Music Reviews



ALEC EMPIRE: The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 31 2008
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Artist: ALEC EMPIRE
Title: The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven
Format: CD
Label: Eat Your Heart Out
Rated: *****

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During the last decade crossover between musical genres has always been a refreshing factor for music and has always been a key point for the creation of new sub-genres or new styles. Alec Empire since the early days of Atari Teenage Riot kinda incarnated this way of thinking by experimenting with a sound which later became digital hardcore. The end of the A.T.R. experience didn't make him stop experimenting with sounds but his attitude had always something to do with the punk attitude. His key album in my opinion has been "Intelligence and Sacrifice". On that double CD, the second disc contained tracks inspired by early Cabaret Voltaire and with the widening of influences made Alec's evolve. The following album "The futurist" was focused on a punk approach with less digital distortions and an upfront guitar which maybe made of it his most accessible album. Three years after that album here is THE GOLDEN FORETASTE OF HEAVEN. This new one has ten new tunes which get their influences from the late 70's taking Iggy Pop vocal style (see the opening "New man" and "Ice - as if she could steal a piece of my glamour" which sounds like "Ghost rider" mixed with "Loco mosquito" sung by Iggy Pop) and mixing it with the minimal synth lines of Suicide (see "...If you live or die"), passing through Lou Reed ballads (see "1000 eyes" or "No/Why/New York"). This time guitars are used on some tracks but are also used differently compared to the previous album (less punk riffs and a sound with more bass and middle frequencies with no razor like effect). THE GOLDEN FORETASTE OF HEAVEN sounds different from the previous Alec Empire stuff and it sounds good. Check "Robot love" of "Bug on my windshield" for example and you'll find an updated version of Suicide which seem to be seduced by minimal techno. This time there you won't find an album all based on the "in your face" effect. There's plenty of energy but there isn't the wall of sound you would expect. Alec went back to the roots of punk and reprocessed all those inputs. Try it... P.s. Welcome also his new label "Eat your heart out"!

THE HOLOCAUST HUMANITY: s/t

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 30 2008
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Artist: THE HOLOCAUST HUMANITY (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Zoviet Records (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
This is a new Dark Electro/Industrial duo hailing out of Austin, TX, and they offer us their debut album. Consisting of the both musicians Nathan Hewitt and John Mrugalla, it seems that this kind of music has to belong out of Texas, some comparable relations to some international renowned acts like MENTALLO & THE FIXER and their multiple side-projects, or JIHAD can be recognized. Also the tunes of THE HOLOCAUST HUMANITY offer a sort of classic inspired Dark Electro music very much in vein of the mentioned patterns, but I tend also to name highly anticipated acts like HEAVY WATER FACTORY as a possible reference. Their sound outfit extracts a lot of charisma thanks to the fact, that they provide their vocals mostly natural sounding. Only a few tracks offer a harsh effected vocal performance ("Grasping To Hold To") and these are mostly those works, which follow the most the typically but still beloved PUPPY-an identity by combining a cinematic atmosphere and creepy percussive elements. This self-titled album impresses the most with its positive aura and the rather melodic tracks like "Knew Life" and "Only Living" featuring a catchy "singing-along-the-line" attitude. Sure, tracks like "Us Astray", "A Suicide" or "When Bombs Are Falling" (cool shuffle-like drums...) are offering in the first instance an inviting tempo to animate the listener to some floor action, but some unconventional interruptions of the song structures at least are proving the fact, that THE HOLOCAUST HUMANITY don’t like to get reduced to a simple formula. This music seems rather to be composed for a consumption on your home entertainment, the easy-to-go movement to share the dancefloors they left out to some competitors. On the other side, this is one of the best and most surprising debuts I had the honor to discover. Many thanks from my side to the German duo Schmoun and Arnte of NORDSCHLACHT for the recommendation of this talented US-duo, whose career should have just been started here. A promising collaboration between NORDSCHLACHT and THE HOLOCAUST HUMANITY is already in the works. But first of, go out and buy this essential album.

MISS KITTIN: Batbox

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jan 29 2008
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Artist: MISS KITTIN
Title: Batbox
Format: CD
Label: Nobody's Bizzness (@)
Rated: *****

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I knew Miss Kitten a.k.a. Caroline Herve since her collaboration with Felix Da Housecat and after that I discovered her stuff with Golden Boy and The Hacker. Some years later I happily saw her releasing an album for Mute and I really liked "I com" since the first listening. After four years without producing a studio album I was expecting her big comeback and at first I didn't know that Nobody's Bizzness was her own and new label. With a new label, new sound and new collaborator (she isn't helped out by The Hacker on this new adventure but by Pascal Gabriel, producer of ex Propaganda Claudia Brucken, Erasure, Debbie Harry, Dido, Natalie Imbruglia, etc) I didn't know what to expect from BATBOX. Well, at a first listening I must admit that I really miss The Hacker production and the quasi punk attitude of Miss Kittin previous releases. BATBOX is well produced but it seems lacking of ideas as the tracks kinda play around one riff with the enhancement of nice audio tricks. If on tracks like "Silver Screen Shower Screen" or "Frank Sinatra" her vocals were sounding sensual, the polished sounds of "Solidasarockstar" or "Wash'n'dry" make sound her voice like she was bored. Is this album so lame? No, I don't think this is the case but if we have good tracks like the single "Kittin is high" or "Sunset strip" we have also other ones like "Grace" or "Pollution of the mind" where you are like waiting for the blast to come but when the following song starts, you have a sour taste in your mouth. Just to make you understand what I mean, try to imagine to listen to "I com" for the 20th time in a month. After all those listening you will miss a little its initial effect. Well, this is what I felt the second time with BATBOX. Mind that if this will be your really first time you are listening to Miss Kittin, probably you'll like it since the first note. P.s. BATBOX's cover and graphics have been made by Rob Reger, creator of Emily The Strange character.
Jan 28 2008
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Artist: ICvsPD (@)
Title: The All Too Logical Descent Into Madness
Format: CD
Label: Bugs Crawling Out Of People (@)
Distributor: Ad Noiseam
Rated: *****
Behind this "band" moniker hides a mutual collaboration between the US-based Powernoise artist PNEUMATIC DETACH and the Canadian spoken-word artist IT-CLINGS. Regarding the chosen title, well, take it seriously and be assured that this turns into a quite different form of Industrial music you haven’t discovered so far. There are on one side the hammering and pounding Powernoise efforts of Justin Brink, which itself are always a welcomed and appreciated listening experience, as his releases on the defunct Frozen Empire Media and Hive Records are sold-out. But for this release his efforts have to take the backseat of the cadillac, because the clear spoken-word performance of Mr. IT-CLINGS has to take the spotlight of attention here. As most of our readers also I have discovered his hypnotic voice on the last FRACTURED album "Only Human Remains" for the first time. On that album it wasn’t expectable how far and in which direction his words would tend. After checking this album multiple times with the required attention to follow the printed lyrics, I can assure that words can mutate to a weapon. Seriously, if you’re already impressed with that sort Hellectro bands wearing fake blood and offering their repetitive lyrics influenced by Gore/Splatter movies, then you should check this clear and natural hurting performance by IT-CLINGS. After the first 3 – 4 tracks I was expecting that the ongoing tracks would offer the often heard content of "how evil humanity is" or "how much this all disgusts me". Well, lately with track 5 the lyrics turn more and more in schizophrenia describing someone with serious mental disorders. Track 6, to me one of the most remarkable pieces on here, describes drastically self-infliction ("Maybe These Wounds Won’t Heal Anymore") and also Mr. IT-CLINGS’ words and his performance turning into a hurting experience – it sounds really that he feels with the actor – maybe he IS the actor? Also recognizable here and there is a form of sadistic vein. There’s the track "Spoons" for instance. Do you know what spoons can do? Well, let’s take a quotation out of the lyrics: "...I press you up against a hard surface, a brick wall, and then I drive the spoon hard against the tightened meat and feel it cut into you, feel it digging into the wall behind. I roll it back and forth, back and forth over your skin. I dreamt of scooping your innards into my mouth, just having them sit there in my open mouth, not swallowing this disgusting muck,...". No stuff for the faint-hearted of the audience for sure and I guess there’s no need to dwell deeper into this. The combination of rhythmically Powernoise and spoken-word action can be surely seen as a new form of two different kinds, which on a first look won’t fit together. Quite "entertaining" to consume, purchase it and you’ll get something special.

VIGILANTE: War Of Ideas

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Jan 23 2008
cover
Artist: VIGILANTE (@)
Title: War Of Ideas
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Black Rain (@)
Rated: *****
After a line-up change (Iván Muñoz is now the only one left who's helped out on live gigs by Lucía Ponticas - Keyboards and Daniel Duarte - Guitars) Vigilante are back with their second full length. The eleven new tracks have enhanced the crossover with the modern industrial metal genre and if tracks like the opening "Fair flight", "Fire" or "Victims" are still referring to the old industrial metal e.b.m. because of the way the sequencer is used, tracks like "Get in the ring" and "Black day" sound respectively influenced by Fear Factory and Korn. Refreshing a solid genre based on heavy rhythms and sounds isn't that easy and trying to do something new is a good thing but, as usual, everything depends on the response of the lovers of the genre. Anyway, the album sounds solid even if it doesn't contain impressive songs that will become classics. It contains some good ones that you'll spin more than others but there isn't a re-visitation of the industrial metal e.b.m. genre. For the lovers of remixes, the first press of 1000 copies has a free CD containing remixes of "Fair fight", "Fire", "Forever" and "The other side" for a total of twelve tracks (thanks to Reikka RPM, Dreamside, Lamia, Sophya, Amateur God, Deadcell, etc.). If you won't hurry you'll be able to enjoy the "Fire" video of CD1.


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