Music Reviews



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Artist: Tonal Y Nagual
Title: La Sierra Mecanica
Format: CD
Label: Confusibombus/UMB (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Departing from the unseen desert ' the title of their very first debut in 2007 - with the bare necessities and a musical rescue kit lovely prepared inside UMF (acronym of United Manipulation Broadcasting, the industrial label managed by Daniel Hoffmann aka Dan Courtman) as well as from the shamanic teachings by Carlos Castaneda as Sandro Salaris aka Giueseppe Tonal and Timm Rambuscheck aka Tikki Nagual mediated their aliases from the vision by Don Juan, partially reflecting the anatomic detachment of human brain between rational and irrational emisphere, these interesting creative minds slightly alter their musical course: from the primordial neo-folk experiments of their previous releases Tonal Y Nagual ' I warmly recommend to listen The Hidden Oasis, licendes by Thonar Records two years ago -, luckily inspired by wicked spirits met in the above-mentioned desert as well as by some intelligent pop acts and industrial rock legends , moved towards a style which is not so easy to describe, as ingredients borrowed from dirtiest blues, hypnotic rhythms, medieval, shamanic hymns as well as from the repertoires by different bands and projects such as Cabaret Voltaire and Interpol have been overcooked in the same cauldron! The final result, even if somewhat paradoxical for the intertwining of a certain lo-fi feel and a modernist appeal and technical tricks which comply with contemporary music lovers' wishes, is really enjoyable.

Maybe in order to suggest the idea of continuity between their past releases and this new work, TyN wittingly introduce their journey throughout La Sierra Mecanica with an ideal outro for their last album and The Hidden Oasis potentially summarize the style of the same-titled record, including the conceptual starting point for their further explorations, impressed on listener's mind through the 'racist' fake statement according to which 'Whiteman got no riddim', title of the second track in which these guys begin contaminating their sound with electro-pop poisons and a pulsating blues vein. The following Another, the most relevant crossbread between their usual bizarre folk and Interpol, is worthy of praise as it definitively debunk any possibility to say La Sierra Mecanica could act as the typical album to throw away the past. Their bastardized sense of humor resurfaces in Honey, an eccentric debris of lyrics standing as the silliest and strategic declaration in order to survive in the mechanical Sierra, cranky dance beating and a disorientating melancholic touch, and the following Mister Cranky Tree, whose harsh computerized beats, violent scratchy sound, wispy guitars and cheeky cut melody perfectly fits to the portrait of 'the monster in the universe' the lyrics refer to.

Lux Cypher and Grave are maybe the most touching episodes of the whole record, being the first based on guessed lyrics playing on the contrast between the apparent lightness of a feather and its catching request to release its burden (whimsical!!!) and travelling on a musical locomotive, snorting mechanical rhythms close to electro-house experiments by Joakim ' concentrate on details, including the stifled mocking laughter in the beginning of the track - , and the second a sort of self-portait by Genevieve Pasquier, whose gothic groaning has been wonderfully translated into a velvety music language, totally muddled by the disdainful Get Out OF Our Way, by Tonal Y Nagual! The Loneliest Place commutes the folk song into a structure which reminds to me that kid of circular rhythms superbly explored by Allerseelen, while the disembodied glam rock of Dirty Maiden could evoke the most irreverent side of Nina Hagen. Machines go angrier and angrier on Tribes Of The Night, a violent jolt of industrial punk ' I personally like the way TyN modulates the voice when shouting 'It's oveeeeeer!'-, and after the scornful and messy parenthesis of Der Bergkonig ' how terrificly mechanical that flying bumble bee appears here! -, the process of assimilation to biomechanical forms seems completed on the stomping Cog In The Machine, a morbid technoid/EBMish mutant close to the most furious and provocative language by Thrussell's Black Lung and Front Line Assembly as well. The album closes with the intriguing and illuminating reading of The Real Outro about the crisis human being's experiencing nowadayas, even if it closes with two nice winks to frenziest dancers, the wild 'telektronicpronky' remix of Proud To Be by Die Perlen ' old codgers will rejuvenate after listening! ' and the grazed version of Cog In The Machine by Zero Degree, wisely re-entitled Kaputt Maschine!!! Will TyN a new way of composing or a sort of alien language in the industrial scene? In my modest opinion, they presented all credentials by delivering this album!!! Have a listen!
May 29 2010
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Artist: Deuterror (@)
Title: Le Gueuele De Guerre
Format: CD
Label: Steelwork Maschine (@)
Distributor: Steelwork Maschine
Rated: *****
'Le Gueuele De Guerre' is Deuterror's third release and the very first available on cd. On this disc Nicolas Crombez, Deuterror's sole member, stays true to form to his previous offerings; mixing dark, ambient imagery with more beautiful, contrasting moments. 'Le Gueuele De Guerre' however, is most certainly the darkest, most epic and high quality release to date. It contains nine tracks, each untitled and the disc itself is enhanced with a very classy flash player from which you can choose to view all of the images contained within the physical digipack and its booklet, as well as several others, all with HD resolution versions available on the disc. Also available on the player is an info page and a short computer animated movie of a medieval hillside which expels a massive ball of fire into the heavens, an image which hints to the music therein.

The album is an incredible marriage of darkness with a hint of light, of madness with just a breath of sanity. It starts off with the buzzing of flies, over the sounds of nature just before the harsh drone of distorted synth overtakes all. It is a mass of ambience and dark, hopeless noise throughout the track, until just as the last few seconds drain from the counter, a hint of melody is introduced before it vanishes into thin air. Probably about the first half of the disc follows a very similar basic structure of ambience and sparse synths followed by the bulk of the song (usually harsh noise or synth with moments of serenity interspersed), ending with the introduction of melody just at the very ends of the songs. The latter half tends to break free of this and become a bit more experimental and unpredictable and amazing. The blend of ambience and soundscapes with distortion and synths, desperate percussion, samples and moments of baroque, neo-classical resolve work just perfectly together. Throughout the cd Nicolas finds ways to meld harsh walls of noise with pseudo-musical ideas to create something very unique and terrifying which builds up against the ambience and actual musical pieces contained in a majority of the tracks in a way that defies description. This is one you should certainly give a try, in the dark, late at night, when you're all alone, waiting for the end of the world.
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Artist: Westwind (@)
Title: Ravage
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Steelwork Maschine (@)
Distributor: Steelwork Maschine
Rated: *****
Westwind's 7th effort, the double disc set of 'Ravage' released earlier this year on Steelwork Maschine, is a monumentally epic narrative of the apocalypse that will leave you wanting more of its devastation when it's over. At which point you may want to look into its limited edition companion EP entitled 'Eliminate! Exterminate! Eradicate!' (and this reviewer plans on doing exactly that).

'Ravage' is immersed in meanings much too deep to justly delve into here; but as the title of disc 1 suggests, 'Doomsday Songs' provides the soundtrack for a not only decaying, but dying earth. Evolving from sinister, pulsating synth drones layered in samples to viral carnivallian dirges to pseudo-theremin laden marches to droning feedback and noise to almost channeling 'Fragile' era NIN laced with Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, this disc doesn't flow perfectly smooth, but then again, when Yawm Al-Qiyamah comes, I doubt that it will come smoothly, or with such a great soundtrack.

Disc 2, 'Requiems for Collapsing Cities' is rich with funeral marches, dirges and the aforementioned requiems. Pounding, martial law inspired percussion, drones and the ever throbbing basslines lay the groundwork for scattered guitars, synths, religious sampling and a variety of ethnic instrumentation which come together to pay homage to the remains of a once thriving earth. The overall tone of this disc is much more dark, brooding and hopeless than the first, and comes together with a bit more of a seamless flow. The tension gradually and continuously builds throughout the disc, making the listener almost feel the impending doom slowly overcome.

'Ravage' seems to very loosely follow a storyline, but more so pulls together many obscure references to apocalypse from a plethora of different religions and viewpoints as inspiration for this epic. These two discs, the first being a bit more experimental, the second being a bit more structured and dark, combine so many bits and pieces of different genres and styles that it nearly defies categorization, but I think it a safe bet to say that all of its elements congregate under the umbrella of martial industrial, with its tales of death, destruction, plague, etc and the musical groundwork to make you feel that the end of days may truly be upon us.

Blue Sabbath Black Cheer: no escape

 Posted by John Gore   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (5751)
May 17 2010
Artist: Blue Sabbath Black Cheer (@)
Title: no escape
Format: 7"
Label: Static Caravan (@)
Rated: *****
Two tracks of satanic-themed noise for the hell-bound in all of us. Not badly done but does any of this really scare anybody anymore? After the tenth Merzbow I got bored. But I guess there's always new recruits entering the ranks of the dark one and they need something to listen to while awaiting his appearing. Surprisingly issued on white vinyl. I would have expected black considering the themes.

Dysthymia: Only One Memory Remains

 Posted by John Gore   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (5749)
May 17 2010
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Artist: Dysthymia (@)
Title: Only One Memory Remains
Format: 7"
Label: Diophantine Discs (@)
Rated: *****
Dysthymia is the project of Diophantine label owner Kyle Wright. In case you care, the dictionary defines dysthymia as: a tendency to despondency, which should give you an idea of what this sounds like. Roiling noise and droning tones that pull you in and spin you around till you don't know which way is up. Not a bad experience if you have some time to kill and don't care how you kill it. Good stuff! BTW, this is marked as being playable at 45 RPM, but it also works at 33 RPM.


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