Music Reviews



cover
Artist: ∆AIMON (@)
Title: Flatliner - expanded
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
California-based duo 'AIMON has been considered as one of the most interesting emerging band from the fertile witch-house in reason since their first releases: foggy synth-pads, slow and solemn marches, mantra-like songs, occult mists and plasmatic and creepy atmospheres get blended together by means of a remarkable knowledge of recording studio techniques, whose result is so cinematic that you could imagine them while gathering around their hot cauldrons in the act of employing mysterious witchcrafts. Canadian label Artoffact sensed what many listeners suddenly perceived the stylistical ductility of their sound after listening the previous release on Bay-Area appreciated label Tundra Dubs, whose crossbreed could be considered a sort of vampiresque half-cast creature in the liminal region between dark industrial and witch-house, so that it summoned some artists from both those scenes in order to highlight their sonic findings by detaching their coalesced "souls". Their placement in the tracklist roughly seems to be based on a rising level of sophistication by different guest around their cauldron: it could sound paradoxical, but most interesting remixes come from industrial front, whose advantage could be explained by the fact they could exhibit an affine, but distinct stylistical territory, whereas witch-house bands had to preserve their own declension of the same language. I particularly enjoyed remixes of "Black Cross" by Dead When I Found Her (I'm pretty sure it's going to delight many dancehalls), cinematic and grave remixes of "Choke" by Chrysalide (a complementarity which was clear since 'AIMON remix of "I Do Not Divert Eyes") and "Flatliner" by Haujobb (one of the remix I liked most), while on the witch-house front, amazing Unison remix of "Current", "Flatliner" blending by Encephalon and the deconstruction of "Emptiness" by Textbeak have that extra oomph.

Cold Colors: Regrets

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
 Edit (7335)
Dec 05 2012
image not
available
anymore
Artist: Cold Colors
Title: Regrets
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Romance Moderne
Rated: *****
Coming from Bordeaux, France and formed by Frederick Barbe (who's also member of the band Plastic Machine), Cold Colors is the newest artist to join the roster of the Belgian label Romance Moderne. Cold Colors have previously released two tracks on the compilations "Bordeaux Electro" (2009) and "Modernes Et Electroniques" (2010 Falco Invernale Records) and now they release "Regrets". Their debut EP brings to the lovers of electronic cold wave five great songs. In balance from melancholic atmospheres (check the opening instrumentals "Interlude" and the following "When The Summer Ends"), 4/4 upbeat rhythms with detached French vocals (like on "Regrets" and the closing "Tout Oblier") and dreamy dance atmospheres (check the beautiful "Eleven" and its in-levare bass lines), Frederick composed fresh sounding tunes which refers to the past without turning their back to the future. You can judge by yourselves by checking all the tracks at the Romance Moderne's Bandcamp page here http://romancemoderne.bandcamp.com/album/regrets-2. I think that you'll agree with me...
image not
available
anymore
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Juggernaut Services presents: Calming Cyclones Vol. 2
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Juggernaut Services (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
This is the second chapter and companion releases to the 'Moving Mountains' compilation of the British Juggernaut Services. The title already announces it, this one is the more song-oriented, rather calm selection of the clients represented by Nick Quarm. With the Italian duo XP8 another prominent project has joined forces with Nick and they are opening and closing this compilation with two tracks. The opener 'Burning Down' is the title-track of their current EP release. It mixes the styles between Futurepop and Harsh EBM/Hellectro and gives the impression, that both genres are closer related than expected. 'Burning Down' starts as a boring 08/15-standard Hellectro-tune, while the refrain itself offers more melodic maturity. Maybe I repeat it once again, but this project still suffers a lot from the absence of a good vocalist. No complains to the second track 'Trip', a fast-forward driving tune with robotic-like vocoder-vocals and fast 'n' furious sequencer lines. This one got remixed by the Russian project Cutoff:Sky. The British Static Distortion-recording artist MIXE1 offers an interesting genre-mutation with tendencies to Trip-Hop/Alternative styles. Very tasteful arranged as well as the emotional vocals are fitting perfectly on both tracks. Things are getting darker with the US-based project Pittersplatter. Vampire-, monster- and horror-genres itself seem to have an impact on both lyrical and musically expression, 'Necrotech' as well as 'Mummies and Music Boxes' are proving this. Cortex Defect is proud enough to have Mr. Nick Quarm as full member involved. Also this project represents a rather calm and melodic oriented Electronica sound-outfit on their both tracks with tendencies into Goth-Rock/Wave and/or Alternative genres. Well done and consumable stuff. Kaltherzig lately could receive a lot of exposure through the German glossy print-magazines like Zillo. But seriously, I find their Goth-/New Wave-sound relative repetitive and uninspired. Already this compilation holds much more promising projects deserving the same the same exposure. Retrogramme for instance have a great talent in the Electropop/Futurepop genre. Their track '911 For Locals' combines attacking rhythm patterns with a clear male vocal performance plus a convincing melodic aspect. Congrats also to the very good second track by them entitled 'Heaven Is Closer Than You Think', which includes mighty guitar loops to support the clear vocal performance in the refrain. A project definitely to follow! Nevertheless the crown for providing the best and most outstanding tune goes this time to Australia and the male/female duo Revenant Cult. Maybe we have here a tiny, more electrified version of a prominent project like The Birthday Massacre, but their track 'Spectral Heresy' is a well balanced Futurepop-related Electronica-track filled with high-end programming skills as well as tasteful arranged synthesizer layers. But best content of their sound is the compelling female vocal performance. Seriously, this is the most emotional and best female vocalists I have heard in years! Keep an eye on this duo; they are going to be HUGE! Revenant Cult then add a remix contribution of them on a track of the Hellectro-act Psykke into the ring - well done, but not comparable with the possible top-notch class of an own composition. Two further guests have finally found a slot on this compilation: Plastic Noose and Tactical Module, both already featured on the companion release 'Moving Mountains'. Plastic Noose once again convinces me with their fat and noisy bass-lines and the energetic vocals - although the lyrics, well, do not let me sweat! Tactical Module offer again 'Dead Zone', but this time remixed by Cortex Defect. The problem remains the same: I can't stand the quality of the vocals, which are still drowning deep and plain into the mix.
It isn't a secret if I tell you, that I play this second chapter a bit more often than the first installment. Maybe I get old, but I enjoy Electronica music with attitude and own ideas. If it then provides a good composition and not only a harder-than-hard attitude I am mostly on board. 'Calming Cyclones' offers some valuable participants with stylistically interesting ideas, so let's see and hear how and in which direction some of them will develop.

image not
available
anymore
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Juggernaut Services presents: Moving Mountains Vol. 1
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Juggernaut Services (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
We at the Chain D.L.K. are welcoming and sending congratulations to our colleague Nick Quarm and his new activity under Juggernaut Services. Nick has made himself a quite good name as reviewer/interviewer for the Swedish Brutal Resonance webzine. He has established with Juggernaut Services a promotional tool to interested underground artists to extract more exposure out of Nick's experience and world-wide based contacts. In the first instance Nick works with his clients to gain attention by the international press, promoters, online-bloggers and other resources. His website introduces widely this promotional agency, so I leave it for now and start to concentrate on the music content of this first compilation compiled to introduce the most important content of the whole concept, the artist. 'Moving Mountains', which is available via the Bandcamp website of Juggernaut Services, represents the rather hard side of his clients and it is filled with driving beats and harsh distorted vocals. Some ideal stuff to invade the dancefloors of the darkest clubs is pretty much available here. The COP-recording project nolongerhuman opens and also closes this compilation and this one already counts to the more prominent clients of Nick's agency. 'One For You, One For Me 2010' as being the opener already sets the standard on a very high level and if I listen to the used synthesizer pads, song structure and vocal processing, I feel myself pretty much remembered to Suicide Commando's 'Axis Of Evil' album. Also the closing track 'Transcend Humanity' impresses with a straight but melodic sound-design and it is quite clear that this project can be hardly topped by the further participants. Next one is the UK-based project Tactical Module with 'Dead Zone' the title track of their latest, freely available same-titled EP (http://tacticalmodule.bandcamp.com/). Straight-forward produced beats and sequencer lines supported by dark Metal-like guitar-riffs, but unfortunately with a very poor sounding vocal performance are the leading elements of this appearance. Cease2xist are one of the British hopes to storm on top of the Harsh EBM genre, but compared to the crystal-clear quality of nolongerhuman they are suffering a bit on the fact not to have the best studio possibilities available. Like most of the invited projects on this 15 track-compilation, also Cease2xist present us two tunes. 'Teenage America' is a great composition with a well recognized socio-critical content, but also 'Tonight' convinces. San Diego's duo RetConStruct comes up next, also they could enter two slots on this compilation. They are to me pretty much gifted with talent, but at times they are dwelling a bit to much in obscurity. 'All Gone Awry' provides a strange and out-of-range-sounding vocal performance which actually ruins a good track, while their straight produced second appearance 'The Maelstrom' is the much better done track. With the Poland-based project Controlled Collapse and their two appearances 'Halloween' and 'This Nightmare' you'll get another relative prominent contributor to this compilation and it does good to hear Mr. Wojciech leaving the field of Harsh EBM/Hellectro to the other kids. This band has grown and reached maturity, the arrangements are pretty much filled with details, while I sometimes dislike the deep, a bit monotonous sounding vocals. However, musically on a quite recommendable course, keep it on. Warsickle hails, as far what I know, out of the Czech Republic. Their first track 'Help From Outer Space' is a well-done Dark Electro instrumental tune, while the second 'Call For Help' suffers again under a not convincing vocal performance. It gets heavier and to me hard to bite with the Australian quartet of Eschaton Hive - that is hard and raging Metal-Industrial music, which is in the first instance louder produced than bombs - while this doesn't make it any better. And please don't ask me what kind of poem you can extract out of a title like 'Zombie Attack Plan', phhh. We have two additional one-track appearances with the rhythmic Powernoise-project Tapewyrm - actually a good and unique sounding addition to this genre - and the Scotland-based Industrial project Plastic Noose. Their 'Zu Allen' features energetic male vocals - actually good and natural sounding vocals - in a rusty Electro/Industrial/Coldwave-like sound environment, which reminds me somehow on a classic project like Carbon 12 (... who remembers them?). Nice to hear a project to break a bit with conventions, this one is recommendable - through the darkness we will hear!
All in all a first nice overview of the musically harder-minded projects presented through Juggernaut Services - it has highs and depths, but I guess this was to expect. This compilation as well as the follow-up contender 'Calming Cyclones' is currently available as downloads via the Juggernaut Bandcamp website, but there are plans to release the best participants out of both as a real pressed CD. It belongs a bit on your will to support the Electro/Industrial underground. So you can be a part of it by donating via IndieGoGo here: http://www.indiegogo.com/juggernautcd. The advantages for you can be told: you'll be the first in the world to own the releases, and some of the Juggernaut acts have put personal gifts in the pot to say thanks. In recent news, the track listing for the CD release is in development. To top all this, the release will have unreleased and exclusive tracks by God Destruction and Rein[Forced]. So let's get in and join the forces of the Juggernaut Services and its attractive roster.

VV.AA.: EAR Mixtape Vol. 1

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (7332)
Dec 04 2012
image not
available
anymore
Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: EAR Mixtape Vol. 1
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Electro Aggression Records (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
A mixtape released in times of that 'we-want-it-all-digital' age? Not a real tape of course (although it would be a nice idea to consider...), but a new promotional tool for the uprising Electro Aggression Records label. After the release of Object's stellar album 'Mechanisms of Faith', this 'mixtape' gives a fair overview of what is still to come from this label. Additionally it bridges the unpleasant long time until a next new output of this label will see the daylight of a release. And how top-notch this mixtape bridges! It is technically spoken a 2-track digital-release, in which 5 single tracks each got faded in/out and compressed to one track. So you'll get two megamixes if you like, although I don't like this description. Artwork and the length of these both digital tracks are fitting perfectly to create a real tape, but I guess that this is rather meant as a gimmick. Responsible for the technical execution is Mr. Michael 'Soillodge' Renfield; better known with his musically works under Noise Process and/or R010R.
This first part starts with the US-newcomer Red + Test and their track 'Casualties'. Mr. Lewis has surely heard classic Mentallo & The Fixer recordings quite often in the past, because this danceable track draws pretty many comparisons to these veterans at their 'Revelations 23' heydays. The combination of dark synthesizer-pads thrown into complex sequencer programming skills, distorted vocals and a good amount of memorability is still a well-working formula; also Germany's Object represents pretty much this style. Andy Malik has produced a new tune with 'Mind Collisions' and what else would you expect than another pure, layered masterpiece in best tradition from this wizard? You'll get it here! With Jihad then another veteran joins the forces of EAR and I guess there is no need to introduce Mr. James Mendez to experienced listeners of the authentic Texas-based Dark Electro-movement (Mentallo & The Fixer, their predecessor project Benestrophe, Mainesthai, or Fection Fekler). 'The Prophecy' sounds a bit antique compared to both, Red + Test or Object, but isn't this the charm and characteristic we all would like to hear from Jihad? The Dark Electro mood changes with the Swedish duo of EkoBrottsMyndigheten as they present an old school EBM-inspired tune. It is far away from being a pure, minimal NEP-cloning project, as 'INTE ok (IT Ed Edit)' proves by focusing on a more filled sound outfit, which buries out own ideas. This is definitely a good and promising sounding appetizer by this Swedish duo. The first part then ends with the marvelous German duo Pyrolline, the follow-up project to the highly recognized Nordschlacht. With them we are brilliantly return into the classic Dark Electro-style. Seriously, the layered efforts of Schmoun and Arnte once again will leave you breathless - they would be an excellent addition to the EAR roster. Astma starts the second megamix and feeds all needs for a harder Body Music experience with vibrating bass-line sequences and shouted vocals - although it could have been a bit straighter produced. Then the mood completely turns into silence - Red + Test with a second appearance presents us an instrumental, rather post-modern IDM-/Ambient-related tune. 'Reminders of a Refuge' is a dense and moody tune which proves once again how fucking talented this US-artist is. It's eagerly time for an official album release, Mr. Lewis! tEaR!doWn then presents us a perfect mutation between a straight, classic EBM tune with the catchiness of a Dark Electro track. Also the Czech project Terminal State is still around and works hard on a new full-length album. Believe it or not, but this appearance entitled 'Microspace' is able to rival with the best participants on here. Finally another instrumental tune closes this compilation: French mastermind Dominique Debert and his Brain Leisure project still stands faithful to the EAR label and his track 'Birth Machine' is a perfect example of a thrilling soundtrack-like tune. Seriously, if it comes to watch out for the next producer for an upcoming next chapter of a game like 'Airmech' (Front Line Assembly) or related, someone should consider Brain Leisure to be a capable candidate for this job.
Have I mentioned initially that this compilation is FREELY DOWNLOADABLE via the EAR Bandcamp web site? IT IS - go and get this must-have download goody and spread the word. A second chapter of this mixtape series is already in the works.



Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha