Music Reviews

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.

Brume: Mother Blast

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
 Edit (9610)
Feb 11 2017
Artist: Brume
Title: Mother Blast
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Grautag (@)
Rated: *****
If we consider the fact that most of the tracks included in this umpteenth release by French wizard of electronic industrial Christian Renou, who resurrected his notorious moniker Brume in 2008, have been composed in 2014 or are old tracks revisited between 2013 and 2014, could let you surmise this album was stored in some drawer before it could have been taken out of it at a moment when it could sound apter to the renewed fears of a forthcoming apocalypse. Nowadays the spectre of a nuclear holocaust got massively fed by a series of doomsayers and catastrophists, who seized the opportunity of spreading panic-inducing and tragic opinions related to the recent political facts, so that this time seems to be ripe enough for a release, that gives an X-ray to the more disquieting trace that mankind left on modern history. Christian always refused to be filed under some stylistic label by means of the same old argument according to which labels are just a tool of marketing (I don't entirely agree with such an opinion, to be honest, as labelling music is sometimes a useful way to give an idea to listeners) and he often succeeds in escaping any attempt of sticking a precise definition by melting techniques and references that belong to many areas (primarily industrial, electronic, dark ambient, musique concrete, but also some outputs by Richard Pinhas' Heldon, Boyd Rice or Death in June), so that I wouldn't mind such an idiosyncrasy is a hoity-toity symptom. Besides such a minor matter, Monsieur Renou masterfully focuses on a sort of soundtrack that could perfectly fit the waiting of a nuclear bombing inside a subterranean bunker since the opening "'Little Boy' Pilot", where he rendered the lucid insanity of Paul Tibbets, the American pilot who dropped the first atomic bomb (Brume included some vocal snippets by this ridiculously heroic US patriot, who showed no regrets for having killed more than 80 thousand people by invoking reasons of state), to the sinister squeaking and the roaring rattling electro-rock of the final "Panzerfaust" - many musical gemstones in between for the lovers of Brume's music such as the sadly evocative "Victorian Washing Machine" and "Ersatz-Stellungen" or the ominous kind of tragic tribalism of tracks like "Sluggy Tango" or "Wish You were not Here" -. The references quoted by Nicolas Moulin, label manager and founder of grautag, who released "Mother Blast" and considered Brume's seminal album "Permafrost" a source for inspiration for the artistic path of the label, are guessed: "Mother Blast could be considerate as the second step of Permafrost - with some updating, but not only- but overall, the eternal state of ultimate cold war music and its endless no man's lands, where rhythms are growing in sound layers like bunkers of Russian Test nuclear site « Semipalatinsk » or those witch haunting the Ireland of JG Ballard « terminal beach ».

God Destruction: Redentor

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
 Edit (9564)
Jan 23 2017
Artist: God Destruction (@)
Title: Redentor
Format: CD
Label: Insane Records (@)
Rated: *****
From Mexico City comes God Destruction, and their fourth album, 'Redentor' since 2009. My first experience with GD was on the 'Terror Night Vol. 2' compilation by Insane Records, and honestly, it was not a good one. It was the A.D.R.O.N. Remix of the title track on this album, and I think I described it as "a nasty piece of business with relentless machine gunning percussion and mental ward harsh raving vocals". Perhaps that was a bit harsh, but then again, so was the track. For this band, God Destruction is not just a name, it seems to be a way of life. Their motto is "God Destruction, praising the evil since 2009," and they mean it. This is true Hellectro - harsh EBM tinged with black metal. The album opens on the title track with gothic pipe organ, but quickly turns caustic and brutal. There's a lot more going on here in the original than the remix I previously heard. Although I can't make out what the hell the scratchy-screamy vocals are saying (a lyric sheet would have been nice) or even what language they're in, the delivery gets the point across. The band creates apocalyptic atmospheres without ever losing potency in cinematic side excursions. "The Machine" is driven by a relentless beat which is sure to kick your ass all the way around the dancefloor, and then some. There are actually two harsh vocalists in this band with different shades of malice. For what they do, they work well together. I'm not sure whether "Ratzinger" is a tribute to Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger) or Wumpscut's Rudy; perhaps both in different ways. Clever, eh? A good club tune without a doubt though, especially made for heathens, heretics and hooligans. "Bullshit" offers more of the same with a different pacing. I am noticing now just how dirty and overblown God Destruction's sound is, as if they're compelled (maybe by Satan) to load up on EVERYTHING all at once. Granted, they do hold back a little on "Corpus Satani" but by then you're getting kind of numb. "Kakuma" (The Unholy Land) relies heavily on sampled dialogue and atmosphere to tell its story, but there is a fair amount of musicality to it. "Thunderthrone" begins promisingly with moaning horn and a rapacious riff, but somehow gets lost in the sauce tripping all over itself in an attempt to be epic, but comes across as more epileptic. "Exterminio" is full of organ and pounding beats but sounds more like filler than anything of substance. "Ultraviolencia" is quite a different story. A well-crafted hellectro-aggrotech number that really packs a wallop. "Rotten" is just a lot of rap-ranting over typical harsh EBM and it really left me cold. Final track before the remixes "Antevasin" begins with a series of processed guitar chords before the music, beats and vocals come in. This to me is the closest this band comes to sounding like Wumpscut, and it's actually pretty good. Low key when compared to the rest of 'Rededentor' but it does show these guys can sound quite musical when they want to. Not quite epic, but almost. The two remixes are "Redentor" by Nero Bellum of Psyclon Nine and "Ultraviolencia" (SIN D.N.A. Remix). On the former, Bellum allows for a 40-sencond scratch 'n' tap intro before steadily driving the track across the dancefloor like a Zamboni on steroids. The second remix is a stripped-down and chopped-up affair adding in a lot of sonic garbage that kind pof kills the tracks potency. Creative perhaps, but effective? Nah. 'Redentor' is kind of an uneven album in my estimation but there are still people who are going to really like it. Not quite up to the level of Hocico, but given time, this band could get there.

Chamaeleon: Evil is Good

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Dec 12 2016
Artist: Chamaeleon
Title: Evil is Good
Format: CD
Label: Insane Records (@)
Rated: *****
Chamaeleon is an Greek/Russian aggrotech/techno project now relocated to London, U.K. consisting of Alex - vocals and Azie - synths. 'Evil is Good' is their second album, their first - 'SicK|perVerTed,' was released on the Artificial Sun label in 2013. They were one of the better bands on the 'Terror Night Vol. 2: Sounds of the Dead Future' Insane Records compilation. I know you're probably thinking the CD cover of these guys looks like a fashion ad you might find in Gothic Beauty magazine, but hey, it's a look. I don't know the significance of the Asian scripts (and I couldn't tell you if they're Chinese, Japanese or Korean) but I guess they serve as decoration. Enough with the cover though, let's get to the music.

For the most part it's what you might expect from an aggrotech/techno combo- beat heavy dancefloor friendly hypnotic synthetics (mucho repetition) and (mostly) raspy vocals. I was never much good at trying to decipher the words in the rasp so lyrics in the CD booklet were helpful. After reading them though, I decided it really didn't matter anyway. Opening track "Penetration" is a well orchestrated number with porno samples as the only vocals- moaning and groaning. Title track - "Evil is Good" offers two kinds of vocals- the raspy Gollumish ones (by Alex) and clean vocals, presumably by Azie. I thought that was a nice touch. The song has a very hypnopop groove and might seem like the obvious choice for a club hit. "Outcasts" is a workhorse staple track with only the raspy vocals; nothing really special. "Kill Yourself Again and Again" features the same vocal motif as on the title track with the raspy vocals juxtaposed with the clean ones. I'm really liking this contrast. A few more songs in the aggrotech mode - "Deadend," "Taught to Hate," "Suicide," "Suppression,"and I'm noticing that the synthwork is not nearly as abrasive as some bands in this genre, in fact, it's kind of pretty in places. However, a certain sameness is beginning to become evident in the music. Track 9 - "Forbidden" is a real highlight though. With guest vocals (in a sort of duet with Alex's rasp) by Maria Xoniki of Aftereffect, a song in which her spectacular pipes steal the show. Now this is the REAL hit of the album. Don't know how they'd pull this off live without her (maybe prerecorded, but it wouldn't be the same) but that's not my problem. "Safe In The Dark" has mainly clean vocals, a nice change-up, and those vocals are pretty good. It takes it out of the aggrotech realm a bit (even though you can hear a few raspy vocals along with) but it's a good move in my estimation. Final track before the remixes - "Fall Apart" is a real stomper. As for the remixes, Amduscio's remix of "Suppression" was probably designed for pounding on the dancefloor but all it gave me was a pounding headache. On the other hand, C-Lekktor's remix of "Fall Apart" is right on the money for club fodder. I think it takes Chamaeleon in a direction they ought to follow, dispensing with the pretty hypno-riffs and providing an urgency that's lacking on much of the album.

In total, not a bad outing at all, but succumbs to a certain sameness on too many tracks. Still, there is enough variety in ways I've pointed out to make this better than your average cybergoth dancefloor fodder.

VV.AA.: Terror Night Vol. 2: Sounds of the Dead Future

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Dec 12 2016
Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Terror Night Vol. 2: Sounds of the Dead Future
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Insane Records (@)
Rated: *****
Are you ready for some Aggrotech? I mean, are you ready for A LOT OF AGGROTECH? Well, if not, you'd better move on and read something else because this massive 2 CD compilation from Russian label Insane Records and Terror Night radio show is loaded with it, and 100% exclusive tracks at that. This is the second compilation in the series, the first being Terror Night Vol. 1: Industrial Madness'. Thirty bands from over the world appear here with their maddest synths, harshest vocals and most aggressive beats ever to pummel the dark dancefloor. Okay, well, to be fair not ALL of the bands/tracks are in this style-
there are a few less-agressive, non-distoro vocal acts, and that might not be such a good selling point for Aggrotech-heads. A good number of these bands you've probably heard of, and some are undoubtedly going to be new to your experience but that's what compilations are all about eh? Discovering something new. Space and time doesn't permit a critique of every band on the comp, but they all deserved to be named at least, so here they are- Reactor7x, Encono, Hell:Sector, Alien Vampires, 00tz 00tz, PreEmptive Strike 0.1, Angels Of Suicide, Kill The Sleeper, Asdeandare, Larva, Archazard, Psyborg Corp., T3rror 3rror, Schwarzblut, Technolorgy, nolongerhuman, DYM, God Destruction, Bleeding Corp., Reaxion Guerrilla, Viscera Drip, C-Lekktor, Thornsectide, Shadow System, Cygnosic, Benjamin'sPlague, Sleetgrout, Chamaeleon, Okkulta, Vault 113. Seven of these bands ware on 'TNV1' but obviously not with the same tracks. Seventeen of these tracks are remixes or special edits/versions.

Now Aggrotech or Hellectro never used to be my favorite sub-genre of EBM or dark electro, mainly because of the harsh/distorted/raspy vocals. I had a thing for actually understanding what the vocalist was singing. Lately though, I'm finding that I care less and less about the words and and more about the feeling when it comes to this style of music. I also believe there has never been a more appropriate time for Aggrotech, especially in light of recent events. Over all, it's a very good compilation. Still, considering personal tastes, some bands/tracks are going to resonate more with some people than others for various reasons, whether it's creative synthwork, beat danceability, or vocal style. I'm only basing my observations on personal tastes, so what really grabbed me may not be what grabs you. First, let's start with the best stuff on CD1- as expected,

Alien Vampires make a great showing with "Harshlizer" (Disorder Faith Remix), nasty but catchy; 00tz 00tz surprised me with "Ouroboros" (Vocal Terror Mix) as Krysta shows she can hold her own vocally with any other rasper and Nicky channels Velvet Acid Christ in a real dancefloor stomper; Cretan band PreEpmtive Strike 0.1 impress with some fancy keyboard work; really liked Kill The Sleeper's "I Am The Ocean, I Am The Sea" with harsh vocals that weren't difficult to discern and great synthwork to boot; T3rror 3rror's "The God Of Fire" (Terror Night Mix) was a cool change of pace with a neat creative mix, just what the
DJ ordered. Now for the dogs- Dutch band Schwarzblut's "Vogala" is just too weird with vocals that sound like they belong in a cough drop commercial; Technolorgy's "23" (Club Mix) has a good mix but vocals (in German) just sound too synthpoppy. Let's move on to CD2.

Best stuff first again- DYM's moody, but dancefloor friendly "aDeiu" (Terror Night Edition) is something to chew on; Reaxion Guerrilla's "Sacrifice" (Asinaptico Remix) is about as fine dancefloor fodder as you'll ever find; Viscera Drip offers up an equally appealing dark dance tune with "Aggrosex"; Sleetgrout's "I Bought Coffins" (featuring
Cygnosic) (Destructive Noise Remix by Nero Bellum of Psyclon Nine) is just about the most twisted track on this compilation; Chamaeleon's "Suppression" (Hard Balls Remix by [Sin.thetic Squad]) has a huge sound and a really great remix. The two tracks I couldn't get into at all on CD2 were God Destruction's "Redentor" (A.D.R.O.N. Remix), a nasty piece
of business with relentless machine gunning percussion and mental ward harsh raving vocals; and Vault 113's "Ami Go Home" (Original by Ernst Bush) which must have been some sort of joke. It's a European (sung in German) anti-American political song done in the old style but with a pounding beat. It's not the anti-American sentiment I have a problem
with, but this style of music just does not belong on a dark electro compilation, no way, no how.

So there you have it, a mostly pretty damn good comp with a few missteps. Limited to 300 copies, so get yours before they run out.

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