Music Reviews



White Shadow: The Wastelands

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 19 2010
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Artist: White Shadow (@)
Title: The Wastelands
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
White Shadow is a band from Baltimore MD that began in 2006 and 'The Wastelands' is their third album. The music is pretty much straight-ahead Goth-Industrial rock with metal and punk flavoring. The band (on this album) consists of DX Nero (vocals, programming); Sinnocent (vocals, live percussion); Crawford (bass); Nytro (guitar) and Wahkeen (keyboards). You may notice there is no drummer credited. That's because they don't have one, at least a human one. Sort of a Sisters of Mercy 'Dr. Avalanche' kind of thing.

The album opens with a brief, dark ambient instrumental mood-setter with robotic vocoder welcoming you to 'The Wastelands', then charges ahead fast and furious with 'The Tide Within'. This rabble-rouser could easily fit on a various artists Goth-Industrial compilation and although it might be the best song on this album, it probably wouldn't be the best song on the compilation. DX's vocals are appropriately punky for this old-school barn-burner. Sinnocent takes the lead for the next track ('Treason') and her vocals remind me a bit of The Azoic's Kristy Venrick. The lyrics are part sung, part spoken. The sung parts reminds of the old adage ' 'Wednesday's child is full of woe,' while the spoken parts are woefully understated with a lack of force and conviction. You really need some hyper manic energy and attitude (verging on screaming) ala Tairrie B (My Ruin) to pull this kind of thing off. It would have been an interesting contrast that might have lifted the song out of the mundane. The musical power is there, but vocal oomph is lacking.

'Burn Baby' hands the lead vocals back to DX while Sinnocent takes a supporting role. Pretty standard Goth-Industrial stuff with some nice chime accents. In 'Crashing Down' DX and Sinnocent share vocal duties and it has a bit of a Sisters of Mercy feel, very old school Goth. What I notice myself liking more than most anything else are some of the sampled industrial loops and keyboard bits that add a little atmosphere. More shared vocals between DX and Sinnocent follow on most of the next tracks, but the songwriting is beginning to grow stale like a loaf of five-day old bread.

'Cutthroat' features a dynamic Nytro guitar riff but the vocals don't do it justice as they are more spoken than sung. Not enough power here. The rest of the songs don't get any better. The song, 'A Sea of Mistakes' is aptly named, and might have more suited to the album title. The final track ' 'The Things I've Forgotten,' a moody instrumental, I actually liked.

I think White Shadow needs to step up their game to get beyond the local level if 'The Wastelands' is any indication. The vocals are a problem; they're kind of boring after a couple of songs and don't make this band stand out. The drum programming isn't bad, but a good human drummer might add some energy. I don't know about the band name though. Makes me think of Ken Howard and a black high school basketball team.

Echo Us: Tomorrow Will Tell The Story

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 18 2010
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Artist: Echo Us
Title: Tomorrow Will Tell The Story
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Absolute Probability Records
TOMORROW WILL TELL THE STORY is the third album of Ethan Matthews's creature called Echo Us. Ideally it continues the story started with their previous album "The Tide Decides" released the last year by Musea Records. For this release, Ethan is helped out by a number of guest musicians: the Grammy nominated vocalist Henta, the harpist Raelyn Olson, Rawn Clark (who performed a Kabbalistic 'canticle') and harmonium player Daniel Panasenko. TOMORROW WILL TELL THE STORY musically is a mix of progressive music, new wave and ambient where luscious atmospheres are enriched by chants, guitar solos and passionate vocal performances. Sometimes it recalled me a sort of mix of Peter Gabriel meets Rain Tree Crow (do you remember the reunion Japan did under that moniker?) with contributes of Adrian Belew's guitar. For my tastes there is too much use of world/fairy atmospheres but the whole album has a great sound and if you love dreamy/dramatic atmospheres performed with the heart in the hands, for sure you can check this out. At the moment is out as digital download but soon it will available as CD.

Golden Apes: Denying the Towers Our Words Are Falling From

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 09 2010
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Artist: Golden Apes (@)
Title: Denying the Towers Our Words Are Falling From
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Denying the Towers Our Words Are Falling From, the sixth album coming from the sweaty scores of the German (from Berlin!) wave-gothic rock band Golden Apes ' a certain affection for Nietzsche writings is evident if you just consider the choice Peer Lebrecht and his trusted bards made to name their band'¦-, could undoubtedly stand as the lyrical, intellectual and musical mountain this band could climb. Most lyrics are anchored to the notorious and inspiring German philosopher (even if maybe we're not sure Zarathustra speaking in song like And thus He spoke, as the author inverted the notorious transformation of the lion turning into a child'¦a sign that maybe times have changed!!!) , but they explicitly mention the powerful mystical visions of William Blake as well as Crowley to complete the glittering Triangle of Inspiration , but a lot of lyrical passages seem to refer to tarots, Wicca set of beliefs, Chaos magic, alchemy, ancient rites such as the explicit references to hierogamy (or Hieros Gamos) in a song entitled Liberation, whereas the deep voice by Peer seems acting as a spokesperson for the male element of the rite, while their refined style could let the listener guess which some of the musical holy pictures embellish Golden Apes' altars features sacred icons of the new wave movement such as The Chameleons (a vein which pulses stronger in compositions such as The Mark Of Cain/And from this Heart it will rise'¦ - whose gentle growing tension is really a caress for listener's soul'¦-, Rays of Light or The Silence[that I call Speech]), the lovely or some obscure portraits of the youngest Peter Murphy and even Pink Floyd (have a listen to Sober Light). The lucid dream of Windlands sounds as the best preface to an album with many catching moments, among them I dare to suggest Song Of Innocence, Taming A Dream and Invidia for lyrical intensity and recommend a careful listening of the moving The Sea Inside, the best song of the whole album in my opinion for the wise song structure and the perfect harmonization with the literal and the semantic cut of the words'¦ If I should be more severe and overly meticulous, I could advice them to use larger quantities of make-up removers in order to better mask their musical idols, but I cannot say their sound is good as it sounds in this well-done release, containing a lot of amazing stuff and high-quality songs for Gothic eardrums and souls.

Rapido De Noir: Broken

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 04 2010
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Artist: Rapido De Noir (@)
Title: Broken
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Rapido De Noir are a band coming from France who just released their first MCD titled BROKEN. The four tracks of the EP amazed me for the ability of the band to mix genres and melodies. The opening track, "Broken", sounds like Gang Of Four covered by The Cure helped out by LCD Soundsystem. The way they used choruses and melodic changes is great and is just sad they are without a label supporting them as their mix of new wave and post punk is up to date and within bass guitars effected with flanger and dissonant guitars you'll find synth melodic lines which enrich the whole sound and gives a bit of dance atmospheres. Check them and support them. They deserve it!

Double Elvis: Vampyre Songs

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Sep 03 2010
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Artist: Double Elvis (@)
Title: Vampyre Songs
Format: CD EP
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Vampyre Songs is just a delicious appetizer before the issue of the forthcoming Twins On Canvas by the French band Double Elvis ' as you could easily guess, they borrowed their name from Andy Warhol notorious series of posters, a nice and somewhat provocative image with an unusual Mr Prestley, portrayed in cow boy garb pointing a gun towards the observer, taken from a publicity for a western movie entitled Flaming Stars -, which could mouth watering all fans of Gothic-tinged rock. It contains two songs which are going to be issued on the above mentioned album, giving an example of their style based on consciousness lyrics ('¦and videos as well'¦have a look to the clip they made for A Sea Of Ashes, dealing with the shameful and delicate matter of soldier children), walls of blasting guitars, vigorous drumming, refined by some melancholic synth slices in the sweet full-blooded Vampyre Song and some caressing rhythmical stepping in A Sea Of Ashes colliding with a punkish soul coming out here and there. A pulsating vein feeding their sound which explodes in the live recording of The Art Of War, included in this EP with an EPK video ' it's really involving the enthusiasm this duo shows off on the stage ' together with the prickly Virginia Tech and the second part of Vampyre Song, a sort of remake of the introductory song plunged in more industrial sound gravy enhancing the emotional flavor of Double Elvis sound. Enthralling music typhoons which are going to blast artificial deserts and false paradises increasing expectations for the imminent issue of their album'¦


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