Saturday, July 4, 2020
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Zombiet Commandos From Hell! Sonic Assault! (An Electronic Soundtrack to Humanity's Final Conflict)
Format: CD
Label: Geska, Optikon, Boneyard Press
Apparently while that warhead monkey of G.W. Bush is gearing up for the oil war that is gonna make him richer and probably leading a nation partly destroyed by nuclear retaliation, somewhere else somebody else is already scoring the soundtrack for those terrible events as they unfold. Geska recordings, together with BoneyardPress.com who published this CD's very fine designer and compiler Steph Dumais' comic series "Zombie Commandos from Hell!" (www.raisinlove.com/zombies) and Optikon records, have dropped this electronic nuke into the battlefield triggering musical burst of impressive firepower and ammunitions of samples and sequences shooting off from all over the world. This zombie war's combat team is composed by Milligramme, Headscan, Implant, Mimetic Data, Cage Decay, Empusae, Negative Format, Tarmvred, Mlada Fronta, PTSMC, SMP, Mind COnfusion, Andraculoid, Flint Glass, Babel-17. Readers of Chain D.L.K. should be familiar with at least half of these names and thus should also know that the type of sonic explosions involved range from industrial/power noise to electronic/dark-electro all the way through dance/techno tunes. The nice thing is that most bands followed the topic and contributed war-themed tunes and some were able to actually draw a picture of it that goes beyond simply the use of speech sampling from war movies. This one is standing out of the crowd, that is if there will be a crowd left after Bush destroys all evil in the world except for himself. By the way check out Steph Dumais's art work, really cool guy, really great work!


VV.A.A.: Square Matrix 001

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Artist: VV.A.A.
Title: Square Matrix 001
Format: CD
Label: Alfa-Matrix


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Alfa-Matrix offers a 4 in 1 concept of 4 CD singles on one full-length disc. Strictly limited to 2000 copies this release features singles by Aïboforcen, Epsilon Minus, Plastic Noise Experience, and Hungry Lucy from the Alfa-Matrix catalogue. While this is a unique format it seems to be an excellent way for a label to introduce their artists to new listeners and give something unique to fans outside the standard compilation album format and get more people to buy the singles, possibly. Aïboforcen stategically position themselves in the new generation of EBM fans with a combination of energetic rhythms and melodic female vocals. Here we have the "Testing New Waters" single, four tracks one of which features a mix by ArtOfFact Records' Headscan. Recommended tracks would be "Give Me These Wings" which features a bit of male vocal too and the Headscan mix which adds a bit or a darker feel with some trance elements to the song. Epsilon Minus, based in Canada, start with "Through" in which the vocals are very smooth and match the EBM-Trance/Synthpop based music texture perfectly. The "Freedom" mix by Angels & Agony has a bit of the latter band's musical elements and a slight lean toward minimalist synthpop. In all honesty the vocals are bit weak only in the first portion of the track but as the music builds to more of club-based rhythm the vocals are much stronger as is the track overall. That however is my only criticism for Epsilon Minus as Jenn's vocals kick on most tracks as she has a great voice with enough power and sensuality for this type of music format. This is extremely evident with the next track which is mixed by Massiv In Mensch, another ArtOfFact Records artist that rocks this genre. Lastly, we have the album mix of "Through" which is a bit quicker paced, an excellent song. Next on the list is Plastic Noise Experience who begins with "Clean Head", a track with lots of Noise elements but with a pulsing dance beat and harsh whispery vocals. A bit more hard-edge and dark than the previous artists Plastic Noise Experience show another side of Alfa-Matrix. PNE is Claus Kruse whose compositions are more of an EBM-Industrial format. Alfa-Matrix describes him as, "harsh vocals and a very distorted type of sounds with virulent vibrating melodies", which is right on target. This single also includes remixes of the same track by Pzycho Bitch and Implant. The Implant mix is a bit cleaner and more of an aggro flavor while the Pzycho Bitch mix takes us in the exact opposite direction with a slower pace and more of a Power Noise rock-n-rhythm. The other track by PNE is Mechanical Beatz which reminds me of old SPK with the female vocals similar to the more operatic stuff by Die Form. Lastly, is Hungry Lucy, a sort of trip-hop gothic EBM in which Christa's vocals are very smooth and harmonious and the beats throb with a rhythm you can't help but move to. I love that 'twisty' electronic sound in the first track "Her Song". One of these days I'm gonna figure out how that's done (War-n?). War-n does some amazing synth work on this project that utilizes many genre elements to help create a totally unique sound in my book. Everything from Techno, Euro-pop, Synthpop, Industrial, Gothic, EBM, Trip-Hop, and of course a host of other club styles meld together smoothly in this interesting project. Haunting and danceable at the same time - love it! "Fearful" features mixes by Aïboforcen (my fave mix on this one) and Implant. The song "Storm" drops us back into more of trip-hop feel likened to Portishead with vocals as smooth as Tori Amos and music with a dark/ethereal dance beat. Alf-Matrix brings some great new and original works to light in this first of the Sqaure Matrix series!


Negative Format: Static

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Artist: Negative Format
Title: Static
Format: CD
Label: Sector 9 Studios (@)
To those of you who remember their "Distant Pulses" (that we reviewed on an earlier issue), NF's new album will come as a pleasant surprise. Although it is not my preferred sound, I have to admit (and it is pretty damn obvious) that there is talent involved here. You can hear it from the composition of the pieces to the manipulation of the sounds. Definitely a club-goers' favourite, "Static" goes for obsessively hammering dance beats, groovy and sharp rave sounds ("Downfall"), electronic textures backing the structure, sporadic space-ambient scenarios with Kraftwerk-like vocoding ("Genocide mix"), cinematic soundscapes with a techno-driving force ("Gateway"), more Kraftwerkian electro-dance-pop in the catchy title track, volcanic lava cascades of bubbling analogue electro-industrial-techno - sort of FLA meet Jeff Mills (like in the amazing Aiboforcen remix - I got to hear this band cause this song is my kicker!), experimental-textured techno with ebm vocals ("Impant mix") and ambience d'n'b breakbeats (the sloppy but nice "End of Transmission" outro)...The three remixes of the title track by Informatik, Headscan and Implant plus one mind-blowing remix of "N.E.A.R." (from "Distant Pulses") by Aiboforcen spice up the sizzling sup and make it into a plate that has a lot to offer to the bouncing dance-hungy handbangers out there. All tracks between 126bmp and 140bpm, so be prepared! The madness goes on for 50 minutes, intro and outro included... if only CDs came with stroboscopic and laser lights! If you don't mind too much dance in your soup, this CD is a total blast!


VV.AA.: Alfa Matrix 001

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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Alfa Matrix 001
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Alfa Matrix is a relative new label which is linked to the well known electro magazine Side Line. This compilation starts a new concept of gathering four different CD singles together and sell them at a normal CD price. In this way you get sixteen tracks, you've got a deeper idea of the label's bands and you save some money. I liked the idea which I think is also useful to present to the audience new bands just to test them. On this first issue we find Aibforcen, Epsilon Minus, Plastic Noise Experience and Hungry Lucy. The first two bands play a mixture of e.b.m., synthpop with techno inserts and female vocals (personally I don't like that much the effect because it's too dancey and lolita voices tend to annoy me). Plastic Noise Experience is powerful as always and "Clean Head" (here present in three versions alon with "Mechanical Beatz") is a good tense industrial track which confirms the value of this project. A note: better the original version respect the Implant and Pzycho Bitch even if this last created something really interesting slowing down a little the rhythm and exceeding with the distorted rhythms. Hungry Lucy are more mellow respect the first two bands, a little more synthpop and the tracks are catchy but, I'm sorry, I don't really dig these fairy female voices: they tend to sound the same while a personal voice could improve a lot a band's sound.



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