: MOST SIGNIFICANT BEAT (@)
Title: Música y Electrónica
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Geometrik Records (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Promotion
Rated: *****
Formed in 1991 by Saverio Evangelista (member of ESPLENDOR GEOMETRICO since 1992) and Maurizio Martinucci (Tez) M.S.B. released three albums during the 1991÷1997 period (1991's "Control Remoto 1.0." split album with Esplendor Geométrico, 1992's "Control Remoto 2.0" split album with DoseZero and 1997's "Electrons at Work") plus a bunch of E.P.s. Their releases are all sold out so Geometrik Records, Esplendor Geometrico's own label, decided to produce MUSICA Y ELECTRONICA a retrospective double CD compilation containing a selection of tracks coming from their previous releases plus thirteen unreleased tracks produced during the 1997÷2004 period. The twenty three tracks span from minimal ambient techno to rhythmical industrial electronic (some of their nineties tracks recalled me the latest Clock DVA). Some of them tend to create an hypnotic atmosphere where the listener is feeling dizzy and seduced by rich rhythmical textures, experimental intuitions and glacial atmospheres. Good one...

Uberbyte: SIC

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 02 2009
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Artist: Uberbyte (@)
Title: SIC
Format: CD
Label: Crunch Pod Records (@)
Distributor: Crunch Pod Records
Rated: *****
When you’re last in line to receive a CD to review, it can be both easy and difficult to write about it, especially if most other reviewers generally had the same opinion. (Sorry, I can’t help but do a little background research, if only to inform myself a bit about the band.) And to some degree, I agree with some aspects of the reviews I’ve seen about this band’s debut album. It actually does BLAST its way on to the Industrial music scene, although I wouldn’t call it strictly Industrial.

Uberbyte is the brainchild of ex-Killing Miranda frontman Richard Pyne. KM was sort of a Goth-Metal outfit, fairly well known with a decent following. Pyne, apparently disillusioned with KM and went off in a different direction, re-christened himself as "Uberman" and started a hard dancefloor-oriented EBM/Industrial outfit called Uberbyte where synths and not guitars are at the forefront. Drawing on influences ranging from Apoptygma Berserk to Wumpscut or X-Marks the Pedwalk (I can’t think of any good well-known bands that begin with the letter "Z") and just about every male-fronted group loosely lumped into the Industrial Music category, Uberbyte pushes their way past the mosh pit to center stage in a bid to dominate the dark dance club scene.

From the anthemic opening track, "STAND UP [FOR UBERBYTE]" you know this music was made for live performance. While I try to ignore ghost of Jim Morrison hovering in the background ("Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin... ") I can’t ignore the BIG BEAT, and the crowd-rousing antics of Uberman ("front to the back, left to the right, everybody here STAND UP FOR UBERBYTE!"). It’s done with all the straight-aced tongue-in-cheek of Devo, and, believe it or not, these guys wear these futuristic black & white art deco uniforms when they play live! Holy shit! Now THAT takes balls. I think if the rest of the album had the same satirical bent, it might be right up there with Hanzel und Gretyl on the comic book industrial music scale. But... no, it doesn’t maintain that.

Not to say that SIC doesn’t have some excellent moments. It does. In fact, there are some really good memorable tracks, or memorable moments within some tracks. And the production is great. The synth sounds, sequenced programming and bells and whistles are spot on even if you’ve heard most it them before elsewhere. The vocal treatment is what you’d expect, dark, raspy and processed for the most part, although there are some tracks that have clearer vocals, and even a female vox on one track. My little bit of wincing were due to the overuse of sampled dialogue sound bytes, the counting (1, 2,3,4... eins, zwei ,drei, fier,... uno dos, tres, quatro, et al), the profundity overly simplified melodic hooks, and repetition, repetition, repetition. Some 5 minute tracks would have made better 3 minute tracks. But I guess that when you’ve got em dancing, you wan to keep em dancing. Lyrics are a bit light on substance but I guess you can’t have everything. The problem with SIC is, that an EP’s worth of good material has been expanded to nearly a full hour album. I’m sure it helps fill out the live show, but it’s the difference between a good album and a GREAT album. I think that if Uberbyte wants to be the iconic Industrial band they seem to be aspiring to be, they need less filler and more blow-away songs. Trim away some of the sampled sound bytes and ramp up the larger-than-life band identity. More humor too. (Yeah, I know it’s a grim, fucked up world we live in, but nobody said you can’t make fun of it.) But this is all MY idea of a good time, it may not be yours.

I read an interview with Richard Pyne, and I can tell he’s a pretty savvy individual. I also know he doesn’t give a fuck what I or any other reviewer says about Uberbyte. (Aw, c’mon Unberman, the good reviews have gotta stroke your ego just a little bit.) But I’m really curious what the next album has in store, and if Uberbyte ever plays Upstate NY, I’ll most likely be there.

Die Warzau: Vinyl 88

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 02 2009
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Artist: Die Warzau
Title: Vinyl 88
Format: CD
Label: Rose Hip records (@)
Rated: *****
Chicago-based duo Die Warzau is one of those electro-industrial bands that can probably be considered to be among the original movers and shakers of that scene, at least on this side of the Atlantic. Similar in sound to bands like KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, Marylin Manson, Gravity Kills, Front Line Assembly, Conjure One, Headcrash, Stabbing Westward, they have a great sound, great production and the ability to sneak in a pop sensibility that makes them more average-listener-friendly while still maintaining the quality and characteristics of the authentic bands of the genre. It might very well be this skill which lead them to be on the Billboards Top 25 Dance Charts 10 times already (six of those chart toppers are included here, remixed and remastered). "88 Vinyl" is their newest greatest hits. It features 16 tracks total, 6 of which previously unreleased. Among the guests featured on the tracks are Chris Connelly and P-Funk's George Clinton. The album is a great introduction to those who are not yet familiar with Die Warzau and a notable addition to your discography if you're a fan already. It well portrays the long path of this band and is a window on their multi-faceted production and the evolution they've undergone throughout the years. Die Warzau is and remains one of the more versatile and eclectic bands from the golden era of electro-industrial. Even though their fame might not have reached the peaks of NIN or KMFDM, in a genre overcrowded by clones of the real thing, this originality is probably what set them apart from the pack.
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Artist: Doomsday Virus (@)
Title: Drink the Kool-Aid
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Albany-based industrial-metal/EBM trio Doomsday Virus rose from the ashes of a band called Twilight Mistress and they embrace the philosophy of a full throttle sonic attack of Die Krupps-type industrial beats and electronic bass lines supported by heavily distorted Rammstein-like guitars. Of course, as many bands of that creed do, they mention as influences the untouchable gods of the genre (Skinny Puppy, NIN, Ministry, KMFDM, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult and so on and so forth) and although they are pretty good at what they do, I have to say I'd still rather go back to the classics (few bands of today even come close). Nevertheless if you are tired of the classics or looking for some new blood or a new spin of the old, their self-released "Drink the Kool-Aid" gives you 11 tracks of just that, packaged with a cool looking and original black&white&green artwork.


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