~reviewed by Thryn

With the amount of positive reviews I have read about this CD, it would be tempting to write a bad one, just to stir things up. But I never was a very good liar.
With a title like Apart, and the bleak blue landscape  on the cover of the CD, one would think this might end up being an even gloomier CD than their briliantly sad self-titled release. But it isn't. Instead, it emerges from the shadow of their Projekt debut, and comes back with a new and glistening strength. Which isn't to say it's a perky little ray of sunshine, rather a hopeful ray peeking out from a long, grey winter.
This, of course, may just be my own personal interpretation of two CDs that came to me at vital and somewhat parallel points of my own, but that's another story and this is supposed to be a review of Apart, right?
With this CD, Mira has gone even further in merging the ethereal influences of bands such as Cocteau Twins with the guitar driven and winding influences of bands such as My Bloody Valentine or Lush, creating a powerful blend that has won fans among both the goth and shoegaze crowds.
What else can I say? This is a wonderful CD. Go buy it. You'll like it.

Track List:
1.) Space
2.) Going Nowhere
3.) In Theory
4.) Green
5.) Open In Silence
6.) Stainless
7.) Plastique
8.) Tick Tock
9.) Miss
10.) Hollow

Mira is:
Alan Donaldson
Melody Fleck
Mark Davidson
Tom Parker
Regina Sosinski
Juliet Sy

Official Site:

Mira Mp3 Site:


Projekt Records:

Darkness & Hope
~reviewed by Matthew
The actual release of this album totally snuck up on me.  It seemed like I had just heard reports of these Portuguese Goth metal titans’ entering the studio and then BAM! A new record emerged in September.   For those of you who are still unfamiliar with this band, they are one of the most successful European dark music bands that began bridging the gaps between doom, death, and black metal with traditional Gothic rock and Darkwave elements in the mid 1990s. Moonspell, along with Theatre Of Tragedy, Tiamat, and hosts of other European outfits, solidified a style of music that built upon the atmospheres and literary themes shared by both of these ‘disparate’ genres.
“Darkness & Hope” is the band’s fifth full-length release, and like their previous efforts, it contributes new aspects to the band’s constantly developing style, and as well provides another landmark in their recording history.  I can safely say that loyal Moonspell fans are really going to enjoy this album. All of the familiar elements that have come to define Moonspell, from Fernando’s sly Portuguese accent, the dense guitar backdrops and harmonic riffing, to the tribal-influenced percussion and synthetic symphonics are all present on this new album, though perhaps appearing in some slightly different guises.  A definite sense of melancholic self-examination seems to pervade the album’s theme, as the opening title cut hints with a beautiful display of aural gloom.  It is the perfect song for the arrival of the autumnal season.
The album grows on the listener with each consecutive listen, however, it is admittedly a bit more difficult to swallow and absorb.  The album demands a bit more attention and perhaps a bit of patience to be fully appreciated.  Past albums like “The Butterfly Effect” and “Wolfheart” were instantaneous with their effect upon the listener; though the band’s 1997 release “Sin/Pecado,” with its more sedate and laid back mood, took a bit of time to become fully appreciated by listeners and it is indeed a similar case here.
The positive aspects of “Darkness & Hope” severely outweigh the bad, however, fans that were expecting the album to further develop the aggressive elements of “The Butterfly Effect” or revisit the black metal roots of “Wolfheart” will be slightly disappointed.  The closest they get is perhaps on the uniquely rhythmic “Made Of Storm,” where Fernando’s dusty death vocals season the verses.  Overall, it’s one of the most dramatic and intense songs to appear on the album.  But though the album isn’t as heavy as some would wish, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t any good.  This is without a doubt some of Moonspell’s catchiest material.  The songs were composed utilizing standard song writing formulas, following the verse/chorus/verse patterns, making the songs a bit predictable but still significantly enjoyable.  The melodic choruses that seem to appear in every song really help the songs stick out in the listener’s memory and you will most likely be humming them after only a few listens.
The band’s Gothic Rock influences have never been more prominent.  Some great cascading drums and mischievous bass lines carry along earlier tracks like the energetic “Firewalking” and the moody desperation of “Heartshaped Abyss.”  Many of the tracks are mid-paced, and infused with the spirits of the Nephilim, later Sisters, and perhaps even elements of early Christian Death, at least in terms of comparison.  I would not go so far as to say the songs are club friendly like the select few on “The Butterfly Effect,” but they still have an obvious metallic edge that will hopefully appeal to more progressive and open-minded Gothic DJ’s.
The album closes with a cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mr. Crowley,” which to some may come as a slight surprise.  But it makes sense when you consider some of Fernando’s personal interests and the references he has made throughout his lyrics in the past, not to mention his entire side project Daemonarch where Hermetic magick provided the central theme to the album.  Moonspell recreate the Ozzy song note for note, but thicken the sound with crunchy walls of rhythm guitars and dense church organ ambience.  The band took the creative license to include a spooky instrumental interlude, which features samples of Aleister Crowley himself, which gave the song the sense of original character it definitely needed.  A nice and unique touch to a rather basic hard rock song, though I much rather would have preferred they included their cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (which they had been performing on their 2000 American tour) if they wanted to put a cover song on the album.
In a nutshell, this is a good and noteworthy effort from one of Goth metal’s most consistent forces.  Perhaps a little more laid back and slightly more accessible than some fans and critics may have been expecting, but “Darkness & Hope” is still an enjoyable listen and it is a must have release for any Moonspell fan.  Though admittedly impatient on my part, it will be interesting to see where the band goes next.

Track List:
1.) Darkness & Hope
2.) Firewalking
3.) Nocturna
4.) Heartshaped Abyss
5.) Devilred
6.) Ghostsong
7.) Rapaces
8.) Made Of Storm
9.) How We Became Fire
10.) Than The Serpents In My Arms
11.) Mr. Crowley

Moonspell is:
Fernando Ribeiro: vocals
Ricardo Amorim: guitars
Sergio Crestana: bass
Pedro Paixao: synths/samplers
Mike Gaspar: drums

Moonspell – Official Site:

Century Media Records:

Gathering Composed Thoughts
~reviewed by Psionic

I'm not traditionally a fan of minimalist ambient. I am however, a fan of Raison d' Etre, so when I initially went into Necrophorus, I was expecting more of the same form of material as RDE. (Necrophorus and RDE are both projects of one Peter Andersson, a man who has frozen tar running through his creative veins.) Well, not only is Necrophorus unlike RDE, it's quite minimalist... Again, I must forsake my standards at the foot of Peter Andersson's superior talent. Necrophorus as a project, specifically on the collection of tracks that comprise 'Gathering Composed Thoughts', manages to take minimalism and work it into implications of mood, rather than just regurgitating a single drone file for an hour and calling it "minimalist" ambient.

'Gathering Composed Thoughts' is a retrospective of material, ranging from 1991 to 1996. Instead of chronologically ordering the material, the songs are listed (sorta) from latest to oldest. I find the material sounds more and more like RDE the earlier it gets, demonstrating a growth of style. I personally would have preferred to see this growth happen sequentially, but I guess I can always resequence the cd to taste with a handy media player of some form or another. It's all academic, really. By the time Necrophorus has come into itself, it has taken on a palpable dreamlike quality, with overtones of psychedelia. The slow, drifting waves of sound are reminiscent of a trip, but with a sorrowful, even sinister quality not found in most "acid music". The first 2 tracks, 'Yoga part 1' and 'Yoga part 2' are both superb dark-ambient drone tracks, saturated with the brooding anger of a murder in the act. 'Spiritcatcher' continues along in this manner, but mixes in howls of fear that are disturbingly satisfying... (Well, if you're predisposed to this kind of music it is, at least. If not it'll probably creep you out.) By 'Sophysis - Alteration' we start to see the classic stylings of Raison D' Etre creep in, and the rest of the cd continues along like this. Not bad, oh no.. Make no mistake, this is -not- a bad thing. In fact my only problem with 'Gathering Composed Thoughts' lies in it's substandard mastering. This cd was recorded far too hot, and tends to clip too often, making it difficult to listen to at high volumes. Otherwise, 'Gathering Composed Thoughts' is a fabulous work of textured dark-ambient drones and compositions. Anyone who is a fan of dark-ambient music would do well to get this cd.

1: Yoga - Part 1 (1995)
2: Yoga - Part 2 (1995)
3: Spiritcatcher (1996)
4: Sophysis - Alteration (1995)
5: Threshold Over Times (1992)
6: Water From Arcane Delight (1992)
7: Sadnight (1992)
8: The Dormant Being (1991)
9: A Second Very Heavy Grief (1991)
10: Soporific (1991)
11: In Mourning (1991)

Necrophorus website: http://fly.to/raison.detre

Dragon Flight Records: http://www.dragonflightrec.org

Pre-release demo
~reviewed by Psionic

I tend to get pretty bristly about over-hyped projects, especially when said projects use the time-tested method of name-dropping. Nexus 6 has made the name of Daniel Myer practically a mantra. "Nexus-Daniel-6-Myer". This bodes poorly for me, as I loathe most of Mr. Myers output. (The brilliance of Cleaner excluded) Have I gotten across how annoying this whole package seemed to me so far? No? Well it picked my stubbly bum. So Nexus 6 comes my way for a Starvox review. Ok, I'll give it a go, despite all my many misgivings. 4 songs. Hmmnn... Can I pull off objectivity? Well, I was expecting to despise them as much as I despise the other Seattle-based hype-machine project, Glis. But I don't. Glis makes me want to hurt small animals, Nexus 6 just makes me want to play some Tribes2. Nexus 6 aren't the most original project off the (frontline) assembly line, but they are far from the worst of the lot. Same as we've seen many times before, thump thump, blip blip, arpeggiate arpeggiate, growl growl. But I'll give them points for doing a decent (hau) job on the enthusiasm front (242). There is energy here that is reminiscent of Flesh Field.. Not quite as hyper-kinetic as Flesh Field, but I can't help but think the 2 would make for an EBM fan's wet dream on the same bill for a live show. I have a hard time believing they'll slack off on the production and mastering for the final release, so I predict big things for these guys, hype or not, Daniel Myer or not. Hell, I'll probably even give 'em some airplay. (I'm finding myself really liking the song "Lost") All these 4 tracks are available on their website for download, so feel free to go give a listen and see if you agree with my points or not. You probably don't have the same pet peeves as I do, so you'll be in a better position to fairly judge whether or not they're the next big thing or just a flash-in-the-pan.

1: Stray
2: Conspiracy
3: Catalyst
4: Lost

Nexus 6 Website: http://www.thematrix.com/nexus6/

~reviewed by Psionic

Jonathan Sharp, the man behind New Mind, is nothing if not prolific. With a hand in at least 11 different projects, this particular point cannot be argued. Nor can his abilities as a superb electronic songwriter. It is a pity that "Phoenix" showcases virtually none of this striking talent. Upon reading the New Mind bio on their website, I discovered that comparisons to older FrontLineAssembly have haunted New Mind for almost the entirety of the projects existence, and indeed are unwelcome. Well, sadly, "Phoenix" does -nothing- to address the problem of writing New Mind off as an FLA clone. "Phoenix" is a collection of remixes and unreleased tracks spanning the decade-long history of New Mind, and almost every track on "Phoenix" sounds like 'Gashed Senses and Crossfire' outtakes. Thankfully, I happen to love that era of FLA, so it's not like my ears bleed upon listening to "Phoenix", but I honestly expected more from the man who gave us 'Deepnet', or who gave us the only good Cyber-Tec Project song, or who gave us the viscerally brutal Bio-Tek... I guess this cd was designed for New Mind completist fans. Personally speaking, it's a filler cd in my eyes. HOWEVER, and this may have been a purposeful move, the final track on this cd is one of the most stunning, beautiful cyber-ambient tracks I have -ever- heard, and almost completely salvages the entire cd. The track title? 'Phoenix'. Ironic, no? 16 tracks of solid-but-uninspiring quality, then 1 song that leaves the listener twitching for more of the same. The final track on the cd is the one instance on the cd of Jonathan Sharp's brilliant abilities, and hopefully is a glimpse of the future of New Mind. For that I'll be willing to forgive almost any mediocre release. If you're a longtime fan of New Mind, "Phoenix" will be pleasing to the palate. If you're new to New Mind, get "Deepnet" first, then look into this cd.

1- Second Cut
2- Heaven's Light (Parasite Remix)
3- Soft Colors Bleed (Nightmare Remix)
4- Backdown
5- Fight (Live intro '92)
6- No Pleasure In Killing
7- Through The Net
8- Fracture
9- Arcogen
10- 586 Run
11- Impact (Gunhed remix)
12- Blindfield 2 (Extended Mix)
13- Piss Christ (Chorazin Mix)
14- Stone Hate Steel (Xol Dog 400 Destruct Mix)
15- Lightning Zone (Razed<in>Black Remix)
16- StammHeim V1.02
17- Phoenix

New Mind website: http://www.sonic-boom.com/mission-control/
Doppler Effect Records website: http://www.sonic-boom.com/dfx/

Mysteries / Anthem
~reviewed by Kevin

I'm at a loss to explain all the great music coming out of Norway: maybe it's the water, or the lutefisk, or something.  Oberon, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from Stavanger, continues in the inspired tradition of Norwegian acts as diverse as Ulver,
Borknagar, and Amethystium.  Like all these artists, his music is distinctive, difficult to categorize, and always sophisticated and well-produced.

Oberon's 1998 CD, "Mysteries," opens with "Nocturne."  This gorgeous, moody solo piano piece evokes Chopin, and sets the stage for "To Spring."  This operatic William Blake-inspired piece features more great piano work and reminds me of classical art-rock like early King Crimson.  The only fault I could find here is the drum machine: Bill Bruford or Jamie Giles could do for this what they did for "Starless and Bible Black" or "In the Court of the Crimson King."

"Do you Remember Me" and "Mysteries" feature some lovely acoustic guitar work.  I'm particularly struck by how well Oberon blended the acoustic elements with the synths in "Do You Remember Me" ... and worked in a nice oboe accompaniment.  I might have cut the reverb a bit - Oberon's voice is more than strong enough without it - but that is a minor quibble.

Oberon's stolid, Teutonic vocal delivery on "Anything" is charming (and infinitely preferable to the scenery-chewing favored by some lead singers) but can be a bit disconcerting at times.  I liked the electric guitar work here, and was again impressed by the production and arrangements, particularly the way in which the oboe line was used to give things a Middle Eastern/World Music flair.

"Tearing Me Apart" features some superb interplay between piano and synthesizer, once again  showcasing Oberon's classical chops.  THIS is why you should know how to play a piano before you start playing with synthesizers.   He knows how to put things together; it's not just "Whoa, that sample would sound bitchin' if we put a 130 bpm track behind it... "

"Mysteries," the title track, is gorgeous and sad, with beautiful clarinet work and strong lyrics.  It leads into the haunting "Garden of Flesh and Bones."  This is the best pop track on the album, arguably the best track period; I'd love to hear a club remix of this one!  Things close with "From the End of the World,"  another evocative and moody stunner.

While Oberon's 1998 "Mysteries" showed intensive care, craft and precision, his 2001 CD, "Anthem," was recorded as a "one-take" project.  The music here is freer and looser than on "Mysteries," and gives us an idea of Oberon's improvisational skills.  The opening track, "Anthem/Love-Light" features an electric guitar riff sampled and distorted until it sounds like a
muzzein's call to prayer.  The growling background synthesizers contribute to a creepy, unsettling feeling not found in Oberon's earlier work.  It's good stuff, as beautiful as his 1998 work if not so pretty.

The vocal arrangements on "Byzantine," the short but sweet second track, are particularly nice.  The standout track for me, though was "When All Is Sorrow" This one has big Bruckner-esque organ chords rise from the depths, a mournful swirling threnody, ghostly samples of mournful sighs - what more could you want?  I was reminded of the organ movement in Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Antarctica Symphony."  Things close with "Solaris," a nice ambient track with some pretty
sitar-sounding samples.  It's a great piece of work, and one of the most interesting discs to cross my CD player in some time.

Keep an eye on Oberon: you're going to be hearing a lot more from him in the near future.

Official Site

MP3 site

~reviewed by Matthew
Pain is the electronic alter ego of Hypocrisy’s Peter Tagtgren, black/death metal producer extraordinaire.  I was first introduced to this aspect of Peter’s multi-faceted and multi-talented personality a few years ago when I heard the track “On Your Knees (Again)” which appeared on the second volume of the Beauty In Darkness compilations by Nuclear Blast records.  That track, a brilliant hybrid of crunchy death metal guitar riffing, icy synthetic choirs, and an underlying foundation of electronics blew my mind.
Though I honestly did not expect this release, finally seeing the light of day after several years in the making, to be as explosive and well orchestrated as it is.  Apparently, there was a self-titled release from Pain on Nuclear Blast, but I was completely unaware of its existence.  The maestro himself admits he was not impressed or pleased with the finished product and regards “Rebirth” as the first ‘official’ Pain release.
With that said, this ‘debut’ release for Renegade Records is some great stuff.  Taking the guitar driven sensibilities of his metallic background, this album is just shy of falling into the subcategory of Agro Industrial, however, its balanced with the pop sensibilities and polish characteristic to EBM and synth pop.  A lot of metal bands have attempted to experiment with electronics, and usually the end result is rather unconvincing.  However, despite walking a thin line before exuding a ‘slightly’ commercial tone, comparable to the Rammstein/Stabbing Westward/Orgy or Prodigy schools of electronic music, this is an extreme and effective release.  Despite the tendency to get a little too bouncy and mainstream, I feel the music is firmly rooted in the underground due to some sophisticated Gothic atmospheric qualities in the synths and the bludgeoning amount of distortion shaping the guitars, not to mention the aggressive and speedy manner in which they are played.   This is definitely a collection of music that is not lackadaisical when it comes to bpm’s.  This hits hard and it hits fast.
The lyrics at time can come across as a bit trite, as best exemplified in the opening track “Supersonic Bitch” and the later track “Suicide Machine.”  Usually I am a stickler about lyrics, but in this case, the music greatly makes up for whatever is lacking lyrically, and though I am definitely making a bold and arguable statement, the lyrics are not the central area of focus for most electronic music these days.  The vocals, and the manner in which these lyrics are delivered are top notch.  Not even a shade of death or black metal vocals, which will definitely help Pain reach a wider audience.  The vocals are usually clean or raspy processed screams, half spoken vocals, or just straightforward singing.  Fans of Hypocrisy are already aware of Peter’s emotion laden singing voice, and as fans could imagine, his voice is well suited for this and is in line with the vocals of most other electronic music vocalists.
“End Of The Line” stands out as perhaps the most anthematic and club friendly of the songs on the album, a very tight and catchy song, full of energy and melody, sort of like Covenant in a battle with the Kovenant, if I may be so ridiculously dumb and say that.
The CD also contains a very well directed video for the aforementioned song, which is definitely worth seeing.  Somewhat gritty, it cuts back and forth from shots of Tagtgren in a slick, corporate rivet ensemble mouthing the lyrics before a table of burning candles as a muddied and disarrayed woman (not sexy, not meant to be) stumbles through a frenzied crowd of detractors.  It’s definitely a few steps above your average metal video, but you won’t be seeing this on MTV either, despite the stunning visual imagery provided.
Hypocrisy fans will most likely want to check this out, to hear and enjoy another aspect to this legendary and influential metal personality, but this is a CD that is going to be hard to market.  Rivet heads and Industrial/Electro fans most likely will be skeptical of some silly Swedish death metal head invading their territory, and metal heads may scoff that one of their own is ‘betraying’ them by playing pussy techno music.  But there is a happy medium here without question, and the bottom line is that this CD kicks some major ass.  It all depends on people hearing it obviously, and hopefully, the music of Pain will be making its way to a club near you.

Track List:
1.) Supersonic Bitch
2.) End Of The Line
3.) Breathing In, Breathing Out
4.) Delusions
5.) Suicide Machine
6.) Parallel To Ecstasy
7.) On And On
8.) 12:42
9.) Crashed
10.) Dark Fields Of Pain
11.) She Whipped
12.) End Of The Line (VIDEO TRACK)

Pain is written, produced, recorded, and performed by:
Peter Tagtgren

Pain - Official Website:

Hypocrisy – Official Site:

Renegade Records:

Transmission # 3
~reviewed by Psionic

Eric of PTSMC is a filthy rotten fibber. I said this in my review for "Transmission #2", too... I don't feel happier or more productive when listening to PTSMC. Which means that either PTSMC is failing horribly in it's mission to be the subliminal wind-beneath-my-wings, or that Eric is a filthy rotten fibber. I choose the latter. Mainly because I like to call people 'Fibbers'.
Let me 'splain:

"PineTreeStateMindControl, operating out of Maine, USA, is an organization that seeks to improve the world through the use of subliminal messages and hypnosis techniques. Dark Ambient and minimal sounds put the listener into suggestive states. After repeated listenings, you may find that you work harder, smile more often, and get the most out of your leisure time."
Pure poppycock. (Heh, "poppycock".) So, what -can- you expect from PTSMC, if not a hypnosis that induces Walt Disney-esque cheeryness? Well, kind of a sonic salad of noise and ambience, with some kind of unhappy sounds of suffering in the background. "Transmission #3" follows closely the template used in "Transmission #2", but leans towards the more violent. Less dreamy dark-ambient, more disjointed rhythms and noise. Not for the faint of heart, or those with chronic heart conditions. I'm pretty selective with what I like in noise and noise-related projects, PTSMC pass my personal litmus-test. I likes it alot. OR, maybe it's complete CRAP, but the subliminals are so well placed that I'm fooled into liking it regardless of it's quality... Conspiracy theorists may debate this at thier leisure now. Then feel free to wax intellectual on why PTSMC hasn't been showered with more attention from the "big boy" labels of the noise scene. The gods know I've wondered that more than a few times myself. Fans of experimentalist dark-ambient and glitch-noise, go buy this cd now. Must have.

1: Stress Baseline (Maslow)
2: Aggression Response (Gutshot)
3: Empathy Baseline (Chunkle)
4: Void Suggestion (Panic)
5: Hostility Dissolution (Chant)
6: Challenge (9023)
7: Functional Baseline (Jumble)
8: Snap (Dizzy)
9: Hostility Dissolution (Muddle)
10: Nonverbal 1 (Atmos)
11: Community (Nauseated)
12: Charlie
13: Passivity Reinforcement (VOIX)
14: Challenge (Argue)
15: Nonverbal 2 (Naught)
16: Lucy Lou
17: WTO (Live, Dec. 2001)

PTSMC Website: http://www.ptsmc.org/
Voidstar Productions: http://voidstarproductions.com

Cut Up Violation
~reviewed by Psionic

This is an interesting release. Unquestionably EBM, but entirely instrumental. Extensive sample use takes the place of vocals, and all samples are culled from political sources. Making Reversal Penetrations a sort of audio-collage of political commentary. How successful is this German sound sculpture project? Well, that's debatable. Although this cd tends to fade into itself if the listener doesn't pay close attention, it remains extremely enjoyable as background music. And so for that, at least, it's successful. But it's exactly the tendency to fade into itself and blur into background music that is it's failing point as well. Nothing on this cd really grabs the listener and says "HEY!!! I AM ROCKING YOUR WORLD NOW!!!". Instead there is plenty that sort of clears it's throat from time to time and mumbles, "I'm kind of neat in places, hey?" Not a "must have" cd... But certainly not a bad cd. I'm certain that, given time, Reversal Penetrations will hone their ideas into something more outstanding that can shine as something to really sink your teeth into, instead of snack upon.

1- Let Us Build the Bomb
3- Egge
4- Icon H
5- Heimgang
6- Viral UPbringing
7- Humanradius (New Version)
8- Penetration III (New Version)
9- Erdenkleid
10- Lichtung
11- Retten Sie Sich
12- Mental CUT

Reversal Penetrations Website: http://www.copint.com/bands/revpen/navrevpen.html
Cop Int'l Website: http://www.copint.com/

The Star Chamber
~reviewed by Psionic

I like the -concept- of The Star Chamber... After all, I listen to the Basil Pouledoris soundtrack to Conan The Barbarian on a regular basis. There is most definitely an opening in the market for such music. Touched upon briefly by the likes of Laetherstrip (Serenade For The Dead) and Glen Danzig (Black Aria), The Star Chamber has decided to base their entire sound upon these ideas.. Apocalyptic classical electronic music. Sadly the concept far overreaches the execution. Some of the ideas to be found on this cd are really quite good, but lack the production and mastering values to do it justice. And beyond that, the ideas are only found in places, and the listener finds the album to drift into redundancy from time to time, detracting from the overall enjoyment. The sounds used are frequently too thin to do justice to their intended mood as well. What is needed is a full orchestra, but I guess Mr. Nathan Knasick (The author of The Star Chamber) has done what he could with the materials available to him. Moving along to a personal note, few things aggravate me more than websites with virtually no content. Well, the website for The Star Chamber has NO CONTENT WHATSOEVER!! One image, no links, and one whole line of (abusive) text, complete with typos and all. *sigh* There is a possible future for Star Chamber. Given a little work, the project could find itself in the enviable position of holding a monopoly on a spacious market. But until the ideas have matured into themselves, The Star Chamber will remain, ultimately, forgettable.

1: The Walls (Are Still Breathing)
2: Caught In Suspended Animation
3: Tear Garden
4: The Garden Of Earthly Delights
5: Prinzessin Von Die Preussen
6: The Eternal Return Of The Same
7: Pyrrhic Victory
8: The Long Walk Home

Star Chamber Website: http://www.thestarchamber.net

The Sheila Divine
Where Have My Countrymen Gone
~reviewed by Digital Angel

Boston based emo band The Sheila Divine's sophomore release is a must have. "Where Have My Countrymen Gone" is moody and melancholy, a perfect soundtrack to New England rainy days. Singer/Guitarist Aaron Perrino has a voice like an angel shrouded in swirling, open air guitars. While their first album "New Parade" (released in 1999) is my favorite, "Where Have My Countrymen Gone" feels like a natural second step while still hanging onto signature Sheila Divine sound. The first single off "Where Have My Countrymen Gone" is "Countrymen" which is currently buzzing all over college radio stations in the North East.

The first song to grab me was "Wanting Is Wasted". Echoey finger-light guitars, it's most definitely the track that emits hoplessness and frusteration, with a build up and a burst by songs end. What was something of a soft lullabye ends in a scream. The chorus and last line of song: "We all want the same ourselves. To feel noble and reign a throne. Charoit, take me far from this envy and arrogance." It was in this track when I noticed the re-occuring theme of royalty and powerful leaders running throughout the album.

"Antidote" presents linear pianos, a haunting bassline, and no percussion. Its the shortest bust most powerful track. The lyrics devestated me. "Green in terms of love. Envy for my Stalin. Blue dear Romeo. Longing for my Castro. Cuz when my leader sings, that's all she wrote. I want the antidote. Red eye Lucifer. Gone, my sweet Hitler. Yellow, forgive me now. I still miss Chairman Mao." I know that reading it must seem listy and maybe a bit silly, but trust me, it works and works well.

"Spirits" is another equally gripping song. It tells the story of a separation of sorts. Another perfect example of Perrino's vocal ability, he has an amazing range. You can literally hear him make the transition from comfortably sad to bursting at the seams with anger and frusteration in nearly every song. He truely carries you somewhere with his lyrics. I cannot count how many times I well up with tears listening to him sing. I get goosebumps everytime.

My final favorite is "Some Kind of Home". The thing I love about this track, is its written in someone elses perspective. Perrino penned the lyrics, but it's someone adressing Perrino himself, in the chorus. "Aaron, I long for some kind of home. Something I call my own." It adds an interesting twist to a great song, and its a style that's not often seen.

I recommend The Sheila Divine to fans of Radiohead or Catherine Wheel. They opened up for Morrissey on his last tour, so I extend the recommendation to Morrissey fans as well.

Upcoming US Tour Dates:
Sept 14th in Worchester, MA at Alden Hall
October 20th in Boston at the Avalon.

Track Listing:
Wanting Is Wasted
Every Year
Walking Dead (Who Speak)
Some Kind Of Home
Vanishing Act

The Sheila Divine is:
Aaron Perrino - vocals, guitars
Colin Decker - guitars
Jim Gilbert - Bass
Shawn Sears - drums


Management: Michael Creamer
Creamer Management
32 Oak Square Ave.
Brighton, MA 02134
creamermgt@aol.com or creamer@co-op-pop.com

Krista Mettler

Skye Media

Label: http://www.co-op-pop.com

State of Being
III From Implosion
~reviewed by Sonya

Emphatic electronics and live percussion provides heavy industrial rhythm for State of Being. Kick in 3 keyboardists, and you have a 5-piece electro-industrial band screaming out of Ohio, and holding  down guest spots with the likes of Gravity Kills, Thrill Kill Cult... and one of my favorites, Hate Department.

III From Implosion is a sampler unit containing three tracks from State of Being’s  forthcoming CD “Implosion”: To Be Or Not To, Instinct, and Fall; plus 3 bonus track re-mixes: x approaching-1 (radio edit), x approaching -1 (suicide86 remix), and virtual addiction (rehab 2000)... plus a multi-media enhanced cd video of the track “Instinct”.

My favorite tracks on III From Implosion would include the danceable “x approaching-1 (suicide86 remix)” - which is a re-mix by Stabbing Westward drummer Andy Kubiszewski; and “Fall”.

According to State of Being, “Fall” is their first song recorded without a sequencer, and I like the beginning of this song. Hummed vocals chant out the beat... “bum bum....” which are actually guide vocals laid down to help the drummer follow the song structure. They were then left in because - according to Christopher Foldi - it was “just sick enough that we ended up putting it into the mix”.

Early visions of State of Being formed in 1989 eventually lead to the current lineup featuring:
Christopher Foldi (founder) - Lead vocals, programming, guitar
Shara Lynn Foldi - Keyboards, percussion, vocals, design
Scott Foldi - Guitar, vocals, keyboards
Johanna Y - Drums
Miss Rayanne - Bass, keyboards

“Instinct”  appears within State of Being’s video. Band members appear in various forms of tribal make-up running through trees and brush, intermingled with live concert footage. My favorite moment of the video shows drummer Johanna Y, blindfolded, and literally pounding her way through the landscape.  Reminiscent of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf”, the State of Being video follows the lyrical content of “Instinct”, which refers to the hunter and the hunted... “it’s your scent, it’s on the ground.. and no matter how I fight it... my instinct will hunt you down...”

My personal vision of State of Being is of a band that draws their influence from the earth (ground, scent, air, trees), and the universe (space, atmosphere) - and then blends it together with technology and electronics.

III from Implosion is a meld of the live and the programmed. A natural and synthetic “state of being”.

Reverse Image
PO Box 770413
Cleveland, Ohio 44107

0. Instinct Video
1. To Be Or Not To
II. Instinct
III. Fall
4.  x approaching-1 (radio edit)
5. x approaching-1 (suicide86 remix) by Andy Kubiszewski (Stabbing Westward)
6. Virtual Addiction (Rehab 2000)

Various Artists
Only Sorrow - Memorial Compilation
~reviewed by Blu

Only Sorrow is a wonderful gothic music compilation created to support a Memorial Scholarship. An amazing wealth of well known bands found the time and compassion to donate tracks for this cause.  Instead of trying to paraphrase Lee, the originator of this CD, I'll let his heartfelt words speak for themselves on the subject of why it was made:

"The Ellen Claire Lawrence Memorial Scholarship was founded June 1998 following the death of my Fiancé. Ellen Claire Lawrence (Claire) was and still is the most compassionate human being I have met. Her death darkened the world of everyone that knew and loved her - and left us with questions that can not be answered. The only way I was able to deal with the loss was to carry on her memory in a positive way that she would approve of, helping others...

...With the advice of close friends of Claire and I (Ethan, Shawn, Matt), the Ellen Claire Lawrence Memorial Scholarship was started at Glendale Community College in Glendale AZ. It was a challenge raising the first $1000.00 . Dealing with the pain of her death, and the frustration of raising funds I put the project aside long enough to heal. A year later while listening to one of her favorite musical artists (Lorrena McKennitt ) the inspiration came to fund the scholarship with a CD.

 ...I started writing letters, e-mail and personally asking bands that I knew she liked (or would like ) to be part of the CD. Two challenging years later the compilation "Only Sorrow" is finished. I know it is something she would love. Please enjoy the CD. The Scholarship is scheduled to make its first award the fall semester of this year 2001."  -Lee

From gothic, to ethereal, industrial and even ambient, this CD is a nicely balanced representation of what the gothic/industrial genre has to offer.

Gothic Rock abounds. Audra contributes "Venus" - one of my favorite songs by velvety smooth brothers. Its a sexy, slow-driving rumble, praising the mysteries of intimate relationships and the desire to be closer and closer and closer.  3SKS is one of the biggest highlights for me with their mournful "Sometimes Silver," a bittersweet but beautiful song that nearly brings me to tears every time I hear it.

I'm also drawn towards "Liberta Me" by Second Skin who pleasantly remind me of the gothic rock from days gone by. Lovely stuff... driving beats, crunchy bass lines and hefty male vocals similar to The Mission. Bravo! Makes me want to dance.  Finally, big names in the club scene, The Razor Skyline adds its popular "Fade and Sustain" and The Cruxshadow's sing "The Dying Song" - a sadly appropriate and lamenting addition.

Stand out electronic industrial contributions come from The Azoic with "Progression," and from Per Somnia with "The Grace of Violence" - both fronted by ethereal female vocals that work well in contrast to the more aggressive music.

On the ethereal side, tracks 8 and 9 garner mentioning. Echoing the deep despair of artists like Sopor Aternus, Oneiroid Psychosis turns in a hauntingly beautiful performance with  "Long Lost."  Legendary for their minimalist beauty, Faith & Disease delicately offer up "Rubina Verde" for quiet contemplation.

And finally, the two tracks that don't really fit into a category are ones that I have long admired. "Drying in the Sun" from Deathwatch Beetle Repairman is a mysterious and somewhat darkly festive thing flavored with Gypsy-like melodies. In contrast "Angels" by The Unquiet Void is a beautiful ambient sound scape and the perfect way to end out this CD. Close your eyes, lay back, and drift out to the horizon, where we're sure to see Claire smiling somewhere in the clouds.

If the sentiment behind this CD is not enough to make you buy it, rest assured that its a great introduction into the goth/industrial genres as well as a great resource for any DJ wanting to fatten his catalogue with some quality tracks.

We don't usually push things on our readers, but I will this once, "buy it buy it buy it." You'll feel good and you'll have some great tunes to pat yourself on the back with  :)

A special thanks goes to the talented bands that donated tracks to this project.

Bright wishes and blessing to Lee on his journey --
with love,
Blu and the StarVox Staff...

Track Listing:
Audra - Venus
3SKS - Sometimes Silver
ThouShaltNot - Trench Warfare
Sleepless - Winds Blow Higher
Second Skin - Liberta Me
The Azoic - Progression
Per Somnia - The Grace of Violence
Oneiroid Psychosis - Long Lost
Faith & Disease - Rubina Verde
The Razor Skyline - Fade and Sustain
Deathwatch Beetle Repairman - Drying in the Sun
The Cruxshadows - the Dying Song
Coven XII - Haunted
Paris Is Burning - Cold
The Unquiet Void - Angels

For more information and ordering, see the official website at:

~reviewed by Blu

"There's something strange about you, the way your feet don't touch the floor..."

Just in time for Halloween, I'm finally getting around to reviewing a CDr that David of SPF1000 sent me some time ago (bad Blu!). I've had it in my greedy possession, listening to it on a weekly basis, somewhat obsessively. And although *all* their songs are viable as club hits as well as just a nice bunch of songs to pop into the car to tool around with, I'll highlight a few of my favorites.

"I've watched you dance in the garden, I want to be just like you..."

"Haunted House" - the track that started the buzz -- a line of bright violins opens up this song before giving way to tolling bells as the chorus, "dig dig dig, kill kill kill" floods the speakers over a very eerie laugh. Soon thereafter you're introduced to the seductive voice of David Ivy as he sings a morbid love song of sorts... " I'm in love with the living dead, we're trapped inside this house together, you play the countess and I play the slave, and we can play forever..."  Not only is this song fun in a tongue and cheek sense, but its one of my favorites as far as melodic layering goes.  Through out the violin chords and tolling bells continue to weave a textured background for the lyrics to build on giving a very classical feel which is something that seems to be missing more often than not in current gothic music. There is a sense of elegance and grace that SPF1000 capitalizes on rather well in their mix of old and new aesthetics (read: nicely placed guitar and electro segments).

"Creep, creep, inside of me and I'm afraid"

More spooky goodness opens up the track "Consumption" - the sexiest song they do, chiming bells and uh... sounds of whiplashes perhaps? hmm.  David murmers/threatens "Do you want to kiss me?"  Love as obsession, as disease. We all know the story. More obsessive sexual innuendoes appear in "Nocturnal Emissions" - a predicted favorite track amongst the synthpop crowd. A driving beat and again, great vocals make this one of their more club friendly songs.

"Welcome Foolish Mortals!"

And finally, everyone's favorite -- "Haunted House (Mansion remix)" which, if you're a Disneyland freak like me, you'll be delighted to find, takes actual samples from the ride Haunted Mansion. Researching this a bit more, I was delighted to discover that the band also incorporated their version of some of the melody lines heard on the ride. The melding of their original song with elements from the ride is superb - someone  truly has a talented ear for complex composition. Its such a rush to hear those long familiar words and melodies worked into a danceable club song. Its creepy fun at its best.  This is a MUST have for any party this Halloween -- and thereafter  >:)

When all is said and done, SPF1000 is a lighthearted band (if not apparent from their name to begin with) who have given the definition of "modern goth music" a long needed overhaul. While serious in musical aspects -- combining some traditional as well as newer musical elements, their main purpose seems to be taking delight in their blossoming reign over  whimsical "spookydom" ... and looking good while they're at it doesn't hurt at all. Check out their web page and songs on Ampcast for yourself and see if you don't smile and wax poetic over goth ideals thought long since lost....

Haunted House
Descention (Love is Dead)
Witch Hunt
Pass Out
Nocturnal Emissions
Haunted House (Mansion Mix)*
*only available through the band or on ampcast for FREE!

SPF1000 is:
David Ivy - vocals and programming
Andy Diaz - keyboards
Gabriele - guitar
Scott McCoy - bass guitar
Jackie Ramos - drums

Official website:

SPF1000 Club:

Free SPF1000 tunes on Ampcast!

Haunted Mansion Link:

Sub Static Relapse
Giving Up
~reviewed by Digital Angel

Cradled in the unfortunate arms of Memphis lies a pair of highly talented fellows, both named Matt, who have much to offer the EBM, synth-pop, industrial realm.

Formed in 1999 Matt Flaherty and Matt Marchini channel their influences and conjure up a sound that can hardly be labeled by just one genre. Influences being VNV Nation, Information Society, Frontline Assembly, Skinny Puppy, among others. If you listen with a close ear you can pick out elements of each band, but Sub Static Relapse is hardly a duplicate of any.

Their sense of progression and intelligence is their strongest point. I was highly impressed when I heard "Devotion". Yummy metallic percussion, great beat, fantastic use of samples...Im so used to them being over-used or unrelated to anything in the song, I was giddy when I heard someone finally using them in moderation and in all the right places.

"I Never Thought" is most club worthy and my favorite track off 'Giving Up'. It holds a haunting melody and a hook that is just to be envied by electronic musicians everywhere.

The remainder of 'Giving Up' has a bit of a different feel than the previous tracks mentioned. It's very lucid and watery, good lengthy songs that are easy to get lost in and be consumed. It's got a creeping sadness to it that's gripping. Even the faster tempo songs have an underlying element of hopelessness with a touch of anger.

My single constructive comment for Sub Static Relapse is directed toward vocals. Something could be done to make them sound a little more full. The vocals in "I Never Thought" are perfect....more of the same through out the album would be great.

I am very much looking forward to hearing new material from Sub Static Relapse. They are indeed, a treat.
The songs on 'Giving Up' are a year and a half in age. New material is underway.

Track Listing:
I Never Thought
Almost Gone
Will You Be There
The One
Slowly Undoing Me
So I Say Goodbye
The End
Devotion (Distort Mix)
Devotion (Unloyal Mix)

Sub Static Relapse is:
Matt Flaherty - programming, vocals, keys
Matt Marchini - programming, keys


Soul Whirling Somewhere
Please Sennd Help
~reviewed  by Matthew

Soul Whirling Somewhere, the musical expression of one Michael Plaster, was one of the earliest outfits to appear on Projekt in the early 1990’s.  When I first discovered the label, SWS never struck me quite as deeply as some of the other classic bands that made up the original roster.   Perhaps it was that Michael’s music was a bit too on the mellow side for me, if that were at all possible.  Though always genuine and extremely heartfelt, donning self-deprecating album titles like “Everyone Will Eventually Leave You,” his music seemed to lack the instrumental variation that I craved at that time.
However, I think the stars were in favour of SWS’ latest work “Please Sennd Help,” as from the very first reverberated piano chord that opens this CD, the listener is as hooked as the pierced and pallid blossom on the cover of the disc.  “The Wedding” cuts the proverbial knot, and the mind’s vessel begins to drift from its dock, along misty still seas of reflection and bittersweet memory.  This instrumental invocation simply paralyzes the listener, penetrating to the most vulnerable core of any one’s inner romanticism, providing rich layers of warm synths, cathedral pianos, and a suffocating sense of melancholia. Images of every lover you have ever had swim through your mind and you at once miss and regret them all.
I believe that this is indeed what Michael’s intent is with “Please Sennd Help,” for what he has created is one of the top ten Romantic albums I have ever heard.  He offers an extremely personal view into his own struggles with relationships, and he bares all his shortcomings, wounds, misfortunes, fleeting joys, and nervous hopes in the span of thirteen masterfully orchestrated songs.
When his voice first appears on the album’s second track “Nani,” his earnest and delicate whisper recalls the soft fragility of Slowdive’s Neil Halsted, yet with an even glossier delivery.  When the song’s ghostly ambience peaks with a unexpected appearance of trip hop infused percussion, the song takes on an even more powerful direction, iced by the disappointed truths within the chorus: “I attach too easily and it just leaves me empty.”
“Shivering Fox” is the next highlight, an appropriately chilling track, with stark and slightly eerie acoustic guitar strums to provide musical accompaniment, yet brilliantly juxtaposed with some of the album’s more hopeful lyrics.  Perhaps I am misinterpreting it, but I found this song’s inherent darkness to symbolize the dangers of having too high of hopes in the early stages of a relationship.  The chance that shadow can devour the ‘glow’ of a new love, the remnants of a ‘fixed crush’ trodden into dust.
“You Stutter When You Sleep” is another track to feature a strong percussive element, very indie rock in its delivery with a considerably lighter and more playful feel, yet still remarkably dramatic. “Box” is one of the album’s most interesting tracks, beginning with SWS’s characteristic breeze of gray synths, but at the song’s midpoint, another stirring return to darkwave electronics and spectral pianos create a flawlessly hypnotic atmosphere.
The album’s centerpiece is the epic nine minutes that comprise “In On.” This song is a metaphysical journey in itself.  The desperate plea for the comfort of friends, when love is absent, then denied, but worse when that denial culminates in betrayal.  The melodies ebb and flow to reach the bittersweet and intense finale, with the repetition of a despaired final verse:  “last time I trust anyone, last time I trust you…”
The universal themes of this CD, and the straight-forward, heart adorned manner in which Michael Plaster examines the most common emotions that season our experiences with life lead me to believe that this CD will be a welcomed addition to any true romantic’s music collection.  This is music for dreary, wintry days.  Don’t expect a lively upbeat record, this is a transcendental score for thought and feeling.  Though the music is not at all punchy (at least rhythmically – thematically it will knock the wind right out of you) and you won’t hear this spun at your local club, expecting this release to be boring would be a most drastic mistake.  The effect of this music is entrancing, effortlessly memorable, and a gorgeous listen due to a rich, dense production that helps these heartrending chord patterns and tearful melodies possess a stunning and overpowering clarity.
Since I received this soothing yet challenging album, I have repeatedly immersed myself within it, and even found myself revisiting prior SWS releases like “Hope Was” and “Eating The Sea.”  “Please Sennd Help” inspired me to re-examine Soul Whirling Somewhere, and lead me to perceive Michael’s music in a much more favourable light.  Perhaps it is a case of ‘right CD/right mood’ but whatever the reason, I absolutely adore this CD and I recommend it to all hopeless lovers that have shed rivers of tears for the company of others, and constantly find themselves drowning in the end.

Track List:
1.) The Wedding
2.) Nani
3.) Aileron
4.) Salt Angel
5.) Shivering Fox
6.) You Stutter When You Sleep
7.) Box
8.) The Sun In Braids
9.) In On
10.) Little Gaze
11.) Happy Valley
12.) I Give Up. Goodbye

Soul Whirling Somewhere is:
Michael Plaster

Soul Whirling Somewhere – Official Site:

Soul Whirling Somewhere – Mp3 Site:

Projekt Records:

Twisted Forever – A Tribute to Twisted Sister
~Reviewed By Michael Johnson

As are wearing baggy-assed pants and owning the biggest SUV on the block, tribute albums have become the trend over the last few years.  Almost every band from the last fifteen years has been covered and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a tribute to a tribute released any time soon.  At last (what took so long?) it’s Twisted Sister’s turn to receive praise but even
with this heavy-duty lineup, this tribute seems to fall just a bit short at times.

I listened to a lot of Twisted Sister when I was a little shithead punk that knew everything so I knew all these songs ahead of time.  I was anxious to see what kinds of spins would be put on these songs and with artists like Motorhead, Chuck D, Anthrax, Cradle of Filth, and Hammerfall, I couldn’t wait to get down and dirty with this CD.  Even Twisted Sister themselves make an appearance doing, oddly enough, a cover of AC/DC’s “Sin City” and they do a wonderful job.

Lit kicked off everything with “I Wanna Rock” and I started to get pumped.  Motorhead, Nashville Pussy, and Nine Days followed with decent versions of their chosen songs.  Chuck D took the fifth position covering “Wake Up The Sleeping Giant”, and even though I am NOT a fan of rap, I liked this version.  On went the album, song after song, and almost every one was a good cover.  On paper, this looks to be one of the most kick ass tributes out there and by god, it should be.  Dee Snider and the boys were a frontrunner back when everyone had a back patch on their jean jacket and hearing “Burn in Hell” would send them out to beat up Zebra fans.  Man, the days.

Anyway, before I run out and get my hair frosted, I do have a couple complaints (as always).  First, there’s the lack of originality.  Yeah, I know it’s a tribute but when I see Cradle of Filth is covering something, I do expect some of the dark elements to creep in.  It seems to me that the bands may have been rushed in getting this out.  Almost all of the songs
are done to the note and this left me a tad disappointed.
Second, I have to give the Unnecessary Cheese Award to Hammerfall.  Okay, I like these guys and I respect what they do but at the end of their cover of “We’re Gonna Make It”, Joacim yells, “Can you hear me, Twisted-fucking-Sister?  We are Hammerfall from fucking Sweden!”  Yeah they hear you.  Now shut the hell up.

All in all, this is a good listen.  I made my little complaint list but it’s all little shit that can be shrugged off.  There’s a ton of great bands on here and I’m glad to see a fair amount of big bands on here paying homage.  This definitely goes down as one of the better tributes I have heard but I wish a little more originality had been thrown in from all these talented bands.

Track Listing:
1. Lit – I Wanna Rock
2. Motorhead – Shoot ‘em Down
3. Nashville Pussy – The Kids Are Back
4. Nine Days – The Price
5. Chuck D – Wake Up The Sleeping Giant
6. Anthrax – Destroyer
7. Overkill – Under The Blade
8. Cradle of Filth – The Fire Still Burns
9. Vision of Disorder – Don’t Let Me Down
10. The Step Kings – Burn In Hell
11. Fu Manchu – Ride To Live (Live To Ride)
12. Joan Jett – We’re Not Gonna Take It
13. Sebastian Bach – You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n Roll
14. Hammerfall – We’re Gonna Make It
15. Sevendust – I Am (I’m Me)
16. Twisted Sister – Sin City

Twisted Sister Website: www.twistedsister.com
Koch Records: www.kochentertainment.com

World Of Glass
~reviewed by Matthew
This was another release that snuck up on me.  I knew this infamous Norwegian Goth Metal act was in the studio this spring and summer, but I had no idea the release was going to be out so quickly!  But here it is, and by the immaculately impressive contents of this ten song CD, it was anything but a hasty studio session.
I was less than impressed with “Beyond The Veil,” the band’s follow up to their debut release “Widow’s Weeds.”  “Widow’s Weeds” is a landmark recording for the Gothic metal scene, with its icy gray atmospheres and urgent operatic vocals paired with only the finest elements of doom and black metal.  However, the emotion that animated this debut seemed to be eclipsed by a clinical technicality on “Beyond The Veil.”  To me, that release seemed to be more concerned with showing off and being flashy, and was comprised of songs that were complex yet fell silent upon my heart.
But as the old saying goes, the third time is a charm.  “World Of Glass” pushes the envelope when it comes to the aforesaid technical prowess, they truly are a talented group of visionary musicians, but this release also marks the return to the earnest and passionate moodiness of their earlier work.  Tristania continue to infuse their music with aspects of several dark music genres, pooling from the schools of traditional Gothic rock, hints of Darkwave, Carl Orff inspired operatic choirs, symphonic majesty, and driving Nordic metal.  Though on “World Of Glass” it seems that the band has found a way to equally blend these elements, resulting in an album that is both fresh and progressive, yet celebrating and further perfecting the qualities that the band has come to be known for.
In all honesty, Tristania really is a band that is responsible for a style of metal that can appeal to almost any fan of dark music.  It is diverse and meticulously well orchestrated, and infused with a breathtaking energy that spirits the songs along at a rapid and invigorating pace.
It seems that as musicians, the band are more reserved, allowing the instruments to breathe more, therefore allowing several simple yet emotionally triumphant passages to stir up the songs.  Acoustic guitars weave their way in tastefully, as do some brief electronic dabbling that add an interesting affect to the band’s already complex symphonic soundscape.  Sprinkled with the frenzied fiddle playing of The Sins Of Thy Beloved’s Pete Johansen, the album definitely exudes an elitist air without coming across as pompous.  However, perhaps I am being unnecessarily picky, but I wish Pete would just stick with TSOTB, since his Celtic approach to playing was definitive to that band’s sound.  Tristania, in all their grandiosity, do not necessarily need the violin to complete their music, though it doesn’t crowd their music either.  In a way, it almost leaves all competition in the dust, which can have both its positive and negative points.  Even though Pete’s playing on this album is superb, I think he does save his more complex and virtuoso playing for TSOTB.
I honestly was expecting this CD to fall flat after the direction of their last album.  I expected another album that came from their brains as opposed to their souls, but I was pleasantly surprised, and I think that as I write this review, I have yet to really grasp exactly how well done this album actually is.  It seems to impress me more with each listen and I find myself thoroughly enjoying every song.
Tristania have quite a knack of inserting integral melodic hooks or very unique passages in all of their songs, so that as one listens to the entire album, the listener anticipates specific passages and gets all excited when they finally come.
“World Of Glass” is a spellbinding listen, and I highly doubt that fans will be disappointed.  I attribute too many memories to their debut release, and therefore maintain that “Widow’s Weeds” is my favourite album by Tristania, but “World Of Glass” is musically their most well-rounded and solid release.  When this hits shelves later this September, I would recommend you be in line.

Track List:
1.) The Shining Path
2.) Wormwood
3.) Tender Trip On Earth
4.) Lost
5.) Deadlocked
6.) Selling Out   (* Trust me, they didn’t…)
7.) Hatred Grows
8.) World Of Glass
9.) The Modern End
10.) Crushed Dreams

Tristania is:
Vibeke Stene – vocals
Osten Bergoy - vocals
Einar Moehn – synths & programming
Anders H Hilde - guitars
Rune Osterhus - bass
Kenneth Olson – drums

Guest musicians:
Pete Johansen (Sins Of Thy Beloved) – violins
Ronny Thorsen (Trail Of Tears) – death vocals

Tristania – Official Site:

Napalm Records:

~reviewed by Psionic

I don't like writing bad reviews. I REALLY don't. But, sometimes I have to say things that are less-than-praiseworthy. Such is the case with U.N.I. What makes it so difficult is that they aren't BAD. They just aren't GOOD.


I love good EBM. I think the term is silly, but what can you do? To that end, EBM seems to have a cancer. That cancer is the essence of EBM. That is to say, there is a paint-by-numbers formula that many hundreds of bands have followed, with varying degrees of success. UNI has opted for the "adhere-to-all-standards-and-clichés-of-industrial-dance-and-use-some-Soviet-state-imagery-for-seasoning"-method of writing. And they do it quite well. The production is slick, everything is full and rich, it thumps along nicely, the vocals are solid and on key. They have a hawt-goth-chick in the band, and a hawt-punk/rivet chick in the band, thereby balancing the sexes. Something for everyone. So what's the problem you ask? Well, the music itself is totally forgettable. I listen to it, I enjoy it for what it is, then 2 minutes later I have absolutely no recollection of it at all. Nothing stands out. It's one big bland sandwich of EBM. The only things I remember about it are that it was really nothing I hadn't heard a dozen or more times before and that the band had the most annoying habit of using "K's" instead of "C's". (eg, 'Konspiracy', 'Korruption', 'Teknology'...) Oh, and I remember the hawt-goth chick, 'cause she's well, hawt. This really is all just sour grapes from me getting FAR too jaded for my own good by this genre. But I crave something new, something different... I don't find any of these things with UNI, so, um, next please?

1: Victim
2: K.G.B.
3: Insanity
4: Deceit
5: Konspiracy
6: Paranoid
7: Korruption
8: Reality
9: No Solution
10: Teknology
11: Decend
12: Fate

U.N.I. Website: http://www.mp3.com/u-n-i

Architects And Murderers
~reviewed by Psionic

I like to take this kind of music and put it on in the background while playing games like Quake or Unreal, because it's FAR superior to the music written for the games themselves. And lets face it, those games are predicated on the idea of violence and scaring the hell out of yourself. Well, that's pretty much what 'Architects And Murderers' brings to mind. There has been a genre tag made up for this style of music, some people have taken to calling it 'Death Industrial'. I guess it's a functional enough term, but like any other genre tag, it just doesn't do justice to the -sound- of what it's applied to. Vedisni is as distorted and violent as any of the current run of popular Powernoise kids, but in such a formlessly chaotic way that you'll not be seeing it applied to dancefloors anytime soon. This is what ground-zero of nuke sounds like. The abruptly silenced screams of the incinerated masses, the spine numbing rumble of immense destruction... To say that 'Architects And Murderers' has adequately captured this kind of mood is an understatement, and an excercise in stating the obvious. Vedisni is the moment of a bonesaw catching the femur, captured in time and held suspended..  'Architects And Murderers' is the image of a loved ones suicide, burned into the retina and looped continually. Vedisni is one of the darkest and most violent projects I have ever heard, and 'Architects And Murderers' should be in -every- dark-ambient fans collection.

1: Fnord, As Gift
2: Mercurious Apex - Blue Psyche
3: Where Ouspensky Failed And Gurdjieff Fled
4: A Sword Into A Cup, As Seven Insects Proclaim
5: Driven East Like Another's Menace

Vedisni website: http://www.njrocks.com/lws/pages/DFRMainpage.html</