Music Reviews

Mephisto Walz: Insidious

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1948)
May 31 2005
Artist: Mephisto Walz
Title: Insidious
Format: CD
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
Rated: *****
I give southern California-based goth rock troopers Mephisto Walz every bit of credit that I can find from their latest release, Insidious, for upholding the true spirit of Christian Death (of which Walz instrumentalist Bari-Bari, t/n Barry Galvin, was once a member), but they seem to be running out of breathing room. Certain of the song concepts work really well--in "A Magic Bag," the first track, singer Christianna tells this story:

"William likes his suffering
All the attention-love it brings
Club to club he revels 'round
Another fool for the lost and found
William is a serious guy
Carries a sword by his side
Tied with twine to a ragged string
His idea of a wedding ring

"A magic bag suddenly appears
Plastic straws like rabbit ears
Carved bone dice across the bed
He took his coat, covered up his head
And to his made up gods he cried
Give me another place to hide
William likes his many friends
Lives his life to meet their ends"

We definitely want to hear more about pagan lost souls like William, who perfectly mirrors so many among us--the dice-carrying, Medieval sword-wielding, RenFaire-going, role-playing gamer, who can't seem to figure out which world he really belongs in. Sound familiar, anyone? (I assume, too, speaking of Christian Death, that in an alternate sense there's no intended reference here to poor Rozz Williams?) "Nightingale," an interpolation of lines from "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats, and Handel's "Ombra Mai Fu" aria, rendered on synth with a guest vocalist, make up the last two tracks. But Keats and Handel can't save the fact that MW could use a few shots in the arm. This CD, and their genre in general, are awfully close to falling into a formulaic rut, as the particular Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance influences they employ here and there sound less and less refreshing. The sixth track, "I Want," which has a chorus that strongly recalls Berlin's "Riding On the Metro," would indicate to some that MW are in desperate need of some new musical DNA. And it could be said that, by handling all of their own recording and arranging, MW are staying true to the punk-rock, do-it-yourself ethos in which they were initially forged as a band (not to mention staying within budget, always a legitimate concern). Still, a session drummer (for example) would have bolstered their production significantly (fellow Christian Death alum drummer David Glass makes an appearance on "One Last Day," but that's it). Make no mistake, the songwriting and overall pacing of Insidious is great, and those MW fans whose hindsight is less than 20/20 will be immune to any cliches. But we all still deserve better, and should rather see them break the mould next time around.

SIVA SIX: Rise New Flesh

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1942)
May 24 2005
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Artist: SIVA SIX (@)
Title: Rise New Flesh
Format: CD
Label: Decadance Records (@)
Rated: *****
Siva Six is a duo formed by Z and Noid and even if RISE NEW FLESH is their first release, they aren't newcomers, because in the past they have been members of Wintermute, Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh and Horrified. With Siva Six the duo decided to focus their efforts into the production of a saturated sound which take inspiration from the e.b.m. / industrial scene. The ten tracks of the CD don't leave space to mellowness and fit the fifty minutes with music made of distorted sounds and 4/4 rhythms. Sometimes (mostly on intros and outos) the sound is influenced by dark ambient (see "Another dead world" or "Deep black well", for example, where the horrific ambience form a ideal soundtrack of the next chapter of the Resident Evil saga) and goth (see how they use the choirs). The whole result is a mix of danceable industrial harsh electronic music which could also work outside the clubs. During the whole album there are different evidences that Siva Six aren't just another Hocico's clone: different use of ambient solutions, different melody, etc. but a major diversification of the atmosphere of the tracks could help the listener into the identification of the band with their own original sound.

VV.AA.: Trumpett Sounds

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1932)
May 20 2005
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Trumpett Sounds
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
It's always a pleasure for me to have the confirmation that the '80s have been a decade of musical innovation and this compilation released by Enfant Terrible is the clear evidence. TRUMPETT SOUNDS is a compilation of tracks made by bands that recorded for an '80s Dutch tape label called Trumpett. All the tracks have been recorded during the 1981-1983 period and they show that Netherlards have seen electronic acts before the famous "Hague electro" wave of bands (see the Bunker label discography as reference). Listening to tracks like Ende Shneafliet's "Twistin' on the tombstones" or Doxa Sinistra's "Conversation a la chaine" bring me back at the time when I was listening to the "Elephant table album" compilation for the first time. You know, listening to those characteristic drum sounds or to the fist sperimentations with synth sounds produced by young people, give back sense to the term "alternative band" or to "indie label", when money wasn't the only target to reach and the lack of it wasn't stopping the creativity. TRUMPETT SOUNDS is a good way for listening to cool sounds and for discovering unknown bands. Printed in only 500 copies this vinyl album is a must for all the people that love those sounds and that approach to music. Let's discover Ende Shneafliet, The Actor, Thromboh, Doxa Sinistra, Trumpetto & Einstein and A Van Garde with their electronic sperimentation full of new wave atmospheres.


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1929)
May 18 2005
Title: Jesüs Chryst
Format: CD
Label: Paw Tracks (@)
Rated: *****
Listening to a Peppermints record (and also attending to one of their gig, I think) is an experience you might remember for positive or negative reasons. It depends by your tastes, as always. JESUS CHRYST is their second album and their chaotic rage made me remember a lot of west coast punk bands of the eighties (Fear, Dead Kennedys, etc) as well as the first musical experience of Lydia Lunch which with the Teenage Jesus And The Jerks incarnated the primitive rage of the young N.Y. musical scene. The Peppermints, to me, sounds like those bands even if musically they seem more like a punk version of the Manson Family. The visual aspect and their sound made me think about them as futuristic hippies that blend all the expressions of freedom of the past just to give their version. By listening to them you could think about the Bikini Kill but in my opinion the Peppermints have nothing to do with no kind of movements (even if three out of four members are women). Just an expression of rage? Not properly. Maybe a will to refuse all the categories and to embrace the excess.


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (1927)
May 18 2005
Title: 12 Salopards Vol.1
Format: 10"
Label: Sk Records (@)
Rated: *****
If you are thirsty for noise and you aren't afraid to listen to hard core music influenced by other rock contaminations (such as Neurosis, Tar, Jesus Lizard, etc) the Marypoppers / Chevignon split is a chance to be satisfied. The four Marypoppers tracks are liberatory screams which mix the free jazz / hc spirit with impetuosity. Chevignon remember me the Japanese way of doing hc music with stops and go but with different noise inserts that remember me the early Tar or some tracks of the early Jesus Lizard (especially on "Moustache" where the guitar arpeggios duet with the tension of the vocals). There isn't a particular track I liked most because the granitic approach to music make of this 10" a way of free your tension. Let loose your articulation and dance without caring of your room! From Lyon for your pleasure...

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