Music Reviews



BLUE BIRDS REFUSE TO FLY: Xenomorph Angel

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 16 2007
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Artist: BLUE BIRDS REFUSE TO FLY (@)
Title: Xenomorph Angel
Format: CD
Label: Decadance Records (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Two years after their previous album "Anapteroma" and after a line-up change (Eva H. and the band's producer George P. joined Kyriakos P. on vocals and guitars/keyboards respectively) Blue Birds Refuse To Fly are back and are ready to conquer a wider audience with their mix of melodic electro wave/synthpop. Since the first track "Crashed" I realized that this album was going to be a good one. This track has got everything you need to be entertained (if you join the genre and if you aren't afraid of a pop approach to it): dark and mysterious melodies, beautiful female vocals, great production and a mixture of energetic dreamy atmosphere. After a brief (less than a minute) second track, "Xenomorph Angel" brings you to a different level of the album, thanks to its electro/e.b.m. approach, where anger isn't considered and where catchy melodies capture your attention for four minutes of electronic melodic pleasure. The next songs, "Burning" and "Want you there for me" (a semi acoustic ballad) are a little more commercial but always having a really strong structure and production. Also "Oxygen" is a little more synthpop but the mixture of acoustic guitars and dancey/dreamy atmospheres are convincing. Melodic synthpop is in since "H.E.A.T." where the rhythms are less bouncing and atmosphere is a bit more seducing (an electronic version of Garbage?). The closing track "Elegy" sees a female/male duet for a particular ballad with acoustic guitars and distorted rhythms. Maybe this album could sound commercial for those of you who are used to e.b.m. music but this is a good one and if you aren't afraid of melody you should check XENOMORPH ANGEL.

DEAD JUMP: Scare Mix

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 15 2007
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Artist: DEAD JUMP (@)
Title: Scare Mix
Format: CD EP
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
It has happened in spring of this year, that the Brazilian-based Electro-/EBM-musician Alex Ramos has announced, that his last release "Immortal" has been completely sold-out. For sure an enviable number of sales, even regarding the fact that this happened without the help of a professional distributor. To get out of the average mass needs efforts in promotion, and Alex has never failed in this. The predecessor "Immortal", also signed to the Brazilian Resistance Beat, was nearly a self-produced item, but available at almost every thinkable mail order resource world-wide. Alex could earn some recognition and acceptance because he has worked very hard for this – of course the talent has to be right-placed as well. So no wonder that his development wouldn’t be too long observed, Advoxya Records finally made the right decision to sign Alex. "Scare Mix" therefore marks the debut release of this Brazilian act on Advoxya. It is surely a kind of companion release to "Immortal", because it features several remix works of friends and more or less international renowned acts. Alex has composed 3 new tracks, "Scare", "The Man Behind The Mask" and "Burnout" for this EP, from which I tend to rate the latter to be the best one, while all of them show more development in his work. He’s very near to that form of style which people call Hellectro or Terror-EBM. Follows a surprise, because Alex has decided to o a cover version on MORTAL CONSTRAINT’s "Hollow Peace", a German Dark-Electro-classic back out of 1992. A bit dangerous for sure, if an Industrial act decides to cover an Industrial act, but Alex is able to include his own signature here – although he couldn’t resist to rip some samples of the original. It follows the remix section of this release and the rather undiscovered acts FATAL RAPTURE and DRAINED SCORN are walking pretty well along that Terror-EBM style. Same counts for the Infacted-recording artist PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE 0.1 out of Greece, while the Brazilian comrades of HATECH add rather chaotic and trashy guitars samples to their re-interpretation of "Save Me From All My Sins". The winner is an own reworked version of "Immortal (Self-Infliction Mix)". Both Advoxya comrades WAVEFALL and cB (CYCLONE B) behave rather ordinary, while the re-animation of Mexico’s legend DEUS EX MACHINA seems to be the sensation of this release. I don’t tend to rate their work on "Immortal" to be the best here, nope, but it’s good to see that they are still alive. "Scare Mix" is an uncompromising and very harsh release which documents once again Alex’ non-arguable talent. Get it!

VV.AA.: Electro Arc Compilation Vol. 2

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 15 2007
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electro Arc Compilation Vol. 2
Format: CD
Label: Electro Arc (@)
Rated: *****
Second issue of this mostly underground-based compilation series hailing out of Germany. Radio-DJ and scene-veteran Intrendent has once again collected a diverse sounding line-up, on which the only relation seems to be the fact that all acts show their dedication to electronic music. While diversity is obviously in target here, this second volume concentrates mainly, but not completely, to present acts out of Germany and some of them have already gained a higher recognition. So you can expect to get a compilation full of musically diversity provided by some up and coming artists, but without any major names.
DIVAMEE opens this compilation with a smooth Electro-Pop song entitled "Engel" featuring nasty female/male vocals. The Hungarian-based act FIRST AID 4 SOULS have been already guests on the first chapter of this series and were planned to take part on the upcoming third issue, but thanks a signing to a UK-based label, they have to take a seat on this part. "Vurt" is a driving instrumental tune with some oriental-sounding female voice samples. One of the winners of this comp I like to announce with the German act YERSINIA PESTIS and their track "To Forge Ahead": pregnant old-school-like EBM bass lines, tough and distorted male vocals and Dark Electro-like synth layers are in this combination not all new – but still the most effective kind I can think of.
OBJECT then maybe represents the international best known name out of this comp and a new full-length album will be released in these days by the Denver-based Vendetta-Music label. The solo project of Andreas Malik offers Dark Electro in style and kind very near to veteran acts like PUPPY, MENTALLO & THE FIXER or old X MARKS THE PEDWALK – this instrumental tune "Empires In Peril" with its fine and detailed synth layer sounds is a nice teaser on the coming album. Follows then ALPHA QUADRANT, another German-based solo effort by Frank Wiedemann, a project which could enter a free slot on one of the past Interbreeding compilations. Frank has banned for this compilation some "Men On The Moon" – but these men are suffering a bit under the monotonous drum programmings and the static bass lines – while the fading of the synth layers is the good point here. E:O:NITY joins this comp with a rather Futurepop-oriented work providing German/English lyrics, but unfortunately in a questionable quality on the female and male vocals.
Another remarkable name out of the currently growing army of Germany’s Dark Electro acts is FIX8:SED8 and I like to congratulate Martin Sane to his recently signed deal with Germany’s Klangdynamik Records. Back on this comp he offers with "Monolith" in a more than 10 minutes long "Infinite FPR Extend"-version a collectable alternative version to the original available on his self-released debut "Humanophobia". "Tabernacle" is the title provided by ENEMY MIND, with which they like to present simple EBM-like bass lines with some slight distorted drum patterns and hard to understandable vocals – not at all a bad idea to bring on something more primitive, but this one alters a bit under the too-good-meant use of reverberation effects. HEIMSTATT YIPOTASH can win every "best-artists-name"-contest but have been also active for the German label Hands and with them this comp turns into a more intellectual kind by offering an Electronica-driven "Stromfresser".
The duo of NDTM then offers sweat-and-muscle-EBM, very near to IONIC VISION or old NITZER EBB – excellent sounding energetic male shouts and great bass line programming, congrats. JÄGER 90 are playing in a very comparable league, but they behave to NDTM a bit retarded – maybe STURM CAFE are a quell of inspiration for "Muskeln"? In between we have another favorite, Nick Jonath’s MC1R, offering another multi-layered Dark Electro tune full of insane voice samples, but "Dysthymia" acts rather aggressive and pounding in comparison to the rather melodic works of FIX8:SED8 and OBJECT. Both, SICK EN FOR as well as MI-PROJECT, offer Dark-Electro/EBM bass line sounds and well worked-out synth layers and can convince here. While SICK EN FOR remains to be instrumental, MI-PROJECT offer a sample-driven piece with German lyrics. Comes to an end with BAGIO offering an unnecessary climax of drums, bass and guitar-driven chaos, brrrrr...- that’s a joke, isn’t it?
Since the international scene is currently in an unclear situation of what will come and in which kind and format it will continue, it’s a pearl of great price to have somebody like Intrendent still believing on terms like "Independent" or "Underground" - thanks to his promotional efforts with this comp series and at his representing radio station "Feindsender", also local acts out of your neighborhood can have a platform to get heard. A third volume of this series is nearly completed and will be out soon...

Track list:

01. Divamee – "Engel"
02. First Aid 4 Souls – "Vurt"
03. Yersinia Pestis – "To Forge Ahead"
04. Object – "Empires In Peril (E-Arc Version)"
05. Alpha Quadrant – "Men On The Moon"
06. Enemy Mind – "My Broken Heart (Single Version)"
07. Fix8:Sed8 – "Monolith (Infinite FPR Extend)"
08. Enemy Mind – "Tabernacle"
09. Heimstatt Yipotash – "Stromfresser"
10. ndtm – "Come Along"
11. MC1R – "Dysthymia"
12. Jäger 90 – "Muskeln"
13. Sick En For – "EnCroachment (White Mix)"
14. MI-Project – "Glaubt Ihr?"
15. Bagio – "Folgeschehen 2007"


Oct 08 2007
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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Hoera! Een Hex voor thuis!
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
Compiled gathering tracks by bands who took part to the Hex nights (the nights that Enfant Terrible organize since 2004 at the OCCII in Amsterdam), HOERA! EEN HEX VOOR THUIS! (released under the new Enfant Terrbile sub-label Hex Grammofoonplaten) is a fantastic compilation with twelve tracks/bands that will please your needs of pure raw electro/experimental/wave/post punk music. Most of the names included here are unknown to me (I only knew and appreciated Sixteens, Wermut and Agent Side Grinder) but their tracks make me want for more because songs like the opening "Lovesick" (by Vanishing) or the fantastic "Blind" (by Frustation, a band which recalled me late 70's N.Y. sound of the No New York movement mixed with post punk), the punk attitude mixed with electronic bleeps of "Lydon on tv" (by Laurence Wasser), the raw pop electronic punk of "Ice double nice" (by Kania Tieffer) and the closing electronic experimental sound of "Ehrliche Juristen" (by Punk Soul Loving Bill, a band that sounds like a mix of Der Plan and early D.A.F.) are bringing fresh air renewing the spirit of the fathers of the genre. Don't miss it...

SOUNDGAZER: Screen Feel

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (3956)
Oct 05 2007
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Artist: SOUNDGAZER (@)
Title: Screen Feel
Format: CD
Label: Pose 9 Entertainment
Rated: *****
Born from the ashes of Cysto, Soundgazer is the new project of Voytek Iwasiuk. The album SCREEN FEEL is his last production as a solo act because Soundgazer are now three people. Comparing Soundgazer to Cysto is evident that Voytek improved his skills into sound production and songwriting as the new project brings to the audience nine new e.b.m. tracks (tracks from 10 to 13 where included into Cysto's old CD) which are able to blend melody and rhythm in a convincing way ("Find" is a good example with that kind of stop and go moments where the song slows down a little just to start again its run). The only weak element left is his voice. If at first his angry but not distorted vocals can be seen as a distinctive element, after a couple of tracks it starts to be seen as the only thing that doesn't change into Soundgazer's sound. This vanishes a little the efforts he did into the creation of a nice musical background. If he would try to vary the vocals or recruit a new singer, the songs would gain a lot...


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