Music Reviews



Sol Invictus: Sol Veritas Lux

 Posted by eskaton   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 15 2007
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Artist: Sol Invictus (@)
Title: Sol Veritas Lux
Format: CD
Label: Tursa (@)
Distributor: Strange Fortune
Rated: *****
I’ve had this disc in my collection for over a decade now and I didn’t know that it had been reissued. Although it has been pushed aside by other Sol Invictus discs like "King and Queen," "Let Us Prey" (which has live versions of some of the tracks from "Sol Veritas Lux") and others in the more cleaned up apocalyptic folk style, this disc is still one that gets rotation in my CD player. It’s hard to believe that this album is almost 20 years old. Like much of the early stuff from the usual suspects of the World Serpent / People Who Can’t stable, this is raw and unrefined and kind of jarring if you are only familiar with their later work. Sort of like how Death in June’s "Nada!" doesn’t quite fit with "Something is Coming." But it’s nice to shift gears at times and listen to tracks like "Against the Modern World," and the heavy chants of "Wolf-Age, Axe-Age." The disc has gotten a lot of attention, and rightfully so.

Up until now, I have been preaching to the converted. For those unfamiliar with Sol Invictus, the music is a patchwork of Nordic / Pagan / runic imagery. The music is also thick with reminders of ancient Europe and suspicion of progress and modernity. If you need some comparisons, Fire + Ice, Current 93 (Thunder Perfect Mind, Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre), In Gowan Ring, Death in June (What Ends When the Symbols Shatter). Even so, there is a rawness and sense of melancholy not found in any of these comparisons. This is medieval ballad music with an edge. The music is stripped down, with a heavy reliance on the heavy bass presence of Karl Blake. At some times, the song structure is almost a traditional rock song (for example, "Long Live Death" and "Somewhere in Europe"), but mostly sticks with the ballad style ("A Ship is Burning"). Some are a bit strange, such as "Untitled," which is kind of dark and oppressive with spoken word, and "Wolf-Age, Axe-Age," which incorporates chanting and stripped down bass line. Once we get to the "In the Jaws of the Serpent" portion of the disc, the music is even more stripped down. These tracks were performed live. Despite the rough quality of the music, some of the tracks seem to shine in this environment. For example, "Raven Chorus" is much stronger live than in the studio.

This reissue has some unlabeled bonus tracks (different versions of "Angels Fall," "Against the Modern World," and "Summer Ends") which is a nice touch. The updated booklet is a nice touch as well, with more photos and lyrics for the live tracks (the original only has lyrics for the studio tracks. I compared the original to the remastered version and the remastering is most noticeable in the live tracks, but overall a lot cleaner. Overall, this is a good place to start if you haven’t checked out Sol Invictus. This is an album that has stood the test of time.

THE BOXING LESSON: The Boxing Lesson

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 11 2007
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Artist: THE BOXING LESSON (@)
Title: The Boxing Lesson
Format: CD EP
Label: Diamond Records
Rated: *****
After releasing an EP and their first album "Radiation", The Boxing Lesson changed line-up after that Paul Waclawsky moved from California to Texas. There he recruited Jake and Jaylinn and he started to work to their homonymous CD. The new one define a new style for the band and by listening the opening track"Back from the dead" or "Crooked" you'll hear echoes of Pixies, Foo Fighters and sometimes a little bit of Dinosaur Jr plus particular arrangements dear to '60s psychedelia thanks to the use of organ or theremin sounds. The songs are pretty immediate and they are capable to make the listener feeling a sudden rush of energy. Probably you'll find their sound too poppy but you can't never tell if you don't give them a chance. I enjoyed them...

JETSTREAM LOVERS: Voodoo Nature

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 11 2007
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Artist: JETSTREAM LOVERS
Title: Voodoo Nature
Format: CD EP
Label: Line Out Records (@)
Rated: *****
Including elements of glam rock and electronic pop, Bristol's Jetstream Lovers, have their first eight track EP out for Lineout Records. Their music is raw and passionate and it sounds like a Manic Street Preacher/Suede mixture with a little bit of new wave filtered through early Jesus And Mary Chain. They also covered Ace Of Base's "All that she wants" using distorted 8 bit samples for bass line. Sometimes their tunes sounds deranged thanks to their transversal approach but this make their music more interesting respect a usual indie band where everything sound smooth and overproduced. It is true that there's also a certain risk to make it sound too trashy but fortunately enough this is not the case. P.s. "Vietnam" is one of the tunes I preferred... Check it at their website.

LOST AREA: Dare To Dream

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 10 2007
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Artist: LOST AREA (@)
Title: Dare To Dream
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Official debut album for this German/Swiss Electro-Goth quartet, which is self-produced, self-released and also self–funded. This fact I would like to point out in advance, I’ve seldom before received an own produced debut album, which features such an enormous professionalism into the press sheet, a printed and glossy info sheet with clear introduction of the band, its members, the music style and the audience they would like to reach with it. A strong effort which sets the existence of some labels in question. You wanna hear facts? Well, 1000 pressed copies is along the line, but DJ and club support through Hardbeat Propaganda is mostly only possible with the help of a solvent label, a full-color glossy booklet featuring lyrics and band photos is also not the cheapest thing on earth, furthermore there are some well-known scene acts doing some remix works for this newcomer, from which – I guess – only a half got done thanks to a good friendship. Thumbs up for the management – in person of band member Jan Bertram - professional work should pay off somehow. But what counts is the music – and so the matter of subject, on which I’ve got some things to nag at. It is obviously that the current scene lacks of new influences and ideas. Besides that still euphoric celebrated Hellektro-virus I’ve got the feeling that the success-promising formula to combine Synth-/Future-/Electro-Pop with a deep sea of Goth-like sadness and an 80-ties Pop/Wave-inspired portion of Romantic spreads out some new flowers. You know it, the BLUTENGEL syndrome – not very new and a unique style or what can be called an innovation, but at times with some remarkable bitter-sweet results. If LOST AREA like it or not – their intention to combine "Electro with Emotion" somehow throws this band stylistically into this bucket. The music itself plays along the expected lines, pseudo-aggressive or distorted sounds are left out to make sure a decent Electro-Pop imaginary. The problem hides moreover in the provided male/female vocals. While I’m quite impressed by the performance Daniela Dietz (ex-ILLUMINATE and so experienced...) is able to offer, ranging between smooth and emotional up to devotional and dramatic, I have some doubts on the quality of Jan Moser’s voice. A bit too theatrically and too obviously the try to hide some weaknesses, his voice often seems to fight instead of being a unit to his female partner. Compositionally good pieces like "Vengeance Of Nature" so go down the drain, I’m rather impressed by "Stolen Child" featuring Daniela’s solo voice. This CD features 7 original recordings and 8 remix works – as I’ve said including some big names like BLUTENGEL, CEPHALGY, ACCESSORY or UNHEILIG, but also some underrated acts like the Accession-Records-recording act SPEKTRALIZED and some up and coming talents like RE:\LEGION or EUROCIDE. All remix works depend on previously recorded tracks of the band, I guess taken out of their limited 2K5 release "Gabriel". So I don’t know the original compositions, but some good tunes I’ve discovered here. The CEPHALGY remix of "Penhesilea" features an addictive bass line, also both works of UNHEILIG and A FLOWER FOR TUESDAY on the track "Deconstruction" are worth to listen to. Strange-wise – or should I say obviously – these tracks offer again the sophisticated vocal performance of Daniela Dietz, "Deconstruction" alone features diversity thanks to the use of French lyrics. Well – it has to be proven, if LOST AREA are the next big thing for this genre – too many try so with a similar quality. But good promotional efforts and the continuation and belief in what they are doing here should pay off. I wish them the best.

DEATHBOY: End Of An Error

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 08 2007
cover
Artist: DEATHBOY
Title: End Of An Error
Format: CD
Label: Line Out Records (@)
Rated: *****
Presented as a "futurepunk" band, Deathboy just released their second full length titled END OF AN ERROR. It contains eleven tracks of high energetic electronic punk with few e.b.m. influences. The first two tracks ("Amphetamine zoo" and " "Black morning") are sounding like a good indie band using electronic gear. This could be good if you are looking for tracks based on simple melodies and good production (Rico and John Fryer did the work) but usually I want something more. Fortunately this comes with "Money and confidence", a track that pays a tribute to Cure but with a certain personality. Basically the sound of the band is balanced between their dark and their melodic soul with some industrial influence a la N.I.N. (check "Smile you fuckers") and modern pop punk or good old 77 punk (like on "Cheap shot"). They could give you some good tunes like the two I mentioned and like "Something" where the mixture finds a perfect balance. It won't be a surprise if a day I'll see one of their videos on MTV but I'd rather prefer to see them than the next teen rebel.


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