Music Reviews



Unto Ashes: I Cover You With Blood

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 06 2004
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Artist: Unto Ashes (@)
Title: I Cover You With Blood
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Projekt (@)
Rated: *****
Unto Ashes' new maxi single CD features six previously unreleased pieces or new versions of previously available songs. There are two mixes of the title track, one of which comes from their 2003 "Empty Into White", a new version of "Serve Me", a cover version of the Henry Purcell (1659-1695) 'A Clockwork Orange' theme "Funeral March for Queen Mary", a cover version of the Walter Vonder Vogelweide (1170-1230) "Palastinalied" (with Mariko and Natalia Lincoln on vocals) and another never before released new track by Unto Ashes, entitled "Exeunt Reges". Those familiar with the band know the deal; those new to sound of Unto Ashes can think of it as grand, medieval, martial and neo-classical anthems inspired by middle-ages scenes of every day life and battles. High quality.

Emulsion: Death of the Author EP

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 03 2004
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Artist: Emulsion (@)
Title: Death of the Author EP
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
When a band mentions Coil and Boards of Canada, basically both cult bands but so different, as their main influences you know something's up, something good is cooking, and soon enough you'll know it for sure... It only took me a few seconds of the Cure's cover "Pornography" (from their upcoming FTC records tribute compilation "Strage as Angels"), revisited in a murky and melodic manner that made it sounds like a David Lynch soundtrack, to understand that these guys are good at what they do... Then they simply jump from that to a great mixture of rhythmic noise and IDM with their "is lust". Altough the two opening tracks are definitely the strongest and also the most diverse of the batch, the rest of the EP is not bad either (even though it's more anonymous and nowhere as intense as the two opening pieces). Lurking dark ambient that seeks a balance between oneiric soundscapes of uncharted territories and nightmarish atmospheres of uncertain message. I am not familiar with Emulsion's previous production, but I think if they'd manage the art of keeping the momentum at the excellent levels of the two opening tracks, and if maybe they could fuse the two genres into one unique and original magmatic sound, they would truly be one of the most interesting bands out there. Cover art work by John Bergin (Trust Obey, Tertium Non Data). Now the only problem for me remains what category to file them under.

STEREOSKOP: In A While

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 01 2004
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Artist: STEREOSKOP
Title: In A While
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: STKM Records (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
IN A WHILE is the new release of the Spanish band Stereoskop. The mini CD contains eight track of which four are different mixes of the main title. "In A While" is a good electro goth track and it sticks immediately into your brain since the first listening. The remixes don't add that much to the original album mix, they only expand the original tune but without changing musical genre as they are always true to the electro goth registry. The other four tracks are "34 Hook Or By Crook" (a very good energic tune that remember me some late Siouxsie & The Banshees stuff with electronic arrangements and a catchy refrain), "Somersault", "What Are You Up To" (Siouxsie meet Garbage into a powerful mid tempo track) and "This Puzzle" (something like an electro ballad with good moments). The new album Electrika has been released and it will give us more arguments to judge this band.

Written In Ashes: s/t

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Feb 29 2004
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Artist: Written In Ashes
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Latex (@)
Rated: *****
Our partner in crime TG Mondalf, who used to run RhythmUS Network (now part of Chain D.L.K.), started his very own recording label, Latex records, and, right off the bat, picked up one of the biggest underground dark wave bands: Written In Ashes. After eight years and a line up that consists of members of The Elysium Facade, Trance to the Sun, Black Winter, Love Nancy Sugar, theStark, sexwithsarah etc, the four-piece has put together a new full lenght album that brings together eclectic and dynamic guitar playing, equally mutating vocals searching for a balance between goth singing and slightly filtered electro voice and a music structure built on a solid foundation of dark/goth jamming, electronic programming and textures of pads, strings etc. It's hard to achieve the status of "signature sound" in this genre, because everything is always on the edge of being inevitably derivative. The oveall sound is hard to pin down, but I am sure if you had a map with the Mission UK, the Cure, the Sisters, Rosetta, Lycia and other a bunch of other underground bands that are now probably looking up to Written In Ashes, you'd probably be drawing lines to join all the dots.

EX NIHILO: Pentagone Explosion / Une Société De Tetes Mortes

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Feb 25 2004
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Artist: EX NIHILO (@)
Title: Pentagone Explosion / Une Société De Tetes Mortes
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
The new Ex Nihilo release is a double CD. The first one is titled "Pentagone Explosion" and has got eighteen new tracks while the second one has got fifteen tracks of remixes and covers. At a first listening the thing that pop up immediately is the fact that Ex Nihilo music is changing and unfortunately I still prefer the first two CDs Laine did. On the new tracks you can find simil techno rhythms with some synth pads. "Le leurs Mortes", for example, is a good one with a good atmosphere but suddenly the rhythm starts to increase until you listen only a tremble and vocals become a reverbered rant and I find this ruins everything. Also the following track, "Rien", is based on goth atmospheres and techno rhythms while "Orgasmatron" (the fifth track) has got the old good Ex Nihilo moments only that sometimes sounds doesn't match and the different rhythmical tracks are out of synch and this is too bad as Laine is good at creating sick and powerful atmospheres. Each track has got good moments: "Decharge (Radio Version)", for example, could be a good goth ebm track. It's highly probable that these tracks with a better production would be a blast, but right now they seem nothing but demos. Tracks like "Schizo" or "The Conjurer" are similar to the old Ex Nihilo and I think they work better: pumping rhythms, epical synthetic sounds and dark atmospheres. It seems that half of the tracks has got this "techno fever" and they went out of Laine's hands while the remaining ones have got a better structure. It seems that in this period he's listening to Hocico along with techno and he'd like to melt them together ("Penta" for example remember me the instrumental tracks of the Mexican duo). The second CD of remixes and covers revisit the old tracks under the new band's style and contains also tracks of Rauwolfia remixed by Ex Nihilo. Strangely enough it seems that Laine took more care releasing "Une Société De Tetes Mortes" than the CD containing the new tracks: the tracks sound better and they give to the listener a sense of finality even if they would need sometimes a better production as well and this is odd.


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