Music Reviews

Act Noir: Shape A New Start

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 16 2010
Artist: Act Noir (@)
Title: Shape A New Start
Format: CD
Label: Eibon Records (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
After the replacement of the hollow voice by Mark Benoit – it seems depending on personal reasons and different viewpoints – with the tartly crooning one but fitted to the band’s soundscapes by Gaetano Notarnicola, here it is the result of the second full length by Act Noir, through which the band keeps on franticly searching the junction points between quite different musical experiences, mainly dealing with renowned repertoires by Depeche Mode, Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, according to their own words, even if when you’ll listening to Shape A New Start, you’ll easily notice that these proactive lads moved the barycentre of their style towards the first two of the mentioned bands apart of some conceptual anchorage points close to the existentialist explorations and snapshots superbly emerged from Yorke’s artistic pathways.

Even if some of their influences are arguable and could be considered just a tool for better attract attention by music lovers, they managed to build a sound oscillating between electronic rock and synth pop, which perfectly fits the lyrics disclosing a vague sense of loneliness and daze combined with positive incitements to react, setting fires to lies and unreeling contemporary moods which some sensitive listeners could see as mirror of selves in a way that could remind the activity of a scrupulous diarist observing reality and impressing on the sheets of a personal diary as well as on stave (..have a look to Act Noir’s lyrics on their official site to have an idea of the literary tenor of their songs... there’s just a little mistake as lyrics of the lovely Set Fire are different from those reported on their website as the webmaster doubled the ones of See The Truth), analyzing sometimes modern obsessions and manias (especially on songs such as Shatterproof Beauty, Wrong Places and Redemption) as well as some problems of great topical interest (in Closed City, it seems they address words against people responsible for nuclear proliferation) in an easy-to-go and elegant way. Maybe they could not be associated to the above-mentioned references, but we cannot but highlight the evidence their genuine attitude expressed by these keen guys on this good workout could let them reach any eagerly awaited goals without walking on tortuous paths in order to shape a new beginning!

Zeromancer: The Death Of Romance

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 08 2010
Artist: Zeromancer
Title: The Death Of Romance
Format: CD
Label: Trisol (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
I don’t think this talented Norwegian band needs any particular introduction as some colleague already interviewed them after getting surprised by their superb workout entitled Sinners International and after the enthusiastic feedbacks they received by reviewers and audiences related to their issues, but we surely like to imagine them playing with sophisticated machinery in order to grab influences from American bands and European ones as they stylistically are a sort of bridge between the gorgeous and glorious years of the American goth-rock and "European" EBM and industrial rock without being too obsessively apocalyptic or becoming sclerotized on tips & tricks! I’ll run the risk to be repetitive by highlighting their remarkable compositional skills (even in those parts they looks like to imitate some famous bands, but reviewers need to make quotations to help readers understand!) and their perfect balance between electronic slopes and a robust drumming reminding the one by Rev.Manson and Rev.Reznor - probably the most influential music neuromancers ideally fostering this zeromancer...- and the candid coarseness of greenhorn-like sensual voice by Alex Møklebust, whose silver-tonguing intonation is going to drive every cutie suicide little girl crazier, and even if maybe they needed more time to refine some lyrics (tracks such as Murder Sound or Revengefunk slightly suffer from this genetical defect, but it could be considered just as an aesthetical neo on a sweet oval face... and even attempts of being original could be avoided... word trickeries in The Hate Alphabet seems to be too close to the cogent dialetics by a group of majorettes..gimme an H, gimme an A, gimme a T, gimme an E!) as it seems less wordy than their previous album and some sporadic lack of originality (A Plynth could be easily skipped), it will surely delight their fans and all those who still don’t know their musical melting of mystery, semantic beams, anguished melancholy, rancorous sadness and powerful rhythmical pills propelling that kind of desperation, able to add a tragic grip to the whole climax! But it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack as tracks such as the floor-filler Industry People, the tingling ambientish The Pygmalion Effect or the brightest V – the best song of the album in my modest opinion! – and even the more vintagesque and classy tunes such as the tilte-track will annihilate any doubts about Zeromancer’s skills so as you could argue that romance is dead just in order to resurrect! Really brilliant piece of music!

RAJNA: Offering

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Apr 06 2010
Artist: RAJNA
Title: Offering
Format: CD
Label: Equilibrium Music (@)
Rated: *****
With their ninth album OFFERING, the French duo Rajna are back to the roots of their sound by dismissing almost all the electronic instruments. Having as guest Deleyaman's Aret Madilian on vocals on "The Dance of Cléomene", "Neverland" and "Quiet Hour", Rajna are giving to the fans of ethnic folk a new opus made of symphonic orchestrations, tribal percussions and enchanting female vocals. Mediterranean is the key to read this new album: Aegean islands, the Cyclades, Crete and Greece towards Turkey influenced the sound of the ten songs you find on the album. The smell of olive and orange trees along with the sight of ancient places took back Jeanne and Fabrice Lefebre to Eleusis and its sacred temples and mysteries. If you loved Dead Can Dance and you missed their capacity to mix breathtaking atmospheres, ethnic sounds under a spiritual view, well, Rajna with OFFERING are giving you a new reason to forget a CD into your player for a daily exploration of their charming music.
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: All My Monsters II
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Witchhammer Records
Rated: *****
Communities like MySpace grow in their meaning to be an ideal promotion tool for music projects and labels. And sometimes it gets me, to search for some goodies with the hope to find a real treasure. With the Siberian-based (!!!) label Witchhammer Records, I found a label offering free downloadable releases of their mostly local based bands. "Monsters My Monsters II" is the title of a compilation series, which collects all of them and offers a wide range of diverse music styles. The female artist INTROSLEEP offers retro-analogue Synth-Electronica with beautiful melodies, while ABSENT ONE convinces with detailed synth bass lines combined with deep-male vocals. There are of course also several Noise- and Experimental-minded acts available, from which have to pick out UNDUSK with their "Hypnotic Mutant Attacks". This ominous Experimental-Industrial related tune is may the most convincing track on here, by following pretty much the styles of some raw Tympanik Audio artists like ESA or PNEUMATIC DETACH. Also with its second track "Collapsing", this project offers deep drowning Ambient moods combined with abstract arranged percussion patterns. A real discovery to follow immediately! While I generally appreciate the efforts to collect multiple artists and to introduce them via the usage of the above named community, it cannot be hidden, that some artist do definitely some more practice. But however, what counts is the will and the chance to present local projects to a worldwide based audience. And who seriously expects Electronica music hailing out of Siberia? Let’s continue to keep an eye and ear on the activities of this label.

01. A Fake Mirror - One More Thing to Lose
02. Introsleep - Butterfly
03. Absent One - Stewardess
04. Belika - Сны
05. Edge Of Caress - Pictures
06. SEФIRET - ChangeOver
07. Tur Sphere - Perfect World
08. Undusk - Hypnotic Mutants Attack
09. Хаос-Модуль - Ритуал Воды
10. Edge Of Caress - Run Away
11. BLODEUWEDD - Дочь смерти
12. Tur Sphere - Machine Bang
13. Undusk - Collapsing
14. Apkx - Rest In Space
15. AVO - FaDeOut
16. A.Tchort - Cellular Nightmare
17. Absent One - Night
18. In Se - Остатки сна
19. SEФIRET - Glance of time

A Place To Bury Strangers: Exploding Head

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Mar 29 2010
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Artist: A Place To Bury Strangers
Title: Exploding Head
Format: CD
Label: Mute Records (@)
Distributor: Mute Records
Rated: *****
Three years ago i've been literarly floored by the debut of A Place To Bury Strangers, you'll find it reviewed here on Chain Dlk. The sound on this new Exploding Head is less feedback-driven and more focused on songs construction and the result is a solid album which incorporates reflective and moody lyrics that will lead you into a dark pit. Echoes of the recent past can be found in tracks like "Ego Death" that is a death tune a-la Skywave (Oliver Ackermann's previous band) with their beloved distorted backwash.
The other tracks drift from the usual blend of shoegaze attitude with darkwave.
I've had the chance to see them live in both their European tours and if the new record shows them dealing with a more accessible sound, the live-set got more violent! The last time i saw them the feedback wall was so dense that i could barely recognize the songs i've heard so many times. One of the best shows around, if you ask me. And hey, they did it, this new one is on Mute records. Be sure to check them out!

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