Music Reviews

Instans: Common Ground

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (3361)
Jan 26 2007
Artist: Instans (@)
Title: Common Ground
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya-Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
I like to quote Fredrik Djurfeldt of SEVERE ILLUSION out of our recent done interview soon up here somewhere else: "Well, if it wasn't for Black Flames being so encouraging in the first place, there would have been no INSTANS. For some reason they spent all their money on another band that no one liked, and now they are no more. During the two years that followed, we still had the Instans web site and a Myspace site up and running. Through this we soon learned that there was a demand for the album, so when Advoxya offered a contract we were happy to sign it." What does this mean? SEVERE ILLUSION on half power? INSTANS a waste of time? Cool down, almost everything’s all right with the debut of this SEVERE ILLUSION side-project. The authentic style which Fredrik Djurfeldt and Ulf Lundblad have successfully created and installed on all of their releases finds here a decent continuation. Described as being a lighter and more danceable edition than the main project, I moreover come to the conclusion that it wouldn’t make too much difference if they would have been decided to release "Common Ground" as a real SEVERE ILLUSION album. Yeah, some tunes are definitively straighter and rather danceable-friendly produced than the works of the last SEVERE ILLUSION studio album "Shortcut To Civilization", especially a track like "Hard Work" with its minimal old-school EBM flavor and some "sweat-muscle-work" vocals can bring a smile in my face. Favorites I like to name with "Cause And Effect" (features some great done Dark Electro-like layer sounds...) and "First Off", both pick up a bit more the traditionally noise-infiltrated SI sound. So in all this is a must-have for every SEVERE ILLUSION supporter as well as for old-school EBM and Minimal fans. Thumbs up!

ENGELMACHER: Birds Of A Feather

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (3360)
Jan 26 2007
Title: Birds Of A Feather
Format: CD
Label: E-Rhythematosus Records
Distributor: E-Rhythematosus Records
Rated: *****
Behind this German name hides another self-released debut of an US-based Electro/Industrial act hailing from St. Louis, Missouri. This project consists mainly of Michael, who’s doing almost all production and vocals, and Natalie, who does some live synth work. Engelmacher describes metaphorically the term of population control, and this act just could enter a free slot on the international renowned Interbreeding compilation series (Interbreeding IX – Kuru, just out while I’m writing this...) of the BLC Productions label. Now out with this first CD which presents the musically dimension somewhere between dancefloor-compatible Electropop tunes up to pounding EBM/Dark Electro-related tracks. Both opening tracks, "Retribution" and "Circumstance" are harder-edged danceable Dark Electro tunes (NOT Trance-inspired Hellektro...) with distorted, whispering-like vocals and remind strong on some works of INFORMÄTIK or older EVILS TOY – for sure not a bad reference. Things get a bit smoother with some catchy Future-/Electropop-inspired works like "Bypass", "Useless Gestures" or "Thrust". Also the vocals on this tracks are rather clear and naturally placed, without the use of uncountable effects. With "Devotion" this act proves that they can also deal with some slower and rather creepy tunes. It has to mention that the programming abilities of this act and the detailed worked-out synth textures are the winning points for this production, the arrangements and sounds are well-thought and installed. Nice artwork too, so this is one of the most promising and still unsigned newcomer acts around. A strong recommendation to purchase this fine item, also for some labels a quality tip to give it a try...
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Interbreeding VIII: Elements of Violence
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: BLC Productions / e-noxe (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Winter time – Compilation time #1: Well, not really released in this winter, but until today still an undiscovered edition of the international extremely successful and renowned Interbreeding compilation series. Also for this edition label chief Brandon L. Clark could pick up and invite some promising newbies besides some already known forces of the internationally Electro/Industrial scene. Again released as a double-CD set, both CD’s are filled with up to 78 minutes to the maximum possible storage and you’ll get some new and refreshing appearances not to be missed. Like on most previous released editions the mass and the huge playing time maybe nails the listener at first and it needs some time and more rotations until the best pieces can be filtered. It is important to know that the first placed appearances on the so-called best slots are maybe not the best tunes; it was and is always target of this comp series to spread the favorites in every corner of the track list.
I would like to mention from the first CD entitled "Bloodthirst" the Chilean Electro/Metal-Crossover act VIGILANTE, which offer here a remix work done by the German act FUNKER VOGT. As usual – almost a trademark – remix works of FUNKER VOGT are very pleasant, at times more accessible than their own compositions. Their work on "The Other Side" is no exception, also nice to listen to a vocalist who sounds aggressive without the overdone use of distortion and overdrive effects. With BLC’s own THE PAIN MACHINERY the music gets rougher and more pounding, while the extremely dark sounding and rather old-school inspired one man act NECROTEK aka James Geist offers a "first cut" of the track "Wish You Dead" – one of the most remarkable pieces here. The French act NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT offers a pleasant Dark Electro instrumental work, which you should give a try under a good pair of headphones – maybe the best and most complex synth play here. Still into the Dark Electro vein comes the appearance of MIND CONFUSION, an act from which I haven’t heard of about more than three years now. Germany’s ACYLUM combines very effective some spooky Synth play drops with a hammering old-SC/DIOXYDE-inspired rhythm pattern work and an out-of-the-grave vocal performance of Kai Arnold aka WYNARDTAGE. Futuristic Electro as its best is offered again by the French act E.S.R., for the first time including a guitar performance, while the German SCHATTENSCHLAG give a high-speed tune in vein of HOCICO.
The second CD called "Brutality" starts with another Chilean act, the newcomer duo of PROYECTO CRISIS. The still recognized success formula to produce hard and speedy EBM with Spanish lyrics in vein of the favorites HOCICO or AMDUSCIA is an always discovered phenomenon of bands hailing from South America and this duo is no exception. But while HOCICO seem to take a longer break to collect some new inspiration, the rather filthy but refreshing tunes of some talented newcomers are welcome. Also back on track after a longer time in hiatus is the US act FUNCTION 13, here presented with an instrumental piece which got well done remixed by the German act MC1R. Some PUPPYan and rather old-school minded works can also be discovered by both heavily underrated acts LITTLE SAP DUNGEON with an edited version of "Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily" and the Slovakian act GAPING CHASM with a special remix of their track "Only Shadows Will Survive". The French act TAMTRUM, signed to Alfa Matrix, give us then their energetic and speedy recommendation to "Abort The Pope". Also hailing from France comes the duo of SKOYZ, which provides a remix by SCHATTENSCHLAG on one of their best tunes "Distorted Dreams". Also a recommendation to check out the great Russian project THE-PULSAR with a new and unreleased version of their track "Leaving Underground" featuring almost clear and undistorted well sounding male vocals.
As usual, to pick out and to mention this appearances belongs on subjective preferences – of course this doesn’t mean that the other not-mentioned tracks are worse. Different folks – different strokes. Another well compiled DCD set out of the BLC knowledge base which you better get NOW – before it is completely sold-out!



1. Y-Luk-O: Resistance (deflektor mix by Brainclaw)
2. Stark: Rfamekong
3. SMP: Hacker Like Me
4. Process of Elimination: The Sleepers of Telos
5. Vigilante: The Other Side (Funker Vogt Remix)
6. Gydja: element001: Host
7. The Pain Machinery: Scar Tissue
8. Necrotek: Wish You Dead (First Cut)
9. Servo.Hatred: Rage (Interbreeding Mix)
10. Neon Cage Experiment: Sequenced Lives (Edit)
11. Mind Confusion: The Final Chapter (Remix)
12. Acylum: Trip of Hate (BLC Exclusive)
13. T.H. Industry -- Die Wut (Massiv in Mensch Remix)
14. Omen Machine: MindMelt
15. ESR: Blood on the Walls
16. Schattenschlag: Breathing Evil (Interbreeding VIII Remix)
17. Brainclaw: This Human Condition (Souls in Transit Remix)


1. Proyecto Crisis: El Juego de la Muerte
2. Implant: Fading Away
3. function13: Prostitute (g-u-n remix by mc1r)
4. Tyske Ludder: Betrayal (Wertstahl US Remix)
5. Ilion Conflict: Genocide
6. Gaping Chasm: Only Shadow will Survive
7. LSD: Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily (Edit)
8. Tamtrum: Abort the Pope
9. Tau Factor: Cold Core (Mixdown)
10. Stigmata: No Way Out (Evil Dead Mix)
11. Wynardtage: My Hell (BLC Exclusive)
12. Wertstahl: Der Mechanische Soldat
13. Invisible Asps: Scarlet Design (Ravishing Mix)
14. Skoyz: Distorted Dreams (Condition Zero Mix by Schattenschlag)
15. The Pulsar: Leaving Underground
16. Anders Manga: Burn
17. The Crystalline Effect: When the World Ends (Implant Remix)

Jan 22 2007
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Artist: ICK (@)
Title: La Parade Des Sans Illusions
Format: 7"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
Ick is active since mid nineties and he already released several stuff for different labels such as Hau Ruck!, La Nouvelle Alliance, Blade Records, etc. LA PARADE DES SANS ILLUSIONS is the first 7" of the new Petite Enfant series: a new 7" only releases produced by Enfant Terrible, label that is anyway releasing music on vinyl only. This 7" contains four tracks of primitive industrial 80's electronic. Since the first moments of "Societe D'Ombres" is clear waht Ick is about: inflexible industrial electronic wave that sounds like an extreme version of early Die Form. The four tracks "Societe D'Ombres", "Je Cours", "Kings Of Speed" and "Avoir 20 Ans" (this last one has the same title of one Di Leo movies, starring Gloria Guida) sound like desperate anthems where the distorted vocals seem coming from the past, from a broken radio while the music built a desolation scenario really functional. This release is limited to 300 copies. Hurry to get yours and visit Enfant Terrible's website to listen to some audio excerpts.


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (3354)
Jan 22 2007
image not
Artist: AFTER THE SNOW (@)
Title: Fracture
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
Limited to only 350 copies and on vinyl the first After The Snow album will make you revive the sensations of the first time you listened Clair Obscure or early Death In June. Let's tell by now that After The Snow's music isn't a mere reproduction of past formulas, we can say that as the first bands of the electronic cold wave scene the project tend to canalize emotions into a minimal electronic wave, without caring too much about how many sounds there are into a song or how much catchy it could sound. The sound proposed is rarefied and cold and vocals are evocative and sometimes distant. You can name it also experimental electronic wave because of the basic structure of the tracks and if you lived the early days of post punk and new wave you can understand what I mean...

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