Music Reviews



Kreuzweg Ost: Gott Mit Uns

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 16 2012
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Artist: Kreuzweg Ost (@)
Title: Gott Mit Uns
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
I want to believe raving insinuations about relations between so-called martial industrial and nazi propaganda, supported in the past by paranoid groups such as Anti-Defamation League or other ones which had or just have a strange perspective on the concept of freedom in arts which often turns the capacity of understanding a provocative language into a poser, have been filed once and for all. I thought such a preamble could be necessary as references to Utoeya massacre included in the track "Calvaria" by this interesting Austrian project, headed by Michael Gregor aka Silenius, could be purposefully misunderstood as well as other references spread all over Krezweg Ost's third act whereas even a 9-years old pupil could understand its intention, which sounds clear since its title "Gott Mit Uns" (German for "God With Us"), so that listeners will easily catch that it focuses on fanaticism and its ominous offspring and such a goal has been reached by means of a very wise musical operation of syncretism, fed with martial industrial, darkwave, ambient, drones, classical military music, movie samples and soundtracks, whose stylistical peaks have been climbed in tracks like "Geh Mit Gott", "Geistige Emigration", the above-mentioned "Calvaria" - who knows if it could act as a wise hint to Norwegian Court in order to better crack Breivik's mind -, the disquieting electric ventilator-aided march of "Stammen" and the cinematic hooks of "Thy Will Be Done". An authentic piece of uplifting musical literature!

The Hiram Key: Amerikafka

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 11 2012
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Artist: The Hiram Key
Title: Amerikafka
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
If you imagine Goth/Wave music as a bunch of ancient secrets, you could find a possible explanation of the bizarre name these grown lads led by Gary Clarke (former member of Nosferatu and head of Cureheads, official cover band of the legendary band by Robert Smith): The Hiram Key is the title of a book written by Freemasons Christopher Knight and Robert Loma, an attempt of demonstrating the origins of Masonic rituals are older than the ones normally fixed by historicians (1717), whose theories have arguably been opposed for some hasty conclusions (such as the one according to which Jesus was a Mason...), which aren't explained with the support of persuading arguments. Similarly this band looks like discovering (again) the most authentic remains of Goth civilization (!) and misteries for the likes of initiate in a style which expressly revives some old glories so that you'll recognize footprints of The Cure as well, but also many ones by Joy Division, Bauhaus, The Psychedelic Furs, Gary Numan, Sisters Of Mercy and David Bowie. It's quite clear they're very competent in these matters and moreover the decision of giving a narrative involucre to the album, borrowed from the notorious novel by Kafka, America - it seems Gary identified himself in Karl Rossmann, the young protagonist of the plot, whose features (particularly his ability to resist against some fatal oppression in spite of his condition of victim) are quite unusual for a character portrayed by the pen of that genial writer - immediately confutes any possible attempt of taxing The Hiram Key with the label of a tribute band. Even though it could appear a little bit "seasoned"or maannerist, their style immediately sounds catchy and charming and it will be easier to enjoy the above-mentioned literary aspect if you've read that novel (if so, you shouldn't have any problems in recognizing a direct connection with some episodes of it in songs like "Amerikafka", "the Lift Boy", "Karl's Song", "I couldn't help it" or "The Nature Theatre Train"). Such a release is going to be highly regarded not only by nostalgic and incurably romantic people.

THE GREEN MAN: Musick Without Tears

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 11 2012
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Artist: THE GREEN MAN
Title: Musick Without Tears
Format: CD
Label: HauRuck SPQR! (@)
Rated: *****
Anticipated one year ago by the CDr single "Horus Calling" (song which opens this new album), five years after "The Teacher And The Man Of Lie", The Green Man release their new album "Musick Without Tears". The new album, as usual for the Italian duo formed by Marco Garegnani and Eliahu Giudice (here helped out by Chiara Alice Lorenzini on additional vocals plus different guests of which I'll write later), has the lyrics that are as important as the music. Their performances always gave me the idea to be a sort of musical reading. You know, a sort of modern version of what beat poets did back in the 50s/60s: poetry readings with music improvisation. In the case of The Green Man we have a mix of lyrics inspired by the lives of Aleister Crowley and Kenneth Grant (he died the last year and headed the magical order previously known as the Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis which is now referred to as the Typhonian Order) with music parts that remember me Velvet Underground on some tracks ("Blindness Is Bliss", "In The Desert Chaos Loved Me With A Knife", "(Sweet) Candy) or British folk-rock bands of the 70s on others ("Horus Calling", "Cefalù - Song For Raoul", "At Stockholm", "Freedom Is A Two Edged Sword", "67-69 Chancery Lane") with some exceptions like "Chat Blanc" which mix jazzy atmospheres to krautrock synth noises and "Tetelesthai", a dark tune based on hypnotic melodic piano loops which slowly turns into an infernal soundtrack based on violin, metal noises and echoes, after a couple of minutes of silence. About the guests, we have Patrick Leagas on backing vocals, keyboards and samples on "Blindness Is Bliss". Carlo Gilardi on trumpet and Geneviève Pasquier on vocals on "Chat Blanc". Francesca Crotti on violin on "Freedom Is A Two Edged Sword". Last but not least, Gianluca Beccuzzi's noises and samples have been used on different tracks but there isn't written which they are.

Alien Hand Syndrome: The Sincere And The Cryptic

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 11 2012
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Artist: Alien Hand Syndrome (@)
Title: The Sincere And The Cryptic
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
As I've received the CD version of this Vienna-based band's debut album (on iTunes you're going to find two more bonus tracks and maybe more keys for interpretation), I could just suppose its title "The Sincere And The Cryptic" could be partially related to band's name: Alien Hand Syndrome is a neurological disease belonging to those kind of disorders known as apraxia, normally caused by some surgical operations of separation of brain's emispheres to relieve worst cases of epilepsy, whose symptom is the loss of voluntary control of one hand, a disease which became acquainted by movie maniacs with Kubrick's Dr.Strangelove, whose main character suffered from it, so that the hand under control could be "the sincere" while the one beyond control could be "the cryptic" (or maybe vice versa?), that could be a reference to the terminology used by some occultists in order to connote the typical duality of beliefs, ceremonies and spiritual paths (Right-Hand and Left-Hand Paths). Such a dichotomy could be recognised as a subtle reference in the lyrics, which often looks like impregnated of a vague sense of vacillation, wavering or confusion, partially mirrored by the wobble of some ballad-like songs and singer's singsong, which sometimes get close to the typical lullaby style. Such a complementary groove between vocal performance by Clemens Engert (and its meaningful content) and performed music is the most interesting aspect, as there's no particularly staggering invention from the musical viewpoint, whereas there's an alternation between sad dark-rock (songs like "The Evil and The Lovelorn" and "A New Day" are maybe the most winsome stuff of the album), nice bilious attack-like uptempo stuff, including "Guernica", the song which can mislead many reviewers letting them speak about Placebo as possible term of comparison due to the way Clemens "gnashes" his voice close to Brian Molko's way, drunken downtempo ballads ("Claret", "Chainsaw Mascara" - what a hint for responsibles of marketing of some cosmetics company which want to gain some profits amidst goth movement! - and the lovely "The Incredible Whiteness", an highlight of the whole album where Clemens duets with the talented singer Erynnia) and uptempo diversions ("Raison, Raison"). In spite of many similaraties with existing sonic stuff, it seems AHS wants to run its own stylistical course and this cannot be but good.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Robot Elephant vs Tundra Dubs
Format: CD
Label: Robot Elephant Records (@)
Rated: *****
This bridge built between two labels on the opposite sides of Atlantic ocean (Sebastian's London-based Robot Elephant and Ben's Oakland-based Tundra Dubs), which shares similar policies and do-it-yourself ethics, seems to rest on that phenomenon known as "witch house" or "drag", a bizarre name coined by Pictureplane referred to a sort of homemade music with references to occultism, whose main influences are a number of industrial and goth bands, but which is normally intertwined with a plenty of styles. This compilation has been splitted in two and includes many interesting declensions of "witch house": the most interesting stuff of the first half, the one which has been filled with Robot Elephant's trumpets, are related to forthcoming releases of the label, in particular Romanian HipDieBattery's "Bones", which sounds recorded during a Sabbath whose partakers put good dub and techno recipes together with dragon's claws and dwarf's guts in the cauldron, and Ourobonic Plague's "The Outer Alphabet", whose obscure nuances and ill-hop phat bumping could let imagine some devilish creature's foghorn possessed a mic to climb hip-hop charts, but also The Church of Synth's "Geh Ins Licht" dubstep imbued with Eurotrance typical trumpets is quite nice, while the most remarkable episodes on the second half are the ones by Funerals, a husband/wife duo from Columbus (Ohio), whose gloomy atmospheres could recall some shadowy trip-hop songs and the anxiety of musical acts such as Tricky's "Pre-Millenium Tension", Mascara's assemblage on "Sonnambula", which looks like a melting pot of elements taken from Sabres Of Paradise, Militia and G.O.L. and sticky minimal dubtech in "Korby Bryers" by Grimm Soundsystem, a freak by Tundra Dubs' owner itself.


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