Music Reviews



Red Wedding: Anthology 1981-1985

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 09 2014
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Artist: Red Wedding
Title: Anthology 1981-1985
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows
Rated: *****
Formed by people coming from punk bands (Tracers and Hey Taxi), Red Wedding found their force on the power couple (both on and off stage) of Michael Ely and Spider Taylor that along with Marc O (keyboards), John Tagliavia (bass guitar), Brian Ford (drums), Brian Engel (drums) and Warren Mansfield (bass guitar) debuted in 1981 at the Brave Dog, a small hole-in-the-wall, but iconic club in downtown Los Angeles where they became the house band. After the club was closed for serving alcohol without a license, Red Wedding moved on to playing the biggest clubs in L.A. and San Diego sharing the stage with bands and performers such as Killing Joke, Nina Hagan, Psi Com (an early incarnation of Jane's Addition), X, Romeo Void, Bow Wow Wow, Specimen, Kommunity FK, The Bangs (an early incarnation of The Bangles), Suburban Lawns, Redd Kross and 45 Grave. In 1982 they recorded their first MLP titled 'Up and Down the Aisle' with the production of Thom Wilson (who also produced the first Christian Death album and who probably helped them to have it issued in Europe two years after on L'Invitation Au Suicide, label that also released "Only Theatre Of Pain" in 1983). In 1984, Red Wedding released a second EP produced by Leslie St. James titled 'Nails' and the year after they recorded a third EP produced by Ed Grundman and Rick Hart which was never released. This compilation released by Synthetic Shadows gathers all six the tracks from the second EP "Nails" and three out of five from the debut plus other three coming from the band's archive (they did a CDr in 2005 which gathers all the nineteen songs they recorded). Musically they are powerful post punk which has much influences coming from punk 77 and glam. Tracks like the opening "All Dressed Up" are able to catch the lovers of these sounds immediately, thanks to the theatrical vocal performance of Michael Ely. Try to imagine a mix of Marc Bolan, UK Decay with a bit of Adolescents. This album contains many gems such as "Somewhere", the wave punk song "Satan In Cologne" (try to think about a punk version of Japan). Great release co-produced with Killed By Disco Records. Check it here http://syntheticshadows.bandcamp.com/album/red-wedding-anthology-1981-1985-ss014-2

Aus Decline: Fluxion

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 09 2014
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Artist: Aus Decline
Title: Fluxion
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows
Rated: *****
I reviewed Aus Decline back in 2007 as they released a CD anthology of their live and studio recordings. Now, it's time to talk about them again because Synthetic Shadows is releasing a great LP titled "Fluxion" which contains all the studio recordings coming from that CD plus, on side B, the first band demo released in 1982 titled "Radiox". The tracks of Side A, as I already wrote for the CD review, are post punk influenced tracks with cool synth lines and guitar riffs in balance from clean and distorted sound. They used dissonant melodies and tense atmospheres just like other bands of that era (see Frigidaire Tango and Gaz Nevada). Just like on the CD, on "Fluxion" you can find "Five Years Life", song included on the first and only compilation issued by Mask Records in 1982. All the tracks are really good as I already knew. Now, let's talk about the six tracks of the first demo. "News On New" (already issued on the 10" sold with the book "Vinile Italiano: Indice Del Nuovo Rock Dal 1977 Al 2010"), "City House", "Exit", "One Chance To Face You", "Human Dicotomy" and "Auburn" are a bit raw sounding but they confirm the quality that the band showed with the stuff recorded the following years that we already knew. Post punk influences, nervous riffs, a bit of feedback, upbeat tempos sudden energy explosions are already there. If you love the italian sound of the early 80s, you have to check this out and you can do it here:
http://syntheticshadows.bandcamp.com/album/aus-decline-fluxion-ss013

Morrowyellow: My Colours: 1985​/​1988

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 09 2014
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Artist: Morrowyellow
Title: My Colours: 1985​/​1988
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows
Rated: *****
Founded in Verona, Italy, in 1983 after the split of the band Eva Brown, Morrowyellow lasted about five years. Born as a collaboration between Mauro Marchesi (keyboards and electronics) and Joyello Triolo (vocals and guitar), the band recorded several demos with this line-up. "Dance And Tears" in 1984, "The Lovers", "Only This Pain" and "Four-Leaved Clover" in 1985 and "Bamboo" in 1986. On those years they also collaborated with avant-garde theater and contemporary dance companies composing tracks in balance from italo disco (like "Dance & Tears"), introspective wave (like "Only This Pain" or "Taste Of Dust") and synth wave (like the live recording of "Live Eyes Myth"). None of this material has been covered by the reissue released by Synthetic Shadows. The LP "My Colours: 1985'/'1988", focus the attention of the following two demos "My Colours" (released in 1987) and "Demo" (released the year after). I read about another tape titled "Last Recordings" but I don't know if it was a compilation or not. Anyway... On this period the band changed a bit the sound thanks to Massimo Turco, who joined them in 1985. Songs like "Wakefulness", "No Secrets" are new wave tracks that recall me a little of Weimar Gesang as they are melancholic as well energetic. Some traces of experimentation they used for the theatre soundtracks are still evident on "3000 Days". Tracks like "Don Juan" are in balance from post punk and new romantic (a sort of Aidons La Norvege meet Spandau Ballet mix) while the closing "The Wheel (Shaman's Rose)" and "This Film" are nice wave ballads a bit like Stranglers of the "European Female" fame period. Nice release that you can check here http://syntheticshadows.bandcamp.com/album/morrowyellow-my-colours-1985-1988-ss012

Sum of R: Lights on Water

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 06 2014
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Artist: Sum of R (@)
Title: Lights on Water
Format: CD
Label: Utech Records
Rated: *****
Lights keep on shining in the dark according to the incisive stylistical concoction by original Swiss musician Reto Mader aka RM74, who releases the second full lenght album of his side-project Sum OF R together with Julia Valentina Wolf after the tidbit "Ride out the Waves" on Storm As He Walks. "Lights on Water" sounds maybe less visceral and more geometrical than the above-mentioned EP as if some structures had been conceived in order to ease "compatibility" with possible live stages and some sonic contrivances are often easily reproducible, but their sound remains tremendously hard-hitting and cliffhanging. In order to give you an idea of their strking sonic strategies to melt doom metal, noisy hooks and ritual guise, the sepulchral chords, which got gradually saturated before exploding, on the initial "Rays and Line Segments" could be thought as a mixture of tricks by Cranes, Death In Vegas, Starfish Enterprises and GYBE; the ominous "Not Today and Maybe Not Tomorrow But Soon And For the Rest of Your Life" seems to follow the same path before the guitar gets dried and when you would expect a sort of depressive ballad, Mader's drumming coerces guitar into discharging cathartic and electric crimping and foretelling a curse. After the pre-apocalyptic medley "Birds Were Fallign From The Sky" and the caustic compressions of "In Mirror Arms", where doom metal vein by Sum Of R can be easily palpated, "Nobody Wants To Trade Uncommons For Uncommons" is maybe the track which includes more bromidic tricks, but they soon boost liking by the creepy scuffs of "Vela" and the final "March Out of Step When Crossing a Bridge", where their proper winning feature that is the balance between frail and blasting by means of a concatenating element - on this occasion a march-like tempo - is by far more appreciable.

Culls: The Dross Play vol.1

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 31 2014
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Artist: Culls (@)
Title: The Dross Play vol.1
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
The thick underbrush of mostly unknown musical project often set many surprises aside and one of the most interesting came from a flare by its author, the Italian guitar player Alessandro Rossi. His activism within underground extreme fringes of metal surfaces on this interesting project, whose flattened frequencies could mislead many reviewers who will grossly label his style as ambient. If we had to accept such a label, we could stick the adjectives "dark" and "industrial", but Culls crosses contiguous territories than projects which could come to mind when this adjectival use got linked to the word "ambient" such as Atrium Carceri, Lustmord or Desiderii Marginis (maybe the menacingly cryptic atmosphere of "Suspended In Craving" is the track, which sounds closer to the mentioned projects, whereas the ghostly choirs of "James Graham Ballard" make me think about some obscure stuff by proper masters of the genre such as Robert Rich), some details of Culls' sonorities such as the occasional insertions of stifling delayed guitar chords, the sombre drones, some pulverized thunders that he often smear on tracks like "Spiral Staircase" - one of the most hypnotic moments of the release, where a looping record stuck adds a distressed "look" to the track - or "Hold Strong Handle", where the accumulated breakdown voltage sounds like spewed out by means of a psychedelic riff, seems to push it towards other really interesting directions that have been masterfully clouded by layers of drowning sonic drolls. I can't wait to listen the second volume after such a promising onset.


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