Saturday, October 31, 2020
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Music Reviews

[GRENDEL]: End of Ages

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Artist: [GRENDEL] (@)
Title: End of Ages
Format: CD EP
Label: Noi Tekk (@)
Distributor: Triton
This is a CDep (but featuring 8 tracks for 40') with 5 original songs from Netherlandish artist Vlerk and three remixes: "End of Ages" re-styled by Arzt+Pfusch Japscat and God Module, and "Corroding Conscience" by Feindflug. Grendel play electro with faster, more melodic and epic moments (which work better) and more mid-tempo tunes. There's no particular point of interest both in rhythms and in synth melodies, but the real problem is the voice: it's high pitched and distorted (a bit black metal sounding, with all due differences), but in some tracks (listen to "Catastrophe" for example) it barely stands above the instrumental part. Besides being momotonous per se, it also risks of sounding indistinct...

Conjure One: Conjure One

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Artist: Conjure One (@)
Title: Conjure One
Format: CD
Label: Nettwerk America (@)
Distributor: Nettwerk
Due for release on Nettwerk America in more than two months from now (Sept 17th), Chain D.L.K. in collaboration with MSO promotions is proud and pleased to offer you a sneak-(p)review of "Conjure One", the first solo creature of well-known and rightfully respected Front Line Assembly / Delerium co-mastermind Rhys Fulber. We all knew that Bill Leeb is capable of miracles and now, if you even needed a proof of that, you also have Fulber's producer take on what a solo album should sound like. Perfect symbiosis of electronic music and pop music, a 'synesthetic electronica' if you would, but also a bridge from west to east vibing with world-music influences (Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean mainly) and flirting with radio-friendly vocal interpretations. Oh by the way, speaking of Synaesthesia (one of Bill & Rhys' many cool side-projects), a number of songs have percussive elements in common with that great record of theirs called "Embody" (listen to Conjure One's song "Redemption" if you need a perfect example of what I am talking about)...
A gorgeous, thrilling and majestic cinematic intro opens this beautiful album, but its rapturing and harmonious balance is carried on by an outstanding line-up of female vocalists including Sinead O'Connor, Poe, Chemda (Israel), Marie-Clair D'Ubaldo (Argentina) and by a team of skilled composers including Billy Steinberg (Madonna, Bangles), Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL), Rick Nowels (Madonna, Dido). They all bring something special and truly unique to the table. The singers' very personal voices and styles breaths new character into the songs and their geographical background unmistakably emerges and helps lift the compositions to a whole new level where ethnicity becomes a signature and purity becomes a strength. Their contribution, teamed up with epic atmospheres, distant soundscapes, ethereal melodies, electronic textures and orchestral greatness are the forces at work here. Forces that breath like wind, burn like fire and flow like water. All elements, starting with the synthesized grooves, textures and bass lines, the relaxing and lush pads, the vocal performances and down to the terrific job with the string arrangements (by Chris Elliot; performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) acting like a coesive glue in a great masterplan, interact pursuing the key to success and playing a specific role in the final orchestration of Rhys Fulber's craft. If you absolutely need comparisons think of Delerium's "Karma" with spotlights on haunting dreamy textures and old-continent traces. It took him three years and lots of travelling (the album was recorded in Vancouver, Amsterdam, LA and London) but it's all there and you can and will hear it. It delivers, it really does.
PS: Read the interview with Rhys Fulber in the interview section.

ASP: Der Schwarze Schmetterling, Teil II, :DUETT

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Artist: ASP
Title: Der Schwarze Schmetterling, Teil II, :DUETT
Format: CD
Label: Richterskala/Trisol (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
I'm not really sure I got the name of the band and the title right, but oh well. ASP play a blend of electro, wave and rockish, radio-friendly music with great care for arrangement and details. No wonder they play live with an extended line-up with non-electronic instrumentation, since all tracks have distinct melodies and are arranged like "real" songs - thus, though rhythms are exclusively electronic, they skillfully avoid the classic feeling of monotonous repetition which plagues most electro acts. But the song structure itself seems to be based more on melody than on rhythm, and tracks like "Maybe" have those catchy pop lines that could guarantee proper airplay. Really not my cup of tea, but definitely better than most EBM stuff I've listened to over the past few months. Uh, comes in digipack with booklet (good layout).

Propulsion: Flesh & Blood

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Artist: Propulsion
Title: Flesh & Blood
Format: DVD
Flesh & Blood is the third self released album by this Belgian duo. One older song on this album is Human Catalyst which is completely reworked. With the first two songs (Flesh & Blood and Neglect) they underline their EBM qualities. If you like VNV nation you will certainly enjoy the beginning of this CD. This album is different than previous recordings for many reasons. One reason is that they introduce more variety. Besides the danceable Rage, the industrial minded Attack and the softer ballad Everything Is Gone (with female vocals), they bring instrumental tracks like Omar Cantar and Dark Disco. If you like samples and danceable beats, catchy melodies and electronic sounds, you could check out Propulsion.

ALEC EMPIRE: Intelligence And Sacrifice

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Title: Intelligence And Sacrifice
Format: CDx2 (double CD)
Label: Santeria (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Alec Empire is or was (since I don't know if his main band disbanded) Atari Teenage Riot's singer. He for sure gathered a lot of experience with his main band as performer as well as sonic/noise manipulator. This new CD is a double one and contains two different CDs: the first one similar to the ideas he carried on with ATR and the second one as he says is "electronic music without any vocals, a cycle that never ends". To give you an idea about how he conceived his music, read the band's members that played with him at their first big shows at Japan?s Fuji Rock Festival: Charlie Clouser from Nine Inch Nails on synths, famous Japanese noise legend MERZBOW on drums, Gabe Serbian from The Locust on a second kit, and ATR?s NIC ENDO on synths/keyboards. Nic is also a permanent member in the band and is responsible for all the special effects, sounds, noises, and the "Third World War" 14 minute apocalyptic finale of the last song "New World Order". All the tracks of the first CD are like a sonic assault and tracks like "The Ride" or "Addicted To You" are really immediate. A CYCLE THAT NEVER ENDS is the subtitle of the second CD and musically it recalls me the first Cabaret Voltaire experiments but played with digital instruments and hip hop breaks. This CD has been a sort of surprise as well as "2641998", the twentynine minutes long track which opens the CD, is really particular and based on a sequenced loop (do you remember DAF's tracks?). With this one you can taste the most experimental side of the man and I assure you that it's really enjoyable.