Music Reviews

Prometheus Burning: Displacement Disorder

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 17 2010
Artist: Prometheus Burning (@)
Title: Displacement Disorder
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: IsoTank
Rated: *****
When I last encountered Prometheus Burning, it was in the review I did last year for their 'Plague called HuMANity' album last year. While they certainly got my attention, I felt that the album was underdeveloped and somewhat monotonous. It seems as though the deficiencies have been corrected on 'Displacement Disorder' to a large degree, at least on the first disc. We'll get to disc 2 later.

The physical album is 2 CDs in a DVD box, Limited Edition of 500. The electronic download is unlimited I guess. Since the electronic download is considerably cheaper, I'd recommend that, if you were considering a purchase. But who knows? The limited edition could be worth a lot more'¦someday. The artwork on the case by Paul McCarroll is suitably disturbing, which is just the way Prometheus Burning likes it.

On this album we have Nikki Telladictorian (vox, lyrics, keys, audioweevil, electric violin); Greg VanEck (production, modular synths, drum machines, sequencing); Nick Vasculator (additional programming on Disc 2). That's pretty much the same crew as their last album (minus Nick, who did tour support in 2009 for the band), although Nikki and Greg are the responsible parties for Disc 1, which is where we begin. After about 40 or so seconds of sampled dialogue about 'Rites of Passage,' the opening track 'Violator' comes barreling at you full-throttle like your worst industrial nightmare; pounding, pulsating, relentless in it's execution. Nikki's shouted and screamed vocals bitchslap your ears with reckless abandon. WOW! What an opening. 'Suffering in Silence' is anything but silent. Crunchy, pounding hardcore industrial percussion, a spooky synth-line and Nikki's surly vox ' You wrote me a letter'¦you wrote me DEATH'¦.this is how you like me best'¦suffering in silence'¦' This is one noisy, malevolent album, but focused in its attack. 'Mindbenders' is a track that has got to rock the dancefloor and get those rivethead platforms a stompin'. Only sampled dialogue vocals on that one, but it works great.

'Anonymous Death Threats' was inspired by real death threats left on Nikki's blog in 2009. For the life of me, I can understand why anyone would want to post death threats to such a sweet, innocent girl. (Yeah, right.) Seriously though, death threats are uncool, and this was Nikki's way of exorcising them, or at least showing how controversial she might be. From what I've seen of the band on YouTube videos, Nikki has the potential to be the Lady Gaga of the industrial world. She just needs a bigger costume budget. The raspy vocals on this track sound stereotypically industrial, but atypical of Nikki's vox, but there's no other vocalist credited, so go figure.

The beast is unleashed in 'Unpleasant Presence,' left to rampage all over your city like Godzilla. 'Flesh Addict' [Nikki's Big Flapping Vagina Mix] is the most accessible and least noisy track on the album, being somewhat minimal and straightforward mid-tempo dancefloor fodder. Telladictorian's lyrics ridicule goth club divas ' 'Don't trip on those platform boots, Pony falls weighing you down, I can see your makeup is running, You cake it on like a clown'¦Is your corset too tight? Glow sticks making you frown? Queen bitch at the goth club, I spit on your crown!' Hey, Nikki, is this the pot calling the kettle black? I know it's satire, but these kids are the ones buying the tickets to your shows! Still, I like the songs with Nikki's voice on them better than the ones with the other more traditional raspy masculine vocals which just sound like any other industrial band. And there are more of those in later tracks.

There is a lot of raucous, noisy circuit-bending going in some tracks that follow; in fact, aside from tortured dialogue vocal samples, that's about all there is in 'The Ultimate Evil'. We get a reprise of 'Violator' [remixed by Imminent], which is a good deal longer, and even noisier than the first version. Sounded a bit aurally dull to me though and lost some of its brutal impact. Tracks 11 & 12 are just a minute each of blank spaces before you get to the bonus track, 'October'. It's an instrumental that largely consists of mid to high frequency feedbacky drones and overtones. This probably would have been best saved for the second disc, in my opinion.

Speaking of the second disc, which is titled 'Four Pi Movement ' Murder in the Raw,' I was really looking forward to it knowing it was experimental and recorded live using only modular and hardware devices. My first experiences on disc 2 were rather unpleasant, and I couldn't even make it all the way through the first time around. This is nothing like disc 1 and is sure to appeal only to those who are absolute noisecore freaks. Most of the 13 tracks (+9 one minute+ blanks before the 13th) are harsh, punishing. brutal noise pieces from which random synthetic effluvia often emerges like a broken low-tech video game. There is a lot of different stuff going on, and the real noise enthusiast will be rewarded, but at the price of sanity. One problem I noticed was a lack of contrast in dynamics. On nearly every track, when things get going, they're full-throttle, leaving little ambient breathing space. Perhaps this is a consequence of doing it all live, but it wears out the ears quickly. 'Four Pi Movement' is one of the most brutal noise assaults I've heard in a long time. Absolutely relentless and uncompromising with few exceptions. There is sort of a respite on track 5, 'The Shadow People Take Control,' which is somewhat less caustic, but the grinding bass might shred your subwoofer (or cause light objects in the room to vibrate off shelves, if the volume is loud enough). I've reviewed (and often enjoyed) a fair amount of noise artists in my time, but I was hard-pressed to make it through this entire disc. On a purely aesthetic level, it's a remarkable achievement, especially for being recorded live. On the other hand, there are few people with the audial stamina to take it. I would have appreciated more breaks and spaces, dynamic shifts and lower key ambience interspersed with the sonic outbursts, but it is what it is.

I'd give 'Displacement Disorder' 4 stars because for the most part it's a very good industrial/noise album that packs a wallop and is largely focused and somewhat accessible without commercial concession. I can only give 'Four Pi Movement' 2.5 stars as it is a very difficult and problematic listen. That equals out to 3.5 stars. There might be some redeeming utilitarian value to 'Four Pi Movement' though; it could clear out a crowded room pretty quick, and should get terrorists to talk better than water-boarding. In any case, Prometheus Burning have assuredly carved out a niche for themselves in the world of industrial music, and if they ever plan to play any live dates in Ithaca, I'd be sorely tempted go see them. And that's saying a lot, since I don't go out much anymore.

Synapsis: Materia

 Posted by Borys Catelani   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Oct 03 2010
Artist: Synapsis
Title: Materia
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
Zoharum is a nice label from Poland devoted to ambient/noise/industrial, and this is the second release in their internal IYHHH series after the Krzysztof Stanislawski CD. Synapsis come from Poland as well and feature members of Antibiotix, Multipoint Injector and more. I don't have any details about the concept under the title "Materia", but from the cover (an old engraving showing a blacksmith at work) and the titles (half of them in Polish) I guess it's a concept about (iron) substance going from a shapeless state to a final corroded one via human shaping (the blacksmith), but it's just a deduction that made the whole listening very interesting indeed. In fact on the long, expanded and noisy drones, a lot of sounds are layered as if they were coming directly from some ironworks. The whole mood is sombre, it gives the word "industrial" a proper sense moreover, and sticking to that the most interesting parts are the noisest ones and the ones that (at least) resemble real field recordings rather than the more synth ones, "iron on iron" rather than finger on key. A very appealing work that really sticks to the cd player.

In A Mindset: Compartments

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Aug 31 2010
Artist: In A Mindset
Title: Compartments
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Abstrakt Reflections (@)
Rated: *****
And another promising newcomer act, which installs cinematic Ambient-like synth arrangement combined with experimental and part-wise abrasive percussion elements. What surprises the most is surely the musically background of the German fellow Steven S., mastermind behind IN A MINDSET. I.A.M. has been started in 2009 and is therefore a relatively new project, but Steven has played previously in various Metal-bands (FTE, MORTHEIM) and he is still active in this genre with the project SERAPEUM. For hailing out of a relatively different music genre, he provides a really cleverly and matured kind of music work, which can be described as an Electronica/IDM-onslaught consisting of elements out of Dark Ambient and Neo-Classical influences combined with Industrial, Noise and Abstract rhythms. I tend to pick out again the often named US cult act GRIDLOCK as being a quell of inspiration, while I would too agree to name Steven's Neo-Classical influence with its bombastic tendencies ('Devastation P. 2' ' did I hear a real cello riff here???) as being the most remarkable difference. A quite good 5-track EP to hopefully soon more to be discovered stuff from this talented artist ' which fits quite well to the Abstrakt Reflection label-roster.

Artist: SE (@)
Title: L 36
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Second full-length album release for this talented German fellow again signed to Tympanik Audio. SE aka Sebastian Ehmke continues his path to explore the depths of an outer-space sound environment by producing a quality outfit of a modern IDM/Ambient-Electronica album, just like you would expect it from Tympanik Audio. Somehow Sebastian's music can draw relations to SUBHEIM, but he also allows a slight acoustic impact produced through some guitar loops to take place. However ' and not because I prefer to be a purist ' the only electronic sounding tracks receive my vote as being the more interesting produced ones. The opener 'Chrono' ' already discovered on the latest 'Emergency Organisms 3' compilation - is such an example, which focuses to produce foggy synthesizer moods, combined with raw and experimental-minded drum patterns. Also 'Mimikry' impresses with an outstanding synth layer arrangement and its clear structures - as this can be generally noticed, that Sebastian's sound arrangements aren't overfilled with too much different floating Synth layers. The concentration on clearance and subtle produced structures is a winning point in Sebastian's work and makes this album easily consumable also for untrained IDM-/Electronica listeners. Also 'Weit' earns a 'thumbs up' rating for its straight monotonous, but also addictive produced Industrial percussion work. Sebastian has hammered out a fine IDM/Electronica album, which fits pretty much with the expectations someone would relate with Tympanik Audio. A German music project not to underestimate asides the bigger and better known names of this label like TOTAKEKE, ESA, ACCESS TO ARASAKA or ZENTRIERT INS ANTLITZ.

Artist: Candle Nine
Title: The Muse In The Machine
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Tympanik Audio isn't sparse, when it comes to release newcomer acts ' but to 99,9 % this is welcomed, as this debut release for CANDLE NINE proofs well. CANDLE NINE is also a nice proof, of the 'how-to-feed-the-masses-after-a-stunning-compilation-appearance' procedure, because 'Penumbra', featured on the last 'Emerging Organisms Vol. 3' compilation, was without any doubt the best participant. The music presented on this fine looking album (artwork by Mr. Justin PNEUMATIC DETACH Brink) consists mainly out of two quite different parts in the sound dimension of this Chicago-based, mysterious musician. There we have real ear-candy stuff for friends of icy-cold synth-pad programmings, as CANDLE NINE knows well and proofs to be an expert, how to produce moody Industrial ambiences through this. As for a merciless contrast, CANDLE NINE installs abrasive and brutal performed rhythm elements, which draw some relations to the works of acts like GRIDLOCK or APPARENT SYMMETRY. To unite the raw percussion work with the fragility of the matured synth-play, well, that's the biggest adventure, which CANDLE NINE solves with fortune. And this is at least the most thrilling point in this production for the listener. CANDLE NINE offers brilliant ideas, when it come to merge both of his different stylistic elements - with the usage of tempo-bending interruptions and an experienced fx-processing with reverb, delay and/or saturation effects, this tracks are becoming unique. Another good point worth to mention, is the rather straight and linear orientation of the tracks. Asides 'Penumbra', the track 'Kerrianne's Spine' would allow some movements on the dancefloors of the dark clubs worldwide. Two extra remix contributions by the renowned label colleagues of ACCESS TO ARASAKA and AUTOCLAV 1.1 do not alter the total positive impression of this album, in case of AUTOCLAV's remix on the track 'R5-D5-RB', I would like to congratulate Mr. Tony Young, for offering an upbeating and totally different sounding interpretation to the original composition. The muse may hides somewhere in the machine. Luckily Tympanik Audio was able to sign one of the most talented wizards, who's capable to release this muse out of the machine and to burn it onto this silver plastic circle - this is a top-notch album like a milestone!

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