Music Reviews

ACYLUM: Your Pain

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (2447)
Jan 19 2006
Artist: ACYLUM (@)
Title: Your Pain
Format: CD
Label: X-Cem (@)
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
Another fine but also very dark and scary release for the Eastern Germany X-Cem community, this time the project of Pedro Engel called ACYLUM. Kai Arnold of WYNARDTAGE is also integrated here, he offers his vocals and is responsible for the lyrical content. Musically ACYLUM differs from WYNARDTAGE, they are moving hard on the thin balance between harsh EBM and Powernoise. So you get here a lot of distorted beats, some really sick layers and a very depressive mood, somehow comparable to FEINDFLUG, INFACT, DIOXYDE or old PAIN STATION. The tempo of the tracks are pending from mid tempo up to some faster placed stuff like "Trip of Hate" or "Final Shot (Club mix)". There is a big "slap-in-ya-face" attitude behind this sound, and also the black/white cover art awakes some possible comparisons to FEINDFLUG. The used elements here are surely not designed to be called new or innovative, but the kind and talent of this act is well present here to grab some attention of friends from the above mentioned acts. Please note also the hidden extra track placed on position 77 on this release. The underground is alive and this release can be called a quality exclamation mark for the new X-Cem group. Get it!

Kirsty Hawkshaw: Meta Message

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (2444)
Jan 17 2006
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Artist: Kirsty Hawkshaw
Title: Meta Message
Format: CD
Label: Nettwerk (@)
Rated: *****

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Nettwerk (which seem to be reaching out to women in the industry more than ever, especially with their management company) always has an eye and an ear out for new talent, or in this case established talent. Kirsty Hawkshaw has been lending her vocal contributions to Opus III, Orbital, Sqayzak, Way out West, Hybrid and Tiesto (who co-wrote and produced a couple of tracks on this record), Mr Sam, Pole Folder and of course Delerium (why am I not surprised about that? Fulber/Leeb seem to scout out every female singer that deserves attention) and many other electronic outlets throughout the years. "Meta Message" (which features remixes and tracks written or produced by Jimmy Gomez and Dave Randall from Slovo, among others) delivers a complete and all around female voice who (thanks, in part to ther background and collaborations in eighties dance culture) leans heavily on electronic music to deliver her message and who represents a great addition to the list of women who delight this beautiful musical genre with grace, tone and heavenly subtleties. Although her voice is strong and definitely flexible, multi-faceted and versatile, I wish I could get more excited about the tracks... not that they are bad, they are very good, but (some of them) just lack that certain shine that people like Delerium know how to add... The good thing is that it is a very various album that spans from dancefloor-friendly material to chill out lounge electronica, touching base with all things electronica in between.

VV.AA.: Cyberl@b 5.0

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (2440)
Jan 13 2006
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Cyberl@b 5.0
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Well, a DCD compilation by Alfa Matrix which shall feature new talents, trends and hypes, as well as veterans, presenting new and unreleased stuff. Most of the presented bands here are somehow in co-operation with this label from Belgium, or they will it be in the next future. The whole concept reminds me a bit on the latest "Advanced Electronics 4" compilation – a lot of big names here, but finally something what can offer anything new is missed. Remarkable tracks on the first CD are the opener, the X-FUSION side-project NOISUF-X with a new Powernoise hardhitter called "Tinitus". MILITANT CHEERLEADERS ON THE MOVE is a cool band name – and they offer a minimal EBM piece called "Freaks" in classic NITZER EBB tradition. The German STERIL are also back and give us a new track with "American Dream" – it is Electro/Metal-Crossover, much in tradition of their classic "Egoism" release. MIND:STATE could be named as the Swedish answer on ASSEMBLAGE 23 – nice copied here, but own identity sounds different. Then we can find some well known names of the early days of EBM/Industrial music like INSEKT, THE NEON JUDGEMENT ("Factory Walk" remixed by IMPLANT) or PORTION CONTROL – and you’ll get finally the impression that their best times are over now. New tracks are presented to well here by TAMTRUM and TACTICAL SEKT, both concentrating on their music, art and style.
The second CD offers also some veterans like FRONT 242, TRISOMIE 21 or PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE, but again – the more enjoying tracks are done by the new generation. IMPLANT feat. ANNE CLARK offer a marvelous piece ranging between EBM, Techno and Trance – what a cool remix done by the ELECTRIC UNIVERSE. Also UNTER NULL ("Martyr") and HEADSCAN ("Lolife") can totally impress, although their tracks are now known and no longer unreleased, because all pieces are featured on their current releases. Last track is this time done by VIRTUAL EMBRACE and this band offers this much better worked out piece with the title track of their last full-length CD. There is normally nothing wrong with this compilation if you are new at this music genre. If you have already discovered several bands of this genre, or you did buy several of their CD’s, you would like to ask, who could have an interest in this. So it is a decent compilation which unfortunatly can not offer any big surprises which can’t be missed at all. Check the tracklist and check out your personal favorite. Decent, but far away to be called outstanding.



01. NOISUF-X . tinnitus *
02. COMBICHRIST . thi s*it will fuck you up
03. MILITANT CHEERLEADERS ON THE MOVE . freaks (exclusive mix) *
04. LEAETHER STRIP . suicide bombers (7" mix) *
05. INSEKT . bambi fucker *
06. STERIL . american dream *
07. VNV NATION . chrome
08. MIND:STATE . close your eyes *
09. AYRIA . my device (CUT.RATE.BOX mix) **
10. THE NEON JUDGEMENT . factory walk (IMPLANT mix) *
11. PORTION CONTROL unwellcome -sonic hijack (mr shifter remix) **
12. RED SNIPER . deeper than x *
13. SOMAN . pusher
14. TACTICAL SEKT . not entertained *
15. TAMTRUM . le son de la pluie (fils de pute mix by GRENDEL) *


01. FRONT 242 . happiness (live) *
02. IMPLANT feat. ANNE CLARK . tune up your chips and circuits (ELECTRIC UNIVERSE remix) **
03. THE SYNTHETIC DREAM FOUNDATION . assiki: divine messenger (club mix) *
04. TRISOMIE 21 . red or green (DISKONNEKTED mix) *
05. DISKONNEKTED . after einstein
06. SERO.OVERDOSE . the one (excl.edit) *
07. ABSURD MINDS . dependence (rough mix) *
08. O.V.N.I. . good for you (radio edit) **
10. ZOMBIE GIRL . I want it (a/m mix) *
11. FIXMER/McCARTHY . freefall (THE HACKER remix)
12. UNTER NULL . martyr *
13. REAPER . daemon (gudfried remix by HEIMATAERDE)
14. HEADSCAN . lolife *
15. VIRTUAL EMBRACE . virtual embrace (cut&paste) *

* previously unreleased track
** rare track

STEREO TOTAL: Discotheque

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Jan 13 2006
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Artist: STEREO TOTAL (@)
Title: Discotheque
Format: CD
Label: Disko B (@)
Rated: *****

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DISCOTHEQUE isn't really a new Stereo Total album but it is a treasure box for the people that love their attitude and the dance tunes. This new release contains some new versions of tracks released on their previous album "Do the bambi" ("Babystrich" and "Europa Neurotisch") plus a gorgeous selection of rare songs from side-projects (Motor Mark and Jacno) and remixes: the Echokrank (a crazy Berliner transvestite) reworked version of "Everybody in the Discotheque (I hate)" originally released by Motor Mark, the reggae-song "Bad news from the stars" from Brezel Göring last solo-record with Barom One, released on Gagarin Records and on CD here for the first time. On the CD version, there are also all the thracks of the "Erste Mal" EP and the "Do the Bambi" remixes, originally only available in limited vinyl pressings always on Disko B records. All this for one hour and sixteen songs that will make you move at the rhythm of the German techno pop of the Stereo Total. Try to imagine Serge Gainsbourg tracks in an electro sauce with sensual rhythms and catchy sounds and prepare yourself to dance. A treasure for your ears...


 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (2433)
Jan 09 2006
Artist: WYNARDTAGE (@)
Title: Waste Of Time
Format: CD
Label: X-Cem (@)
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
WYNARDTAGE is the Dark Electro solo effort by Kai Arnold and he stands also behind the label X-Cem. X-Cem can’t be called a real label, it is more a kind of co-operation and the featured bands have to pay themselves for a CD production. WYNARDTAGE’s track "Sterbehilfe" could lately enter some compilations and it received some positive recognition in the clubs. Here on this first official release of this act this track is also available – featured as a hidden bonus track at song position 66. The music is dark Electro/Industrial with mostly distorted lyrics often changing between German and English language and it reminds me a bit on old SUICIDE COMMANDO mixed with early TERMINAL CHOICE influences. The title track is the main piece here, danceable with hard and steady bass kicks and distorted vocals, and it is next to the original version featured in four more remixed versions done by both X-Cem artists MAY-FLY and ACYLUM in a live improvisation, plus also both relatively unknown bands NOSTROM and ENCEPHALIN. The remix of ENCEPHALIN is the best one here and can add several interesting parts to the original – definitively worth to get heard and I have to make a look after this project! Stuff for the dancefloor is also well featured on the track "My Hell (Exclusive Mix)", while most of the further 6 tracks are slowing down the tempo and do more feature a sick and depressive mood. The lyrical content deals mostly with disappointed relations, death or dug abuse – stuff which does not allow to sing about the beauty of live. This CD does well in the mentioned style and it is worth to get checked out. Some slight improvisations on the end master of some tracks wouldn’t be bad, but here it’s real "underground". Give it a try and support the scene.

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