Music Reviews



DETONAZIONE: Sorvegliare E Punire

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 14 2011
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Artist: DETONAZIONE
Title: Sorvegliare E Punire
Format: CD
Label: Sometimes Records (@)
Rated: *****
This year starts with a blast if you are interested into reissues because Detonazione are long gone but never forgotten and this is true for me for sure because I loved their first releases: I still remember when I received the packet with their first three releases I ordered directly from them. Mixing post punk (they were more anarchic than punk), new wave, no-wave and jazz, Detonazione self released two 7"s ("Sorvegliare e punire" and "L'arido utile", both released in 1983) and a MLP ("Riflessi conseguenti" released in 1985 after their tour with Annie Anxiety), before releasing in 1986 for IRA (label which when started had on their roster bands like Litfiba, Diaframma, Moda and Underground Life) another MLP titled "Ultimi pezzi". After that, they disbanded and in 1989 they self released a posthumous album titled "Ultimi pezzi", containing studio and live tracks. Now, thanks to Sometimes Records you can finally have on CD their first three releases along with two compilation tracks ("La grigia miseria / I programmi agli inferi" is from the 1984 LP compilation Rockgarage Compilation Vol 4 and "Zingari In Viaggio" from The Other Side Of Futurism tape compilation released with the fanzine Tribal Cabaret #5). Since the opening track "I don't wanna be (a frustrated one)", you'll release that you never heard something similar (the neurotic rhythmic section is coupled by Bruno Romani's crazy vocals/sax). The atmosphere in balance from a nervous breakdown and a mystic vision is the core of the six tracks of the first two 7"s which with Italian and English lyrics, exploded in Udine contaminating the whole Italian country. "Riflessi conseguenti" is a bit different from the previous ones: it opens with the self titled track which starts sounding like a jazz version of Virgin Prunes just to turn into jazzy version of Japan with beautiful sax solos, fretless bass inserts and percussive drums. Really catchy and evocative... "Tempo" is a atmospheric mid tempo and "Spazio", along with "Assenza di ideali", are two upbeat synth percussive tunes with sax solos and slapped bass. Anyway, my descriptions is just to give you an idea of what Detonazione were capable of but you can check everything by yourselves purchasing a copy directly from the label or if you are a little lazy, from the nearest alternative music store.

Leichenwetter: Legende

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 12 2011
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Artist: Leichenwetter (@)
Title: Legende
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
If you follow Leichenwetter since their debut album on EigenDistribution or even if you discovered them when signed under Metal Axe, you should already know their fixation for old German poems behind which there's no educational intent or attempt to arouse interest in poetry, but just the obsession by their singer Numen in mixing this form of art with gothic metal, which sometimes gives such interesting results that arguably even poets could agree with it if they had to possibility to know something different from Beethoven or Wagner. I don't know if there's a fil rouge joining together the poems Numen has chosen to musicalize in Legende, but I noticed he seems to give prominent way to expressionist poets (such as Ernst Stadler and Georg Trakl, whose musical tranpositions by Leichenwetter are maybe the ones which show an higher level of elated inspiration and lyricism...have a listen to Romanze zur Nacht for instance!) or recurring themes belonging to the somewhat anguishing ontological emotional space the so-called expressionist gave voice to, but there're also other poetical gems, such as Goethe's Erlkönig, inheriting the death of a child assailed by the supernatural being mentioned in the title inspiring a lot of metal bands including Rammstein, which followed its structure to rewrite a modern version, Dalai Lama, based on the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123 occurring in 1985, the synaesthetic Schwanenlied (Swan song) by Clemens Brentano togethewr his poem O schweig (Oh hush), which has already widely studied by literature essaysts for his particular musicality, but the best transposition according to me is the one of Chor De Toten (Choir of the Dead-men), a text by Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, as Lechenwetter manate to keep it more atmospheric by introducing the track with funeral bells before climbing on scales throughout a powerful epic anthem, featuring a tremendous sequence or arpeggios by the guitarist Dawe. Their sound is more or less of the previous works, based on solid and majestically epic power-metal anthems mended on the mighty bass vocal tones of Numen, which, even if ostensibly moving in a not so wide vocal range, shows praiseworthy espressivo skills.

Downstairs Left: Waiting For The Golden Age

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 10 2011
cover
Artist: Downstairs Left
Title: Waiting For The Golden Age
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
The hypnotical carillon introducing the debut-album by the German trio Downstairs Left, wisely entitled Waiting For The Golden Age whose misty atmospheres are gloomily anticipated by cover graphics rich of beheaded seraphic statues, desperate or sad figures in bas-relief, stone cherubs and overshadowed hues, seems to prepare the ground onto which this band let rack dregs of hums of cryptic melodies, a pervasive and perturbing sense of decadence and melancholy (in tracks such as Sunken Home, the singer seems to uplift somewhat glorious past ages as the house of peace and beauty, but it seems addressing to some transfigured character belonging to past age, not necessarily considered as a physical presence, in the large part of the tracks, whose lyrics oozes with a sense of lackness, and even a track entitled Hope seems giving not so much space to hope actually whereas the singer seems taking consciousness about a global psychological warfare, contaminating chilhood so far, so that the choice of such a title could stand ironic or even more intended to highlight despair...), through a spare and terse sound. I don't complaint about it all, quite the contrary, I think it's quite fitted even if this record musically lacks of astonishing moments as the evoked emotions are the keys to better appreciate it. Electronics are just sprayed on melodies where needed mainly for emphasizing some moments of the record and intersections with oriental scents, supposedly a fashion in contemporary gothic scene, has been limited to just one track, Hands of Destiny, whereas the tracks where the balance between acoustic and electronic sounds more huggable are the best ones, such as Smile, Why, Pictures of Past or Dusty Dead Moon in their essential bowdlerization. Compositional structures are quite plain and incovered with frills, maybe to underline a certain immediacy in treating ethereal emotions to make them more "palpable" and vivid, especially in the crepuscolar crackling of some tracks such as Today and The Rose - the only song where the dark voice by Hayle has been echoed by a female one -. I wonder if their sound, which partially reminded to me the emotional sets of Katatonia after an heavy dark make-up, is going to be slightly turned as it happens in the pretty remix of Typewritten Life.

Traumtänzer: Der Weisse Raum

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 03 2011
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Artist: Traumtänzer
Title: Der Weisse Raum
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
I'm not so surprised at discovering Traumtänzer, brand new German band founded by the Irish guitarist Tom O'Conell (former member of the gothic-rock band Garden of Delight by the well-known singer Artaud Seth and co-signing maybe GOD best acts, before its founder ideally signed a sort of waiver of that project which should issue 7 albums in 7 years, each of them including 7 songs - ...and most of readers should know how meaningful is such a number for some "esoteric" cultural areas... - through the launch of Merciful Nuns) after he involved the male voice of Marco Blum from Downscared and female one by Eva Paschen (whose expressive peak has been reached in Eisprinzessin, maybe for the crystalline and fairy sound and the daydreaming medieval-folk melodies intertwined by what it seems to eb a gipsy guitar as well as the hypnotical repetition of some magnetic siren-like decoy, highlighting her skills as well certain nuance) as well as the violinist Sandra Spinnraths, precious element of the line-up. comes up from the North-Rhein Westfalia musical hatchery.

Even if their sound cannot be considered ground-breaking at all, Der Weisse Raum is able to show that they're neither a sort of GOD diorama or relics of some past time nor a tribute band to 80ies or 90ies gothic scene (but it's somewhat listenable some echoes of Dead Can Dance in many songs in fairness to that age...) by grabbing some of the contemporary tendencies in gothic scene such as the one of melting different phases (from the stylistical viewpoint as well) in the same record and I'm not referring just to the Arabian intro of Krieger (Warrior), a sample having a defined role if you consider the words of the song, or oriental scents emanating from songs such as Stigmata or Fremdes Land (maybe the most energetic and danceable rockish track of the album), but also to the way Tom managed to combine meaningful lyrics with melancholy alternated to more reactive moments and electro-industrial winking. Maybe all this different faces of this dream dancers look winded into skeins and that could be the reason I personally prefer those moments when the lines of Traumtänzer sound are more clearly defined, such as Monolith and Die Maschine, in spite of the New Wave gentle touch O'Conell instills in a regular gothic-rock patchwork, or the nicely dramatic stages ofetn imbued in classical music standards and epic vibrations of the two interludes, Zwischenspiel der Asche and Zwischenspiel der Ewigkeit, and the final track, whoch cannot be entitled other than Die Wahreit (The Truth). A little too "nostalgic" among bonus tracks, the Clubmixes of Die Wahreit and Stigmata, but those tracks are surely not the reason to avoid listening to Der Weisse Raum.

Sophia: The Collective Works 2000-2003

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jan 02 2011
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Artist: Sophia (@)
Title: The Collective Works 2000-2003
Format: 4 x CD (quadruple CD boxset)
Label: Cyclic Law (@)
This box collects the early works of the band formed in 2000 by Peter Bjärgö of ARCANA fame and well known for their mix of martial rhythms and ambient-like soundscapes. The press release, however, is a ten track selection from this box and, supposedly, a sort of best-of because the quality of the sound material is truly remarkable. The level of detail of "Aus der Welt" is able to evoke a tragic atmosphere of decadence. The "Herbstwerk" titletrack is a militar anthem probably inspired by images of battles between good and evil. "Strenght Through Sorrow" seems to deal with all the cliche of the genre, the lyrical-like chorus, the emphasis of the horns etc. but escapes them with the measure in the juxtaposition of the musical elements. "Watching it drown" is characterised by the use of a harsh distorted vocals that introduce a noise element in the musical structure. "Winterflame" is a battle between the loops that construct this track.
In some sense this album is not rankable because is only a relatively small selection of the entire work, but, supposing this is the quality level of all the box, this is a sure pick for fans of martial industrial music. A remarkable release.


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