Music Reviews

Artist: VV.AA. (@)
Title: Crash Frequency 02 - Australian Independent Darkwave
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Crash Frequency (@)
Rated: *****
The Australian Crash Frequency strikes back, this time with a DCD set to gain some international and world-wide attention. It was lately Charles Fenech of ANGEL THEORY who told us in our current interview (please look for it somewhere else here...), that the Australian Electro/Industrial/Goth scene has reached a special point of evolution, where some good recognition occurs and that the included bands, especially the ones presented through this collective – show a lot of diversity and originality. His words got proven right with this compilation featuring almost all Crash Frequency bands – I miss only SOBIQUET, INTRA-SONIC and STARK here. The first disk named "Arrival (Home)" features 15 tracks of – so-called - "radio versions" featuring mostly the best pieces taken out of the latest albums of each band, but also some goodies and unreleased new tracks. Opening act marks – like expected – the currently striking duo of ANGELSPIT with their track "Vena Cava". If some of you really haven’t checked out their new CD "Krankhaus" – an epic in both parts, Industrial-Metal music and artwork – I then advise you to do so! Goth Rock was and is not my cup of tea, but the famous IKON give a well done piece here and their "Sunset At Golgotha" is still unreleased. To the straight and melodious EBM/Electro music of ANGEL THEORY I don’t have to give any further explanations, because this act is maybe together with IKON the most known act internationally. "Human", out of Charles’ last and highly recommended full length CD "Re-Possession" is one of the best tracks he has ever composed. Comes then N0N-PLUS, a relatively new member of the collective and musically based into the Powernoise/Ambient genre. I haven’t heard anything from this act before, so that’s a bit hard to start comparisons, but this decent track featuring ominous synth layers and a steady beat makes me hungry for more. Follows then the great duo TANKT with a new and unreleased track "Surveillance". You remember their well done "Club Life" CD, also licensed to Static Sky Records? Well, forget it, because this "Surveillance" knocks almost all tracks from "Club Life" out of the field! Comes then the duo of THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT and so the journey into a musically more strange copulation, because they mix Electro elements with Trip-Hop efforts mostly guided by decent female vocals. Their track here, "One Time In Life" taken from their new EP "Blurred Edges" is a well done example for the more Trip-Hop-based kind of this duo. LUX VOLTAIRE is also an act I haven’t discovered so far, I can only remember their funny "Oberheim" contribution from the first chapter of this compilation series. Their new and unreleased "Dreamtime" is a straight and modern arranged Electro dance track with a duty guitar riff in between. They are followed by THE PROCESS VOID coming up with a new instrumental cut and the Synthpop act TYCHO BRAHE with a track of their latest release "Atlantic", out on the US-based label Coohagen Music. RESURRECTION EVE have already produced more remarkable tracks than "Embrace", which was also available on their great last CD "Ascension", out on GUP/Endless Records. PLAQUE SEQUENCE follows and they are totally new to me. "Futuristic Techno, Cyber-Electro, Psytrance and Technosexual Fetish-Industrial", so the description on their music – nothing what could help to make the things clearer. Lee Bulig of STARK has done some additional music and Pete Crane of THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT seems also to be a member.
We have then two tracks done by DOMINO THEORY (dark Pop with Trip-Hop attitudes leaded by female vocals) and DANDELION WINE, who could lately get a deal with the German Ars Musica Diffundere, a division of the Black Rain group. DAZY CHAIN give us their track "Hush" taken from their last full length – a track which starts peaceful and calm, but then to come out in a rough and angry Punk/Metal-like raging piece. Last track of this first CD then is provided by the new collective member THE TENTH STAGE musically ranging between Goth Rock and Electro. I dig this track a lot, it mixes up both styles with some good male vocals. So 15 tracks in all on the first CD, let’s check out the content of CD2, called "Departures (Club)" and so – like the name explains it – turns the music into a more club-oriented field.
ANGEL THEORY now opens the second disk, again with "Human", but this time in remix version created by John Van Loon out of the Netherlands. The rhythms are now a bit updated, John has also done some further production and he added his voice for a kind of guest singer appearance – in all a very satisfying remix work. THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT now show with their second track "Only You Can See You" their other side, musically more depending on a modern kind of Electro dance – it’s a great and previously unreleased track. ANGELSPIT send out another invitation to join them on the dancefloor for some crunchy Industrial/X-over actions with a new "Pill Binge" remix of their "Elixir", originally another fine piece out of the "Krankhaus". I then see the difficulty to offer a club-friendly track from IKON – finally they present here with "Ghost In My Head (Adam Cal Remix)" a track of the 1998 album "This Quiet Earth". Also some unreleased stuff is offered by TYCHO BRAHE with their track "Avarice", which got by the way remixed by another Australian legend alive again, George Pappas of REAL LIFE. It’s a great Synthpop tune with some female vocals integrated, which doesn’t leave any wishes open. Also the newbies of THE TENTH STAGE give a second track "Criminal World", which got remixed by Dave Foreman of TANKT. Have a clear listen to the great and alive-sounding synth layers. Next are TANKT with the title track of their past full length CD "Club Life", here in a special remix created by Charles Fenech of ANGEL THEORY. Please note also his special guest vocal appearance on this great track. PLAQUE SEQUENCE return with a modern dance track taking influences out of Trance and Techno. Pete Crane of THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT does his best here, although the adding of some more vocals wouldn’t be wrong. The rough tunes of THE PROCESS VOID – here "Lethargy" taken from their debut - also got a remix here, this time done by LUX VOLTAIRE. Relatively danceable, but mostly instrumental. RESURRECTION EVE then show themselves from their very best side and offer a new remix of their track "Forever" – be sure and listen only 1 – 2 times the refrain, it will be undeletable burned in your mind - one of the finest Synthpop tune this act has ever produced! Comes then DOMINO THEORY with an "Apology" – but there’s nothing to excuse, because the track grows on you after a few rotations. But don’t ask me who the responsible remixers ROMUS & REMULUS are, if we don’t think of the historically meaning. DANDELION WINE have again the flute in action, their at times strange female vocals and some guitar riffs as well – it’s always hard for me to sort them in, but I take it as sports – they are another proof of the diversity offered out of Down Under. Last but not least we get an unreleased track by LUX VOLTAIRE, "Australia’s Premier Neuropunk Outfit – whatever this means. After an acoustic opening the track "Despite You" turns into an acceptable and danceable electronic track, well done, Gentlemen.
A final and special note has to be taken for the brilliant artwork created by Destroyx of ANGELSPIT - indeed it has some relations to that famous "Krankhaus" art, plus also the great "flying skull" logo craeted by Roberto Massaglia of TANKT/THE TENTH STAGE. Charles Fenech of ANGEL THEORY finally has collected this well done comp.
I of course have some personal favorites here on this compilation, but I try to avoid to pick them out specially. It is because that the Australian Electro/Industrial/Goth scene has so much diversity and surprises in all genres to offer that every listener will find his/her very own favorite. Come on and take a steady listen to Down Under and the leading Crash Frequency collective – satisfaction guaranteed!

Disc CF01 : Arrival [Home]
1. Vena Cava - Angelspit
2. Sunset At Golgotha - IKON
4. Of The in Visible - n0nplus
5. Surveillance - Tankt
6. One Time in Life - The Crystalline Effect
7. Dreamtime - Lux Voltaire
8. Skyro - The Process Void
9. Don’t Feel That Way - Tycho Brahe
10. Embrace - Resurrection Eve
11. Oblivion - Plague Sequence
12. No Apology - Domino Theory
13. Tulip Eyes - DandelionWine
14. Hush - Dazychain
15. The 10th Stage - The Tenth Stage

Disc CF02 : Departures [Club]
1. Human (JVL Mix) - ANGELTHEORY
2. Only You can See You - The Crystalline Effect
3. Elixir (Elixir Remix) - Angelspit
4. Ghost in My Head - IKON
5. Avarice (George Pappas Real Life Remix - Previously Unreleased) - Tycho Brahe
6. Criminal World (Exclusive) - The Tenth Stage
7. Club Life [Club Mix] - Tankt
8. Take The First Step - Plague Sequence
9. Lethargy - The Process Void
10. Forever - Resurrection Eve
11. Apology - Domino Theory
12. Arc - Dandelion Wine
13. Despite You (Previously Unreleased) - Lux Voltaire


 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (2928)
Aug 09 2006
Artist: I:SCINTILLA (@)
Title: Havestar
Format: CD EP
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Another new signing for the rising Alfa Matrix label, this time hailing out of Illinois/USA. I:SCINTILLA could already earn some recognition thanks to their musically style, combining Electro-Goth, Industrial-Metal, some Trip-Hop beats mixed with a seductive and crystal-clear female vocal performance done by the over-radiating front woman, Brittany Bindrim. Her voice is indeed that dominant and outstanding that some courageous voice already compare her with a chart breaker like EVANESCENCE – well, a bit exaggerated but surely an allowed comparison. It should be mentioned that I:SCINTILLA consist of four members, two men/two women. I dig a lot the fact that this EP features at first four original compositions of this quartet named "Havestar", "Skin", "The Bell" and their own remix of "Capsella (Toxin remix)". The first both mentioned tracks are the main tracks, but luckily the other two tracks can’t really be called b-sides fodder, because they aren’t any weaker. Add to this five remix works mainly hailing from the Alfa Matrix roster with the one exception, COMBICHRIST. Andy LaPlegua offers a dancefloor stomper remix of "Havestar" as it’s best! Also nice and ear-catching (as usual) is the work of DISKONNEKTED putting "Havestar" in a pure electronic-minded dress, while the IMPLANT remix offers a wanted/unwanted reduction to some simplicity which can’t satisfy this time. NEIKKA RPM transforms "Skin" into a more dancefloor compatible attitude, while KLUTAE has with "Capsella" a difficult remix work which can’t pick up the different mood of the remix work of I:SCINTILLA themselves. With I:SCINTILLA Alfa Matrix has definitively picked up one of their best – if not the best – act leaded by a female singer and the course and direction show clear to enter sales in not discovered dimensions. Lets hope the best that the upcoming album will prove this.

G.O.T.H: G.O.T.H

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (2921)
Aug 07 2006
Artist: G.O.T.H (@)
Title: G.O.T.H
Format: CD EP
Label: Goth Productions
Rated: *****
It seems like the state of Maryland is spawning more and more black goth acts. Let me introduce you a new artist called G.O.T.H, who is an expert in martial arts and likes Japanese/Chinese martial arts movies. He fuse hip-hop with gothic elements, which makes it very interesting. G.O.T.H is a gothic hip-hop or hip-hop goth christian project by Bobby Walker. So appealing, even the vocals are harsh with anger expressing from the bottom of the heart to the top of the lungs. The disc kicks off with "Out Of My Face", a very dark brooding track that's groundbreaking. The beat kicks ass with an industrial-gothic feel. The song is about telling the devil Satan to back off. The next track "Run" reminds me alot of bands like Diva Destruction, Love Is Colder Than Death, Wench, The Machine in the Garden, and Faith & The Muse. The track have a sample of a female singing in the background in an ethereal way. The tracks "Saved" and the instrumental "Sexy" leans more on the industrial edge that's in the like of Nine Inch Nails. The final 5th track "Fight (Heavy Metal Version)" is, of course, metal. The tension in the vocal really have that fierce and mad as hell attitude. G.O.T.H's ideas and music creativity in combining two different music genres actually worked out as planned. This guy is worth checking out.


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 30 2006
image not
Artist: THELEMA (@)
Title: Tantra
Format: CD
Label: In The Night Time (@)
Rated: *****
Uhm... It's a little difficult to find out how to start this review because Thelema incarnate a part of Italian post punk history along other bands that never released an album or even a single (like a band called Nadja for istance, that produced uniquely two tapes). I won't write about Thelema story here, as well I didn't on my previous review of their new album released after about ten years after their last one, because anytime soon we'll have an interview with Massimo Mantovani here on Chain D.L.K. TANTRA was the first Thelema album and it was one of the first vinyls produced by a label called Spittle. Before that, the band released uniquely a tape titled "Rosa+Croce", a single, "Rosa alchemica", containing three songs (it was sold along a fanzinde called Signal) and a tape that was distributed only to friends and to radio stations. Thelema were famous in Italy because they were the most genuine band of the so called magical music scene (since the early albums of Current 93, Psychic TV and Coil in Italy journalists decided that a new musical genre born). It is important to tell that Thelema never used that for publicity as magick (spelled this way after the Alesteir Crowley magical system) has always been a personal interest of some members of the band and only for that reason the tracks and the lyrics were referring to such things. Anyway, TANTRA was a good album with mid tempo songs with particular flute inserts (it was a peculiar thing that they had thanks to Gregorio Bardini, a classical flute maestro that was also playing keyboards and which left the band after the release of the album) and with a certain dark vein that was unique. The band was blending their love for '70s bands like Velvet Underground with the primitive urge of post punk. Even if Italy lived it as an echo of what was going on in England since the dead of punk in 1977, Italian bands filtered those sounds in a personal way and Thelema did the same introducing keyboards, flute and keeping the bass guitar loud just to have a tribal effect on evidence. On the nine track album they used only two songs from their previous releases: "The book of the law" (which they recorded when Massimo Mantovani was playing with Les Blousons Noirs) and "Rosa alchemica" (it was included on the same title three songs single). Even if the production of Simone Fringuelli and Massimo Currò made the sound of Thelema losing some of the power they had on live gigs, the songs were sounding cool anyway. On this CD reissue we can find the original nine tracks of the album with a bunch of cool extra tracks coming from a couple of compilations ("J.C.S. - A pagan ritual" coming from the 1986 compilation "F-ear this" and "Sweet submission" coming from the 1987 compilation "10 years of Spittle". A particular title for a label founded few years back...), from the "Rosa alchemica" single (I appreciate these recordings more than the tracks of the album because they sound raw and powerful) and a couple of songs ("The golem" and "Walking with Aiwass") coming from "The golem", their first tape. If you lived those years you already know what it feels like listening to these sounds but if you are a youngster that is discovering nowadays these sounds, you can't miss this one. Just write to In The Night Time and purchase your copy!

L'EFFECT C'EST MOI: Tomber en heroes

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 24 2006
Artist: L'EFFECT C'EST MOI (@)
Title: Tomber en heroes
Format: CD
Label: Forart
Rated: *****
I think that's the the debut for L'Effect C'est Moi (shame on me if I'm wrong). This should be filed under gothic/epic music mainly based on keyboards as you expect it too be. This definitely well played and well recorded and it reminds me of early Ain Soph during their Staalplaat days, but less esoteric and definitley more epic. As I've said that's a "keyboard is the key-word" release therefore if you're not into layers of old fashioned sound and fake classic piano sounds thi' not your cup of tea. Epical "march-alike" drum parts on war "apocalictic folk" rhythmical framework. As I've said that's probably a debut and sure there's a lot to be imrpoved above ll in the song writing but if your into the style I think you will dig it esily. the second part of the cd is he most apocalictic one and probably the darkest one but still homogeneous. I think they should add some vocals here and there above all when playing more melodic orinted tunes.

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