~reviewed by Jezebel

Trolling through mp3.com can prove more than helpful when trying to find new bands and this was no exception.

The minute, no, the second, I put this CD on, a 3 track demo, I was 17 again. In the heart of CBGB's on those Sundays when you could get like 15 bands for the price of admission of like $10? And all the crap bear you could afford to drink. Great punk and goth bands that are load, wild and in your face. If not physically, at least musically.

9xdead has taken me there. And I can only thank them for it.

This is something like the 3rd incarnation of this band, picking back up their old singer, and going through more guitarists and bassists than one can shake a stick at, so you wonder if this is the best that the band can produce…with some many changes in line-up how does one get the cohesiveness that bands need to play together?

But 9xdead hold their own and do a good job of making me remember the years of hard-core punk …this mixed in with a bit of gothic.

I lean towards the opening track, “Wild Women” with the driving guitars, short accentuated voice of Owen and strong drums of Gary as my favourite of the 3 tracks. “Valley Fix” is a bit too driving for me, but that just may be my changing tastes in music (or I am getting old one of the two). There is a bit more melody in it, but it’s harder than WW for me. Could have been I had less wine while listening…or more wine.

And then there is “Haunted” the final track, which is a bit more melodic and softer, but as I was in the CBGB’s mind set – it didn’t sit as well with me….perhaps if the track listening had been changed about and it opened with Haunted…slowly waking me up and then hitting me with WW and then Valley Fix, I would have felt softly woken up…instead of jolted…but then again – this is a punk band…alright.

I look forward to hearing more from this band…perhaps a full length CD? Just wonder if they will have the same line-up.

Track Listing:
1) Wild Women
2) Valley Fix
3) Haunted

9xdead are:
Owen – Vocals and Guitar
Rachel – Guitar
Chris – Bass
Gary – Drums


mp3: http://click.mp3.com/c/f_990/u_artists.mp3s.com/artists/205/9xdead.html


16 Horsepower
~reviewed by Blu
(photos courtesy of 16horsepower.com)

I've been a fan of 16 Horsepower for only about 2 years now -- ever since people kept making comparisons to them when talking about one of my favorite Atlanta bands - Myssouri. I checked them out based upon that comparison and fell in love. All of their CDs are chock full of explosive energy tinged with just enough dark bitterness to make them appealing. And while this is a more alternative/indie band (and admittedly one that does not get the attention it deserves in the US), I decided to review this one CD of theirs for StarVox because they cover some songs on it that are relevant to the goth scene. The goth scene has always had some affinity for dark country/western bands -- spawning from legends like Fields of the Nephilim and The Gun Club and continuing on with the likes of Nick Cave, The Swans, Ghoultown and of course, Johnny Cash. They've all found their way into our black clad little hearts. In a similar vein I believe bands like Myssouri and 16 Horsepower will too.

It's interesting to note vocalist David Edwards' background - the similarities between his upbringing and Nick Cave's:

David Eugene Edwards born the grandson of a Nazarene preacher. For a good portion of his youth, he is raised by his grandparents. His earliest memories are of traveling from town to town in Colorado listening to his grandfather's fire-and-brimstone sermons.

Married at 17, Edwards left his grandfather's church (with the old preacher promising eternal damnation) to seek a more individualistic Christian path1.

His influences range from Violent Femmes, to Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Joy Division, The Birthday Party/Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Gun Club and the Hungarian band Muzsikas1.

Hoarse is CD recorded live at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, Colorado on May 5, 1998. Among 8 very appealing original songs and a cover of "Bad Moon Risin'" (which isn't cheesy as you might expect - its actually very grim done in this fashion) they cover - to my delight, "Fire Spirit" by The Gun Club and "Day of the Lords" by Joy Division. How's that for impressive eh? I am indeed made more curious about this band's roots by these cover selections.

"Black Soul Choir" is one of my all time favorite 16 Horsepower songs and performed live on this CD, the lyrics, ever biting and smart, contrast against a dire, driving rhythm made up of a plodding double bass line and sparkling banjo while Edwards teeters on the verge of explosive emotions:

Ain't none ever seen the face of his foe no
He ain't made of flesh & bone
He's the one who sits up close beside you
An when he's there you are alone
Every man is evil yes an every man a liar
An unashamed with the wicked tongues sing
In the black soul choir
Yes an no man ever seen the face of my Lord no
Not since he left his skin
He's the one you keep cold on the outside girl
He's at your door let him in
O I will forgive your wrongs
Yes I am able
An for my own I feel great shame
I would offer up a brick to the back of your head boy
If I were Cain
"Low Estate" features an accordion (a favorite sound of mine ever since hearing A Midnite Choir) in a slow, moody track. Edwards' vocals are muffled at first adding texture and a distant sound to it as he sings...."Whispered to you in the dark/ And all that sordid gain/ Let's say goodbye like we said hello/ In a angry kinda way."  Continuing on, "For Heaven's Sake" barrels at you dangerously with a gritty, mean guitar while "Horse Head" slows it back down again in a rolling, meandering tempo accented by a minor melody played on strings (the upright bass I believe?)..."You are not needed here/ To help me feel low down/ I'm doin' it fine all on my own/  hear you cryin' from cradle to coffin/ An for you there'll be no stoppin'/ I see you lyin' in a pine box with bitter words/ That's how the boy talks..."  "South Pennsylvania Waltz" features some of my favorite guitar work -- slide guitar, much like the sound Myssouri employs -- desolate, lonely and mesmerizing. With their cover of "Fire Spirit," Edwards' punk roots show in his uptempo, raw, punchy delivery. It's a wild ride with the bass line playing out against restless vocals. There are times he cuts loose and just screams. I can only imagine how energetic that performance is live. And finally, he pays Ian and the boys tribute with "Day of the Lords" - menacing, brooding, heavy, and ominous...
This is the room, the start of it all
No portrait so fine, only sheets on the wall
I've seen the nights, filled with bloodsport and pain
And the bodies obtained, the bodies obtained

Where will it end? Where will it end?
Where will it end? Where will it end?

If you are a fan of Nick Cave, The Gun Club, or any of the other bands I've mentioned above, I'll guarantee you that 16 Horsepower will be appealing to you. They have two websites listed below - both full of more information than you can digest at one sitting. Dig in - there's enough to go around.

Hear a mp3 sample:
Click here to hear "Haw"
(courtesy of 16horsepower.com)

1. American Wheeze
2. Black Soul Chair
3. Bad Moon Risin'
4. Low Estate
5. For Heaven's Sake
6. Black Lung
7. Horse Head
8. South Pennsylvania Waltz
9. Brimstone Rock
10. Fire Spirit (Gun Club cover)
11. Day of the Lords (Joy Division cover)

16 Horsepower is:
David Eugene Edwards: vocals, banjo, bandoneon and guitar
Jean-Yves Tola: percussion
Pascal Humbert: bass-guitar and double bass
Steve Taylor: guitar and keyboards

1www.16horsepower.com and www.16horsepower.net

Label: Checkered Past

Alio Die & Amelia Cuni
~reviewed by Michael Otley

This first thing that hit me when I got this CD was the absolutely stunning art work.  Shells, seeds, bark, and other natural objects arranged together very neatly.  The brown and yellow earth tones mixed with a touch of purple from the shell with a soft gray background is breathtaking.  It's evident immediately that this release will be earthy and easy, not at all harsh.

I think it's hard to write a lot about this album; it speaks for itself. It's very much an ambient creation, with natural sounds that Alio Die incorporates so well.  If you've heard other works, like Under an Holy Ritual, you'll be familiar with the style, although I think this album is more consistent from beginning to end, and more cohesive.  Also there are the very stretched and slow drones fading in and out, but I think it is the appropriate placement of the natural sounds and loops like water, birds, and crickets that cover the canvas.  Running water, chimes, and crickets all whisper in and out.  The drones could almost be an ethereal organ, an organ played softly and quietly deep in a cloud.

What makes this CD different and exceptional is the voice of Amelia Cuni.  She employs "dhrupad singing- traditional music from North India" as noted in the sleeve.  Her voice, like the ambiance, is slow and weaves in and out; overall this duality between voice and ambiance is what forms the consistency of the release.  And while she uses vibrato and other wavering techniques in some places and droning in others, it is done very much in the spirit of the album.  Her voice works with the water and with the crickets and with every other drone that works its way in and out.  Or perhaps it is the ambiance that works with her voice to support it as much as it can.

This CD would appeal to fans of traditional Indian music as well as those who appreciate the ambient genre.  I think particularly fans of Steve Roach and Robert Rich would appreciate this particular work.  Also worth noting is that the album artworks are original compositions of Stefano Musso (Alio Die) from a series of works arranging natural objects directly on a scanner, skipping the camera all together.  Very interesting stuff.

Amelia Cuni (cun-dur@snafu.de) - dhrupad singing
Stefano Musso (aliodie@tamnet.it) - drones and samples, sounds and treatments, album images


Filicetum Lunare
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

This is easily the toughest album I've got to review so far. Astral's sound is, to say the least, very unique. There's a mix of acoustic and electric guitar, and the playing styles vary from upbeat rock to aggressive metal and dark ambience. The vocals provide a loony mix of clean singing, chanting, distorted whispering, and other assorted growls. The drumming is one of the weaker links in the sound. Aside from the unexceptional composition, everything about the percussion sounds synthetic (possibly due to the production, but I'd just as soon guess these are sequenced samples). There are also some good keyboard/synth sections sprinkled across the songs.

So, that about covers the instrumentation used throughout most of the album. And yet, unless you've heard the band, you've got no idea what it all sounds like. Astral's unique sound may be built on typical elements that more bizarre metal bands use, but the mood they create sets them apart from anything I've ever heard that was in someway related to metal. This has both it's positive and negative aspects. On the one hand, you'd be hard pressed to find any band that sounds in anyway like Astral. The closest comparison I can come up with is Korova, but when a handful of bands in metal standout as oddballs, it's easy just to lump them all in the same category (whether valid comparisons exist between the bands or not).

The thing that makes Astral stand out most is the often unexpected shifts in mood. They are perfectly capable of creating dark and melancholic songs when they want. Some of the tracks on this album, however, far exceed the tinge of hope less depressing bands may feature. It gets to the point where you'll hear something dark and ambient, then the next song will be upbeat and happy. That's right, actually happy. Not that there's anything wrong with that... but the change-ups in the feeling keep this album from holding any solid mood. Consequently, it ends up being a very frustrating listen. Seriously, some of the happy riffs are enough to make me cringe, and I can't envision why they were included.

My view of it aside, Astral is competent enough to have not accidentally added in upbeat riffs with the rest of the mix. When they're playing a sound I like, they do it really well. "Oblivio" features a great guitar and piano duet. "Starec" has an impressively dark feel to it. The song has some carnival-ish keyboards played slowly over some similarly paced acoustic guitar. The vocals are distorted in an odd fashion, giving a sense of uneasiness to the sound. Almost randomly, some very distorted guitar soloing rapidly intrudes the soundscape to throw the listener off balance. These two tracks are the highlight of the album as I see it, but the happier stuff that follows effectively kills the atmosphere they had going.

There's even one track (Nocturnum De La Christi) that is some kind of happy electronic dance song. It features a rather boring set of electronic sounds and singing that you'll be all too familiar with by this point in the CD. The only aspect that stands out is the guitar soloing that is thrown in (again) almost randomly. None of the soloing is technically exceptional, but it's sure weird to hear it in this kind of a context.

You've probably got the idea by now that Astral is no typical band. Going back to the Korova comparison, you could almost liken Astral to a mellowed out bi-polar Korova. There are some of you who may be excited by that description, and you won't be disappointed in Astral one bit. The overall synthetic sound and the changes in mood prevent me from getting into it, and I'd guess most metal fans (even those of you into avantgarde metal along the lines of Arcturus) likely won't enjoy this either.

Unfortunately, it's being mistakenly marketed towards the black and gothic metal communities. I have no idea where it should be marketed, but it is definitely mislabeled. If I had to come up with a longwinded genre name just for Astral, it'd be "bizarre electronic ambient experimental rock from the Czech Republic." I might have had a better idea about what Astral was going for if I could understand the lyrics, but I'd have to study Latin a few years before that would ever happen (and even then there's still the issue of deciphering the growls and chants). On the bright side, it's not often a CD can so thoroughly confuse me... so all of you into the wackier side of music may want to give this a try just for the sheer novelty factor.

Track list:
1.) Filicitum Lunare
2.) Conspectus Noctis
3.) Hetis (Master of Demons)
4.) Intermezzo
5.) Oblivio
6.) Starec
7.) Nihil Intellegenes
8.) Stigmata Amore
9.) Daemoniuna
10.) Nocturnum De La Christi

World War III Records

~Reviewed by Darin Morrison

Autechre.  A name which invokes fleeting thoughts of transient, progressive, and distorted sound bytes -- clicks, beeps, rattles, often contrasted against surprisingly lulling melodies in a combination showing an uncannily and self-revealing degree of precision.  Autechre has made a name for themselves as being one of the pioneers of this genre, this "IDM" or “Intelligent Techno” as some prefer to call it, and Confield marks their 6th release, not counting EPs, into this growing musical subcategory.

So what can we expect from this release?  An accurate response to such a question would have to be "Their most interesting work yet".  Indeed, Confield is one of those releases in a band's discography that will always stand out as some sort of turning point, some sort of milestone if you will.  It is the type of release where a band typically shows a degree of artistic maturity often unseen until that point but that somehow upon reaching it, reaffirming the fact that all limits have not been broken yet.  If anything, it has the effect of reminding us why this particular group is regarded as being so influential, so inspiring.

The sounds on Confield are not “new” in and of themselves.  The artists here have no clever tricks up their sleeves.  In fact,
thinking about this release purely objectively, there's not even much new technical ground broken.  So then what makes this album so great?  What makes it a milestone?  Clarity of vision.  Yes, Sean Booth and Robert Brown have provided on this album, more than anything else, an extremely focused atmosphere.  The feel of the music is such that other releases, while perhaps showing similarities overall, somehow do not quite compare.  This is a case where an album truly is more than the sum of its parts.

Each track on this album offers a whole world unto itself in a manner of speaking.  The music is usually quite hypnotic especially if given the chance to focus on that aspect without much environmental disturbance.  The overall mood of the album seems to present a journey through a dark and somewhat depressive -- at times barren --, yet conservatively sterile atmosphere, with glimmers of epic melodies interspersed and obfuscated, suggestive of some otherworldly possibilities, or perhaps even better -- hope, for what's yet to come.  It's hard to actually pick which tracks stand out the most, because they are all good, but if I were to try and decide on one standout track to try and describe, I believe it'd be "pen expers".  I feel that this particular track does a good job summarizing this feel of the album into the constraints of a single track.  Within this masterpiece, you will hear what, at first, appears to be random percussion mixed in with the whines and drones of some unknown origin.  Instead, upon closer inspection you will realize that that there are multiple percussion lines, meticulously constructed in a manner to where they play off each others rhythms.  This creates for a very interesting aural experience, but there's more yet.  As the track progresses, it transforms into something else as a timeless melody rises up from amidst the depth of this sonic chaos and begins to overpower the percussion.  Thus, the track starts to take on a new feel and a new meaning and somehow, suddenly... you simply "understand".

Comparing the sum of the overall sound of Confield to earlier releases, it is definitely more experimental and more extreme in the direction of being non-musical in a more traditional sense.  This is not an easy album to listen to either.  Confield is possibly a more technical release than any from Autechre before, and tends to require a certain degree of focus to properly observe the finely detailed tracks and grasp the meaning behind the sound itself.  I'm under the impression that there are many Autechre fans at this point who may feel that the move in this direction has gone too far and has stripped away the elements that have once made their "music" enjoyable.  I certainly don't feel this way, and in fact thoroughly enjoyed this album, but I do acknowledge that some fans may find this album extremely hard to take in at first.

My suggestion to previous Autechre fans is that if you have found the increasingly technical releases in their discography likewise increasingly more difficult to appreciate, then you should probably attempt to listen to this album before you buy it.  However, if you are like me and have found this progression to be quite agreeable then you'd be a fool not to grab this release.  As stated before, this is perhaps their best work yet, and I feel certainly the most ambitious.  This release marks a transition period for the group into even more bizarre and experimental territory and if you are a hardcore fan of ae's music, you certainly won't want to miss out.

Track Listing:
1. VI scose poise
2. cfern
3. pen expers
4. sim gishel
5. parhelic triangle
6. bine
7. eidetic casein
8. uviol
9. lentic catachresis

Autechre is:
Sean Booth
Robert Brown

Warp Records:

Bleeding Like Mine
Never Again Will I Dream...
~reviewed by Michael Otley

The long awaited follow-up to Bleeding Like Mine's In the Eyes of Lovelost (1997) picks up right where BLM left off.  In the Eyes of Lovelost received numerous reviews comparing the release to Projekt artists such as black tape for a blue girl and love spirals downwards. Never Again Will I Dream... also brings Chaos of Desire and This Lush Garden Within era black tape... to mind.  black tape serves as a good reference point here, but Bleeding Like Mine is far from a clone.

While In the Eyes of Lovelost explored a variety of approaches through multiple musicians to reach it's creative end, Never Again Will I Dream... is even more cohesive and focused.  The mood of the CD is hardly changing from beginning to end.  Curt Emmer's repeated eerie piano lines, slow and quiet hand and bass drums, and droning synths keep the album at a consistent and dark state.  The neo-classic feel of the instruments and his regretful and questioning lyrics are unwavering.

The voices for this album compliment the music very well.  Holly Emmer, also featured on *In the Eyes of Lovelost*, again presents her voice in slow consistent ethereal beauty.  Layered over herself on "Denial", her voice builds, layering different lines all in the same moment until it is released gently and the song fades away.  Hughues Dammarie, lead vocalist of the French band "O Quam Tristis...", is also a main vocalist for the CD.  While English is not his first language, his diction is very clear even with his very rich accent, which adds a nice European flavor to the release.  He switches between a light and airy voice and one that is deeper and thick.  The flute lines he adds to "Untitled #18" and "Untitled #23: Chapter 1" between vocals are very sweet, especially the former as it has a very gentle feel while the latter is more upbeat (the most upbeat track of the album).  Holly and Hughes compliment each other well and are both individually very beautiful vocalists.  Curt also sings; "Untitled #27: Renewal" is probably the most uplifting track while remaining one of the slowest, with Curt's quiet and breathy voice swelling much like the synths and piano swell.

Overall this is a dark and ethereal release.  It would appeal to fans of both black tape and the heavenly voices series.  Dark droning synths, frequently repeated sparse piano, and almost classical voices will make this a popular release in the neo-classic ethereal genre.

Bleeding Like Mine:
Palace of Worms Records:


Bleeding Like Mine
Never again will I dream
~reviewed by Jezabel

Quietly and sensually the music from the second release from this band makes its way out of the speakers and into the bowels of whatever disparity you are feeling in your life. Frightening how the simple sounds and soft tones of vocal can actually grab you – but it is in this that BLM succeeds. Curt and Holly Emmer have again made something that is in the world of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Libitina, lovespiralsdownward and takes their own place among them.

The vocals of Holly Emmer and guest vocalist Hugues Dammarie, from O Quam Tristis… (who also performs flute) gently weave a curtain of despairing words and emotions through the lyrics of Curt Emmer. It seems we are going through a devastating breakup and feeling every shift in love, hate,despair, desolation, loneliness, regret, hope and betrayal. This is the epitome of the volume of poetry written by the 16 year old feeling his or her first breakup – but yet with the ability to write like an adult.

It is almost as we are taken through the five stages of death. Denial, anger, etc. In fact, Denial is the second track and it states clearly, succinctly what goes though so many minds initially after thebreak-up…..

            No, I know you’ll be back, what with the life we are building, and the castle wallaround us…..or between us?

And the fear, as one wonders how one will go on, “without the strength of you open arms I will surely not survive.”  And then the questions and perhaps, subtlety– the anger, “When will you realize the mistake you’ve made?” And more anger comes in Shallow and beyond where the anger starts to build lyrically and continues to do so in "Waiting for the harvest never to come". And then gradual start of acceptance, “You can’t replace the past, can you? Even if you watch the movie”  You can start to hear it. The questioning of it all –"Did we ever know love at all?”.  And then the proclamation in "Untitled #27: Renewal,“  "Teach me to have, and to hold and to feel the powers of love once again.”  And that wonderful time, when you know that you will never feel like this again, you won’t listen to that album that makes you think of the other person, you won’t go to that diner again, “Never again will I relive the time of you.” But the real acceptance comes later, in track #16, “ I’m a better person for losing you. I’ve learned all I can from the memory of you, not it’s time for me to go on…. it’s time for you to go.” But does it really come at all? In the liner notes, Track #16 has lyrics, on the CD itself, it doesn’t. Leaving the listener to contemplate if the resolution of a broken heart has truly come or is it wishful thinking and hope of the writer?

I think the only shortcoming of the lyrics is the over use, abuse we may say, of the question and the question mark. Of the 16 songs this CD offers, 8 have questions, most have more than one. And although this may sound like I am being picky – I think there may have been more innovative ways of phraseology than that and, reading the lyrics, as I am want to do – it gets tedious. I do understand the doubt and questioning that obviously is done during times that are described and emoted about throughout this album, but it is the artists’ job to bring a new twistand a unique way of relating those questions. But enough said on that.

The voices of Holly and Hugues are actually perfectly suited for the music and blend well with it, creating a perfect marriage. I would have loved to hear a duet with the two, feeding off the softness, yet intensity of their voices. The strongest of the male songs, coupled with the music, not only the vocals, is "Faith Abandoned"….there is something very hypnotizing of it all, of the repetition and Hugues lovely tenor dancing over the notes. As for the female led songs, all are strong, her alto voice finding lovely nuances with a note, almost in the vein as Monica Richards can do – but softer, more angelic sounding.

There are some mysterious, if not basically quirky things about this band. One, despite checking out several websites, I could find no history of the band, more info on the members, or from where they come. I~think~ the States would be the answer for Curt and Holly, but assume Hugues is from Europe (I am guessing France or Italy) as the fact that English is not his first language seems apparent on several tracks. Two, rather uniquely, they are very forthright about where the majority of the album was recorded – in the apartment of Holly and Curt. What strikes me about that is the normal fashion of creating a “name” for home studios to look more professional as a band has been abandoned.  Now, I know quite a number of bands and their albums who have never even seen the inside of a professional studio, but you would never know from the liner notes, and perhaps more importantly from the quality. I don’t think is a bad idea for a band to do– creating a fictious name for a studio they record in. But the honesty of Curt and Holly is refreshing and somehow makes me give them perhaps more leeway in quality – which they don’t need anyway.

The music is lovely and relaxing. All I wanted to do while listening to this album was to get into a warm bubble bath in a room filled with candles and drink a lovely glass of rich burgundy. Soothing despite thesubject.

Track List:
Untitled #8: Chapter 4
In your flesh lies the key; Chapter 2
Untitled #18
Shallow and beyond (Phrases 5 & 6)
Waiting for the harvest never to come
Untitled #23
And now it’s gone
10,000 years… or tomorrow
Did we ever know love at all?
Waiting…: Chapter 2
Untitled ~27: Renewal
Faith Abandoned
In your flesh lies the key (v.2)
Never again will I dream… (the Tower:Chapter 3
The hardest to let go

Bleeding Like Mine are forthis recording:
Hugues Dammarie – Voice on tracks 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 13 &15, flute on 4 & 7
Holly Emmer – Voice on tracks 2, 5, 6, 8, 11, & 14
Curt Emmer – All other instruments; voice on 11 &12

Band’s Website:

Distribution from Palace ofWorms

~reviewed by Catherinna

Throughout my lifetime, I have listened to a wide array of music genres.  Some of these genres might even shock the average reader of this zine, or then again maybe not.  Regardless, my experience with music has opened my eyes to varying styles and expanded my musical tastes.  I like to think I have found some type of appreciation in almost any musical style that I have experienced in my life.  Of course there are a few genres I could never get into (as is normal), but for the most part my musical tastes are pretty worldly.  You may be wondering what this has to do with this review?

For the last three to four years I have found myself extremely drawn to German Electronic bands.  These bands are usually darkwave/goth/synthpop focused styles of music.  The interesting thing, is that the more and more I explore European acts, the more I realize how much of a cross over there is in what they consider goth or rock. What we (American's) might really consider border line metal, and really in many instances it is full fledged metal;  in Europe the Metal/Goth/Darkwave etc, is all lumped together in one general genre. In America there is usually quite a division between genres.  I can appreciate all aspects whether it's European style or American, but I know the average audience may have differing opinions.  The problem I found with Boshetunmay in particular is that I'm not sure what audience they are trying to reach and what they are trying to do musically, even though I can appreciate all of their musical influences, I am still confused.

The songs on this album are very unique in that the style of music could not be compared to any particular band.  This is a challenge I assume most musicians face when composing music.  Boshetunmay categorize their music as having "wave", "gothic", "rock", "electro", "dance", and "metal" elements  This simply sums up the varying influences/layers you will hear while listening to the album. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that all of these elements really work all that well together.  Their music uses many different sounds.  Heavy underlying guitar layers, early 80's synth keyboards, some nice piano phrases, and electronic sequences to name a few.  The downside to the variations is that the songs never seem real or balanced.

There were two songs that I felt could possibly be heading in a direction appealing to an audience.  Track 10, 'Personifiziertes Silikon', which is sang in German.  This song has a nice beat (if you can get beyond the heavy guitar intro) and is pretty much all electronic layering and sequences.  The music is descent, but it would be  enhanced with different, or without any vocals.  Track 11, 'Signal" is the other track that appealed to me.  Signal is more atmospheric than anything and doesn't include any vocals.  Overall I thought the strong point of this band was the music.  The singer has no variation in his voice and pretty much sounds *exactly* the same on every song. I could not understand any of the English words on any of the tracks.  I would suggest singing more songs in German, as at least on Track 10, I could understand what I was hearing.  The lyrics were much cleaner and crisp sounding.

Now with all that said, I mean no disrespect but only to be honest.  It would be interesting to hear this band after the singer sought some voice lessons and they decided what they were trying to accomplish musically.  I also suggest, as always, that you take a listen to an MP3 or two and decide for yourself.  Remember, the wisdom is not always in the writer and it's not always wisdom, but personal opinion.  You could feel differently, you never know.

'Signal' is Boshetunmay's second CD release as of October of 2001.  It was written, performed and programmed by the "Brothers Dercho".  Harry and Witali both grew up with very music focused backgrounds from an early age, and became a musical duet sometime between 1993 and 1995.  They moved from Russia to Germany in 1993, where they still reside.  Both their first album and present have had songs selected from their full length to be featured on a the German Gothic Magazine 'Astan' CD compilations.  You can also download some MP3's at their website.

Track Listing~
1.  Vote for the Black
2.  The Shame
3.  Lullaby
4.  Lodestar
5.  Plastic Heart
6.  Is Anyone?
7.  Corporation of Dreams
8.  Wasted By Disease
9.  A Clod In Your Throat
10. Personifiziertes Silikon
11. Signal

Official website:
You can listen to tracks at:
US can buy their music from

~reviewed by Blu

Promoted as "modern Electro-Goth-Rock from the Siberian Brothers - Dercho," Boshetunmay's Signal is first full length CD release in a line of demos and singles that stem back to 1998.  An eclectic mix of nationalities going on here, their webpage muses they are "Two Russians from Germany, doing Electro-Rock with English lyrics." How's the for global eh? Self recorded, released and promoted, I find Signal to be a decent first attempt at putting out a CD.

The first track, "Vote for the Black" shows their keyboard melodies are fresh - not the run of the mill synth pop electro that's coming out of Europe right now but more along the lines of light-hearted 80's new wave. Its fun stuff. The underlying gritty guitars adds substance and texture. "The Shame" takes a different approach on its intro with rock-opera type guitar lines and jazzed up piano. It launches into a faster dance beat half way through the song and adds in electronic dance elements that compliment the hook of the chorus line. "Lullaby" opens with sinister keyboard chords, spacey synth lines and a solid beat that breaks into catchy melody. "Lodestar" and "Plastic Heart" are good in the simplistic way that only analog keyboards can be - I'm having 80's flashbacks big time listening to these. "Is Anyone?" slows down to a ballad tempo; the main melody line carried by a raw piano sound backed by synth chords - a bit slow and uneventful. "Corporation of Dreams" seems like it attempts to employ some of the more trendy EBM/Synth beats and tricks which I think does a disservice in this instance as their "new wave" sound on the other tracks are much more successful. "Wasted By Disease" I like immensely because it is SO guitar-rock in the beginning it makes me smiles. There's a huge, gritty, hair-band rock guitar intro followed by super fast keys supported by thrashy power chords. "A Clod in Your Throat" is an entertaining track as well (what's a clod????) that migrates from a faster dance beat to dramatic slower key melodies that are somewhat neo-classical in nature. "Personifiziertes Silikon" is probably my favorite track on the CD. It starts with a powerful metal guitar intro and fuses seamlessly into an electronic dance beat broken up periodically by ethereal keyboard lines. Its also the only song on the CD sung in German which I find compliments the music moreso than the English does. And finally, the title track "Signal" moves the band in yet a new direction - more experimental in nature with lots of odd electronic bleeps and twists.

Overall, not a bad first effort. The production qualities could be a bit better but with a self-recorded CD I think they're on the right track and show a lot of potential. Surely this sound - reminiscent of the electronic New Wave acts of the 80's is a fun and welcome change of pace from the current trends.

Track Listing
1.  Vote for the Black
2.  The Shame
3.  Lullaby
4.  Lodestar
5.  Plastic Heart
6.  Is Anyone?
7.  Corporation of Dreams
8.  Wasted By Disease
9.  A Clod In Your Throat
10. Personifiziertes Silikon
11. Signal

Official website:
You can listen to tracks at:
US can buy their music from
email: dercho@worldonline.de

The Changelings
~reviewed by Jezebel

First things first. I love The Changelings. Let me make that quite known and up front right now. But as a reviewer, I must take an objective step away and give an objective review on this new-ish release from the Atlanta based band.

Simply put, this CD rocks.

And yes, that is objective. From the very first track, "Deeper Than Light", the evolution of sound is present. One of the most important things I believe for a band to do is to evolve and to dig deeper and further into their own sound while incorporating new and exciting outside influences. The Changelings and this album exemplify that idea.

There are more influences here than I can mention. You can hear the middle eastern sounds that I think have been essential in their work, but now I can hear a Spanish overtone in some of the offerings as well as some Slovakian or perhaps Czech influences.

The violin of Paul Mercer starts its dance in the second track, "Melusine". Oh how I love the violin and the sound of Paul’s playing. He is one of the few contemporary violinists in this genre and perhaps others that makes violin melodies more than the notes of which they are made of. Movement dances off the strings with his playing.

I have always loved Regeana Morris’ voice and once again, it does not disappoint me. She has a quality of haunting and sensuality not generally found with someone with such an extensive range. And not only does she have the range, etc, but also a great ability to pick up on nuances in words and sounds, bringing in more emphasis or importance into certain syllables….Almost Liz Frazer-like. Not in quality of sound, they are vastly different there,  but in the way that as Liz never wanted to make her lyrics understandable, Regeana does the same, yet is able to evoke the feeling the song is trying to portray.

"Mealcum’s Righteous Dub" is sexy. I hear jazz influences here. And I hear Regeana speak/singing through some of the words. Oh….so lovely. The percussion of Chandler Rentz is gorgeous here. It’s work that makes my shoulders move and undulate. Are those congas?

"Caterwaul" is a very typical song from them and perhaps a bit disappointing in that point only. Again, Regeana’s voice is lovely, Paul’s playing just completely echoing style and emotion coming from her. It’s cat and mouse here, it’s a tag/catch me if you can game going on here.  And I will be honest….I got that before I read the lyrics…tee hee.

Okay I am going to through in another comparison here, Enya. Yes, Enya. Although she predominantly, almost exclusively works with Celtic sounds, there is something always fresh, clean, and mesmerizing about her sound. This comparison is evident in Another Dead Girl. It takes you somewhere. It’s simplistic plucking of viola(?) is gorgeous and transports.

"Frog Song" started out Enya-like to me…(okay, except the frogs croaking right at the very beginning)…but then..is that a Spanish guitar I hear? Oh I don’t know. No, yes, that is a Spanish guitar and oh, is it lovely right there.

Is it "Oceana" that has the dulcimer and the harp? And the vocals of Damon Young telling us the story of Oceana who I didn’t know whether to feel sorry for not. But he has that quality of Regeana. Haunting. Sensual. Caressing.

This is yet another of The Changelings quality, impressive and impeccable offerings. I find no major fault. I find they have done as good, great bands, should do, grow evolve and maintain excellence while retaining a basic sound that made them fans in the first place.

Track Listing:
1) Deeper Than Light
2) Melusine
3) Maelcum’s Righteous Dub
4) Caterwaul
5) Another Dead Girl
6) Frog Song
7) Afternoon of a Newt
8) Port Royale
9) Carpathian Lullaby
10) Ocean (the mermaid song)
11) Morning’s Twilight

The Changelings are:
Nick Pagan – Keyboards
Chandler Rentz – Percussion, Bass Guitar
Paul Mercer – Violin, Viola
Damon Young – Guitars, Voice
Regeana Morris – Voice, Hammered Dulcimer, Toy Accordion

Guest Musicians:
Josh Brown – Sitar
Diana McCrary – Harp



merhcandise available through Middle Pillar

wer Next Projekt
~reviewed by Blu

This is one of those releases that I struggle to find the right adjectives for. At the moment, I can only think of juvenile things like "wow" and "amazing" and "outstanding." Perhaps I am overwhelmed by this body of work. It's so large and encompassing - inclusive of almost every imaginable sub genre we deal with on StarVox as well as so culturally diverse that it makes my head spin. I'm not sure why I haven't heard of this before. And even though it seems to have gotten rave reviews in almost every other Zine I know of I've yet to see it on playlists. Come on DJs -- any one who plays DeadCanDance or Delirium should snatch this up...you're missing out. There are tracks on mp3 and ampcast - there's no excuse for people not to have heard this yet. (Thank you Mike V for sending it my way!).

First thing first I suppose, what is Christopher? It's not a band, no, it's a one man project. Let me say that again slowly -- ONE .... MAN.... PROJECT. Keep this is mind. Read this review and then check out the tracks. You will be amazed that a single person could have this much talent in one earthly body. It is amazing...and my only hesitation is in thinking about the live show - where he'd HAVE to use pre-programmed tracks (shudder) to pull it off, UNLESS he hires a live band, like NIN. Let's hope that's the way it goes because it would be so disappointing not to get the full LIVE affect of this project. Anyway, onto the music...

What this CD contains is everything from world music to ethereal to industrial to metal and every where inbetween. Neo classic? check. Trip hop beats? check. Contrasting deep masculine vocals and operatic female vocals? Check. Now remember, I said this was a one man band. If I hadn't heard this CD for myself, I wouldn't have believed the description either. Don't worry. Be it super slick production or the selling of his soul to the devil at some crossroads; however he arrived at this sound doesn't matter. What matters is that it exists.

The CD opens with a turbulent track... a rolling storm on the horizon with haunting, echoing sirens in the background like a trailer to the latest dark sci-fi film. An acoustic guitar plucks a bizarre note here and there just before tribal drums march in - confident and menacing and wild. And then, these crunchy, mean-as-shit guitars come crashing onto the scene (enough to make any metal lover weep) before you hear the first wail of a masculine voice above the rumble of everything that is going on in the background. This is the first minute and 36 seconds of "Nokturne."  Holding this all together is a primitive melody - Native American in origin it seems, strong and proud reminiscent of early Southern Death Cult. It changes slightly around 4:35 into the track as enchanting feminine vocals soar in operatically over the top ushering in a short wave of calm with a neo-classical flare while the guitars charge forward on some deadly mission. 7:50 into the song and I've just suffered through an incredible audio assault of primitive drums which has, just now, magically crossed over into an electronic dance beat complete with break beats! 10:48  and its still going with samples and chimes - totally changing the mood and tone of the piece to a fluid, liquid dark melody before laying total waste to everything previous with an encore of the main drumming and melody lines. Clocking in at a final 17:14, it's a relentless track of epic proportions that should leave you breathless and in awe of its brutal beauty. The only thing I can even begin to compare this to is the Apotheosis' "O'Fortuna" cover. And guess what, you can hear it here: www.ampcast.com/music/7170/music.php

"Wakeuplove" is an exotic affair with tastes of India sprinkled in against a deeply masculine vocal track that is so straightforward and un-effected that the rawness of it strikes a stronger chord than any manipulation could have. Sexual in nature it slithers and teases and cultivates passionate visions and is probably the one track that could be really accessible to the mainstream. The vocals seem familiar but I cannot yet place who he sounds like. The deepness of them are in striking contrast to the baby face of their composer. The end of this track blends into the next - "Fall Into It" - a lighter, upbeat song with a pointed, adventurous rhythm. The vocals are softer, whispered, contemplating and wistful as he sings, "I left the door wide open..." before launching into spirited Native American wailings. The transitions between such dramatic elements in these songs are so seamless you don't notice it's changed until it's already on you.

"Between Love & Lucidity" is in the vein of the delicious, older Delirium tracks - exotic and mythical. A chorus of vocals plays out against native drums and flutes in a slow, ebbing tempo. Chimes ring in here and there, bewitching and enchanting.

Moving amongst yet more cultural references, the track  "Un Joi" seems to employ African choruses, African tribal drums, and get this, Celtic fiddle. Sounds too impossible doesn't it? But here it is.... unfolding before my ears - a beautiful, exotic, wistful soundscape. (This could be movie music!) It changes a bit here and there, soaring among contemporary synth lines and heavenly choruses of female voices; back to a beefed up African rhythm - forceful and proud.

Bare with me just a moment for as I hop off the praise train for a tinny little rant so that I don't come off hypocritical. I do like songs that have sexually inspired themes, don't get me wrong; (see my comments on Die My Darling's song "Our Behaviour") but I have to say that I was slightly hesitant about track 6 because of its blatant sexual pun in the title alone. It's called, "Waiting for Pussy... Willow" and Christopher does admit the pun is intended. Somehow, I find overt sexual puns a bit... well, goofy. I know I know... personal opinion and all, but I think this track would be taken much more seriously if the title didn't read like a Beavis and Butthead joke. Make me guess - put some lingerie on it. Make me struggle to figure out what the song is about. Don't announce it. There's not much intrigue in that. Alright, alright, end rant. Onto the music... the track starts out with acapella vocals - layers of echoed wailings before a slow but stern beat comes in accompanied by long, minor synth lines and tolling bells. The melody line ends up sounding somewhat Egyptian and later Middle Eastern in flavor and hey -- this  would have been ten times more appealing in the upcoming Queen of the Damned soundtrack than say, Linkon Park (but that's another rant altogether). It's another long track (13:56) like the first one and runs the gambit between slower tempos, pounding fast bpms, and goes from world music to electronic dance with metal guitars somewhere inbetween before you realize it.

"Not There Anymore (For N.)" was obviously inspired by some personal sentiments and is a bitter sweet soundtrack honoring lost loves and memories of a past time. Vocals sing out against wave after wave of sonic harmonies - rhythm less, lonely and vast as a desert.  Track 8, "You're so Sexual" charges up the tribal drums again (this time they seem a bit Aboriginal in nature) accompanied by snake like Indian melodies.  The deep masculine vocals on this track rocket through to your chest and echo there pushed forward by charging guitars. A nice rock guitar melody sets in at some point -- amazing he can vary the tone of these songs so much within them. My only complaint about this song is that it seems to lose alot of momentum when it slows down for a few seconds. The sudden introduction of the slower, sweeter, romantic themes takes away from the passionate, frenzied whirlwind we started with, in my humble opinion.

"Concubine Crush Factor 8" bares comparisons to the work that Wench does - exotic, indian vocals in the background contrast against an electronic soundscape, slowly in a seducing manner while percussive elements patiently march along in the background. And finally, track 10 - "What is Your Threshold for" is not particularly appealing to me. Not bad - one out of ten that I'm not raving about. It's not without its own musical merit though and does speak to the diverse talent Christopher has. It starts out as a cinematic piece with jazz overtones and then morphs into a very electronic based, almost avant garde thing, with the melody being carried by syncopated piano lines. There are some transitions in it where organic elements are brought in for moments but over all, it just doesn't seem to have the passion the other tracks do.

So when all is said and done, where do we stand on this? Well, lets see... it's an incredible CD that miraculously combines elements of world, electronic, industrial, ethereal and metal all on one swoop. It can remind you of Delirium or DeadCanDance or NIN all at the same time. It does so seamlessly for the most part. It's layered and intricate and culturally diverse. It's made up of female and male vocal parts. It's sung, it's chanted, it's screamed, it's wailed. It's brutal, beautiful, terrifying and heavenly. And its one man named Christopher. Where will he take us next indeed?

1. Nokturne
2. Wakeuplove
3. Fall Into It
4. Between Love and Lucidity
5. Un Joi
6. Waiting for Pussy... Willow
7. Not There Anymore (For N.)
8. You're So Sexual
9. Concubine Crush Factor 8
10. What Is Your Threshold for

website: www.christopher.mu
sample tracks on mp3:  http://www.mp3.com/christopherx
on ampcast:  http://www.ampcast.com/music/7170/music.php
email: chris@comecloser.com

Con Dolore
This Sad Movie
~reviewed by Michael Otley

Lately my attention has been drawn to Florida with the amazing shoegazing Mira (Projekt), shoegazing pop-rockers Isobella (Clairecords), the interesting and fun indie band Plastic Mastery (Twentyseven Records), and now the electro-indie '80s pop-rockers Con Dolores (also Clairecords).  Con Dolore's debut CD This Sad Movie is a rich and uplifting album of catchy synths, sampled drums, beautiful piano, and lush pop female voice.

The opening track is a beautiful melancholy piano piece that sets up the rest of the album.  When "Opening Theme" fades out, probably one of the best songs of the album slips in.  "The 7th" uses fuzzy synths, very catchy upbeat drums, and simply beautiful vocals.  Additional synths slip in for the chorus and as the song builds.

"All Our Favorite Cats" marches along with an ostinato plinky keyboard part and interesting percussion layered on top just under the lead vocals.  When the later instrumental section of the song kicks in, extra synth and sampled vocals are looped and layered.  This tends to be the typical formula for much of the album, and mostly it works though sometimes the repetitions could be cut a minute or so earlier.

"Unexpected Love", along with a couple other tracks, use guitar instead of synth as the main structural instrument.  A drum set is played very nicely and laid back; the song could almost be from a Bedazzled artist. "This Sad Movie", the title track, brings the album to a close with a mix of almost 80's melancholy nostalgia and then a burst of shoegazing fuzz into a repeated chorus.  There is a kind of fun marimba track slipped in here, but I didn't feel it was essential to the album, hence it's not being listed.

This album would appeal to fans of Mira and other shoegazing acts with a pop edge.  It's also a must have for fans of Clairecords.

1. Opening Theme
2. The 7th
3. She's Withering
4. She Said Goodbye
5. All Our Favorite Cats
6. Fractions of a Second
7. Feed Us All
8. The Happy Girl
9. Dream
10. Unexpected Love
11. Why Are You Hiding
12. Fractions of a Second 2
13. This Sad Movie


Converter / Asche / Morgenstern
~reviewed by Psionic

~My reviews are always too long. So I'm going to experiment, make this a short one. Ok, here goes: Too many people believe that the experimentalist/powernoise genre is devoid of talent. Nowhere is that more starkly proven wrong than on this collaborative EP. A continual exchange of sound files and samples between the minds behind Converter, Asche, and Morgenstern has resulted in nine songs of pure bragging rights. Anyone listening to this and still claiming that rythmic noise is innovation-free really should try listening to it without the meats of their colonary tract clogging thier ears. Catchy, angry, with a zesty blend of b-movie samples, 'Erode' is a must-have cd. Period.
Bet you didn't think I had it in me to stay on topic, didja?~

1: Gray Formicular
2: In Hell
3: Monster
4: Impeity
5: Hypnotism
6: Hunt
7: Erosion
8: Another Monster
9: Loss

Ant-Zen website: http://www.ant-zen.com/

The Damned
Grave Disorder/ (Nitro Records)
~reviewed by Steph Quinlan

Fifteen years is a long time for a band to survive without releasing anything new. Fifteen years of touring the old hits and releasing live albums and compilations will keep the old fanbase hanging around, aand may even garner some some new admirers. The Damned tours in recent years have all been well attended, and the crowd's affection for them is clearly genuine. It was a nice little niche the band had carved for themselves, and they could have continued in the same vein for years to come.

The Damned turned their backs on this safe, comfortable option and instead, headed into the studio to record their first album in a decade and a half, and the first album in seventeen years to feature Captain Sensible. It could have been a embarrasing mistake in so many ways, but sometimes taking a chance pays off. This is one of those times.

The Damned may not have been prolific with their recorded output in recent years, but they have clearly been paying attention to the climate of the musical underground. Grave Disorder sounds fresh, energetic and new. The punk rock energy is still there, as well as the goth undertones, all held together by the kick of old-fashioned rock and roll.

Dave Vanian's '50's crooner baritone is as rich and sexy as ever, while the band, featuring goth goddess bassist Patricia Morrison, the ever-entertaining Captain Sensible, Pinch on drums, and truly insane keyboardist Monty Oxy Moron, are impeccably tight.

The rumbling machine gun fire bass of "Democracy" opens the album , with Dave Vanian lamenting that "we've been down this path a million times/and yet there seems no hope for us."

"Thrill Kill" is a wonderfully creepy song in the classic Damned cartoon-goth style. Horror movie guitar chords and keyboard effects set the scene while Vanian deadpans "we're just having some fun/messing around with a gun/don't get excited."

"She" is a wonderfully sexy ode to the unholy union between Vanian and Morrison, surely the coolest damn couple in gothdom.

"Would You Be So Hot (If You Were Dead)?" pokes sly fun at the adulation of dead idols, and is rumoured to have been written with John Lennon in mind. The backing choruses lend this track a 1950's classic rock air.

Clocking in at almost eight minutes, "Amen" pits driving chords against church bells as The Damned take on the inconsistencies of organized religion.

The band let their punk rock roots show the most  on "Neverland", which kicks off with a tight, insistent guitar riff.

After almost threee decades in the biz, The Damned clearly still love making music. Let's hope they keep making albums like this for a long time to come.

Track listing
1) Democracy
2) Song.com
3) Thrill kill
4) She
5) Lookin for action
6) Would you be so hot
7) Absinthe
8) Amen
9) Neverland
10) The end of time
11) Obscene
12) W
13) Beauty of the beast


Dawn of Dreams
Darklight Awakening
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

These guys can write some riffs, I'll give them that. You get your thoughtful, slow paced riffs, and then there are your highly energetic aggressive riffs. Don't forget, of course, the twin guitar leads and quick fingered melodies. Now if you've cheated and scrolled down this page to where the song titles are listed, seeing those and reading this description of the guitar work should give you an idea of where Dawn of Dreams falls... which is somewhere in the new crop of hybrid death/black metal groups.

I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this band. The song titles are pretty generic. I mean, who needs to pair the words "dark" and "black" to get the point across? (Granted, they're from Germany, and mastering two languages isn't always an easy feat). In addition to the song titles, the description the label gives the band is exceedingly effective in creating a desire to hear them. The description says, and I quote: "Dawn of Dreams have reached a certain degree of originality within the borders of the Black and Death Metal genre." This is also from the same label that brags about how original their most generic bands are. And to further convince me this was worth hearing - the label lists the nifty cover artwork as a big selling point. Sure it looks neat, but since when do metal fans only care about covers? If that were the case, all you'd see in the metal aisle are naked lesbians on the covers (er... right. We do see that).

Anyway, you can guess that it's pretty easy to get jaded about this sort of thing, especially given all the generic hybrid metal acts springing up today. Fortunately, Dawn of Dreams actually does attain some originality, and the excellent guitar and drum work make this a fun listen. The production is a bit muffled, but everything excluding the bass is audible. The vocals are perhaps the most surprising element here. While the music fits in with a lot of Swedish melodic death metal, the vocals are much more typically death metal sounding. It's a sound I don't usually prefer, but it fits this music really well, and helps Dawn of Dreams stand out from the bunch.

Another unique element to the sound is the use of atmosphere. The majority of the music is driven by heavy guitar, angry vocals, and pounding drums. Every once in a while, however, they toss in some very neat sounding synth stuff (that isn't backed by the other instruments, these sections are calm). This aspect of the sound most reminds me of Domination-era Morbid Angel, though it doesn't come across as any sort of ripoff.

I've got to give the band bonus points for starting off one of their tracks (Hell Beneath) with sound effects from the computer game Doom. I've been waiting for a band to do this! Death metal and Doom belong together. You can hear those pink demons being blown to bits by a rocket launcher and torn apart by a shotgun. I even detect a hint of plasma rifle fire in the mix. There's a gatling gun, too. I'm pretty sure Doom was banned in Germany, so you have to wonder how the band got the samples. Maybe they're used to represent Dawn of Dreams' desire to rebel against the system. Or they just thought it sounded cool.

In any case, fans of this sort of death and black metal should definitely grab a copy of Darklight Awakening. It's one of the most solid albums in this style that I've heard, and it has seen a lot of time in my CD player already. Not every track stands out as being exceptional, but the songs don't just blur together either. And while I still insist this isn't a selling point of the album, the cover artwork does make this stand out in the metal sections of stores that carry black and death metal. Take a look at the cover pic above, memorize it, and pick this up sometime.

Track list:
1.) Dark Black Conscious
2.) Desires origin
3.) Hell Beneath
4.) Eclipse
5.) To Watch the Sunrise
6.) Swallow the Fire
7.) A Forgotten Yearning
8.) The Sirenes Dreaming
9.) Dwell in my Embrace

World War III Records

Caught Within / Left Without
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

Detraction immediately interested me for two reasons. The first is that it isn't a band, but a one man industrial project (and in this case, I mean "industrial" in a Skinny Puppy and NiN sort of way). The second thing that caught my attention is that Doug Seldeen includes all of the tracks from this two album set online for free. There's almost no reason not to download a couple and see what you think, especially if you're into the aforementioned bands.

All of the tracks follow a mid-tempo sort of pace, never really speeding up or getting too angry. But there is a certain angst in the vocals; they are consistently bitter throughout the songs. The backing music provides catchy electronic moments and darker ambient sections. One thing you won't hear about this recording is that it's over-produced. The music has a kind of raw quality because of the lower quality equipment and production (but then, this isn't backed by a label, so that's to be expected). The more upbeat sections feature interesting percussion and rhythms, though they're generally at the same mid-tempo pace everything else is at.

If you were to look at any individual track, you'd find an enjoyable and listenable piece of work. But listening through a whole CD becomes more of a challenge. The constant vocal presence begins to take away from the music after a few songs, because there's very little variation in the approach. It's typically a bitter spoken voice that moves along almost separately from everything else. Occasionally there will be some layering with the vocals or unique distortion, but for the most part you just get one constant, nagging sound. It makes the tracks very hard to tell apart, even though a lot of the music backing it is varied.

It's hard to totally fault the songs found on these discs. I'm pretty sure Doug Seldeen accomplished what he was going for. Nevertheless, the lack of variation in the vocals and the tempo makes a lot of it blur together. The songs are thus much more fun to listen to individually, even though I normally make it a point to only listen to CDs start to finish. If you look at it on a song to song basis, there is a lot to like here. I'm sure any of you who are into NiN's slower moments would get into Detraction. You may even find yourself grumbling along with disdain for humanity.

Track List:
Caught Within
1.) I Don't Care
2.) Lost It All
3.) Diffidence
4.) No One of Consequence
5.) The Burn of Regret

Left Without
1.) unrequited love
2.) the conqueror worm
3.) the endof the beginning
4.) sleep on
5.) gaffa
6.) sameness
7.) the devine
8.) my sweet machine
9.) hollow

Detraction is:
Doug Seldeen

Detraction - Official Web site

Desert + Fortune
Black Coloured Days
~reviewed by Jezebel

The first thing I do when I receive a cd for review is look at it. Right? We all do it. Before I even pop in the CD, I check out the liner. I don’t know, maybe I am just a girl or perhaps I like graphic design too much or maybe I just like something well packaged (you should see my presents at Christmas), but that is what I do.

So far, so good as I turn the pages. The photos are a bit pompous, especially B. Schanz in the rubber/pvc outfit so obviously holding his stomach in and giving his most hard worked SS pose. The center photograph of all four members looks like a weird family portrait. From left we have Kain, the guy who never got along with anyone, then we have M. Tukovic,  the preppie almost studious, guy everyone likes dude, then B. and finally, M. Stein the guy. You know him. He’s everyone’s friend, no one’s boyfriend…Just one of those all around nice guys. (Note: I am not trying to be insulting, nor is this to representative of their ~actual~ personalities….a picture is worth a thousand words and these are just some of mine, especially when there is an amazing photo of the band on the website that would have worked so much better.)

Okay…I am not feeling optimistic. The images are lovely, it’s good quality, the lyrics of the first few songs are vampyric/fetish S&M oriented. The next two, ooooh I like "Breathe"…can’t wait to hear that one. "Fear"…like those lyrics as well.  "Walk On" I walk through the reading. "Possession"  reminds me of Lestat, from Anne Rice. After he sees God. Wonder if they had that in mind?

It’s not until a few songs later, "Lost In Reality" that the vampyrism comes back…just subtly here, but is certainly back in "Kiss of a Vampire", the last track of the album.

I always wonder about vampire lyrics in Goth bands. The only band I have ever heard do it without sounding pompous, stupid or idiotic is Concrete Blonde with their album Bloodletting…I don’t know. I have an aversion to gothic bands going the real easy approach of just doing the vampire thing. It’s a fine line between sounding like stereotype gothics and actually doing something interesting with the subject.

Alright – enough. The CD. The first song was okay, and I am glad I stayed around. But the bass voice (trying to be baritone) of  B. Schanz was just uninspiring. Another deep voice, monotonic to me. I thought of Christopher David from JUDITH for a moment, and wondered what he would do with the lyrics. Written in his key, I was wanting for his depth of voice and emotion.

But all in all, saying JUDITH….that is what this is. Very very similar to JUDITH with a more electronic sound to it. You can hear keyboards, etc, whereas with JUDITH there is only the subtle “mention” of them.

I enjoy the guitar work of M. Tukovic. It is reminiscent of Mark Wagner, former guitarist with JUDITH. It has bite and melody and is alive. You can hear him enjoying what he is doing. M. Stein’s bass is an excellent partner to that guitar work, and again, the comparison to Damian James is inevitable.

"Walk On" is filled with electronic sounds and is a departure from my now beat to death comparison to JUDITH. This is harder, and has an almost Billy Idol flavour to it. And THIS is where I really like B’s voice. It sounds more like he is home here, with raw, fresh, strong power as opposed to trying to sound all dreary and deep and gothic in the earlier offerings.

This is also when Kain’s drums are sounding amazing! They drive the song, pushing it along and it is all too soon when the song is over.

"Lullaby for Zoe" is yet another offering where B’s voice seems more at home. The lyrics are lovely and as the final words, “you’ll never…never feel,,, feel alone” you can feel the warm comforting arms come around. This is good stuff.

So many of these songs are danceable. "Black Coloured Day" being one of them and I would like to hear some dance remixes in addition of the original version. Reason being, I think this is a band that could bridge a gap between the bleepy crap (yes, I know a rather unpopular opinion in this world, but it’s mine and I deserve to have one) and more guitar based, music-based, traditional Goth. This is danceable, you can do your swirly dance, you can do some rocking to it and with the right remix, those bleepy neonic ~people~ can do their hand dance thing. (I’ve been dancing 30 years and I still don’t get that…but that is another rant all together).

Going back to the “doing the vampire thing well” argument. Well, D+F does it…very well. "Kiss of the Vampire' is not pretentious, it is not pompous. It has the heaviness that is necessary. It is not cheesy. It is sexy and sensual….definitely got that done right gentlemen. That hint of the female voice, electronically made, yes? It would have been gorgeous to have a real live vocal there. Oh….I can hear the haunting voice of a Julianne Regan or a Monica Richards, or Lydia of Shroud.

Note: There is a snuck in cover of "Sleeping Satellite" as track 3. Okay – it’s not sneaky, it’s in the track listing, but as the lyrics were not included, understandably so, I was surprised when it popped out of ~nowhere~.  It was a good version. Done honestly and without out any disrespect to the original.

On tour in February with Kiss the Blade through Germany, I look forward to the band coming here, the UK, opening for someone. I think Killing Miranda would make a good match, but also, perhaps Funhouse.

Track Listing:
1) Master & Slave
2) Dying Star
3) Sleeping Satellite
4) Breathe
5) Fear
6) Walk On
7) Possession
8) Lullaby for Zoe
9) Black Coloured Day
10) Lost in Reality
11) Kiss of a Vampire

Desert + Fortune is:
B. Schanz – Vocals, Guitar, Programming, Keyboards
M. Stein – Bass
M. Tukovic – guitars
Kain – Drums


mp3 site: http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/76/desert__fortune.html

Disco Inferno
In Debt
~reviewed by Blu

Melody Maker magazine once said that Disco Inferno were "a reason to believe rather than just another band." Information I could find on them was sketchy at best. I've listed the most helpful links below. Apparently this band started up between two childhood friends in Ilford, Essex (UK) in 1989 and fell apart after various member's were torn in different musical directions and disappeared around 1994. In reference to their influences, I found this:

Now, Disco Inferno have never been afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves. The strong influences of Joy Division, New Order and My Bloody Valentine are there for all to see. But it was Ian's discovery of Public Enemy that started their move towards their, dare I say, trademark futuristic use of  technology. " When we started plotting and planning, Paul's greatest love was the Smiths (so much so that he drove to Wolverhampton to see Morrissey's