Music Reviews



Phragments: Earth Shall Not Cover Their Blood

 Posted by eskaton   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 03 2009
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Artist: Phragments (@)
Title: Earth Shall Not Cover Their Blood
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this artist, but I always give stuff on Malignant Records the benefit of the doubt because they have an excellent track record and this album reconfirms that sentiment. The liner notes state that this album is "dedicated to all victims of genocide through the history of mankind," so you get the feeling that the music is going to be a bit intense. The music itself is a nice mix of martial percussion and heavy drones. When the vocals came in almost 10 minutes into the disc, I was not really expecting them, but it fits well. The singing, in the few tracks that there is some, is almost chanted rather than sung, often with added distortion thrown in here and there. Overall, this is dark, intense, cinematic music. The disc is packaged in a fold out digipak with beautifully ethereal artwork. Highly recommended. The album weighs in at about 46 minutes.

SENSOR: Naked

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 01 2009
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Artist: SENSOR
Title: Naked
Format: CD
Label: Intuition Records
Rated: *****
Born in Russia in 2005 thanks to an idea of Ilya Pavlov (vocal, keyboards), Andrey Smayev (drums, programming ), Dmitriy Kozlov (guitar, synthesizers, back-vocal) and followed soon by Alexey Bogatkov (bass guitar), Sensor is the first pop release for Intuition Records. Gathering the best mood of the 80's music, the band is promoted as a mix of Frankie Goes To Hollywood and U2. Well, listening to NAKED I might hazard that they are more than that. More than a copy of the best mood of a decade. Ilya Pavlov is able to make you remember Inxs, The Sound, Echo & The Bunnymen (like on the opening "Naked") and Frankie Goes To Hollywood but playing their tunes with an energy that the original bands didn't have. The modern synth arrangements help a lot into refreshing the sound and will make you understand that the band only wanted to use the best melodic ideas to pack a debut album that will astonish every lover of those sounds. On the short "All I get is..." the band is able to change mood and to write a song that will make you remember the smooth sounds of This Mortal Coil just to push the gas pedal on the following "Static" where a funky bass introduce a strong energetic tune. Good record indeed!

Soul Merchants: Soul Merchants 1985-1987

 Posted by Michelle Russo   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 22 2009
Artist: Soul Merchants
Title: Soul Merchants 1985-1987
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Smooch Records
Distributor: Smooch Records
Rated: *****
Soul Merchants is the name of the band that hails from Denver Colorado and is Goth/Deathrock Surrealism at it's best. Soul Merchants consists of a 5 piece Quartet starting with Malcolm Black on vocals and bass, Michael Moore on vocals and guitar, Robert Ferbrache on keyboards, guitar and vocals, Jerry Cuba on drums and Paul Cicora on drums as well to make up this Deathrock/ Gothic outfit. This album is a 2 disc cd dark/light that is a compilation through the years 1985-1987 and takes us back in time when music was raw and unprocessed. This is the first cd released ever, due to all the work being on tape only and other work only being on vinyl. Which truely makes it a memorable and enjoyable treasure for all to relish in. We take a walk on the dark side with track 1, " Blue Light which is a Bauhaus- esque track that is quite memorable. Dark vocals from 3 lads, singing, " I saw a pale light in your eyes." Haunting, deep and brooding and down and dirty just like we like it. We move to track 3, " Armoured Faction" which sounds so much like Peter Murphy antics with a whimsical spark added to it. " This road leads to heaven" is what they solemnly sing that mirrors Bauhaus's " Rose Garden Funeral of Sores ." This is the track that I feel I would danse to the most. Jumping a bit we move to track 6, " Cold Dark Bed " which sounds alot like Ian Curtis if he was singing on acid. " They sing, " I want to dive straight to the bottom." Psychedellic dark guitar lends the mood to the darkness that seeps in. Next is track 7, " Love " which is a moody, harpsicordy ditty that is dark and trippy and unique. They sing to us dreamy and overtoned by an overdubbed lurch-esque voice, " my hands reach out to free your spirit." " I contemplate my distance for you, truely unique lyrics for sure with dark desire and sentiment ". A dark love song that creeps under your skin and forever won't let go. Still progressing on we land on track 9, " Within Josephine" which is a lady we truely won't forget. Free flowing surreal and spiritual is the chemical makeup of this track. They sing to us, " everything within Josephine "," angels kiss your broken wings. "which is a guitar oriented track that digs deep into the crevices of our brains hearing the tale of one lady that haunts and taunts. I also found myself lost in the sentiment of this one. Still moving ahead we come to track 11, " Joshua's Song which is a pretty dark tale of a man that went away, something we can all relate to truely. Could possibly see this be the Soul Merchant anthem possibly. Another track that really truely stuck out is track 14, " Attics" which is a cool melancholy tale of the haunted attic we all have been in. They sing, " up in your attic, broken toys and games I see what you hide. " Truely spooky and all we know from the horror movies and memories we possessed as a child. The rest of the dark side is tales and tales of despair, deception, desire and delusions that make this first side of the dark a delight. Next we move onto the Light side and begin with track 1, " Crowns of Glory " which also reminded me of Joy Division-esque antics. Another song that should be remembered and cherished through the ages. The sing to us, " When you think of roses, do you think of thorns, any crown of glory always has it's horns." Truely witty, clever memorable lyrics that kick ass. This group is far from pretense and calls to the orginal. Next is another great track. " Johanna " which is badass and is another lady we will not forget. I particularly liked the drive this track had and it carried dark ambience as it described the setting it set. They sing to us, " black lace wedding dress and a room that smells of decay." How fitting for the Goth in all of us. I loved this track from start to finish, truely a masterpiece to listen to again and again. After hearing this track I had to move onto something faster to not get lost along the way writing this review due to being hypnotically charmed. So I moved onto track 6, " Save my Soul ", which was a face paced track still dark but very moving. It raced through my heart and grabbed me with it's hard hitting melody and feeling. They sing, " No one can save my soul." We have all felt this way at some point, enough said. Next is track 7, " Mental Clay." a fun depressing track with lovely pronounced keyboards in the background complimenting the darkness this track brings. Repetition is our friend this time and forever molds and shapes just like " Mental Clay " what the song calls for. The irony is the song itself, quite a clever notion, I must say. Still moving farther ahead we come to track 10, " Marianne " which we could expect to be Sistery is not. Sometimes what you would expect is not always what you get. This track by far is quite the opposite, still in the Joy Divisiony vein but something far different. You get uplifting and even they sing, " hey" punkesque and fun. With Soul Merchants you never know what you are going to get which makes this album exciting and leaves a promise if this band could re-surface someday soon. One can only hope but it would be amazing if they do. We will cross our fingers and pray to the elder gods for this to perhaps happen. Progressing farther we fall onto, track 13, which is " Valentines Day." First of all the number the track landed on was quite appropriate and again, this track had tricks and treats for the listener. This track reminded me of early Damned and Christian Death with a twist. which is two of the best bands I feel by far for old skool and greatness. Twilight Zoned doo- doo- doos came from the floorboards and jumped out and made this track undescribable but stuck in my mind and made me see this Hallmark holiday in a different light. This whole album is music to go on a quest, complete a mission and celebrate and just to complete it all off, we come to track 19, " Ceremony." which seals the deal of writing music that speaks it's spells, weaves it's webs and lures us in. Soul Merchants will own your soul, do you dare to surrender to them and forever own gratitude for doing so? ~ 4 stars Michelle Russo
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Artist: KINIT HER
Title: glyms
Format: CD
Label: Hinter Zimmer (@)
Rated: *****
Funny, when I first got the package from Dense, knowing it was on Hinterzimmer I was almost sure it would have been something dealing with "experimental-music-concrete-electronic-and-the-hell-knows-what-else", it was dark, I was driving home from work and I put it in the player for the "dangerous" first listening and surprise surprise: the cd had nothing to do with the aforementioned categories. To say it all this release is quite weird, above all if you add this band comes from the States, this' a elegant and sick mix of weird folk (really Current 93 alike) and norwegian black metal... ok, nothing surprising here, there're so many bands crossing this black area lately but Kinit Her sounds both honest an quite personal. The atmosphere sometimes is dark and scary, sometimes brings you in a weird middle aged dimension, the vocals have been probably treated in some bizarre way so it ends up resulting as the main vocals have been sung by a bunch of devil-possessed children. The recording and the production are brilliant and while giving this odd-darkened impression it also results quite warm above all in its folk components, in the same song they work with stop and go and at the same time alternate different sounds to reach the climax, the global impression I got is this cd has been well pondered. Despite the fact here and there they've this heavy guitar riffs and some "darkness will prevail" episodes the majority of the release is quite melodic, listenable and recreates atmospheres not so far from Dead Can Dance during their Aion-era, stylistically they've nothing to share with Perry-Gerald but I wish you will get what I mean. Ancient arias/arrangements, odd-folk, some old-acid-rock passages, black metal, a spruce of ambient and these strange voices are coming and going for the whole length of a cd that appears as a real narrative plot... I'm still waiting from some dwarves and witches to come and bring me back in the past like in Raimi's "Army of darkness". "Lucifer over London"?... ha, ha... we're living in such a dark age that I see Lucifer is over the whole globe.



CALLE DELLA MORTE: Gente Di Malaffare

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 18 2009
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Artist: CALLE DELLA MORTE
Title: Gente Di Malaffare
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Hau Ruck! SPQR (@)
Rated: *****
Released on 2005 GENTE DI MALAFFARE has been the only Calle Della Morte full length and after the MCD titled "A Dio", Jonny B (Inner Glory) and Vinz I.H.S.V. (former session man with Ain Soph, Inner Glory, Der Feuerkreiner, Macelleria Mobile di Mezzaonotte) decided to call it quits. The duo explored the neo-folk sound with personality without caring of taking part to any particular scene. The graphics of the CD are really explicative and are deeply linked to the Calle Della Morte concept. As the band wrote on their biography: "The name Calle Della Morte is not fictional, the Calle in question really does exist (you may look for it near S.Marco) and is linked to sad events happened under the Serenissima Republic. During the Venetian Republic, Calle Della Morte was a small L shaped street which was walled at one end. In this street the people not aligned to the Republic would frequently disappear, those who could not afford to Go under trial or political enemies or even spies. It is not by chance that we took inspiration from an event ("Gente Di Malaffare") which really took place, where two poor men disappear after being mistaken for to spies from Genoa. Are stories are there, there is nothing made up. Venice is under the eyes of everyone, we therefore invite you to live it through our songs". The songs are in balance from pub ballads, rock ridings and neo-classical folk ballads (see the guitar/strings duets on the beautiful "Venezia"). Calle Della Morte don't look for musical perfection and this is making sound their music theatrical and true. This new reissue along with the original CD has a bonus CD-r titled "Come te go fato te disfo" which gathers nine unreleased (live and studio recordings) or rare tracks. It opens with the beautiful "Song of Margarete" (on this one we have movie samples that create a sad atmosphere and then the band sung a sort of militaristic English sung epitaph) just to follow with a guitar/harmonium touchy ballad titled "Le nevi eterne". Its tracklist is: "Song of Margarete", "Nevi eterne", "Io e te", "Intermezzo", "Bambolina (demo version)", "Venezia (mix)", "Nessuna Remissione (live in "La Notte Hauruck!")", "Labbra Rosso Sangue (Live in "La Notte Hauruck!")", "Senza Fare Rumore (Der Feuerkreiner Remix)". If you missed the first print, now you have the chance to purchase a very special edition...


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