Music Reviews



Dystopian Society: Overtuned Reality

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 21 2015
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Artist: Dystopian Society (@)
Title: Overtuned Reality
Format: CD
Label: Danse Macabre
Rated: *****
Three years after their debut album "Cages" and last year's 7" EP "Violations", Dystopian Society are releasing their second album "Overtuned Reality" for Danse Macabre. With a "shrunken" line-up, the two members of the band (Max Skam - vocals, bass and Sara Hexe - guitar, drums), are delivering a thirty minutes album which is better recorded compared to the first one (also because that one was an expanded version of their first demo), but it's losing the fast songs that maybe where making me feeling better their urge to communicate their idea of a in control and repressive society. Anyway, on this new album they still worked on the same themes with passion and dedication, because that feeling of not being part of this society is still burning in their chest. The eight new tracks (plus an intro) are upbeat mid tempos with tribal drumming, fat bass lines, granitic riffs and razor like guitar arpeggios. Vocals are functional to the songs but, in my humble opinion, they should try to make them more expressive, just to have a stronger and in your face sound. I'm sure that they are already working on perfecting themselves but on the meantime, you can check "Overtuned Reality" here https://dystopiansociety.bandcamp.com/album/overturned-reality

The Danse Society: VI

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 21 2015
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Artist: The Danse Society (@)
Title: VI
Format: CD
Label: Society Records
Rated: *****
New album and new line up (Paul Nash ' Guitars, Jack Cooper ' Bass, Iain Hunter ' Drums, Maethelyiah - Vocals and Sam Bollands - Keyboards) for the third The Danse Society's album after the reformation. "VI" contains ten new songs that confirm the band as one of the most powerful of the old scene, along with Killing Joke. The album, after a quick synth intro, starts with a blast, as "In The Red" sets the bar to a high level and if the mid tempo of "Star Whisperer", "Awesome" or "Ain't Gonna Happen" keep the tension high, "Bloodstream", for a moment, seems to offer a pause to the listener but then, its raging guitar awaits for you and its crescendo is taking no hostages. The real blast is the following one: "Freak Show" is a powerful one that recalls me Siouxsie & The Banshees of the "Hyena" period mixed with the Killing Joke of songs like "Money Is Not Our God"... yeah, that good... The new line-up is giving to the band a new energy as this album is more direct, tribal and for sure you won't miss tracks like "Doodlebug". The Danse Society's sound is now fat, powerful, grinding but still able to create mysterious atmospheres. Maethelyiah confirms herself the lioness who was roaring on the past albums and she's able to lead the band through new musical scenarios. Check the band's website, as they are still giving two tracks for free and they have opened the pre-orders as "VI" will be available on vinyl, CD and digital formats.

Nox Interna: Spiritual Havoc

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Oct 04 2015
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Artist: Nox Interna (@)
Title: Spiritual Havoc
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
Nox Interna is Gothic Rock/Industrial Metal band with Richy Nox - vocals, composition; Peter Geltat - guitars; Robert Müller - guitars, programming; Tom Krüger - guitars, programming; and on this album, Boris Oksuz - bass; and Tobias Haas - drums; with Reza Udhin - backing vocals. 'Spiritual Havoc' is supposed to be their third album, but I can't find their other two, so I would assume those releases were somewhat limited. I think they've been around from 2010 or 2011, but there's a good chance you haven't heard of them before...until now. Nox is from Madrid, while the other band members are from Berlin, so what we have here is sort of a Spanish-German hybrid.

The album begins with "Kill Yourself and Be Reborn," a hot mess of a number that gets your attention with staccato hammering, single-note guitar and a strident beat. There's a wild chaos about it that rubbed me the wrong way, and to be perfectly honest, after one listening to that song I put the CD away to save for later. Well, later has come, and though my opinion of the song hasn't changed, the rest of the album does makes up for it. "An Eastern Song" which follows is certainly more controlled and sounds somewhat typical of German gothic metal. Not a bad song at all; well-arranged and intelligible, but not really a standout. "Parasites" slows the pace down a little and offers an eerie-gothy synth line, and I'm beginning to detect a host of influences from Type-O Neg to 69 Eyes to Rammstein, and likely others. Confusion and Darkness indeed! It's "Tomorrow Never Knows" (no, not a
cover of the Beatles tune by the same name) that could be the hit of the album. Unfortunate choice of a title to Google but the song is really good with a great hook. Possibly a little too brief being only a little over 3 minutes, but always leave them wanting more. A real stomping burner is "Agua de Vida" with lyrics in Spanish, and although Entiendo ningún español, it still sounds pretty good in my estimation. "The Last Sip of Hope" is the obligatory power ballad. A little too funky for me, but Euro goth girls will probably love it. "The Rotten Wings of Truth" has a techno intro overlayed with gothy organ and then
metal guitars. A decent track, but for me, not killer. "Dead Heroes" is a little simpler, but has a better hook. "Sleeping in the Asylum" is rendered with workman-like precision but other than mood, not much stands out. "El Ciclo" with lyrics in Spanish certainly does
sound like Spanish gothic rock, but may only appeal to Castilians. "Art of Chaos" tries too hard to include so much, but in the end does not succeed. Now for a surprise - "Rebel Yell," a real cover, not a song with just the same title. It won't replace Billy Idol's iconic original, but it is an interesting take on a classic. Likely a fave live too. The album concludes with "Sons of Silence," a song with philosophical lyrics that perhaps should have been more of a downtempo ballad than an uptempo rocker.

In conclusion, Nox Interna's 'Spiritual Havoc' is an uneven album, but for this band, a fairly accomplished one. There are a few really good tracks that make it worthwhile. In the greater scheme of things, Nox Interna still have a ways to go before reaching the summit of the mountain of goth-industrial-metal rock bands out there, but with perseverance and a commitment to quality over quantity, they might very well make it.

Red Sun Revival: Identities

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 27 2015
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Artist: Red Sun Revival (@)
Title: Identities
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
'Identities' is the second full-length album by London-based gothic rock/darkwave group Red Sun Revival led by vocalist/guitarist Rob Leydon, with guitarist Matt Helm, bassist Panos Theodoropoulos, violinist/backing vocalist Christina Emery and Simon Rippin on drums. Sam Morrison guests on keyboards on one track (The Condemned, Part 1"). Not long ago I reviewed the band's interim EP, 'Embers', and while I found it to be pretty good, Leyden's voice was a bit too raspy for me, and sounded strained in places. I'm happy to say any similarity to Carl McCoy has been left miles behind down the road and Leydon's really come into his own on this album. The band is stronger, tighter, more powerful and cohesive than before. On 'Identities' Panos Theodoropoulos shares writing credits with Leydon as well, and this partnership really kicks the music up a notch or two. The lush orchestration of every number on the album makes Red Sun Revival unique in the gothic/darkwave genre, and although I'm still getting shades of An Also The Trees, it's really much different. Leydon's emotionally moving vocals and lyrics are the key to the identity of this band, and Stephen Carey's production and mix allows the band to reach its fullest potential- a skillful blend of passion and pathos wrapped in a shimmering, euphonious package with an abundance of style.

It's hard to pick a standout track on 'Identities' as they're all really good. One of my favorites though is "Fade In Time", where everything comes together just perfectly, and Christina's violin soars. "Mistakes", which appeared on the 'Embers' EP sounds as is it has
a much better mix than on the EP, although it could be my imagination. (The previous arrangement sounded a little mushy.) RSR really show how much they've grown on the tracks "The Condemned Parts, 1 & 2" treading into the prog-rocky realm of Pink Floyd, and claiming it as their own turf, with Helm's guitar leading the charge. If you're looking for a new album that will really grow on you and stand the test of time in the gothic/darkwave genre, then Red Sun Revival's 'Identities' is surely it. These folks are certainly the crème de la crème as they've poured their hearts, souls and skills into making it just so. That
"knockout" I implied the band was capable of at the end of my review of 'Embers' has surely been delivered.
Sep 24 2015
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Artist: John T.Gast (@)
Title: Excerpts
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
The mysterious halo around the name of John T.Gast - supposedly a fake identity -, who credited on Hype Williams' LP "Black Is Beautiful" as well as on different releases of both Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland aka Karen Glass, the two legs of Hype Williams, got fostered by this album, whose mysterious halo as well as the above-mentioned connection with the likewise mysterious Hype Williams, whose amazing and somehow original aesthetics where an elusive bubble of synth-pop, lo-fi tunes, soundcollages, trip-hop like desolation, songwriting, garage and bass-driven music resurfaced from London's chaotic nebula of UK minimal-synth sonorities that got spread out since the first years of the new millunium, makes sense. The words by which Gast's debut got introduced, which refers to both sentimental and seasonal freezing and battling ("The majority recorded early 2014 in SW England. A particularly fierce winter. Woman reasserting power. Man fighting in the dark. The Cold War continues."), are the framwork for most of the sonorities that are going to be poured into headphones and loudspeakers: the opening drone of "Shanti-ites" sounds like the opening of a magical floodgate, which got gradually released on the viscuously acid movement of the following "Infection" and the weirding housey modules of "Congress", whose lubricated groove counterbalances a set of sonic entities which screech like brakes. The confused cauldron of vocal snippets of "£" got poured into the overshadowed tones of "Ceremony", which could surmise some clouded stuff by Future Sound Of London and prepares the listener to the darker part of the album: with the exception of the groovy strangulation and the Detroitesque tech-house swings of the tail on "Claim Your Limbs", the gloomy "Green", which could let listener imagine a spectral ship in the thick fog of London's harbour which is going to set sail, the perfumed soot and the thrilling noir atmospheres of "White Noise/Dys", an excerpt which got reprised before the end, as well as the electronic eddies of "Sedna" tunnel listeners into the oblique sense of otherness and blissfully terse alienation of the final "Torch". John Y Gast's hypnagogic refluxes are so closer to Hype Williams' one than I won't wonder to know John is just their brainchild.


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