Music Reviews

THE MERCY CAGE: Scree: Transmissions

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Dec 08 2006
Artist: THE MERCY CAGE (@)
Title: Scree: Transmissions
Format: CD
Label: DSBP (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Before some etlitic people start complaining that this release isn’t really new, lets mention that New Zealand’s finest act now is a member of the Australian Crash Frequency collective. Indeed – this is a required and welcomed addition, this also explains, why I received this release to my surprise directly from the band. The display of my Discman shows me 23 tracks and more than 70 minutes playing time – damnit, that’s a lot of stuff to discover here. THE MERCY CAGE also do themselves the best to a offer a varied acoustic experience and provide a wide diversity of different music styles. Influences are pending between Electro/Industrial, Synth-/Futurepop, Gothic/Wave up to classic Coldwave Industrial following some famous US patterns. Globally they remind me on some decades of the US act SPAHN RANCH. It seems a bit that they try to represent with their diversity also the different flavors and cultural influences of their home-country. Favorites are hard to named, because this depends on your personal taste. For me "Reduce.Distill.Purify.Teach" really hits the target, maybe the track with a constant huge Electro/Industrial influence. There’s still the unsolved secret, why this release got not released by BLC Productions as intended, but I don’t wanna go on to spread some salt into open wounds. A nice full-length release available and presented by the DSBP, give it a try. We’re gonna wait for new stuff, by the way...

STROMKERN: Reminders

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Dec 04 2006
Artist: STROMKERN (@)
Title: Reminders
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dependent (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Long awaited 2nd release out of the successful last STROMKERN full-length release "Light It Up", and also the needed sales item to offer a new release on the mutual world with FRONT LINE ASSEMBLAGE. No doubt also, that "Reminders" was chosen to be pointed out f "Light It Up", it is indeed the most catchiest track from this album. The "ear-worm" qualities this track has to offer brings this piece to the already existing hall of fame of STROMKERN's greatest tracks like "Re-Aligned", "Night Riders" or "Hesitate". So you’ll got a cool Extendet Version, a Trans Siberian Remix work done by no one else than Rhys Fulber (FLA), a great, because completely electronic-based remix work by ECHO VIRUS and also a valuable Impeachment 7" Mix by the legendary US-act OUT OUT. Two unreleased special b-sides are available as well, a dark and with additional bass and guitar sounds constructed piano-driven tune called "The City" and with "Feed The Machine" another quality track featuring Ned’s vocals, which could it easy make it on a full-length album. Although the acoustic component in the music arrangements of STROMKERN have generally grown, I’m still astonished by the excellent compositional efforts by this US act. This is by far the very best SiCD of Dependents DCI Vol. 3 collection, without competition to the other two partner releases.
Artist: Hansel
Title: Lorentzian Lineshaper
Format: CD
Label: D-Trash records (@)
Rated: *****
As I embark on the difficult task of attempting to review the latest CD by the Boston-based duo Hansel, I embrace my fate: I'll get flamed no matter what! The duo obviously have some serious gripe with the media who attempt to pigeonhole them into one boxed description or the promoters who try to file them under one category. So if I get the description somewhat right or accurate according to the fellow writers and reviewers, which of course could be argued is fairly relative anyway, I'll probably get shit from the band; and if I tell you that Hansel is a rock band (which is how they describe themselves to avoid any confusion) then I'll definitely get shit from the readers (since anybody that heard this record knows that Hansel doesn't share anything more than attitude and occasional distorted guitars with what you usually refer to as rock). Hansel is a little stressed out by the situation that came into being, and you can tell from their press release and some lyrics or samples in their record. So I could comply with their desire to not be labeled, hence doing a disservice to my readers and possibly getting a few very curious readers to go and actually listen to the music online to make up their own mind (but then they'll probably illegally download the album and then the band AND the label will hate me anyway) or I can just fuck all of that political correctness bullshit and mess with my destiny by giving a shot at trying to describe a band that's actually hard to describe or file under just one category or genre in the first place. Ultimately, I don't give a shit about getting shit, so what I'll do is I won't make any comparisons and I'll just try go give you a rough idea of what they sound like.First of all, if you are familiar with D-Trash records, think of Hansel as your non-typical D-Trash band. They implement elements of electronic music, industrial music, rhythm-noise, breakcore, glitch, rock, hop hop and what not (shall we say experimental electro-glitch-core crossover? or just e-ndustrial noise-core rock hop? just messing with you...). No matter what, it is going to be hard to give you an accurate picture of Hansel because they jump back and forth from any of the above to any other one of the above genres. This said, certain things that are actually facts could help you pin point (sort of) where Hansel stands: although they are not committed to them, they do use computers and electronics; most rhythmical/percussive material as well as most vocals are distorted; their sounds are sparse and simple at the source, but highly tweaked and saturated in complex ways; their sonic attack is minimal but aggressive and raw; they are genuine and spontaneous; they are very eclectic and across the board. If that doesn't get you any further you'll really have to go to the label's website and find out for yourself.In the meantime we want to tell the band that Chain D.L.K. loves them no matter what and we don't give a flying fuck about what the other media says about them (I haven't read a single other review of their music to try and find aid or inspiration or to try and align my views with those of others - why would I anyway?), nor do we have any expectations from them or anybody else, for that matter. I agree with Hansel that artists should just make music and let nothing other than their own creativity mold the music they write. That said, sometimes shit sucks, sometimes shit rocks, it's all subjective in the end anyway, and so are reviews (so bands shouldn't really give a damn about what people say anyway).This said I wanna hear that triple Dolly Parton cover album now!PS I don't think I ever filed any review I wrote in as many categories at the same time!

Ahab Rex: Blood on Blonde

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Nov 21 2006
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Artist: Ahab Rex (@)
Title: Blood on Blonde
Format: CD
Label: Lens records (@)
Rated: *****

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Ahab Rex's minimalistic electro-rock bounces back and forth from being a noir songwriter's most intimate and convoluted creation to showing the aggressive energy and raw sonic attack of an entire band. Unapologetic naked lyrics sung out with the conviction and the soul of one of the last of the spoken-word urban poets. If you tend to prefer the focus being shifted on words you'll appreciate the vocal characteristics of this young talented and very personal singer, who, without sounding like a clone will make you think, for one reason or another, about David Bowie, Tom Waits, Trent Reznor, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave etc... And if you are longing for big names, the collaboration on Ahab Rex's debut full length CD should make you seriously think about checking them out: drummer Martin Atkins (NIN, Killing Joke, Pigface), singer Chris Connelly (Ministry, Revolting Cocks), Steven Seibold (Hate Dept), Dylan Ryan, Pigface and Assassins (who both remixed one song on this record), The Countdown, Griffin Rodriguez (him) and engineer Adam Yoffe (Big Buildings) all lend a helping hand for an album that does sound mature and ready for a much bigger audience.As a music producer, this is the kind of band I'd be seeking out to work with and the kind of band where I'd wonder why they are not signed, so I am glad that somebody (Lens records) noticed them and is (hopefully) providing them with good promotion and distribution. I don't think I need to stress any further that this m+f duo knows what they are doing and are determined and set out to be noticed.

GORE-TEK: Sick Machine

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
 Edit (3200)
Nov 19 2006
Artist: GORE-TEK (@)
Title: Sick Machine
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
Here we present a new talent hailing from Vancouver, BC, Canada, a city we don’t need to introduce any longer thanks to the great historical influence on the Electro/Industrial scene through the years (FLA, SKINNY PUPPY...). GORE-TEK is the solo effort by Drake, and this "Sick Machine" CD is his first audio output and presents a mixture of Electro/Goth and Metal/Crossover music on 13 tracks. While I’m sure that this full-length CD comes out without any real guitar riff, the kind and construction of the tracks take its influence based on classic US-Industrial/Coldwave music with a slight touch of some Ambient-like tunes. It must be mentioned that this CD is a pure instrumental work, some vocal performances are sorely missed here. The faster pieces here can grab attention, "Ikor", "Extraction" and "Arterial (IKOR Remix)" have to be named here. There’s a globally testing and experimenting attitude on this whole work rather than some real compositions following the classic kind of verse-bridge-refrain-repetition. There’s still space for some development and to add some vocals should be a welcomed target for a future release. Great and target-hitting cover artwork by the way, this full-length release can be purchased via CDBaby.

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