Music Reviews



AUS DECLINE: Retrospettiva 1981-1984

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 27 2004
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Artist: AUS DECLINE (@)
Title: Retrospettiva 1981-1984
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Active during the first half of the eighties, Aus Decline are part of the Italian musical heritage. Most of Italian bands those days were influenced by what was going on in England but they were able to re-process it in a particular and personal way. Bands like Gaznevada (recently Astroman Recs reprinted their first LP and MLP on CD), Neon, Diaframma, Victrola, Frigidaire Tango and many others produced rare perls if you think about what the nowadays music industry offer. Most of the bands produced only one or two records (Victrola only a 12" for Electric Eye and Frigidaire Tango an LP and a MLP) and many others only a song into a compilation and Aus Decline was one of those bands. The "First Relation" compilation was released by Man Mask records on 1983 and if I'm not wrong that one has been the second and last release of that label, run by Lisfrank. The first one was his MLP titled "Man Mask" which has been released in 1982. Anyway, let's talk about Aus Decline again... After twenty years from the split the band members decided that it was time to edit their recordings into a CD. RETROSPETTIVA (Retrospective) contains their whole studio sessions plus five live tracks (four of them aren't included into the studio sessions tracks). At a first listening the English post punk influences are evident but each time you listen to the CD the sound become each time more personal and capable to catch the listener. The live tracks show a band more mature, talking about the writing process and tracks like "Auburne", "City House" or "To Lead The Van" are energetic and personal. There isn't a track I prefer most as each one has got its own charm. It's sad I had to discover this good band twenty years late but I'm glad I did it now thanks to this CD. Recommended!

HALO MANASH: Par-antra I: VIR

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 22 2004
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Artist: HALO MANASH (@)
Title: Par-antra I: VIR
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Formed in 1998 Halo Manash initially was a personal project of A. Haapapuro who initially wrote only few tracks. During the 1999/2002 period the project grew and involved other two members: Iwo Hoccuc and R. Kadin. PAR-ANTRA I: VIR is their second release (their first has been "Se Its En" released the last year by the Blue Sector label) and at the same time it's the first release of a new label coming from nothern Finland: Aural Hypnox. PAR-ANTRA I: VIR is the first part of the Par-Antra trilogy, titled ’VIR’ and it contains nine ritual tracks. The main difference from the other bands who play this kind of sounds is that Halo Manash use mainly real instruments like e-bowed guitars, shamanic percussions and cymbals along with analog synthesizers and samplers. This helps into the creation of a surreal and real involving music which is the incarnation of the band's research of parallel forms and primal pathways. The tracks, for the band, are like aural and visual sigils which should help to promote the understanding the innermost and ultimate meaning of the "VIR". On the booklet you can find a description about how you should use these recordings and along with the first 200 copies of the CD you can find a personalized "VIR wallcanvas" (50cm x 40 cm) made by using color removal technique. Since the motivation that forced the band to record these tracks I find difficult to judge only the musical part of the CD (for this reason I won't give it a rate). Only to give a little hint, I can tell you that the multi layered tracks form a long suite based on whispered chants, effected instruments and hypnotic drums which reminds me some moments of the first Christian Death album.

SOSTRAH TINNITUS: Les Debris De L'ete

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 20 2004
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Artist: SOSTRAH TINNITUS (@)
Title: Les Debris De L'ete
Format: CD
Label: Beyond Prod (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
What is the point where isolationism and ambient music turn into a dull moment to pass, searching for something like a sound or a rhythm that could be interesting to follow? This is an hard question and sometimes I found myself questioning it while I was listening to this Sostrah Tinnitus first release. Fortunately I decided to give it a second try because I know that this kind of albums need the right moment to be listened to and maybe yesterday evening wasn't the right one. This morning I was thinking about what to writing about this one and I wasn't convinced into writing a negative review. You know, it could be easy to write few negative words just to move to another more entertaining album. Fortunately this morning I decided to put on my best headphones on and to listen to LES DEBRIS DE L'ETE a second time. Well, first of all I have to admit that this isn't my favourite album of the month but it's also true that after Lustmord's "Paradise Disowned" it's hard to redefine the dark ambient genre. Maybe I don't dig that much long static suites as I was used to. Now I find hard to listen to few looped sounds repeating themselves for ten minutes. We've got to admit that is also hard to create ten minutes of interesting sounds without falling into the trap of the abuse of effects. Sostrah Tinnitus' album in my opinion stand in the middle between an interesting album and an excercise of dark ambient. Sometimes it seems they used low bitrate samples and this is disturbing when you try to listen to an ambience which should involve the listener. Of the lot of ten tracks I prefer the first five as the remaining ones tend to repeat too much the atmospheres already explored. All in all this is a interesting first release and the first solo project of a Tvmvlvs Seraphim's member but in my opinion this is not enough to make of it an indispensable album of my discography.

Mirabilis: s/t

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 15 2004
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Artist: Mirabilis (@)
Title: s/t
Format: 7"
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
Rated: *****
Mirabilis is Dru (of This Ascension) and Summer Bowman (of The Machine in the Garden), two extremely talented gals whose vocal skills can be checked out on this debut release of theirs, a beautiful 70-gram black vinyl 7" featuring four tracks of vocals-only ethereal neo-classical music. Although the last song features some instrumentation, the focus of Mirabilis is on intertwining vocal melodies, layers of harmonies and gorgeous vocal parts. The two are open for collaborations and are looking to expand the line up, which would make it even more interesting and beautiful, I bet, and they have a full lenght CD planned for release on Middle Pillar, entitled "Pleiades".

Mephisto Walz: Nightingale

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 15 2004
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Artist: Mephisto Walz (@)
Title: Nightingale
Format: 7"
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
Rated: *****
Following his departure from Christian Death in 1985, musician/artist/engineer Barry Galvin founded Mephisto Walz, and after almost two decades, is still producing the original gothic music, the good stuff, not derivative and as personal as it gets. The "Nightingale" 7" (a format that I must say fits the genre and these particular songs perfectly) presents the title-track and the song "Witches Gold", two authentic goth tracks with MW's signature sound made of washed guitars, dynamic drumming and the ethereal voice of Christianna. Rough around the edges, but a gemm inside. Originally released on a hand-autographed CD-R single, these songs will later be included (in edited format) in MW's new full-length album, in both cases with artwork by the Soil Bleeds Black's Riddick brothers. This white vinyl 7" is limited to 500 copies and comes in a beautiful folding cover.


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