Accession Records Volume One, with its unassuming cover art, could easily be dismissed or ignored because of the lack of “eye candy” with the packaging. Word to the wise, DON’T dismiss it. The CD contains 17 exclusive tracks or remixes with 77:33 minutes of pure musical brilliance, all digitally recorded and mastered for the discerning audiophile. If you purchase it because one or two of your favorite artists are on it, there is a very high prevalence that many more will also become part of your musical diet.
Angels of Venice lead the way with Luna Mystica, an amalgamation of enchanting orchestral arrangements with flute, harp and cello. This is the type of music that one would want to bask in the candlelit glow with. Much of the music is in fact recorded by candlelight, as many fans of the artist already know.
Diary Of Dreams flows from the preceding track with a morose and dramatic intro which veers into a massive attack of dance electronic music. Bladerunner 2001 is like Robert Miles meets Paul Oakenfold. The style maintains a sense of synthpop/EBM intensity with enough of a dark layering underneath to not only make this a goth club favorite, but also a track that is capable of crossing the genre lines into most clubs.
Assemblage23 “I think I have spent enough time in the company of death,” thus beings the track Anthem. This track utilizes white noise like effects in a rather unique percussion. The deep vocals pay homage to the dreamy song styling one recalls from the gothic past. By now, this band’s ever-growing fan base is legion.
Cut.Rate.Box are forging ahead with an intense blend of electronic effects and EBM, as showcased by the included track Zionsank. Their diligence to quality and intensity remains evident on every track I have heard from them thus far on other compilations as well. Zionsank combines up to the minute industrial dance music with space age electronics from our apocalyptic future. Definitely a track to keep on the DJ watch list!
Diorama is a new band to this reviewer, but this track does make one want to seek out any other work that they may currently have available. Advance is an edited version, thus there must be another version and full work available elsewhere. These are beautifully harmonized male vocals over catchy pulse beats, creating a guaranteed dance floor filler in less than a quarter beat.
Haujobb and Daniel Myer are two names that are synonymous. It is impossible to have heard of one and just not know the other. The track begins with rather cinematic and morbid strains that gradually introduce a trip hop beat. It marries electronics and Goth sensibilities to provide a unique blend of haunting sound with a steady rhythm. The song structure is very much in keeping with the way early Switchblade Symphony layered everything around a trip hop beat. There dance element is much more subtle, giving way to the more unique styling of electronic blends.
Claire Voyant’s lead singer Victoria Lloyd continues to delight fans with her smooth as silk vocals. Cleaner remixed this version of Blinking Tears which updates and highlights the versatility of this band. All three of the band members work so well and cohesively together that is impossible not to feel it as it is delivered through their music. This particular track is given an updated trip hop beat, but it is the voice of an angel named Victoria, that captures the attention.
Psyche enters with Unbreakable which also utilizes the morose and morbid intro, but then slams home with a dark synthpop that is a nod towards the retro New Wave era when songs held a bit of darker mystery.
Cleaner is given the opportunity to strut their stuff with Fun To Be Head (Dub Mix) which is designed for the dance floor without a question. The unique element is that the song can cross into so many genres flawlessly. The vocals are understated and somewhat elicited in an electronically compressed whisper. The synth’s maintain a steady beat with a funereal style underscoring.
GASR give this track an ominous intro that seems to be a replication of an airplane in distress with the song Conspiracy. Like the other bands before them, the song just slams home with up to the minute dance industrial eats. This track is very much in keeping with the popularized sound of VNV Nation and Covenant.
Megadump squeezes out unique electronic sounds and whips them in a froth that percolates from the second the song starts. Der Kreis (Hot Shower Mix) is meant to burn the club to the ground with sweating dance floor revelers. This is more in keeping with the current electro-industrial trend, with vocals like Rammstein and music similar to VNV Nation once again. The lyrics are in German, but don’t let that detract you from enjoying a chorus that you will undoubtedly sing along to once you get the hand of it a few listens through. It is quite addicting.
Aesma Daeva brings the beats down a bit with Introit (Remind). The intro plays with macabre sounds and vocals samples in a surrealistic nightmare. Underscored are operatic vocals singing through blips, beeps and otherwise percussive electronic sounds. This is very much in the style of Die Form and Attrition in its execution and should be quite popular as well.
Cut.Rate.Box starts off the bonus section of the disc with In Your Eyes, featuring Stefan Netschio of Beborn Beton. This is a mid tempo song that could be summed up as electro-goth. This is a slower transition of the CD, going full circle, which works well if the CD is on repeat play. Despite the semi-sedate tone, by the time you get to the chorus, the foot is tapping away at the song. Lyrically there are some rather intriguing relational points brought out, that one may find themselves putting the track on repeat play just to get all the words. This is a perfect song for anyone with a relationship in trouble. NOTE: This track may not play on broadcast radio for some of the whispered expletives which, though common usage when we are pissed off, may not sit well with the more mentally constipated FCC who are in charge of the airwaves.
The Azoic have gone from spooky darkwave to literally progressing Forward, as their new CD name asserts. The style has become more EBM/darkwave dance music, as opposed to their earlier unnerving and darkly brilliant work. This version of Progression is more reflective of their earlier darkwave period, which begins with a dirge as the remix name implies. Assemblage 23 contributed the remix to this track, which includes delivering the voice through a vocoder, giving lead singer Kristy an electro-Goddess type of sound that makes an already popular dance floor track unique and yet different from other versions one may have heard previously. While most industrial/electronic/EBM bands are mostly male vocals, The Azoic broke new ground again by being among the first in the genre to feature female vocals for this style of work.
Diary Of Dreams also have an added track in this bonus section with Forestown. The track itself seems to plod a bit, but is not bad overall. The baritone vocals harmonize over the electro/medieval sounds and would work well at a loud volume.
Diorama slow the beat down further with You And Ice featuring Katrin, which is an ethereal piece reflective of Dead Can Dance. There is a steady drumbeat mixed with minimal instrumentation and reflections of harpsichords. Vocally this is a lush song where one just wants to drift on the musical cloud for a bit of time while the beautiful tenor vocals coalesce around your psyche.
Claire Voyant is featured again with the original version of Blinking Tears that was showcased above. This track is featured on their CD Time And The Maiden and the liner notes dedicate this simply “for Adrian.” The original version is stripped of the percussive additives and features the track simply in a dark ballad fashion.
Accession Records Volume One managed to cut to the chase by providing tracks that weren’t rehashed a million times on other compilations. They strove to give the consumer new mixes and exclusive tracks and then went the extra mile to be sure it is a DDD recording rather than AAD as some other’s have done. Quality and Quantity were kept in mind during its creation and that dedication clearly shows. It honors the dark music tradition while investigating various ways with which this style and sound can be made more updated and palatable to a multitude of music fans from all various backgrounds.
Tonally, the CD can play on repeat simply because it begins relatively mellow and then suffuses into more up to the minute dance rhythms and then back again to a sense of dreaminess. Overkill is not something to fear with this CD.
All aspects of the dark underground have been covered from ethereal, ambient, dark pop, industrial and EBM, all darkly showcased and beautifully sequenced to make a great addition to the collection of music fans longing for something new and different. The other advantage is that this CD plays well with non-dark music fans as well simply judging from the reactions from folks at work who have made many positive comments about it while playing in the office.
Do seek this compilation out as it is worth the money and sure to be something played quite a bit in your home, car, boom box or personal stereo.
Kottendorfer Strasse 21
1. Angels of Venice: Luna Mystica (www.angelsofvenice.com)
2. Diary of Dreams: Bladerunner 2001 (Director’s Cut Remix by Adrian Hates) (www.diaryofdreams.com)
3. Assemblage 23 Anthem (Stronghold) (www.assemblage23.com)
4. Cut.Rate.Box: Zionsank (www.cutratebox.com) North American Market Contact (www.gashed.com)
5. Diorama: Advance (Edit Version) (no web address noted)
6. Haujobb: Unseeing (www.planetmyer.de) (www.accession-records.com/haujobb)
7. Claire Voyant: Blinking Tears (Cleaner Remix Version) (www.clairevoyant.com)
8. Psyche: Unbreakable (www.psyche-HQ.de)
9. Cleaner: Fun To Be Head (Dub Mix)(www.accession-records.com/cleaner) (www.planetmyer.de)
10. GASR: Conspiracy (Http://GASR.somewhere.net)
11. Megadump: Der Kreis (Hot Shower Mix) (www.megadump.net)
12. Aesma Daeva: Introit (Remind) (www.PMCMGMT.com/Aesmadeava)
13. Cut.Rat.Box: In Your Eyes (feat. Stefan Netschio -Beborn Beton )
14. The Azoic: Progression (Dirge) Remixed by Assemblage 23 (www.nilaihah.com)
15. Diary Of Dreams: Forestown
16. Diorama: You and Ice (Feat. Katrin)
17. Claire Voyant: Blinking Tears_ For Adrian
Fire Walk With Us
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
I really don’t know what it is with me writing these reviews. I listened to this a couple times before sitting down to write and I didn’t like it. I had a slam review penned out in my brain and, for some reason decided to hold off on writing it, as I don’t like to give bad reviews without just cause. So I sit down, pull down my foreskin, and prepare for a dickhead review, push the play button again, and damned if I don’t like it this time around. Back to square one. It has to be a mood thing and I’m thankful I have a personal policy to listen to CD’s more than once before reviewing them.
Anyway, I probably shouldn’t have blurted all that out. I should have opened saying that this disc made me all gooey and moist but it didn’t and that’s the truth, because this is such a different sound, it took a few listens for it to take to my brain. Picture if you will pure evil black metal mixed with fast electronica/noise. There’s no real balance between the two as one usually overshadows the other from track to track. “Here Is No God S.T.A.” is almost pure electronic while “Our Sentence” is primarily metal. But somehow the changes work. What is even more surprising is that this band has been around for quite some time.
Aborym actually started in 1991, but took a long hiatus due to personnel problems. It took until 1999 to establish a solid lineup but finally their debut, Kali Yuga Bizarre, was released. Based on what I have heard on this album, they must have enjoyed some cult following but now with the release of Fire Walk With Us, they are prepared to take on a larger audience.
I want to think that fans of the newer Samael will like this but this is much heavier and doesn’t quite have the danceable feel to it. I finally found myself enjoying this and I think it will take a few listens for this CD to finally get the point across. One other note to Burzum fans; Aborym does a cover of “Det Som En Gang Var” and although I’m not a Burzum fan, this is a cool cover and I’ve listened to it more than once.
Well, I guess the bottom line on this one is that if you’re looking for something a little different but still mosh-worthy, this is one for you. Those who prefer their music a little more structured probably won’t learn to enjoy this as much as I have.
2.Love the Death as the Life
4.Fire Walk With Us!
5.Here Is No God S.T.A.
8.Det Som En Gang Var
World War III Records
The Ancient Gallery
~reviewed by Thryn
First, let me start off by saying this review is quite overdue. I got this CD back in early July, I believe, and listened to it on at least one long roadtrip and at various other points over the past few months. Somehow, my review button got shut off, in spite of my enjoyment of this CD. I just popped it in the discman again yesterday, for my daily walk. It was a grey day, and I needed something to motivate me. It worked.
Often times I find it hard to keep my interest up while listening to this sort of industrial music. It all tends to blur into one long, repetitive haze of dark and smoky night at the club. The kind of night when you really wish you had stayed home, because every song sounds the same and it all sounds like sleep in spite of the beats.
Ancient Gallery are NOT one of those bands. They cite their influences as Einsturzende Neubauten and Nine Inch Nails, and they are dead on without being derivative. They've picked up the tricks without copying them, and made them something of their very own.
The one song that reminds me the most of Einsturzende Neubauten is Durch, which has a certain sort of wordplay I associate with EN. Using the rhythm of the language as an intergral part of the composition, as opposed to setting words to music.
According to the information
I got with the CD, they have been around since 1992 when (if their ages
are correct) none of them were any older than 16 or 17. Their stageshows
are rumored to be quite theatrical. Not only do they perform the music
contained in this CD, but they do readings for sepcial events. Their stage
art and costumes are done by Carsta Kohler
(WWW.gewandkunst.de) who has also done work for Gothes Erben.
This is the sort of album I would have loved during my DJ days. It's packed full of songs that could fit into, or bridge the gap between, quite a few sets. But since I no longer spend my nights behind the turntables (or CD players), I am quite satisfied to keep this CD close at hand for my own enjoyment.
new dawn fades
D - 01099 Dresden / Germany
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
When Agathodaimon’s debut album, Blacken the Angel, hit the streets a few years ago, I immediately became conscious of them as a highly talented outfit. I also heard their second album, Higher Art of Rebellion, when it came out and liked it as well. Yet, for some reason, I failed to purchase either of them. Why this is, I have no idea but I can only lump it in with such questions as, “Why do I only clip toenails when my shoes start to hurt my feet?” Maybe it was the lack of circulation to my feet talking, but I finally decided to fill an empty void in my collection by purchasing the newest Agathodaimon masterpiece, Chapter III.
Agathodaimon have been placed into the black metal category but they are not your standard full-speed-constant-scream-all-hail-Satan. Instead, I see them as more mid-paced; with a great amount of emphasis on melody and very catchy riffs melted between doom and dark metal. They can and do haul ass when they want to, but are mostly heavy through a huge wall of sound pushed by a wave of melancholic vocals, demonic screams, and wonderful acoustic interludes.
This is an album that hooked me from the first note and still hasn’t let go. Honestly, I hope it doesn’t, as this is an album I would be more than happy to return to at any given time. Songs like “Spirit Soldier”, “Paradise Beyond”, and “Sacred Divinity” have held me fast to this release and even though I singled out a few tracks, I have found no filler on this record. It’s simply awesome from start to finish and I urge you to purchase it. As for the first two albums, I’m already on the hunt to complete my discography of this highly underrated band. You should so the same.
1.An Angel’s Funeral
4.The Ending of Our Yesterday
9.Burden of Time
Nuclear Blast: www.nuclearblast.de
Destroyer of Worlds
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
This has to be one of the albums I have anticipated the most over the last year. The return of the mighty Bathory was something many hoped would happen but didn’t think it would actually come true. The fans of the epic albums (Hammerheart, Twilight of the Gods, Blood on Ice) prayed for more hymns dedicated to the Vikings while the fans of the black metal albums (Bathory, The Return, Under The Sign…) hoped Quorthon and company would let loose and return to their roots.
As the hype surrounding this release reached near frenzy, promises were made to appease all of the fans by enveloping all of the styles Bathory has perfected over the years. But will this go down on the list of essential releases by this band? Well, about half of it.
It’s a dream come true when an album begins with the poundings of Bathory’s war drums and “Lake of Fire” takes form and it’s a true epic that could have blended with any of the Viking-era material (my personal favorite style). The title track follows in suit and “Ode” lurches solidly behind led by Quorthon’s clean (clean as his get) vocals. It almost seems too perfect…
Now Quorthon has stated in interviews that he doesn’t follow the metal scene and has no idea who the top bands are. This is a feat in itself as he has created some of the best music I have heard but “Pestilence” sounds like a cross between punk and death metal and really doesn’t work with his vocals. “Bleeding” returns to the epic style and “109” again switches back to the heavier style but again his vocals don’t mesh well with the music.
The album continues this trend throughout; death metal songs intersected by wonderful epic pieces. Now, I am a rabid fan of the epic style but am not biased against the heavier stuff based on what I felt he should write. The metal stuff just doesn’t sound right. It sounds dated and incomplete somehow. The production is great, and much of the music itself is incredible but there’s something missing. It’s almost like a “ghost-limb”, where you feel like you have the arm or leg, yet it’s really not there.
I’m really not being as hard on this album as it may seem, as it does have many strong points. “Liberty & Justice” and “Krom” are the standouts of the heavier style and it closes with another great epic track, “Day of Wrath”. Maybe I’m too picky with my metal anymore, but with the amount of bands surfacing, every day it seems, I have to be careful where my nickels are distributed.
I’m sure many Bathory fans are quite happy with this release but I’m sure there are others that really did expect more from his lengthy hiatus. I know I did. If you’re thinking of getting someone into Bathory, I definitely wouldn’t use this album. Die-hard Bathory fans should definitely pick this up but the curious should pick a different starting point in this bands career.
1.Lake of Fire
2.Destroyer of Worlds
7.Death From Above
8.Kill Kill Kill
9.Liberty & Justice
13.Day of Wrath
Black Mark Records: www.blackmark.net
~reviewed By Michael Johnson
You know, this is the kind
of release that reminds me of why I like black metal so damn much.
It’s fast, filled with extreme energy, and as memorable as it gets.
The first time I played this CD, I immediately thought of early Deicide
and even now I think the same thing. Remember that sound? Well,
it’s still around. You just have to know where to look and let Belphegor
be your starting block.
Necrodaemon Terrorsathan is a relentless assault loaded with that “old-school” sound a lot of us grew up on. The whirling guitars and non-stop chattering of the drums create the perfect backdrop for the layered growls and screams. Occasional keyboards make their way into the mix and some chanting monks and bells even make an appearance. It’s all here, folks, and it’s killer.
I know this is a short review but there’s not too much I can say. This is flat out a badass CD and I’m already hunting for their first two albums. I love this shit. I live this shit. I have no problems with this disc whatsoever aside from my girlfriend accusing me of subscribing to Beaver Hunt when she saw the cover. I had to convince her it was a CD case. Oh yeah, there’s more teats here than in a dairy farm, if you didn’t get what I was just saying (I’ll have the next one laminated because, uh, something spilled on the first). Highly recommended for fans of brutal, blackened, satanic metal with that wonderful old-school feel to it.
2.Vomit Upon The Cross
4.Lust Perishes In A Thirst For Blood
8.Cremation Of Holiness
9.Necrodaemon Terrorsathan Pt. II
Napalm Records: www.napalmrecords.com
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
When 80’s metal stormed the scene, I would have never guess that it would still be around. The same goes for rap, techno, and even the softer, female-fronted pop rock. What is it that makes these genres so strong? It’s a timeless formula. Bernadette McCallion stands in a population of many as yet undiscovered artists but with her first full-length release, Cry Wolf, she’s definitely separated herself from that faceless crowd.
I’ll be honest; this is not my usual style of music. It’s much softer and happier than what I am used to listening to. But the single trait that separates a writer from a listener is the ability to transcend genres with an open mind and find good within unfamiliarity. Cry Wolf immediately struck me as a very strong album and, upon reading the bio, was shocked to find that Bernadette had not yet reached a more mainstream status. I had been wondering why she had submitted to a ‘zine that deals mainly with the underground. Her recipe is very simple: Mix alternative guitars with a rock beat, occasionally whip, and season with soft vocals to taste. It’s as traditional as your mother’s lasagna recipe and you look forward to it every time she makes it.
There’s definitely some standout music on here. “What About Love?”, “Four Days”, and the bluesy “Full Moon Curse” come to mind quickly. It’s rock without the abrasion. It’s an ointment for a bad day.
I was geared up to review this album poorly but instead ended up cursing myself for bad judgment. This is the stuff that works and, like it or not, will not go away. The trick to buying in a flooded market is to find the gems in the rock pile and I honestly believe Bernadette McCallion is just such a gem. If you’re into soft vocals that soothe instead of overpower, and indie rock with a slight edge, this is one for you.
1.Walk On By
2.What About Love?
6.Full Moon Curse
7.House Of Straw
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
Having reviewed Carfax Abbey’s previous release, American Gothic, I jumped at the chance to review this short disc of their newest material. In my previous release, their addictive blend of techno-laden dark music caught my attention and, to my relief, they have not changed the formula that seems to be working so well for them.
Right away on this release I picked out something I did not like: its length. Four songs doesn’t seem long enough for the new stuff and I’m really not sure if this is just an EP or not (although one of the songs, “Embrace”, is on American Gothic). But, as usual, this is trivial compared to the strength of the songs. Now, for those of you who have not heard this band before, you’re definitely missing a talented band. The KMFDM-ish guitar work is blanked by techno beats and synthetic drumming and the vocals are clean and mesh well with the overall scheme. Ballads are thick and heavy and crush you beneath a dark blanket of gloom.
This review is only this short because of the length of the CD. These guys were a wonderful discovery and, although not normally something I would have taken notice of in a store, I’m glad I found about them and highly recommend them. Fans of Contagion, Skinny Puppy, and Nine Inch Nails will appreciate Carfax Abbey even though the songs are not quite as fast. Do yourself a favor and download something from their mp3 site. You won’t be disappointed. A very solid band with tons of talent!
As an aside, they are reporting having signed a “spec” deal which will deliver them to many record companies over the next 18 months or until they are signed. Congratulations! You deserve it!
Carfax Abbey is:
Gary – Vox
Paul – Bass
David – Synths, programming, and vox
John – Guitars and guitar synth
Byron – drums, programming, and vox
The Fall (EP)
~reviewed by Catherinna
"Cesium:137 n: 1. The 137th element of the periodic table. 2. An exceptionally strong and extremely poisonous mind-altering substance. 3. An Industrial band in Philiadelphia! (Tonedeaf Records)"
The Fall is the single track preview to their full length CD Advance and Decay, which is planned to debut this fall. There are 2 individual tracks and 4 remixes of the debut single 'The Fall' featured on this CD. Cesium:137 is an electro Industrial band. The edit track is harsh, yet poppy, and has quite a few layers behind the base of the song. It's extremely catchy and will definitely serve as a good prelude or prolude to a floor packer song in an industrial dance club!! This single features remixes by other electro artists such as GASR, Assmeblage 23, The Matrix, Dubok, and The Morgen Particle. Each remix has it's separation from the other, if you listen carefully, but are similar in many aspects. All are worth mention. I enjoyed the single, and was equally intrigued by the B-side 'Language Without Lies (Mothertongue mix), remixed by A23. Definitely worth a listen or two or three!
the Masterminds behind Cesium:137:
Isaac Glendening - Programming +Sound Design +Vocals + Lyrics + Synths + Sampler
Matt Cargill - Programming + Sound Design +Direction
Vince - Programming + Percussionist + arrangements
Isaac and Matt have worked together on this project for several years but with no real cohesiveness or direction until recently, where Vince of Tech 9 joined forces to help them create this electronic/Industrial project we now know as Cesium: 137.
1. The Fall (edit)
2. The Fall (GASR j4j mix) http://www.gasr.net/
3. The Fall (Matrix - Morpheus Mix) http://geocities.com/sunsetstrip/studio/3507/matrix.html
4. Language Without Lies (Mothertongue Mix) rmx by A23 http://www.synthetic.org/a23/
5. The Fall (obfuscated Mix) rmx by The Morgen Particle (unable to locate a website).
6. The Fall (Ricky Roma Mix) http://www.nezzwerk.com/dubok/
I would recommend this single to any DJ that spins 'Electro Industrial music' as well as anyone who likes this type of music. I look forward to following up with a more detailed review of the full length 'Advance and Decay' upon it's release.
Official Website: http://www.electronika.com/cesium137/
Tonedeaf Records: http://www.tonedeafrecords.com/
Mastered By: http://www.westorangelabs.com/
Isaac Walter Glendening THEBINARY@MSN.COM
Epicycles (CD) / Orbit (EP)
~reviewed by Blu
When I have a chance, I usually spend my extra money on the Middle Pillar website buying tons of glorious CDs that I've been meaning to get since they came out. My last splurge began when I saw an announcement for a new 3 track CD single from The Changelings which serves as a teaser to their upcoming album Astronomica. While shopping, I also realized I hadn't yet bought their CD Epicycles either which is a great collection of "Incidental Music 1997 - 2000". Purchase made, order shipped and here we are.
If you've been a long time Changelings fan such as I, Epicycles is a must have for your collection containing music slightly unlike their previous releases because its made up of mostly instrumental, atmospheric tracks that were made as commissioned pieces for other entities. Tracks 1 - 4 were commissioned by HGI for the forthcoming computer game Noble Armada while tracks 5 and 6 were commissioned for Netherworld haunted house. Its really rather interesting to see how successfully this band rose to the occasion and ventured into the realm of soundtrack music. Track one, "Red Shift," starts out with an odd almost spacey-sounding electronic beat that is shortly followed up by dramatic, slow drumming and haunting vocals by Regeana soar and add texture throughout as Paul's violin adds a melancholy melody that builds into a much more intense theme by the end of the song. "Eclipse" starts out right away with heavily layered vocals, light spontaneous guitar and exotic percussion reminiscent of Dead Can Dance in ways. More uptempo, "Tannhauser Gate" continues the exotic theme from the previous track but this time a more sinister tone is added I believe, mainly through bell tones made by the keyboards. A violin counter melody comes in to drive the song and add tension; atmospheric vocals swirls in the background and complex percussion runs wind up dramatically in a climax. "Dulcinea" is a slower, dreamy song with liquid-smooth melodies carried out by voice and strings. Starting off the two Netherworld tracks, "The Young Merlins" is indeed magical sounding - lots of sparkling chimes among swirling keyboards, dulcimer (I believe I hear it in there) and violins. And finally, "Dreams in the Witch House" is my favorite track on this CD. Although not entirely as spooky as you might think, it is darker than the rest but has more of a fantastical element to it. I believe the haunting wailing noises in the beginning of this one are not vocals but the musical saw that is noted in the credits. Regeana's voice comes in later - very minimal in the background adding just enough "whispering" to make you shiver a bit.
The Changelings' previous full-length CDs have sometimes had a theme to them -- Terra Firma with its exotic Indian sounds and Amphibian with its ocean-inspired maritime settings. With that in mind, I'm assuming this 3 song EP called Orbit hints that the upcoming CD Astronomica will have a "space" theme to it. The title track "Orbit" is a dreamy, lush song -- more pop-sounding than much of their older material with straightforward, accessible melodies. Perhaps not what you might have expected, it does hint at their extreme marketability in diverse genres. "Departure" starts out very abstract, almost experimental in sound before a very lovely violin melody comes in to clear it all up. Regeana's vocals are especially pleasing here sounding a bit more jazzy (a la Portishead). This is definitely one the swirly goths will enjoy dancing to. Track 3, "Veils of God" is more of the traditional exotic sound they're known for.
Continuously delightful and pleasantly surprising, The Changelings always manage to introduce new sounds and elements to their music while remaining true to the lush, classical qualities that have earned them the respect and love by a diverse set of listeners.
Epicycles Track List:
1. Red Shift
3. Tannhauser Gate
5. The Young Merlins
6. Dreams in the Witch House
Orbit EP (from the upcoming
3. Veils of God
The Changelings are:
Paul Mercer - Violin, Viola
Regeana Morris - Voice, Hammered Dulcimer, Musical Saw
Nick Pagan - Keyboards
Chandler Rentz - Percussion
Damon Young - Guitars, Door
buy Changelings CDs at Middle Piller
~reviewed by Michael Otley
Dark Muse is the musical outpouring of Phyll, a maker of very careful and intricate jewelry. Self-proclaimed "haunting lush ethereal, dark ambient, experimental noise flow" is quite accurate, emphasizing ethereal. Music and jewelry are treated as partners of her gothic style.
Phyll's layer voices are laced with more reverberated voices; the opening track "Backward World" of remembering... doesn't seem to incorporate any other instruments, but you never realize that unless you careful sort the tracks out to discover they're all her slow steady voice. "the city at night" consists of noises and plunking slowed down for an eerie 'peering out the window of a dark room' kind of feel; everything is dark and damp. Most of the rest of the tracks, like "Inner Wavelength", "Bar Code (revisited)", and the title track, utilize droning synth-like sounds and other looped noises with vocals distant and reverberated in the background.
The album is slow, hypnotic, and uneventful. Fans of slow ambience and reverberated female vocals will appreciate this release. Eerie squeaks at the beginning of the closing track "Metal Leaves" was one of my favorite parts of the CD. A variety of tracks from different recordings are available from her mp3 site.
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
When I think of the Australian Outback, I think of dingoes and the Aboriginal Natives. I would have hardly guessed that a death metal band would come together out of some of the most sparsely populated land in the world. But somehow, Destroyer 666 found each other and have been creating some of the best death metal I have heard in a long time.
Phoenix Rising carefully uses the same, carefully laid track that their predecessors have used for many years. Instead of relying on pure speed, as many bands do, they rely on highly memorable lead guitar riffing and understandable death metal growls. There’s not too many of these CD’s I own that I can listen to without the lyric sheet.
So what is it that really sets this apart for me? It’s the fact that they really don’t reply on the speed of their music, but the power and if I ever had to choose between the two, it would be power any day. I really don’t see the point in ripping at breakneck speeds through a whole album. My mind really can’t take that kind of activity and it’s just too damn hard to play the double bass on the gas and brake pedals while driving without getting into an accident.
Anyway, this is solid. Any death metal fan will find merit in this recording and when asked if I have heard anything good lately, this band will definitely come up and if I had to cough up a few song titles for download (prior to buying, of course), “Rise of the Predator” for the awesome chorus and “Lone Wolf Winter” for the killer clean vocals at the end would be my choices. Renegade Records really has really struck gold with these guys.
1.Rise of the Predator
2.The Last Revelation
4.I Am the Wargod
5.The Eternal Glory of War
6.Lone Wolf Winter
7.Ride the Solar Winds
8.The Birth of Tragedy
Destroyer 666 Is
K.K. Warslut – Vocals, guitar
Shrapnel – Lead guitars
Deceiver – Drums
Bullet Eater – Bass
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen
Like many bands before them, Dragonlord is intent on bringing you yet more uncompromising black metal hailing from the cold forests of... California? You mean this isn't from Scandinavia? As it turns out, Dragonlord was hatched from the once fertile Bay Area thrash scene. Featuring Jon Allen of Sadus, Steve Smyth and Erik Peterson of Testament, Lyle Livingston of Psypheria, and Steve Digiorgio of Death, Sadus, Iced Earth, C-...[pauses to breathe... deep breath], Control Denied, Autopsy, and Testament, ... ok, I lost my place. Is Steve Digiorgio the only bassist in California?
At any rate, you've probably encountered his work at some point or other, along with the work of all the other musicians in the band. Nevertheless, even though Dragonlord is composed of mostly thrash musicians, this sure isn't thrash. All the elements of modern symphonic black metal are present: the rasping vocals, the eerie atmospheric keyboards, the blast beats, and the razor sharp guitar lines. I can't say this is any sort of necessary release because it's severely lacking in the originality department, but Dragonlord do a convincing job of playing this sort of metal. The riffs and solos have a distinctly thrashier sound than you'd find in a more typical black metal band.
The production allows you to hear everything pretty clearly (minus the bass, which is a little disappointing), and the guitars are surprisingly listenable and even a bit catchy. The guitars are what most separates this from more traditional symphonic black metal, and fans of Testament or Sadus who can't quite get into Dimmu Borgir or more recent Cradle of Filth may find Dragonlord appealing.
Erik Peterson's debut as a vocalist is a pretty good one. Although harsh, the "singing" (that is, rasping) is listenable and compliments the album well. He only uses clean vocals for a few sparse moments, but it's fairly effective and I'd like to see him expand on that in further albums. His lyrics are fairly dark and evil, but no moreso than the band's Norwegian counterparts. The drumming is another draw to the CD, as Jon Allen keeps things interesting throughout and maintains a good level of technical skill. It is really only the bass and keyboards that end up taking a backseat. Steve Digiorgio is a talented bassist deserving of a mix that keeps the bass at audible levels.
There's nothing wrong with how the keyboards are handled, but they mostly come across as being a little too generic and uninspired, almost like a talented keyboardist just "going through the motions" to get something pressed to CD in time. The most notable exception to this is the album's intro keyboard instrumental, which really does a good job of setting up the mood to follow on Rapture.
Clocking in at 35 minutes, Dragonlord's eight song debut hardly lasts long enough to wear on the listener's nerves (assuming they can tolerate this style of metal in the first place). I'm not disappointed I picked this CD up, and it is a pretty solid release overall, but I think most black metal fans are best off waiting around for the next Dragonlord CD. Hopefully Peterson and crew will further develop their own sound, instead of just providing a thrashier and slightly catchier take on something that's been done to death over seas. Nevertheless, everything here is very well played, and if you're a fan of American metal that never got into black metal for whatever reason, this is an excellent place to start.
1.) Vals De La Muerte
3.) Tradition and Fire
4.) Born to Darkness
5.) Judgement Failed
7.) Spirits in the Mist
Erik Peterson - vocals, guitars
Steve Smyth - guitars
Jon Allen - drums
Steve Digiorgio - bass
Lyle Livingston - keyboards
Dragonlord - Official Web
ENSLAVEMENT OF BEAUTY
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
I, by nature, am a music skeptic. When I receive something or even buy it myself, I psyche myself into not liking it. I may pick apart the cover art or even the song titles. This is not an effort to force myself into hating it only to feel surprised when I buy it. It’s just that I expect a lot for my hard-earned dollar and am eternally searching for that “perfect album”. The album that will bring me into complete harmony with myself and everyone I come into contact with. I still have not found that album and probably won’t, but more often than not, I am both relieved and surprised at the quality of music I seemingly trip over. Enslavement of Beauty’s second album, Megalomania, is a wonderful waypoint along the path of my musical quest.
Megalomania is a seamless blend of classical guitars and synth mixed with harsher growls, spoken word, and insane guitar riffing. I know this sounds a lot like the old black metal formula but this is really much more schizophrenic than that yet it maintains a solid structure. It’s almost like gazing at something through a shower door. You can almost make out the shape and you know whether it’s a dog or a watermelon or a person, but it’s still not quite clear. Anyway, they do what is necessary to get the point across, whether it is to add chimes or female vocals or harsh whispers or even the sounds of a typewriter to the mix. I was rather shocked to see there were only four people in this band. I had expected six or more to create the sound they have. I also have a thousand bands I would like to compare them to, but no other bands act as a stencil to pen this outline. They’re devilish, almost playful, and their music spins out of range of stereotype as they skip madly down their own path.
A lot of their music seems to revolve around a classical centerpiece, whether it is piano or acoustic guitar or soft synth. The songs gain strength, peak, and then cascade softly down, almost like falling snow, fluttering here and there but still heading for the same destination. It’s a style that completely holds my interest, as it is always changing. Song breakdowns are impossible and comparisons pure folly.
To be blunt, this is VERY cool stuff. It’s a break from the constant without leaving home. It’s a decision to change while still essentially remaining the same. It’s a journey along the z-axis of an x-y plane. It’s highly recommended for all types of listeners, because it’s all here.
1.Dainty Delusive Doll
2.The Venial Blur
3.Late Night, Red Wine Blight
4.Malignant Midwinter Murders
5.Comme II Faut
6.Benign Bohemian Brilliance
7.Prudence Kept Her Purity
8.Seven Dead Orchids
9.The Dying Buds Of May
11.Ye That Tempteth, Ye That Bequeth
13.Tangled In Grand Affection
14.Crowd Of Mourners
Enslavement of Beauty is
Ole Alexander Myrholt – Vocals
Tony Eugene Tunheim – Guitars, programming
Hans Age Holman – Bass
Asgeir Mickelson – Drums
Voices of Wonder
~reviewed by Matthew
“Hymns” was one of the releases that I anxiously anticipated this year. I have always been deeply attached to Godflesh, a band that I feel doesn’t get nearly enough recognition as one of the best second-generation Industrial bands that should appear in the annals of dark music history alongside Ministry.
Whatever the case, I have always felt that Godflesh picked up with the suffocating, abusive brand of Industrial that early Swans pioneered. When Gira and co took on a more apocalyptic folk approach to their music, Godflesh was there to fill the void that was left. The band tossed in some grindcore rawness and death metal crunch and voila: one of the most oppressive, violent, and purely dark bands of the past two decades.
Revisiting the early releases by Godflesh could possibly satisfy any modern day rivet head who is disgusted with the current hooky synth pop that more often than naught is slapped with an Industrial tag. With all that said, my opinion of the band’s thirteenth release (including EPs and the like) “Hymns” was slightly foiled with a high plateau of specific expectations.
As a DJ who is constantly attempting to sneak in harder, darker Gothic metal music into my primarily vintage Gothic rock sets, I was hoping for an album that contained some suitably ‘club friendly’ tracks. The band’s previous two albums “Us & Them” and “Songs Of Love & Hate” contained a good dozen stompy anthems and intensely dark aggressive trip hoppish songs. Not that Godflesh probably even intend for their music to receive play in Gothic clubs, I believe that their music is more than suitable, when one considers the atmosphere they invoke. Since I harbour this outlook, I was personally bummed that there is very little I could comfortably get away with spinning at the club.
That is not to say the album isn’t good. It is definitely a bit of a departure from “Us & Them” which was infused with barrages of harsh break beats and spooky electronic headphone exercises amidst a crushing density. This album is raw and back to the basics. There is less of an Industrial feel and more of a sludgy groove and even a modest amount of hardcore assertiveness in the performance this time around. It is a much choppier album with less complexity and is not nearly as emotionally grinding as their past releases. This is like Godflesh in groove mode, freshly baked on some Sabbath.
“Hymns” is still ripe with the characteristics that define the band. This time around, the rhythm section of rumbling bass playing of GC Green and Ted Parsons’ drumming (ex-Prong, Swans) have greater freedom. The pummeling guitar crunch and ever-present pinch harmonic wizardry that Justin Broadrick is infamous for is still at the forefront, but the music this time around is very loose and flexible. Justin’s vocal performance is raw and guttural, and regrettably, his haunting clean vocals appear much less on this album than some may hope. “Anthem” and “Regal” are the only tracks on the album where Justin’s clean vocals appear throughout the entire song. These are both very laid back, groove-oriented songs and while melodic, they are not very ‘dark’ per se.
“Voidhead” and the album’s opener, “Defeated,” are both noteworthy tracks, in that they are the best and most solid representations of the album’s overall musical fusion of characteristic crunch and swingy sludge. “Paralyzed” contains a catchy series of riffs in the intro of the song, which segue into brutal, head banging, cymbal-crashing rhythms that will surely please the Godflesh fan. This more simplified, straightforward ‘metal’ approach may have been unexpected of the band, but it definitely works very well.
On the other side of the coin, “Antihuman” is infused with a hint of the dark electronics that distinguished the “Songs Of Love & Hate” CD, as it relies on the same layering techniques of synthetic and organic drumming. And overall, the tonal qualities of the bass, the crisp sharpness in the guitars, and the jackhammer precision in the drumming throughout the entire album do succeed in producing the machinist sound characteristic of the band. However, this time around, it’s presence is much more subtle.
The album ends on an extremely high note with the eerie, unrelenting “Jesu,” a suffocating, plodding piece of hellish torment only Godflesh could deliver. The track lasts a good six minutes, after which, a hidden track appears bearing a more melancholic and brooding tone. I can see why the song was ‘distanced’ from the other tracks, being that it has a very different mood, similar in scope to tracks like “Empyreal” and “Flowers” from the mid-point of the band’s career. I suppose I was wishing that the whole album was in this same vein, but that would admittedly not make half as varied or interesting an album as “Hymns” chalks up to be. But “Jesu” and the hidden track together represent both ends of Godflesh’s emotional spectrum at their absolute finest: violently eerie discord and funereal atmospherics.
What it boils down to is that “Hymns” is instantly recognizable as a Godflesh album. But in the long run, the groove friendly aspects outweigh the stark, cold Industrial sounds that I personally loved so much on past releases. Whatever particular elements of Godflesh you as a listener enjoy will determine how you react to this album. For more straight up metal and perhaps doom rock fans of Godflesh, this is without question a must have release, for never before has the band ever relaxed and ‘jammed’ to this extent. And purely, it is very heavy. However, for Gothic and Industrial fans of the band, which I assume make up the body of the audience reading this review, this album taps into those elements only sporadically and may leave you somewhat unfulfilled.
* As well as “Hymns,” 2001 saw the release of “In All Languages,” a 2 CD set of remastered, remixed, and rare material spanning the band’s entire career. That release is available through Earache Records.
2.) Deaf, Dumb, & Blind
7.) White Flag
8.) For Life
Justin Broaderick – vocals, guitar
GC Green – bass
Ted Parsons – drums, percussion
Godflesh – Official Personal
Godflesh – Official Fan Site:
Music For Nations:
HEADHUNTER DEATH CULT
…And The Sky Turns To Black…(The Dark Age Has Come)
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
It wasn’t but a few years ago that I thought Sepultura would remain the be-all-end-all of Brazilian metal forever. With the sudden flood of brutal music coming from all corners of the globe, a few of these Brazilians have come out above the rest and Headhunter D.C. is one of them along side the wildly popular Krisiun.
As far as this album goes, it’s pretty much straightforward death metal with a few keyboards thrown in for atmosphere. The vocals are very cool and remind me of the era where Possessed reigned supreme. Aside from that, this is death metal to a “T” with few surprises thrown in. Not that this is a bad thing, though. It’s well done. I’ve heard a lot of garbage in this genre and this isn’t one heading for the trashcan. The atmosphere and music remind me of when I was just getting into this stuff and although this is new, I am compelled to feel a little nostalgic.
Death metal fans should definitely give these guys a try. If anything, the covers of Sepultura’s “Morbid Visions” and Possessed’s “Twisted Minds” are worth the price of the disc. The bass-heavy production will thunder through your house and remind you why you listen to stuff this powerful.
1.…And The Sky Turns To Black…
2.Falling Into Perdition
3.Beyond The Deepest Lie
5.From Dream To Nightmare
7.Conflicts Of The Dark And Light
World War III Records
~reviewed by Michael Johnson
Hecate Enthroned started out when bassist/vocalist Jon left his band Daemonum in 1994 to join a new black metal band named Cradle of Filth. His stay was short, however, but the shadows that followed the shift would last for years to come. Hecate Enthroned was extremely powerful black metal loaded with memorable riffing and a drum style I can only associate with them, but the high pitched screams emanating from Jon would cause this highly promising band to be cast aside as a Cradle of Filth wanna-be. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.
I myself was guilty of labeling this band only a few short years ago. I loved the songs but couldn’t get past the vocals, as I was a rabid Cradle fan as well. Dark Requiems…And Unsilent Massacre sat quietly collecting dust. It wasn’t long before I was talking to a friend of mine about this band (we’ll just call him Matthew) and he pointed out the enormous differences between the two and from that point on, Hecate Enthroned has been one of my favorite bands and Dark Requiems one of my all time favorite albums.
Hecate Enthroned saw a major shift in sound when vocalist Dean filled the void left by a departing Jon. On the critically acclaimed Kings of Chaos, a more death metal approach was taken while still maintaining the unique and blackened Hecate sound. Darkened growls replaced the screaming and a much more versatile approach to the music was taken, adding enormous amounts of power and creating many new fans.
Now, the follow-up to Kings of Chaos, Miasma, has arrived and it continues to herald the powerful songwriting of a band that is quietly (at least here in the US) one of the foremost names in black metal. The one downer with this is that it’s only an EP. I prayed for a full-length, desperate to hear more of the newest developments and ideas born of an extended touring hiatus. But despite the length of this, Hecate has once again completed another process of evolution by adding harsh whispering and soaring clean vocals mixed with the traditional sounds of black, death, and thrash metal and the resulting carnage is nothing short of spectacular. Trance-inducing mellow arrangements are met head on by the galloping drums and the wall of guitar that complete the sound of Hecate Enthroned. “So Called Savior” is led by clean, spoken word, whispers, and Dean’s own harsh screams. “New Day Emerges” the instrumental “Commence The Chaos”, and easily my favorite on the album, “Designed With Hate” follow in the same vein, breathing new life into my love for this type of music. The album closes with “Silenced But For Their Cries” but after a short silent stretch, I was treated to a cover of one of my favorite Venom songs, “Buried Alive”.
It calls out my name
The morning miasma
Leaving all slain
It raped all their virtues
It raped all their hopes
Destroyed all their dreams
Destroyed all that's false"
Miasma is a sign of great things to come from this band. I can only hope that the full length is not far behind because, even as great as they were years ago, this band just keeps getting better. I strongly urge black metal fans that have never heard Hecate Enthroned to get off your ass right now and go get one. They can be tough to find at times, but a little resourcefulness will go a long way.
1.So Called Savior
2.New Day Emerges
3.Commence The Chaos
4.Designed With Hate
5.Silenced But For Their Cries
Hecate Enthroned Is
Dean – Vocals
Nigel – Guitars
Andy – Guitars
Rob – Drums
Dylan – Bass
Daz – Keys
Official Website: www.hecate-enthroned.co.uk
~reviewed by Thryn
Having spent my formitive years in Rhode Island, I've had many the opportunity to see Holy Cow perform. Seems like any time there was a sort of goth band playing The (old) Livingroom, or wherever, Holy Cow were there. They were reliable like that. Like hearing "Kerosene" by Big Black before just about every show at The Livingroom, back in the days when I was probably too young to even be there, and my little sister most certainly was. Back in the days when you could get away with that sort of thing...
So, here I am, getting nostalgic when what I am supposed to be doing is writing a review of their long awaited CD. I think Purge is on track 8, which, looking at the tracklist, would be a song called "Random". Which, in my opinion, is the best song on this CD.
It's been a few years since their last release, which seems to have been next to impossible to find at the time, and now is nowhere, as far as I can tell.
This is an odd CD. I don't quite dislike it, but at the same time I'm not sure what it's doing. Maybe it's that it doesn't hold together as well as it could have. I feel like they're all over the place, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Ecclectic is never bad, in my opinion.
There's a little Bauhaus (there was always a little Bauhaus, which is probably why I liked them), a little Nick Cave, and a bit of Swans for good measure. And when it works, it works very well. "Dig", "Random", and "Drug" are evidence of this.
"Dance of Torture" is probably my least favorite track. They are employing the same tactics used by Sleep Chamber in this song. A sort of seedy fetishclub sound with half whispered, half sung, vocals. And I've never really liked Sleep Chamber.
I have a feeling that, were I seeing Holy Cow perform these songs live, I'd appreciate all of them a lot better. As it is, there are 3 very strong tracks, and 7 that I'm not so sure about.
Then again, I'm not so sure about a lot of things. I suggest you find a copy of this CD and give it a listen yourself. If only for "Random".
You get What You Deserve
Dance of Torture
St. James Infirmary
Nub of Flesh
For other reviews and more
information, see their Label:
Twisted (CD) | Song for Newborn (EP)
~reviewed by Jett Black
Lucid Dementia, sharing stages with artists as diverse as CTRL, The Last Dance, Kevorkian Death Cycle, Razed in Black, Switchblade Symphony, Terminal 46, Luxt, and Clan of Xymox, have a couple of albums of their own with tracks appearing on COP music compilations, and now their music is supported by Texas' Analog Aether music label.
My first introduction to Lucid Dementia was by way of "Twisted" appearing on COP's Diva X Machina v/a music compilation, volume 2. Of all the great great tracks on that compilation, Twisted is the one that I just couldn't shake from my mind. Soon, I came to discover that Lucid Dementia was located practically in my own backyard! (Okay, so I was living in Texas at the time and thus I had a pretty huge backyard ; )
Lucid Dementia stomps about Austin Texas, and has performed also in Dallas and San Antonio I believe. In all the years I spent in Texas and spoke with Sheldon Reynolds by email and phone ... I never made it out of the flatlands of Lubbock to Austin (8 - 10 hour drive) to see any of their live performances. I wish I had, because now the drive from Portland, Oregon really bites!
So, what's so kewl about
this electro-goth/techno-industrial band anyway? Well, the music rocks.
That I can confirm. It's like canned whoop-ass, only much more fun! Lucid
Dementia's live show from every report .... sounds like it must be
so-oo much fun! (and I have read so many e-mailed concert reviews on Lucid Dementia)
"Lucy" or "Lucid" is sort
of an alien. And I don't mean an illegal alien crossing the Texas
border. I mean, like ... an "Alien" one that taunts the audience
from some seven feet in height, and she sings and dances and gyrates and
grooves across the stage floor throughout each Live Lucid dementia performance.
So, not only will you find the music haunting in your head like a television
commercial, or x-mas jingle... the live show as well is absolutely unforgettable,
and never the same show twice. In Dallas underground dance clubs, to both
my surprise and delight, I have actually found myself dancing to tracks
such as "Twisted" from Lucid Dementia's album by the same name.
LUCID DEMENTIA's ALBUMS:
TWISTED, Label: Buried
"Twisted" weighs in at (4:22). Twisted spins like a sweet and demented acid trip. Twisted is no doubt Lucid Dementia's most popular and requested song. This is most certainly a song that just jumps into my head no and then... long after I've re-shelved it, or locked it away. I swear, it will drive you insane. Lucid Dementia describes "Twisted" as "A song about the confusion and sickness caused by the belief in a supernatural being called God." And as if THAT weren't enough, Twisted is also the title of this full-length album! So, in essence, this album could be viewed as ten songs reflective of just how fucked up life gets when we let God get in the way!
Oh, and Sheldon points out something I had previously overlooked: Not only are all the words to each song printed in white-on-black inside the 8 panel cd jacket, but also, descriptions to the concept behind each song are also included with each track title.
So, moving on now to the next track, a bit longer at (5:00) "Wrazor Wrist Grrl"... uhm, the title of this song alone should give you some indication as to the state of mind you could end up in... or at least a generous array of subject matter covered by this song... drugs, violence at home, social torment... pick a reason to carve on yourself, and you'll find it covered in this track. Lucid Dementia takes a satirical approach to the world and all the chaos living in it brings upon us. "Wrazor Wrist Grrl" conveys the satire rather well. Sheldon describes "Wrazor Wrist Grrl" as "a song about a self mutilating teenager, cornered by her sexuality, as witnessed by Lucid in a mental institution..."
Next, "Tailbone" (3:51), a bit darker, more like a personal conversation about the crazy things going on in the world. the beat doesn't stop, however. Still as maniacal as ever. Kinda like voodoo magic. It just never goes away. The description for this track concept.. oh, you're gonna love this one: "A song romanticizing a crime by a man who, unable to deal with the realities of the death of his girlfriend, robs her grave, but then, still unable to deal with the realities of death, discards the body on a Dallas roadside."
Followed next by a taste
of "Truth" (4:35). "A song proclaiming the hypocrisy of religion
based on money." A bit of techno-industrial, with some guitar riffs thrown
in for thrash effect. I can totally rivet and twist til the sweat
pours forth with this
one. Perhaps the essence of Truth is in killing the deity? "kill your god" - I just love that lyric.
Perspectives upon "Chip On My Shoulder" (5:56) vary depending upon who's listening at the time. I believe this is rather haunting because it is intro-spective and subjective. It seems to mean something different to everyone I talk to. One thing for certain is that I enjoy watching the look on people's faces as they listen to this one. Obviously getting drawn into the lyrics and reflecting upon them in relation to their own experiences. I can't say that I know what Lucid was going for with the lyrics in this one exactly, but I believe Lucid certainly makes the listener think via the influence of the music.
"Heroin Grin" (5:46) "Love lost to heroin induced death" no mystery here, and it's quite an interesting story. I find this song more relaxing, more reflective. Part of the song, in my opinion, is about "knowing" where one's significant other has been and what he/she has been up to just by the grin worn like a badge across the face. Yeah, I've unfortunately lived through this one, too.
"Strange Kiss" (4:36) "A song acknowledging Lucid's difference with a threat." "I'm not cool. I'm just weird... Yes, I am a FREAK!" No, I can't relate to this at all. It means absolutely nothing to me.
"Cannibal" (4:41) Here's another one I love to hate. Sometimes, I'm walking along and the words just come leaking out.. It's uh, infectious. Descriptor: " A song based on a writing by Jonathan Swift called 'A modest proposal'. Read it."
"Human Waste" (5:32) Well, the title of this track obviously enjoys redundancy. The music itself is haunting. Perfect, in fact, for that haunted house you've been building for the kids each year when Helloween rolls around.
"Sorry Misery" (6:04) The
longest track on this full-length album... this song I imagine Lucy (the
Alien) singing in a rather hip-hop/industrial rap dance. I'm telling
you, that LIVE show, must be some kind of incredible. Warning: Repress
the urge to consume large quantities of controlled substances while Lucid
Dementia performs LIVE. I dare you. Descriptor: "A song about how
a person can dig themselves into a deep hole of trouble... alll on their
Song For Newborn ep, Label: Analog Aether
Lucid Dementia's 2nd music cd release. This appears at first to be just a 3 track ep. and it is just three music tracks. However, there's a fourth "hidden track". And, uh, it's simply hilarious. I'll let you discover that one on your own.
The first track is: "A Remix of "Twisted" (3:49) Industrial Electronic. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, "it's a remix. so what?" Okay, well, it's kewl. It's fun. and you can dance to it. "Twisted Remix" by Eric Gustafson, x-programmer for Terminal 46.
"Song For Newborn" (4:47) More Industrial Electronic okay, Pay Attention! You WANT to hear these vocals! This is NEW! This is different. And... it's beautiful! Cassandra Carico - Lead Vocals I agree with Lucid's own description of "Song For Newborn" as: "A slow, heavy electronic song. Playing softly in the background, is very Romantic." Vocal Samples are introduced very well toward the end of this track. Totally fits with the mood of this track.
The last MUSIC track on this album is a LIVE track: "Heroin Grin" (5:54) And, I totally imagine the live performance of this track. Someday, I'm going to see Lucid Dementia perform on stage. It's going to happen. I just know it.
1. Twisted (4:22)
2. Wrazor Wrist Girl (5:00)
3. Tailbone (3:51)
4. Truth (4:35)
5. Chip On My Shoulder (5:56)
6. Heroin Grin (5:46)
7. Strange Kiss (4:36)
8. Cannibal (4:41)
9. Human Waste (5:32)
10. Sorry Misery (6:04)
- NOTE: ALL TRACKS CONTAIN DESCRIPTIVE INFO INSIDE CD JACKET
SONG FOR NEW BORN
1. Twisted (Remix) by Eric Gustafson
2. Song for Newborn
3. Heroin Grin (Live)
Lucid Dementia: http://www.luciddemntia.com/
Listen to realAudio and buy Lucid Dementia cds at CDBABY.com:
LUCID DEMENTIA - TWISTED
LUCID DEMENTIA - SONG FOR
Lucid Dementia on Mp3.com
Analog Aether: A .I. A -
(Austin Industrial AllStars),
The Alpha Conspiracy, Ctrl, Kusser, Lucid Dementia, and Pharc.
Analog Aether on mp3.com
The Last Mushrooms
Invasion of the Energy Spectres
~reviewd by Kevin Filan
The Last Mushrooms is part of Queasy Listening, a British art collective engaged in "guerrila distribution" and otherwise rallying against the "unresearched consumerism that pervades our adult taste centres." Taking cues from Aleister Crowley, H.P. Lovecraft, Austin Osman Spare and Kenneth Grant, they bring us "Invasion of the Energy Spectres," an uneven release which promises much and occasionally delivers.
"Panarchy in the UK" opens things up with an interesting vocal sample that develops into a repeated chant of "Rapture ... in England ... now," with an occasional choking quote of "Like a devil sick of sin" thrown in for effect. There is some interesting guitar and synthesizer interplay here, but ultimately things don't seem to go anywhere. The same problem befalls "Angels of Neurosis" and "Voice of Space." In each case the band starts with moderately interesting grooves, then fails to develop the theme. The chanted-through-a-sweatsock vocals have been done before (and done, and done, and done), and the namedropping of "William Blake ... William Shakespeare ... John Milton" and suchlike doesn't really add anything to the proceedings.
The band and CD names could have come straight out of a 60s Be-In. "Strange Transmissions" shows a strong psychedelic influence, with an excellent bass line that simultaneously pays homage to the groovy 60s, the funky 70s, and the drum-and-bass 00s. The bass and the jangly guitar provide a strong rhythmic and melodic hook. I'm not sure if this is intentional, but "Strange Transmissions" actually works as a pop song. On songs like "Witchcraft Man" and "Witchcraft," they even capture the marijuana-scented grandeur of Hawkwind and other prog-rock outfits, with sweeping electric guitars and solid power-ballad drumming. Remove the spoken word artist and put an operatic baritone up front, and Last Mushrooms could very well reinvent itself as a thinking man's Fields of the Nephilim. (I suspect they will be horrified by this suggestion... )
If I've seemed harsh in my assessment of Last Mushrooms, it's because I felt like at times they were slumming. They are unquestionably a technically competent outfit. I was particularly impressed by the elegaic cello/acoustic piano/guitar interplay on "A Rose in the Garden of the Midnight Sun." When I hear the crescendos on "Dunwich Tapes," I'm reminded of British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Antarctica Symphony." And thus I can't help but be disappointed when I listen to "Amenta (Against All Odds)" and hear what is essentially a damned good knockoff of late-80s Ministry. The best material on here was very good, while even the worst was well-crafted and competently done. I would give this effort a solid B, and would look forward to hearing the next one. I'd also hope they take a few more creative risks next time. If you're going to release limited editions and strive for top quality without commercial worries, you might as well take chances.
Queasy Listening Website
The Smell of Rain
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen
(CD cover courtesy of Earache Records website,
other photo from the official band site)
It's tempting to start off this review with some troll jokes. Nearly anyone who has heard of Mortiis likely knows what he dresses like (or is?) a troll (just glance at the album cover). Nonetheless, his appearance doesn't take precendence over the music, which I suspect is a lot more important to him than any makeup. I do have to wonder how he can play keyboards so well with big troll-like hands (you think he'd flatten them out every now and then), but aside from that, his taste in attire and makeup has no bearing on the music. And speaking of the music, which we should be doing right about now, let me say that The Smell of Rain is an enjoyable and above average album. This makes me wonder why Audiogalaxy forum visitors have been quick to call Mortiis a sell out, or to claim he plays something known only as "gay lobster techno."
As usual, the average forum-goer there has absolutely no idea what it is he or she is babbling about. Mortiis has dramatically changed music directions from his last outing, but this is a move that could potentially lose fans. He took some risks within a community where such blatantly electronic music normally wouldn't be accepted as valid work. That is commendable, though outside of metal and ambient music, The Smell of Rain really isn't anything experimental or unheard of. It follows 80's and early 90's moody synth-based music pretty well. Comparisons to Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails are accurate enough. On "Flux / Mental Maelstrom" I could almost swear I was listening to Trent Reznor in troll makeup. The backing guitars and spiteful lyrics/vocals are very reminscent of NiN, which isn't too surprising given that Mortiis has recently labeled them as a big influence.
Mortiis incorporates all kinds of darkwave and darker ebm sounds and puts it to use in the fantasy world he creates. His vocals are usually spoken, though he often adds a lot of little touches to the delivery to keep things lively. His voice compliments the album very well and adds an authentic quality to mostly synth based music. You actually get to see the sad and lonely side of trolls who just want to be understood. You might have guessed that already based on the contemplative troll sitting alone in a desert on the album's cover.
Mortiis comes up with a number of catchy choruses and generally ensures that after listening you'll come away with several of the songs stuck in your head. Slower songs have a sort of pensive and overall sad quality to them, while faster songs may range from the upbeat to the aggressive. Mortiis knows how to use an effective programmed beat for a faster song, but he also knows when to slow things down or back up the electronics with more symphonic sounds. The percussion is mostly beat based, though occasionally more exotic drum sections will creep their way into the sound.
Sarah Jezebel Deva contributes her vocals also, and while they aren't a defining aspect of The Smell of Rain, they do add a lot of subtle touches. Mortiis is taking a fairly common sound on this CD... so I can't give it a lot of originality points. Yet he does manage to add enough personality to it to keep it entertaining throughout. He also took care to make sure it's backed by some real emotion and feeling. I get the impression he's probably been wanting to make an album like this for a while, and the bands he modeled it after consequently shine through as unmistakable influences.
The great songwriting works despite the overall lack of originality, so this CD will undoubtedly spend a lot of time in my player. I can't help but think the next Mortiis release is going to be even better if he continues to explore this realm of electronic music and adds further personal touches. For now, The Smell of Rain will do nicely. Recommended to any fans of Skinny Puppy or NiN, or any metal fans looking to branch out but aren't sure where to start. I highly doubt Mortiis fans who really appreciated his music before will dislike this release to any great extent either, and most should even enjoy it.
1.) Scar Trek / Parasite God
2.) Flux / Mental Maelstrom
3.) Spirit in a Vacuum
5.) You put a Hex on Me
6.) Everyone Leaves
9.) Smell the Witch
Mortiis - Vocals, programming, synths
Frederik Bergstrom - timpani & percussion
Sarah Jezebel Deva - main female vocals
John Prozac - additional programming
Chris A - guitars
Alzahr - bass guitar
Mortiis - Official Web Site:
Up Jumped the Devil
~reviewed by Blu
"The inbred, bastard child of The Misfits, The Cramps, and Hank Williams Sr....Fu&kin A!" - LA TimesI've been on such a Psychobilly kick lately and just to feed that fascination even more, Mr Badwrench sent me their latest - Up Jumped the Devil. I first became familiar with Mr Badwrench through the Skully Record compliations - all three have included tracks from Mr Badwrench and they were always among my favorites. Moreover, every psychobilly band I meet has nothing but compliments all around for the fellas in Mr Badwrench which makes their upcoming concert here in Seattle (Nov 16th with the Spectres at the Breakroom) that much more appealing for me. Be expecting a concert review and photos on that one in December's issue.
Onward to this deliciously naughty set of music!
The CD opens up with "Sweet Little Girl" - a track that has a dusty country western beat and twang to it contrasted against some very gritty vocals on the chorus. Next up is one of the best Billy Idol cover songs done to date, "Rebel Yell". Mr Badwrench has put their own twist on it quite nicely... adding a seductive swing beat and saucy backing vocals. Buster Kretin's vocals are just superb on this track too adding emphasis on certain lines with a bluesy twang... I can't wait to see this live. Elvis has nothing on these guys. "Bodies Piled Up" (also featured on the Gothabilly III comp) has to be one of my favorites with its bloody, murder inspired, extremely silly lyrics sung to Straycat styled beat where in they ask the age old question: "Blood on the floorboard, blood on the wall, blood on the dog's head.... blood on the rooftop... blood on the bedspread, who's gonna clean it up?" "Miles to Go" is sure to knock the crowd out of their socks and into an early grave with its faster that lightning, very keen bass playing (damn man, are the strings on fire yet?) while "Gasoline" (actually requested by The Fly of the Deep Eynde last time I DJ'd!), showcases what I love the best about this band: down, dirty, sleazy rock and roll that can make girls melt and boys tremble. Its saaaaweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!
In short, if you want a great example of the Psychobilly genre and where its at today, check out Mr Badwrench. From its crunchy, snake-twisted guitars, to its punk-induced dirty bass lines and its slicker-than-a-pimps-suede-hat vocals, Mr Badwrench is all Psycobilly has ever aspired to be and then some.
Sweet Little Girl
Bodies Piled Up
Drop Dead Beat
Miles to Go
Bad Ass Dad
From the Cradle to the Grave
Check em out for FREE
~reviewed by Blu
I first met Mr. Underhill when I was reviewing Skully Record's third Gothabilly comp Razin Hell. They had contributed the song "Trick of Light and Shadow" which I was immediately drawn to. Only slightly flavored with a rockabilly tinge, this song had a sound all its own quite outside the sometimes restrictive genre tag of "gothabilly". To my delight and surprise I was later contacted by