Music Reviews



White Hex: Heat

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 08 2012
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Artist: White Hex
Title: Heat
Format: 12"
Label: Avant! Records
Rated: *****
White Hex is a duo coming from Australia formed by Jimi Kritzler (member of Slug Guts, band that released their second album"Howlin' Gang" on Sacred Bones the last year) and Tara Green. "Heat" is their first MLP and it has just been released by Avant! on vinyl and digital. Their music a particular mix of 60's twanging guitars, obsessive bass lines, drum machine and cold female vocals. Taking inspirations from bands such like Gun Club and The Birthday Party, White Hex take those hot sounds and brought them to a colder place. The guitar is the main instrument and Jimi plays it passing from an arpeggio to a riff just to turn back to echoed picked notes. The counterpart to the presence of all this guitar work is the detached Tara's vocals and I must say that the mix works just fine. If at first you get a little while to get acquainted, after a while you have the feeling to be at a Lidya Lunch's party where she invited some goth friends and they are enjoining their evening by playing something together. The six tracks of the MLP will help you chill a bit your got summer... and you know you need it! Check here the opening tune "Stranger Love": http://soundcloud.com/avant/white-hex-stranger-love

Burial Hex: Book Of Delusions

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 29 2012
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Artist: Burial Hex (@)
Title: Book Of Delusions
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Some people think that the noblest form of art descends from deep suffering and pain. I'm not 100% sure about such an axiom, but releases like this one by Clay Ruby aka Burial Hex can push me closer to that percentage. In spite of light aversion for esotheric references, I appreciate Clay's skills in giving a certain theatrical makeup and a vivid dramatic power to his music and he could boast about having established himself as one of the most talented producer of current industrial scene after the issue of "Book Of Delusions". It seems that this release comes after a very negative period, which compelled him to summon an unspecified ancient force of protection and vitality, and even if he put a curse on everyone who's going to listen "Book Of Delusions", so that there will be something, mischief afoot on their life, supposedly, I could defy risk just to appreciate his artefact. I really don't know why but the very first thought when listening the first torn shouts of the initial "Final Litany" recalled to my mind the deliriums of "A Season in Hell" by Rimbaud, while resounding thuds, sinister squeaks and disquieting clicking of the following track "Urlicht" seems to evoke the desperate call for help of the homonymous German folk song, which slides little by little into the frightening "Crowned & Conquering Child", a clear reference to some beliefs of Crowley's Thelema as the title is one of the epithet of Horus or Ra-Hoor-Kuit, a ritual song whose electronic ebullience has been forged by Nathaniel Ritter where it seems a sacrificial prayer benefits from a chat with the deity while experiencing agonizing tribulation - vocal performance is so impressive that it seems that it was recorded during an ablution in a pool full of hot oil -.

During 15-minutes lasting listening of the title track, based on the hypnotic crossbreed of techno pushing beat, guitar gashes and punchy cuts, whose fierce heat reminded some tracks by Psychic Warriors Ov Gaia or even Underworld, some words of the homonymous book by legendary Romanian writer Emil Cioran could be the most suitable way to describe it: "The dramatic moment of the individual existence culminates always in the struggle with time. This struggle, however, is without escape, because the being touched by temporality, once having conquered eternity, inevitably regrets time. The desire to flee from time is found only in people ill with time, people who are tied too strongly by the bonds of fleeting moments. Redemption is such an inconsistent aspiration because of the regret experienced by those who are after the joys, surprises, and tragedies that the world, which lives and dies in the meanwhile, has to offer. If there is a temporal pressure, there is also, none the smaller, an infinity pressure.". The absorbing damned piano stroking keep the tension up while the same devilish voice which dubbed Horus in the above-mentioned track recite "Indra (God of Storm and Battle)" by Gustav Holst, whose "Vedic Hymns" have been reprised in the following track, "Storm Clouds" (my favorite one), where heartbreaking anguished cries on a moving piano looping melody and Troy Schafer's suspensive violin are going to rise listener's emotional pathos, as well as in the following "Go Crystal Tears", orignally included in his previously release with Zola Jesus together with the final track "Temple Of The Flood", based on a song by John Dowland, a meaningful entreaty against some woman's indurate heart, "whose frozen rigour like forgetful Death / Feels never any touch of my desert:/ Yet sighs and tears to her I sacrifice,/Both from a spotless heart and patient eyes", whose genuine interpretation by Clay Ruby is really astonishing.

Europ Europ: Mellowharsher

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 20 2012
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Artist: Europ Europ
Title: Mellowharsher
Format: 10"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
"Mellowharsher" is the newest 10" by Norwegian band Europ Europ. Formed in 1996 as an improvisation project, later it evolved into a band, with guests and friends who interact with the two core members. They started recording and releasing stuff on early 2000s mostly for the underground Norwegian label Etch Wear. The new E.P. starts with an intense track titled "Ants On Acid", which sets the atmosphere and the sound of the 10", as Europ Europ present themselves with an experimental sound made of crackling synth sounds, violin screams and dissonant melodic little loops. Also "Prescription Drugs" and "This Song Makes Me Cry" deal with something similar but they made me think about a psychedelic approach that made them focus their tracks on vocal laments and basic monophonic synth sounds. They sounded pretty much like a midway from a ritual and a psychedelic trip. "Starving For Compliments" is the one which convinced me more along with the opening track, beacuse it has a nice melody, a nostalgic feeling and a balanced formula. It sounds like a sort of electronic version of early Virgin Prunes. The following "Open Wound, Dagger Mind (French Version)", instead, is pretty much based on experimental noise standards and "Hero Pilot", the closing track, it's a nice experimental tune that mix analog filtered rhythms, synth noises and tiny melodies, giving the feeling to be near the breaking point.

Verdiana Raw: Metaxy

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 20 2012
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Artist: Verdiana Raw (@)
Title: Metaxy
Format: CD
Label: Ark (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
The inspirational perimeter of this record by Italian maenad Verdiana Raw could be traced by the literary references which are inlaid on stone doorposts where Verdiana Raw stands and welcomes listeners by making a gentle bow on the cover artwork: the Saracen leader Ruggiero and the female Christian warrior Bradamante, supposedly ancestors of author's patrons, D'Este family from Ferrara, their dramatic and troublesome love affair, their fortunes and events handed down by Ariosto's and Boiardo's writings as well as references to turbulent story of Tristan and Isolde, which became medium of generational ideals and believings by means of the genius of Richard Wagner, could be the romantic framework of this inspired record, which could be considered as the hallway towards obscure dungeons whose narrow corridors go across the in-between way the priestess Diotima showed to Socrates in order to let him reach the supreme knowledge, based on what we might name "relativity" nowadays. In Plato's Symposium this cognitive process close topure intuition in between poles is called "metaxy" and such a definition whetted the appetite for speculation of many modern philosophers. This everlasting cycle between opposite poles shines through Verdiana's lyrics and her way of "molding" words and vocal intonation and pitch (sometimes radiant, sometimes gloomy, but always remarkably haunting) while singing seems to suggest that such a state of consciousness doesn't imply or claim listener's rational comprehension. Verdiana's voice, mainly supported by pleasant piano melodies with occasional presence of other instruments, suavely flutters and caresses surrounding ether whereas her aesthatics meet the ones of celtic bards, classical composers, magicians'spell book and, last but not least, mythology and ritual music. I got astonished by those pieces where her voice sounds coming from other dimensions such as in "Escaping from the Guards, Ascending To The Moon", "Corvus Psyche'", "From The Sea", song where she reminded to me some vocal peaks reached by Love Spirals Downwards' Suzanne Perry, and "Outro" (in spite of the low quality of recording of this track...) as well as her versatility and impressive shifts in songs where she plays on the use of voice almost as a pictorial element such as in "Headless Baby Bitch", "The Japanese Garden", "Dining Alone" or in the aching interpretation of Guillerme Apollinaire's "La Loreley", which could summarize the poetics of this record throughout the reprise of themes like the tormented damnation of beauty.

Kill The Dandies!: Those Who Hold The Flame

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 15 2012
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Artist: Kill The Dandies!
Title: Those Who Hold The Flame
Format: 12"
Label: Pale Music
Rated: *****
Kill The Dandies are a band coming from the Czeck Republic that born when two ex members of The Nihilists (Hank J. Manchini and La Petite Sonja) met Richard Fischer (ex member of Take Death). They soon have been joined by drummer Vratislav Placheta (he played with Green Monster and also The Nihilists) and the bass player Michal Horejsi and after touring UK, Germany, Hungary, France and more, they self produced for their label Drug Me Records their first album: "I Saw White Fields". After two years, always with their label in conjunction with Pale Music, Kill The Dandies are releasing their second album "Those Who Hold The Flame". Available in vinyl and digital download from their Bandcamp page, the album sees the band dealing with nine new songs which mix 60s garage atmospheres with warm synth/hammond sounds, noisy guitars and wild vocal growls. Taking inspiration from bands of the such of The Cramps, Velvet Underground, Phil Spector or Rowland S. Howard (of whom they covered the song "The King of Kalifornia"), The Dandies know how to party and along with vibrating twanging guitars, the distorted bass guitar and the drumming are strong as a train at full velocity. Tracks like "Panic Inferno", with its dark mood, or the slow r'n'r/guitar-synth noise driven "It's So Sad", are perfect to understand what the band is able to offer: passion, fuzz and energy... Really nice one...


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