Music Reviews

Haujobb: New World March

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Mar 19 2012
Artist: Haujobb (@)
Title: New World March
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Tympanik Audio
Rated: *****
Well, finally got the new batch of review CDs and Haujobb's 'New World Market' is up first. A little while ago I reviewed their 'Dead Market' CD (maxi-single or EP, depending on how you look at it) and at that time I recall saying 'I can only hope the whole album would be as good as 'Dead Market'.' Haujobb has given listeners a double-dose of 'New World March' in the form of an additional CD with a remix of each of the 12 tracks on the album. I believe this works out favorably for the most part (exempting 'Dead Market' but we'll get to that later) and actually enhances in some ways by presenting complementary versions of the original tracks.

It is no surprise that this was going to be a moody, dystopian future album; just look at the cover. If 'Dead Market' was the harbinger of what was to come, 'New World March' is the apocalypse fulfilled. Lyrics (predictably) are abstract-expressionist for the most part, carried out vocally by Daniel Meyer in alternating currents of brooding despair and helpless rage. The words come from a variety of sources - Daniel Meyer & Dejan Samardzic on some tracks; Susanne Thiele, Joakim Montelius, and Michael G. Stone on others. (I don't get why Thiele was credited for the lyrics of 'Dead Market' on the maxi-single but Meyer & Samardzic credited for the words of the same song on the album, but oh well'¦) They all work well together to paint a frightening picture of not only where we are headed, but where we stand NOW.

As for the music, but Meyer and Samardzic get a boost from some guests - Achim Farber (Project Pitchfork), Ben Lucas Boysen (Hecq), Andreas Meyer (Forma Tadre), Manuel G. Richter (Xabec), Sebastian Ullmann (For A Space), and Joakim Montelius (Covenant). Still, it sounds like Haujobb. The opening track, 'Control' sets the tone coming on like a dream (nightmare?) with a harp-like arpeggiated sequence over dark pulsing ambience before it gets into the meat of the track. It seems to build but ends inconclusively. The remix (by Xabec) is more to the point subbing out a more electronic sound for the (still arpeggiated) harp, and brings in Meyer's vocals earlier with more presence. Overall, I thought the remix was perhaps less subtle but stronger, and did not seem to end inconclusively.

'Crossfire' is actually where the 'March' seems to begin presenting a vigorous cadence and brings in some old school Haujobb sounds. A powerful chorus accented with pull-out-the stops synth-orchestra amps up the drama. Before you know it though, it's over. Dryft's remix forsakes the martial cadence and arpeggiated sequences in favor of staggered beats and a dreamlike atmosphere. Well, there is some old-school synth sequencing but I wasn't knocked out by this version, preferring the original as the more substantial track. 'Let's Drop Bombs' features a big beat, muscular synth sequencing interjected with an atmospheric overdriven guitar phrase and a generous helping of electronic sonics. The track builds but then just ends with a couple of piano chords. Dupont's remix is drier with a stripped-down beat and mono sequence at first and still using that overdriven guitar phrase. Meyer's vocals seem to have more presence in this version. The synth sequencing gets a bit of a boost as the track progresses. Electronic sonics still come into play, albeit more subtely. Dupont ends it with a repeated rat-a-tat snare cadence on the last few bars. Both versions have their own merit.

The differences between the original and the remix are more readily apparent on 'More Than Us,' a modern take on Kali (the multi-armed Hindu Goddess of destruction), mostly in the beat department. While the original is a nightmarish run, the (Continues) remix employs a shuffle beat making it more like a dance. Either version is pretty cool, in different ways. I think there is more tension in the original of 'Machine Drum' than in the (Unknown) remix, but the remix adds a better rhythmic component which I believe essential to making this track work. Chalk up another score in the win column for the remix album. 'Dead Market' is arguably the most memorable track on the album and the original works just fine with its pulse bass and industrial percussion and synthwork. The Ah Cama-Sotz remix adds a Worldbeat (Globalization?) component and downplays the industrial aspects which really doesn't work so well in my estimation. Chalk up a win for the original.

'Lost' has an undercurrent bass pulse running through most of it on the original but not on the Somatic Responses remix. Beats are quite industrial on the remix and the whole effect tends to retitle the track as 'Really, Really Lost'. I prefer the original. The beginning of 'Soul Reader' is reminiscent of NIN at Reznor's moodiest, before getting into squinky Haujobb electronics backed by a solid beat. This Morn Omina's remix employs a clubbier beat and female vocal (sans Daniel) to nice effect. Much better dance potential here on the remix, and I dig it!

'Little World' adds a touch of melancholy violin (or is that viola?) to a predominantly beat-driven industrial tune. The Binary Park remix is more subdued, and a better vehicle for Meyer's vocals on this track. It has a dreamy quality to it, more appropriate to the lyrical content. Remix wins on this one. There are certain little touches on 'Membrane' that are unmistakably Forma Tadre (yes Andreas had a hand in it) and it is a solid track full of a lot of interesting elements. The Acretongue remix adds a steady bass pulse and more consistency in the rhythmic elements. It's a toss-up on this one; they're both good, although I think the melodic aspect of the track in enhanced in the remix. Title track 'New World March' is the most understated and subdued track on the album; full of fatalism and resignation. The original ably carries this theme out sounding itself like a deconstructed remix. Shades of Depeche Mode and Gary Numan at their bleakest. More of a dirge than a march. Can the Anklebiter remix improve on this? Well, no'¦but it's a nice instrumental take on the track omitting the vocal. No substitute for the original though.

So if you've been keeping score, you'd know that it's dead even so far between the original and the remix. Four in the win column for each, with three ties. 'Echo' could be the tie-breaker. It's an eerie instrumental track that is beatless for first half. Dramatic percussion enters for the final phase. The Incite/ remix adds pulsing beat and sort of a distorted bass and pulse. Talk about shredding the low end! I liked it, but I liked the original just a little bit better. So the original squeaks by on one!

Okay, it wasn't a competition. Both are very good, and both have their merits. It's great to have a Haujobb (double) album this good after an 8 year wait. For me, in certain ways, it took me back to the industrial days of 'Freeze Frame Reality,' although it sounds nothing like it. Let's just hope we don't have to wait another 8 years for Meyer & Samardzic to come up with the next new Haujobb album.

GERMANOTTA YOUTH: the final solution

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 18 2012
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Title: the final solution
Format: 7"
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
While Zu are floating in a undefined Hiatus and the ex members of this wonderful band sometimes appear here and there, Massimo Pupillo gets involved in this Germanotta Youth affair. I've really enjoyed Germanotta's debut cd but I think on this vinyl the band has given its best, infact here we go with four shots of pure electronic, grinding, neurotic mayhem. I think this time the maelstrom has been produced even better than before and the resulting magma has become even more refined so here you're gonna have that speed freaks drumming, crappy electronics synths-samples-whatever and the dirty-fast and furious-mindblowing bass of Pupillo. This power trio has gone back to the metal-punk roots to come back with this heavy pounding, ass kicking 7" where you're gonna meet this sort of hybrid that barely reminds of The Locust meets James Plotkin's Phantomsmasher but at the same time you can get one of them was involved in the rind and roll heroes Inferno. Four killer tracks for this new episode and I think the 7" format is really suitable for the Germanotta guys.

Mental D-Struction: Extrapolation of Human Perspectives

 Posted by Barton Graham   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Feb 27 2012
Artist: Mental D-Struction (@)
Title: Extrapolation of Human Perspectives
Format: CD
Label: Contagious Programm
Rated: *****
Mental D-struction's 'Extrapolation of Human Perspectives' is a relentless sonic assault on the senses that leaves one both ravaged and thoroughly satisfied, craving more. The album opens to an almost serene soundscape of pads, complex cymbal rhythms and if you listen carefully, samples of children beneath it all, creating a false sense of security, with just a hint of forboding, foreshadowing what's to come. Almost as soon as it comes, that warm fuzzy feeling is stripped from the listener with schizophrenic electronics and odd meters full of distorted rhythms and frantic beats layered with both dialogue samples and beautiful string arrangements. As the disc progresses, so does the destruction; in its wake lay synthetic screaming banshees, growling monsters of beauty, an almost carnevallian disasterpiece and a brutiful epic whose orchestrations channel the likes of Mozart et al; though I'm sure they'd roll in their graves were they to experience the invasive, destructive, harsh beats and distorted vocals just screaming in agony that lay on top of the aforementioned orchestrations. This record is a brutal journey into the depths of the most twisted parts of the human mind, with only quick pauses to catch one's breath before being thrown right back into it all. The only slight relief comes at the very last track, whose tempo is just below that of its predecessors, though she still makes devastatingly good use of every beat per minute. From its beautiful string arrangements, to it's machine gun rhythms; from it's razor-like synths to it's distorted vocals and samples, this offering from Mental D-Struction has not a single dull moment and will shake you to the core. It is a beautiful and hauntingly destructive demonstration that you wont want to pass on, that is of course, if you can keep up...

Roughhausen: Just In Case U Missed US

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Feb 10 2012
Artist: Roughhausen (@)
Title: Just In Case U Missed US
Format: CD EP
Label: TinderBox (@)
Rated: *****
When I introduced Someone's Got To Pay, a mini EP issued by Taiwanese imprint TinderBox signed by Roughhausen, a musical creature by former Front Line Assembly member Jeff Stoddard - it's difficult blame his intellectual honesty especially after he declared he begun making music to have access to "an unlimitted supply of meaningless sex and endless trips to the free clinic in a recent interview! -, I've not been too mild while expressing my doubts on their sound. This limited edition (just 500 hundred copies should have been printed) related to their recent US tour, formally addressed to all those ones who missed their concerts, partially makes change my mind on it, as many releases like it are sometimes wanting in "immediacy" when they are frozen in a cd as it's not so easy to transfer the energy they can express on live stage when they record stuff in a recording studio. "Just in Case U Missed Us" - an eloquent title - partially counterbalance the above-mentioned dyscrasia without pretending to be pithy: the five versions of previously issued stuff in different dressings are relevantly more appreciable to grab some of the (not only sexual, if someone just holds on lirical explicit contents) energy this band can liberate. I particularly appreciated Grudge fux mix of "[sic]fuk" - more innervated with sketches of that kind of rhytmical saturated stepping similar to that scary industrial hip-hop close to some stuff by Swamp Terrorists than the original version -, the ferocious beating and electric intertwining of Gutshot mix of "Gut" and the mid-tempo clocking breaks on GutterLords Mix of "The Pinned Man" (the track, in my opinion, which sounds closer when someone runs into the somewhat controversial way of labelling style as "electronic industrial punk"). The final track, Aspire to Mix of "Systemic", is stylistically interesting even if it easily goes over peaks so that distortion on low-frequencies makes it a bit disturbing (not sure if my headphones are dying or what). Check it even if you don't miss them.

Thirteenth Exile: Into Nothing

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Feb 03 2012
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Artist: Thirteenth Exile (@)
Title: Into Nothing
Format: CD
Label: Prototyp/Memento Materia (@)
Distributor: Industrial Music
Rated: *****
Another Swedish Industrial-Metal band-project, from which I thought, it has been gone for good after only one release. The well recognized debut release 'Assorted Chaos and Broken Machinery' has seen the light of a release 6 years before, but in our rushing lifetime days filled with the consumption of thousands of other releases, one gets nearly forgotten. So H. Svegsjö, the one and only responsible protagonist behind Thirteenth Exile, starts nearly from scratch. Signed again under Prototyp, the sub-label of the legendary Memeto Materia-label, he presents us a raw, harsh pounding assault, which integrates deepest Dark Electronica with assaulting metal-guitar riffs, united through a powerful kick-and-snare rhythm-work. 'Into Nothing' is no stuff for the faint-hearted people, it is a drastic and ominous outfit, which offers a bombastic attitude. Not at all comparable to that childish Hellectro-bawling, this is real dramatic and angst-driven music filled with at times brutal lyrics. The good point is: it sounds authentic. This whole pain-driven sound-scenario gets additionally supported by the overall black cover artwork with that scythe in front of the cloudy horizon. If it needs to search for comparisons, I'd take harder :Wumpscut:, (check out 'A Perfect World'!!!) Little Sap Dungeon and Portishead ('Wandering Star' is a cover to tribute the idols'...) to throw them into the soup-tureen. The thick and frightening atmosphere of this album needs to be pointed out as being the most impressive ability - several tracks are slowing down the speed ('My Legacy', 'Into Nothing') and offer so much more than a wild dancefloor-action. Congratulations to all responsible participants to release one of the most intense produced albums of the last half year. Let's keep the fingers crossed, that we don't need to wait another 5 + years until Mr. Svegsjö decides again to start a comeback.

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