Music Reviews

Mikroben Krieg: Intrascape

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
 Edit (10027)
Aug 22 2017
Artist: Mikroben Krieg (@)
Title: Intrascape
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Crime League (@)
Rated: *****
When last I heard from Portugal's Mikroben Krieg (Nelson L. Brites), it was 'Final Cut' (2010). Seven years later MK introduces 'Intrascape' which is a very different animal on a different label. This time around there are no vocals (maybe a mixed blessing as Brite's vocals were never that strong, but did humanize the music somewhat) and no spoken word samples. This is orchestrated instrumental electro-industrial heavy on the mood and rhythm. There are only five tracks in a total of 35 minutes (less than half the length of 'Final Cut'). The rhythms are much more elaborate and refined than what was on the last release, and has somewhat of a DnB sound to it. In a way, it reminds me of the instrumental side of Front Line Assembly, or what they use in the instrumental portions of their songs. One thing that is somewhat lacking is defined melody. What melodic content there is tends to be amorphic and simplistically vague. I suppose this is intentional but it leaves something to be desired. MK's rhythms incorporate more breakbeat elements than the last time out too, so things really do move along. 'Intrascape' vacillates between light and dark adding an element of mystery to its soundscapes. While I wasn't really knocked out by it, 'Intrascape' makes for pleasant enough listening, and shows some evolution in Mikroben Krieg's techniques. Maybe next time out will be the killer album.

PIG: Prey & Obey EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
 Edit (10022)
Aug 20 2017
Artist: PIG
Title: Prey & Obey EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
The creativity of Raymond Watts, the man behind the PIG moniker and the mixing desks as a sound engineer of many well-known names of the scenes (Einsturzende Neubauten and Psychic TV) and also known to be one leg of KMFDM, is experiencing a real state of grace: he released a brand new album - "The Gospel" -, a collection of remixes - "Swine & Punishment" and a couple EPs. "Prey & Obey" is one of them and maybe the most interesting for a set of reasons: the eye (and the ear) could be immediately caught by the inclusion of the remix of the title track by another big name of electronic industrial and synth-rock scene as Leather Strip (...and certainly the remix by Claus Larsen - LS's birth name - is amazing, and IMHO I think he noticed - as I did - that the way of singing sometimes could resemble - it sounds unbelievable - the one of Pete Burns in "You Spin Me Round"), but the track could be a very interesting starting point for forthcoming musical blossoms, as it comes from the collaboration between Raymond and an important portion of industrial-techno band Cubanate (Marc Heal and Phil Barry). This is not the only collaborative track of the EP. Actually, the other two tracks came out of collaborations as well: the more atmospheric "The Cult Of Chaos" got handled by former Combichrist member Z.Marr (he also dropped an electronic remix of "The Revelation"), while the cheekily rockish "The Revelation" (many would be tempted to misspell the title as "The Revolution", as Raymond managed to pour the word 'revelation' into a set of common lyrical constructs where the word 'revolution' gets typically matched..) got forged together with Ben Christo (Ghost, S.O.M.). Furthermore, the Berlin-based producer En Esch pushed an interesting remix of the title track by pushing it towards the boundaries of easily chewable adaptation of electronic dance to soundtracks for those series full of murderers, vampiresque entities or zombie killers.


 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
 Edit (9989)
Aug 02 2017
Artist: CHMCL STR8JCKT (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD + Download
Label: self-released
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
That is a fine-chosen and very Industrial-minded band-name for a newcomer-project out of Hawthorne, NJ.
CHMCL STR8JCKT is a duo consisting of Kevin Snell (programming / vocals) and Mike Cairoli (guitars) and they present us with this self-titled 8-tracker their debut. You'll get a varied produced onslaught of Electronic/Industrial music pretty much inspired by some prominent top-acts of the Coldwave-scene like Imperative Reaction, Mindless Faith, SMP, or Idiot Stare.
Always with a Metal-oriented background in mind, this release offers multiple dark and sinister moods along all known paths of Industrial music and themes. What can be positively noted is their tendency to balance their Electronic-minded side to a same level to their gritty guitar-oriented side. There are several good ideas in their compositions included to keep the blood boiling although it definitely needs a bit development. Some of their used electronic bass-lines or lead sounds haven't been cooked with the freshest water available. "Dressed to Kill" with its stuttering old-school synth-bass-lines is a promising warm-up, while "One Last Salute" with its grinding guitars should set fire under the roof. Here hides the next point I tend to criticize, because especially "One Last Salute" could be much more efficient if it gets a tougher and more punching outfit. "House Upon the Hill" would be a fine tune to play a bit with the Harsh-Electro junkies out of the Terrorbanana-camp but unfortunately it still misses the needed drive. Overall a good and recommended debut and I really enjoy the sinister and hauting expression while it isn't at all flawless.
Some refreshments have to be made, maybe a foreign and experienced producer / sound-engineer could be helpful too with hints for further development. But fairly enough produced for a debut.

And Then You Die: Lord of the Flies

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
 Edit (9876)
Jun 11 2017
Artist: And Then You Die (@)
Title: Lord of the Flies
Format: CD + Download
Label: Skithund Records (@)
Rated: *****
And Then You Die has been touted as Finland's best kept music secret, so it comes as no surprise that I (and most likely you too) have never heard of them before now. Since 2003 they've released five albums 'Lord of the Flies' being their fifth) and just as many, if not more singles, and I understand they've been around since 1990 or so. To me, this is remarkable since I found the music on 'LOTF' quite compelling. They call their music Finnish underground depressive experimental post-industrial psychedelic rock, and that is pretty close to the truth. The album is only 7 tracks and weighs it at slightly over 33 minutes, so it's brief and doesn't wear out its welcome. Beginning with the fast-paced straight-ahead beat driven "Idiot," drawn out vocals glide over the rampant and unwavering rhythm like a surfer over Hawaiian waves. There's a bit of a synth break in the middle before things pick up again. The guitar plucks out a monotonous but remarkably effective riff, and in its punkish splendor with a similar pacing to Eno's "Third Uncle". Things take a stranger turn on "Damp Idea" where buzzy bass hits are juxtaposed by twinkling synth. The vocals are a bit more defined on this one, and when the rhythm gets going, it's like Nine Inch Nails meets David Bowie in some psychedelic arena. Still, the vocals are somewhat understated, almost like a singer turning his back to the audience. I don't know if the drums are played or programmed but whichever, they're marvelous in a big beat sort of way. The aforementioned similarity to Bowie really comes to fore in "Formant" where the vocalist seems to have similar vocal characteristics as latter-day Bowie in the warble and vibratro. The enigmatic lyrics also support this. "The Box" is similarly inclined, albeit with a different groove. Speaking of grooves, I've noticed that once a song gets into a groove, it pretty much stays there without variation. The tone is definitely dark, and the melodicism makes it pop, but deep underground psych-pop. There's something primal about it that cuts to the bone, and manages to avoid many (although not all) of the cliches found in industrial rock these days. Interestingly as the album progresses, the more intense yet more ambiguous it seems to get. If one had to choose a single from 'LOTF' it would likely be "The Tide" oozing sinister psychedelia. Final track, "Turn" only deepens the mystery in its psychedelic sludge. Something about 'Lord of the Flies' really resonated with me from start to finish the first time, and every other time I listened to it. Seldom does that happen these days. I urge you to check it out and see if does with you too.

An Erotic End of Times: Chapter One

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
 Edit (9850)
May 25 2017
Artist: An Erotic End of Times (@)
Title: Chapter One
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
Well, this looked interesting, at least by the CD cover and the band name - An Erotic End of Times. 'Chapter One' is the debut release by this French duo of Philippe Deschemin and Erwan Frugier. Deschemin had an on-again off-again industrial band called PORN between 1999 - 2012, and it may even be on-again still. Never heard them though. Don't know much about Frugier except that he was involved with PORN 2005-06. Okay, so to quote the one-sheet: "The first album of An Erotic End of Times is a gothic industrial rock and metal celebration of life and death. With 'Chapter One' the duo lay down the cornerstone of a musical work in the wake of dark and esoteric bands like Fields of the Nephelim, Type O Negative or Katatonia." Well, the comparison to the aforementioned bands is a stretch at best, and in reality, totally inaccurate. In fact, this outfit is only marginally goth-industrial and mostly alt-metal. A smattering of keyboard and synths doesn't entitle you to call yourself goth-industrial. On the other hand, there are plenty of grinding guitars and heavy-duty drum programming. I'd call this more akin to bands like Deftones, Disturbed, Godsmack, and White Zombie. If that's your thing, you might like these guys. Most of the time Deschemin sings with a gravelly growl which works well for the metal aspect. I'm not getting anything erotic out of this material, except for some lyrical allusions to sex.

The album opens with "I am become death," a tribute to the Robert Oppenheimer quote, the sample also to be found on this track, with a sludgey metal stew. "Love is the End" picks up the pace offering some headbanging opportunity, but the best thing about it is the chorus hook; otherwise it's the kind of metal you've heard time and time again. "No Rights" has a gothy synth/keyboard intro and backing but little else to offer in its self-wallowing dreariness. I swear I've heard the guitar riff(s) used on "Freaky World" by other bands. The clean chorus vocals make this track probably the best on the album. "One Second" attempts set a Nine Inch Nails-ish mood, but non-memorable metal breaks drag it back into the sludge. Similarly, "Writing on the Wall" utilizes the "Man on the Moon" dialogue sample for way too long sabotaging the mission. "The Hangman" is the first song that sounded really different, with maybe a ghostly nod to Nephelim Fields, but the JFK dialogue sample concerning secret societies just killed the mood for me. After that we're back to metallic pastures again. Finally ending with "The Origin of All Coming Evil," a crawling instrumental number with spooky synth lead followed by lengthy dialogue sample (Einstein?) hammers the nail into this coffin at last.

While I wasn't wowed by this work, some might be. I just don't think it's industrial. Moody alt metal at best. I didn't care much for Deschemin's overblown vocals, and way too much grinding metal guitar for my taste. As (he is also) a novelist, lecturer and political philosopher, I expected more from Philippe Deschemin here, but I didn't get it. (At least the songs were in English.) Maybe next time.

Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

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