Music Reviews



STROMKERN: Stand Up

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (1970)
Jun 08 2005
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Artist: STROMKERN (@)
Title: Stand Up
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****

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I have been following this Madison based Electronic act since the very first years with "Flicker Like A Candle" and I was always surprised how strong their musically evolution finally went. The last full-length "Armageddon" was a kind of outstanding highlight in their discography. And now with their first release on the German Dependent label they pick up all good ingredients from their predecessor like Ned Kirby’s staccato-like vocals (which some ignorant people would call RAP...), melodic synth lines and excellent compositions to a wider musically horizon on this pre-up Single-CD. "Stand Up" features all this well, but this track doesn’t surprise. Much better to my taste works "Slow Cascade (Version)" here because it is less driven by the vocals and has some brighter synth lines. Both tracks will be available in their original versions on the soon to be released new full length CD "Light it Up". Adding to the three different versions of "Stand Up" and the one mentioned "Slow Cascade" an unreleased track named "Can’t Believe", which has some light guitar sounds next to Ned’s still unique vocals included, this pre-released single-CD makes an acceptable warm-up while not being outstanding. Good release in all, but I am sure that this band will prove their abilities more and better with their upcoming full-length CD.
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Artist: MIND.IN.A.BOX.
Title: Certainty
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Only a very few months after the release of their successful debut "Lost Alone" this German duo presents a new single-CD which gives already an outlook to the soon to be released new full length album "Dreamweb". Consisting of Stefan Poiss (music) and Markus Hadwiger (lyrics) this project has received a never expected success and genre-bending recognition with their debut, so that the title "Newcomer of the year 2004" is surely well deserved. MIND.IN.A.BOX are outstanding for their strong ability to combine several music styles ranging from Electro, Synth Pop, Trance and Ambient-like elements to an innovative mixture which is above averages. You won’t find any weak parts in their music when you try to figure out in which music style you would fill them in. Everything is well and majestic arranged - I would go so far to use a BIG word like "innovation" in a pure form. And this "Certainty" will be certainty enough to pick up a new and promising foretaste on the new album. 35 minutes placed on 6 tracks can be discovered here, the title track comes along in four different versions (Single Edit, MIAB Alien Mix and two remix works by SEIZE and THEE HYPHEN). While THEE HYPHEN filled in some additional analogue sounds to the original, the SEIZE remix is a bit more straight to hit the dancefloors. Excellent produced is also the b-side "Beyond the World (Original Version)", a marvelous track to convince a non-electronic music listener how full of emotion and brilliant this music can be! This single-CD was also one of three parts of the now totally sold-out "Dependent Club Invasion" box DCI2 which is a limited collectors-item with which you get the chance to get three different single-CD’s for the price of a full-length album in advance before this singles will be released on a regular base. No matter if you have purchased "DCI 2" or this alone released single-CD – this is a must-have!
May 31 2005
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Artist: SEVERE ILLUSION (@)
Title: Accomplishments of Leopold II
Format: CD
Label: DSBP (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
After having heard and enjoyed their previously released stuff I really thought I would know this band and their music very well. Well, I have to revise my judgement on this Swedish duo, because this new full length release surprises me in many ways. First I am wondering how this guys came to the idea to work out a conceptual release with the happenings – better said atrocities - of the Belgium king Leopold II in Africa more than 100 years before. This is thematically far away from all "end time visions" any other current EBM/Electro band would offer. And also musically is this new release of Sweden’s power-hitters No. 1 far away from any trendy SC/HOCICO clone. I get hold of myself often that I think: "Oh-no, this is stupid, it sounds chaotic and/or imperfect – they can not do this and take it seriously." Well, I’ve missed the target again! Where other bands of this genre wouldn’t waste any further second to use some more experimental and disturbing noises, here comes SEVERE ILLUSION to show and teach us how they can. I would describe SEVERE ILLUSION’s music as a mixture between old-school EBM lines with a rich amount of static and unconventional noises mostly arranged in a chaotic style, combined with some extremely rough distorted vocals. This explosive mixture awakes some real Punk-like feelings in me and has more life and identity than any other current release can offer. I have to admit that this new output of this duo needed a lot of time to grow on me. I still had in mind the long and often heard predecessor "Discipline is Reward Enough" which features more the classic EBM patterns which I enjoyed so much. And so this new and MUCH MORE destroying release needed several rotations before I recognized the whole potential this fantastic disc has to offer. Some memories on classic swedish EBM-tracks like "Keine Zukunft" or "Die Jugend" of the veteran POUPPEE FABRIKK they awake with the opening track "Genau wie Ich" where the try to sing in German. My favorites can be found with the track "Beautiful" which follows much the sound of the predecessor and with fast pieces "Stay Away From Us" and "Open Rebellion" which can cause simply some injuries by hitting your head against a wall! Also the almost Powernoise-like effort "Congo by Force" impresses totally where they give the overall distorted track some nice melodic layers.17 destroying tracks full of madness far away from any hypes and a playing time of never boring 75 minutes make this release outstanding. This is once again an extremely good release by the DSBP label and I can only congratulate Tommy T to have this great artist under his wing. Bad luck for the European audience that they still have to wait to get this release official. The German label Celtic Circle Production has the rights to release this masterpiece as a limited double CD with a slight different track list and artwork (done by Anders Karlsson of the legendary Powernoise act THE PAIN MACHINERY by the way...), but it is still delayed. This stuff doesn’t take any prisoners and needs some more rotations to get fully enjoyment. Give it the needed time and you will be richly rewarded.
May 26 2005
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Artist: RE_AGENT (@)
Title: Abscond: The Abandon Remixes
Format: CD
Label: NXA
Rated: *****
The Canadian one man project leaded by Justin Tripp strikes back with a new release filled with 14 revamped and remixed tracks taken from his "Abandon" debut CD. A kind of label name he has also found (see above) but everything from the very first note up to the final production process lays still in the controlling hands of this talented artist. Justin only took some help with the mastering process done this time by the Canadian Powernoise act ISZOLOSCOPE. Thanks to a successful choice of artists which could lay their talented hands to remix the RE_AGENT stuff, this release gets a wide range of different music styles and earns again a double plus good in quality. It starts hard and straight with a danceable Powernoise-like remix by the Metropolis recording artist TERRORFAKT of the track "Weak and Wounded" – a great opener and one of the best remix works I have ever heard from them! The DSBP recording artist TYPE001 makes an excellent appearance here with a melodious remix on "U.W.M.R.F.L." filled with space-like thick synth layers and a deep dark atmospheric touch. Mr. RE_AGENT himself has also laid his hands on two of his tracks. While "Heaven Falling" can be compared not too far to be away from the original, thinks change with the remix on the normally slow piece "Never Satisfied". Adding here a completely new rhythmic structure gives this track a new pounding identity. Another refreshing remix works is done by the Canadian country men of FRACTURED, one of the most recognized Dark Electro acts of the past year. It is a great idea to fill in rhythmic interruptions (!!!) in one of RE_AGENT’s strongest tracks, "Brain Death", a kind of work I have probably never heard before. The remix of the already mentioned ISZOLOSCOPE of the track "Brain Death" takes a splendid bridge between the known Dark Electro sound of RE_AGENT transformed into a rougher noisy sound. This is a magnificent kind of creating a remix, an almost perfect symbiosis of both styles. Also very satisfying is the remix of the instrumental title track "Abandon" done by RAILGUN which surprises with a rich amount on new sounds and harsh noisy undertones.
I have mentioned only the ones which are to my taste the most outstanding remix works here but I can insure you that this whole and over 72 minutes long CD is a big enjoyment to listen to. And although that this CD is a remix based release it gives you a perfect view into sound compositions and musically world of one of the most talented acts out of the over-polluted Dark Electro genre. Make your contact to Justin under www.reagentoverdose.com and purchase this strong release!

Tracklist:
1. Weak and Wounded [remixed by Terrorfakt]
2. Never Satisfied [remixed by Krz0n]
3. UWMRFL [remixed by Type001]
4. Heaven Falling [remixed by Re_agent]
5. Creeping Up On You [remixed by Famine]
6. Brain Death [remixed by Fractured]
7. Abandon [remixed by s:cage]
8. Never Satisfied [remixed by Re_agent]
9. Under Blue [remixed by DYM]
10. Brain Death [remixed by Iszoloscope]
11. Weak and Wounded [remixed by Andraculoid]
12. Heaven Falling [displacer remix v.2]
13. Creeping Up On You [remixed by antechamber]
14. Abandon [remixed by Railgun]


SIVA SIX: Rise New Flesh

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1942)
May 24 2005
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Artist: SIVA SIX (@)
Title: Rise New Flesh
Format: CD
Label: Decadance Records (@)
Rated: *****
Siva Six is a duo formed by Z and Noid and even if RISE NEW FLESH is their first release, they aren't newcomers, because in the past they have been members of Wintermute, Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh and Horrified. With Siva Six the duo decided to focus their efforts into the production of a saturated sound which take inspiration from the e.b.m. / industrial scene. The ten tracks of the CD don't leave space to mellowness and fit the fifty minutes with music made of distorted sounds and 4/4 rhythms. Sometimes (mostly on intros and outos) the sound is influenced by dark ambient (see "Another dead world" or "Deep black well", for example, where the horrific ambience form a ideal soundtrack of the next chapter of the Resident Evil saga) and goth (see how they use the choirs). The whole result is a mix of danceable industrial harsh electronic music which could also work outside the clubs. During the whole album there are different evidences that Siva Six aren't just another Hocico's clone: different use of ambient solutions, different melody, etc. but a major diversification of the atmosphere of the tracks could help the listener into the identification of the band with their own original sound.


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