Music Reviews

Lost Tribes: Solace

 Posted by Emanuele Ratti (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Feb 18 2015
Artist: Lost Tribes
Title: Solace
Format: 12"
Label: Avant! Records
There are, I think, three logically possible ways of combining electronics and punk. First, you can do punk and then use some synths to reach a certain sounds that you wouldn't be able to reach only with guitars. Many hardcore bands can have this approach sooner or later, and basically it depends on the fact that, while they're recording an album or an ep, in the studio there are some synths and they use it ('Ok well, to enrich our gloomy atmosphere, let's put some basic lines of organs!'). The result is usually nice IF THE BAND PLAYS GOOD PUNK. Conversely, there are bands who are completely into electronics music and they use some guitars to enrich their sounds. Consider for instance Alien Vampires: they do (horror) trance/ebm, but since Nysrok is also a talented guitarist here and there they make use of guitars. Nice result too. Finally, there are bands that combine hardcore guitars and electronics and they form a real hybrid: they play neither 'punk with some synths' nor 'ebm with guitars' but they play something else. Digital hardcore is a good case in point. I'm terribly sorry for this long introduction, but it was necessary to introduce this band called 'Lost Tribes' produced by the very good label Avant! Records. Lost tribes' 'Solace' is an album combining hardcore punk, with crust vocals, with some little tiny synths (some moog bass-like and pipe organs). And that's it. I don't see exactly why one should buy such an album if he is into electronics. I mean, this is a crust album (not particularly original) with some synths. I have the impression - probably I'm wrong - that this band is supposed to play the mix of electronics and punk of the third kind. But this is not the case. Therefore, I cannot rate this album since for Chaindlk is out of topic.

Human Services: Animal Fires

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Feb 16 2015
Artist: Human Services (@)
Title: Animal Fires
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Human Services is a band from Hampton, Virginia, its members, long-time veterans of various local music scenes. To categorize them as Industrial Metal wouldn't be entirely accurate, although that's the general core of their sound. One minute they're doing an industrial doom metal kind of thing ala Neurosis, the next, a mechanical clatter-fest, ala Einstürzende Neubauten, then a dirty boogie like ZZ Top if Rob Zombie took over. 'Animal Fires' is really whacked out and frequently heads off the rails; a hot, chaotic mess even when the band is in song mode. There's a part towards the end of "The River Pig" where an otherwise pounding, frenetic industrial rock song morphs into a kalimba & drum solo. Since real drums and percussion are used for most all the rhythm parts it has a live band feel, not something that was completely cooked up in the studio. It's headbangers meet rivetheads for a duel to the death in the parking lot. Screaming hoarse, and occasionally growled vocals with only an intelligible word sporadically emerging, and a jammy, improvisational feel with the guitar interplay. A track such as "The Electro-Ape" is all buzzy, noisy, electronics backed with drums. Then the band switches gears on "Rhinocide" with quieter electric guitar tapping followed by heavy Ginger Baker style drums, growled doomy vocals, more electric guitars and buzz-saw electronics. Yeah, it was a song...of sorts, I guess. The problem with 'Animal Fires' is that although unusual for Industrial Metal, none of the songs really stick, and more often than not, the band sounds disjointed, more interested in self-indulgent experimental jamming than in giving the listener anything memorable. Nowhere is this more evident than in the final (live) track, "No Structures in the Eye of the Jungle". If these guys could just focus now and then, they might have something. Until then, I don't see them going wide. I liked the CD cover artwork much more than the music contained within, and that says something. Hot mess indeed.

Taxim: Full of Empty

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Jan 28 2015
Artist: Taxim (@)
Title: Full of Empty
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: XenoBiotic Records (@)
Rated: *****
Taxim is a dark electro and experimental project from Essen, Germany, founded by Alex Ney in 1996 as a one-man project. The current line-up consists of: Alex (music, lyrics, vocals, bass), Kat (keyboard, vocals) and Jigels (keyboard). Including singles and EPs, they've had over a dozen releases since they began, and this is my first experience with the band. 'Full of Empty' begins nicely with a neoclassical piano chordal melody and arpeggios with a female voice humming along, then- WHAM! The door closes and heavy metal chords take over with electro-industrial percussion, synth orchestration on the melody, building all along with the same simple melody. A bit of a bombastic beginning, like symphonic metal, but all instrumental. The second track follows this format (exempting the metal guitar) and uses a different but similar melody. I should let you know that Taxim employed only one synth for the electronic parts, and made copious use of the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra sample library on this album. Most of the tracks on the album are along the symphonic metal (or industrial, if you prefer) lines, and when not full-on, neoclassical. Prominent female (spoken) vocal samples come to the fore on "Keine Angst" ("Ich habe keine angst", or "I have a little anxiety"), and this track shows more industrial muscle while not sacrificing any of the symphonic. Other tracks such as "Computer Depression" and "Vollkommen leer" incorporate brief vocal samples as well. Taxim also puts industrial ambient synth effects to good use in transitional passages. Most of 'Full of Empty' sound a bit Blade Runner-esque; somewhat cinematic, but perhaps even grander; melodically simple but orchestrally rich. Last track, "Schizoid and Happy" features Kat's wordless vocals, which is very nice, but I found myself craving songs with lyrics. Maybe it just isn't their style to do that, and maybe they haven't found a voice strong enough to pull it off yet, but if they decided to head down that road, Taxim would likely gather a much bigger following. Still, 'Full of Empty' is an album to be reckoned with if you like symphonic industrial with a metallic edge. The album is available from XenoBiotic Records as a digital download (only), and there was supposed to be a physical CD released on MMD Records, but I couldn't find it in MMD's catalogue, so I guess that either fell through, or hasn't happened yet.
Jan 19 2015
Artist: Tumido
Title: Nomads
Format: 12"
Label: Interstellar (@)
Rated: *****
An electronic melted blob, which seems to articulate words in an uncodified language, and fast percussions that give rise to an enterancing Berber drumming session and Tres pinching before the race gets inflamed by a trumpet, which sounds like a furious elephant, ignite this brilliant stylistical crossover on "Gubat", the first incendiary track of Tumido's new album. Over five tracks, mainly named from remote places on our planet, Gigi Gratt (tres, trumpet), Bernard Breuer (drums and sticks of Elektro Guzzi and Metalycee) and the new member Mario Stadler (synth), exhibit their striking sound, whose melting of dub, electronics and rock could stuck listeners up: the rough tribal patterns of "Nuuk" got embossed by tilting synths and swirling clots of drums and distorted guitars; the sneaking narcosis that mesmerizes listeners in the first part of "Isny" by means of a Massive Attack-like trip hop movement got stopped by a sort of tenderly adulterated spinet and abruptly smashed by an overpowering wall of sound, which gets dissolved into an electric suffocated cloud; obliquely delayed hits and crackly strokes got clotted by a piercing high-pitched frequency and a gargling noise on the blood-chilling "Tommot"; the tribalistic dance of the lenghty final track "Xaxim" unexpectedly turns into a distillate of a mangled dub, whose agonizing bad trip-like sound likewise unexpectedly expands in an overwhelming manner and flows into muffling metallic squeals. An excellent boxed cake mix for catching live concerts.

Embers: Kout

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jan 18 2015
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Artist: Embers
Title: Kout
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible
Rated: *****
Described as containing "New Flemish folklore" by the label Enfant Terrible, "Kout" is the second MLP by a Belgian band called Embers. The only information I found on the net is their Facebook page which reported as members Steve Desmadrijl and Pieter Nolf, their city (Oudenbrugge) and a page on the Hospital Food Records website. Their music is described as post industrial and their influences include Coil, Swans, Sigmund Und Sein Freund, Calva Y Nada, Novy Svet, Faith No More, Pixies, Primus and Lhasa De Sela. Their newest MLP is available as a 12"+CD package and has six new tracks which mix acoustic/electric guitar, heavy drumming, a bit of analog synth rawness (check "Kwaad Bloed") and clanging noises. Their songs sound like a chant coming from an old haunted factory where demons are forging their weapons. Combining guitar riffs to noises, treated or shouted vocals and everything their imagination could suggest them to play after they hit the record button, Embers are able to mesmerize you with their music and you can check it here
If you are into Einsturzende Neubauten and aren't afraid to check something that has no rules but it's all instinct and pure energy, Embers are a band you have to try.

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