Music Reviews



Dec 04 2006
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Artist: STROMKERN (@)
Title: Reminders
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Long awaited 2nd release out of the successful last STROMKERN full-length release "Light It Up", and also the needed sales item to offer a new release on the mutual world with FRONT LINE ASSEMBLAGE. No doubt also, that "Reminders" was chosen to be pointed out f "Light It Up", it is indeed the most catchiest track from this album. The "ear-worm" qualities this track has to offer brings this piece to the already existing hall of fame of STROMKERN's greatest tracks like "Re-Aligned", "Night Riders" or "Hesitate". So you’ll got a cool Extendet Version, a Trans Siberian Remix work done by no one else than Rhys Fulber (FLA), a great, because completely electronic-based remix work by ECHO VIRUS and also a valuable Impeachment 7" Mix by the legendary US-act OUT OUT. Two unreleased special b-sides are available as well, a dark and with additional bass and guitar sounds constructed piano-driven tune called "The City" and with "Feed The Machine" another quality track featuring Ned’s vocals, which could it easy make it on a full-length album. Although the acoustic component in the music arrangements of STROMKERN have generally grown, I’m still astonished by the excellent compositional efforts by this US act. This is by far the very best SiCD of Dependents DCI Vol. 3 collection, without competition to the other two partner releases.

DISMANTLED: Thanks For Everything

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (3231)
Dec 01 2006
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Artist: DISMANTLED
Title: Thanks For Everything
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
I should admit that this review stands a bit under the influence of a thread readable at the well-known Side-Line online forum, at which the artist and starter of this thread, Gary Zon himself, has asked the forum members to vote for him at an online resource – only to test, if there’s still enough recognition and acceptance for his DISMANTLED project. Lately he has built up a more commercial-oriented side-project called AERODRONE, and the first reactions of the audience seem to be quite good. At first I do not understand why this thread hadn’t got banned from the first posting on to the so-called "Plug Section" of this forum – because it is nothing else than a shameless self-plugging infiltrated with the sarcasm Gary Zon likes to spread with his last full-length CD "Standard Issue". Hard to believe that a well-known and highly anticipated act like DISMANTLED needs to ask for some votes. The Electro/Industrial scene and/or the music business generally isn’t responsible to save and warm someone’s ass. Out there are a lot of working – hard working – people leading a label with names like Dependent and Metropolis. These fine people have offered their attention and trust and have worked hard and a lot for DISMANTLED through the years. A lot of not-lesser talented acts out there would be proud and deserve the deals with which Mr. Zon likes to play his sarcastic games. Gary, try to remember why you got picked up and signed – right, it was that harder and darker sample-driven Electro/Industrial style. Labels like Dependent have seen and heard your talent, but to work with an artist to bring him out with a promising response needs at least three full-length albums in a nearly comparable style. Nothing against musically development - but what have you done album per album? Drastically changes now into pure, danceable, ordinary Futurepop – well, that isn’t what people and what your labels could expect. And so we come to the term of this review, these 5 tracks provided on this SiCD, another part of the DCI, the Dependent Club Invasion Vol. 3. "Thanks For Everything" is a second single release taken out of the third DISMANTLED album "Standard Issue". It is one of the better songs and thanks to the still happened success this album could earn, this release somehow makes sense. So here’s a new Club Version done by Krischan of ROTERSAND, which fills a bit the originally sparse included instrumentals – nice and effective work, as usual. Comes then a new Alternate Version created by Gary Zon himself – in comparison to the work of ROTERSAND it sounds like a – lets say it, first demo version. Two new tracks are created, on which "Spin" gets my vote for the best work here. Note, this is originally an AERODRONE track, but receives a special "Aerodrone to Dismantled Remix" with some cool vocoder effects on the vocals. At least we got another remix done by the US act CESIUM 137 offering some cool breakbeats asides the original. Globally this new output can’t leave the gray area of deep averages – compared to earlier DISMANTLED works including the mentioned debut and also "Post-Nuclear" it sounds quite unimpressed. If there’s really a small doze of seriousness behind that SL forum thread, Gary, you should indeed think to stop or to take a longer break for DISMANTLED. To fill the field with third-class Futurepop can’t be the target a talented man likes to reach. Think about passion and dedication – and let commercial-oriented aspects out for AERODRONE.

STRAFTANZ: Straftanz

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (3230)
Dec 01 2006
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Artist: STRAFTANZ
Title: Straftanz
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
"Straftanz vor – zurück!" It’s STRAFTANZ time! Loud, very loud, like a command this words will blow out of the clubs right in your face. STRAFTANZ is a new mysterious project which hasn’t left any hint, contact or website printed on this SiCD, which is a part of the successful Dependent Club Invasion, in short DCI, series, a 3 single-CD collection of some more successful acts signed to this label. STRAFTANZ is a newcomer and gives here a debut, which is musically based on a hard pounding beat, a hysterical male EBM shouter giving the "Straftanz" command in 5 "different" versions, some female "Bestrafung" voice samples, a well done synth layer and a noisy pad – that’s it! Two of the 5 versions are remix works by REAPER and AGONOIZE – musically both acts following the given stuff here, but can offer luckily a bit of their own sounds and identity – both remix works hit the original! The other three versions are musically almost the same, they only difference can be separated through the vocals. The lyrical content features the mentioned names of more or less known clubs in the East, West and South of Germany. A bit sad, that there aren’t enough clubs in the North to provide also from this area a special version. Finally there’s a b-side called "Eintausendmal" on which the pounding beat starts slowly to get faster and faster, while this track globally reminds me on some EBM-clobber wannabe tunes, bah! I’m really wondering that the fine and successful Dependent label really likes to offer this low jackass-level only designed for pseudo-aggressive get-hard-be-strong-fanatics. The ugly word "Hellektro" comes to mind, but mostly bands categorized under this moniker have something more to offer. This stuff works well in the clubs, but ONLY in the clubs – in case you’re drunken and/or stoned enough!
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Artist: SAMHAIN (@)
Title: Violent Identity
Format: CD
Label: Aliens Production (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Already well-known in the Czech/Slovakian scene thanks to some hard-to-get recordings and thanks to some live performances and compilation appearances, this Slovakian trio brings finally out their official debut. While some of the band members have done through the years some remarkable collaborations with some better known Electro/EBM acts of the scene, like KIFOTH or LAST INFLUENCE OF BRAIN, they now joined together their forces and provide us here a full-length CD with more than 72 minutes playing time. Who already thought, that there can’t be anything darker or more experimental-oriented out of Slovakia than their countrymen of DISHARMONY or the Czech solo artist ANHEDONIA, well – here comes a new fine proof. Walls of sounds, hard-to-realize worked out rhythm patterns, a dark, at times scary cinematic mood – this all fits with SAMHAIN. Who already has thought that MENTALLO & THE FIXER have provided in their early days ("Revelations 23" – era) a hard-to-grip complexity, has stopped to learn – SAMHAIN is here to teach you better! Mix to that M&TF reference some Powernoise/Ambient-infiltrated tunes, like offered from the French act REMAIN SILENT and you have a possible comparison, which almost fits. Although vocals – and when integrated, they’re mostly dark, rough experimental-minded - are sparse filled in here, and besides the fact that several voice samples are included, there’s enough music here which makes this "human factor" forgettable. It’s hard to pick out favorites, the opener "Undefinable" follows pretty much the already mentioned M&TF style, while "Apparition" turns with some rotten layers and heavily distorted rhythms near to the Powernoise genre. It’s one of this extremely valuable albums, which content is impossible to realize and to pick up only after 3 – 4 rotations. Give it more spins and make sure, that you can offer some time and attention, you will be rewarded with an album which never starts to bore. Doubleplusgood!

DISHARMONY: Frames

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (3228)
Dec 01 2006
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Artist: DISHARMONY (@)
Title: Frames
Format: CD
Label: Aliens Production (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
This well-known Slovakian duo returns with their already 4th full-length release, and finally they officially release this new album under their very own Aliens Production label. This isn’t a new studio album, it moreover contains previously unreleased and never-heard-before stuff back to their early "Moonflower" era. It is a kind of collection to close the very first chapter in the evolution of this band through the years. But don’t call these tracks "b-sides" or such other negative word, that wouldn’t be fair and it wouldn’t reflect the offered quality here, which still is able to satisfy the highest expectations. DISHARMONY of course go on here with their fine worked out, slowly, creepy, with Ambient-textures infiltrated subtle kind of Dark Electro/Industrial music. They’re near – very near – to that sound and style which acts like MORTAL CONSTRAINT and/or the earlier KLINIK (Ivens/Verhaegen) have provided us – and which is nowadays sorely missed! But some tracks here really should surprise you, because here are some examples that this duo is also able to produce danceable tunes, just check "Blind" or "Masonic" here. Some remix works of tracks being originally available on their last full-length CD "Collapse" (out on Monopolrecords, www.monopolrecords.cz) are provided here as well, done by the Aliens label comrades GAPING CHASM, ANHEDONIA, as well as the French act FLINT GLASS. They all offer good worked out remix works – but can never hit the well done original version, which still is one of the finest pieces of DISHARMONY at all! Still unsolved is the secret, why there are especially in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic so many acts providing this special kind of Dark Electro/Industrial/Ambient-influenced kind of music. DISHARMONY, ANHEDONIA, or the also now released SAMHAIN – they all are more less dedicated to this special sound. Still so dark, still rich layered and arranged – and luckily without using any cliches, this release is again a must-have, if you like to check out a quality alternative to your usual Electro/Industrial listening. Note: like all releases out on this fine Slovakian label, also this piece here is limited to 550 exemplars and comes packaged in a DVD box. Get it!


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