Music Reviews



SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS: Mind Over Matter

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 31 2005
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Artist: SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS (@)
Title: Mind Over Matter
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
A bit dismayed after the listen of the first four tracks I took again the white cover of this promotional copy. No, it is not a new ASSEMBLAGE 23 album, it seems to be indeed the new SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS CD "Mind Over Matter". Astonishing poppy structures, well-placed vocals with good lyrics and overall a very good production which avoids minimal as well as overlaying structures and produces a warm and friendly mood – this all are the preferences of this release. I am still surprised how much musical maturity this band has experienced through the years – they are already active since 1993. Although I must also admit that I miss a bit more aggressive pieces here, a bit more effort which can help this band to come out of the almighty shadow of the big patterns. Tracks like "Downfall" or "Pale Candle Light" offer some good attempts but fall back into already known and often heard structures. "Apologize" then is a heart-breaking ballad which pushes back the speed and the male vocals are more melodious than ever before – stuff to suspend away. My deepest respect also for the extremely well played instrumental piece "Counterpart", which features outstanding synth layers and a cool space-like mood. This release is an excellent example of musically development well-placed in the genre Synth Pop, Future- or Electropop with some attempts into EBM/Electro. It does not break any ground or new territories but the overall mixing of the styles is well and flawless. This band can easily grow to a scene-leader...

VV.AA.: Awake The Machines Vol. 5

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 31 2005
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Awake The Machines Vol. 5
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
Chapter 5 of the well known Out Of Line label collection comes this time in two different forms: first as a normal 17 track CD, second as a limited edition DCD with almost all bands signed to that label. The prices for both items justify without doubt the investment, 4,99 Euro for the single CD, only 8,99 Euro for the limited edition. Like on previous releases out of this compilation series, you’ll get a full playing time with lots of goodies, remixes or simply representative tracks by several acts from this label. Opener on the single CD are SOLITARY EXPERIMENTS and they surprise with clear vocals, a good mixing of melodies and beats – maybe a bit influenced by a big name like A23. HOCICO have already seen better days in their long years of existence, also the track "Spirits of Crime" is away from being groundbreaking. But this remix by the Swedish label comrades of SPETSNAZ is fair done and could give new entries a hint how the music of both bands can sound. Further valuable pieces I have found here with the mentioned SPETSNAZ (a real alternative version to the classic NITZER EBB back from the "That Total Age" days...), COMBICHRIST (get a remix by the Polish act CONTROLLED COLLAPSE – a band which just seems to be signed to the new Dependent side label NPT, leaded by Johan van Roy aka SUICIDE COMMANDO...), AMDUSCIA (Mexican Dark Electro which develops better and better...) or the to me never heard before NECESSARY RESPONSE (playing a perfect symbiosis between hard and melodic Electro...) from the USA. I also dig the overlaying stuff from SNOW in CHINA and the aggression of that new AGONOIZE track. Some "must-have" acts from the big roster Out Of Line has released in the past years like TERMINAL CHOICE, GOD MODULE, DECODED FEEDBACK or the up and coming AESTHETIC PERFECTION are for sure missed here on the single CD, but also this will justify the purchase of the DCD. This Out Of Line label compilation is well designed to have a good introduction to the label’s work for newbies, but it features also some stuff worth to collect for the experienced users.
Oct 25 2005
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Artist: COLD CLUSTER/GERSTEIN (@)
Title: Bipolar/Wring the wrist
Format: CD
Label: Purity records (@)
Rated: *****
This split release is completely devoted "to synthesizers", the particular itself may bring to your mind the "hey days" of synth pop back in the Eighties and probably you wouldn't be that out of place. The goth touch of Cold Cluster didn't prevent me from thinking to Depeche Mode and to the waveish songs of the early Death in June. Old fashioned sound is the "key word" but also "invuluntary" trendy in an age where the mainstream rediscovered that "neo-romantic" trashy "synth pop" sound. Cold Cluster beat is often squared and at times even danceable, some of his tunes could be potential icebreakers in your favorite goth club. The only problem with Cold Cluster is the cheap recording of many vocals, a real pity above all when his voice is not filtered with a vocoder. If you're familiar with Gerstein "power noise I'll blow your brain out!"-early days forget it, the turines is wearing a "back to the eighties" suit for this special occasion. The production is quite good and the vocals are better recorded even if it's still the Achille's heel of the songs. Gerstein style is a bit poppier if compared to his split-mate, let's say if Cold Cluster recalls Depeche Mode, Gerstein will make you think of Human League or Heaven 17 choked into a crepuscular salsa. You can get this cdr straight from the website of the label (www.noisebrigade.co.uk/shop.html) by sending 6.5 Euros + postage. Purity is gonna repress "La pomata delle femmine" (what a title!) a rare k7 with some Gerstein early anthems played live in 1989.

REGENERATOR: Disease

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 24 2005
cover
Artist: REGENERATOR (@)
Title: Disease
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
The already seventh full length release of the US duo REGENERATOR deals thematically with animal consumption and its effect on human health. Not new indeed – especially for this band – but still a favorite theme by several acts. REGENERATOR although try not to shock the interested audience nor they behave like preachers which try to push people on their point of view – they only try to make facts known so that everybody can decide on its own. If they will ever reach their target is doubtful. I miss something more shocking to grab attention, something what smacks people literally in their face. Nothing against the message transported with the nice female vocals, while the male and mostly in the background active vocals could need some progression. It is the music which lacks on interesting moments. Still the same poor bass line sequences, still the same sounds with no real variation and the overall Futurepop-like attitude – it bores after four heard tracks. It was meant to take some dancefloors at the dark clubs but I doubt more and more that the club visitors will dig this. Too much average here – only the track "End of File" makes a step towards with some differences on the drums and bass lines. This release only made me to have a listen back to their self-titled debut back in 1993, out on Hyperium. What do you think, was the main reason that I haven’t enjoyed it? Right on, I felt the music was too unspectacular...

ETERNITY RANGE: Solitude

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 19 2005
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Artist: ETERNITY RANGE (@)
Title: Solitude
Format: CD
Label: Kinetik Media (@)
Rated: *****
Eternity Range is a dark synthpop project formed by Morticians' Andreas Rimheden and Marie Hagelqvist (in 2003 Loita Jahnsson joined the duo playing violin). The duo already played together into the second Morticians incarnation (when they turned synthpop from their previous horror e.b.m. form) and after a couple of years they decided to give form to a new project. SOLITUDE is the first album of the band under the Eternity Range moniker and it is a really good one. You know, I'm kinda used to the European way of doing synthpop and the mixture of melancholic energetic goth and synthpop convinced me. The twelve tracks of the album range from ballads like "Music", "Colors" or "September 11th" to almost e.b.m. tunes like the following "Two souls". Generally the rhythms are about 120 BPM but the melodies and the sound used help into the diversification of the tracks, giving to them enough personality to allow the listener to join each of them. If you loved the bands of the October label, just think about one of them but into a goth key and someway you'll have Eternity Range. Thumb's up for me!


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