Music Reviews



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Artist: FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY (@)
Title: Artificial Soldier
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
FRONT LINE are back, now mutated to a four-men super act. Bill Leeb could add next to Rhys Fulber his other partner in crime, Chris Petersen, and the new band member Jeremy Inkel. The info sheet promised a lot regarding the quality and that "FLA will pass all expectations". Well, to say it in short, this "Artificial Soldier" can not at all be called that outstanding, it is more a mixture of already known elements and earlier presented styles in the long time career. Think about a combination of "Hard Wired" and "Epitaph" flavored with some D ’n’ B elements and you may got an idea how it is. That also means, that the more melodious coarse presented with "Civilization" has found a sudden end, the new stuff is more energetic and harder constructed. This is maybe for one or another fan a good new info, but I miss some of their typical fat synth layers on this new album generally – their bombastic melodic input on "Artificial Soldier" is more reduced, but with respect to a few exceptions. So it took a while until found completely entrance to this album. The opener "Unleashed" is one of the best tracks here, featuring all the mentioned elements with Bill’s typical vocals well set in – like it or not, a lot of people see in the sound of Bill’s vocals the one and only weak point at FLA generally – I would say that they are a trademark which deserve respect and attention. Also well done is the second piece "Low Life", on which I like the experiments on Bill’s vocals for the refrain. "Beneath The Rubble" features a remarkable melodic content which grabs my attention, while I have my problems with the four following pieces "Dissension", "Buried Alive", "Dopamine" and "Social Enemy". Too much of the mentioned D n’ B elements are mostly causing hectic here, FLA can never fill in their own signature – in short it means you hear the tracks once, you hear them twice – then you forget them. We have then here two tracks featuring guest appearances for the vocals, Jean-Luc De Meyer of FRONT 242 ("Future Fail") and Eskil Simonsson of COVENANT ("The Storm"). While both compositions will also not reach the hall of fame for FLA, the vocal input of J.-L. De Meyer can totally satisfy and features the known and beloved intensity, the input of Eskil Simonsson against to this seems misplaced. His voice may works well on Futurepop productions, but here it bores. Finally we have the best track of this album, "Humanity (World War Three)". Call me a bit old-fashioned, but – isn’t it conspicuous how similar it sounds to "Infra Red Combat"? Yes, that’s the piece that saves my day (and also this CD...). Add to this a hidden track afterwards, an experimental instrumental cut. As for a generally result, well – the surprise lays somewhere in between. I for myself was pretty much impressed with "Civilization" and it’s lighter but also darker mood, no wonder also that I tend to say "never" to call this album as outstanding. But I am sure that FLA will score with "Artificial Soldier" especially in the USA thanks to the more presented guitars and up-to-date styles. And – the most important point – it is FLA – and so still a quality product generally.
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Artist: (etre) (@)
Title: A post fordist parade in the strike of events
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
Hey, there're two remarkable points concerning Baskaru catalogue so far: one is the fact at the moment the label seems to be a kind of italian colony, but second and most important, the high quality of their releases is surprising. I was amazed by Ent but with Urkuma and (etre) I'm unquestionably convinced the label is one of the most interesting european electronic oriented one. Coming down to (etre), the "freeglitch" word in the net address and the beginning of the cd could be a good suggestion "glitch" is one of this musician’s favourite weapons, but he's been able to work differently from the average pointless glitchy release. In "A post fordist..." glitches are nothing but a platform from where to leave to get somewhere/nowhere, cyclical structures quite often get violently stopped or are subjected to a gradual transformation, the juxtaposition of glitches and psychedelic (?) influences helps to digest what otherwise could result obsessive. Yes, as you can guess the most of the tracks have a definite rhythmical cut, but (etre) added melody (he's italian for God’ sake!!). Great production, good taste and some intense tracks (Considering the hypnosis of the stone, When you cry for the first time on this heart) after some private and net release that's a confirmation for those who believe it in his qualities.
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Artist: FLUORESCENT GREY (@)
Title: Lying on the floor mingling with god in a Tijuana motel room next door to a veterinary supply store
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Isolate (@)
Rated: *****
According the biography of Robbie Martin, we read he started playing/composing with electronic music a while ago and you can bet the cut/technical skill of this northern californian musician is not a mystery. You’ll find a wild bunch of superimposed influences where it’s hard to recognize this or that artist. First off, we're talking about a rhythmic release, therefore if you were expecting some pre-confectioned, ambiental, easy listening cd, perhaps that's not your cup of tea (at last one of his label mates is Venetian Snares). While working on rhythm and tempo changes Fluorescent Gray had the good idea of working on melodies (something that many electronic musicians think it's irrelevant... but it's not) and the result is positively fine but at the same time strange. At last Martin writes he has been drawing inspiration from artists such as Farmer’s Manual, Zoviet France, Coil, Art of Noise and Bartok so please don't blame me/him if "melody" doesn't imply "easy listening". Every song hides a zillion of small particulars but still Fluorescent Gray keeps his eyes on the global image of his work which probably means he has a clear perception where his sound is headed. Seventy-three minutes of personal and somehow melodic electronic music, the release is a bit too long but the result is rather interesting.

LITTLE SAP DUNGEON: Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (2842)
Jun 22 2006
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Artist: LITTLE SAP DUNGEON (@)
Title: Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily
Format: CD
Label: Backscatter / Dungeon Recordings (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
The nightmarish duo consisting of Kevin J. Cazier and Alan E. Wilson aka LITTLE SAP DUNGEON (please check back their interview somewhere on our site...) returns with a new full length CD which features some new tracks as well as a kind of retrospective of their highly acclaimed last studio work "Silent Entities". Unfortunately this new release is also a kind of farewell compilation, because this damned talented act has to take a longer pause from all activities and the future of this act is really uncertain. The lack of time caused through studies, full time jobs, getting a young addition to the Wilson family, seem to make it impossible to work and produce music with the required seriousness. This is very sad to hear, more especially if you take a listen to the both new tracks of this duo here, "Behind The Mask" as the opening track, and the scary title track following afterwards. Especially "Behind The Mask" really kicks ass – a tough and stompy Dark Electro piece with a dramatically produced melodic content – yes, the comparison with some heavy SYMBIONT stuff is thinkable and allowed! It is definitively one of the straightest tracks this duo has ever been produced so far. "Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily" then slows down the breathtaking tempo of "Behind The Mask", but this does not at all mean, that the title track is less interesting. This track is a perfect example for what LSD is known for through the years. A dark and depressive mood, uncountable scary voice samples, a lot of effects and noise to produce a detailed and filled background, and a rough whispered vocal inset are the winning points of this track, which documents impressive the preferences of LSD of being one of the best horror/splatter movie influenced acts around. Empty walls breathe heavily – how can you doubt on this? Also for the remixes, it is generally noticeable that the tracks provide a stronger dedication to some dancefloor compatibility than ever expected. CIRCUIT SURGEON have laid their hands on "Doorway Dweller", a rough instrumental piece originally, which was the opener on "Silent Entities". Most of the rotating noise sounds get removed now, so that some aggressive rhythm patterns could find its way on this remix – a well done alternative. This counts also for "The Children’s Sleep" remixed by TWILLIGHT TRANSMISSION – the relationship to the original is hard to recognize. Thinks differ with the SYNAPTIC DEFECT remix of "In The Dark", but this one plays well with the amount of given voice samples. Kevin J. Cazier finally has laid his talented hands under his solo project PCP on the track "Phantasm" and also Xon of BOUNDLESS has not to be missed here with his quality remix of the new "Behind The Mask" – it is a bit more club-friendly, the mood also turns into a lighter feeling in comparison to the original. Also this release is a co-production between the both Salt Lake City based labels, Dungeon-recordings and Backscatter (www.backscatter.biz), and the nice DSBP should be responsible to do some mail order service. Get your copy of this, and take part on the funeral procession of one the most underrated acts around. I still hope somehow for continuation for this act...

VV.AA.: EVP – Compilation Vol. 1

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (2841)
Jun 22 2006
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Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: EVP – Compilation Vol. 1
Format: CD
Label: X-Cem (@)
Distributor: SXDistribution
Rated: *****
Another compilation next to the successful "Lost In Darkness" series of the X-Cem community and so you’ll also get some already known partners in crime here, mostly offering alternative versions or unreleased stuff. ACYLUM opens the reign here with title track of their full length "Your Pain" and follows strong the settled paths of acts like older SUICIDFE COMMANDO or DIOXYDE. DECLARE offer again their track "Blind", but this time in a remix which focuses more on Futurepop-sounds – not bad at all, but the voice sample "Der Herr lässt mich sehen" slowly starts to hurt my teeth... The duo RE:\LEGION offers one of the best tracks here with "Pests Of Flesh", which can satisfy with right combination between aggression and melodic content – an up and coming name to follow! Same can be said also for ENCEPHALIN, which is a side-project of DECLARE – on this comp they provide a better piece than the main project. With CHROME DIVISION (an ACYLUM side-project...) and SENSOGEN (a WYNARDTAGE side-project...) this comp offers some Powernoise-inspired stuff as well, while then MAY-FLY return to classic EBM/Dark Electro with a special edit of their strong piece "Raper". WYNARDTAGE of course have to be named as well, especially for giving the audience a new and previously unreleased track called "Dein Fleisch". LA MAGRA comes also up offering a Dark Electro piece which is a nice teaser for their upcoming debut on X-Cem, out soon. CYBER WHORE and ANIMA IMMORTALIS (another DECLARE side-project...) offer both female leaded dark pieces to conclude this compilation. 15 tracks in all on this "Electronic Voice Phenomenon Vol. 1" with some special stuff to fill the collection of the hard stuff user. Not to outstanding, but well done enough to grab some attention.

Tracklist:

01 Acylum - Your pain
02 Das Über-Ich - Honig im Kaffee
03 Declare - Blind (Angel’s Return mix)
04 re:\Legion - Pests of Flesh
05 Encephalin - Dismissed (Album Version)
06 Krachmachine - Hass
07 Chrome Division - ElektroSchockTherapie
08 Sensogen - Burn in Hell
09 May-Fly – Raper (Edit Version)
10 Hiob - Todestraum
11 PsiPhy - Infected
12 Wynardtage - Dein Fleisch
13 La Magra - Vampire Dinner
14 Cyber Whore - Ice Romance (V.02. – Remix)
15 Anima Immortalis - In Taberna



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