Music Reviews



Acylum: The Enemy

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Dec 11 2009
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Artist: Acylum (@)
Title: The Enemy
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Rated: *****
The with a loud din fulfilled split with his long-year comrade and friend Kai Arnold of WYNARDTAGE has been the drama of the past year, especially if several hints and dissonances out of their private life have been buried out of own carelessness. To offer a too detailed look into a private life via the usage of blogs of a hugs community like MySpace does seldom good, although I tend to put this approach completely into Kai’s own responsibility. Instead to argue too much regarding that awful situation, Pedro Engel has taken his own consequences and has left Rupal Records to join a new contract with Belgian Label giant Alfa Matrix.
"The Enemy" now is the first fruit out of this new collaboration and it offers some surprises and some additional facets of the brutal sound of ACYLUM. At first there’s to mention the addition of the female band member, Nadine "Cooraz" Hagenbeck, who offers her voice for several tracks. As usual for ACYLUM, also the tracks on "The Enemy" convince with their raw and pummeling attitude and of course with the fat wall of cinematic instrumentals – a merciless x-times-kick-in-the-butt action is guaranteed! What’s new is Pedro’s braggart-like kind of self-presentation widely presented in the lyrically content of the title track, to name an example. I cannot remember, that I discovered any form of this from him before, and I’m not that sure, if that course of action is well-thought. But with a straight demanding "Raise Your Fist" he may proves that he’s ready for flogging, right? Well, I guess he overestimates himself a bit too much, but that’s a personal impression.
But what rather more polarizes is the merciless usage of "forbidden" themes – sexual child abuse is such a hot topic and the ruthless usage of dramatic voice sample in "Es" will shock the fainthearted audience and there are coming up doubts, if artists out of this special music genre have the right to abuse the cruelty behind this theme for self-presentation. Also Kai Arnold finally seems to get what he deserves out of the sight of ACYLUM, the track "Wynard" is more than obviously a personal deduction with the past things and the lyrical content presented by Nadine spits out the drama, which I mentioned initially.
What kind of result can end this review, if the hard content brings a neutral reviewer to think differently and feels offended on one or another theme presented here obviously without a sense to know boundaries of a good taste? Provocation as being the only one target to reach, is that still art which needed to get expressed? And has a label not the responsibility to hold its saving hands over an artist through a form of censorship or does that label follow a similar cheap motif by hiding under the "we don’t censor art" sentence?

HEZZEL: Magnets

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
 Edit (5495)
Dec 11 2009
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Artist: HEZZEL
Title: Magnets
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Absetzer / Alter-X Promotion Project (@)
Rated: *****
That’s a rich album full of golden shining "Magnets", at least 16 tracks have found the way on this free download-able album, published under the Absetzer-label, part of the Russian Alter-X promotion project. HEZZEL hails out of Latvia and I tend to rate their musically efforts as being a precise mixture between their countrymen ROSEWATER meets DIVE. It’s a harsh Electro-/Industrial-driven foundation arranged in straight and pummeling conditions. Here and there they integrate some rare vocals as well as some obscure voice samples. "Noise Is More Than Just Noise", that title of one of the featured tunes here couldn’t it describe any better, this stuff is also interesting enough for the Electro-/EBM-only supporters, since it balances well between the styles. Another quality and must-download item from the Alter-X promotion project!
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Artist: Ad-Ver-Sary (@)
Title: A Bright Cut Across Velvet Sky
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
"Bone Music" was yesterday but is still in the ears and minds of the audience, since the last years’ debut of Mr. Jairus Khan has been one of the surprises of the Tympanik release schedule. This new album is something like the remix twin of "Bone Music", since Mr. Khan could hire a lot of comrades and label colleagues to contribute with different interpretations on the AD-VER-SARY compositions. Acts like CYANOTIC, the highly recognized ESA, ISZOLOSCOPE, DISPARITION, MONOCULTURE, CANDL NINE, STENDECK, SYNKRO, PHYLR, AUTOCLAV 1.1, and SALT are the names to offer the requested diversity. You’ll get additionally some new tracks of Jairus, on which "Dresden" for instance is one of his straight-oriented tunes, which could animate the audience to some dancefloor movement. "Darker" is a frozen sound-collage focusing on ominous sounding synth-layers. Last but not least, you’ll get a track originally composed by his friends of CYANOTIC, "Deface", which got revamped (AD-VER-SARY + DIRTYBUNNY = Industrial Strength Mix). As usual, and that seems to be the trademark for AD-VER-SARY, this integrated diversity discovered especially in the original compositions are the outstanding part in the music of this act. Be it Industrial, Noise, IDM or Ambient – an AD-VER-SARY album includes all of this. This remix album is limited to 1000 pieces and comes out in handmade unique packaging.
Dec 05 2009
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Artist: FORNAX (@)
Title: Space Travel
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: X-Line / Alter-X Promotion Project (@)
Rated: *****
Another free downloadable release by the Russian Alter-X Promotion team brings us an EP of FORNAX. FORNAX itself is the musically outfit of the label-owner Nullklever. FORNAX can look back on several releases on all three labels of the Alter-X Promotion group, but since this EP got released under their X-Line label, this "Space Travel" offers a special kind of Electro/Industrial music, but with several hints to other genres. Elements taken out of Noise, Ambient and IDM can be discovered, and I really can’t remember, if I’ve heard anything comparable before. This is a special form of Experimental-EBM with a spacey touch. 6 original tracks and 3 remixes on the title track provided by friends and label comrades like Seclorum (art and remixes, co-owner of the gone predecessor label .nbk-Records), the already discovered T_ERROR 404, and SY9 are taking care to offer qualitative diversity. The main content of this "Space Travel" deals with beautiful and artistically fine worked out views on some astronomical phenomenons as well as themes out of the UFO theory. A quite interesting release worth to download.
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Artist: Little Sap Dungeon / Perception Cleanse Perception (@)
Title: :SPLIT:
Format: 4 x CD (quadruple CD boxset)
Label: Backscatter / Dungeon-Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
This is finally that sort of a release, where a simple reviewer feels to get rewarded. The "job" of being a reviewer has become more and more annoying, the mass of freely available stuff, which "needs" to get reviewed grows day by day, if these web-communities like MySpace, Twitter and alike will move towards to be the one and only tool to promote music. Also the bigger labels out of the international Electro/Industrial-scene have to look on their costs for promotion activities, and most of them have switched press promotion completely to download servers. Music itself looses its value and the most paradox thing of this scene is, that labels are strengthen this bad development with these new kind of promotion. Who’s digging here his own grave?
Coming back to this release, because this one differs. It differs completely to anything, what you’ve ever hold physically in your hands. These both SLC-based projects have taken a flashlight and searched in their archives to present their dearest friends and supporters a unique collection of goodies, before some of them start to collect dust. 5 years in the making it has taken until all audio and visual material was sorted, polished and for the most part remastered to get pressed on at least 3 CD’s and 1 DVD. Besides those classic recordings, this box-set also includes new stuff of at least PCP, which offers some remarkable surprises. This all got packaged in an aluminum case, which itself got "saved" with a chain and a padlock. The inserted sleeves, the booklet and the CD’s itself are an awesome work of art, everything got styled in beautiful black, the look of this whole box-set and content is a feast for the eyes and will leave you breathless. So let’s have a look into the details of the CD/DVD content.

Disc 1 - LSD – "Sickness Beneath Transparent Beauty" (re-issue):
Yes, this is the sought-after third official LSD-album originally released in 2001. Since this one has been for a long time out-of-print, a re-release available in this box-set makes sense. "Sickness Beneath Transparent Beauty" has been LSD’s "jump" into that Dark/Splatter Electro genre, a high PUPPYan influence as being the grandfathers of this special genre is recognizable track by track. This album is by far lesser harsh than the follow-up album "Silent Entities", it rather concentrates to build these typical angst-driven mood by using genre-related sample work and ominous sounding synth pads. Tracks like "Resyncell", "In The Forever" or "Stained Confessions" could be still a valuable reference to bands like OBJECT, NORDSCHLACHT or FIX8:SED8, since these projects are servicing this genre more or less. Some of the latter tracks like "Lovesick Syndrome" or "31 Flavors" also include some hefty guitar riffs and push the speed to a maximum. Last but not least, you’ll get a bonus track, which isn’t available on the original recording entitled "Till Death Do Us Part", which is another angry tune with attacking guitar riffs and heavily distorted vocals.

Disc 2 – LSD – "Repressed Memory Therapy" (DVD):
Maybe to collect and to cut the content of this DVD has been the biggest expenditure of work to fulfill this box-set. This DVD is based on some live recordings made during the "Silent Entities" CD release-party, which happened in 2004. This stuff got collected and sorted in with a relatively new done in-depth interview, which has been conducted and edited by the Backscatter leader, friend and musician XoN (BOUNDLESS). You’ll get detailed info about the band members favorite genres and musically preferences, details of the origins of some LSD releases, opinions to the ongoing file stealing piracy, and several other gimmicks right and mostly with humor included by the both protagonists, Alan E. Wilson and Kevin J. Cazier. The inserted live performance gives you a hint, how this happening has been. Alan and Kevin have been joined by Chris Alvarado from the music project TWILLIGHT TRANSMISSIONS as being additional stage musician. The live footage offers too several photo and video inserts to set the audience into the right mood. Quite interesting stuff and a knowledge base for all who like to know more about the what, when, where and why around this project.

Disc 3: PCP – "Black Labyrinth Wonderland"
The third part of this box-set then includes the all new album from Kevin’s solo project PERCEPTION CLEANSE PERCEPTION. All of you, who’ve listened to his last, very diverse sounding album "Cross-Cutting in Cold Frames" will be surprised by this new one. At least I am surprised. "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" sets an end with those white-man-raps-like-Enimen-assaults, also sampled guitar riffs wildly interpreted in the tracks seem to be a relict of the past. "Black Light Labyrinth" rather impresses with the sense to create haunting soundscapes and real industrial ambiences. The rhythm work of these new tracks don’t the center position, it is rather an addition to the whole sound foundation. The title tracks stalks in mid-tempo and features deep dark synth bass sounds, ominous vocals, various FX sample quells and impresses with its oppressive mood. The next tune "Dionysus (Work Of The Devil)" picks up the rather slow tempo and adds more and more haunting pad and sweep sounds to the whole foundation. It’s a haunting, dark instrumental tune mainly driven through the repetitive voice sample ("The Work Of The Devil"). "Drop" finally breaks out of the discovered path so far with a harsher and more distorted percussion work, while the speed of this track remains rather slow, but hypnotic. Not to forget, that Kevin has placed an unlisted 7th track. It is a comparable ominous sounding tune, which picks up the dark atmosphere of the tracks before and convinces again with the uncountable amount of strange voice samples and spooky ingredients thrown in.
This whole album wonders me a bit - can it be, that "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" got produced under the unspoken certainty in mind, that Kevin’s partner in LSD, Alan E. Wilson, wouldn’t find the needed free time to continue under that mutual project? The chosen samples, the haunting pads, effects, parts of the slightly distorted percussion work, this all can be related on the latter works of LSD – maybe not completely and in a similar consequence, but "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" draws too much comparable elements, that this hasn’t happened by chance or out of a special mood of Kevin. However, thumbs up for one of the most remarkable works Kevin has produced in years. A must-have release dedicated to all Dark Electro fans!

Disc 4 – LSD & PCP – Remixes and rare tracks
Last, but not least, you’ll get the fourth CD which collects new remix contributions by friends and international artists (THE PAIN MACHINERY), as well as some rare recording or early works of both projects. Acts like BOUNDLESS (contributed a remix on LSD’s "Night Fall’s Prey") and LEXINCRYPT (featured with a remix on "Never Ever Land") of course don’t have to be missed here, since the fine people behind this projects have been friends since years. THE PAIN MACHINERY has received the order to work on PCB’s "Black Labyrinth Wonderland" – musically quite difficult, but Anders Karlsson could successfully include his own creativity by the usage of distorted percussion elements, which finally adds a quite different mood to the original. I personally enjoyed also the remake of that old LSD classic track "The Bishop’s Daughter V.2 (Daddy’s Woodshed Remix)", which sounds a bit like LSD on Acid (uuhmmm..). However, this remixed and compiled stuff stands a bit in the shadow of that glorious PCB stuff published under the third disc – this fourth disc is rather dedicated to the die-hard fans to catch up some alternatives or rarities.

Well, what kind of rating can be given for this huge release with its unique art and packaging? Be assured, that you won’t be able to pick-up such an outstanding kind of art anytime soon again. The dedication behind the creation of this box-set is extra-ordinary and can’t be quoted in numbers. At least, this is physical and graspable hard stuff – no anonymous mp3 file placed in an undiscovered area of your hard-drive. May to possess this extravagant kind of work will let some of you think out there, until you push once again the easy-going "download" button once again?



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