Music Reviews



DIOXYDE: Social Phobia

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (2738)
May 13 2006
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Artist: DIOXYDE (@)
Title: Social Phobia
Format: CD
Label: Dependent / NTP (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
The Spanish project DIOXYDE returns after 4 years in hiatus and a long time of health recovery after a bad accident with a motor bike. Being started as a duo, DIOXYDE did release back in 2002 their highly praised debut CD "Torschlusspanik" on the long-time defunct Dying Culture label. This debut got released earlier than things started to go mad with the new "fun" genre terms like "Hellektro" and related, and it can be surely called a classic of hard and dark Electro/EBM. Now working alone, finally Marco Calvo is able again after the mentioned accident to concentrate on his music an he has created here 10 tracks and he could add 3 remix works. The music is one of the finest kinds of hard ripping EBM/Dark Electro music, following strong the ideas and sounds of the big players like SUICIDE COMMANDO and AGONOIZE. It reminds me from it’s kind more on the older phases of SUICIDE COMMANDO, Marco mostly spins his tracks in mid-tempo, which gives enough free space for some rhythmical Powernoise influences. Therefor the favs can be found in "Cae La Pression" or the great played instrumental "Aftermath". There are of course some pure and massive floor fillers like "Words Of Judas" or the HOCICO-sounding "Vida Rota", which received an excellent remix by FEINDFLUG. Next to FEINDFLUG we have in AGONOIZE ("Invasive Therapy") and TACTICAL SEKT (Cae La Pression") known and notorious acts offering their remix abilities. Marco proves with this whole album that he is able to play as a solo artist, also the given mix between classical Dark Electro and stompy EBM assaults works well here. No real secret is also the long-time friendship from Marco to his alter ego Johan Van Roy aka SUICIDE COMMANDO, so this might to explain the contract between DIOXYDE and the new NTP label. So you get here one of the hardest, but also most worked out EBM/Dark Electro albums around, nearly in the quality and style, which "Torschlusspanik" has entered before. The names and references speak for itself - what are you waiting for...?

LIFE CRIED: Drawn + Quartered

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (2737)
May 13 2006
cover
Artist: LIFE CRIED (@)
Title: Drawn + Quartered
Format: CD
Label: NoiTekk (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
After almost a year without any new release, the German NoiTekk label returns and presents us with this album of this act a newcomer to the scene. Hailing from the USA, this project marks the opener of a busy new NoiTekk year with several new releases like the long awaited new CD of TACTICAL SEKT as well as some debut releases of DIE SEKTOR and DAWN OF ASHES. LIFE CRIED made already a fine debut on the NoiTekk compilation release "United", so some of you have already an assumption what to expect. This act fits very well with current label program, they combine dark melodic synth layers with stomping dancefloor compatibility and use razorblade-sharp distorted vocals. It is tough and hard ripping EBM/Dark Electro music produced after scheme 08/15, some might think of... well, surprisingly not at all! I have to admit that I am pretty much impressed by its rude kind and "hard-in-ya-face" attitude. Although that the used and described elements are known and can be heard on related releases like TACTICAL SEKT or GRENDEL (the beloved label comrades...), I am astonished. Take the lyrics for example and you hear the biggest difference to comparable acts like AGONOIZE or RETRACTOR – LIFE CRIED don’t use them simple as an "instrument" – they have instead something to tell you. Next to this we have here some tracks which offer a deeper musically content by using more melodic elements ("Living Hell", "Burnt To Ashes") in between the aggression. Also the slower pieces ("Guardian", "Hallowed By The Name") can totally convince. Music which doesn’t take any prisoners, somewhere between LEXINCRYPT and the other mentioned artists here – new food for the short-hair rivetheads. Please also note the "beautiful" designed artwork by Davyd of Hive Records with some more clinical instruments than a bone saw. Go and storm your local CD dealer shop!

DISMANTLED: Standard Issue

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (2736)
May 13 2006
cover
Artist: DISMANTLED (@)
Title: Standard Issue
Format: CD
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
So here are my two cents on this release, although I think that mastermind Gary Zon will "not give a shit" on this. First of the facts: The third full length of Gary Zon’s project DISMANTLED is finally out. Long awaited, it got delayed since August 2005, because Gary decided to do some gigs in between, also backed up with the success of the previous released EP "Breed To Death". What this EP already announced became finally truth, DISMANTLED moved again a massive step forward regarding composition and production, although it still has to be proven if his new direction is the right one. Musically Gary has more lighten up his stuff than ever before, now more turning his direction towards to a soft EBM/Electro sound. It still has ist quality trademarks but it is far now far away from the stuff he created on his self-titled debut 4 years before. Some do remember, it was that hefty very depressive output of a newcomer which received euphoric reactions all over world. Compared to this massive apocalyptic release which is still until today not heard a second time, his new sound is more minimal – maybe a bit concentrating on the composition itself. Sure, here are some pearls as well, the opener "Anthem" for sure, which takes you on trip of about more than 6 minutes. I also enjoyed the remarkable melodic input of "Get It Through" and "No Effect" is mostly the opposite of it by including more rough and alternative drum patterns and some noisy layers. "Breed To Death" of course has to be placed here on this album, luckily again in a renewed version. The title track comes only with Gary’s fragile sounding voice and a smooth piano input, until my favorite takes place, "Attention" which spins perfect the right balance between dancefloor comparability and remarkable melodic content. What I wanna like to criticize (yeah Gary, again a term of this review on which can call me just another retarded elitist...): there are out in the international Electro/Industrial scene a lot of better singers than Gary actually is – therefore I find his efforts especially in rather minimal tracks like the title track courageous. Also his tendency to talk bad on things near to him through his statement "I made it so I could make fun of everything around me because I realized how STUPID everything was. I’m much better than all of it", is a kind on which I hope that it can be taken with the needed portion of humor. Everything here is almost done by Mr. Perfect..., uuhmm, Mr. "Two Words" – well, arrogance comes before the fall...
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Artist: THE PROCESS VOID (@)
Title: Arcane Matter
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Crash Frequency
Rated: *****
Here we have another act hailing out the unknown badlands of Australia, the solo project THE PROCESS VOID leaded by Alex J. Also this act is part of the Australian Crash Frequency (www.crashfrequency.com, thanks again and ROCK on, Karl!!!) and this community grows stronger and better, also with this release under their flag. Alex describes his music being influenced by classic Industrial acts, PUPPY, FLA, but guitar-driven stuff like KILLING JOKE, and I personally would like to add a portion TEST DEPT to this reference. The truth lays somewhere in between, musically THE PROCESS VOID combine minimal EBM/old school Industrial inspired bass lines with rough vocal screams (not really the fine kind of singing...), solid bass kick and snare drum patterns ("Retributions, "Seconds") and some synth layers ranging between melodious and atonal. Also some guitar noises can be heard here and there mostly placed in the background. This is in all a very rough and not fainthearted style of Independent/Underground music. The later placed tracks turn also more and more into a noise and trash experiment, the long running final piece called "Book Titles" for example ends into a total noise climax, that’s why I took TEST DEPT to be a possible reference. The whole CD convinces through its experiental undertone and its aggressive kind generally, plus it doesn’t sound like anything discovered before. This project is definitively on a good way and I’m looking forward to hear more from it. Check out this interesting but hard to pick up release through the given sources here.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: American Gigolo II - Mixed Compiled By Abe Duque
Format: CD
Label: Gigolo (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****

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After the first chapter of the American Gigolo series and after Tiga here it is volume two that contains twenty one tracks compiled, mixed and sometimes remixed by Abe Duque. Abe picked up tracks from the Gigolo catalogue spanning from #86 to #181 (only Jeff Mills’"Shifty disco" is older as it was included into Gigolo #2). He did a good work as he didn’t present them "as they are" because, where needed, he pumped a bass, added a vocal, etc. In this way he created a massive dj set with a great impact by focusing the first half selection on electro techno (Foremost Poets, Crack We Rock, Abe Duque, Psychonauts, Freaks to name few). With Felix Da Housecat remix of P.Diddy’s "Jack U" (the central section) the atmosphere changes from electro influenced tunes to pure acid/techno (with Terence Fixmer, Traxx & Deecoy, Jeff Mills and Richard Bartz). The effect created by this radical change is of a sudden lack of melody. The atmosphere changes again with David Carretta just to close with an 80’s electro house track thanks to The Dominatrix. I found the first half of AMERICAN GIGOLO II really solid and intriguing but on the second half the acid took an hold all in a sudden and this ruined the tracklist that was running smoothly. This compilation is worth a listening and no one can stop you by listening to the two sections separately and digging the CD anyway...


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