Music Reviews



IAMBIA: Anasynthesis

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 20 2006
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Artist: IAMBIA (@)
Title: Anasynthesis
Format: CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Border Music
Although Greece is the current European soccer champion, their team couldn’t qualify themselves for the upcoming world championships in Germany. And although that the Acropolis and the haven of Piraeus are worth to start a sight-seeing tour, this most hidden musically secret of this country has more to offer. Greece was until now a white spot on the globe regarding Electro/Industrial music, but this will change with this excellent debut. Discovered by Torny Gottberg of PROJECT-X (who is also the label chief behind Progress Productions...), this band was ready to release a CD on the now defunct Energy-Records two years before. But things have changed, Torny left Energy to built up Progress Productions, and IAMBIA are still alive and faithful at his side. This is one of the very few debut releases on which you have to make sure to own it. Straight and hard ripping EBM tunes with a lot of dedication in detailed arrangements, so could a description be. This Greek duo surprises from the from the very first tune up to the last one – a really intense assault burning its way from the brain through your body to the feet to teach you to dance! They left me breathless in front of my home entertainment! Rough and angry male vocals and always this steady beatings on a high quality level – you can’t ask for any other strong effort currently! To guarantee diversity they throw also in several instrumental tracks like "Ominous", "Sepuku" or the tough "Depressonic", which all can satisfy with well worked out arrangements. But diversity can be found on almost all tracks here, "Resurrect" surprises with a remarkable melodic content and unaffected vocals, while "Chaosmancer" turns into a hot Hellektro-like piece with sequences along the AGONOIZE direction. "Tetragon" is more evil and fills in some rough guitar sounds, a bit comparable to their label mates of RED CELL. Comes at last the hard ripping "Tyrrania" which holds all talents of this duo in stock. I should also mention that this release – like all previous releases of Progress Productions – will also released as a limited to 200 pieces DCD edition with several extra tracks and versions. This whole release is only limited to 1000 exemplars and regarding the strong quality here you should act soon to save your item.

LEAETHER STRIP: After The Devastation

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 19 2006
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Artist: LEAETHER STRIP (@)
Title: After The Devastation
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Welcome back, Claus, back to the forefront of hard EBM/Electro/Industrial music! What has started in August/September 2005 first as a rumor placed at the popular Myspace community got finally reality, LEÆTHER STRIP strikes back now with a double CD after his pre-released appetizer EP "Suicide Bombers". More than 5 years in silence, Claus has chosen the 13th of January 2006 to be the release date of this DCD, the date which marks his 18th year active in the music business. That this new effort finally got enough stuff on board to get released as two filled CD’s is just another sign, that Claus wasn’t inactive although he hasn’t released anything new in the past years. So there is a lot of music to check out here – but nobody should really expect a new millenium masterpiece like "Solitary Confinement". No, this new CD features almost all facets of the musically development, which Claus has experienced in all highs and depths through the years. The used sounds, especially the bass lines, are still similar to his very own created style, the vocals ranging between clean and unaffected up to the hellish screams we like and enjoyed so much before. Favorite tracks are to me the ones which feature some well played synth layers and musically complexity in the given arrangements, "Death Is Walking Next To Me", "Sleep Is Only Heartbreak", "Homophobia", "This Is Where I Wanna Be" or "One For One For One" are to mention here. Also some musically surprising pieces are here, "Dying Is Easy – Live Is Harder (Daddy Please Love Me)" starts with a child-like melody and offers some heart-felting lyrics, while the very dark piece "I Was Born That Day" features some church-like organ sounds. There are also two very long instrumental pieces placed both on every last position on which Claus reaches the strong intensity of the past days, one is surprisingly "Leaether Strip Part 3 (Symphony For Kurt)", although it hasn’t to much comparable things with the classic original. Although we can’t find anything related to "Strap Me Down", "Adrenaline Rush" or "Don’t Tame Your Soul" I have with every note on this full DCD package the feeling that Claus could easily create such piece! It’s good to have this genre leader back on track and I am looking curiously out for more. Please note also that Alfa Matrix offers a lot of special editions of this release in limited conditions – just check out their website and try to get it.

ACYLUM: Your Pain

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Jan 19 2006
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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
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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
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Jan 13 2006
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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.

Tracklisting:

CD1

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) *

CD2

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) **
09. PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE . i.c.u. *
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


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