Music Reviews

Kosmodromm: Kosmodromm 1.0

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 09 2010
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Artist: Kosmodromm (@)
Title: Kosmodromm 1.0
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Synthematik (@)
Rated: *****
Some new stuff brought to us by the Russian Synthematik netlabel, KOSMODROMM is a Dark Synthpop/Goth-project out of Belarus. Consisting since 2010 as being the one-man project by Eiden Dark (vocals, lyrics), he can still rely on the musically helping hand of D-emsi (programming, arrangements) and several session musicians. This project unites the ability to produce smooth synthesizer melodies, combined electronic beats and gently Dark-Wave atmospheres. Most striking in their sound environment is the sound of the baritone-like vocal performance of band-leader Eiden Dark. In combination with the Russian language and all of its difficult accents and punctuation, this vocal performance seriously reminds on some opera-like stuff taken out of a 50-years-old past. This release is a collection of some self-produced singles entitled 'Stalker' and 'Pustoj Gorod', originally released by the band in 2009. For this free downloadable album, these tracks got completely revamped and newly mastered. Additional remix contributions by up and coming acts like ALIEN 2064 and FRACTAL DECAY offer at least a bit more dancefloor compatibility, which is more than the originals would be able to offer. Not a bad one, but this sound outfit generally needs some usage through multiple spins to get completely satisfying.

Suicidal Romance: Shattered Heart Reflections

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 02 2010
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Artist: Suicidal Romance (@)
Title: Shattered Heart Reflections
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
This is the second of two releases I receive from the same source, Dimitry i. of Tallinn, Estonia, the first being Freakangel's 'The Faults of Humanity' covered in a previous review. Although Dimitry seems to run both bands, here in Suicidal Romance he hands over a good chunk of the vocal reins to Viktoria Seimar, which is a very good thing because Viktoria has a lot of vocal talent. Apparently this isn't the first outing for Suicidal Romance ' their 2007 debut was 'Love Beyond Reach,' and in 2008 an EP titled 'A Kiss to Resist'. I haven't heard either of those, so all I have to go on is 'Shattered heart Reflections' which is just fine.

The lineup in this band is Viktoria Seimar (lead vocals), Dimitry i. (vocals, lyrics, music), and Maarja Korstnick (synths, lyrics, visual concept). In Europe I believe the band is on the Infacted Recordings label, but in the U.S., it's Metropolis, so I'll just consider them a Metropolis import, which isn't a bad thing to be at all. This is very cool Darkwave and dark synthpop, and the most obvious comparison would be to L'ame Immortelle due to the contrast of Dimitry and Viktoria's vocals. However, neither of them sound identical to Sonja K. and Thomas R., which is another good thing as I can only take L'ame Immortelle in small doses. Viktoria's vocals are a lot smother than Sonja's though. If there is anyone that Viktoria does sound like, it would have to be'¦another Victoria! Victoria Lloyd from Claire Voyant. If fact, their voices are so similar at times, it's uncanny. What I like about both of them is that both their voices soar, and are always in key. This is something you don't always find in the goth/darkwave world, so when you get it, it's much appreciated. Dimitry's vocal style with Suicidal Romance is toned down from his Freakangel vox, somewhat like Claus (Leaether Strip) or Rudy (Wumpscut) in their more restrained moments. A wise move on Dimitry's part.

One great thing about 'Shattered Hear Reflections' is that the songs across the board are really good, and the contrast between Dimitry and Viktoria's voice works more often than not. The synth arrangements are competent and don't compete with the vocals. I have to hand it to Maarja for her tasteful and effective playing. It suits the band perfectly. A tasteful yet powerful blend of synth and piano. The vocal melody is memorable which bodes for a high replayability factor. It's dark, but not too dark. Just edgy enough to be intriguing with sufficient drama to hold your interest, and it only seems to get better with repeated listenings. There is also an occasional touch of complimentary harmony with Viktoria's vocals. Everything is so well done that I'd be interested in seeing how they pull it off live.

It's hard to pick out standout tracks when they're all so good, but 'Words That Change Everything,' 'Her Song,' and 'Build Me a Heart' are three of the best. Dimitry is very lucky to have a talented singer like Viktoria in this band. Her vocal acrobatics are enthralling. It's almost Phantom of the Opera-esque in a dark romantic sort of way. I could easily see her being tapped for a track or two on a future Delerium album if Fulber doesn't get her first for Conjure One. Whatever the future holds, it seems like a pretty secure one for Suicidal Romance, considering the quality of 'Shattered Heart Reflections'. Definitely a strong 'BUY'.

Dandelion Wine: All Becompassed By Stars

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 28 2010
Artist: Dandelion Wine (@)
Title: All Becompassed By Stars
Format: CD
Label: Ars Musica Diffundere/Black Rain (@)
Rated: *****
It seems the Australian band Dandelion Wine in the intent to modernize their sound (and in order to do it, they've chosen to get out of Australian exterminate boundaries and wisely move to Berlin where they organized a recording studio in a small apartment in Kreuzberg, surrounded by snow and ice during the last severe German winter) managed to translate ancient emotions into a simple but up-to-date musical language. Attaining to the most voluptuous side of electronic music as well as to the beatitude of ethnic (mainly sprayed with Middle Eastern and Arabic heady scents'¦) elements reminding me of Sufi tradition, Dandelion Wine sinters eastern and western themes and music , ethereal sounds and cranked electric guitar lines, unconventional acoustic instruments (whose impressively furnished stores include nice freaky rarities such as medieval lutes, dulcimer, sansula ' an instrument similar to the African marimbula - or the bell cittern ' a medieval 12-string sort of mandolin -) and contemporary machines (mainly recognizable analogue synths and big beating drum machines!) but above all gravitational pressures opposing soul raisings.

The swaying melodies and the subtle ethnic percussions of the title-track All Becompassed By Stars is going to set the stage by wrapping the listener in the emotive field you could perceive when staying in the middle of a desert surrounded by star-light spotted sky, whereas the electronic tentacles and the bizarre intertwining between a tribal percussion set and a march-like movement introducing Gravity ' a superbly mixed track! - seem to broke that dreamy flight by giving voice to somewhat mysterious gravitational pulls inspiring the moaning-like way of singing by Naomi Handerson and the roaring guitars by Nicholas Albanis! A snake-charming guitar riff reminding to me some guitar sample I heard in Juno Reactor's Shango introduces the intriguing mixture of eastern suggestions and electronic pop song's catch in Shards and it's nice the moment it turns into a sort of framework for the prog slides emerging up to the dust just before the song reaches its peak through an enjoyable pressing rhythm. The snake-charmer put temporarily away the guitar in order to play a flute to start the flaming electronic belly dance of Nowhere ' one of the catchiest track in my opinion! -, while Sidereal and Early Warning Sign ' an entrancing mournful ballad, perfectly interpreted by Naomi (which lacks of a certain dramatic grip in other passages of the record'¦) on a Spanish guitar melodic web, exploding in an energetic but plain goth-rock song structure, which stands as the better crafted track of the whole album ' could be considered as the highest emotional peaks (nearby those stars becompassing everything!) of this album even if both of them are quite plain and lack of woolly sound treatments. Dandelion Wine's rustic, but kind-hearted medieval vein strongly pulses in the sweet tapping of Orbit, a track introducing the last part of the part featuring a less intrusive presence of electronic buzzing devices, followed by the bittersweet lulling ballad of XVII containing the hypnotic sound of what seems a glockenspiel.

In Seven Times As Bright the twinkling voice of the stars weaves a crystalline and glassy melodic garland over the spectral vocal moaning by Naomi and the mystical breathe pervading the closing track, Seven Times As Bright, being the most abstract of this interesting release. It's quite difficult to give an exact definition of Dandelion Wine's style and even these Australian sorcerers usually make fun of a similar attempt by describing it as medieval trip-hop, but it's quite easy to recommend some listening to it even if they lack of the intellectual fervour distinguishing similar bands such as Dead Can Dance or Ataraxia and Naomi has not the same mystical eagerness of singers such as Natacha Atlas!

Cult Of Youth: Filthy Plumage In An Open Sea!

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 27 2010
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Artist: Cult Of Youth
Title: Filthy Plumage In An Open Sea!
Format: 12"
Label: Avant! (@)
Rated: *****
After a couple of 7"s, an LP and two CDr singles, Sean Ragon is back with a new Cult Of Youth release titled FILTHY PLUMAGE IN AN OPEN SEA! I have to admit that I didn't know them and with this release Avant! is confirming as one of the most interesting and innovative Italian alternative music labels. With neo-folk is easy to track down the influences of that music style, because most of the bands refer somewhat to Death In June, but with Cult Of Youth things get tough, because, simplifying things, it's like Sean started to be influenced by Douglas Pearce starting from Crisis. The first five tracks of this MLP sound like acoustic songs of revolt, just like Crisis had acoustic guitars. Since with the opening "Lace up your boots", Sean is playing his guitar as he was possessed, crying out loud his rage, fear and all the animal feelings a man can feel. Minimal arrangements made of strings, keyboards and synth percussions, enrich the songs giving to the songs a great atmosphere. "Bottomed out", the sixth and closing tune, is a bit different as it's a mid tempo r'n'r ballad (there's also a guitar solo), really passionate. On the note I read that this is the last record Sean recorded as a solo artist, because starting from the next one, the people who play with him live will play also in studio. Watch out for The Cult Of Youth, they are out for blood!

Der Arbeiter: Holzwege

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jul 26 2010
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Artist: Der Arbeiter
Title: Holzwege
Format: CD
Label: Ur Muzik (@)
Rated: *****
Six years after its debut album "Reflejos del Sol" released by Divine Comedy, Der Arbeiter is back with a new album inspired and dedicated to the Cilean writer Miguel Serrano. HOZWEGE contains ten songs in balance from neo-folk with Mediterranean influences (check the melodies used for the acoustic guitar parts) and electronic arrangements. This musical blend along with the melancholic atmospheres create a cinematic effect where light industrial ambient martialism influences meet electronic folk and acoustic passionate instrumentals. Along with nine original songs, you'll find "Wo Die Wilden Kerle Wohnen ", originally wrote by Gerhard Hallstatt (of Allerseelen) for the same title 7" compilation ("Where The Brutes Dwell" is an ancient Germanic fairy tale and on that 7" different bands recorded their musical version of it). Love and despair find a new meaning following the Serrano's concept of "Minne" ("a love at once illicit and morally elevating, passionate and disciplined, humiliating and exalting, human and transcendent") and Der Arbeiter made of its music the carrier of these emotions.

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