Music Reviews

State of Being: Haywire Remixes 1:2

 Posted by Shaun Phelps (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (1903)
May 02 2005
Artist: State of Being (@)
Title: Haywire Remixes 1:2
Format: CD EP
Label: Reverse Image
Distributor: Metropolis
Rated: *****
Haywire Remixes 1:2 is the follow-up EP to State of Being’s third album, Haywire. State of Being is comprised of Christopher, Shara, and Scott Foldi, Rayanne Turek, and Randy Blaire. H.R.1:2 is a catchy and danceable step forward from the industrial rock-fused sounds of Haywire.

H.R.1:2 opens with Andy (Stabbing Westward, Prick) Kubiszewski’s steroid-charged version of "Beneath the Skin," who also closes the EP with his alluringly somber update to "Levity." Kubiszewski sets the standard for the other remixing artists to live up to, and that is exactly what they do.

It is obvious why these artists were chosen for H.R.1:2, as the respect and thought put into the mixes is undeniable. The downside to this respect is they didn’t take many chances with the vocals. While Christopher Foldi’s vocal style is well suited for Haywire’s industrial rock sound, they sometimes seem awkward and out of place in the more electronic/EBM environment of H.R.1:2.

H.R.1:2 is infectious. From the hard-pounding beginning to the quiet and earnest mix of "Levity," HR 1:2 gets into your head. The EP actually ends with a remix of "Take Me Away," but following after two other versions of the same song, it seems more like a bonus track or space-filler than anything. Kubiszewski’s mix of "Levity" really feels like the perfect end, and that’s the way I prefer to leave it.

State of Being’s Haywire Remixes 1:2 is well produced and is a smart, club-friendly follow-up to Haywire. The competence and care of the remix work makes this an accessible release that is sure to draw attention for both State of Being and the remixing artists.
Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Interbreeding IV: Gefährlich
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: BLC Productions (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
A new "dangerous" release by the US label BLC Productions of the highly acclaimed Interbreeding compilation series and this is without any doubt again the must-have buy for all you addicted rivetheads. BLC shows no tiredness and announces already two follow-up companion single CD releases, "Interbreeding V: Terrorland" and "Interbreeding VI: Subhuman: The Alien Agenda" out NOW while you read this!!! But with this current DCD you have enough new and interesting stuff of dark and harsh EBM/Electro/Industrial music produced by veteran and well-known, as well as new and never heard before acts from the whole world. Please forgive me that it would take days of my rare time and too much space on our website to go into a completely detailed review of all 34 tracks here. I will name here only the most outstanding pieces to my poor and subjective opinion. But believe me – this whole DCD set features strong and excellent stuff on almost all 34 tracks and it is worth your money. CD X-1 starts with the Opener THE RETROSIC with an enhanced version of their track "The Storm". If you think that :WUMPSCUT: has lost a lot of his aggression you must check out this, "The Storm" is pretty much along the line where Rudy’s "Embryodead" finally ended. Another remarkable pieces are offered here by STARK from Australia. Often compared with big ones like :W: or HOCICO this solo project by Lee Bulig has finally arrived its own unique style caused through several distorted sound in higher frequencies. Their new CD should come out soon. Also outstanding and maybe one of the best tracks I have ever heard from this swedish duo is "Massive Democratic Maintenance (Remix by Soren Jensen)" by SEVERE ILLUSION. This track combines monotonous bass lines with distorted rhythms, a cool amount of voice samples and a strong disturbed vocal performance. It doesn’t follow any similar line and has surprising ideas and noises, great done here. Also a newcomer, but maybe one of the most talented ones is FRACTURED from Canada. Their track "She" taken from their almost sold out CD-R "Contami-Nation" shows well that there is no need to have a rich studio gear, the bass line sequences are the most outstanding part of this track here. ALASKA HIGHWAY surprises pretty much with a very melodic track, strong lyrics and (luckily) without any guitar sounds – well done! SCHATTENSCHLAG offer an energetic piece, rough distorted vocals and nice sounds. Maybe a bit in some HOCICO lines, but still unique enough to grab attention. ENDIF surprises with some dark German lyrics ("Totenplatz") and musically with some strange frequented noises. The best surprise is finally the comeback of a French Electro/EBM legend, K-BEREIT (remember the old days of the German Machinery label with their debut MCD "A Forest" back 1992???) presenting us an energetic and harsh EBM track full of tempo variations which left me breathless. Then let’s take a listen to CD X-2 which has also some fine pieces on board. The already veteran duo BRAINCLAW, musically active since almost 15 years, give as usual an excellent track between decent Electronics and classic US-like Industrial music, recommended as ever! Canadian shooting-star Justin Tripp alias RE_AGENT comes next and gives the audience a new track named "In Your Eyes" which dwells pretty much in his very own music style between Dark Electro combined with Powernoise elements – this time maybe a bit more melodic than on previous works. PROSPERO made a co-operative track with Metropolis recording artist BATTERY CAGE and features an excellent vocal performance by Tyler Newman woven in Powernoise-like music. RETRACTOR offer a floor-filling Dark Electro piece hellish distorted vocals in style of AMGOD, unfortunately with retarded lyrics, while SIN make with a new track with Spanish lyrics the better input. Tremendous and surprising is also the new THIRTEENTH EXILE track "Generation Hate". I have never heard them that strong before! Also TYPE001 are well known guests on this comp series here and give the audience an unreleased track dwelling in Dark Electro with a surprising danceable attitude in a kind which is almost missed on their still refreshing debut "Multi-Track Alignment". I have to mention again that this comp series is one of the best, if not THE BEST series in our life time. Also graphically here is a lot of eye-catching stuff, the inlay features "The story so far" of this Alien inspired story right in a comic drawn by the talented Stephane Dumais,, as well as again a perfect sleeve design by the BLC artwork guy Wilhelm "Deaddreamer", Hurry up and get it – get all volumes of the legendary Interbreeding series!!! New stuff is on the trail!!!

Emergence: Eschaton

 Posted by Michelle Russo   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (1899)
May 01 2005
Artist: Emergence (@)
Title: Eschaton
Format: CD
Label: Negative Gain Records (@)
Distributor: metropolis records
Rated: *****
Emergence- Eshcaton cdThis band hails from Denver Colorado and are making a mark in the electronic scene.This is by far one of the most moving dance cds out there, every track gets you to move about and start a dance floor revolution. Track one- Slow burn has a beautiful orchestrated beginning that moves into a electro synthesis. This track had me dancing onto oblivion. Heavy catchy thought provoking words spew out and imbed into our eternal hardrives. We move on with the Track 3- Eschaton the title of the cd. Heavy guitars with electronics everywhere and low backing robotics singing words to the ending age. All lyrics are telling a story of the pain we endure with life and just how it haunts us till our dying day. One particular track that stuck out was track 10- The Creeping Hours, it seemed to be the most powerful track on this album. A work of art was here and a track that would cause eternal clubplay wordwide. Singing ,"it's just an ordinary day and I never loved you anyway." Electronic break beats and heavy synthesized dance floor assault are written in the code to make all of you dance. The whole album in a nutshell is beatiful written emotional lyrics of the heart and soul and paying homage to the ode of despair by with dancing with depair. I give this album 4-stars. Emergence is on tour right now so check out if they are coming by you and go see this amazing band, you may never be the same again!
Artist: Battery Cage (@)
Title: Product
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
I’ve ruminated over writing this review for a long time. Initially, after my first listening session of Battery Cage’s "Product" CD, my reaction was pretty negative. I thought, "This sounds old, clichéd, scattered, and the singer can’t sing at all. Yet, there was something there that kept drawing me back for repeated listenings. Although it sounded overall like a cross between Mentallo & the Fixer and Frontline Assembly style techno-industrial, there were flaws that just seemed to push my buttons in all the wrong ways. Lyrics (from those that I could even decipher) that seemed inanely clichéd ("you’re getting in my mind, your wars, your lies, your lies, you hatred of mankind... their vision’s so pathetic, your words- so prophetic, you’re drug-dicked (?) all the time, attempt to realign... " from "Gone Postal"), vocals that ranged from a harsh whisper to a distorted scream with little concession to intelligibility, and a chaotic quality that makes this a very difficult initial listen. Only one song ever grabbed me at first, and that was "Caged". I thought it might make a decent dance-floor number and could be the saving grace for this otherwise erratic mess of a CD.But... .I knew I was missing something here. There were elements all too familiar that kept drawing me back to replay the CD. One of the elements was the electronic programming. I could tell that a lot of work went into "Product". My initial impression of chaos was gradually being replaced by the concept of a band that had so many good ideas that were unable to control the frenzied explosion of their creation. And also, it seemed like I had heard some of this material before... Which turned out to be true. I HAD heard them before, as I was reminded when I visited Battery Cage’s website. Back in 2001 they did a live show in Ithaca NY and I remembered that I did manage to catch it. I don’t remember being overwhelmingly impressed, but I don’t recall hating them either. I think I noted mentally, "has potential, needs work". I didn’t realize what the behind the scene’ scoop was. If I had bothered to read the inside of the CD insert, I would have found out.Battery Cage (from Boston) started out back in 1997 or so as Tyler Newman, AJ Kaelin and Jeremy Page. They met up with Da5id Din and were supposed to have "Product" released on his Sinless Records label, which collapsed prior to the release of the album. So "Product" is actually a 1998 CD that never saw the commercial light of day until 2005. I was beginning to get the picture. In the interim (sparing the drama of band personnel hijinks), the last man standing in Battery Cage ended up being Tyler. Tyler began collaborating with Mr. Din and was drafted (grafted?) into his Informatik project and resulted in the critically controversial "Nymphomatic" CD which I found to be OK, but a little boring after a few songs. This project permitted Tyler a relationship with Metropolis Records and gave Battery Cage a new lease on life, so to speak.Jumping ahead to Battery Cage’s 2004 CD, "World Wide Wasteland" (now Battery Cage consists of Tyler, Josh Greco, who engineered "Product", Paul Savio and Roland Adams) the sound they offer now has been completely revamped and "improved". Well, commercially improved from the standpoint of marketability. Generally, WWW subscribes to the VNV/Apop/Covenant school of dancefloor-oriented EBM with much better vocals than they’ve ever had before. Although intrinsically there’s nothing wrong with aiming your music to get some club play, I find this tends to make all bands that follow this route sound the same. There are so many VNV clones out there now that it doesn’t seem like there’s much in the techo-industrial realm of new releases that sounds really different.Back to "Product" – in light of the "trends" for new releases, this IS really different. In spite of the vocal deficiencies and some dated sounds, there is a hell of a lot going on here that is well executed and occasionally brilliant. Perhaps the departed Jeremy Page was responsible for a hefty portion of it, but "Product" has so many merits and juicy elements in it that repeated listenings will minimize the inherent flaws. This is "old school" techno-industrial, the kind that just doesn’t seem to be made anymore. Here you get influences ranging from early Haujobb, Skinny Puppy, Frontline Assembly, Mentallo, you name it. Really creative and complex rhythms, a vast variety of synth sounds, amusing sample of dialogue, atmospheric ambiences, and just about everything else you could imagine. No, it’s not perfect by any means (the twelve-plus minute instrumental "Killfile" could have been distilled to half its length and the eleven second final track "Product" is just superfluous), but there’s enough good stuff here to merit repeated listenings. If Battery Cage could incorporate some of the better aspects of "Product" with their new direction of "World Wide Wasteland", they’d have an absolutely killer product’ that might even be able to blow away the big boys of the techno-industrial scene.

VV.AA.: Revelation

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (1890)
Apr 21 2005
image not
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Revelation
Format: CD
Label: Bugs crawling out of people
Distributor: Ad Noiseam, Malignant
Debut sampler cd from Bugs Crawling Out of People (great name, and great logo!), "Revelation" features 75 minutes of music from Prospero, Dead Man's Hill, Casual Coincidence, Nörv, Pneumatic Detach, Legion Ultra, Sedarka, bETON bARRAGE, Scrap.edx, Iszoloscope, Asphalt Leash and Nitrous Flesh. Unfortunately for my taste, except a few droning ambient tracks, it is mostly heavy beat-driven industrial stuff I'm definitely not fond of, and honestly can't judge. I suppose if you're into these projects and/or the labels they're on (Hive, DTA, Mechanoise Labs, Steinklang...), or, say, the Ad Noiseam and Ant-Zen roster, you'll find A LOT to sink your teeth into, so go for it. The cd comes with creepy apocalyptic writings and bad drawings.

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