Music Reviews

monokrom: tales of rabbits and hares

 Posted by Tongue Muzzle   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (2581)
Mar 10 2006
Artist: monokrom
Title: tales of rabbits and hares
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Rated: *****
Relentless... grinding... seizure inducing walls of noise guaranteed to clear those clogged arteries and to blow out any and all pending brain hemorrhages. Monokrom's release "tales of rabbits and hares" is far from the pleasant sounds you'd expect from the bunny-laden cover art. In fact, it's quite the opposite. While in the midst of the noise/rhythms there are quieter moments, this is all relative. Even the quiet moments are more grinding than most other releases. The CD contains 5 rather lengthy tracks and an additional video. Now this is what sets monokrom apart from a lot of other noise acts out there: identity. The packaging for "tales of rabbits and hares" is nothing short of fantastic. It's a great looking (monochrome) cardboard booklet with images of rabbits hopping all about wrapped in a silver band... not overly complicated I know, but it's minimalist presentation fits extremely well with the music. Their identity is brought out even more though, when the video is watched. The video presents the act wearing Donnie Darko-esque rabbit suits throughout what I assume to be a live performance. Saturated in video projections and dynamic lighting schemes, the video portion of the disc is totally engaging. With the exception of the video, I can only recommend this release to noise fans because there just isn't much breaching past that particular niche genre. The video is a fun watch but still might not be enough to win over the casual listener/viewer who isn't specifically interested in pounding walls of noise. Recommended tracks: "A Bunny's Life" (video).

Non (directed by Richard Wolstencroft): Pearls Before Swine

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (2579)
Mar 09 2006
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Artist: Non (directed by Richard Wolstencroft)
Title: Pearls Before Swine
Format: DVD
Label: Caciocavallo
Distributor: Soleilmoon
Rated: *****
There used to be a trend in time when musical celebrities decided they'd venture into the film industry, and so even the ones you'd least expect it from, took a stab at it: Ice Cube, Jennifer Lopez, JJ Cool J, Will Smith, Madonna and so many more, you name it... What all these people have in common is that they all, to different degrees, did a decent job... That is unfortunately not the case of Boyd Rice. Pretty much every other person in this movie (except for maybe the terrible actress that played his girlfriend in the movie) did a much greater job at it than he did. He should definitely stick to making music, where at least he achieves decent results, instead of trying to act, which is a depressing sight to say the least!The movie itself, which was welcomed by Australian and international critics as "a 'Clockwork Orange' for the new Millennium", has some vaguely interesting aspects to it. I believe it originally came out in 1999 but on January 9th 2006 it was re-released on DVD in the US. It is the tale of a group of three for-hire assassins that increment their body count for money and some type of right-winged political agenda referred to as the coming of the "new dawn". Eventually they are contracted to kill a controversial book author who Rice's character actually ends up admiring. I won't give away the end (for those who are masochistic enough to spend the money for this movie). I will say that of course I don't sympahtize with right-winged bullshit and gratuit violence, nor do I care much for people who think they can still shock modern day audiences by employing cheap make up and quoting Pasolini's "Sodom & Gomorrah". That just doens't work like it used to, and today it comes through as a cheap attempt at trying to distress and outrage audiences that are used to much worse in movies and real life anyway. Politically-based provocation has seen its times, and I sure hope that this is meant to be a provocation, because if by any chance director Richard Wolstencroft actually endorses going around executing homeless punks, then we have bigger problems at hand.The movie is low-budget, but I am not going to let people's financial means and limitations influence my opinions of course, I am just mentioning it to let you know that you can't expect Hollywood color correction and photography, just so you know...The question remains: if casted differntly, would this movie have a chance? That's hard to say. Like I said, it has some interesting insights and makes some points, but in the end it seems like it was made just to test people's boundaries (hopefully it wasn't filmed to send a specific political message).The only thing that I thought was interesting about this movie were the cameos (special appearances): you can have fun spotting Douglas P. (Death In June), Ross Wilson (Daddy Cool), David Thrussell (Snog, Soma, Black Lung), author Phil Motherwell, Kristen Condon (Teknikust), George Huxley and James Young (Bloodlust) and many other actors, the film director himself.Let's just hope that Non fans won't assume that Rice's acting is as good as his music production (the music features a soundtrack mostly by Non). Unfortunately people (and especially fans!) are usually blinded by these artist's reputation and forget to be objective letting their love for other things the artist has done take over and influence their ability to judge... Initially that was my reaction: "wow, Boyd Rice made a movie! Let's check it out right now, it must be wild!". Yeah it was wild alright, it was wildly bad!!! It was hard to go through, I can only say that, but I watched the entire movie AND all of its extras in an attempt to give an objective review. If you love Boyd Rice and his music with Non, do yourself a favour and stay away from this movie, at least you'll be able to keep loving Boyd Rice for what he has accomplished before "Pearls Before Swine".

VANVÅRD: Liv I Vardens Slutskede

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Mar 06 2006
Artist: VANVÅRD (@)
Title: Liv I Vardens Slutskede
Format: CD
Label: Deathpropaganda Records (@)
Distributor: Plutonium Distribution
Rated: *****
VANVÅRD is one of the almost uncountable side-projects of the hyperactive both members of SEVERE ILLUSION, Fredrik Djurfeldt and Ulf Lundblad. Released on the small Deathpropaganda Records label, they present here a new effort which drifts a bit away from the hard ripping and destroying EBM/Electro/Industrial sound of their main project. They also decided here to praise their home country and to use mostly Swedish lyrics. My knowledge in Swedish language is... - let’s say not available. Therefore I must say that the titles of 11 of about 12 tracks are really interesting and full of fantasy chosen names for me - with the one exception "Missing Eye", the only one track which features English lyrics. Musically... well, first of, take your seatbelts and take care of the volume of your home entertainment. The upcoming noise can maybe cause some awful nightmares to you. And take also care for your neighbors and respect their wish for some silence. Then make sure to give this album some more rotations than usual - the stuff here is hard to find accession to. Think about the most sickest SEVERE ILLUSION pieces with extremely noises and distortions, then add a strong dedication to classical works like THE KLINIK’s "Face To Face" for some rhythm programmings on several tracks here, or some experimental demo stuff of early SUICIDE COMMANDO to this and you have a kind of description which maybe fits somehow. Favorites can be heard with "Hans Eget Fel", also available in a different remix version, and "Socialt Betingat Nederlag", if you look you some danceable tunes. Personally I like more the Powernoise-influenced pieces like "Det Roliga Tar Slut" and "Murarhantlangerskorna", which seem to be the best example to fit all ingredients of the VANVÅRD sound. Of course, this is not the music designed for the fainthearted - how could you expect this by the SEVERE ILLUSION musicians? It also does not follow any trendy hypes - this is definitively old-school influenced EBM/Electro with a strong Powernoise dedication. A very rude, rough and dirty effort by these Swedish talents, on which I lastly would like to criticize the poor green cover art, which does not deserve the name "art".

C/A/T: The Rogue Pair

 Posted by Adhab Al-Farhan   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (2563)
Mar 06 2006
Artist: C/A/T
Title: The Rogue Pair
Format: CD
Label: Crunch Pod
Rated: *****
When it comes to hard industrial music, Crunch Pod Records knows who the sign and what to release. This time and all the time, they deliver. C/A/T is just brutal in their performance. The beats are super hard yet there's still beauty in their melodies. The synth compositions are highly anthemic. This duo takes power noise to an all new level. "The Rogue Pair" is very rhythmic, semi-danceable if you can do the robot. Skinny Puppy's noisier side would have been proud of this group. There's exclusive remixes from Terrorfakt, Manufactura, Caustic, and Endif. Long live hard industrial! I can't wait to hear more!


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (2557)
Mar 03 2006
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Title: The Plain People
Format: CD
Label: Retinascan
Rated: *****
Being a repetitive whiner, I've kept on writing, in my reviews of Chefkirk's cdrs, that it'd been great if the prolific US noisemaker explored his more "ambient" or electroacoustic side, rather than the rhythmic noise one. Well, this collaboration with Carl Kruger (unknown to me), released in an unlimited cdr with a wooden frame by German Retinascan, sort of proves me right... We are not informed of who plays what, but I think it's a mix of electroacoustic sounds (possibly obtained via contact microphones or whatever) filtered through various plug ins or analogue devices. Chefkirk's deranged beats surface here and there, but are kept to a (welcome, by me) minimum. Chefkirk had already scattered similar tracks in all his works, but this time the sound palette is much more varied: the really noisy parts are more ferocious, and the "quiet" ones offer more microscopic details and subtle changes. Everything is fast paced and headache inducing in the best Chefkirk tradition, but with a degree of maturity which makes these 45 minutes a pleasant -ahem- listening experience. By the way, all titles are inspired by the Amish community, with a crazy parallel between that form of secluded living and the noise underground.

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