Music Reviews

Guillotine Dream: A War on the Passage of Time

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 02 2018
Artist: Guillotine Dream (@)
Title: A War on the Passage of Time
Format: CD + Download
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Finally Guillotine Dream has a new full-length release, titled 'A War on the Passage of Time,' the followup to 2016's 'Lemuria' mini-album. For the uninitiated, Guillotine Dream is a UK goth band under the leadership of Ian Arkley (known as Arc in this project), who is better known for his Gothic Doom Metal band My Silent Wake. Guillotine Dream is really nothing like MSW, with a much more trad gothic rock sound along the lines of Fields of the Nephilim. While 'Lemuria' opened strong with its title track and showed much promise, it did sound a bit self-indulgent at times. The first two things I noticed about 'A War on the Passage of Time' is how atmospheric it sounds, and also how comfortable the band sounds with the material. Not to say that the songs sound "comfortable"; they're generally a bit more malevolent and darker than those on 'Lemuria'. Arc sets the mood right off the back with the fast-paced "Primitive," surely an attention getter. It's the medium-paced "Code" though that really draws you in. Even more atmospheric is "Succubus Sigh," a gothic love song devoid of sentimentality. "Signs" picks up the pace again in near breakneck fashion racing towards the edge of some unfathomable precipice and sailing over the cliff of doom with aplomb. I should mention that although Guillotine Dream often gets compared with FOTN, there's none of that undead ZZ Top vibe the Nephilim were so prone to. Arc's voice is not unlike McCoy's so that's why comparisons are often made. Title track "A War on the Passage of Time" is less dynamic than I expected, but it does ooze dark atmosphere. Even more effective though is "Darklings Rooms," a song that is Goth 101, but done perfectly. "Number 16" is about a house that you really don't want to visit; a place with a reputation for unspeakable evil. ("They say it's a house of death...nobody's welcome here...") "Dead Genius" is an agonizingly slow crawl that even with vocals is 90% atmosphere. The album ends with a reprise of "Lemuria" from the first album, but it's done a little different this time out- a little lengthier, dispenses with any acoustic guitar, and has a less goth-pop sound fitting in more comfortably with the other material here on this album. Which is better? (you may ask), to which I'd reply, they're both good in their own ways, but it's almost like a different song. While the former version is stronger, the latter is more atmospheric. In total, Guillotine Dream have managed to put out an uncompromising goth album to be reckoned with; one that does not sacrifice one iota of dark gothy atmosphere for the sake of commerciality. In these times, that's to be commended. (CDs are limited to 333 hand-numbered copies.)

H2S: Kosmos 96

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 17 2018
Artist: H2S
Title: Kosmos 96
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Biotasi Records
Rated: *****
Eleven years after the latest album titled „Proteus Soundtracks“, H2S, solo project of Fabio Degiorgi, is back with a new mini album and a new sound. In 2007 we left Fabio dealing with „tracks always in balance between experimental intuitions, industrial sounds and also a bit of post punk/new wave“, quoting my own review I wrote back then. What we have now? For „Kosmos 96“, Fabio composed five new instrumental tracks which are sounding more cinematic and melodic. Somehow is like on this new release he gathered all his past musical experiences (he plays bass guitar with the wave band Vidi Aquam and played for the hardcore band Crash Box, for the garage psychedelic band Four By Art, etc.), packed them and decided to take a trip to Venus (the title track is inspired by the Soviet space probe part of the Venera project which was shoot into space in November 1965, just to fall back to earth in pieces two weeks after). Fabio in the presentation sheet named as main references the 70’s cosmic travellers coming from Germany (Cluster, Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, early Kraftwerk, etc.) and also the most experimental wave bands of the 80’s of the likes of Tuxedomoon or Eyeless In Gaza. Well, with „Il terrazzo di Glottertal“, „Fontange De Donis“, „Organia“, „Kosmos 96“ and „Kopli“ he succeeded into creating his personal soundtrack which is not only able to lead you to an imaginary travel through melancholic landscapes but it’s also able to allow yourself to let you loose into synth suites enriched by clean guitar arpeggios and treated bass guitar lines... no drums allowed! Really nice release which can be yours for 5€, if you want to own one of the fifty CDrs or only 2€ for the Bandcamp download!

Alberto Nemo: 6x0

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 15 2018
Artist: Alberto Nemo (@)
Title: 6x0
Format: CD
Label: Dimora Records (@)
Rated: *****
When you pull the CD out of his case for the minimal limited edition (150 copies only) of "6 x 0", you can read a sentence "etsise non ehc otrebla nu otama oh", the reverse for "ho amato un alberto che non esiste" (Italian for "I loved an Alberto who doesn't exist"). The Alberto, who surely exists, has a distinguishing mark/natural gift, a remarkably piercing voice, whose trembling timber on high tones is not that easy to find between male voices, the Alberto who shouldn't exist or the one existing within an imaginary mirror is the one you can listen on this interesting album, where the Venetian vocalist recorded six track (played on reverse -!-, the style fluctuates between contemporary classical, sacred music, minimal electronica and drone music) before recording their reverse on the studio. A guessed precedent he quoted to render an idea of what you're going to listen is the extraordinary soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" by British composer Jocelyn Pook as well as some experiments by notorious bands such as Dead Can Dance or Coil (and I'd also add the first outputs by Enigma as well as the ones by many intimistic modern Greek singers). I won't label this output as a merely formal exercise, as I think it's consistent with the intrinsic duality of the sound where his voice, encrusted like a shining diamond reflecting unnatural obscure beams, such as the last track "Emama" (a sort of reversed invitation to love him...), a breaching palindromic counterpoint to the above-mentioned assertion.

Nox Interna: A Minor Road

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 04 2018
Artist: Nox Interna (@)
Title: A Minor Road
Format: CD EP
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
Nox Interna is back, this time with a 3-track CD titled 'A Minor Road' after the first cut on it. You could call it a maxi-single or a brief EP, whichever you prefer. For the unfamiliar, Nox Interna is a goth-industrial metal bilingual band from Germany led by Richy Nox. The bilingual aspect is not German-English as you might surmise but Spanish-English. Although that's probably not unique in the Goth/Industrial genre, it's still different. My last experience with them was their 'Spiritual Havoc' album, and if I recall, I was kind of on the fence about it. The three songs on this CD are less metal and closer to pop, more commercial sounding and that ain't a bad thing as long as you're true to your sound, which is the case here. The title track I suppose was envisioned as the hit single, and while the song is competently arranged and produced, and has a good chorus hook, I think something about it lacks hit single potential. It just doesn't have the oomph, drive or memorable aspect that would put it over the top. Second track- "Doomed Generation" has a lot more drive and oomph, and strives for the anthemic but has a problem with the chorus when Richy sustains these low notes low notes they just The rest of the song is pretty good, but vocally those low notes are hurting it. Perhaps the best track is the last, - "Entre Dos Tierras" sung in Spanish of course, originally done by Spanish rock band Heroes Del Silencio back in 1990. Nox seems much more comfortable here in his own language, which is only natural. For my money I like Nox Interna's take on it which is actually much stronger than the original. So that leaves us with the summation- not a bad showing by Nox Interna overall, but I wonder who is going to plunk down $5+ for the CD ($3.50 for the download) in spite of Richy's cool artwork (and printed lyrics) besides rabid fans of the band. Perhaps 'A Minor Road' is a more apropos title than they thought.

Actors: It Will Come To You

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 24 2018
Artist: Actors
Title: It Will Come To You
Format: LP
Label: Artoffact (@)
Rated: *****
"Your lips are cold 100 years/frozen deep inside your fear/a touch of stone my disease/buried deep inside of me" are the sung words on the galloping opening track "L'appel du Vide" (French for "the call of the Void") by this Vancouver-based band for this debut album, a reanimator for the listeners (primarily) but also a way to revive some good old synthwave sonorities within a masterfully amalgamated jelly of post-punk, disco and glittering rock. The more important recipes of this (close-to)explosive jelly are undoubtedly the thunderous basslines twisting on the acute attacks of guitar and the vocals coming from the screaming lungs by the band leading voice Jason Corbett, but the professional setting of each resounding element and instrument in every single song combined with the stunning immediacy of their sound is the real distinguishing aspect of the drama played by these Actors. Except of the dark postmortem lividity of some songs like "Crosses" - sounding like a rock cover of some track by Boards of Canada, where Jason's falsetto almost mockingly repeats "It's a long way down / hide your crosses" - and some stylistic deflections such as the one of the instrumental theme of "Bird in Hand" or the dirty deranged disco of "Let It Grow" (very similar to some relatively old tunes by Fischerspooner), most of the songs wink at dancefloors by putting a swing on the tree of the growling sonorities of modern crossbreds between dance and rock and swiffered findings in the mausoleum of synth-wave, instead of the choice of "We Don't Have To Dance" to one of the brightest uplifters of the album. I'm curious to know how (and if) Actors are going to upgrade their palatable sound.

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