I was a child, my father used to tell me stories about his own childhood,
a time before televison.He told that he and his
brothers and sisters used to listen to radio shows, and his favorites were the scary ones, like The Shadow and the Inner Sanctum. He would describe how it felt to sit in the dark and listen to the eerie sound effects, the screams, thuds, creaking doors.
to his stories, I wished I'd been born long ago too. Watching television
in the dark just wasn't the same. Listening to
Midnight Syndicate's new CD, I feel that my childhood wish has been granted.
Midnight Syndicate have made a solid name for themselves in the Hallowe'en industry, producing CD's full of eerie, realistic sound effects. These are no ordinary cheese haunted house sound effects however. Each CD has a carefully constructed theme and story line.
Their fourth CD, Gates of Delirium, takes you inside the dank and chilly walls of an insane asylum. The steady clop of horses hooves as they pull your carriage up the long lane way, the creak as the carriage lurches to a halt, the howls and sobs that you hear when you first enter the asylum are all crystal clear, each noise hanging in the air ominously.
music to listen to late at night, letting your imagination create stories
that will haunt your dreams.
7100 Rushmore Way
Cave and the Bad Seeds
No More Shall We Part
~reviewed by Kathryn
The new Nick Cave CD, No More Shall We Part, is quite beautiful. Unfortunately, due to the subject matter, it is exactly the wrong album for me to be listening to right now. I spent the morning sewing and crying to it, and don't know if I'll be able to listen to it again any time soon. It, like The Boatman's Call, is one of *those* albums. So deeply personal and moving, that it must not be a casual listen. And he's done something different with his voice, it's a little higher, and almost strained sounding - though not strained. Perhaps the word I am looking for is intimate, if that makes any sense. The power is still there, but expressed in the tone of a whisper (though not whispered), like he's conveying a series of deep secrets and needs the listener to feel their weight.
Stunning. But not without the usual interjections of humor, here and there, though this time they all seem a bit bittersweet.
need this CD.
01 As I sat sadly by her side
02 And no more shall we part
04 Love letter
05 Fifteen feet of pure white snow
06 God is in the house
07 Oh my lord
08 Sweetheart come
09 The sorrowful wife
10 We came along this road
11 Gates to the garden
12 Darker with the day
Cave and the Bad Seeds is:
Nick Cave: Vocals & Piano
Mick Harvey: Guitar
Blixa Bargeld: Guitar
Thomas Wydler: Drums
Martyn P. Casey: Bass
Conway Savage: Organ
Warren Ellis: Violin
Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Backin Vocals
Bank Mail order
429 Harrow Road, London
order online at www.mute.com
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist
First off, I think I should get straight to the point and mention that Nebulous is among my circle of friends. If that influences my review in the slightest, I assure you that it's on nothing more than a subconscious level. With that in mind, I'm going to try to give a mostly analytical review. Perhaps the fact that I know a lot about him will make that easier.
From Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Nebulous is the living embodiment of the late 70's and early 80's. Not only does he look like Billy Idol (from those formative years, of course) but he's got a mint Tron coin-op machine in his basement. I mention this only to give you some background, so that you might better understand the musical themes he presents.
He lists among his influences Vangelis, Carlos, Jarre, and Tomita, and their work shows through in his. Synthetica is all about the early days of synthwork -- trying to prove to an ignorant public that these hulking machines can make the same beautiful music as classical instruments. This struggle began with Carlos programming Bach, and it didn't take long for people to realize that the power of electronics (both analogue and digital) were a musical force to be reckoned with. If nothing else, the first hidden track on the disc shows how well a piano can be emulated, and Nebulous has flawlessly managed to reproduce a concert piano style environment.
Nebulous' pieces are best described as 'soundscapes,' and they all tend to pick at certain images and memories in one's head. As I sit and listen, I remember those golden days of sci-fi, video arcades, and synth-influenced music that seemed as a child to be so mysterious, and now as, more or less, an adult to be so special.
When I started my radio show, I was using one of the tracks from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night as theme music. One day, Nebulous called me up and said, "I've written a theme song for you based on your old one." And so "Stay Awhile, Stay Forever" was born, the name culled from the nefarious classic video game, Impossible Mission. The track was perfectly suited for my show -- serious, yet with the tongue-in-cheek approach that's evident in most Vincent Price movies.
"Trans-esque" is one of those songs that refuses to give up prime real estate in your head. Inspired by the popular Trans-X song, "Living on Video" (which was equally catchy), this track captures the underlying feel of the Trans-X version.
"Robot Requiem" is another soundscape that Nebulous has described as a machine's lament in the final moments of its life. It's a very dark and sad electro piece that trails off at the end into the void of space.
Showing his love for classic sci-fi like Bladerunner, "The Angels Fell" features many samples from the movie. In fact, this track features the only movie samples on the disc.
"Meander" sounds like it belongs in the Tangerine Dream soundtrack to the movie Legend. A nice floating synth piece.
Another interesting feature of this disc is that tracks 15-40 are short hidden tracks, featuring snippets of ideas that Nebulous is working on.
With this disc, Nebulous has taken up the glory days of synth work, almost 30 years gone, dusted it off, and given it a modern and unique approach. If you'd like a trip down memory lane, of if you'd merely like to see where in the pecking order classic analogue synthscapes sit at the turn of the millennium, then this would definitely be for you.
4. Digital Ascension
5. Stay Awhile -- Stay Forever
7. Robot Requiem
8. Prison Maze
9. The Angels Fell
10. Xenoscape 2
13. Nylon Oxygen
14. Steel Strings
15-40. hidden tracks
~reviewed by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz 23.3
A definite DEMO release from Justin Evans in the KC area. This CD is uniqueenough that I feel it deserves some press. First off, LOVE THE NAME. Latin for voice of the dead, or something of that sort. Very catchy, dark yet very industrial too, which is what this CD is. Dark looped noises, in the fashion of early experimental music. Many know it as the origins of the Industrial that we dance to today. From the thumping rhythmic whine and feed back of track one to the well thought out and executed samples that sometimes really make the songs complete on this effort. It is all a great look into the mind of a potential new artist. Done with care, and not with the attitude that it already is the ‘finished’ product. Some of the noises and loops are almost so repetitive, that I could see them being used again in small blips later. They are almost reminiscent of the Psychic T.V. method of conditioning once used on their more primitive works. Minus any notion that this music is trying to be a new religion, or a new ‘way’ that is. No it is best to take the pill, and allow it to seep deep into your brain. If Justin comes back with another release, or gets a chance to refine these tracks for release to a more national audience, I hope he uses the same methods used here to get to the back of your head. Once hacked, the reprogramming can begin!
NO TRACK NAMES on this release, many short gems, and much worthy of sampling. I am sure if you wanted to give this CD a shot, or even remix it, he would be up to it. firstname.lastname@example.org .
~reviewed by Matthew
There has been a lot of buzz in the prog metal world about this Finnish female vocal led outfit. Having always assumed they were more of a power pop band than a darker metal band, I avoided them. I regret that now, as I ended up really enjoying this release a lot more than I had expected I would. I wish I could compare this to their earlier releases, but I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing them in their entirety. But I am imagining that this album in particular is stronger than their previous releases, because this one appealed to me much more and grasped my attention much quicker than the few songs I heard by chance through friends, etc.
Nightwish are extremely talented musicians. Their guitars are uplifting and epic, very driving and powerful, as they are meant to be. There is a more traditional metal sound to what they do, but the sweet operatic vocals of Tarja Tarunen bring everything together nicely. Much to my surprise, a feeling of true sadness encompasses the entire disc. Not the kind of desperate gloom and doom that I am usually overwhelmed with by doom metal, but this is more of a fleeting feeling, a sweetness that stems from the romance between the commanding soprano voice and the sweeping orchestral synthesizers. Though much more intense in their emotion, I am somewhat reminded of Rain Fell Within and Trail Of Tears when I hear this music, and I can now see where these bands had culled their influences, as Nightwish have been around much longer, if I am not mistaken.
Other power metal bands like In Flames and Children Of Bodom spoil any hope of creating a mood with consistent abrasive vocal styles. Not only that, but let’s face it, they repeatedly shove the same fancy guitar licks down our throats over and over again, and after three or more albums they pretty much have shown us every trick they can do. They are still both great bands, but Nightwish have the magickal formulas that they seem to be lacking. I admire Nightwish for being more diversified in not only their basic composition, but also the moods they create. Some songs are faster and more upbeat than others, but each song stands on its own and every song works together to create a beautiful atmosphere overall. They also practice a tasteful restraint. This is not over the top in terms of ‘heavy metal’ aggression by any means; but rather, a more laid back journey that has its peaks and valleys, but there is always something interesting around the corner that could appeal to nearly anyone with an appreciation for well-orchestrated music.
The darker and somewhat seductive “Come Cover Me” stands as one of my favourites, along with the bombastic title track which reminds me of Therion and the infamous Carmina Burana choirs, which seems to have been vastly rediscovered as of late. “Crownless” whips along with nice double bass backdrops and subtle bouncing harpsichords (which appear again in their full glory in the album’s finalé “FantasMic”) “Dead Boy’s Poem” is another memorable offering, a more mid-paced ballad with some cool spoken word at the center of the song.
Overall, Nightwish were a nice surprise. This is definitely a CD I would have to be in the mood for, as it’s not as dark as my usual tastes, but every once and a while, I am not totally miserable ;-P And when I am feeling adventurous and especially in need of some metallic and operatic bravado, I have to look no further than this high quality disc.
1.) She Is My Sin
2.) The Kinslayer
3.) Come Cover Me
5.) Two For Tragedy
7.) Bare Grace Misery
9.) Deep Silent Complete
10.) Dead Boy’s Poem
Tarja Turunen – vocals
Tuomas Holopainen – synthesizers
Jukka Nevalainen – drums & percussion
Emppu Vuorinen – guitars
Sami Vanska – bass
– Official Site:
by Nivek Ogre / Mark Walk
~reviewed by by guest writer Jyri Glynn (from 3SKS)
(photos courtesy of Spitefire Records website)
The metaphoric lyrical content of Welt’s debut album, OhGr is nothing less than one would expect from the former legendary singer of Skinny Puppy. Ogre shows us one more hidden facet in his imaginative mind, combining fragments of Puppy’s last project, “TheProcess” with his vocal appearances featured on KMFDM albums. Five years in the making this long awaited collaborative effort between Nivek Ogre and Mark Walk finally hits the shelves on Feb. 20, 2001. OhGr is not to be confused with the singer’s past projects such as Pig Face or Rx.; however, Ogre does continue forward vocally with the removal of obscure voiced effects favored on Skinny Puppy’s material. This album features diverse musical content with driving club beats; however, is not recommended for the “stereo-typical” Rivet Head. Being a far cry from the experimental, hard edge you may expect from one of the godfathers of the Industrial scene, Ogre ventures further into the electronic dance genre with natural progression and originality.
Favorite songs capturing my attention included “Solow” with its very 80ish, analog keyboard sounds. This song is a great blend of early new wave, not unlike Gary Numan, with a touch of the modern dance classics. Ironically Numan and Ogre are scheduled to tour together later this year. My initial thoughts, upon hearing this news, were mixed, not quite grasping just how this would work; however, after hearing OhGr, I certainly see the connection and anticipate a great show.
Another hit song featuring on this album is “Pore” once again with very club-oriented drumming and KMFDM styled keys. Ogre raps (for lack of better words) lyrics faster than a claustrophobic yuppie trying to get out of a mosh pit. Much like the early Puppy days, I find myself rewinding this song trying to grasp just what the hell is Ogre saying.
“Minus”, the closing song to the album, radiates more of a modern “Nine Inch. Nails” sound to it! A bit more angst behind the vocals with aggressive rhythm guitar concludes an overall great sounding recording.
Label: Spitfire Records
~reviewed by Kevin
Founded in 1999, French group One for Jude is clearly a band in transition. Their CD "Figures" is an uneven but promising disc which could be followed up by a giant leap forward or by a painful misstep.
"inside" and "goodboy," re-recorded from an earlier 5-track disc, are standard alternative rock, competent and occasionally catchy but generally unspectacular. "Sonic" is equally accessible and equally generic, and it's possible that One for Jude's next album may move in this more commercial direction. I hope they don't: this kind of hipster power pop has been done to death already, and done better. (Although their accents definitely add a certain charming je ne sais quoi to the proceedings).
Far more promising are their moodier, more atmospheric songs. The opening track, "helmet" has lyrics which remind me of Andre Breton. ("she was walking on rocks waving her arms like a symphony a new huntress a flying hair succession the fragrance of a boiling sea... " etc.) "refuge" features some gorgeous work from noted French accordionist Pierre Ribaute, and a great trumpet solo from Eric Roger (Sol Invictus, Orchestre Noir). Another standout, "Consolation," has some of the best vocals on the CD.
And that brings us to the vocals. Simply put, the members of One for Jude need to mature as singers. You can be a great rock vocalist without an opera singer's range: people as disparate as Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Kurt Cobain offer examples. But you *must* know your range. If you can't hit a high C, then don't try for it. (I know that somebody will mention David Tibet here: think of him as the exception which proves the rule). Throughout "Figures," the singers reach for high notes and give us sour ones instead. I don't think it's a lack of talent but more an excess of enthusiasm, or maybe unfamiliarity with the studio.
Some vocal training, and experience, should do them a lot of good. If the lush soundscapes of "refuge" and "figuration" were supported by more assured and trained singing, One for Jude would be a band to contend with. As it is, they definitely show promise: file this one under "bands to watch out for."
pierre-yves angelici, sebastien boucksom
percussion: pierre-yves angelici
accordeon: pierre ribaute
trompette: eric roger
One for Jude c/o Billy Amzal
47 Chemin du Clocher d'aulnay
93320 Pavillions Sous Bois
(33) 6 60 13 19 91
for Jude CDs available online at:
~reviewed by Matthew
If Jefferson Airplane had been active two decades later and became low-fi indie rockers, they could open for Orchards & Vines. Providing a unique and breathtaking blend of vintage psychedelia, folk ballads, and stirring indie-rock, this Canadian act has been burning up the charts on Mp3.com and were also recently featured in Napster’s Discover music program.
The band is led by the powerful alto voice of Cindy Tomlinson, whose range and tone immediately reminded me of a gloomier Grace Slick, and perhaps even a smidgen of early and more sedate Sonic Youth tracks with Kim Gordon at the mic. Rather than falling into the whispy, angelic school of female vocalists, Cindy’s voice is deep, resonant, and unmistakably solid in its delivery. A large body of the guitar work is overdriven and jangling chords, smooth yet grungy at the same time and often saturated in panned stereo effects. Other tracks opt for a more acoustic approach, especially toward the last third of the CD with narrative ballads like “Song Of The Selkie” and “Sunergy.” “The Dolphin Song” is a trippy and mind altering jam with unique guitar effects and surreal vocals.
However, the opening title track is easily my favourite track. It has an awesome drive and sentimental power behind every note. It is not especially dark and has an optimistic vibe to it, and it managed to penetrate even my Gothic purist psyche and succeeded in lifting my spirits up. Cindy’s resonant voice, the energetic guitars and overall seductive groove of the song was a winning combination. It is definitely a motivational and ‘feel good’ kind of song without coming across as sappy or even remotely touching into the realm of commercial fluff. It’s a perfect score for a summer drive with the girl you love. I am even scaring myself at how much I dug this song <laughs> Anyway, the second track is another standout offering, and for some reason the guitar work in it reminds me of the Screaming Trees “Sweet Oblivion” album yet it also has the same psychedelic edge that recalls Airplane as
“My Own Sky” is the album’s ‘Goth’ track, if there even is one. The chord progression is very similar to the Stone’s “Gimme Shelter” which was regurgitated by good old Andy Eldritch and his Sisters Of Mercy project. Anyway, “My Own Sky” is a suffocating and dismal ballad with a slow and excessively haunting vibe. The vocal melody is simple yet utterly penetrating, catchy, and incredibly effective. This track also features one of the more prominent cello arrangements on the album. A band can simply do no wrong when they have a cellist in their line up, and Orchards & Vines uses the instrument to add more weight and depth to the atmosphere of their music, rather than as a flashy avant garde tool. It took a few listens to pick up on it, but when I finally did, I rejoiced in the brooding brilliance it provided.
I love this CD. Orchards & Vines do a remarkable job in combining the similar aspects of different styles of music to produce their own unique sound. Though the middle section drags a bit, the overall CD is damn cool, and is chalk full of several memorable tracks. It was a nice change of pace for me, still being relatively dark and emotional, yet slightly different than what I usually listen to. It’s all part of my plan to go emo one day, and when I do, it can be partially blamed on these guys. Check this out if you need something refreshing and trippy, and have a place in your heart for the darker songs that occasionally pop up on your local classic rock radio station.
1.) Tomorrow’s Yesterday
2.) Across The Waters
5.) My Own Sky
6.) Ever Dream Of Moonlight
8.) In The Darkness
10.) Song Of The Selkie
11.) Dolphin Song
13.) Turtle Bliss
& Vines is:
Cindy Tomlinson – vocals
Ted Koppman – guitars
Ron F. – drums
Jesse Cullen – bass
Elinor Harshenin – cello
& Vines - Official Page:
& Vines – Mp3 Site:
Eyes of Pandora
~reviewed by Digital Angel
The Floridian duo, Eyes of Pandora parallel 10,000 Maniac’s to an insane degree. I’m quite surprised they’re not getting some serious radio play.
Susan Tojo’s trembling vocals coupled with pianos and acoustic guitars provided by Robert Gueits are influenced by rockabilly and mainstream pop, which is exactly what I was reminded of when I gave their self titled disc a listen. A little heavy on the mainstream pop, not so much rockabilly.
The lyrical content switches gears much like the actual music does from each track. They take on political issues, and the world’s troubles, as well as more personal wars with love and longing.
Without a doubt, this is radio worthy material.
Down to the River
Burn For You
Lust and Lies
Hard Hand of War
It Wont be Long
Eyes of Pandora are: Susan Tojo and Robert Gueits
PO Box 236
Miami, FL 33144
Turn For The Worse (EP)
~reviewed by Matthew
Comfortably nestled somewhere between the groove-oriented doom of Sabbath or St. Vitus and the misanthropic romanticism of the Gothic doom genre, Penance are veterans to misery. Having risen out of the ashes of the late 80’s cult act Dream Death, they have continued on for over ten years now, releasing several albums and EP’s. Some of you may recognize drummer Mike Smail’s name as he played for Cathedral on their unrivaled debut album “Forest Of Equilibrium” back in ’91. Nonetheless, these pensive Pittsburgher’s are back in action with a new EP entitled “Turn For The Worst.”
The opening track “Love Dies” is the most powerful track on the EP, with its extremely dense drop tuned guitars, swinging drums, and stark riffing. The chord progression and key shift at the bridge of the song is brilliant. It just supplies an awesome edge and adds a subtle eeriness to the song.
“Cold” opens as a sludgy, slothful tune with thick bass runs and dirty, slightly bluesy guitar riffs but picks up in the middle for an driving chorus straight out of the Sabbath school of coolness. Bitter and sardonic lyrics appear at the chorus:
forbid you should show some emotion
God forbid you should ease my pain
God forbid you allow me security
Then all my words have not been in vain.”
The lyrics are straightforward. Unlike their high brow Gothic doom cousins, Penance are like the working man’s doom, with roots more in blues than 19th Century poetry. Nonetheless, the themes of unrequited love and the misery encompassed within rejection narrates nearly every track. The vocals, as well, are straight from the heart, more rock n’ roll, less metal.
“Drown Me In A Sea Of Empty” is the EP’s ‘ballad,’ a murky song led by clean electrics and acoustic guitars, and heartfelt vocals. The vocals aren’t stellar by any means, but they make their point and convey the emotion necessary to make Penance’s point. This is the album’s most accessible song, almost radio friendly, but too dark, too negative in its vibe. Even without all the romantic poetics, violins, pianos, etc, Penance still succeed in creating one hell of a depressive atmosphere. The closing track “Misery Song” is my least favourite, definitely the weakest track, but by no means bad at all, just not as powerful as the other three.
Overall, Penance is a great band. They definitely are safely leagues away from being considered a stoner rock band (a gloomy doom fan’s 70’s wah pedal induced nightmare!) but rather, they stand proud and glum as a rhythmic and heavy doom rock band that could show a lot of us young whipper snappers a thing or too…
Penance has a new release slated for later this year on the Martyr Music label, so be on the look out for that. For now, please see our interview this issue with Penance’s newest member, bassist Mary Bielich!
1.) Love Dies
3.) Drown Me In A Sea Of Empty
4.) Misery Song
– Official Site:
~reviewed by Matthew
Rajna are an interesting and unique assemblage of French musicians, who accurately utilize the instruments, song structures, techniques, and themes of Eastern Indian and Tibetan music. The band is often compared to Dead Can Dance, and while there are similarities, Rajna’s music comes across as much more sinister and foreboding. While Dead Can Dance have their moments of eerieness, a stark and ghostly blackness shades the entire duration of this album. The songs seem better suited for ritual and meditation, therefore possessing a more mystical mood. It is almost a given that Dead Can Dance will spring to a listener’s mind anytime a band experiments with Eastern or ethnic motifs, but Rajna more than just dabble in it, they have mastered it. And as exemplified on tracks such as “Silnen Kempur” and “Rajna,” they use the inherent power of Oriental music to create something quite creepy and engrossing.
To clear up some potential confusion, this particular release of “Ishati” is the American version of the band’s 1999 debut, now licensed and reissued through Projekt. Another album entitled “Yahili” was released that same year by the French label Holy Records (reputed for Elend, Nightfall, Septic Flesh, etc) and the band’s third release “The Heady Wine Of Praise” was released by Holy Records last month. So you might come across other information or reviews of Rajna as they basically had two simultaneous releases this spring for different record labels.
With those facts all straightened out, Rajna is an incredible addition to the Projekt roster and we all should be thanking Sam for discovering these guys. The instruments are authentic Oriental percussive, wind, and string instruments with very little, if any synth work at all throughout the album. The deep mournful female vocals of Jeanne are the perfect counterpart to the majestic and ancient psychedelia, and as I mentioned earlier, this stuff is truly eerie and remarkably dark. Not to mention, there is a sexual charm to it as well, invoking images of exotic landscapes and forbidden pleasures of a seraglio.
Whether you and your significant other are creating your own Arabian Night, or you are attempting to invoke something to keep you company, this is the perfect score for either process. Rajna will fit comfortably alongside Unto Ashes, Arcana, and Steve Roach, and hopefully more of their releases will be accessible through Projekt. Check this out if you are into authentic ancient or ethnic music; your skin will without a doubt chill at the preternatural qualities of these doleful dirges.
3.) Silnen Kempur
9.) Lahul Nati
12 rue du hainault, Z.A.C Du Hainault
+33 1 60 22 36 22
The Heady Wine of Praise
~reviewed by Kathryn
(photo courtesy the band's website http://site.voila.fr/rajna )
This is the third release by Rajna, and their second on French lable Holy records. Ishati, their first CD, has just been reissued in the US by projekt. Rajna are Jeanne Lefebvre, Fabrice Lefebvre and Gerard Chambellant.
The music starts, and I can almost feel the cold stone of the floor beneath my bare feet. The room is dark, lit only by softly glowing candles, and there is smoke rising from the pots of incense lining the walls. The air smells of myrrh and sandalwood - jasmine and cloves. My scarves are silk, in the shades of saffron and blood.
I open my eyes, and suddenly I'm back in this room, and it's a CD I'm listening to, not musicians hidden in a far corner of the temple, accompanied by a woman with the voice of an angel.
Heady Wine of Praise is not a CD for casual listening. From the very first
track it reaches out and demands undivided attention, sweeping the listener
up in a lush tapestry of sound that some have described as being close
to the sound of Dead Can Dance. And, in fact, the fourth song is a cover
of Cantara. But I think they reach beyond that, into a world both earthly
and otherworldly, a place only hinted at by Dead Can Dance. There is a
brillance to their darkness, or perhaps a darkness in their
They've branched out a bit from the path they started in Ishati, which I find much more atmospheric and calmly meditative, and brought a new strength into their sound. This may be due, in part, to the fact that Holy Records is primarily a metal lable. The influence of which can be heard on the second of two hidden tracks at the end of the CD, which is laced with a dark and brooding electric guitar - a sound that works surprisingly well considering the vast array of traditional instruments present on this CD.
reminded, at times, of bands such as Vas, The Changelings, or Collection
D'Arnell Andrea. And other times I can almost hear Coil & Dead Can
Dance meeting up in a dark alley and planning their attack. In spite of
the comparisons, Rajna are a band who manage to create their own sound
from traditional Eastern influences, transporting the listener into their
And what a world it is.
1. The Passage
6. Mysterious Lanka
7. Kalos Irtes
8. Elizian Dance
10. Pearl of Ashes
11. Black Star
13. Om Mani Padme Hum
+ 2 bonus tracks
12 rue hinault Z.A.C. Du Hinault
through Middle Pillar:
~reviewed by Matthew
Some people just can’t get past the name. Which is a shame because the music that the band produces is twice as melodic as most people would ever expect. But you know how it goes, they were young angry lads, pissed at the world and wanted to come up with a name that was more evil than their forefathers and now they have made a name for themselves that they are stuck with! It’s a lot like the typical twenty-year-old Goth vixen that decides to get a tattoo of an ankh on her left breast. And then eventually you know what’s going to happen, and I am not just talking about the regret.
With all my pointless analogies aside, let’s get down to business. Rotting Christ hails from Greece and has always been underdogs in the dark melodic death/black metal scene. They started off pretty damn aggressive, made their mark on the metal map with the 1995 release “Triarchy Of Lost Lovers.” The band lightened up over the years and experimented with theatrical atmospherics for such albums as “A Dead Poem” and their masterpiece “Sleep Of The Angels.” They released a new album last year for Century Media, which was somewhat of a departure from the direction they hinted at on their prior album.
While “Khronos” has tons upon tons of merits, I feel that it was a bit of a degression for the band. I can’t help but feel that metal fans may have chided them for the darker and nearly Gothic rock moods found on “Sleep Of The Angels.” My guess is they were pressured a bit, so they consciously decided to go heavier on this album. The first thing you notice about “Khronos” is that the vocals are more black metal oriented, harsh, raspy, and quite abrasive, at least when compared to Sakis’ prior performances. This is great for metal fans, but I really enjoyed the variety of vocals styles Sakis experimented with on the last album, and all that work and experimentation led to nothing really. He rasps/growls through the entire album and it gets really old really quick. Not only that, but the vocals are too goddamned loud! You can barely hear the trademark guitars the band is known for.
With that aside, indeed, the guitar work is as strong and interesting as ever. Rotting Christ definitely has a knack for writing memorable melodies. The problem with this release when compared to prior ones is that you have to strain to really pick out the parts. This is just a production error, not a comment on the band’s talent.
The highlight for me, and the nightmare for almost every World Serpent fan I know of, is that Rotting Christ included a cover of Current 93’s classic “Lucifer Over London.” I was shocked, amazed, and delighted to see Rotting Christ give such a shout out to a band so different than them. It just seemed really wild and hard to believe that it was real, but there it is, track six! I don’t know too many World Serpent fans that even like metal, so I am going to venture to say most C93 fans would hate this version if they heard it. My only complaint is again in regard to the vocals. I was more disappointed than angry, mainly because the whispered vocals and creepy Gothic baritone Sakis employed in the past would have been perfect for this song. But instead, he just rasps and screams Mr. Tibet’s lyrics. But the guitar work is incredibly cool and well done, the main melody turned out quite haunting and true to the original, then to build to a faster crunchy part that worked really well and well worth the price of admission, in my opinion, just to hear what these crazy satanic Greeks were up to! Though I didn’t like the vocals at first, they grew on me and I came to totally love and adore the song. Hearing Current 93 metallified was like the best of both of my sick little worlds.
The next best track is definitely “Art Of Sin,” which reminds me the most of their earlier “Triarchy” material, complete with spooky choir samples, melodic guitar riffs, and those fly-ass pinch harmonics. This is the also the only song that Sakis restrains his voice a bit from the screaming, to make room for some whispers and spoken word parts. The schizophrenic anthem “You Are I” is another great track, with a vibe very similar to the Kovenant and newer Samael. The title track has some cool passages with bass, synth, and drums, drifting along alone and occasionally interrupted by crunchy guitars. While I assumed the closing track, “Glory Of Sadness” would have been a climactic return to their gloomier past, I was wrong as the song ended up being one of the fastest and more aggressive tracks on the whole album besides a brief ambient interlude.
This was definitely not what I was expecting from Rotting Christ, both good and bad. I think this album will appeal to black metal fans much more than their last few albums have, but I think they were on the verge of something quite cool with their last two albums. I hope to see them maybe stir up all of these elements for a stronger release in 2002. With a Death In June cover included!
1.) Thou Art Blind
2.) If It Ends Tomorrow
3.) My Sacred Path
5.) Art Of Sin
6.) Lucifer Over London
7.) Law Of The Serpent
8.) You Are I
11.) Time Stands Still
12.) Glory Of Sadness
Sakis – guitars & vocals
Kostas – guitars
Andreas – bass
Themis – drums
George – keyboards
Christ – Official Page:
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist
Regenerator is a high energy electro band from California. Debugged is their fourth album, and a fifth, entitled War, is on the way very soon. The band has a long and varied list of credentials that are nothing short of impressive, including everything from working with Zoth groups like Bigod 20 and Good Courage to remix work for Attrition on Projekt records.
I waver on this disc. Some elements I like, and some I dislike. On the whole, I honestly can't say that I like it or dislike it. But let me pick it apart.
First of all, I like the combination of male and female vocals. Both Patrice and Wrex are individually very talented, so the combination is really nice. The electro work is also great -- layered and inventive and dancy.
But I just can't get past the subject matter of the music -- the spiritual lyrics. To me, industrial's always been about an outlet of the machine, which is unspiritual, and usually reflective on man's hubris in presuming he can control what he invents, and the consequences of such suppositions.
Now I realize that this, from one point of view, is a spiritual dilemma. But I've always enjoyed these themes from a purely science fiction side. Heck, when I think of the word 'hubris' I don't think that man fails because he supposes himself better than the higher powers, but more that man fails because he doesn't realize he's little better than an ape with nifty tools.
I'm not a spiritual or religious man. I do however believe that everyone's opinion is equally valid and it's important that everyone forms their own uninfluenced opinion of the world, life and what it all means. This is why I appreciate Regenerator's mission statement ("To bring about human spiritual counterpoise through confluent movement and individual logic.")
So basically what I'm saying is that the lyrics that lend themselves to spiritual or religious imagery aren't my thing. As such, it unfortunately spoils my enjoyment of the rest of the music for me. That is not to say that it wouldn't be for you, and I think that if you'd enjoy the lyrics, then you would definitely like this album a lot. Everything else is spot on.
5. The Crucible of Love
6. Uber de Maschine
8. Horn of David
11. Behind the Curtain
12. The Dream of Eternal Peace
Patrice Synthea - vocals, keyboards
Wrex Mock - vocals, synthesizers, guitar, programming
Smail: PO Box 1623 Lake Arrowhead CA 92352
Flaming Fish Music
Smail: 141 Kingston Dr., Red Deer AB, T4P 3V4, Canada
Angels (Michael Grady)
Deadly & Invisible Fire E.P. - 1998
Somewhere In the Night Sky - 2001
~reviewed by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz 23.3
This Is what started my investigation of underground published acts, and self released efforts. I received Deadly and The Invisible Fire E.P. with several other 'older' releases, and I was not sure why at first, since they were all from 1998 or 1999. The music Industry (aka the machine) does not like to promote older Items, no matter how good. Even though certain stores (Sam Goody, Wal-Mart) will carry very out of date Items till the end of time.
This Is why being a part of something like Starvox.net and being an underground DJ Is very Important, we do not have to conform to these rules. So, here Is the first report on my Demo's and self-releases. I hope you enjoy all of them.
DEADLY, Is the name of the first album I listened to by Michael Grady's project Strange Angels. Michael Is based In Atlanta, Ga. So when I did some searches via http://www.google.com, I was careful to not mistake him for the folk rock act by the same name; www.escape.ca/~strange/, or to place this project too close to the Detroit based band 'The Strange Angels' http://www.strange-angels.com who did a rendition of 'Touched by the Hand of God' , very confusing, since the main musical force In the Detroit version Is named Mike too. I could also see Michael Grady covering New Order, but I could be wrong.
This Is the first problem for many self realized projects. The ugly world of legalese, and copyright protection. It can be hard enough to get the perfect name for yourself, but then to have others already doing Independent work under the same or similar names, or to not be able to register your name, or URL can be devastating! On to the review though.
The cover design, and production value of Deadly, and The Invisible Fire - E.P. had me fooled Into thinking there was a more mainstream distributor, but It was just very well put together packaging, art and concepts. Kudos to Gabrielle Lee Graphics Designs. If you want to become professional, might as well look better than the pros !
DEADLY's music though. Was not my cup of tea, as we like to say here when something Is seemingly executed well, yet not getting that chemistry going that Is required for a Love-At-First-Listen relationship. Undaunted though, I took Deadly off after tracking through all the songs, and moved along to The Invisible Fire - E.P.
This little gem wet by so smooth I barely noticed It at first. That Is to say, I went about my household work, and Internet surfing with this E.P. In the background. I had to play It again to get further Into It, and later on It went Into my 5 disk Random to see how well It fit with other new artist and established favorites. It stuck In there, and the different mixes of 'Invisible Fire' were just fine.
Also included were "power", "I'll Be The Voice", and " Peace". None of these are on Deadly. So at this point I thought, "maybe Strange Angels has another project ready to go, and just wanted to remind us of their existence before they do so.
So what is Strange Angels then? Well, I think that a popular dance mix influence is definitely here. At a glance I could find a mixture or influence from the fallowing artist. George Michaels, Boy George, Erasure, and Jane Child. Yeah, I said Jane Child, an 80's one hit wonder, who had some nice catchy dance tunes, made for mainstream albums in the 80's... After a couple listens, I even think that the best compliment I can give Grady is that he could be a 'male' Jane Child. Although his newer works goes deeper than the 'pop' connotations of that!
The two CD's complement each other well. Again the graphics are very professional, and make this product seem super slick, and ready to go into you player. Yet I was not sure how good a rating to give the 1998 releases. Especially since our readers seem to live for 'newer' music.
Luckily due to my lost files on my Laptop, our lovely editor Blu managed to get me the newest, and so far the most complete Strange Angels effort, before I could get the earlier reviews In.
Somewhere In the Night Sky, has graced many different parts of my existence at this point. It came with me to San Francisco, and played It In my headphones, and In the car. It helped me cruise back to Kansas City, as I sat in the first class section. I will compare this new record to getting to ride first class, after having been traveling for years In coach. The older works could still get you there, but this new album Is more like getting grade A treatment. With that upgrade came the URL that I was looking for.
(Have your FLASH player Installed for this site, and feel free to judge the sound clips for yourself by leaving your cursor over the cool links. I hope Michael goes far with this project, and I hope he does It with networking, and hard work. At this point, the progress made from Deadly to Somewhere In the Night Sky, could be used as a benchmark for other hopeful self-realized artist out there, even If the music Is not your 'cup of tea'! )
Special thanks to Michael` for sending us his new works before we had completed the review of his older Items, and to ALL Independent studios, and artist for going the extra mile.
Self Titled Demo
~reviewed by Mistress Catherinna
Since the Accident is somewhat of a paradigm. It reminds me of an old familiar place, where once, many of us first found our beginning intrigues of the sub music genre "alternative" music. The sounds of Since the Accident is extremely reminiscent of earlier Cure recordings, melded with vocals similar in nature to Joy Division, the roots of dark synth-electronic music. Although, the sound is similar of these two bands, Since the Accident pulls it off, in a manner where their music and sound is still unique and one they can call their own.
The music is somewhat subdued in a flowy aspect, including piano pieces, and lots of synth and bass. I feel this band has a lot of potential, unfortunately I found there to be a lot of repetition and looping of the same chords, which tends to be extremely drony when no vocals are present. The lyrics and vocals in most of the songs are deep and interesting, which helped keep my attention away from the repetition of the music.
I was searched high and low through all of my search resources and was unable to find anything information on this band, other than 4 additional tracks at MP3.com. Track listings on this promo included:
4. Days Away
additional tracks on MP3.com:
According to the promo flyer I received, Since the Accident originated in Florida and have recently relocated to Chicago, Illinois. If you live in the area, hopefully you will be able to attend a show at some point. I would also recommend going to MP3.com and giving this band a listen to formulate an opinion for yourself, in hopes of further support and exposure for this music project.
All in all I think Since the Accident is on to something here, with a little work and some deeper more complex music creation, they will indeed prove to be another dark pop electronic band worth playing in clubs and for home listening. It is in my opinion that the band or promoter, might want to put together a website featuring Since the Accident, so future reviewers, fans, and promoters will have better information provided regarding this artist.
kill art records: www.killart.co
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
Somber is one of those bands that started at the right time. When they formed in high school in 1996, they were lucky enough to have a ton of local promotion in the Lansing, Michigan area. This gained them a very strong local following and finally, their self-titled debut has been unleashed.
Lyrically, scorn is the theme du jour. We have all been screwed over at one time or another so it’s easy to relate to Kerry Cripe’s In Flames like screams except in this case, instead of getting the sad songs, Somber just got flat out pissed. The songs are very riff-heavy and actually quite melodic at the same time thanks to their dual axe attack. Clean vocals provided by Kerry and the rest of the band pepper the songs and although they are strained at times, they fit nicely in with the melodies on songs like “Love Song Gone Wrong” and “The Autumn of Life”.
Somber is a very promising fledgling band. They have found a nice combination of old school thrash mixed in with the popular styling of the Swedish heavy-hitters.
At times, I could not help but be reminded of Iron Maiden a la the Piece of Mind era. Their influences run deep and shine through in a very unique but still reminiscent style. Honestly, I really do want to see where this band goes. They’re obviously a very talented act and they’re fun to watch in concert. Keep your eyes and ears open for this act, as they’re not going to go away quietly.
Kerry Cripe – Vocals
Jeremiah Taylor – Bass
Kevin Kitchel – Guitar
Chad McMeeken – Guitar
Mike Hudson – Drums
4.The Autumn of Life
5.Love Song Gone Wrong
8.Reason To Live
Snail Mail: PO Box 27263
Lansing, MI 48909-7263
~reviewed by DJ Xian
Second Skin executes a tasteful leap backwards in style, where upon hitting "play" one is confronted by the fiendish tumult of a true gothic band. In a time where the gothic-industrial genres are dominated by the purely electronic, such finds as these are treasured rarities. With the additional bonus of an expressive baritone, mellifluous bass lines and sublime guitar rhythms, fluent keyboards, exquisite production and samples that compliment rather than dominate, Second Skin will appease even the most jaded of old bats while capturing the younger audiences with their driving intensity.
With a sound in the same vein as Xmal Deutschland and early Sisters of Mercy, Second Skin provides a raw and aggressive aura to a smooth, flowing style. Subtle deathrock overtones clash with haunting melodies in the most delightful way, producing such tunes as "Scream Yourself to Sleep" and their cover of David Bowie's, "Let's Dance," as heard on the "Gothic Oddities: A Tribute to David Bowie" compilation. "Liberata Me" in contrast, sets the mood with grim sample, and plunges into swift, dark pace, dragging the audience further into a frenzied despair.
Skin invokes a cathartic moodiness and you are compelled to listen and
empathize with their songs. They are the sort that are best danced
to or listened to with a strong drink and agreeable nod. A must have
for any deathrock/gothic DJ or fan.
01. Voo Doo Doll
02. Liberata' Me
03. Club Sexxx (X-Mix)
04. Scream Yourself to Sleep (Raw Mix)
05. Let's Dance
P.O. Box E
Scottsdale, AZ 85252, USA
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist
Suture Seven is a guitar driven industrial group from Pennsylvania. Aversion is their first album, though the band has recently released a second, entitled A Stitch to Mark the Wound.
Elton Nestler is no rookie in this sort of music. As one of the original members of the extremely popular group Advent Sleep, he did programming and guitars for their Egos and Eros album. His past experience lends itself to Aversion -- the disc is really well programmed.
Jamie Gibson is somewhat more of a newcomer to the big picture, though he has a great deal of performance experience on a local scale. I can't say I'm a very big fan of the way his vocals are executed on this album. For the most part, they're merely whispered, and as such, don't show any scope or range, or convey emotion or power. At other points, they just fall short of the power that is fundamental to most guitar-driven industrial. Certainly, this understated vocal style is different for this style of music, but I just don't feel that it works. "Ten" is probably his strongest track, but the In-Your-Face attitude still falls a little short.
Honestly, I'm not all that big a fan of guitar-driven industrial, or really anything where power guitars are forefront, but that aside, I really have to acknowledge the programming on this album. Quite good, with a lot of interesting samples, and sound combinations. There is definitely more than a hint of the dark spooky sounds of gothic electro rock in here as well.
My dislike of the vocals aside, if you like the guitar sound, then you'll enjoy this. If you have any reservations, it's worth a trip to the site to check out some of the samples so that you can decide for yourself.
Jamie Gibson - vocals
Elton Nestler - programming, guitars
smail: P.O. Box 251, Hummelstown, PA, 17036-0251
Em Sauf Haa-Heru
~reviewed by Xian
As a veteran of Dan Simmon's "Hyperion" chronicles, the discovery that This Morn' Omina has dedicated "Taui," "Em Sauf Haa-Heru" and their debut album, "Nezeru Enti Sebauem Neterxertet," to the concept of the Hegira was a wonderful revelation. Hegira was the mass exodus of mankind from Earth and to the stars on the impending death of our planet. From what I have read, the chronicles themselves rarely touch on this period of time, only speaking of it in past tense in the occasional recounts. Hegira was a time of forced exile for survival. A time before the construct and safety of the World Web, or the farcast technology that connected the worlds.
It is this period of time that This Morn' Omina struggles to emulate in their music, crossing English poets with Egyptian trappings, ritual tribalism and Hyperion theologies. "Em Sauf Haa-Heru" is loosely translated as "Under the Guidance of Horus" and is the second album in a three part musical score. Printed on thick olive-green paper with gold marbling and silver print, the package is beautiful and is limited to a release of 333 hand numbered CDs. The album is the creation of ritualistic electronic rhythms and domineering tribal ambiance crossing the paths of trance, dark ambient, experimental, industrial, and even a tentative flutter into the rhythmic noise. All and neither, the enigmatic exegesis out of sparse elements by this Belgian group.
The first track is "Procession of the Sacred Bull." A biblical metaphor for the long trek of the human tribe, an appropriate name. Tribal drums are emulated by a soft symphonic score and highlighted by whisperings and lively percussion and horns. The track is intensely rich with a harsh darkness, primal and abrasive and very provocative. It slowly builds in melodic complexity and abrupts into several climaxes throughout its journey.
"Hannibal ad Portas" shifts the mood entirely by exploding in asperous drums, somehow likening to a primitive form of rhythmic noise. Snakelike and violent, every contributing sound is treated as percussion to be thrust into one's ears forcefully.
Slipping into a jungle/house style, "The Face of the Waters" offers addictive beats and ticklish melodies. Danceable and still very antiquated in sound, the track has a very ritualistic feel, very entrancing.
"Starchild" slithers through dark reverberations and ethereal atmospheres towards a chaotic layering of feral ambiance. Subtle drums begin to thunder, accenting a purposeful ensemble of samples and playful keys. Minimalist yet somehow thick and engrossing.
Highly complimentary to the memory of God's Grove, "The True Voices of the Tree" offers a very disquieting atmosphere full of Hindi or Muslim chants, hand drums, echoing high ends and Jamaican metal drums. At a length of 2:45, this is the shortest track to be found on the album, where the average song length is near 10 minutes.
Beginning with subtle landscapes of echoes, chirps, hisses and a muffled voice claiming that "we shall know the truth," the "Spires of the Moon" is amazing involved and deep, despite the minimalist approach it takes. The leisurely development in fervor begins with the subtle suggestions of power tools. Primal percussion and keys and an unbending beat form the early developments, offering a terrifyingly alien prelude to the introduction of barely coherent voices that mark a turn towards the industrial in style.
"Signs and Portents" in turn follows with a dramatic approach, applying a progressive repetition accented by militant drums and samples. This is the track was not contained in the original release of "Em Sauf Haa-Heru," yet makes for a wonderful introduction to the final track, "The Void Which Binds."
"The Void Which Binds" is a two part track: a. "Khep-ra / Dawn" and b. "Seneshai." Likening to the thelemic concepts of the Abyss, "Khep-ra," or "beginning sun," "-Dawn" begins as a very dismal amalgamation of threatening static, indifferent voice samples, and distracted, inconsistent drums. Animals and insects and a brooding nocturnal atmosphere build the underlying layers of this track, and nothing is taken for granted at any point in time. In constant flux, one can only guess at which point the division in parts begin. The entire track is 27 minutes long. At approximately 17 minutes, a beat begins with winding synths and almost tron-like melodies. Pushing further into a dark experimental, post-industrial sound, the electronic tweaks and noise and haunting layers come full circle to the primal feel of "Procession of the Sacred Bull." Hypnotic and foreboding, this is an epic worthy of the Hegira. Somehow I cannot help to think of the Ousters, and how appropriate these scores are for their story.
this is a delightful collection of tracks. Stylistically I am reminded
of Dead Can Dance, Juno Reactor and ZymOsiZ. Imagine the strongest
qualities of all three mixed and you get This Morn' Omina. Welcome
to the second cycle.
01. Procession of the Sacred Bull
02. Hannibal ad Portas
03. The Face of the Waters
05. The True Voices of the Tree
06. Spires of the Moon
07. Signs and Portents
08. The Void Which Binds
a. Kheph-ra / Dawn
9800 Beinze - Belgium
602 00 Brno
One Swell Foop
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist
One Swell Foop (a wordplay on 'one fell swoop') is the debut release from Californian artist Tony Stouffer. This is a pretty standard cheery electro instrumental album, and unfortunately, I just haven't been able to get into it enough to enjoy it.
Definitely on the plus side, there's some interesting instrumentation that sounds like it's futuristic. However, the way that it's put together makes me feel like I'm in a Holiday Inn of the future. Nothing against this, or against lounge music in general, but it's not my thing, and if I hear Mike Flowers Pops one more time my head will explode.
Another problem with purely instrumental music is coming up with titles that fit your music. Certainly, they all have meaning to the artist, but I'm left to wonder about some of them. "The Life of Louie" makes me think of that awful Louie Anderson cartoon "Life With Louie," so I honestly get a bit put off. I just don't really have any other ground to stand on when I'm trying to figure the thing out. "Nudie Suit" is a complete mystery to me. On the other hand, I love titles like "Particles of Light," "Artifacts," "Clusters," and "The Magnificent Catastrophe," but that's just a matter of personal taste.
One final grumble about this CD is something I've been noticing increasingly more of lately: that artists aren't including any information on themselves in their CD's jewel case booklets. Talking about yourself isn't a show of hubris or vainity when someone's interested enough to buy your CD. It's especially important to get infomation about yourself out there when you're a new artist, to inform the public about who you are and what you do. The number of well known bands who are complete enigmas are very few to none.
This disc certainly isn't terrible by any standard, it's just not my thing. If you enjoy happy but slow synth-instrumental, then you'll probably appreciate this more than me. Like I said, there is some good stuff going on here.
1. One Swell Foop
2. The Life of Louie
3. Particals of Light
4. Nudie Suit
6. A Mood Apart