Music Reviews

Nervenbeisser: Zeitenwandel

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Nov 15 2017
Artist: Nervenbeisser
Title: Zeitenwandel
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
Nervenbeisser (Nerve Biter) is an NDH band from Germany (where else would you find NDH bands?) and 'Zeitenwandel' ('Change of Time') is their sophomore album after their 2005 debut ('Geschlechterschlacht'). Nervenbeisser aren't your typical NDH band though as there are definite goth-electro-industrial elements incorporated throughout. Also, the metal doesn't surface as much as you'd expect. Still, they are balls-to-the wall HARD...most of the time. The album begins with a recitation in Deutsche (of course) over dark industrial ambient background...setting the mood I guess. First real song - "Verkehrte Welt" has a bouncy/loping martial beat similar to Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People," but that's where the similarity ends. There's a catchy crowd-rousing chorus ("HEY DU!"...and lines in German that follow) and that's the first clue that this album seems primarily made for live play, fist-pumping, and short attention spans. Although there is some diversity in form, there's not much in style, and that's what works against Nervenbeisser throughout most of 'Zeitenwandel.' Take the title track for example; it starts out with some nice atmospherics leading into a catchy bass and synth line combo but all too soon falls into cliched aspects of NDH that only get deeper as it chugs along, in spite of its electro elements. Live, I'm sure it's what the crowd will eat up, but listening to it at home gets wearisome. Olaf Seider's vocal style ranges from guttural growl to raspy scream (most notably on the chorus of Glucklich Allein") and the latter is really difficult (for me) to take. The one thing this band does manage to do effectively is come up with catchy hooks, be they vocal or instrumental, for this type of music anyway. Take for example "Goldener Kafig" where there is really nothing memorable in the vocal department, but this dumb little repetitious airy synth riff will stick in your brain. To a large extent these songs seem crafted more with a bludgeon than a scalpel, and maybe that's a hallmark of Neue Deutsche HÄrte. On one hand, I think these guys are somewhat enamoured of Rammstein, but on the other may have aspirations of Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly or even KMFDM. It's hard to tell whether or not this merging works. I think only the band's fans can be the real judge, and from what I'm seeing, their following is growing. Final track on the album ("Alles Steht Still") is a mostly acoustic ballad where the band shows its sensitive side. Actually not bad, and a nice break from being pummeled. It will be interesting to see where the band goes from here. Will Nervenbeisser play more to their NDH roots, or will they explore and expand into something quite different?

Porn: The Ogre Inside

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Sep 10 2017
Artist: Porn (@)
Title: The Ogre Inside
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
If you're looking for porn on the Internet, it shouldn't be too hard to find, but if you're looking for Porn, the French Industrial Metal band, that might be a little harder but worth it. This is Porn's third album, and sorry to say I haven't heard the other two. I'm also willing to bet Porn are (currently) a lot bigger in France and Europe than they are here in the U.S., but perhaps 'The Ogre Inside' will change that. The first positive aspect for American appeal is that the vocals are in English. Second is that vocalist Philippe Deschemin doen't just growl, he also actually sings. Philippe Deschemin...hmmm...where have I heard that name before? Oh yeah, he was behind that 'An Erotic End of Times' album. Didn't much care for that one. He's also a novelist, lecturer, and political philosopher, if I recall. So here we kind of have the thinking man's industrial-metal, rather than the typical in-your-face fist-pumping stuff that passes for Industrial Metal these days. You will find plenty of industrial strength muscular guitar (playing a fair amount of familiar riffage) and as well as effective electronics sewn through the mix, yet it's not all sturm und drang. For the occult-minded, there are vocal samples of master-magus Aleister Crowley sprinkled throughout the tracks.

The album plays like a graphic novel exploring themes of violence, lust and desire, pain and suffering, control, death amd mortality, and more. It's a loose concept album, but a concept album all the same. The "ogre inside" is obviously the beast that thrives on destruction, sadism, cruelty and an appetite of excess. For Deschemin it's a losing battle he's waging here but he doesn't go down without a fight. What I felt didn't work too well on 'An Erotic End of Times' seems to work fine here. Maybe I wasn't expecting much from a band called Porn (you've got to have some balls to name your band that), but this is well-produced, musically varied, yet still tough as nails Industrial. Deschemin's vocals are introspectively emotive when they need to be, and also ragingly powerful, and even over-the-top when the song calls for it too. There are times I'm hearing shades of Pete Steele which might make some old-schoolers want to check this out. I really feel that this is an album that needs to be taken as a whole, so I can't pick a standout over the 9 tracks here. Truth be told, they're all good and there's nothing you'd want to skip in the 51 minutes from beginning to end. I think they have another album coming out soon too, and I'd be looking forward to that.

Glaukom Synod: Vampires and Gorgeous Throats

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Aug 31 2017
Artist: Glaukom Synod
Title: Vampires and Gorgeous Throats
Format: Tape
Label: Visceral Circuitry Records (@)
Rated: *****
This French harsh electro-industrial project has been around since at least 2005 with a bunch of releases prior to this one that of course, I've never heard. 'Vampires and Gorgeous Throats' is a 7-track EP because the tracks are all so short. What it is, is absolutely manic-panic synth and drum programming with as lot of sampling thrown in for good measure. It's all instrumental, as the only "vocals" are the infrequent spoken word samples. They are used infrequently, except for the archetypal "Tarzan yell," which forms the basis for "Jungle glaukom fever" as the sample is multiplied and heaped layer upon layer in this one. It's all too much and gives the music a cartoony ambience. In fact, many of the tracks on the EP sound cartoon industrial. Although there were a few breaks from the breakneck pacing, it was all a little much for me, and seemed like pointless hardcore at many times. Those who like their industrial rhythms spit out from a machine gun might enjoy it, but I'm not sure you'll be able to listen to it seriously, especially now that I've labeled it "cartoon crazy". Available on cassette or digital download.

Hexas: Liberty Nest

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Aug 30 2017
Artist: Hexas
Title: Liberty Nest
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Hagshadow
Rated: *****
Hexas is the new creature born from the collaboration of Patrick Leagas of Sixth Comm/Godlesstate/Mother Destruction/SchrÄge Musik fame and Gaya Donadio (active as ANTIchildLEAGUE and boss of Hagshadow). "Liberty Nest" is their first release and contains six tracks that are the perfect mix of their past music experiences. The meaning of Hexas in the original Greek form is the number Six, perhaps also Hexe, which in German means "witch", is connected to a continuation of the subject 6. Hexas' aim is not to point the finger indicating what's wrong or else, Hexas is a mirror and it's reflecting back to you images that you'll decode looking at it from the different angles. Besides the fact that we're living in a corporate controlled regime where the crazy dictators can recall you the Reptilian alien Visitors of the 80s show having the same title, musically what we have in this six tracks MCD? Well, as I said Patrick and Gaya musical souls interacted and if Gaya brought in her noisy semi controlled sounds, Patrick merged that with rhythms and a bit of melodies. The tracks differ the one from the other in which way the elements have been balanced. To give you some idea, the opening track is sounding like being under a bombing where between the explosions we hear martial rhythms, dissonant chords and declamating treated vocals. "Reptilian Culture" sounds like a SchrÄge Musik track remixed by Gaya. "Hellborn" is tense, noisy and mix a rhythm which recalls me Boyd Rice's roto guitar sound with feedbacks and Gaya's vocals. At the moment is not important to describe how much noise or rhythms every track contains, because this MCD contains no fillers and it's a really inspired release that I'm suggesting you to check if you liked any Patrick's past one. If you are more into power noise and you knew mostly ACL stuff, well, this is the right chance to check another side of her music!

Mikroben Krieg: Intrascape

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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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.

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