Music Reviews

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.

Drew McDowall: Unnatural Channel

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
 Edit (9823)
May 07 2017
Artist: Drew McDowall
Title: Unnatural Channel
Format: LP
Label: Dais Records
Rated: *****
Drew started his musical career in Glasgow with his post punk band The Poems, where there was also his then wife, Rose. After few years they moved to London and he joined Psychic TV and began collaborating live with Coil, becoming an official member of the band in 1994. He played in classic albums such as: "Astral Disaster", "Musick To Play In The Dark", "Worship The Glitch", "Black Light District" and "Time Machines". He moved to New York in 2000, so decided to part ways with Coil. He collaborated with Kara Bohnenstiel in the group Captain Sons And Daughters (CSD) and with Tres Warren (of Psychic Ills) in Compound Eye. In 2015 Dais Records released his first solo album "Collaps". The album contains five tracks of experimental electronic where idm, ambient and industrial intuitions meet. On May 26th 2017, always on Dais Records, Drew will release his second album, titled "Unnatural Channel". This new album expand a bit more the sounds of its predecessor by adding more rhythms and by experimenting some more with his modular synths. The album opens with "Tell Me The Name", a track which sounds like ocean waves made of throbbing sounds which suddenly blast off and when the apparent calm makes its way, buzzing sounds, and treated vocal samples soon after are joined by distorted industrial rhythmic patterns. After that, we have "Habitat", a track suspended between clanging sounds and synth strings and leads which sounds like coming from hell. "This Is What It's Like" plays even more with this dark atmospheres mixing mid tempo industrial rhythms filtered through an eco with whispered vocals. The main track is divided into two parts and if most of the first one creates a dark ambient atmosphere with some rhythms toward its end, the second one is sounding more industrial and rhythmic just to sound a bit like early Chris & Cosey at the end. "Recognition" sounds like a kraken fighting for his life while the short "Unshielded", with its synths rhythmic noises and the vocals sounding like a tribal chant, is like the recording of a ritual. I found this second album rich of ideas and sounds and more focused compared to the first one. I'm sure you'd gladly check it out if you already appreciated Drew's past collaborations. If you are totally new, well, if you like Autechre and industrial music, I'm sure that you'll be amazed listening to "Unnatural Channel".

Psyclon Nine: Divine Infekt (re-release)

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
 Edit (9822)
May 07 2017
Artist: Psyclon Nine
Title: Divine Infekt (re-release)
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Metropolis recently re-released one of the most impressive albums by Psyclon Nine. I'm one of those, who has never considered this band as controversial as some reviewers did in the past, when too many people still filtered anything surrounding them as rightwing, leftwing, communist or fascist, according to a blind and blinding watertight compartment-like vision of the world that came and keeps on coming in handy of well-known manoeuvres. In spite of the helpful clarification "No computers were used during the composition of this album", reprising some known messages that wink at animal rights activists, "Divine Infekt" is massively computerized: dating back 2003, it featured a higher dosage of synth-pop, aggrotech (particularly in the use of voice by P9's frontman Nero Bellum) and electro-industrial and just some traces of black metal (more clearly listenable in other outputs of the band). Specialists in synths will readily recognize the typical taste of some synth-squeezing such as the dynamics of the highly performative Nord Lead (maybe the 3 or the 4), the choruses on brass pads typical of EBM or the pre-delay of 30-35ms combined to some impressive sets of Pitch Shifter on the glorious Boss SE-50 to make the voice harsher. I won't say it could be considered still innovative from the technical viewpoint, but the content of its anguished lyrics could certainly be. This inflamed ring starts and ends on the title-track "Divine Infekt", whose refrain - a recorded voice repeating "We all deserve a life in hell" in a viscous web of synth-driven arpeggios and kicks - is the hypnotical motif of both the original opening version and the Aggrotech-oriented remix by Anthony Mather's band Tactical Sekt. A ring of fire, whose more interesting blazes are the more danceable "Clinik" (its medley "Bludgeon abortion/Lethal amputation/Onslaught of torment/Embrace the offering/Necrotic flesh/Design of tainted surgery/Cold steel blade/Neutralize mortality" could be echoed in your mind for a while), the brilliant synth programming that got forged for a genuinely provocatory song like "So Be It", the almost romantic "As You Sleep" (maybe the most melodic moment of the whole album) as weel as those songs (particularly "Clinik" and "Slaughter"), where you can hear the first bricks of the bridge joining electro-industrial and symphonic black metal, whose building would have been completed on their following album "INRI". Also available on a limited vinyl edition.

Alphane Reality Generator: Music for the Robot Revolution

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
 Edit (9632)
Feb 19 2017
Artist: Alphane Reality Generator (@)
Title: Music for the Robot Revolution
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Where to begin with this...perhaps quoting the artist's one-sheet accompanying this release- "THE RESISTANCE NEEDS YOU! The human resistance is close to defeat. Far closer than is commonly known. Our only chance was to send this warning back to 2017...23 years before the robot revolution began. This will give you time to prepare...or maybe even prevent it from happening this time. All the information you need is on this compact audio disc. Good luck human." Alphane Reality Generator is the brainchild of Andrew Rizzo, from Exton, Pennsylvania.

As you might guess, Alphane Reality Generator is an electro-industrial project. I am also assuming that 'Music for the Robot Revolution' is its debut release. If you like vocals ala vocoder and lots of clipped from sci-fi flick dialogue samples, you're gonna like this. If not, well, much of it has a beat you can dance to, as well as a booming bottom end. I suppose that considering the premise that robots revolted (and most likely took over) in 2040, vocoder vocals are to be expected. Somewhat better than the snarling, distorted type of vocals so often heard in the genre in my opinion. Problem is, it does get a little old after a while. Sometimes I'm not sure whether this is tongue-in-cheek, or serious. Perhaps a combination of the two. The synthwork ranges from arcade-analogue (old school game goofy) to the kind of sounds and style you'd expect to hear in electo-industrial music. Initially the beatwork is pounding and relentless. I guess this goes hand-in-hand with the "machines taking over" concept. As the album progresses though, the rhythms get more interesting. While there aren't any what you might call "hits" on the album, "Cubicle of Pain" is one of the stronger tracks. "Processing Bypassing" is what Kraftwerk might sound like if they if they decided to go dark-edge industrial. One of the weirder tracks on the album, "Wir Essen Kein Brot" ("We Do Not Eat Bead") indicates that robots may have a certain sense of humor both in the lyrics and music. Although I wasn't wild about the lengthy dialogue samples in "Abdicated Responsibilities," the music had good dramatic tension. For me the best track was the last - "Thick Cartilaginous Layer," reminding me a bit of Front Line Assembly's more pensive moments.

The one thing this album suffers from though is a lack of professional mastering which would have tamed some of the wild frequencies and brought out and enhanced those which needed it. Still, it's not a bad effort and there's enough variety to keep it from getting stagnant. Just how far Mr. Rizzo will get with Alphane Reality Generator remains to be seen; one-trick pony or a new luminary on the electro-industrial scene. I suppose that's up to you, the consumer to decide, but I will say that it's worth checking out.

Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

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