Music Reviews

VV.AA.: Syndrom # 6

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (1687)
Jan 21 2005
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Syndrom # 6
Format: CD
Label: Syndrom produktion (@)
Rated: *****
An assorted noise sampler from Syndrom produktion. I really loved Some Asian Female Bodybuilders' (aka Crypt Vihara from the Spanish harsh noise duo Hinyouki) opening tracks. SAFB modulates high-pitched, ear-piercing feedback as if he were a Toshimaru Nakamura without the zen and the onkyo (and probably with a lethal dose of PCP). Disturbing noise which is not harsh noise, which on the contrary is the main dish of the other artists, being Toni Kandelin (Finland), o. m. s. - n. m. a. (Belgium) and Guttural Strap-On (Sweden - Syndrom produktion's boss as well), all delivering more standard slabs of distorted electronics. Nothing to complain about, but also nothing to rave about, just decent noise. o. m. s. - n. m. a. are probably a bit more structured and varied, Guttural Strap-On has some nice bass-heavy death ambient atmospheres. If you like noise you'll dig this.
Title: Geist
Format: CD
Label: Dungeon-Recordings/Backscatter (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Surprise, surprise, a new collaboration project release done by two of the leading Electro/Industrial acts out from the Salt Lake City area which grabs my whole attention. And what a release this is!!! The package itself left breathless. This full length split-CD is hidden in a kind of sharp aluminum case which is hold together with a screw. You need some tools to open it, a kind of package which reminds me on some Powernoise works done by a label like Ant-Zen. Comes next to this that this release is limited to 100 numbered exemplars. This will surely cause that you are able to buy it lately in two years, but then via Ebay for a horrible high price if you not act now! This will be a rarely collector’s item and I am very happy that I received one (thanks Kevin!!!).
To the music: It was indeed a hungry longing to get to hear some new stuff from BOUNDLESS, the solo effort by Xon, one half of the legendary SYMBIONT (see interview here somewhere...). Still in a good memory is Xon’s debut CD "Perpetual" out somewhere in 2003 on DSBP/Backscatter. Here we have 9 tracks of this project which can be called an addition to his highly underrated debut. The opener "Vext" I have discovered already on the "Hotgoth Vol. 1" compilation a few weeks before (see also review somewhere here on this website...), but this version here is a new edit of this glorious track which unites all good aspects of the music from BOUNDLESS. Danceable surely, rich melodic layers, excellent sequencing and vocals ranging between undistorted soft to harsh screams are the trademarks of this track. Comes then a good and dancefloor oriented remix of SYSTEM SYN for "Predatory" which was one of the best pieces taken from the "Perpetual" release. Third we have a remix done by LEXINCRYPT (right – the other SYMBIONT member...) for the depressive track with a German title "Allein Stehen". Xon’s vocals are more tormented here and the whole track received some massive steady beatings. It is such a pity that SYMBIONT is now almost in hiatus because when I hear this remix and the strong vocal efforts by Xon, it could easily be a new SYMBIONT track! Follows then DA BEST BOUNDLESS TRACK EVER, "Grace of God", also a new one with outstanding synth layers, Xon’s distorted vocals, great samples, and, and, and. This is the piece on which I penetrate my "Repeat" button over and over again – more, more, more, what a marvelous track! Back in reality comes then a remix done by CARPHAX FILES for "Vext". This one is more EBM oriented and features excellent baseline sequences – well done, although I hear here some arrhythmic patterns near to the end of this track. Best remix work and to me personal the biggest surprise is the "Dancefloor Quarantine Mix" done by LITTLE SAP DUNGEON on "Club Trash", a track also out from "Perpetual". From LSD I do normally expect a somewhat dark, harsh, scary-like piece – but not a total EBM smasher which KICKS ASS!!! LSD will burn the dancefloors and it is one of the very few exceptions on which I prefer a remix work more than the original version! C2 give us then a remix of "Predatory" which consisted mainly of distorted break beats and fuzzy undertones - interesting work but not my cup of tea. "Imprisoned" is surely one of the darkest pieces out from "Perpetual" and here it gets a remix work done ROSES AND EXILE. Some nice reverberations and a overall dark mood – but not too far away from the original version. Finally then we have an incredible instrumental piece here, "Unjust" on which Xon performs with some excellent layers and piano sounds.
Track 10 is a short "Backscatter / Dungeon Recordings Segue" which marks the change from BOUNDLESS to LITTLE SAP DUNGEON.
The latest LSD album "Silent Entities" is still fresh and often present in my discman and so this band takes the chance to offer their growing audience some revised works of older recordings. It starts with the track "Through the Abyss of L. S. D.": dark melodic layers breeding a scary tension until the steady beatings hit your brain. Follows then some rough vocal performances with some more dark played guitar riffs and ready is a hard-in-ya-face stomper which ends almost in chaos! I am always again impressed how this band is able to create different dark moods and how tough they can destroy it in the very next moment. "Love Vs Hate Vortex" features some excellent melodic layers which make me forget some SKINNY classics!!! Marvelous played with some great distorted drum patterns near to the end of this track. Follows then the Acidland 25 Mix of the track "Ask Alice" originally from the "Ten Strip Sacrament" CD in 2001. I am not sure if this is a remix work by another band or simply a cool name for an own remix work. Anyway, this remix differs a lot to the original which is sample loaded and overall dark and atmospheric. This remix takes a step to a higher speed and includes some steady beatings here plus also some real sung vocals. I would say a kind of a real new track. Also the revised version of "Phantasm", originally also out on "Ten Strip Sacrament is of course totally improved and the whole sound quality is not to compare with original. Then we have the "Neu Tötland Remix" (Aaahm,... German here?) done by BOUNDLESS of "Never Ever Land" which can surely be described as one of the outstanding tracks from their marvelous last CD "Silent Entities". BOUNDLESS re-designed this track completely with adding a more dancefloor oriented beat and modern sounding synths. This gives the whole track a very different feel far away from the original. Finally we have a slow, scary piece with some great piano sounds, dark synth layers reminding me on haujobb.’s "Skull Fision" taken from their first "Homes And Gardens" and a surprisingly undistorted vocal performance by Kevin J. Cazier. This is one of their most intense works up to date, so must a slow and dark Electro piece sound! Marvellous track and one of my long list of favorites here.

So we have here an outstanding Electro/Industrial release from two highly underrated acts which surely deserve more attention. This piece in style, art and music is a MUST-HAVE! Finally I am not sure if this release will ever be distributed through DSBP or Metropolis, so it is better to make your contacts with mentioned acts and ask to get this collector’s item. This is one of my all-time favorites!!!

HIV+: Rotten Beat Manifesto

 Posted by Matt   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (1676)
Jan 14 2005
Artist: HIV+ (@)
Title: Rotten Beat Manifesto
Format: CD
Label: Black Flames (@)
Distributor: Black Flames
Rated: *****
The next wave of Noise is here and reporting for duty, and thy name is DJ Pedro aka HIV+. Besides combining elements of Powernoise, Industrial, Techno, and EBM into one menacing album ROTTEN BEAT MANIFESTO, HIV+ (or HIV-Positive) are also infamous for major club/event/festival DJ appearances throughout Europe and have been doing it successfully with high praise for over 16 years. HIV+ have already released a handful of albums on various European electro labels, and today they are a member of the noteworthy BLACK FLAMES label.ROTTEN BEAT MANIFESTO begins with the intro track appropriately entitled "Introduce The Virus" sounds more like an electronic virus taking over the speakers at an exponential rate... really cool effects as well as an original idea for an intro. The album progresses with excellent distorted rhythms without over doing it’, such as on track 2 "Testament" and track 3"Illegal Tanz ("Extended Club –X by Bak XIII)". Track 4 "Broken Child (Original)" is an ethereal beat-less aura of excellent synthetic harmonies and borderline eerie ambiance, resulting a very skilled arrangement of sounds and melody. Similar to albums by praiseworthy acts such as Terrorfakt, ROTTEN BEAT MANIFESTO is produced extremely well, which is always a challenge for albums that feature as much distortion as such. Basically ever sound on track 5’s "Feedback 1968" illustrate different levels of distortion, resulting in what is probably the most "Powernoise-esque" track on the album. "Taliban’s Law (Rmx by Babylone Chaos)" is an awesome display of beats, computer-blip noises, followed by a yet another eerie aura in the middle of the track and then ending with a full-on beat assault! Also of note, is the final track "Body Electric (Tribute to Nitzer Ebb)", an awesome Power-DJ mix of the 1986 smash "Body Electric", including some additional HIV+ rhythms and sounds. ROTTEN BEAT MANIFESTO is definitely recommended for the listener who prefers edgier electro, but it’s also a great starter for someone who is looking to crossover. Either way, check it out, and you won’t be disappointed!

RE_AGENT: Abandon

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (1660)
Jan 06 2005
Artist: RE_AGENT (@)
Title: Abandon
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
The name RE_AGENT I discovered the first time on the fourth chapter of the legendary "Futronik Structures" compilation series released by the US label DSBP at the fall of 2003. This one-man project consisting of Justin Tripp hailing from Toronto was one of the outstanding surprises with his dark Electro piece "Heaven Falling" on this comp. Finally Justin has collected all his current works and has released this first official CD. It is a self-released product – unbelievable if you take a deeper look and listen into art and music. Having heard often enough acts like WUMPSCUT or rising US acts like the older stuff of INFORMÄTIK or IMPERATIVE REACTION, Justin tries to work out his own personality in composing, sounds and song structures. Although that also Justin does not create something really new here (but who by the way does create something new???) I am pretty much surprised by his efforts with how much professionalism and good ideas he is able to compose his stuff. "Weak and Wounded" comes here with good distorted vocals and is a track along the known WUMPSCUT line I have already heard in an intrumental version. Majestic and outstanding is "Never Satisfied" and proves that Justin is also able to create more slower tracks which do not push the audience obviously to the dancefloors. Adding to this the Dark Electro pearls "Brain Death", "Die Alone" or the already mentioned "Heaven Falling" plus two good remix works done by PROSPERO and DISPLACER and you can get an imagination what you get here. You can’t go wrong with this release if you are into dark EBM/Electro/Industrial music and again – it is a self-produced release. I think that the big labels of this genre should give up their hibernation and check this band out too. RE_AGENT needs to be signed and is just another fine proof next to WEAVE or FRACTURED of a maybe new generation of Electro/Industrial artists hailing from Canada. Make your contacts and ask Justin to purchase this great release!


1. Abandon
2. Weak and Wounded
3. Heaven Falling
4. Never Satisfied
6. Brain Death
7. Under Blue
8. Creeping Up On You
9. Heaven Falling (Displacer remix)
10. Weak and Wounded (Prospero remix)
11. Die Alone (demo)

CHEFKIRK: Selection of Domestic Products

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (1647)
Dec 26 2004
Title: Selection of Domestic Products
Format: CD
Label: Organic Pipeline
Rated: *****
A new limited (to 50 copies) cdr by Roger H. Smith aka Chefkirk. I was not impressed by his split with Iversen, but this work is definitely better and shows a clear progression in his approach to noise. Chefkirk basically makes digital harsh noise, apparently mincing sound samples through some plug in or real time processing. Here and there the tracks sound redundant or unrefined, and I'd have cropped this short cdr even more - but as a whole, Chefkirk's vandalism is quite well done, fierce and varied enough to keep it interesting. The sound quality is crisp, so even basic frequencies are well audible. At his best, Smith reaches a disquieting organic variation of harsh noise - when he uses natural sounds (insects, horses, wolves... or so I think) he definitely gets captivating results ("Wolves, varieties of", "Blind insects"). Chefkirk still has to further develop his sound, but as it is this is a nice work.

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