Music Reviews

FELSENREICH: Am Ende der Zeit...

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 08 2002
Title: Am Ende der Zeit...
Format: CD
Label: Expander Records
Distributor: Triton
First full length release for this German quintet, after the 1999 EP "The Death is Behind You" and the compilation appearance "The Wisdom" in the Astan music magazine sampler. Felsenreich play mildly complex goth-rock with some symphonic arrangements here and there (see the eponymous track, opening and closing the work); the voice has some Bauhaus resemblance, while the music is more in the vein of Garden of Delight. I can say they're good musicians and I guess it's a well done work for its own genre, but honestly, I haven't been thrilled at all by their performance. Plus the programmed drumming doesn't fit with the more aggressive and rocking tracks, giving them a bad "plastic-sound". I really think they should give a more definite identity to their sound, as ideas and technics are good, but still out of focus. Or possibly it's only a problem of mine with goth-rock...

Butterfly Messiah: Priestess

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 06 2002
Artist: Butterfly Messiah (@)
Title: Priestess
Format: CD
Label: Fossil Dungeon (@)
Distributor: Fossil Dungeon

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Butterfly Messiah are an amazing duo from Tampa whose music combines strong Darkwave and Ethereal elements with Industrial and dance music to create an otherworldy and dark sound. The members are also openly pagan and their views are evident in their music as well. The CD is, I think, the first official release by the band released on Fossil Dungeon. The CD jewel case has a silver mirror like look to the inside where the disc sits as does the disc itself and a beautiful yet dark insert booklet complete with band photos and lyrics.
From the first time I heard Butterfly Messiah as was at least as impressed with them as I was The Changelings except their music also combined cold electronics with lush ethereal qualities and dark spirituality. This release opens with a track from their demo EP Synthesis called "Land Beneath the Waves" but this is the only previous track you'll find on this release that I am aware of. All the other tracks are brand new for this CD however the first track does sound a bit cleaned up in the studio.
"The Wicked" begins with industrial-like twitch beats and a brooding bassline. Shannon layers her Projekt-like ethereal vocals on top of the mixture. The chorus is a combination of whispers and what almost sounds like taunting. This is just a sample of the combination of sounds you'll hear with Butterfly Messiah. "Introspection" has a sort of funky beat but the backing effect is a breathy vocal chantlike sample. Here Shannon trades the vocal spotlight with Robert who performs more of the harsher bits while Shannon blends in almost ghostlike later in the track.
Butterfly Messiah are the first band I've heard to successfully combine the softer elements of Ethereal based music with the harder beat oriented elements of industrial. "Visitor" is an excellent track with a distinct Gothic Rock feel to it while "Ring The Bells" begins with an almost old Cabaret Voltaire feel to it which soon turns into an electric guitar buzz more cold and hard than Christian Death. However one of my favorite tracks is "Eternal Undone", a song with a definite pagan theme. Robert's vocals are hard and cold - nearly mechanical - while Shannon sings beautifully muse-like, element in contrast holding successful union of rhythm and timbre. The changes in this song are very interesting as well - sometimes very cold while at others very ghostlike and dreamy.
Shannons layered recordings of her singing on "When Autumn to Winter Resigns" has a very madrigal effect to it and sounds much like it was recorded in a wide, empty chamber. "Reverie" is more of a smooth guitar and synth piece with vocals that has a very This Mortal Coil sound to it.
Butterfly Messiah continue to be a band that I have strong desire to watch their career and they have proven that good music really can get it's start on and make it's way to a decent label.

© Copyright 8/2002 TG Mondalf. All Rights Reserved


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 31 2002
Artist: LILAC AMBUSH (@)
Title: Fragile E.P.
Format: MiniDisc
Label: Twisted Spinach
Lilacs are back and this new four track E.P. is, in my opinion, their best release to date. Each track has got beautiful melodies and atmospheres and the band is capable to sum all the 80's wave and goth music in nineteen minutes. Influences goes to Red Lorry Yellow Lorry (on "Dead Wood"), Cure and Sound (on "Pendulum") but as for the last E.P. everything is done with taste and personal ideas. If you love 80's sound and new wave by listening to Lilac Ambush you won't be disappointed. A better production of the tracks would help getting a record deal but is that possible that there aren't labels interested in these sounds no more?

DER FEUERKREINER: Der Feuerkreiner

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 24 2002
Title: Der Feuerkreiner
Format: CD
Label: Misty Circles (@)
Der Feuerkreiner is an Italian band formed by Federico Flamini (vocals and melodies) and Valentina Castellani (vocals). On the six A5 pages booklet there ins't any information about the band which by the graphics presents themselves as a dark industrial combo fascinated by Germany of the end of 19th century (I presume so because the writings which come along with the pictures are in this language). Musically the eight nameless tracks are evocative and could remember something like a mixture between In The Nursery, Death In June and some Cold Meat Industry early stuff with sometimes cello inserts and the costant presence of percussions. If you are into this kind of stuff you can find the Der Feuerkreiner's sound interesting and catchy.

NOVALIS: Last years calling

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 11 2002
Title: Last years calling
Format: CD
Label: Ars Musica Diffundere/Black Rain (@)
Distributor: Triton
God, I thought this was another electro duo but no, luckily Novalis play dark folk. Songs tend to be good, with effective arrangements and sober playing - acoustic guitar, keyboards, some percussions and trumpet, and two voices alternating from track to track; at best, the production's similar to Death In June's "Rose clouds of holocaust", like in the opening track "Human". Influences logically embrace the good ole days World Serpent rooster (a lot of DIJ, some Sol Invictus and Fire + Ice in the more epic moments -like "Of the golden future time"-, a bit of Current 93), Swans ("What if", my favourite one), and unfortunately some gothic/wave slips in a couple of tracks ("Hey God", "Bloody") which are, in my opinion, the weakest of the whole work. I'd say the first half of the cd is really quite good, while the second one presents not that memorable songs. It must be a matter of tastes, but I wish Novalis stuck to folk ballads increasing traditional arrangements ("Von Traum", for example, has a great atmosphere for that) and dropping the goth influences that stiffen their sound.

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