Music Reviews



POLYSTAR: E.P.

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 22 2003
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Artist: POLYSTAR (@)
Title: E.P.
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Polystar project started in 1999 and sees Ted Fraser, Danny Gold and Sean Drinkwater team together. Each band member already had their own job (Sean plays also with Frezepop and Lifestyle) but they decided to play together without sending promos or material to press or anything. They are about to release some new stuff so they sent me, convinced by Aug Stone (another Lifestyle's member who has got also a solo career with the Rock Stone monicker), this mini CD. The five tracks they sent me are the most fresh stuff I listened recently and they blend together early Duran Duran atmospheres (like on "Hyperspace", on the really good "Face The Rain" and on "Upside Down"), synthpop tunes and a little bit of sixties touch. With a couple of ballads and three fresh tunes they'll catch you just like happened to me!

Black Tape For A Blue Girl: With A Million Tear Stained Memories

 Posted by KlingKlangBedlam   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 22 2003
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Artist: Black Tape For A Blue Girl
Title: With A Million Tear Stained Memories
Format: CD
Label: Projekt Records
Distributor: Projekt Records
BTFABG="Million Tear Stained Memories"Shortly after their latest, "Scavenger Bride" comes a comprehensive intro into this incredibly gifted group. Their sound has never been an easy intake for even those in the gothic scene, for it’s disregard of rules in the genre and it’s sheerly overwhelming sense of heart-breaking, melancholy emotion that even defies some of the biggest emotion seekers. But for those who enjoy music for it’s emotions, this group holds a goldmine of them! The older material dwells upon very lonely, confused and emotional times in the life of founder/Projekt president Sam Rosenthal, covering times of unattainable love, crushing heartbreak, constant isolation with constant thought of escape, and even at times self obsession. Their newer material covers a more sculpted mode, taking that past knowledge and covering the state of love itself, combined with some Kafka influences. This is short is gothic for the thinking man, and songs in celebration of both love itself, it’s transience, Sam’s powerful love for his wife Lisa, and the female in all it’s forms. As you may remember, I mentioned Black Tape’s CD "As One Aflame Laid Bare By Desire" in the forum as being one of my 5 all time favorite CD’s as well. Haha and I’m coincidently wearing my Black Tape shirt as well! The CD includes a new version of "Memory, Uncaring Friend", which brings to my mind the sound of Audra, an acoustic and wonderous version of "Could I Stay The Honest One?", and a 2000 version of "Overwhelmed Beneath Me". This CD oozes out classic after dark classic, though I’m kind of sad that "Given" and "As One Aflame... ... ." Didn’t get on here, but eh everyone has different thoughts on best of sets as to songs. Gladly "Russia" made it on here, another favorite of mine J. Hardened BTFABG fans like me also get taken back down memory lane, to isolated times filled with such beautiful melancholy and self-searching, to one of my most pivotal times in lyric and poetry writing spending hours listening to their music and simply sucking up the inspiration. And for those more laid back times, the second CD is filled with all instrumentals any Black Tape fan could ever need. Hearing the vocals of Oscar Herrara also is a treat we now miss (he left right after "As One... ..") listening to this, but it also gives us a retrospect into his captivating and unique vocal style (check him out in El Deundo, his new project). Add that to Lisa’s trancey flutes, Sam’s masterful ambient layers, and a cast of players carved out of pure classical genius and you have a force that changed the landscape of both classical and gothic music forever. This is highly recommended, though it’s limited, to anyone curious to the group’s sound, Projekt’s ideas, and anyone tired of listening to corporate gothic tripe bands who wants to learn what real gothic is supposed to sound like. Not to mention one of the greatest fucking bands to walk this earth ;-).Rating: 10. Also recommended are the Projekt 100 compilation, In The Nursery and older Clan of Xymox. Well, Das Ich too if you’re up for a more chaotic version of this sound.

Proscriptor: The Serpentine Has Risen

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 21 2003
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Artist: Proscriptor
Title: The Serpentine Has Risen
Format: CD
Label: Dragon Flight Recordings (@)
An epic blend of folk noire, occult atmospheric wave, magical and ritual passages, Celtic paganism, neo-classicism and such... As you might have already understood, this is the kind of CD that will please fans of labels such as World Serpent, 4AD or Projekt and bands such as the Butterfly Messiah, Lacrimosa, La Camerata Mediolanense, Argine, Dead Can Dance or The Soil Bleeds Black (why wasn't I surprised to see Mike Riddick's name among the credits? He's responsible for the front cover art work - also reviewed on these pages are records by Brave and Rain Fell Within, which also carry Riddick's signature in the visual dept.). Although this is not primarily my cup of tea I feel pretty confident stating that Proscriptor (previously on Cruel Moon and Cold Meat) should stick to their darker side and let go of the kitsch industrial-rock or epic-metal experiments (not only out of context, musically at least, but also not reaching the highs of bands that perform such genres every day). Their orchestral and epic visionary pieces are far superior I think. They also seem to be more into that than anything else (judging from the texts contained in the booklet and the fact that founding member and leader of the band Sir Proscriptor McGovern even claims to have founded the phantomatic Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn, in Dallas, Texas). Anyway, besides all this extra-musical things that one might or might not believe in, "The Serpentine Has Risen" contains well-performed dark-folk music with, primarily, real percussions and string instruments. There is also a persistent usage of electronics, that sometimes fits in pretty well, but other times doesn't really help, in my opinion. The album contains eight voyages with different theme names.

LEGENDARY PINK DOTS: All the King’s Horses

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 21 2003
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Artist: LEGENDARY PINK DOTS
Title: All the King’s Horses
Format: CD
Label: Big Blue
Distributor: Audioglobe
The Pink Dots have been haunting our ears and brains for decades and they still do... Lyricist and vocalist Edward Ka-spel and keyboard-player Silverman have been joined by Dutch musicians on guitars, violins, sax and other wind instruments; all together they lead us down the dark visions that we have learnt to cherish, coming as they do from the Dots. Other bands wouldn’t get away with it, would be written off as self-indulgent. In fact, repetition over the years doesn’t lessen the impact at all, if anything it makes the picture ever richer with details. It is good that the this new Cd, published by a Polish label, has all the lyrics in the booklet. Most of the songs are ballads full of love cherished or remembered in the midst of ruin and apocalypse. Black humour has always been the Dots trademark: fancy opening a Cd with the words of love sent by a passenger on a crashing plane to a woman who is probably sleeping with her lover! Ka-spel may be the poet of day-to-day desperation, but he is painting the bleakness awaiting us with such an unusual and clear-eyed palette that we feel we have gained knowledge and not just shared in another queue to Doomsday.Musically, there haven’t been sharp revolutions over the years. The Dots are not the kind of bands who feel the need for a fashionable brush-up. You have to like Edward’s unique voice, sad, plaintive and warm; the use of keyboards as well as the arrangements will sound to someone eerily outdated, despite Raymond Steeg’s sound wizardry (far from brash and assertive). The Dots pursue a line of composition which has woven in a very personal way New wave, Progressive, complex songwriting: they have followed their own path in such a degree that they are virtually in their own field. If I have some reservations, they have to do with the tracks where the sax comes in (doesn’t do too much for me, I am afraid), or the partly improvised "A Bargain at Half a Price", a jazz-rock-prog piece. But as long as Ka-spel sings with his mellow voice disturbing fancy-tales such as "Lisa Goes Surfing", I for one don’t care if there is a sax too much. I have always believed that the Dots’ lyrics are on a par with the best poems around. They are steeped in fantasy and shot through with love and compassion, laughter and tears. And they are not afraid to point their finger at the biggest delusion of humankind: Power and powergames. There is also an uncomprising politics at the heart of it all, from a band that virtually chose exile rather than staying on in Thatcherite Britain. And the arrogant voice of the day-to-day imperialist (the Western tourist) can be heard in "It’s the real thing": "I’m a tourist at the poorest place on Earth. I’ve got a straw hat, palm tree shirt. Throw a cent, they’ll lick you – bring you Monkey-on-a-Stick.... Deep down they know they are here to serve the Sun King. Hear me hum God Save the Queen’". Amen.

Wumpscut: Music For A German Tribe/Preferential Legacy

 Posted by KlingKlangBedlam   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 19 2003
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Artist: Wumpscut
Title: Music For A German Tribe/Preferential Legacy
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records/Beton Kopf Media
Distributor: Metropolis Records/Beton Kopf Media
Wumpscut doing electro pop?!? Any Wumpscut fan would cringe at the thought, but don’t worry it’s Rudy’s old stuff on here. The song being "All Cried Out", which is bouncy, but me being used to Wumpscut’s rivet stomping industrial-goth gold, it’s kinda odd.This double CD set is an examination of his older days and some new goodies for the Wump Troopers out there, along with a completely German version of the classic CD "Music For a Slaughtering Tribe". You may remember the German track for Soylent Green" from the Electropolis 1’ compo CD (another classic) not too long ago, it of course being a more in tune version versus the English version. The German seems to fit the track so much better! You get all the essentials on this set, from a German version of gems like "Die In Winter" and the hidden track from Bunketor 7’ now revealed as "Red Water", written I’m guessing in memory of a lost friend of his. It’s always been one of Wumpscut’s most beautiful and entrancing tracks, and seems to have even more potency as a eulogy. One tends to forget that under all the Teutonic, blistering tracks Wumpscut does, Rudy also has the undeniable power to make cold yet emotional music, as well as his powers in programming and sequencing. I could go on forever about all this CD has... ... ... ... ... ... ... .A cover of Dive’s "God", the previously unreleased "Crang March", a good deal of his remix work (including the hard to find remix of Cleen’s "The Voice"), complete versions of tracks from Bloodchild’, and much more! Perfect for the newbie rivethead on your block, the ones curious to Wumpscut’s magic and even some goodies for the hardcore :W: collector. This and anything from Wumpscut is essential in any industrial collection, this is the evolution from the old Leatherstrip sound everyone was copying around the time this group started (they are strongly Leatherstrip influenced, but it definitely has it’s own edge and style). It can well be argued that this group saved industrial, as well as laid roots for bands such as Hocico and Cenobita. Bring the kids, and come feel the love and warmth that is Wumpscut! Haha!Rating: 10. PS, also watch for my interview with Rudy now underway. Also check our Issue #5 for an in depth interview with him.


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