Music Reviews



CRUISE [CTRL]: How's Annie?

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Dec 07 2010
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Artist: CRUISE [CTRL] (@)
Title: How's Annie?
Format: CD
Label: Divine Comedy
Rated: *****
Largely anticipated by the single "We've Met Before, Haven't We?" which I reviewed back in March 2009, HOW'S ANNIE?, the second album by the Belgian duo Cruise [CTRL], has just been released by Divine Comedy. If you already listened to the three tracks single, you already know what to expect, because those tracks are all into the nine tracks listing of the album. For whom didn't know what I'm talking about, you have to know that Cruise [CTRL] credo resides into the creation of tracks that follow these rules: all tracks at 120bpm, all tracks linked, only analogical sounds and textures, no melodies, no singers, no faces, no explanations, no rules. Being true to most of these "no rules", for HOW'S ANNIE?, they composed nine tracks where the minimal approach to melody (many times melody is only a looping two notes synth bass line) is the counterpart to rich intersecting rhythmic layers. Dry syncopated drum machine patterns beat their rhythm giving the time to clashing clanging synth noises, filtered guitars (which on tracks like "Henry's head" are reduced to a resonating feedback) and drones. The alternation and the quantity of the different elements are the key of the formula and Cruise [CTRL] are good at keeping everything in control. Besides the nine original tracks, on this album we have three bonus remixes: two of "Where's Alice? Alice who?" (Rorscharch Garden gave to the track a retro 80s flavor, turning it into an early e.b.m. tune, while Oil 10, true to their cinematic robotic rich synth sound, remixed it keeping alive also the light original industrial approach) and one of "Pomona road" (which remixed by No More, the famous band that composed "Suicide Commando", now sounds like an ambient e.b.m. tune).

VV.AA.: Einsturzende Neubauten: Ibero-Amerikanisches Tribut - from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Dec 06 2010
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Einsturzende Neubauten: Ibero-Amerikanisches Tribut - from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego
Format: CD
Label: Tacu4ra Records (@)
Rated: *****
As Einsturzende Neubauten are touring the world in celebration of their 30th year anniversary (although the US dates have just been canceled due to visa issues), Argentinian Tacu4ra Records is revering Einsturzende with a 15 track compilation tribute of bands from across the globe covering Neubauten tunes. Bands hailing from Brasil, Chile, Germany, Argentina, Spain, UK, Colombia and France flocked to the label to rise to the ambitious task of paying tribute to one of the greatest industrial bands of all times.
Overall, the level of the tracks is pretty high although the bands are all up & coming. Lots of female singers somehow. Some bands from the latin-speaking continent even courageously chose tunes with german lyrics. My favorite covers are probably "The Garden" by Spain's Oblique or "Sabrina" by UK's ElectroXcentric, but in general the covers I usually like the most are the ones that sound the furthest away from the original (it's easy to copy, it's harder to make a copy sound original!). Some bands that really deviate from the original version are Argentina's Lastrax with their techno-dance version of "Youme&meyou", "Armenia"'s sadly out of phase power-glitch-breakcore version by Colombian Nina Terrorista & STH, Spain's Vondage's "Haus der Luege" power-noise-industrial-goth version and others. To tell you the truth, EN is so original sounding that copying them is so hard most bands attempting it would end up sounding different that the original anyway!
I applaud the label for coming up with this concept and for the bands that decided to participate. It would be great to see a similar kind of tribute to EN by more established bands that have an instantly recognizable sound, because that's when you really know how much of their own a band has put into it (it's harder to make that assessment when you don't know any of the bands). Nothing of what I am saying though should take merits away from this compilation. Everything down to the art work is very professional here. Great idea and great execution overall!

Swans: My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 06 2010
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Artist: Swans
Title: My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
Format: CD
Label: Young God Rercods (@)
Rated: *****
At this point I'm sure everyone has heard that Swans is back. They've been touring and selling out venues all across the US. Unfortunately I missed them when they played in New York but everyone who's attended described it as an amazing and intense show (and one of the loudest ever!). Judging by the opening track of their new CD, I think I know what they are talking about. The sound of tracks like "No Words/No Thoughts" or "You Fucking People Make Me Sick" is just massive! The sonic attack perpetuated across the album is relentless and only at times it eases off to create more diluted and less aggressive, but still somber and intense, atmospheres.

Founding member Michael Gira on guitar and vocals is joined by original member Norman Westberg on guitar, mid period member Christoph Hahn on guitar, Phil Puleo on drums, percussion and dulcimer (who had been on the final swans tour and most angels), Chris Pravdica on bass and gadgets (flux information sciences / services/ gunga din), Thor Harris on drums, percussion, vibes, dulcimer, curios, keys (angels, now also with Shearwater).

The record also features a bunch of guests including Bill Rieflin (long-time Swans and Angels of Light contributor, also worked with Ministry and currently drummer for REM and Robyn Hitchcock) on piano, synthesizer, organ, acoustic and electric guitar drums/percussion and more; Grasshopper's (Mercury Rev) Mr. Grass on mandolins and Devendra Banhart on lead vocals (accompanied by Gira's 3 year old daughter too!)

Ater 5 years of Angels of Light albums, this should be the most welcome addition to any Swans fan's recprd collection and a great introduction to the band's wall of sound, regardless of whether you ever even heard one of their earlier records.

Available as Digipack CD, LP + MP3 download card or MP3 download only from Gira's lable YoungGodRecords.com

Death Cartel: Enemy

 Posted by Cristina Zuazua (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Nov 16 2010
Artist: Death Cartel (@)
Title: Enemy
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Created by Frank Flitton in 2009 and initially a side project from his main musical focus, The Death Cartel emerged as a creative outlet with guitarist Sebastian Kozlowski. The momentum continued from there, and a carnival of sounds converged around angry lyrics as the album progressed. Self-claimed "sounds like Tetris from Hell," The Death Cartel adds a certain depth - in contrast to many monotone electronic records - to its sound by producing vocals at different levels, nearly in canon.

The way the slower, deep vocals contrast with the bounciness of the light-speed electronica is a fun combination, and though the range of the vocals may seem to be straining at points, the sound works well with the conflicted lyrical content. It's interesting to note that during the genesis of this album, the level of production and the band's "turning point" occurred with the creation of "Rebirth," where electronic backdrop becomes heavier and more serious, in contrast with the earlier, more experimental mood of tracks such as "Your Enemy."

The Death Cartel also turned around a series of remixes following the release of Enemy, so if accelerated EBM and throaty vocals appeal, you'll want to check those out as well.

SCORPION VIOLENTE: Uberschleiss

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Nov 08 2010
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Artist: SCORPION VIOLENTE
Title: Uberschleiss
Format: 12"
Label: Avant! Records (@)
Rated: *****
The first time I talked about the French duo Scorpion Violente was when I reviewed their first split 7" issued by Hex Grammofoonplaten (Enfant Terrible sub label) on the summer of 2009. On that record there were the first seeds of what we can find on their first album released by Avant! and titled "Uberschleiss ", which I summed with the phrase "Suicide playing electro punk". Well, the eight tracks of this release don't offer only that: the core sound is made of distorted analog synthesizers, drum machine and filtered vocals but if Suicide were based on synth obsessive loops and raving vocals, Scorpion Violente digested those sounds and made their own which is still son of 80s industrial electronic (Cabaret Voltaire, Chris & Cosey, etc) but processed following their twisted vision. Minimal electronic mid tempos run wild on the two sides of this record which finds also a bit of Kraftwerk echoes ("Trans Europe Express" on acid) on the synth melodies of the instrumental "Ray Ov Gold". I liked all the tracks but personally I loved the sick instrumentals (like the main title, the fore mentioned "Ray Ov Gold" and "Fugue De Pute Mineure") which are able to create, with few saturated chords, powerful nightmarish atmospheres without forgetting melodies.


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