Music Reviews



VV.AA.: Excelsis 3: A Prelude

 Posted by KlingKlangBedlam   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 18 2002
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Excelsis 3: A Prelude
Format: CD
Label: Projekt Records
Distributor: projekt records
Ahhhhh, X-Mas... . The smell of pinecones roasting on the fire (or something like that. Or was it elves?hell toss them in there too), people unwrapping gifts with materialist glee, and religious banter, as I shut my cranky atheistic self into my room for cover. You can tell I hate X-Mas, and I’m not a cheery one to have around the house at that time of year, but this CD is something good to come out of it, and the series in general. Projekt has always been music made for winter time and it shows why this is my choice music to listen to on a nice winter day inside.
Lovespirals kicks in with their special brand of babymaking music. I can’t help it, everything this bands sings and plays sounds so kinky and sensual, but still so classy! And it is the first time I’ve heard someone sounding dead on like Liz Frazier without being a knockoff. Frolic also sounds divine as usual, this time bringing the vocals back to the front. Their last CD was one you could easily fall into, especially if you’ve got nature around, and was one of my favorite CD’s of last year. Faith and Disease sound strangely serene on their take of "Silver and Gold", not like their usual dark selves. Miribalis is pretty good. Summer Bowman and Dru make a good pair dueting, work very nicely together (it's currently a full blown project as well that's just signed up on Middle Pillar), each one stepping aside to give the other a chance. I like the last song of Lynn Canfield (the girl from Curve, I believe)*, "Let your Sister Pet The Kitty Too", it’s half Super Mario music and Lynn singing about gifts and cats as well. It’s playful which is odd to hear from a Projekt CD, but knowing Sam and all them they can be a playful bunch as well.
I hate the holidays and I hate everything about it, but even for the many out there like me who feel the same way you’ll love it too. So hang a reindeer (or is that a mistletoe?) and grab some eggnog and have some fun with this one.

*Sam pointed out to me that Lynn Cannfield is the singer of Moon Seven Times and Area, not the singer for Curve. Oopsy daisy! I apologize about the mistake! Both look and sound very familiar so I got confused!

VV.AA.: The Arbitrary Width of Shadows

 Posted by KlingKlangBedlam   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 18 2002
cover
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: The Arbitrary Width of Shadows
Format: CD
Label: Projekt Records
Distributor: projekt records
OK, on a personal side note before the review... ... ... ... .. We have almost all either experienced cancer or someone who has gone through it. And anyone who has seen either can tell you the biggest burden oftentimes is the financial costs that lie underneath for treatment and radiation, often leaving the patients dangling between being cured and being left homeless. This CD is a charity to help the Minnesota Oncology Hematology Foundation, a foundation which helps patients of cancer maintain a normal life while going through the treatments. The girl on the cover was saved by the foundation from homelessness and certain death. And she is stunning to put it simply, and she is beyond gorgeous! Any person would would leave her homeless must be made of stone.
On to the music now! The CD starts off with none other than Black Tape For A Blue Girl and their track "Kinski" named after the infamous actor Klaus Kinski (don’t ask me the connection I’d like to know myself!), who happens to be my fave actor. After seeing Mira in concert and hanging out with the guys, I’ve opened up a lot more to their music after being curious for a while. "Open In Silence" seems to toss away any Slowdive comparisons and is a mark of maturity to me. Audra is a band that’s growing and to me still is to reach their potential. The new CD seems a step in the right direction. By the next CD I guarantee you may just see a milestone in the goth scene, which dearly needs it. I like their new-found narrative lyrical style, though. Now onto Voltaire’s "Vampire Club"! Needless to say I fucking love this track and is a great spoof much of the goth club scene needs! I love this guy’s humor too, very Johanne Vasquez style. Some of the other highlight’s include LoveSpirals and Unto Ashes (two fun bands to interview),with some familiar tracks. I also have fallen in love with Mors Syphilitica, but this is the only other song I’ve ever heard people play in clubs and on compos. The lady singer’s voice is pure heaven, floating between operatic and ethereal without falling into the usual "I’m gonna hit the high notes like Liz Frazier" trap. And the guitar just smooth and gliding, very silky and mixing with the vocals perfectly. They are definitely going on my X-Mas list this year!
Good CD, good cause, in short. And this association may well end up helping you or someone you love one day, and plus it’s a good intro to the Projekt style of music. Plus at 3.95 what better are you going to buy? If you want to make a donation directly to the society, the address is: The Minnesota Oncology Hematology Foundation,405 Piper Building,800 East 28th Street,Minneapolis,MN 55407.
For further info call Margie Sborov at 1-612-863-8751.

AENIMA: Never Fragile

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 01 2002
cover
Artist: AENIMA (@)
Title: Never Fragile
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Equilibrium Music (@)


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I never listened to Aenima's debut album, "Revolutions", so I've got to write my impressions basing them only on the six tracks of this release. In the past the band have been compared to bands such as Cocteau Twins, The Gathering, The Third and the Mortal, Faith and the Muse or Dead Can Dance and somehow you can find traces of these sounds in these tracks. I read that their debut album was based on etherial atmospheres. NEVER FRAGILE instead is more rock based with some technological inserts (treated drums and synths) on the opening and the last tracks "Intro To End All Intros" and "Rapture". The tracks I prefer are the first two along with "Light" because along with the interesting sounds of the intro, on "Forlon" the femal voice is more intimistic (it reminds me Frazer's voice) and I prefer it that way because when it goes etherial I think female voices seems pretty all the same. Musically the tracks are a little similar and maybe it's due to the musical changement the band had. I don't love too much these kind of sounds and I'd wish Aenima will explore more their dark side instead of basing their sound on "baroque rock" compositions and on Carmen's voice. As always I remind you that if you love these kind of sounds read between the lines and you'll make up your own verdict. ;)

Seven 13 / Coven 13: Unleashed

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 01 2002
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Artist: Seven 13 / Coven 13 (@)
Title: Unleashed
Format: CD
Label: What Matters Records


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Seven 13, previously known as Coven 13, were initially known for their gothic-pagan structure. In broadening their spectrum and becoming more open to alternative spiritual perspectives they have changed their name to Seven 13 to represent the balance and unity evident in their music. While always about the love and magic of life their music has a rock-ballad tone to it. Passionate and dark they open this release with the song "Drink" which is purposely vague about it's focus. The complimentary video which the band is sending with purchases for this CD leaves me with one main thought and two words, 'Acid Flashback'. The video is very cleanly produced and is filmed with that same liquid look and evidence of tracers that LSD can give you. Combined with the red and blue stage lighting the effect is only hightened while Kenneth Michael sings, "take a look and you'll see nothing is quite as it seems, reality, reality." All I know is this combined with the strong vampiric overtones and personal passion make this a powerful live video. Drugs, Vampires, Spirituality? The band leaves you to guess on this one. Fans of the band will recognize "Haunted" from their previous album Book of Shadows however the performance here is a bit stronger and harder than the original. Seven 13 is obviously after a theatrical response here. This was one of my favorites from the previous album and it is not repetitive here in the least but redone with more impact. This is a song which brings to mind the imagery of one driven mad by the light of the moon. With this and the newer track "Outcasts" as well as others the band deftly portrays how smoothly they combine piano melodies with rock rhythms and guitar while other tracks combine acoustics with electronic guitar such as "Whenever You Close Your Eyes". This seems to be a song about not letting go of hatred and jealousy and the lonliness that it brings. Such is the case with many songs by Seven 13, a bittersweet lesson in life. "Venus" seems to be the prime love song on the album. "If You Want Me" is a 70's rock grind with a small twist. Seven 13 as you'll note combines many elements of 70's rock ballads as most every track is fuzed with rock heavy guitar, tinkling piano keys, and melodramatic vocals whose lyrics could only be compared to a theatrical Steve Perry with pagan and gothic overtones. However Kenneth's vocals are a bit more gutteral and strained at times as he belts out the band's unusually etheric rock anthems. "Diane" is a love/hate relationship. Something I really found enjoyable was the inclusion of Cello on "You Could Be Mine" by Jacob Shaprio. "Falling" ends the album with it's lustfull desire that leads to loss of self. Seven 13 / Coven 13 is the type of band you either really like what they are doing and you understand it or you simply aren't interested and find it as nothing more than nearly childish theatrics. The band has acquired a bit of polish since the last release and I think they are on to something unique and personally I'm one of those who likes them. Musically it's not my favorite style of music but there is some obvious talent here which is continually growing with time. For those who don't like them, well keep watching them, they are sure to do some interesting and amazing things in the future. The band is full of great ideas which are not always easy to pull off, the most difficult is will the audience get it, some do and some don't. The only disappointment I may have with them is they seem to have lost some of their spiritual focus and are more focused on the elements of sexuality. Also, while understanding why they changed the name I don't see it necessary and only further confusing for fans and will make them look a bit 'watered down' to many older pagans. However, with all that in mind the main single "Drink" and accompanying video are a sure sign that the band has much to express and we can expect them to continue expansively in the future. Lastly, love that Jack shirt Justin! ;-)

The ID: Dreams of the Dreadnought

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 30 2002
Artist: The ID (@)
Title: Dreams of the Dreadnought
Format: CD
Label: Morphic (@)
Despite the very poor recording quality of their self-produced CD and a hard to describe eclectic mixture of influences, The Id play shows, conferences and festivals all around the world, staging and spreading their political beliefs and showing their support to associations such as Greenpeace. The UK duo hardly conforms to set standards or musical labels and instead absorb ideas from the past and the present, mixing dark, wave, electronics, rock, noise in what they like to refer to as «experimental eclecticism» or «new wave of the new wave of alternativism». Their style is characterized by heavily processed guitars and vocals, draining and stomping drum patterns and sounds, lots of wanted (and sometimes unwanted) distortion/saturation, sequenced and improvised electronics and male and female vocalists talking, shouting and singing. To be honest I am not crazy about this, but on the other hand music is a matter of taste and reviews are a subjective point of view so I suggest you check it out for yourself (which you should have anyway). I am truly sorry I am not impressed with this band's music as much as I am with their attitude. They have my deepest respect for their attitude and for being so politically active. We need more bands that understand the importance of having a political agenda alongside their music! Well done!


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