Music Reviews



A Place To Bury Strangers: A Place To Bury Strangers

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 07 2007
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Artist: A Place To Bury Strangers (@)
Title: A Place To Bury Strangers
Format: CD
Label: Killer Pimp (@)
Rated: *****
New York's Loudest Band says the sticker on the cd - A Place To Bury Strangers are a trio hailing from Brooklyn, born on the ashes of the brilliant Skywave. Musically it is a perfectly blended mix of Jesus & Mary Chain psychedelia with echoes of UK wave and a Big Black-esque view of rock'n'roll. Oliver's vocals sound great and in each track there are many asymmetrical layers of distorted guitars delivering a divine flurry of violence and the result is not so far from Swervedriver's almighty "Raise". As written above, the most pervasive elements are guitars filtered through Oliver's own Death By Audio pedals. That creates an incredible tension between the trippy pop melodies and the powerful rhythms. "To Fix A Gash In My Head" has a high speed straight drum machine and some mind-blowing repetitions. "The Falling Sun" is a slower track and adds layers and layers of thick distortions to the amazing vocal lines. "I Know I'll see you" seems like a twisted version of the early New-Order - outstanding track, my favourite here. Despite the use of so many comparisons to describe their sound, all the ten songs here are awesome and fiercely original. Prepare to bleed with a grin on your face because violence has never sounded so lovely. Essential album.

VV.AA.: John Barleycorn Reborn - Dark Britannica

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Nov 07 2007
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: John Barleycorn Reborn - Dark Britannica
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Created from the collaboration of Cold Spring and Wowen Wheat Whispers (a legal download service of folk and related music reachable at www.wovenwheatwhispers.co.uk) JOHN BARLEYCORN REBORN is a comprehensive compilation of modern British folk music. The double compilation contains 33 different bands/tracks but there's also a downloadable third part for whom who bought the double CD or downloaded it, with further 33 songs. It's hard to describe well what you can find into this compilation because each band, even if they could be filed as folk, give their personal interpretation of folk music. You can find echoes of classic folk music (with flutes, female vocals and strings), folk rock (I know a couple of bands active in the 70's because my brother had some of their tapes: The Pentangle and Steeleye Span and some of these remembered those two) but also experimental, psychedelic and post punk influences (check Clive Powell, English Eretic and While Angels Watch). There are bands known to the neo-folk people thanks to two Tony Wakeford's projects (Sol Invictus and The Triple Tree) and Martyn Bates. I appreciated a lot the whole atmosphere and the way the bands approached the sounds and the themes. You must know that beside the music, JOHN BARLEYCORN REBORN is a project really linked to English people's roots because John Barleycorn is the character of a traditional folk song. From Wikipedia: "...is a personification of the important cereal crop barley, and of the alcoholic beverages made from it, beer and whisky. In the song, John Barleycorn is represented as suffering attacks, death, and indignities that correspond to the various stages of barley cultivation, such as reaping and malting. Some have interpreted the story of John Barleycorn as representing a pagan practice It has also been suggested that John Barleycorn, or rather an early form of the song, may have been used by the early church in Saxon England to ease the conversion of pagans to Christianity from their native Anglo-Saxon polytheism. The reasoning behind this idea is that John Barleycorn represented the ideology of nature cycles, spirits and the harvest of the pagan religion (and may have represented human sacrifice also) but that the song was Christianized in order to show John Barleycorn as a Christ-like figure. Barleycorn, the personification of the barley, encounters great suffering before succumbing to an unpleasant death. However, as a result of this death bread can be produced; therefore, Barleycorn dies so that others may live. Finally his body will be eaten as the bread. Compare this with the Christian concepts of the Sacrament and of Transubstantiation and it is not difficult to imagine how the song might have been beneficial to Christianity. A popular hymn, "We Plough the Fields and Scatter", is often sung at Harvest Festival to the same tune. As shown above, the point of the tale told by the original versions is twofold: it focuses not only on the death and resurrection of John Barleycorn, but also on Barleycorn's revenge upon the tradesmen who misused him".
Reading this we can understand that the character of John Barleycorn is a multifaceted one with many meanings, from pagan to agricultural. It gathers the life cycle and it help people bonding under his tale.
JOHN BARLEYCORN REBORN is the first project of this kind and other will come. Check the two websites dedicated to the project at www.john-barleycorn-reborn.com and myspace.com/johnbarleycornreborn

VON THRONSTAHL: Sacrificare

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 31 2007
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Artist: VON THRONSTAHL
Title: Sacrificare
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
SACRIFICARE is the newest Von Thronstahl album. It was first issued by Fasci-Nation the last spring as a deluxe limited edition and now is re-issued by Cold Spring in two edition: a digipack containing the same songs of the previous edition and a limited to 1000 edition with an exclusive 3" CD containing exclusive mixes from the Von Thronstahl tracks which appeared on the "Pessoa - Cioran" CD. Those of you who already own the previous albums by this particular band (Josef K started his musical "career" into post punk bands just to form, like Death In June, a contradictory a project where European identity meet fascist/military iconography fascination) will for sure note that this is the most melodic and homogeneous album to date and this for sure will help gathering new fans. The new tracks, thanks to the guitar/vocals/percussions well balanced formula, are able to create a new mixture where post punk and new-folk cohabit with ease. Even if the tracks have a song approach, the band didn't totally lose their will to experiment but instead of doing it with sounds (see their use of orchestral samples into the previous releases) they did it with the songwriting. So, we have Joy Division of "Walked in line" covered with different lyrics on "Dressed in black uniforms", Who guitar riffs coming from Tommy's "Pinball wizard" on "Occidental identity" and Aphrodite Child's "The four horsemen" refrain on "The four horsemen of the apokalypse". The band did a good job by mixing everything with their distinctive sound and you won't notice with ease the different sources (the first time I only noticed the "Walked in line" melody). Catholic identity, modern times' decay and post punk approach find their place into the Von Thronstahl songs and bring to the new-folk genre a bit of freshness.

Hexperos: The Garden of the Hesperides

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 30 2007
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Artist: Hexperos (@)
Title: The Garden of the Hesperides
Format: CD
Label: Equilibrium Music (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Formed by soprano singer and founding Gothica member Alessandra Santovito and Francesco Forgione (double bass and keyboard), Hexperos bring to the attention of the goth/classical music lovers THE GARDEN OF HESPERIDES. The album is their debut one, but they are already trained musicians with many background experiences in the classical music field as well into the modern one. The Hexperos project took its name from the Venus' favorite stars called Hesperides and Hesperos. They took this image because their music is romantic and mysterious at the same time. The fourteen tracks of the album present two different sides of the band's sound, because if the first half of the album has a richer kind of arrangements with cellos, percussions and keyboards (see "Hesperos" and the following main title) the other half shows a more intimate and minimal approach with slow songs where the vocal capabilities of Alessandra are well sustained by Francesco and by the guest musicians Francesca Romana Di Nicola (harps), Domenico Mancini (violin) and Alessandro Pensa (violin). Celtic atmospheres meet classical melodies with smooth arrangements and taste. There's also space for darker atmospheres with "Ritual", where synth pads duet with female choirs and percussions creating an intriguing and mysterious atmosphere.

Gotterdamnnerung: Of Whores and Culture

 Posted by Michelle Russo   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 29 2007
Artist: Gotterdamnnerung
Title: Of Whores and Culture
Format: CD
Label: Strobelight
Distributor: Strobelight
Rated: *****
Gottersammerung, hailing from the Netherlands, is at it's hardest traditional deathrock best. The new album called
' Of Whores and Culture" is by far if not where Rozz Williams would hae left off. Rozz would have been proud. We open with track one, "Warhorse, a ultmate dancefloor tragedy that have hard driven down and diirty guitars comlimenting Guido's voice thaat is hard and Rozzesque. Then we move on and groove on to Track two- First-in-Man thats takes us into a psychedllic world of whimiscal wit and hard electronic back beats and samples that get you circling about the room. One of the most tracks that really was pronouced to me was Track Seven Vibroboy an electronic nitescare with hard crrashing beats beating at your heart and Guido sings "Your teas like lovers dice, give in to career, sustain the sorrow" morbid, about our a a futuristic boy who has no emotion, this tarck is dark, clever and just downright in your face. Moving forward we come to Track Eight At Status which Guido tells the tale of woe, he crys, " Forgive her sins, she always had stauts, theft at large", This track is traditional at it gets and once again a dance floor metaphor that arises before you least know it. Christian Death esque guitat and industrial veins popping us in to a frensy to get out there and move to the beat. Over all this album is a deathrock masterpiece that show the old skool side of what traditional truely is and where the guitar is god. ~ 4 stars a must have for any true old skool deathrock or traditional goth.


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