Music Reviews



FRACTURED: Only Human Remains

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 31 2005
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Artist: FRACTURED (@)
Title: Only Human Remains
Format: CD
Label: NTP/Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Already the announcement that this Canadian act would find in Dependent its new label home was a good one and I personally couldn’t await the day until this release invaded my home. This project, mainly leaded by Nick Gorman, has released in the past a self-produced first CD called "Contami-Nation" which is now totally sold out and a hard to get item. This project won also the latest remix contest to :WUMPSCUT:’s "Bone Peeler" CD and it was considered as one of the best unsigned bands at the forum of the Side-Line magazine. This reasons, plus also an excellent compilation appearance on the latest "Septic" compilation, made it finally happen, that Nick Gorman could get a deal with this German label instead of looking for a label nearer to his home country. It is also the first official release of the Dependent side-label NTP, which is leaded by Johan van Roy of SUICIDE COMMANDO. FRACTURED present on their first official CD finest Dark Electro/Industrial following known examples of the likes SKINNY PUPPY or MENTALLO & THE FIXER – and I must admit that I hate it to quote the notes done by colleges of the Zillo or Orkus magazines which are sales-supporting added on a sticker on the front of this CD. I also find it alarming that the promotional info sheet tries hard to figure out the aspects of how much FRACTURED are better than acts producing the currently overrated Terror-/Hellektro EBM thing. FRACTURED are miles above all averages, especially out of this pseudo-EBM genre – no doubt and question – but I find it not supporting for the evolution of this band to start comparisons with such a redundant kind of EBM. This been said, you now know what you get: finest Dark Electro with depth and dedication – the best I have heard since months. It is only surprising for me to hear that most tracks of this CD, especially "Becoming One" or "Haunted Memories" are rather slow and have their abilities in their strong melodic part and the dark mood. There are dancefloor smasher for sure – the title track mostly, but also "Everytime", "Between The Lines" and "Cold Eyes". All other tracks are slowing down the tempo and I would say they are more compatible for your home entertainment or with use of a good pair of headphones. Worth of noticing are also the disturbed effects mostly used on the vocals – an attitude which I have heard from this band also on a remix for their countrymen RE_AGENT. If any release deserves the title "must-have"- then this one!

ADAM X: Fate Unknown

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 31 2005
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Artist: ADAM X (@)
Title: Fate Unknown
Format: CD
Label: Psycho Dynamics/Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
The new signing for the Belgium label Psycho Dynamics, member of the Alfa Matrix group, is with the US musician ADAM X not an unknown act. Having played and produced electronic music ranging between classic EBM up to Tekkno in past with nowadays big names like APHEX TWIN or Joey Beltram, this talented musician here now produces a restart. The first both tracks, "2nd Mission" and moreover "Phobic" give already a nice hint to which style this new release will tend. Classic EBM structures with some voice samples which luckily doesn’t sound than anything else like still up-to-date Hellektro/Terror-EBM tunes or uninspired Futurepop themes. "Phobic" with its sample reminds me really on some old Frankfurt-inspired EBM tunes of 1989 like AIRCRASH BUREAU or TRIBANTURA combined with some SA42 works. "Strange" influences are available as well, Eric van Wontegem’s project MONOLITH has done a remix on the track "Overload" which features some nice warm distortions on bass line and drums. I like this whole album a lot, but I also will not hold back the flaw of this production. The music itself is outstanding but there isn't unfortunately a good singer which has the ability to start a duel against the straight beats. This is something what should be thinkable to add for the future. But if you are addicted to some well-placed EBM tunes you will not miss this.

SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS: Mind Over Matter

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 31 2005
cover
Artist: SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS (@)
Title: Mind Over Matter
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
A bit dismayed after the listen of the first four tracks I took again the white cover of this promotional copy. No, it is not a new ASSEMBLAGE 23 album, it seems to be indeed the new SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS CD "Mind Over Matter". Astonishing poppy structures, well-placed vocals with good lyrics and overall a very good production which avoids minimal as well as overlaying structures and produces a warm and friendly mood – this all are the preferences of this release. I am still surprised how much musical maturity this band has experienced through the years – they are already active since 1993. Although I must also admit that I miss a bit more aggressive pieces here, a bit more effort which can help this band to come out of the almighty shadow of the big patterns. Tracks like "Downfall" or "Pale Candle Light" offer some good attempts but fall back into already known and often heard structures. "Apologize" then is a heart-breaking ballad which pushes back the speed and the male vocals are more melodious than ever before – stuff to suspend away. My deepest respect also for the extremely well played instrumental piece "Counterpart", which features outstanding synth layers and a cool space-like mood. This release is an excellent example of musically development well-placed in the genre Synth Pop, Future- or Electropop with some attempts into EBM/Electro. It does not break any ground or new territories but the overall mixing of the styles is well and flawless. This band can easily grow to a scene-leader...

VV.AA.: Awake The Machines Vol. 5

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 31 2005
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Awake The Machines Vol. 5
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
Chapter 5 of the well known Out Of Line label collection comes this time in two different forms: first as a normal 17 track CD, second as a limited edition DCD with almost all bands signed to that label. The prices for both items justify without doubt the investment, 4,99 Euro for the single CD, only 8,99 Euro for the limited edition. Like on previous releases out of this compilation series, you’ll get a full playing time with lots of goodies, remixes or simply representative tracks by several acts from this label. Opener on the single CD are SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS and they surprise with clear vocals, a good mixing of melodies and beats – maybe a bit influenced by a big name like A23. HOCICO have already seen better days in their long years of existence, also the track "Spirits of Crime" is away from being groundbreaking. But this remix by the Swedish label comrades of SPETSNAZ is fair done and could give new entries a hint how the music of both bands can sound. Further valuable pieces I have found here with the mentioned SPETSNAZ (a real alternative version to the classic NITZER EBB back from the "That Total Age" days...), COMBICHRIST (get a remix by the Polish act CONTROLLED COLLAPSE – a band which just seems to be signed to the new Dependent side label NPT, leaded by Johan van Roy aka SUICIDE COMMANDO...), AMDUSCIA (Mexican Dark Electro which develops better and better...) or the to me never heard before NECESSARY RESPONSE (playing a perfect symbiosis between hard and melodic Electro...) from the USA. I also dig the overlaying stuff from SNOW in CHINA and the aggression of that new AGONOIZE track. Some "must-have" acts from the big roster Out Of Line has released in the past years like TERMINAL CHOICE, GOD MODULE, DECODED FEEDBACK or the up and coming AESTHETIC PERFECTION are for sure missed here on the single CD, but also this will justify the purchase of the DCD. This Out Of Line label compilation is well designed to have a good introduction to the label’s work for newbies, but it features also some stuff worth to collect for the experienced users.

AGONOIZE: 999

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 26 2005
cover
Artist: AGONOIZE (@)
Title: 999
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
Like already mentioned in a review for VIRTUAL EMBRACE, here comes another project of the hyper-active musician Mike Johnson, this time the well known trio AGONOIZE, presenting here on the German label Out Of Line their new full length album after the release of an EP called "Evil Gets An Upgrade". Previously this band was signed to the US label BLC Productions where they released two highly acclaimed EP’s and their debut "Assimilation: Chapter One". While the reasons for this surprising label change are still a well-hidden secret, I have to admit that my expectations for this "999" CD where almost at zero. "Assimilation: Chapter One" was a quite boring and repetitive debut and could in no way fulfil any expectations after the surprising success of their both EP’s. This "999" in contrary is by far better constructed and more detailed worked out than ever before, while the formula of success still remains the same. Globally said I can recognize a way-back better production, it also seems that the band has taken some more time to work compositions better out. The music is of course still the teutonic Hellektro in vein of SUICIDE COMMANDO, GRENDEL or RETRACTOR, this time luckily with tons of more ideas and better sounds generally. Religion seems the main deal of the lyrical content, you get this already with a look on the track list with title like "The True Church of God", "Under the Cross" or "God For Sale". It would interesting to know if this is only a stylistic attitude or in what connection the band really stands to this theme. It is a bit hard to pick out a few outstanding tracks because almost all tracks are somehow in the same level of quality and aggression. Also for the first time we can find with "Zölibat" a track with German vocals. Of course this album sets not new standards, but it is nevertheless a worth investment if this style of music is yours.


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