Music Reviews

AGENT SIDE GRINDER: Irish Recording Tape / The Transatlantic Tape Project

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 15 2009
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Title: Irish Recording Tape / The Transatlantic Tape Project
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
IRISH RECORDING TAPE is the first of the two Agent Side Grinder albums that Enfant Terrible will release the next month. How come that they prepared stuff to fit two albums? The fact is that one of the members of the band had to left for a year and half (he went to the U.S.) and their studio engineer substituted him, becoming one permanent member then. They did different live gigs and had a bass player joining them. With this new line-up they recorded eight new tracks which sound more melodic respect the ones of their first album but without losing that distinctive hypnotic approach they already had. Agent Side Grinder mixed post punk bass lines with early industrial electronic attitude and 80's synth electronic melodies (check the catchy "Life in advance"). IRISH RECORDING TAPE sounds like Joy Division meet Cabaret Voltaire at a late 70's Human League concert. THE TRANSATLANTIC TAPE PROJECT is the third album by Agent Side Grinder and as I told, it will be released along with IRISH RECORDING TAPE. It contains tracks recorded by mail by the band member that was in the U.S. and the rest of the band in Sweden. It contains seven tracks which sound a bit more experimental respect the ones you find on IRISH RECORDING TAPE. They are based on repetitions of synth patterns with vocals and drums. Sounding now obsessive and then atmospheric (like on "586-713") these tracks are perfect as soundtrack (check the effect of the spoken word along with the synth bleep extravaganza on "005-200"). A thing that I have appreciated on THE TRANSATLANTIC TAPE PROJECT is how the band used melody: it's always present, sometimes is dissonant and sometimes it sustains a creepy moment made of synth hisses and guitar percussive sounds ("008-199"). These two album are really different but are both good and show really well how Agent Side Grinder have been able to "grow" since the release of their debut album.

ASYLUM: Mare Tranquillitatis

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Oct 14 2009
Artist: ASYLUM (@)
Title: Mare Tranquillitatis
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Rated: *****
Born in 1999 in Naples, Italy, Asylum is the personal project of Cryos and MARE TRANQUILLITATIS is his fourth demo. The release contains six tracks which mix industrial sounds, gabber hardcore rhythms and some industrial ambient intuitions. If tracks like "Faster harder industrial!" (besides the naive title) or "Dancing in the light from start to star" succeed into balancing the different influences, others are focused mainly on the gabber distorted rhythms and on looped patterns, without, in my opinion, evolving that much. The sound production isn't bad and if you are into the genre you can check a couple of tracks on the band's myspace page.

ALL HAIL THE TRANSCENDING GHOST: All Hail The Transcending Ghost

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Oct 12 2009
Title: All Hail The Transcending Ghost
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring Records (@)
Rated: *****
All Hail The Transcending Ghost is a collaboration project between Henrik Nordvargr Björkk (MZ.412, Toroidh, Folkstorm etc) and Tim Bertilsson (Fear Falls Burning, Switchblade). The first is in charge of producing industrial drones and haunting atmosphere and the second gentleman, with his guitar, produces few melodic lines here and there and tons of guitar drones. The whole album is permeated by an hallucinated atmosphere where cinematic vocal samples (like on track 4) help giving birth to a sense of sickness. Like a soundtrack most of the tracks are focused on the effect they have to create. There's a certain feeling of progression and a sense of growing pain that increase with the listening of ALL HAIL THE TRANSCENDING GHOSTS. Industrial music and drones rarely worked this way being able to create such a convincing atmosphere.
Oct 05 2009
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Artist: JeFF (@)
Title: In and between
Format: CD
Label: Altsphere (@)
In the middle of the so-called "Blue banana" '“ a wide economical conurbation going from Lancashire to Milan area - there's a small village with a coke mine called Seremange, a place where carbon clouds and factories caused a mutation of the landscape by giving eyes to hills and trees (!), and in the middle of Seremange, there's JeFF's world, an almost unknown place depicted as full of madness, sadness and despair... Well, it's not a fairytale as you could imagine, but it's just a vivid way adopted by this Frenchman to describe its unpredictable style featuring a bizarre fusion of dark, gothic, industrial ores, aggregated by a metal seneschal and distributed according to punkey marketing principles (as Maurer Jeff manages its own label, Altsphere, and releases devotionally following the Do-It-Yourself way... printed cover art, mastered cdR copies...and obviously cheaper prices... if you want to have a copy of In and Between, you have to pay 3 dirty euros and maybe you'll get a discount on a glass of Belgian beer as well!!!), confirmed by some references even in the music style to Global Genocide Forget Heaven, a legendary Californian industrial music band which moved its first steps by producing '“ strictly on tapes - a plenty of demos . and gradually gaining respect by a lot of zines. Even if there're some recognizable influences by Nine Inch Nails as well as the most depraved French dark-industrial scene, Jeff's music is not easy to categorize for different reasons as he used to change musical idioms in the same track as well.

It seems he sometimes tries to give voice (funny the way JeFF play a multitrack to juxtapose vocal layers giving the illusion there are two or more singers, even if this effect combined with Monsieur Jeff's French stress '“ easy to listen if your ears are quite trained in recognizing different ways of pronunciation of English language... ) to emotions such as despair, "death-in-life-and-life-in-death" and angriness till the point they rise turning into wall of sounds... .from gloomy piano melodies to furious rages of distorted guitar, from atmospheric lo-fi synthetic organs to depressed vocal emulsions, from funeral marches to dancing beats... style changes are really unpredictable and sudden... In and Between is just apparently illogic, but it's not in our opinion and even Jeff's unconventional way of singing alternative spoken words makes sense. Some highlights amidst this 12-track CDR are An active creation '“ it makes me think about an imaginary mad scientist's laboratory -, the metallic experiments (even on voice) of the terrificly depressed Years Ago (the nostalgia evoked by the title itself is not so casual... ), the frenzy hebephrenia of Serialfucker's beat patterns, Dead Star (a track which could be subtitled "the dark side of a rock/pop star"!) and the oppressive Tell me why. I've found it very funny some 8bit sequences such as in DWDY and Whiksey Talks (I couldn't imagine a bottle of Jack uses to put a potato in the mouth when speaking... !). By the way (In and Between), it seems there's no hope. Be aware and prepare to lick Jeff's despair!

Lyrics (totally crazy...!) available on the website.

Cyber Snake: Internet Album

 Posted by Royce Icon   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Sep 27 2009
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Artist: Cyber Snake
Title: Internet Album
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: afmusic (@)
Rated: *****
While the silly title of the album might make you think otherwise, "Internet Album" is actually a very solid, well-produced effort. From what I can gather this is the first album by Cyber Snake, and it is a nice addition to the goth metal/ electro metal genres. Actually, there are various genres explored here, but the easiest points of reference are bands like Lullacry and Lacuna Coil, but with synths thrown in, and with a Russian vocalist and guitars that aren't afraid to get funky with the wah pedal on occasion.

This is nice stuff, though it does suffer a bit from the "let's combine various musical genres to cover up our lack of identity" syndrome. A lot of the songs start off in a more EBMish vein, before they eventually kick in to a metal or rock sound. I certainly wish they would stay with the former, as they have good beats and nice synth sounds. That said, Cyber Snake are talented musicians, and "Internet Album" is a good album. If you like your metal spiced with strong female vocals, prominent synths and the occasional funk bass, this is for you. It's available for free, so you may as well give it a chance.

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