Music Reviews



Soncesvit: Tenebrae

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 25 2013
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Artist: Soncesvit (@)
Title: Tenebrae
Format: CD EP
Label: Artificial Sun (@)
Rated: *****
The fifth release by the uprising Russian Artificial Sun label surprises with this debut release by the Ukrainian one-man project Soncesvit. Consisting of Ivan Luza, this debut EP consists of only two tracks, 'Tenebrae' and its b-side 'Magma'. At least 10 tracks, you'll get 8 foreign remix contributions on the title-track, plus the two original versions of both tracks. 'Tenebrae' itself surprises with lyrics completely in German taken from a biblical poem after the Austrian poet Paul Celan, who was originally born in the Ukraine. The raw and attacking guitar assaults and the powerful rhythm programming, as well as the 'rolling-R-letter-like' vocals let this track become to one of the best tribute-to-Ramstein tunes ever! Till Lindemann would have a smile if he'd have a chance to listen to this limited CDR (101 exemplars only available). As for the remixes on 'Tenebrae', first and again to name are the Kaliningrad-based marauders of Type V Blood providing an excellent, raw and powerful assault. Distorted World, also an often discovered name on a remix list by the Artificial Sun label, are proving their sense to provide more calm tones and more silent moments to this powerful original track. Also the interpretations of T-U.bus as well as the Project E.V.A. & Heart Hunter remix have to be rated as being well-done by providing some new and interesting Electronica elements to the mix. The b-side 'Magma' is a rather Folk-Metal-oriented outfit, hardly comparable to 'Tenebrae', and it needs some usage by the listener to grow on it. The rating after this review rather counts for this release only, since it is an entertaining one. The artist and his abilities can be hardly rated after only two tracks, but as far as we know the release politic of Artificial Sun during the last months, a full-length album should follow soon.

The Blank Vrs: The Idiots And The Envious

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 20 2013
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Artist: The Blank Vrs
Title: The Idiots And The Envious
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Pale Music International! (@)
Rated: *****
Originally from Stockholm, Sweden and currently based in Berlin, Germany, Kalle Fagerberg is the mastermind behind The Blank VRS. Active since 2010 or so, he did a couple of releases (a tape for Color Triangle Recordings and a digital self produced release) before making his first CD EP "The Idiots And The Envious" for Pale Music. Based on a piece of poetry by John Wilmotworks, the EP contains six tracks which experiments with synths, electronics, guitars and melody. Listening to tracks like "Pigeon Song (for Sparrow)" and the following "Polygraph", I think about a raw mix of Placebo, early Gene Loves Jezebel (check the opening "Fig Head") and early Cindytalk. The sound is based on guitar riffs, synth melodic distortions, 4/4 upbeat drum machine beats and new wave vocals. Already having played a lot in Europe, The Blank VRS is now looking west and plans a NorthAmerica/Canada Tour in early 2014 and as many shows in Europe as possible. You can check the whole EP at this link http://theblankvrs.bandcamp.com/album/the-idiots-and-the-envious

Tomahawk: ”Oddfellows”

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 17 2013
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Artist: Tomahawk (@)
Title: ”Oddfellows”
Format: CD
Label: Ipecac Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
WTF?? Look at this album cover (courtesy of cartoonist Ivan Brunetti) ' does that give you any idea what this latest release by Tomahawk sounds like? Hell no! But it's a hoot anyway. To be perfectly honest, I'd never heard (nor heard of) Tomahawk before this. I've heard of, and heard (a little) of a couple of Mike Patton's other bands ' Mr. Bungle and Faith No More, and can't say I'm a fan of either of them. With no proper basis of comparison, I began listening with more or less virgin ears.

Tomahawk now is Mike Patton- vocals/keys; Duane Denison- guitar; John Stanier- drums; Trevor Dunn ' bass. The latter, from Mr. Bungle, replace founding member Kevin Rutmanis. The guitar on opening and title track 'Oddfellows' sounds like latter-day King Crimson slowed down quite a bit. Patton's sinister wailing reminds me a bit of Swan's Michael Gira. It's a deliciously creepy vibe augmented with some wild-assed soloing by Denison toward the end. Great way to begin. Didn't care much for the next track, 'Stone Letter,' as it sounded like a pretty standard alt-rocker to me, except for the flanged gothy guitar break. 'I.O.U.' raises the bar a bit with its slow and simmering dark tension verse and rising, wailing chorus. Sort of minimalistic but really good! 'White Hats/Black Hat' is an absolutely brilliant rocker; a low-down, dirty, sexy, and dangerous burner, of the ilk I don't hear enough of nowadays. 'A Thousand Eyes' is a spooky little change-up. 'Rise Up Dirty Waters' has a really spiffy detective jazz motif that heats up on the chaotic jumpin' jive chorus. This is the track that really sold me on the album. I'm such a sucker for stuff like this! 'The Quiet Few' is anything but quiet, a real nightmarish raucousness on this one, right up to its manic conclusion. In 'I Can Almost See Them' I can almost see shades of Ennio Morricone. 'South Paw' sounds like one of those rockers that's more effective live than in the studio and reminded me too much of Faith No More. 'Choke Neck' on the other hand is a creepy downtempo number that is typical of what I am coming to expect from Tomahawk. 'Waratorium' sounded like filler, but at least it was well-done filler. 'Baby Let's Play__' is the closest thing to a love ballad on the album, but think of it as a Dexter-serial killer sort of love ballad. Final track 'Typhoon' is an uptempo hell-raiser I could imagine Iggy & the Stooges doing. Too short at 2:12 but always leave 'em wanting more I guess.

I made it a point after I finished this review to search out some of Tomahawk's earlier work and there is no doubt that a good deal of it was a lot more experimental and out there than this album. It's not that they sound like a completely different band (they don't) but they've managed to refine and focus their energy and trim some of the ragged edges. Song construction is generally better too. If you were a big fan of their previous work, you might be disappointed that there aren't extended excursions into weirdsville. However, if you truly appreciate the band's essence, you'll appreciate that 'Oddfellows' is a cohesive work with some absolutely stellar tracks.

Niton Cage: Cage

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 17 2013
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Artist: Niton Cage
Title: Cage
Format: 12"
Label: Seja Records (@)
Rated: *****
A new release for the stubborn Netherlands-based Seja Records, again strictly limited to 300 exemplars and pressed on golden old vinyl only. Yes, here is another must-have release which brings back the warm-sounding analogue touch in times of digital coldness. I had the German duo Traffic AM a while back with a remarkable debut for Seja Records and this Niton Decay-project somehow consists of the same musicians. Officially labelled as being Traffic AM's vocalist Stefan Gonzer's solo effort, his partner in crime, Michael Kissing, has produced this first 7-track album. By checking the first tracks on the A-side of this release I somehow thought on a musically darker sounding Alter Ego-project to Traffic AM, especially after the ominous, sample-driven introduction tune 'Strange And Silent'. Also 'Don't Mind' and 'Deny The Decay' aren't hymns to celebrate a kids' birthday on a sunny afternoon, but clever sounding Downtempo-like Dark Electronica tracks with a constant Wave influence inspired by the golden 80s. The b-side then brings generally in more pace and a bit more of their New Wave influence, it could be said, the 3 tracks are coming very near to the cleaner produced Traffic AM project. 'Cage' is another well produced effort by these German protagonists. The fact, that this release comes again out on good old vinyl just helps to integrate the analogue warmth so evident for this style of music and it sounds much more 'alive' and edgy than the usual plastic Pop chart music effort.

Frigidaire Tango: The Cock The Original Demotape 1980

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 13 2013
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Artist: Frigidaire Tango
Title: The Cock The Original Demotape 1980
Format: 12"
Label: Synthetic Shadows Records (@)
Rated: *****
Frigidaire Tango's starts in 1977 when Carlo Casale and Stefano Dal Col met in Liberta square in Bassano Del Grappa. Carlo just visited London with a black Shathesbury's guitar. Soon after, the duo with Maurizio Simeoni started to play and formed Outkids. With Alberto Gomiero on bass guitar they started to play live. After several line-up changes, in 1979, they changed name and became Thrash. Influenced by punk and Roxy Music, the band started to play live. In October 1980, Alessandro Chioatto joined them on sax and they recorded a 15 tracks demo tape. That tape would have been brought to London by Mrs Alex, the first Italian journalist to move to join the new wave but in November, the Italian label Young Records decided to offer them a record deal. That was the official born of Frigidaire Tango. In 1981 the band started the recordings of their first album, "The Cock", which hut the records stores on February 1982. The year after they released a self produced E.P.titled "Russian Dolls"and participated to "Body Section", the second compilation produced by the Italian magazine Rockerilla. After participating to other three compilations (two volumes of Rockgarage and "P.E.A.C.E."), the band had major line-up changes which mined their stability. On the positive side, they had the I.R.A. label that was interested into checking them and they did a lot of gigs but this wasn't enough. Different members started playing with other bands or producing other bands and the fact that I.R.A. didn't contacted them yet didn't helped and Frigidaire Tango split up. The story of the band didn't end here, because few years ago the reformed and recorded a new album changing musical style but this is another story. With this review I want to talk to you about the Synthetic Shadows Records release of eleven out of fifteen songs coming from those 1980 recordings. "The Cock The Original Demotape 1980" is a perfect way to discover a band that was able to mix punk and new wave in a fresh energetic wave and if you didn't purchase "The Freezer Box" the compilation CD box, back in 2006, this is your chance to listen to tracks like "Be Only", "Push", "Black Curtains"or "Anytime You Dress So Fine". On those tracks dissonance, melody and energy blend perfectly thanks to razor cut guitars, catchy sax lines, seducing synth sounds and the neurotic vocals of Charlie Out Cazale. Great release!


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