Music Reviews

Suicide Commando: The Suicide Sessions 1: Critical Stage and bonus disc

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 19 2012
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Artist: Suicide Commando (@)
Title: The Suicide Sessions 1: Critical Stage and bonus disc
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Differently to the last year released 6-CD-box-set of Suicide Commando's 'Suicide Sessions' (Out Of Line), the US-license partner Metropolis presents us step-by-step the same content available on 3 double-CD-sets. 'The Suicide Sessions' are consisting of the first three studio albums of the Belgian sound-slaughter 'Critical Stage', 'Stored Images', and 'Construct ' Destruct'. This is not only meant to present you a complete re-release, additionally all three studio albums got re-mastered and polished to represent the newest sound standard. Better than this, and here comes the point, which makes this series interesting for SC-die-hard fans too, you'll get to each album a bonus disc, which offers stuff of small releases like EP's, Singles, or compilation appearances released in between, or just some additional, mostly unreleased demo tracks, which have been sorted out during the album recording sessions. Completion of all recordings which occurred during the studio sessions to each album can unfortunately not be guaranteed, but that's a point of criticism I'll pick up album per album.
I had the honor to review this first album 'Critical Stage' 18 years before for a German fanzine and when I nowadays spin this album again, the old feelings return as it would have happened yesterday. The ghost and spirit of the Belgian cult-act The Kinik floats through this album and Johan van Roy to that time recognized pretty well the niche they left through their absence after 'Time' in 1990. Dirk Ivens established Dive, while Marc Verhaeghen continued after some side-projects like Para or X 10 under the Klinik-moniker. Both, Ivens and Verhaeghen, were still successful and highly accepted, but both also continued differently in their expression.
Johan van Roy already worked since 1986 to install his vision of Klinik-al sound environments and released various demo tapes until he could cause some attention by Stefan Herwig (nowadays label-chief of Dependent Records) and his very own Kugelblitz label. Kugelblitz also has seen the first four tracks of SC on CD, the 'Never Get Out'-EP as being part of the legendary 'Induktion, Varianz und deren Folgen' compilation, together with Digital Slaughter, Dementia Simplex, and Genital A-Tech. Herwig went over to Off Beat as being A & R manager and the successful mutual path between Herwig and van Roy started in 1994 and 'Critical Stage'. This album also features with 'Traumatize' and 'Necrophilia' two of Suicide Commando's most recognized tracks, which are still content of his live performances until today. Not to alter the euphoria I had in those days, and still have for this album, but a tiny mistake has happened the persons in charge during this re-release: The last track 'The Dreamhouse' (Mental Version)' has been, as the name announces it, an instrumental version of this track, while the version with Johan's growling vocal performance was only available on a 7 inch vinyl single-compilation of the Ant-Zen label. The track list here still states the 'Mental Version', but I do definitely hear Mr. van Roy violating the micro!
As for the bonus disk, you'll get three out of the four already mentioned tracks of the 'Never Get Out' EP, an original version of 'Save me', a track which later got revamped and included on Johan's second album 'Stored Images', plus with 'Sweet Jesus' a compilation appearance, which has been available on the 'Maschinenwelt Compilation 1' (Maschinenwelt Records). Five additional demo tracks can be discovered, produced and recorded under very limited circumstances during 1988 and 1992. The featured sound-quality generally of this bonus disc can of course in no way reach the level of the main album, but I guess these recordings are rather meant to give the younger SC-listeners a chance to get an impression, with which equipment and recording possibilities it all has started. Die-hard CD collectors still need the original version of all albums and compilations around that time. Same for the content of the bonus disc, the missing 'Never Get Out' Insecticide-remix could hurt the interested listener, while the value of the long out-of-print Kugelblitz-compilation remains the same. Nevertheless it is a nice idea to re-release all of these classic SC-albums especially to those fans, who know Johan van Roy's audio efforts only under the Harsh-EBM / Hellectro-banner. His being as the 'Godfather of Hellectro' has totally different roots, as this first DCD set proves.

Imiafan: Old School Surprise

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 11 2012
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Artist: Imiafan (@)
Title: Old School Surprise
Format: Tape
Label: Belaten
Rated: *****
Out tomorrow for the Swedish label Belaten on tape and digital format, "Old School Surprise" is a new EP by Imiafan. Containing five new tracks, this new EP is a bit more raw and cold compared to the MLP "Neurozone" that I reviewed few weeks ago. On this tape, there aren't catchy synthpop intuitions like there were on tracks like "Is It Fiction?". Now, the atmospheres are even more cold: try to imagine a mix of Suicide meet Die Form that cover Daf songs. Helped by Sololust on "The Ballroom" (vocals and lyrics), by Charles Kent on "Old School" (mix and arrangements) and by Mikke (he took care of the first three tracks in the studio), Imrich Vegh is bringing to the audience five cold analog synth tunes influenced by early electro industrial e.b.m. Hard beat rhythms, analog filters and synth noises form an intricated web of sounds that are able to catch the attention of the audience in no time. Check the whole release and purchase it at this link
Artist: Chrysalide (@)
Title: Don't Be Scared, It's About Life
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
Tender words to traders and their indulgente money-feeders ("Traders Must Die"), attempts of sweet awakening media-addicted sleepwalkers and middle-class insouciance despite awareness of media manipulation about "reality" ("Let's Talk About This During Dinner", but I'd say their wise cover artwork refers to media control and the typical master/puppet relation between people who control media and their unaware victims), feeling of solipsism and withdraw in front of widespread acceptance of the state of things ("Not My World"), redeeming escape attempts ("Give Me Somthing Stronger"), refusal of homologation ("Rest In Silence My Friend", "They Won't Get Us"), memories of pure love ("LoveTape"), saga-like dramtic stages of anti-heroic teeny personal growth ("Lizzie And The Charming Prince", "Lizzie In Toxicland") and other themes digged by this French industrial band by brothers Sylvain "Syco" and Arnud "Arco" Coeffic could be considered as cliches for the musical and cultural fields they cross over, but the way they melt them, a fusion between industrial standards (particularly KMFDM and Skinny Puppy), a ferocious digital hardcore approach (a la Teen Age Riot) and contemporary hybrids such as nu metal, neurotech or grime dubstep, don't deserve the assumed unconcern (their album has been introduced as "2011's best CD that no one wrote about"...) related to their first European issue. Canadian label Artoffact recognised their talent and decided to let their product land in North America through an edition which five bonus tracks, including their raging cover version of Pink Floyd' hit "Another Brick In The Wall", the hitting tracks "All Guilty" and "Freakout", the above-mentioned "Lizzie In Toxicland" and "We Are Fod For Worms" - one of my favorite track of the whole album -, which mentions a notorious line by professor John Keating on Peter wseir's "Dead Poets Society". Chrysalide could have gained more visibility on underground press, but maybe it needed to be fed more to turn into a butterfly.

LektroiD: Electro - Funk Selection

 Posted by George Embryonik (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 02 2012
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Artist: LektroiD (@)
Title: Electro - Funk Selection
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: LEK-Productions (@)
Distributor: bandcamp
Rated: *****
Richard Elliott aka LektroiD, has been producing electro for more than two decades. That, of course, becomes evident through the nine tracks of his latest release 'ELECTRO-FUNK SELECTION'.
Starting off with 'Eta Carinae', the track slowly builds up, diving into a deep space of filtered melodies leading to the second track 'Hydra'. An extraordinary track with classic electro beats, engaging chord progressions and climaxing lead melodies. 'Harmonix', the third track, offers darker edgy synth bursts with a driving resonant bassline. The fourth track is a remix of 'Solar Storm'. An irresistible mix of dirty basslines and fast beats with warm dramatic synth leads. 'Welcome To The Future (Original Instrumental)' is the next track where we see an impressive electro sonic exploration with thumping beats and a thunderous bassline. 'Twice as nice', is yet another special track. One of those tracks that with its captivating melodies and chord progressions leave a feeling of euphoria to the listener, and is, appropriately, followed by the mellower track 'Dreams (featuring Bryoney Love)' where the lush pads and ethereal vocals manage to push all the right buttons. 'Demolition Block' starts off with a mellow vibe and builds up to a beautiful - full on 4/4 beat - electronic track, while maintaining its original 'delicate' vibes. Moving on, the last track 'Lightspeed II', with fast electro beats, sweeping pads and a memorable lead sequence, is a great a way to end this album. There is also a bonus, hidden track 'Moving Out', a banging ten minute 'live jam' session, guaranteed to satisfy all the electro-heads.
From a more 'technical' point of view, the album is immaculately produced. All the tracks are very carefully constructed/arranged and mixed. The beat programming is excellent and it is obvious that there's a lot of thought/work/artistry behind each track. One thing is for sure. LektroiD, manages to breathe life into his robots.

Microbody: Random Victim EP

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Aug 30 2012
Artist: Microbody (@)
Title: Random Victim EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Distributor: Amazon
Rated: *****
This Electro/Industrial duo founded by Andreas F. (machines) and Peter H. (vocals) works hard since years in the Swedish underground scene, but internationally they are almost unrecognized. A few compilation appearances became reality during the last five years switched to already vanished labels (Plutonium Records / Hypervoxx Recordings), but at least this hasn't been that content, which brought them higher attraction. This 4-track, downloadable-only release finally collects the few tracks produced during this time and it raises hope, that this duo sticks more often together to produce new stuff. Because their music is an attractive and appealing form of Dark Electro music, maybe a bit influenced by a veteran Swedish project like Inside Treatment. Out of these four tracks available on this EP, 'MILF (Or maybe don't)' is to name as being the most unusual track with its ballad-like composition and the melodic, but sad sounding piano drops all over the track. This tiny EP offers good and well-produced Dark Electro all in all, and it is quite worth a recommendation to fans of the genre. So let's keep the fingers crossed for more inspiration and more output from them hopefully soon to be released.

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