Music Reviews



Porn: No Monster In God's Eyes (Act III)

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (11260)
Mar 19 2020
cover
Artist: Porn (@)
Title: No Monster In God's Eyes (Act III)
Format: CD + Download
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
'No Monster In God's Eyes' is French Goth-Industrial band (they call it “murder-rock”) Porn's final act in their concept trilogy which began with 'The Ogre Inside' (Act 1) and continued with 'The Darkest of Human Desires' (Act 2). I reviewed 'The Ogre Inside' back in September 2017, but not ‘TDOHD’ Act 2. 'The Ogre Inside' was about the inner struggle of the enigmatic anti-hero (Mr. Strangler), his dark desires and how society can oppress your will. This is a fight no one can win, the Ogre that devours you from the inside always wins. In the second opus, Mr. Strangler, by embracing his “true self “, expresses his dark impulses without limitations and has no boundaries. With his crew, Mr. Strangler commits murders and massacres. He also invites everyone to make a step forward and act, invites you to express your darkest desires and join his death cult. For Mr. Strangler and his team, the Ogre was released. They let the darkest of human desires be: murder. In this last part, Mr. Strangler’s bloody odyssey comes to an end. He is in jail awaiting execution. This final Act is his testament. Faced with the imminent end of his life, he takes stock of his life and begins a dialogue with his death and enjoins everyone to continue his work… the work of God, because if God exists everything is his. And even the worst monsters are the children of God. There are no monsters in God’s eyes.

I did manage to preview ‘The Darkest of Human Desires’ as reference for this review. The album is rather “in your face” bold, almost like listening the serious side of Marilyn Manson (which maybe he has, but isn’t showing or telling). ‘No Monster In God’s Eyes’ is a rather different affair, but still, you can pretty much tell from the stark looking electric chair on the cover that this isn't going to end well. Philippe Deschemin's lyrics express a wide range of Mr. Strangler's feelings - anger, defiance, longing, resignation, disgust, hope...but definitely not sorrow, remorse, pity, regret or despair. Yes, he's managed to get inside the mind of a serial killer, and it ain't pretty. The music is appropriately down as well, heavy and somewhat morose. While there is plenty of muscular industrial guitar, the band also explores less forceful and more sensitive musical aspects ala The Cure. Calling this album well-rounded would be an understatement. Deschemin's vocals are prefect on 'NMIGE'; melodic yet convincingly dark and edgy, without being stereotypically hoarse and gravelly. The way it comes together is somewhat slick, as if the band's whole career has led up to this point. Porn is just a hair's breadth away from sounding like mainstream alt metal, but haven't quite crossed over into A Perfect Circle, HIM, Opeth, Orgy or Nine Inch Nails territory...yet. They still have their own unique identity, and a really good one at that. How much you’re going to enjoy the album really depends on how much you can buy into Deschemin's treatment of the serial killer concept, but most of the songs still sound pretty good on their own. I’d recommend getting the trilogy of albums, or at least listening to the other two first. (You’ve still got some time as this one is slated for a March 27th release date.) The album was mastered by Brian Lucey, who previously worked with Ghost, Marilyn Manson, Depeche Mode, Arctic Monkeys, and Royal Blood, so it sounds damn fine. The one thing that’s a shame about any band releasing a new album at this time is that Covid-19 has put a damper on doing supporting live shows nearly anywhere in the world. Hopefully that will change in the not too distant future.

Halo Manash: Unetar

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (11248)
Mar 08 2020
cover
Artist: Halo Manash
Title: Unetar
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Almost concomitant with the re-issue of the series of private sessions of "Underworld Transmission", Aural Hypnox re-issued another sold out release, previously edited in a strictly limited 40-minutes lasting cassette in 2016 (40 copies for the standard edition and 40 copies for the box set), a recording that Halo Manash made by collecting audio material during a private ritual theyh name "Tulitania", held in the wood of Northern Ostrobothnia - close to the Oulu-based lodge of Aural Hypnox in Finland - on December 2006, and to the evocation of Unetar that Anti Ittnaa H., one member of Halo Manash, in Katajan Kaiku studio between January and March 2016. That studio has been described as 'somniferous' in the linear notes, which also mentioned the participation of JVK (moniker of Jaakko Vanhala) for the forging of the obscure and likewise somniferous hymn to Unetar, that gives the title to this output. The description doesn't belong to the creativity of some fan of Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, but it seems to refer to an entity described as the bringer of sleep, that maybe belongs to some old Finnish legends. As evidence of this origin, Unetar got also quoted by Leevi Madetoja, another composer based in Oulu a couple of centuries ago, who wrote a composition for male choir for this entity. The sinister trembling of bows and the electronic yells that could come by some wraith of The Witcher video game on the long hymn that Halo Manash made to evoke this entity highlights both the ritual aspect and the supposed role of Unetar, while "Valveesta", the second hymn, shows a different mixture of elements and even if it sounds ever darker than "Unetar", its radial frequencies and the gloomy vocals and breathes on the back layer of the sonic sphere makes it somehow more entrancing. Halo Manash also attached a 9 minutes lasting track, named after the above-mentioned ritual "Tulitania", which sets a heavily catchy crescendo stroke after stroke.

VV.AA.: Aural Hypnox - Underworld Transmissions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (11247)
Mar 07 2020
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Aural Hypnox - Underworld Transmissions
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
On the occasion of the issue of this precious release - or rather a sort of re-release actually! -, some members of the Helixes collective performed some transmissions at Les Voutes in Paris, where they performed some transmissions for the listening and maybe spiritual pleasure of the people, who managed to take part to such a rare event. A certain secrecy, maybe related to banal geographical reasons, considering that the centre of their lodge is in Oulu in the icy region of Northern Ostrobothnia in Finland - is far from any big fancy city, and maybe as they're not really interested in large audiences, made some of their material not so easily accessible also due to the strictly limited editions of the stuff under the imprint of Aural Hypnox. This CD (in 150 copies coming in an awesome package) is the collection of the remastered versions of a series of even more limited (just 50 for each recording) cassettes called "Underworld Transmissions", rare improvised recordings filmed and captured on tape in their subterranean lodge, made by different artists of the Helixes collective, differently combined in different seances. Those boxes of cassettes, including six sessions recorded between February 2014 and April 2015 were sold out quite quickly, so that this edition sounds like a bargain for all those listeners who got trapped by the impressive quality of the output of this mysterious imprint. Some sessions (in particular "Seance II/2014" or the entrancing "Seance III/2014") feature opening stages that sound like preparatory for the transmissions that the artist gradually forge, but it can be normal and I'd say it's the fascinating aspect of any improvised recordings. My personal seances are the opening and, if they are in chronological order, the elder one "Seance I/2013", due to the ancestral fascination of the combination between a sort of sinister horn and a dark choir, supposedly recorded by some techniques adopted for binaural recordings, considering their heavy hypnotic power, and the last two recordings "Seance IV/2014" and "Seance I/2015", mostly for their dynamics whose ascensional crescendo runs parallel to the saturation of the sonic spheres, but the remaining three sessions are likewise catchy. If you're a lover of ritual dark ambient, but simply if you're relatively new to these sonorities (maybe cause you got fascinated by some performance of projects like the one by Phurpa) grab your copy, if you don't have to wait until another re-release.

Lupe: Burn

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (11223)
Mar 17 2020
cover
Artist: Lupe (@)
Title: Burn
Format: CD + Download
Label: Alcyone Records (@)
Rated: *****
Solo album (sort of) from Lupe, the lead singer of Greek goth-rock band Mosquito, with some of the members helping out on this album. Instrumentally, Mosquito has that typical goth-rock sound ala Siouxsie & the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, the Cure, Fields of the Nephilim, et al. Lupe's vocals are something else again; an operatic baritone with plenty of vibrato that leans towards the pretentious, then dives right into it with abandon. Not all baritone though; he does sometimes extend his range into soprano with falsetto technique, and even down to basso. Now this kind of works for Mosquito when they're rocking out, but in this solo setting of morbid orchestration largely comprised of piano and heavy (synth) strings it can be difficult to take. It's a bit like Klingon Opera; definitely not for everyone. Themes are ultra-serious and melodramatic wringing out every bit of emotion Lupe can muster. From what you hear you might expect some strange long-haired character draped in velvet and leather but Lupe actually looks very normal. It's hard to reconcile this level grandiosity with anything else I could possibly think of. Even Scott Walker at his most unorthodox doesn't compare to this. Lyrics are in English but I'm not going to do the disservice of quoting any of them out of context here. (Some get a little lost in translation.) It ranges from brooding melancholy to overwrought anguish. There are some who are going to love this, but I'm willing to bet they're definitely in the minority. For me, as a whole 'Burn' was tough to take; a little goes a long, long way.

Cathedral In Flames: Children Of The Blackest Hole [EP]

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (11199)
Jan 27 2020
cover
Artist: Cathedral In Flames (@)
Title: Children Of The Blackest Hole [EP]
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I've said it before - send me vinyl and you go to the top of the review pile. Here's a band who did just that, and all the way from Prague, Czech Republic, and a gothic rock outfit no less. (I'm tickled black by this!) 'Children Of The Blackest Hole' is the debut EP by Cathedral In Flames, the band being Phil Lee Fall - lead vocals; Gatsby - bass, programming; Billac de Ville - guitar; Ambra Von Bernstein - backing vocals. The EP is only five tracks but they're all good, and somewhat different. The information so far had to be gleaned elsewhere on the web, being that there was no one-sheet accompanying the album, and nothing on the album but the band name, album title, and track titles. I also have to assume this was self-released as there is no label info either. First, you need to know this is not "modern goth," that sounds either very electro or alternative melodic metal with a sprig of darkness. This is old school goth that harkens back to Sister of Mercy, Christian Death, and Fields of the Nephilim. Great! (There's some labels that could actually use an act like this on their roster...use an act like this on their roster...do I hear an Echo?) Okay, so about Fall's vocals - take a little Andrew Eldritch, and some Carl McCoy, season liberally with Pete Steele, top it off with a dollop of Nick Cave and a touch of Till Lindemann, add a dash of a Slavic accent and you have the voice of Cathedral In Flames. Deeply baritone with a whiff of pretentiousness, just the way good goth should sound. Beginning strong with "Red Car," which sounds a little derivative but effective nevertheless, the song has all the hallmarks of old school goth, and a dynamic chorus to boot. Fortunately, all the lyrics are in English. Title track ("Children of the Blackest Hole") is up next with a change of pace, a slower, moody number that shows some diversity in the band with some spot on piano. Ambra's backing vocals on this one adds effective atmosphere. Speaking of atmosphere, "Hungry As The Grave" is full of it, and once again Ambra earns her keep in the vocal department. Instrumentally, the bands works very well together with no one particularly dominating, but all striving together to bring their dark sound to fruition. "Python" is the song I saw in the band's performance video, and I have to say that Ambra appears to be the most animated member of the group, and quite a looker as well. The song is a solid piece of work, although not my favorite on the EP. That honor would fall to the last track, "Gunslinger's Blues," with a Nick Cave meets Ennio Morricone vibe. Plenty dramatic, and a little bit creepy, something you just have to hear. Ambra's vocals on this one remind me slightly of Die Form's Éliane P. This EP is definitely going to leave you wanting more from Cathedral In Flames, and I hope they remember me when they put their first full album out. A worthy purchase, and recommended on vinyl, even if you have to jump through a few hoops here in the U.S. to get it, currency conversion and whatnot.


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha