Thursday, June 17, 2021

Music Reviews

Pro Patria: Godless

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Artist: Pro Patria (@)
Title: Godless
Format: CD + Download
Label: Insane Records (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: * * * * *
The Moscow-based Electro-/Industrial-label Insane Records currently expands enormously its label roster with some talents out of the scene. The old-school EBM project Pro Patria originally out of Belgium isn't at all a newcomer as they have been established already in 1988 by Peter Vercauteren and Bert Depuydt. First tape releases came up and the band evolved into their classic EBM style and released their first demo tapes from the beginning in 1991. “Spasmaticae” (1993), “Militaria” and a live-recording tape “Veni Vidi Vici” (1994) followed and their track “hard Times” became a tiny underground hit in some middle European clubs.

This duo signed in 1996 with the German label Celtic Circle Productions and recorded their first CD album “Quod Erat Demonstrandum” and the accompanying “Hard Times” EP. Unfortunately CCP called its quit and went off from business activities just before this album was announced for a release.All attempts to release “Quod Erat Demonstrandum” signed to any other label have failed and at least in 1998 Peter and Bert split due to artistic disagreements. Peter finally has taken care for all further musically responsibilities but unfortunately his personal situation had changed into bad conditions and altered any motivation.

Pro Patria became forgotten until 2007 when Peter was asked to participate to the legendary “Old School Electrology” 4CD box-set compilation brought to us by Electro Aggression Records.Too bad that this appearance couldn't remotivate Peter to pick up the line again and Pro Patria remained vanished. The reanimation of Pro Patria happened surprisingly 10 years later when Peter received an invitation to play at the “Familientreffen” EBM festival in Sandersleben / Germany where he shared the stage the stage among others with Leaether Strip.

This festival was a success and brought Peter back into his studio and he recorded the album “Back To Basics”, exactly 20 years after “Quod Erat Demonstrandum”.Returning to music for Peter meant also to look back on his darker, personal tales he has walked through. Meanwhile he has left Belgium and settled over to Italy, surely one remarkable result out of his crisis.So Pro Patria is back and after “Back To Basic” (2017), “Executioner” (2019), this project presents us with “Godless” the 4th album, if we don't count the early demo tape phase of this project to the album discography.

With the signing deal to the Russian Insane Records label, “Godless” is next to its availability in all digital formats, now world-wide available as a physical product, a CD. Not only this, all previously released albums can be at least downloaded via the Insane Records resources like Bandcamp.Somehow Peter and his production remains to follow on relatively comparable paths compared to the early-years recordings. Lyrically themes are still represented on “Godless” belong to the terrible state of our planet and the general disinterest or even unwillingness to do something about it. Typically EBM-related, don't you think?

There's also still a stimulating form of old-school EBM with torturous, raw pound sequencer basslines mostly offered in fast and furious speed. Please note that Pro Patria doesn't sound like your next-door-NEP-Anhalt-EBM-cloning-project, actually I tend to go that far to grant Peter a relatively own and authentic sounding form of EBM.What is new is the fact, that he has developed to reach a more aggressive, straight-in-your-face sounding outfit, the new tracks are definitely more drastically formulated musically and lyrically. That goes that far, that in combination with his angry shouts and the addition of some guitar-like sounds (“Angel”, “The End”) he can integrate a constant Punk-like attitude in his tracks.

Personally I miss here there a bit more musically depth and variation, some darker-minded layers and pads in combination with slower tune would add more diversity. Best tracks to me are the more accessible tracks like the already mentioned “Angel”, “The Power is Mine”, and “Limits to Madness”.Pro Patria offer all in all 14 very aggressive produced tracks and therefore an ideal soundtrack to sweat out your inner dissatisfaction. Be ready for the rage!

Spherical Disrupted: 25 (Past / Future)

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Artist: Spherical Disrupted (@)
Title: 25 (Past / Future)
Format: CDx3 (triple CD)
Label: Audiophob (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: * * * * *
Already more than 25 years active in German Ambient- / Industrial music scene and also not at all an unknown project on our website here – but Spherical Disrupted have tarnished themselves perfectly from my personal music radar so far. Actually it has been their brilliant remix for Villaborghese available on their last “Remixed” release earlier this caught my interest.Nearly unbelievable that this one-man project of Mirko Hentrich has made it to such a huge amount of releases in its discography as well as with plenty of live performances on some highly recognized Industrial-/Noise-events like “Maschinenfest”, “Elektroanschlag”, “Schlagstrom” and/or “Summer Darkness”. this all has brought a high level of recognition.

Secondly, the foundation of the own managed Audiophob label in 2004 (with Mirko being the co-founder – Carsten Stiller of Alarmen represents the other responsible half...) and with projects like Mandelbrot, Zero Degree (also being active on ant-zen...), Wesenberg (yes, the rather Experimental-oriented solo effort of Krischan Jan-Eric Wesenberg – better known for his being in Rotersand or Straftanz and well recognized as one of the best producers / studio magician for mastering processes), or the Swiss-based duo of Skalpell, was at least a clever initiative to provide a professional audio resource.

The history of Mirko under his main project Spherical Disrupted once started in 1995 and so during the heydays, when underground music projects normally recorded tapes. Same it was also with Spherical Disrupted and the tape “Zerschellt, Zersplittert”, the very first release of this project. Thanks to this release, it was the right time to celebrate this anniversary and to give the listeners an overlook to some rare available recordings, highlights out of the long discography, long-out-of-print compilation appearances and also the possibility to invite some guests / friends for contribution purposes.

Therefore the fitting title “25” for this output, initially released during the end of the last year as a special 3CD box. Actually, this special box-set consisting of a carton box, three CDs in two digi-packs, three inlay prints, and as a special gimmick a "Granite hardware remix kit" (two stones), strictly limited to 100 hand-numbered exemplars only, is completely and long-time SOLD OUT.Both the CD albums, “25 - Past” (2 CDs) and “25 – Future” (1 CD) now can be purchased directly via the Audiophob website, several mail order services, or at Bandcamp.
I personally prefer to review this release as being as a whole item and so I will spend attention to both albums separately.

“25 (Past)”
As already mentioned above, the double-CD “25 (Past)” offers new and revamped versions of past recording, rarely available compilation appearances and remix contributions for other projects (Bloody Dead And Sexy, Experimentum Crucis, Yipotash, The Trial, KiEw, Mimetic Dancing, The_Empath, Xabec, Mandelbrot, Still Patient?) taken out several epochs during the 25 years.A lot of this tunes have been available on strictly limited, out-of-print releases, mostly on tapes for example, and do see the light to be pressed on CD format for the very first time. Some of them have been completely unreleased so far and to collect all of these old recordings, to polish and to transform them into the present was surely challenging.
For statistic nerds I recommend to have a detailed look to the website of Mirko,, under the tab “Oscillation” you can find a table with every track recorded is listed there alphabetically and where it has been released before. Move then towards to Discogs to explore the wide ranging release catalog of Spherical Disrupted.

Musically, Spherical Disrupted acts mainly in the wide field of Electronic-based Dark Ambient music. Mirko produces a relatively static form of dark and at times noisy Electronic music often accompanied with slow-stalking EBM-oriented beats and bassline work. The noise elements often occur through massive pitch shifting and filter frequency manipulations of changing in velocity, dynamic or harmony. There's definitely a high factor of a DIY mentality listenable, several tracks offer various FX manipulations seemingly live recorded and with a strong field recording behavior, “Solar Luminosity (Terminal Mix)” is a perfect example in this sense.One of the strongest moments I found in “Cavity Block (Not The :W: Master)” which reminds me on slo-mo Orphx combined with some lengthy tracks out of The Klinik / Marc Verhaegen's archives.
Another striking factor for the music composition process of Mirko seems to be his strong interest in astronomy as he often names his tracks after the discovery of remarkable objects and phenomenons out of this science area (“Through Homunculus Nebula”).

The second CD out of this “Past” edition then offers us 9 remix contributions fabricated by Spherical Disrupted for foreign band projects and friends, as per listed above. Best and rather IDM-related Electronica entertainment I've found with the breathtaking remix on The_Empath and the track "Second Earth (Down To The Ground Mix)”, for sure one of highlights here.The overall sound outfit of Spherical Disrupted comes out pretty much abstract and provides a strong hypnotic impression, although it and there gets monotonous and offers at times unnecessary lengths too.
But generally Mirko's music is an oppressive sound outfit and to me additionally the ideal sound environment to confuse the neighborhood.

“25 (Future)”
As initially described above, the “Future” edition of this fascinating release offers at least completely new tracks, new remix contributions and for the first time guest vocal appearances. We have here the track “Basalt” with Tino Claus out of the TC75 / Amnistia fame and not only because of Tino's timbre this mid-tempo track with its nicely installed bass lines sounds quite comparable to Tino's TC75 recordings.Also Jana Komaritsa of the Russian Dark Industrial project Darkrad (among other recording for Audiophob or earlier for Cold Meat Industry...) offers the listener a haunting vocal performance on this mutually composed track.

Generally it comes the impression that the first 5 tracks of the newer compositions of Mirko show a tendency to keep the music a bit more accessible which in case of tracks like “Crust” or “Comet” can be noticed within a higher level of Electro-/EBM-like beat- and percussion-elements.On the opposite, tracks like “Pluton” or “Granit“ are drowning deeply into the Dark Ambient genre and rather focus to express the oppressive mood.

Remix contributors can be discovered excellently with Slovakia's Dark Electro-duo Disharmony and their very calm and catchy interpretation on “Comet”. Again, their ability to mix smooth synthesized, piano-sounding fragments with dense and darker-minded layers still thrills and impresses totally. Also Mr. Wesenberg gives a lighter-minded remix contribution on “Basalt”, the mutually composition of Spherical Disrupted with TC75.

Well, at least 225 minutes playing time of variable and thrilling produced Dark Ambient / Experimental music with the tendency to integrate a valid amount of Dark Electronica available on three CD's totally available for a price of two releases should be a good reason for a purchase. Yes, the 100 hand-numbered exemplars are gone and should become collectible rarities.

Hired.Life: Her Demoversion

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Artist: Hired.Life
Title: Her Demoversion
Format: CD + Download
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: * * * * *
The Kaliningrad-based Russian trio of Hired.Life returns after several years back to the front of their homegrown scene and got recently picked-up the Hungarian-based Advoxya Records for the signing to this new release. As you may know, Hired.Life was established out of the ashes of the Russian Dark Electro project Denergized, which had made a massive impact out of the Advoxya roster from 2006 ongoing.

Hired.Life has been founded by band-leader Serge Vorobyov after the sudden and unexpected split with his former partner DS (aka Andrey Kuznetsov) in 2008. Under the Hired.Life moniker and with different co-musicians throughout the years, this project could release one full-length album entitled “End Of Line” on the Russian Gravitator label, a download-only sort of compilation named “We Don't Promise You A Rose Garden”, out on the now out-of-business Russian net-label Synthematik Records and also a few self-released, dowmload-only items available from their very own Bandcamp website (for example “Terminus” in 2015).

Hired.Life in its current formation exists of Sergey Vorobyov (programming, vocals), Pavel Blagov (programming, guitars), and Darya Revizonskaya (programming, keyboards). “Her Demoversion” is their latest album and kind of a final statement to end the era of Denergized, it tells us stories about memories, edited memories and about living the whole life in memories. Finally without any happy emotions, it's rather sort of depressive sounding outfit. The beautifully designed 4-panel digipack-wallet with its rather Synthwave-/Outrun-music style looking cover art is stunning for sure, but musically Hired.Life have developed into other territories.

After the ominous and haunting start under Denergized, the music itself has turned forward into a kind of straight and linear produced Electro-Rock outfit with a constant Dark Wave influence.The addition of Pavel Blagov also integrated Rock-/Metal-like guitar insertions into the musically outfit of this trio. “Her Demoversion” and its tracks surprise with its generally straight direction and compositions following a classic verse-chorus-bridge scheme. Actually only Serge's voice reminds on earlier days but also the integration of the Russian language into one or another track is no longer a no-go. “Empty Cell” is a relic out of the Denergized days, here reinterpreted in two different versions to close this chapter. “13th” is a classy danceable tune with howling Rock guitars and well installed synth lines.

My rather electronic-minded heart in me misses a bit a more tricky outfit here and there in the synthesizer arrangements but that's just me. Hired.Life have opened themselves to reach a wider musically oriented audience and their album title sounds anything else than a demo version, although the lyrically message is still a twisting one.
Overall quite consumable darker-minded Electro-Rock music.

Perse: Exile In H

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Artist: Perse
Title: Exile In H
Format: Tape & Digital Download
Label: Bamboo Shows (@)

Perse is a new project by Marco Milanesio (aka 9Cento9 or DsorDNE) and Emiliana Voltarel (Braconidae). Together they had already issued an self-titled single on Marco's own label HUM_an last December which captured the Winter mood perfectly.
The Exile In H EP, published via the Lyon based Bamboo Shows label (podcaster and enterpreteur of events) continues with atmospheric and poetrical pieces which recall positively some of DsorDNE's work of years ago, updated with more current audiotools and a wider field of sounds and experimentation in various degrees.
Half of the six tracks have lyrics dealing with atmospheres and trends today. Recorded during 2020 the occuring themes are isolation, memories, despair and how to get along if I interpret them correctly with the aid of an online translator.
These are reflective songs in the widest sense, "Nel blu e nel rosso" is a slow opener to lure the listener in. Without a break "Guardavamo davanti" follows in an decent upbeat structure with again more spoken than sung lyrics from Marco by Emiliana. His O.F.F. associate and Larsen member Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo guests with ebow to accomplish the drift and it could go on but the track ends sooner than I would have liked it.
The following "Sin" gives an instrumental post-industrial noir tingled break where the wind howls through the empty city. Mere abstract, "INFF" inverts the impression to thoughts running circles inside one's head but that's just one possible interpretation it's all left to the recipent. "Corde risonanti" is the third and final vocal track, hushed and hunted close to breathless the lyrics counterpoint the instrumental pseudo calmness. The closing "Vento Da Sud" evolves the theme of a desert wind running through the landscape but it's not an utter bleak world, at least not yet.
The talents of both musicians supplement each other really well and it's great to hear the results of their collaborative effort. I hope Perse will not be lost in time soon and follow this up with a few releases when the time is right.
This is serious music for the hearts and minds in a rarely lit corner between various electronic styles and poetic expression.

Exile In H is also available as limited tape, only 46 copies where made - so good luck if you're want a physical copy!

Dark The Keeper: Insight...23

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Artist: Dark The Keeper
Title: Insight...23
Format: CD + Download
Label: self-released
Distributor: DSBP / Bandcamp
Rated: * * * * *
This is the latest release of the Russian Dark Electro music project Dark The Keeper. It is solo effort of Alexander Borsov, who was otherwise musically active rather in the Russian Death Metal scene as guitarist and of one of the founders of projects like (Morgue), (Atom), and (Sarcoma – this project was part of the Crimean Death Metal scene in the mid-90s). But this episodes can be left into history.
In 2011 Alexander started to produce music with electronic-based equipment. Dark The Keeper as well as his recent alter ego-projects like Stellar Dynamics, Satura or Darkmechanic (yes, Alexsnder insists to have so many different projects running like other people would change their underwear...) have indeed not too much to do with his Death Metal past, the conceptual idea especially behind Dark The Keeper was born out the influence of the legend / cult act of Dark Electro music within, GGFH (Global Genocide Forget Heaven).Yes, Alexander's music lives and breathes the overwhelming GGFH-influence on “Insight...23” here, other references I tend to name with some Splatter Squall tracks, Pain Station with their “Cold” album, or some deepest Lexincrypt moments. But actually, he has already released a tribute EP with two instrumental cover version of GGFH to their “Disease”-era and also this new album here features two additional reinterpretations. The sick and rotten GGFH world is his most important quell of inspiration, without doubt!

So we have with “Insight...23” that kind of a deep, dark, and ominous sounding release filled with uncountable twisting sounds, dark atmospheres, samples highly infiltrated with gore/splatter voices, this all accented in a bombastic, soundtrack-like design. In short: this is an ideal soundtrack for Halloween.He adds sparsely in his vocals, often provided in Russian language and in a guttural fashion, as this is quite typically for an artist out of the Death Metal genre. Mostly the tracks concentrate to create sinister mood lines and this comes united with his mid tempo-to slower grinding, pummeling, vicious rhythm and percussion patterns. This isn't the music to set fire under the floor of your next dance party event and most important: this isn't the music provided by the redundant snap light stick Harsh Electro-generation!

Outstanding - because crystal-clear – is his final mixdown and mastering process. Alexander's tracks are sounding quite polished and well-balanced and there's absolutely nothing to complain on his recording quality. Generally I find it a bit difficult to tap on a personal favorite on here, but this rather has something to do with the fact, that each track contains lots of details and dense layers of industrial madness, a lot of strange voice samples perfectly placed and with precision installed into the mix.

Also – as a matter of constructive criticism – his amount of multiple outputs as well as his almost uncountable number of different projects which all follow musically a relatively comparable direction is a bit too optimistic to the listener to be able to follow and to identify themselves with the artist.
Since Alexander has been throughout the last year immensely collaborated through mutual track compositions and remix exchanges with Tommy T. of Diverje and projects of his DSBP label roster, it should be said, that a limited number of a physical product, a CD, is available via Tommy's mail order service.

This one can be purchased without hesitation.