Music Reviews



STICKER CLUB: song time two

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 21 2005
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Artist: STICKER CLUB
Title: song time two
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: No ground-r (@)
Rated: *****
No Ground is back with a new episode of their 3" cdr series. Rory Philips aka Sticker Club and his laptop are tuned on the frequencies of Warp records when it was still an electronic label (nay..."THE" electronic label). At the same time, being Rory from England, melancholy is flowing into his veins and in the vascular system of many other musician coming from the country of John Lennon. The electronic tracks reminded me of the funniest episodes of Plone or Plaid: it means this could get along pretty well with a videogame. "Song time two" features also some sad guitar driven tracks, honestly I still can't understand if he could have used different songs for different projects, but the whole 3" is good so who cares then?!. While the production of the electronic tracks is good, the sound of the guitar can be improved a lot, it doesn't imply that the whole recording is so and so. This 3" release is quite relaxed and well produced for a debut, I'm sure if you're into electronic music with rhythm and irony you will like this guy from England. Sticker Club has some good qualities even if that could be considered a beginning, let's see what happens with his future releases.

DISKONNEKTED: Neon Night

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 19 2005
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Artist: DISKONNEKTED (@)
Title: Neon Night
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Finally Jan Dewulf has found a new label home with Alfa Matrix for his DISKONNEKTED project after the unexpected demise of the Dying Culture label. I must admit that I haven’t heard his predecessor "Jesus Raves" and also not the previous released EP "After Einstein". But the name Jan Dewulf is known for me with his first band MILDREDA, a Belgium Dark Electro act which was active up to 1998/1999 and could enter several comps like "Even Dogs in the Wild" or the first two chapters of the "Voltage" comp series. DISKONNEKTED in contrary has not too much to do with MILDREDA, music styles and tastes have changed within the years. The music of Jan still remains somehow EBM/Electro infiltrated with some Synth-/Futurepop attitudes, but in all it is very refreshing and with some edge. Jan combines his kind of Electro with some rhythm patterns taken out of different Dance Music styles like Progressive Tekkno, Break Beat or Trance. I see and hear a strong effort to break out from a musical death valley in which this genre drowns. Think about the music of the latest PAIL or ABSCESS, mix it with HAUJOBB’s rhythm talent and you maybe have an idea how this act can be compared. "Fact and Theory" is one of the strongest opening instrumental pieces I have heard for a long time. "Broken" and "After Einstein" will lead the Futurepop audience to the dancefloors, while "Religion" (featuring guest vocals by Johan Van Roy of SUICIDE COMMANDO and "Danger" are dedicated to satisfy the friend of harder Electro/Industrial music. This album has a lot of more pearls to discover and it is done by a musician who has learned his lessons well. EBM/Electro with ideas and it avoids to follow repetitive hypes – how can you ask for more? Check out the Alfa Matrix website and look for special deals, because this CD is also available as a limited DCD edition, which features the conceptual bonus CD "Hangover". Get it!

DECODED FEEDBACK: Combustion

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 18 2005
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Artist: DECODED FEEDBACK (@)
Title: Combustion
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
It was round about 1990 when this Italian-/Canadian duo started to enter the acceptance and the success on all dancefloors of the dark clubs with their EBM/Electro sound, to that times inspired by classic EBM hymns. Several years later, with changes in styles and musical preferences, with the release of their 5th real studio album "Combustion" this band is back to kick some serious asses. While their musical highlight in their long-time history is still their classic "Mechanical Horizon", this new "Combustion" remarks again a development in their music especially since the mentioned one. Their music is more heavier and aggressive, the sounds are no longer that clean and polished like before. Add to this some more experimental sounds, rhythms and some heavy guitar riffs. This evolution we could already recognize on their last album "Shockwave" and it gets here its perfection. I should admit that I had at first some problems to accept their new kind, but after a few try-outs the magic of this stuff gets me. Excellent examples for the still rich Dark Electro content are in here with "Monument", "Supernova" or the inimitable "Time to Time". Also worth to check out is definitively the cover version of MENTALLO & THE FIXER’s classic "Sacrilege". While someone still needs to explain me the need that an Industrial band covers an Industrial band, I need to push my hat down for this encouraged cover. Totally different to the slow and creepy original, which is still my most favorite MENTALLO track, DECODED FEEDBACK include all important melodic layers and add a danceable rhythm. You find also a re-recording of the classic "Birth Of A Nation", a track which was available on their debut "Overdosing" or the re-edition from the Zoth Ommog label (RIP) "Technophobia". Whatever some people in different online sources may told you, this is again a top-notch release by DECODED FEEDBACK. The musically diversity between aggression and emotion is pretty rich included here. Worth to check out!This release is available and will be published in the USA through Metropolis-Records (www.metropolis-records.com).

VIRTUAL EMBRACE: Hellektro

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 17 2005
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Artist: VIRTUAL EMBRACE (@)
Title: Hellektro
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Mike Johnson is not only the head behind VIRTUAL EMBRACE, he is also responsible for the music projects AGONOIZE, SERO.OVERDOSE and INFEKKTION, plus he has his own mastering studio Mao-Music and his own Tattoo studio as a daily job. His whole life seems to be dedicated of and about music and if you take a look to huge release output of his projects, you’ll get an idea how productive Mike is. Only one year after the release of his debut CD, this new full length CD of his sole effort VIRTUAL EMBRACE picks up the sound and ideas of the current ruling kind of harsh EBM/Terror-EBM – or just Hellektro – the name of this CD which has became a category in that genre. Currently he added also the helping hand of DJ Cyberchrist from London, who has an open eye to the lyrical content of VIRTUAL EMBRACE. You'll get the full dose of hard and rhythmic club-oriented EBM with rough distorted vocals, ripping bass lines, some Techno bleeps and hard destroying rhythm patterns packed in eternal monotony. Here is also the biggest flaw which this production has without any doubt to offer. In case of his huge output Mike’s music lacks of new and refreshing ideas. This "Hellektro"-CD has indeed a few good moments with "She-Speed" or the track "Virtual Embrace", but overall I would like to advise Mike to take a break and to think how about to come out of this musically death valley. Why still the hunt with repetitive sounds after the big pattern SUICIDE COMMANDO? How does VIRTUAL EMBRACE really differ from names like TACTICAL SEKT, RETRACTOR or just his own band AGONOIZE? It is quite disappointing for me to see and hear that Mike does not really think about to offer only one or two tracks in a different direction, something what could help VIRTUAL EMBRACE to be outstanding. This "Hellektro" is unfortunately nothing more than another repetitive mass production. On the other side I cannot blame Mike for playing with the formula of success, and this formula works on this whole album very well once again.
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Artist: CABARET (@)
Title: Electric Chair Song
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
Don’t ask me how a Polish band gets a contract from the Canadian label Artoffact. It proves only that the world is small. The question why they could get this contract is clear after some listens to this debut single CD, which has seven remarkable tracks on board. Musically this single CD offers a nice diversity of styles, starting with Electro-Pop, some Trance- and/or Ambient elements as well. I would also say, that the music – especially by the Single Mix and Radio Version of the two main track "Electric Chair Song" and "Dawn Mist Glowing" – features a kind of dark Pop music, maybe distant comparable to some MODE elements taken out of their "Ultra/Exciter" phase. This seems to be the main musically target of this band and I find it quite impressive how this band tries to combine here and there some classic instruments like piano, decent guitar inserts and/or "real" drums with diverse up to date electronic music styles. This can also be a good explanation to get signed on an international renowned label like Artoffact, the situation of professional labels in Poland seems to be unsatisfying. My favorite track is "Every Home is Wired" – it is a cover version originally done by Porcupine Tree – with its great melodic piano rolls and the decent male vocals. A band to follow without hesitation and I am sure they will even more surprise with their soon to released album "Homophobia".


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