Music Reviews



CHAMBER: L'Orchestre de Chambre Noir

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 28 2002
cover
Artist: CHAMBER
Title: L'Orchestre de Chambre Noir
Format: CD
Label: Sad Eyes/Trisol (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Seven regular players (plus two guests) for this German "Black Chamber Orchestra", out with a surprisingly good 11-track cd. Acoustic guitars and strings provide a rich background for Marcus Testory's theatrical, tortured voice, at times really reminiscent of Nick Cave or even Mark Lanegan. There's a great care for arrangements and, at the same time, a sober, folkish quality in these ballads. There are wild and dramatic moments ("Ceremony after a Fire Raid", a Wedding Anniversary cover with words by Dylan Thomas, and the narrated "The Ballad of the Half Brained Man"), but also incredibly catchy tunes ("Pleasure and Pain", "Mistakes", "Toscana", and the traditional "Another Conversation", again with lyrics by Thomas) which could receive intensive airplay and sell thousand of copies since they really stick into your brain after the first listen. Sounds and production are very good, too, and the booklet is well done. It's not my favourite kind of folk music, but this work has a very high quality, and those into dark, melancholic ballads should purchase this without further delay.

THIS VALE OF TEARS: Exceed

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 23 2002
cover
Artist: THIS VALE OF TEARS
Title: Exceed
Format: CD
Label: Black Rain (@)
Distributor: Triton
Third record (11 tracks, 48 minutes) for this Belgian trio, formed by Johan Peeters (guitards and vocals), Erik Duffeler (lead vocals) and Tom Simons (synths, programming and vocals). TVOT's tracks are a blend of typical gothic rock songs and an electro backbone with upbeat programmed drumming. Some tracks lean more on the dark side of their spectrum, some others on the rhythmic/dance one - "Alone in the Shower" is even closer to flat out techno than to electro/EBM. The opening track, "Exceed", has also some Indian melodies thrown in which are then developed in the instrumental ethno trip-hop remix which closes the work. Pretty standard layout without much fantasy, Reinlender 1977 has done much better in other works.

BOSHETUNMAY: Signal

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 23 2002
cover
Artist: BOSHETUNMAY (@)
Title: Signal
Format: CD
Label: Dercho Music
Boshetunmay is the project of two Siberian brothers, Harry (vocals, lyrics) and Witali Dercho (guitar and piano-player, music writer, producer) who have been living in West Germany since 1993 and formed the band two years later. They released an eponymous demo-tape in 1998, a debut cd-ep ("Useless Life", 2000), a promo cd single ("Vote for the Black", 2001), and then this second full length (11 songs, 48'). Their press sheet defines their music "electro-rock with gothic, wave, dance and metal influences", which sums it up pretty well. Let's say there's a heavy dose of gothic and darkwave ("The Shame", "Lullaby", "Is anyone?", "Corporation of dreams"), often mixed with lighter "rock" parts, and a prominent electronic background in the programmed beats - these give an upbeat rhythm to the tracks, sometime verging on electro ("Vote for the Black") or dance ("A clod in your throat").

ThouShaltNot: You'll Wake Up Yesterday

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 19 2002
cover
Artist: ThouShaltNot (@)
Title: You'll Wake Up Yesterday
Format: CD
Label: ADSR Musicwerks (@)


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This is a limited CD collection of live outtakes, remixes, covers, acoustic versions, and unreleased tracks by ThouShaltNot, known mainly for their unorthodox combinations of Noise, Darkwave, and Classical musical structures. The first track is a poundingly noise heavy version of “Without Faith”. This is followed by a dark industrial version of “Cracked”. Unfortunately I have not yet had the pleasure of hearing their debut self-titled release that this track comes from so I can’t make much of a comparison. The same applies for the other tracks from the same release; “Polarity” and “Crash”. The “Polarity” acoustic version is a guitar and vocal version. “We’re In This Together” is a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song from the The Fragile release. Their version is hard and heavy at times and very electronic while at other times softer and containing female vocals in the chorus. It even ends with an interesting acoustic guitar bit. My favorite parts of this are the female vocals and the acoustic ending however I don’t find this sounds anything like the original at all. I love the way they begin “The Weakness of Words” with acoustic guitar, almost Xymox-like, and seamlessly drop in the electronic beats. The version of “Crash” here is rather ambient with some electronic blips and bleeps and a touch of Noise influence in the distorted beats. This track drops right into a piano version of “In Hopes of Flight”. This is a very interesting acoustic performance. “Dying Boy” is a previously unreleased track and while it’s not a bad song it’s not one of my favorites on the album and one of two in which you can hear Alexx’s voice a bit more raw and with no effects. What I do really like about this track is the beat box part of it. The live version of “Without Faith” is actually ‘very’ raw and the track is sung to a somewhat different rhythm scheme than the original. I don’t really like this version much at all. Blackwater is a rather poetic interlude sort of track with more than a little effects on the vocals and heavy Noise beats but is only about a minute and a half long. This is followed by “Trench Warfare” which sounds like some old-school industrial rhythms mixed with orchestral pieces and hard vocals. Strangely “Scales On Scales” sounds familiar in regards to the vocal melody but I can’t figure why. Anyway the music for this piece is actually lounge-like and very nearly comical sounding. “Icepaper” is a 40 second track of a very mild ambient effect. This is followed by the David Bowie cover of “Within You” from the Labyrinth Soundtrack. ThouShaltNot’s version is actually darker than Bowie’s and more somber. It sounds almost like The Clan of Xymox in it’s general music structure complete with Cure-like guitar, electronic rhythms, electronic ambience and even a slight touch of what sounded like choral backing and moves into some hard and quick beat electronics. This is a very interesting and unique interpretation of this classic piece. What follows is a version of “S0ren Grey” which begins a bit simplistically; rim taps, backing ambience, and soft vocals. This changes as it becomes almost a hallow and somewhat haunting electronic ambient bit. “Pillbox Tales” begins with some electronic sounds much like mechanized hydraulics followed by a soft marching snare and soft bell-like tones. The beat slowly hardens but remains somber, a skill ThouShaltNot has perfected it seems. As with many of their songs they add short noise effects in this overall quiet track which somehow works to make the piece more contemplative. This track later drops into a very moving drum-n-bass rhythm. It seems this is actually a cover of a song by The Cure. Strangely I don’t remember this one as it seems to be a very limited release track from the 1986 version of Boy’s Don’t Cry and was featured only as a B-Side. At least that is as much as I’ve been able to find out about it so far. Thanks for making me do my homework on this one. It’s stuff like that that makes this industry more interesting at times. The next track is also one I like quite a bit, it’s an acoustic guitar version of “The Sting” originally from The Holiness of Now. The coda of “Cracked” is much harder, faster and heavier than the other version on this release. Now, nearing the end of the CD we have a cover of the Rolling Stones song “Paint It Black”. This is actually a live version with no overdubs and is really quite dark and actually used live drums instead of electronics and seems to have a minimum of electronics only as ambience. This version is sung with much passion. Lastly, and probably most amusingly, is a song called “If I Only Were A Goth” which is set to the music from The Wizard of Oz’s “If I Only Had A Heart”. This version however has lyrics like, “I’d be fitter, I’d be taller, go clubbing in my collar with skin pale as a moth. Dressed in black I’d go creeping when the normal folk are sleeping, if I only were a Goth. With my hair up I’d look fancy like Souixsie and the Banshees with silk or velvet cloth. Dressed in boots never sandals and the room would be lit with candles if I only were a Goth. Yes I’d want to die from the bottom of my heart impure. Would I like another clove well sure and after that we’ll go listen to The Cure.”. There are the usual vampire references and they manage to fit in the names of other well known people in the scene as well. This song reminds of something you’d expect by Voltaire and is quite hilarious. This album is an amazing collection of works by this rather new band to hit the scene and displays quite a bit more of their acoustic side as well. ThouShaltNot is a band with amazing versatility although there are a few times on this release where the vocals aren’t the cleanest but that’s because they were not studio productions so that fans and others can actually get a feel of what the band is capable of without all the electronics. They continue to astound me with their unique combinations of acoustic and electronic elements as well as both underground and classical forms of music. This is not the type of release I’d recommend for someone who is not at least a little familiar with the band or who are not sort of fans as there are many raw elements which would only cause others to become ‘very’ critical of them. Those people should stick to the studio releases like The Holiness of Now instead but for everyone else this is a very interesting bit of work with a few interesting surprises as well.

© Copyright 8/2001 TG Mondalf. All Rights Reserved

Bella Morte: Where Shadows Lie

 Posted by Johnny Apathy   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 14 2002
Artist: Bella Morte
Title: Where Shadows Lie
Format: CD
Label: Cleopatra
you know...i saw Bella Morte at my local "goth club". they were excellent live, and filled with a lot of energy. heh...Andy kept making this funny faces...anyway...

that night i bought "Where Shadows Lie"...(and got to bs with Andy about Peter Jackson films...but i digress). a few days later, when i popped this in the cd player, i started to remember how fun the show was...and wondered where some of the energy went. don't get me wrong, it's a great cd...but the live energy is missing here. The first few tracks are excellent, namely "The Rain Within Her Hands" and "Relics". then i usually skip ahead to "Where Shadows Lie", the coolest song on the cd. The BM version of "Metro" is awesome as well. The rest of the cd is true goth. slow, and dramatic. depending on the kind of mood you are in, it could be a good thing, or bad. Andy has an unbeleivable voice, and Gopal and Bn are great at their respective intruments, but a few more upbeat songs would have made this a must listen. as it is, it will probably appeal mostly to the depressed, or the open-minded music lover.


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