Music Reviews

DAEMONIA NYMPHE: Krataia Asterope

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 22 2007
Title: Krataia Asterope
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovienie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
KRATAIA ASTEROPE (the great lightning) is the third album of the Greek combo whom target is to recreate the ancient music and themes of their ancestors. On this album they changed slightly their sound as along with the traditional instruments (lyra, varvitos, krotala, pandoura, etc) they now use conventional instruments. The eleven tracks see the three woman and the three men of the band tell tales of ancient Gods such as Hecate, Zeus alternating male and female vocals representing, in this way, the two sides of human nature. The lyrics are coming from Orphic and Omeric hymns or are selected from Sappho's poems. Compared to their first album "Eponymous" the tracks sound less dark even if the charm they were able to create on that one is still intact and there to be discovered. As guest singer the band invited Psarantonis (Antonis Xylouris) a legend for Cretan music.

VIOLET TEARS: Cold Memories & Remains

 Posted by Ferruccio Milanesi   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 21 2007
Artist: VIOLET TEARS (@)
Title: Cold Memories & Remains
Format: CD
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
Rated: *****
VIOLET TEARS is a band from Bari, Italy that has been on the scene for a long time. Often they’ve been compared to THE CURE and I think that, on the instrumental side, maybe it’s a reasonable comparison. As Robert Smith’s band, VIOLET TEARS likes quite long songs, with dilated and rarefied atmospheres, where guitar, bass and keyboards are plaited and create a sad and passionate landscape. Apart from this and some influences in riffs, the Italian band has a different approach and I think they’ve a personality of their own. The female (and male in some tracks) voice is profound and intense: Carmen De Rosas sings with a rich timbre, warm and deep, preferring slow melodies and never opting for commercial or easy lines, in this fully respecting the lyrics speaking of inmost feeling, a sense of desperate uselessness, a hopeless vision of life and reality, where dreaming and never waking up is the only key to escape. Lyrics may appear at first glance as the usual cliché Gothic music imposes, but the band’s words are instead throbbing of literary and artistic references ("The Submerged and the Saved" is the first coming to my eyes) and they deserve to be read – so go out and buy this CD instead of only downloading if from the net! I’m not speaking in particular of any of the tracks because I see them as river where no one lives without the others, and you must listen to this album from the beginning to the end with your eyes closed, to fully appreciate the atmosphere, the visions it evokes, and to discover every note you could miss distractedly listening to it, hidden by the entangling fusion of the instruments.
A very good band that should be known here in Italy (where people often look at foreign band just because they’re foreign) and abroad. Hope to see them live soon, and I’m sure their forthcoming new album will confirm VIOLET TEARS as one of the best Italian dark bands.

REALGAR: Promo 2006

 Posted by Ferruccio Milanesi   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 21 2007
Artist: REALGAR (@)
Title: Promo 2006
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
REALGAR is a new project formed by Claudia Florio and Roberto Marino: she was the singer of LUPERCALIA while he played guitar and flute for some time with ARGINE. The monicker comes from a mineral that is an arsenic sulphide (the same in the cover) and I’m quite curious to know the reason of this choice.
This is only a demo, but the quality of compositions makes me think they’ll soon release a full length with a good label.
The first track "Dello Ascoso Secreto dell’Alchimia" starts with a mix of electronic beats, orchestral pads and some astral noise, with a light remembrance of Vangelis or J.M. Jarre. A sort or bagpipe precedes a recitation in Italian, and the result is a track filled with an intense sense of sadness.
"Finis" shows the mix of electro and ancient music that it’s the mark of REALGAR (if I must compare them with other bands maybe there are references to DEAD CAN DANCE, QNTAL, or even ENIGMA). When I say "ancient" I’m not referring to the usual medieval atmosphere now in vogue in the symphonic dark scene: this track reminds me the music that ethnomusicologists are rebuilding basing on two thousand years old Roman or Jewish traces, so the feeling is to be in a dusty and magnificent tomb, or in an old pagan temple. The use of female voice is superb in this song.
"Brüke" is a track that alternates a recitative voice to a soprano singing, while the programming is a strong contrast with its progressive/trance influences and rhythmical beats.
"Blandizia di Giusarma" is based on the composition "A che più l’arco tendere" by Stefano Landi, a XVII century musician, and also in this case the sweet melody of the singing has a counter-attraction in a noisy music.
"Piroclastic Dance" it’s an instrumental track that will confuse you like taking a trip: with its dreamy pads and sitar-like notes, if you close your eyes while listening you’ll start to fly.
Definitively, this Promo 2006 it’s a really good work, and as I noticed during a live exhibition of REALGAR, Claudia Florio’s voice is even better than before: more spontaneous and intense than in the past, I think it fuses better with music and it’s more passionate. Very good job is also made by Roberto Marini’s instrumental work, who shows noteworthy composing skills. A better production, filing some crude sounds or giving more profundity to some pads or atmospheres, and this will become a great album.

strangefire: Shazbot Munkie

 Posted by John Gore   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 20 2007
Artist: strangefire
Title: Shazbot Munkie
Format: CD
Label: Postdawn Nurseries Music (@)
Rated: *****
Here we have artists that are trying very hard to be trippy. But some strange effects on vocals and some strange sounds don’t make one trippy. The mumbling vocals need some work with the lyrics being all but unintelligible. I know, I know, remember those early REM albums? But there is such a thing as trying too hard. Oh well, everyone with a computer and a guitar should be allowed to make whatever music they want. I’m not saying this is horrible, but not my cup of tea. Maybe it’s the fact that there are only two musicians. It wouldn’t hurt them to have a few more instruments in the mix, and drums even, to break up the sameness of the songs, especially when it comes to the guitar. No distortion or effects whatsoever, just the same thin strummy sound over and over again.

THE GREEN MAN: The Teacher And The Man Of Lie

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 17 2007
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Title: The Teacher And The Man Of Lie
Format: CD
Label: Hau Ruck! SPQR (@)
Distributor: Tesco
Rated: *****
After self releasing their debut album "From Irem To Summerisle" back in 2004 and after releasing the "Irem" side on 10" for Hau Ruck! SPQR the next year, the Italian duo The Green Man were ready to bring to the audience a new work. THE TEACHER AND THE MAN OF LIE is a big step for the band as it has been created like a multi artistic project because besides the musical aspect we have the rich lyrics section (which are translated musically into the semi spoken word of Eliahu) describing the pre-crucifixion part of Christ's life and we have various panels painted by Maria Chiara Armenia who gave a visual counterpart to the history told. The lyrics has been inspired by Prof Barbara Thiering's book called "Jesus The Man" who studied the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Holy Scriptures. On the interview given to Eliahu explained even better the concept telling: "the album is a concept album set at the beginning of the common era, a time when apocalypse is in the air and the Man of Lie and The Teacher of Righteousness struggle to save their own followers from eternal damnation". The music performed by Marco Garegnani expand the sound you can find on "Irem": mid-oriental sounds blend with Western folk and post punk. The sixteen tracks are able to paint a rich and exciting scenario where the music is able to create the right ambience for the tales wrote with competence by Eliahu (he started to be interested into Gnosticism while he was at university in the Uk, as part of an exam on "religions under the Roman Empire"). Acoustic guitars riffs are enriched by various percussions, synths, electric guitars giving to the concept of neo-folk music a new and personal meaning.

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