Sometimes raw talent absolutely amazes me, and Twelfth of Never did just that with this album, their debut release. While it sometimes takes a few releases and a lot of experimentation before it seems like a band is comfortable in its chosen style, this Massachusetts band has a sound that rivals seasoned veterans.
I should state, though, that the members of Twelfth of Never have been making music with other projects for a number of years, and have been working together since 1997. Their influences are many and varied, and range across the entire spectrum of music, but their influences and efforts come together to form a melodious and haunting sound, capped off with Robin's beautiful vocals.
The intro track to the disc, "I Shall Not Care," begins with a beautiful piano arrangement, topped by samples of lovers speaking quietly and angrily, followed by guitar, and Robin's vocals. The lyrics for this track are adapted from a poem by Sara Teasdale: the words speak of unrequited love and death, making the track's samples very pertinent.
"Theanna" is a good example of how beautiful a recorder can be in a musical arrangement. The light, flighty sound, coupled with the classical guitar makes this a very mysterious and magical song.
Easily a great disc for relaxing in a warm, dark room to relieve the stress of the day, Blowing Bubbles Through Broken Windows is available through the band's mailing address.
1. I Shall Not Care
2. To Lure the Swans and Flies
3. The Cycle
4. Hid and Sick
7. Parade of Bodies
8. Your Shroud of Turin
Ron Miles - Bass
Robin N. Tinker - Vocals, recorder
Adam Zelny - Guitar
Matthew Davis - Keyboards, MIDI, vocals
Keith Alan Landry - Guitar
Smail: P.O. Box 7327, Fitchburg, MA, 01420, USA
Welcome to Earth
~ Reviewed by ::CyBeRiNa FLuX::
Apoptygma Berzerk, out of Norway, shows us that those Scandanavians know just as much about great dance music as they do black metal. Stephan Groth began Apoptygma as an EBM Industrial act in 1989, and played up the incredibly strong European scene of time. In the mid-90s, Stephan began to play around a little bit with techno and house music, and released a few tracks as side projects. However, it wasn't long for him to develop Apoptygma's sound to incorporate both genres. The end result is a fushion of the best of the two extremes of dance music; dirty, but not oppressive dance beats with a strong focus on lyrical melody.
The first album after this transformation really skyrocketed Apoptygma Berzerk's career, and their 1996 album "7" became a hit across the Atlantic in America. "Welcome to Earth," is their fourth full length release (excluding a live release of the 1998 European tour), and its showing the world that they are still evolving and expanding their sound to new levels.
The CD starts with "Everything We Know is Wrong," a psychedlized sample of a man's speech where he is explaining his thoughts regarding alien contact throughout history, and how it will shape our future. With a few crashes of a sampled cymbal you are instantly kicked into the very upbeat "Starsign." Trippy keyboard sounds swirl around you intertwined in an incredible dance beat. The overall melody is very joyous, but with exceptional irony the lyrics are of a quite different nature. They are of a man beaten by the world, desperate for a way to get away from his worries.
Another notable track is "Help Me!," which brought me fond memories of old Chris and Cosey tracks. A slow and simple but funky beat grooves along with eccentric samples dotted along throughout. Stephan speaks calmly of a bad relationship with a highly codependant woman. At the moment he speaks the words that he wishes to end the relationship, the song takes a 180. Suddenly, you are hearing her side of the story, sung by Tinkerbell. Her version is laced with the tribal sound of the digeridoo while keeping a very moving beat. Her voice trails with the words "Help Me" while maddening samples of maniacle laughs, screaming tribes, and distant yells circle around you in insanity.
"Moment of Tranquility" could also be known as "Moment of David Lynch" as it is opened by a rewrite of an Angelo Badalamenti song, "Falling," which was written as the theme song for Twin Peaks. Like "Falling," "Moment of Tranquility" is full on love ballad with a very slow tempo, and a lot of rich violins (as every good, sad ballad should have). A chime rings, and just as you expect to hear the elevating voice of Julee Cruise you instead here Stephan singing the most melodiously I have heard him yet. Instead of falling in love like the Badalamenti/Cruise song, this song is the end of a love. Passionately, he probes into that awkward moment of the realization that his love is leaving. "Her eyes are staring at me. Empty as the sky. In this moment of tranquility, I realize that this is goodbye."
Track 8 starts out with a beat you simply cannot help but dance to. Driving, and catchy without being annoyingly bouncy, this is the type of beat you could find heard in dancehalls of nearly every electronic music genre. It constantly progresses without a single boring, repetitive moment, and it takes you for 180s that are blended with a mastery that can keep you on the dancefloor without a pause in your step. Right around 2 minutes into the track, you hear this tubular bell sample that is somewhat familiar (it rings a bell, get it??), but you just keep dancing when BAM! At 2:30 Stephan's vocals kick in with the unmistakable lyrics to Metallica's "Fade to Black!" It really throws you for a loop (full pun intended), but the progression of the track is just so fantastic that you just can't help but keep grooving to it. This is by far one of the best remakes I've ever heard. In a nutshell, this track kicks MAJOR booty, synthpop style.
Of all the tracks, "Paranoia" is most like the style of tracks on "7." However, like all of the tracks on this CD, its the next evolution in Apoptygma Berzerk's sound. Featuring many more bridges, and layers of sounds and loops, its much more likely than some of their older tracks to grab you and take you off into a deep trance. Through the magic of effects, the vocals of the chorus are progressively more digitized until the very end of the track when they reach a full on vocoded state. After a final bridge to wrap things up, the track ends with taste of Indian chanting.
This CD is a must buy for any Apoptygma fan, as well as any and all club DJs. No matter what your taste in electronic music, Apoptygma will have a song to match. For someone new to the music of Apoptygma Berzerk, if you were to only have enough money for one CD, I think I would still suggest "7" first. However, this CD is still a definite have-to-have for anyone's electronic music library.
Apoptygma Berzerk is Stephan Groth
1. Everything We Know is Wrong
4. Help Me!
5. Kathy's Song (Come Lie Next To Me)
6. Untitled 3
7. Moment of Tranquility
8. Fade to Black
13. Time to Move On
Post Office Box 54307
Philadelphia, PA 19105
~reviewed by Wolf
This cd was already reviewed several months ago, but since we interviewed Assemblage 23's Tom Shear for this issue I'm giving it a second round on Starvox. After its US release on Gashed! the cd is now available on Europe's Accession Records and it remains one of the most impressive debuts of the year, so if you haven't heard of this rising star yet...do read on!
23 is the solo effort of Tom Shear and with Contempt he leaves the competition
far far behind. I will avoid a rant about the not-so-impressive-yet-massively-popular
bands out there in the
electro/industrial-dance genre, but A23 is certainly one of the few good examples of how harsh and melodious can meet and result in something very appealing. Without sounding silly and/or cheezy, that is. Contempt is filled with an array of well-produced, melodious-yet-heavy songs, underlined with excellent vocals and lyrics beyond the usual standard of this genre. And to think that it was all done with just an Ensoniq EPS-16+ sampler!
"Anthem" is an excellent opener, grabbing the listener instantly with great melodies, smart song structure and very clean vocals. Tom's voice reminds me at times of Jean-Luc DeMeyer's (of Front242), which is of course meant as a big compliment. The singing in the verse is slightly akin to The Bog (a Bigod20 track with DeMeyer on vocals), but that's where the comparison to that particular song ends. The song builds up with all the ingredients of a grade A club track, but it's not just industrial of the mindless techno variety. Right away we're also introduced to Tom's poetic lyrics, a notch above everyone else's:
are born of stone
And etched by wind
Cast aside to live or die
We are the pawns in our own game"
The concepts might be somewhat stereotypical at times, but the poetry of the words void this minor piece of criticism. The lyrics to the 2nd track,"Surface", perfectly illustrate this:
when I surface again
I will not breathe the same air as you
And once my enemies are slain
My lungs will drink the liquid sky"
This song, too, has the most excellent melodic chorus, but takes a more harsher turn during its verses. The distortion on the vocals is just right and I wouldn't be surprised if this track will show up on many playlists as well. Perhaps this cd just appeals greatly to my "graver" nature, but it's absolutely of amazing quality.
"Coward" slows down the pace and reminds me a little of Suicide Commando, but more varied in its composition and with, again, a very catchy chorus to which the song builds up relentlessly. It's not as good as "Bi-Polar" though, starting out with a melancholy intro and turning into a pounding assault of percussion and sequences. The cd continues with the slow and dark "Pages", followed by the cd's irresistable "Purgatory". This one has my vote for floorfiller of the year, with a trancey bass, foreboding strings and the erruption into an uplifting melody of modulated sequences. Its verse as desolate as the incredibly catchy chorus, counteracting the positive sound of the song, and again very aesthetic:
far I've fallen
Dancing in the ruins of Purgatory
My time is borrowed
But still I waste away"
And so the cd continues with more high-quality material, from the slow, hypnotizing "Sun" to the harsh EBM of "Skyquake"...the catchy and pounding "Never Forgive" and the brooding "7 Days".
In closing we're treated to 3 remixes with most notably Manhole Vortex's very evil rendition of "Skyquake" and Ed Vargo's (THD) remix of the non-album track "The Drowning Season". (Contempt was also mastered by him at THD's Ascent Labs.)
Yes, I like this cd...a lot. If you think VNV or Apoptygma Berzerk are setting the standards for what is called "industrial dance" nowadays, then think again. Assemblage 23 holds all the cards and it won't be long before he'll be among the biggest names. Check it out, either from Gashed! in the US, or from Accession in Europe. Very very impressive, Tom!
9. Never Forgive
10. 7 Days
11. Coward (Melting Mix by Pain Station)
12. Skyquake (Voice of God Mix by Manhole Vortex/Protocol X)
13. The Drowning Season (DSK02k Mix by Ed Vargo of THD)
Official site: http://www.synthetic.org/a23
Official label site [US]: http://www.gashed.com/
Official label site [European]: http://www.accession-records.com/
~reviewed by Blu
Brothers Bart and Bret Helm grew up listening to the likes of David Bowie, Joy Division, Velvet Undergound, and Bauhaus. Off and on through different musical stints, the brothers stuck together and in 1991 they formed Audra. With the later additions of bass player Janel and guitarist/keyboardist Rick Zandlo, Audra has finally come of age so to speak with the announcement that its joined the leagues of ethereal enthusiasts on the divine Projekt label. Previous to this, Audra released two wonderful CDs on their own - 1998's "In a Dark Room..." which contained the memorial for Rozz Williams, "In Hollywood Tonight" and 1999's "Silver Music" which is reviewed here as a preview for their new CD which should be ready in July. In the history off their webpage, they say their music is was "built on the unsettled emotions from past relationships, the passing of heroes and friends, encounters with the divine world and erotic fantasies." Sound interesting? Oh it is… more then you know…
Maybe its just the Spring weather here, but more and more I think it's the sultry vocals on this CD that have me enamored with everyone I see lately. Bret's vocals are deep and smooth and there's a subtle sexuality to them that is hard to describe in words. The first track, "In All Our Androgyny," has become a favorite among Audra fans. Light and upbeat, Bret croons, "being there is like holding yourself, like kissing yourself in all our androgyny…"
Track 2 is probably one of the best song titles I've heard in a long time - " Spiked with Black and Rum." As you might imagine, it's a dark, moody song. When Bret sings, "And I'm left dizzy, spiked with black and rum, staring into the eyes of a doll that looks back through glass and emptiness, my problems lie in my obsessions…there are no stars, only images…" I cannot help but think of the emotionally-laden vocals of past greats like Peter Murphy. Bart paints a bleak world with his guitar - further adding to the unrest you feel in the vocals.
"Flowers" is another dark track - but more ominous in its sound. There is an element of dangerous sexual over tones - an unrequited love perhaps that boarders on obsession. A predatory bass line reminds me much of the work the Toadies did a few years ago on their dark alternapop CD. "I want to walk up to your, to your window and knock softly, hand them to you one at a time till your arms are filled. I have flowers, that I'm bringing especially for you, I thought that they would match your eyes, in the garden, I'll tie them together…" Mmmm…yummy.
My favorite song on this CD is "Venus" - which is the perfect example of that subtle sexual tone I mentioned earlier that makes me just melt. Accentuated by the driving guitar riffs of Bart and an undulating bass line, Bret sings, "There is another world, a place only I can see…not only myself, but with you, when you're alone, there's always something…and I hear your voice, and its so soft, it's like touching the air, it whispers poetry when the lights go dim…I need to get drunk on your tears, on your fears and on your body, on your body I fear I am lost…" He sings of desire, death, of love lost, and of a desperate need to reconnect to something that once was. Its bittersweet in the bluest shade of despair.
Poetic lyrics on love and death continue with "Cupid" - a swirling, quite danceable track followed by the pensive, nightmarish "2 Girls in 1 Dress." If this is a preview of what's to come in future releases from Audra, consider me waiting anxiously in wings. I'm looking forward to seeing how they're incorporated into the Projekt label.
For booking: firstname.lastname@example.org
Label: Projekt (www.projekt.com)
Where Broken Angels Lie
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola
second CD by The Azoic is the closest one can come to a psychotic nightmare
and still maintain some semblance of sanity. It is scary, dark, evolving
sounds that are not quite dance floor friendly for those easily unnerved.
To say that I absolutely adore this disc is an understatement Where
Broken Angles Lie is the type of music you would play when you want something
haunting and eerie and not too rock oriented. From the first strains to
the last, it creates a vacuum within your area to transform it with just
the right touches of gloom and doom. Many of the songs are heavy with movie
dialogue samples. Some folks find this disconcerting, however it seems
to play extremely well with these songs, which also helps to make it morbidly
endearing. The only contention is the lyrics are at times difficult to
decipher, however they are printed up on the bands web page should this
be of any major concern to the listener. Most folks get so caught up in
the grotesque surrealism, that the lyrics are the last thing they are interested
"Nilaihah" coalesces like dire swirling bells , emerging from the depths of the darkest psyche. Movie dialogue guides and pulls us in the hall of souls. You are hooked and there is NO turning back. Kristy Venrick wails like the decadent angel of the misbegotten while additional dialogue plays between electronic tones of dread.
"Drown (Pulsating Mix)" further extrapolates the haunted house sound with echoes in the dark and screams to make your skin crawl. "Images pass with hallowed eyes/sucked of life that make my stomach crawl/ immortal are you my dead child/ weeping tears and silent cries/ trapped in a web" Technically this mix could be used for a dance club, but I am not too sure many of the so called goth clubs even have the nerve to go this far into the abyss.
"Terrible Space" continues to congeal ominous tones that erupt like fleeting memories for the damned. This is actually a very macabre love song of longing and yearning.
"Intimate Incisions" darker than dark and one of my all time favorites by this band. We are greeted with the sound byte, "even now in heaven there were angels carrying savage weaponswide awake for the experience?" As Kristy begins to sing, screams are accompanied in the background that makes this song quite unnerving. " The jagged edge of slithered eyes/ are seething with deceptive lies/ demoralize your affection/ feed you fruits of my deception/ the scraping silence penetrates beneath/ my lifeless skin with no relief."
"Summoning" provides only a slight reprieve from the ghoulish shrieks but still maintains the dark formation. " I take a lasting breath; in a realm unknown/ leaving an emulsion; sinking far below; bringing fear into the night/ draws me in/ never letting go."
"Terrible Space ( Oneiroid Psychosis Mix)" has a militaristic beat suffused with layers of dark tones. Imagine Kraftwerk as a morbid sounding band and you may get some idea of how this song was reconstructed.
"I Tried To Warn You (Flesh Field/ Decay/Theory Remix)" is another favorite off this CD as it goes beyond levels of darkness that few dare to venture into.
"The Sad Word" introduces more movie sound samples that combine with layers of haunted tones. The sung vocals are compressed beyond gender recognition and are like a ghost creeping through the ether regions of your mind.
"Drown" is the original version of this song which is more dark industrial sounding which seems to be the direction this band is going with their more recent work.
"The Sad Word ( Desert Mix)" despite the re-mixes having a dance beat, for some reason they just dont seem to play them often enough.
"Suffocation" echoes dialogue and white noise that is droning and pervasively dreadful. There is such a tense build up with the low somber notes and steam like progression that immediately you notice yourself tensing as you hear something akin to a heartbeat. Screams come from the nether reaches and will plague your dreams..GUARANTEED.
"God Help Us" is just those words coming from the walls like something out of the Nightmare on Elm Street films.
" Only Flesh" is another verbal work with added whispers that are infused between metronomic heartbeats.
Azoic created this style of darkwave as musical entertainment long before
many others dared to venture into this horizon. The band manages to provide
frightening soundscapes and eerie music without having to resort to anything
demonic or anti-religious. Since this discs initial release, many
have come along in the dark wave genre but NO ONE does dark wave like this. Some of these selections are available on Mp3.com and I would encourage the curious to sample these songs as well as their more industrial uptempo songs that they have begun to develop. If you really like scary sounding music then this is a MUST for your collection.
Members on this Disc:
Steve Laskarides: keyboards, programming, effects, vocals
Shawn Lower: vocals, keyboards, lyrics
Kristy Venrick: vocals, keyboards, lyrics
2. Drown (pulsating mix)
3. Terrible Space
4. Intimate Incisions
6. Terrible Space ( Oneiroid Psychosis Remix)
7. I Tried To Warn You ( Flesh Field/ Decay/ Theory Remix)
8. The Sad Word
10. The Sad Word ( Desert Mix)
11. God Help Us
12. Only Flesh
~reviewed by Matthew
One of the most welcomed additions to the dark music underground, there is just no other band quite like Babylonian Tiles. Even if there were, they would still come out on top, as they play their music with a rare passion and conviction and openly have a blast doing so. Known for blending elements of dark psychedelia with vintage post-punk/goth rock, the California based Tiles have been giving us chills and helping us see colours for five plus years now and two full-length albums, “Basking In The Sun At Midnight” and “Green Midnight Glow.”
have returned in the year 2000 geared up for a small tour and a new CD
of reworkings of some of their best tracks and a few new songs, such as
the cover of the Donovan classic “Season Of The Witch.” This
would definitely be a great introduction to this band, as it is comprised
of some of their best tracks. For those of you who have never heard
them, imagine a harder incarnation of the Doors mixed with elements of
Bauhaus and old Christian Death, crowned with the sensual witchy vocals
of Bryna Golden and you will smile and understand. For those of you
already familiar with the band and have one or both the
CDs, you still might want to pick this up as the production is fuller and much clearer than the St. Thomas releases from a few years back.
The Tiles will be on tour this summer, and having seen them a few times now, I can safely recommend their hypnotic and highly energetic set. You will be engrossed, as every performance is very different and in true psychedelic style, much of the performance is improvised. Please check them out if they are stopping by a city near you. If you want to learn more about Babylonian Tiles, please click on over to the interview I just completed this month with the ‘Hip Death Goddess’ herself.
1.) Boulevard (version 2000)
2.) Electrified Eyes
3.) Each Dying Breath
4.) Your Universe Is Creeping
5.) Rain People
6.) Season Of The Witch
7.) Teknicolour Aftermath
8.) Reasons For Grey (version 2000)
9.) House Of Cards
10.) Far Far Away (version 2000)
11.) Crystal Gavel (version 2000)
Bryna Golden (aka, the Hip Death Goddess™)- vocals, keyboards
Tim Thayer - guitar
Brian Schreiber - drums
Christian Ramsey - bass
HEAR BABYLONIAN TILES:
I AM SHE...THE HIP DEATH GODDESS™:
PANGEA MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LLC:
The Mystery of the Whisper
~reviewed by Kimberly
"The Mystery of the Whisper" (out on Dancing Ferret Discs), the stunning follow up to the band's "Telemetry of a Fallen Angel" is a magnum opus that seamlessly intertwines classic, Gothic-era elements with a thoroughly modern sound. The anger that had been prevalent on the former album has been replaced by a more mature, sadder tone. Songs with such titles as "Heaven's Gaze", "Regrets", and "Even Angels Fall" displays Rogue's attempt to not make his listeners full of rage as to make them think and feel. The album overall stirs the soul; Rogue and the rest of the band forces the listener to look inside him or herself. The band employs universal sentiments that manage to touch the individual.
"Cruelty" is the band's new dance single. When I first heard it, I thought it was about love. However, while listening to the recorded version, it's not about a love affair gone wrong at all. The song seems to be more about the cruelty and callousness of the outside world; and the struggle of trying to be a sensitive person inside of it. Simultaneously, Rogue sings about the personal hurt of being no angel while being empathic to the world's sorrows; and living for one's dreams.
"Sympathy (For Tomorrow)" is the first of the two songs on the album that actually brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it. The poignant violins, delicate keyboards, and amazingly light guitars before the lyrics evoke a reaction before the lyrics, which opens the listener's own guarded sorrow, commence. With Rogue's gentle, heartbreakingly smooth vocals, and lyrics such as "'a little more respect was buried here'", one can't help but empathize with the feeling of pain and sorrow plainly in Rogue's heart.
"MONUMENT" is the last track with lyrics on the album. It's a sad song. Really sad; as in be prepared to have your heart ripped open sad. I had been listening to this album with my boyfriend, and I started crying uncontrollably, without being quite able to explain why. The lyrics, about lost love, and his regret of not creating anything to display his love while she was still in his life. The song is a "monument" to the fallen relationship. It's an incredibly poignant song about regret. In fact, Rogue's voice during the ballad reminds me of the Poppy Z. Brite short story, "Optional Music for Voice and Piano". It's a tale about a singer, whose voice is so rawly emotional, and touches people in such a basic, primal manner, that they go crazy; or have heart attacks, or commit suicide. It has a similar inexplicable yet very tangible despondency to it. I don't know if it's a compliment or not, but I couldn't help making the comparison.
Rogue- Vocals, violin, sequences, keyboards, programs, words & music
Chris Brantley- Keyboards, analog modeling, backing vocals
Kevin Page- Guitar
Rachel McDonnell- keyboards, violin, backing vocals
1. Isis & Osiris (Life/Death)
3. Leave Me Alone
8. Sympathy (for Tomorrow)
10. "Do you believe…"
11. Heaven's Gaze
12. Heart On My Sleeve
13. "There are some secrets…"
15. Even Angels Fall
Label: Dancing Ferret
See aslo our Feature on The Cruxshadows at Dragon*Con in the September Archive of StarVox
The Mystery Of The Whisper
~Reviewed By: Mike Ventarola
The Cruxshadows ( pronounced: Croo - shadows) latest offering, demonstrates this band is built to last. Many have heard their song "Monsters" on the Black Bible compilation and may be anticipating some more of the same playful spooky goth dance chords. Wipe that sound from your head and take notice that this band strives for yet another sound that will begin a new rage. "The Mystery Of The Whisper" brilliantly combines elements of Egyptian style sounds and marries them to Gothic Industrial chords on some of the songs featured on this disc. The current "hit" being passed around these days is "Cruelty" however that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of how wonderful this CD sounds. The lyrics are timely and poetic that you may find yourself listening to a particular passage repeatedly, somewhat stunned that the gammut of your emotions have been put to recorded music like no other artist has done in quite some time.
The only major drawback is the print inside the CD cover which is rather small, especially for some of us "elder" Goths, however the band humbly apologizes for this. Considering the scope and the breadth in which they have created this body of work , it is seriously doubted that their fans will mind all too much.
"Isis/Osiris (Life/ Death )" begins with a bit of drumming that evolves into reverberated chanting. Electronic pulses collide with ethereal middle eastern blends and tones. Welcome upon the sands of time where past meets the present.
"Cruelty" is a brilliant bit of poetry set to music. A touch of wind and spooky goth chords opens this track which allows us to indignantly broach the heartlessness of others. The track is quite danceable with subtle weavings of the middle eastern tones. The chorus forthrightly declares "cruelty and consequence cannot eliminate this relevance/ Your selfishness , your hatefulness cannot take away my immanence/ cruelty and consequence cannot eliminate this relevance/ your selfishness, your hatefulness cannot take away my innocence from me."
"Leave Me Alone" pulses with electronic bubbles and drum beats that sear into the chasm of ones mind to unleash a Gothic anthem about being a "freak." Rogue starts this song in an almost pondering stance which he further challenges by unleashing the cry to "leave me alone I dont want to be a part of your world." Upon delivering the refrain, Rogues vocals singe the nerves to feel total empathy and identification for one who is forced to undergo the scrutiny and provocation of a mindless unsympathetic world. Any Goth who ever had to be the target of the "jock" mentality will fully appreciate this song.
"Insomnia" has church style gongs and a clock like ticking that segues into ethereal swirls and electronic rhythmic drumming. The vocals are up front yet there are also spoken suggestions that emanate from the background. This is best heard with the headset on, as this was totally missed while it was playing on the stereo. This song deals with the terror of a cold handed apparition that jars you from your reverie, leaving you intrigued and terrified.
"Breathe" opens with a bombastic orchestration that yields to a mid-tempo industrial style groove. Stylistically, this song is reminiscent of some of the early New Wave music from the eighties. The chorus is catchy and mentally repetitive, which is almost liberating ; "And I am the face you see within the mirror / And I am the hand that holds the fist away / And I am the dream forgotten in the morning / And I amI am" It seems almost impossible not to take in a deep breath and sing along with Rogue with yet another skillful choral declaration that seems to quietly demand audience participation.
"Regrets" once again pulses with low, sharp electronic chords in a dance beat. We confront the reflection of a child like vision coupled with adult cynicism. " Have you ever heard the butterfly cry? / would you sacrifice beauty for adrenaline?/ and would he hate you if he died?"
"Confusion" has a dark sci - fi sound of badly tuned radio frequencies in a back drop of starkness. The background vocals and the up front delivery are very reminiscent of early David Bowie which further demonstrates the scope that this band is able to bring to recorded sound.
"Sympathy (For Tomorrow)" provides a simple piano opening which sounds like falling leaves. The violin harmonizes with the piano while a steady drum and cymbal effect converge into a mid -tempo. " I dont care if time just passes us by/ I can stand the change / but not the cruelty / too many promises / too many lies / too many faces for me to know." Toward the end of the song, a recitation of E.A. Poes poem "Spirits of the Dead" is very skillfully delivered and blended into the song.
"Aten - Ra" takes middle eastern sound to a new height with this hybrid between ancient and modern sound reproduced on modern equipment. This is an homage to the Egyptian Gods that would do the Pharaohs proud.
"Do you believe.." is not a song but a sound byte that asks if we believe in angels. We then hear a phone ring and the sound of one who is disconnected. No comments necessary.
"Heavens Gaze" segues from the preceding sound byte. " Gods and Angels and devils smile/ stare into our crying eyes/ fire in anger and hate beguile/ but look into your heart tonight," is another chorus that will continue to play in your head after hearing this piece. Middle Eastern sounds are layered under a very modern dance groove to again provide a unique hybrid.
"Heart On My Sleeve" poetically focuses on a doomed relationship, "your eyes/ they often lie/ and leave me feeling misunderstood / our tragedy plays out like a symphony / a breath and a whisper are your only clue." This tune has a Pet Shop Boys flavor to it but with more heartbreak and less cynical angst.
"There Are Some Secrets" is another sound byte with church bells and electronic swirls. It is whispered that "there are some secrets no one understands."
"Nothing" frothily bursts into a heavy dance and electro groove that seems to quietly remind us the things we do for fun which ultimately can be self destructive and leave us totally devoid of anything at all including our own lives.
"Even Angels Fall" sounds like a descent from the heavens that is accompanied by the mournful tension that is rendered by the violin chords. " I beg for comfort with inadequate verse/ it meant so much to meand so little to her / and I am sinking into a mountain of self pity / why cant I simply disregard all the things I feel?" which ends on a harsh gunshot like sound and then ocean waves.
"Monuments" segues from the previous song with waves that are encroaching the shore. The violins are mournful and play a somber and sorrowful duet with the keyboard accompaniment. The layers are built yet again to sound almost Celtic. Rogue pulls out all the stops with this passionate ballad about not writing that love song for the one he loved and now it is too late. His chorus, "but I will build this monument to remember all the love we ever had / and Ill close my eyes and make it how it used to be / I swear I never stopped loving you with everything I am / and it hurts so much to think you stopped loving me," exudes such painful and truthful emotion that it is almost impossible not to get a tad bit misty eyed.
Again, Rogue treats us to another recitation of an excerpt from La Belle Dame Sans Merci by W.B. Keats.
"Death/ Reunite" begins as a mournful piano rendition that again blends and suffuses with Celtic symmetry. It is a marvelously bittersweet instrumental finale for an album that is worth every penny of the purchase price.
The Cruxshadows manage to take the Gothic sensibility to heart felt introspection. There is a lot of pride and humility carefully woven into the body of songs which makes the entire outfit so endearing that you cant help but cheer their success. Rogue takes his lyrics to such impassioned heights when he sings the choral verses that you want to sing along and, somehow, he makes you feel like he wouldnt mind the company along the way. Many of these songs have generous dance beats geared for club play. The real "whisper" from this CD comes from listening to it alone with your headset on. All the subtle nuances come bursting to the forefront, that is seems as if the band made this CD exclusively for you. Make no mistake, Rogue doesnt just "sing" these lyrics, he feels them and relives the agony and the ecstasy which may get missed during a club playing. He surrounds his voice around the lyric in gentle lilting ways that only the headset can truly pinpoint the passion of the rendition to its fullest height which allows us to feel it along with him.
This is such a stunning CD which will only garner this band many more fans along the way. Dancing Ferret Discs will be running into overtime for additional pressings on this outing.
1. Isis & Osiris ( Life/Death)
3. Leave Me Alone
8. Sympathy ( For Tomorrow)
9. Aten - Ra
10. "Do You Believe"
11. Heavens Gaze
12. Heart On My Sleeve
13. "There Are Some Secrets"
15. Even Angels Fall
17. Death/ Reunite
Rogue - Vocals, violin, sequencers, keyboards, programs, lyric & music
Kevin Page- Guitar
Rachel McDonnell - Keyboards, violin, backing vocals
Chris Brantley - Keyboards, analog modeling, backing vocals
Web Page: http://members.tripod.com/~Darkage98/cruxshadows.htm
To Join Email list: email@example.com
Dancing Ferret Discs
4939 Catherine Street # 3F
Philadelphia, PA 19143
And The Machine
~reviewed By BlackOrpheus
Detroit is justifiably renowned for it's contributions to music. The gothic - industrial label Carpe Mortem is a prime example. It was officially launched in 1998 with it's first Darkness And The Machine compilation. It featured a bevy of Detroit's finest gothic - industrial acts. With Darkness And The Machine - Volume 2, they return with a lineup that features several non - Detroit bands. This is a decent collection. While it is filled with adequate and quite capable tracks; it is the gems that make this a work with requiring.
Attrition's "Atomizer" is the opening track on this disc. It was a delicious repast. This track is why Attrition is an especial favorite of mine. This is pure dance material pregnant with remix possibilities. The arrangement was consistent and clever. The beats played upon each other with a dark majesty that was bewitching. I liked the fact that the vocals never took precedence over the music, they didn't need to. They supported it, but in an unobtrusive way. Overall, this is quality Attrition.
The Unquiet Void's "Spirit" was superbly crafted. New York native Jason Wallach articulates himself beautifully here. I absolutely reveled in the lush sound textures. There were no vocals to speak of here. There were long drawn out sighs, rattles, and drums - the synth work was excellent throughout. This was atmospheric - ethereal, with tribal elements. I adored it, and hope to hear more.
The New York Room's "The Thistle In The Kiss" was another arresting composition. I really like this band. I was amazed the first time I heard them. The breadth of their abilities seems unlimited. This song has elements of triphop, it was reminiscent of Portishead, and yet a wholly New York Room original. The vocals were delivered in a dusky, sensual fashion. Kudos once again New York Room, excellent work.
Darkness And The Machine - Volume 2 was a pleasant way of passing the time. It is a place I'll revisit again, as one drops in upon an old friend. There is much to praise here. Gossamer is worth mentioning as well. Their track "Sweetest Misery" was sublime. I hope to hear more from Carpe Mortem Records, I have reason to believe they will prosper. I think you will enjoy this disc as I did.
1. Attrition - Atomizer (custom mother) Listen
2. Oneiroid Psychosis - October Listen
3. Shadow to Ashes - Detonation
4. Gossamer - Sweetest Misery
5. Mindless Faith - All These Years
6. Morphine Angel - Dancer
7. Ceoxime - Horror Inside
8. Unquiet Void - Spirit*
9. The Azoic - The Distance
10. Stare - St. Michael's Litany
11. Ickytrip - The Passage
12. Dragon Tears Descending - Wither (Labyrinth Mix)
13. Babylonian Tiles - Extended Holiday
14. DeLIEN - Quantum Foam
15. The New York Room - The Thistle in the Kiss
Site: Carpe Mortem Records
Carpe Mortem Records, LLC.
400 Bagley Ave, Suite 707
Detroit, MI 48226
~reviewed by Matthew
Continuing along with the surrealist manipulation of static and classical orchestration, Douglas P has returned with a short EP picking up where “Take Care & Control” left off in 1998. Even more intense in its strangeness, abrasiveness, and cacophony, this release is very effective in messing with your mind. I adore it. Of course, I think I would enjoy anything Douglas P creates, but this is very different. Though not as smooth and folky as the classic Death in June of “Symbols Shatter” or “Brown Book,” this I suppose is the new direction of Douglas’ endless spring of bitter creativity and addictive misanthropy.
The album opens with “Gorilla Tactics,” a short unnerving intro track with screams, cuckoo clocks, and whispers atop an odd drumbeat. The songs lyrically expresses Douglas’ distaste of DIJ being banned in Switzerland. The next track, “Kapitulation” has a memorable, anthematic quality to it. The music is very dense and throbbing, with loud blasting horns and weird chants all meshing around what sounds like Wagner or some familiar classical passage slowed down and pitch shifted to create a weird ‘melting’ effect. Very cool…and lovely in its grating claustrophobia. “Flieger” comes up next and starts off with more chants, and then busts into a hypnotic psychedelic groove, with creepy female operatic vocals in the background. Again, Douglas P’s smooth, distinctive English voice just flows atop the music.
“Snows of the Enemy” is a reworking of the melodies from “Frost Flowers;” totally different lyrics, but the music is recognizable from the prior album. “Hand Grenades & Olympic Flames” is comprised of classic DIJ brass arrangements, as well as strings, bells, and weird samples. A very cool and melancholic track, though “Winter Eagle” follows and is by far my favourite track on the CD. A militant waltz is delivered by strings with very strange background effects and accents of disharmonic pitch bends. Douglas crowns the track with his lulling narration and bitter misanthropy. One of my all time DIJ songs now. The EP closes with “Let The Wind Catch A Rainbow On Fire.” A playful flute and string melody sneaks in and out of the entire album, but appears here in its hypnotic entirety.
Overall, my only complaint is that the CD is too damn short, clocking in at just under a half an hour. I was not disappointed in the least at the content of this new material, though I do warn that if you are not familiar with the “Take Care & Control” album, this is going to be quite a change of pace for you if “Rose Cloud of Holocaust” or “What Ends When The Symbols Shatter?” were the last albums you heard. Not the best DIJ to start with if you are unfamiliar with them, but if you are a fan, don’t pass this up. These are new studio tracks that are not available anywhere else. If you are a fan or dark noise and experimental, the bizarre loops and samples and effects encompassing this CD will surely please you.An excellent exercise in nightmarish claustrophobia and musical mesmerism!
1.) Gorilla Tactics
4.) The Snows Of The Enemy (Little Black Baby)
5.) Hand Grenades And Olympic Flames
6.) Winter Eagle
7.) Let The Wind Catch A Rainbow On Fire
In June is:
Assisted by: Albin Julius (of Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud)
sKot’s DIJ page:
London WC1N 3XX
Piece and Love
Music Review by Jett Black
"I saw the best minds of my generation caught up in the virtual reality of living, memorizing pin numbers and secret codes, swaying robotically to non-existant rhythms, flashing memberships to clubs so exclusive nobody belongs..." from Nutopia by Meg Lee Chin - http://www.MegLeeChin.com/
Pouring chaos and a sick fascination with love, life, and what the hell it all may possibly mean together, we've all come to breed dissonance into art and life into music. And now, the music has come to life... Meg Lee Chin's debut album, Piece and Love, released in late September 1999, reflects the most fantastic in your face industrial-soaked mantras encountered by this writer. Piece and Love remains in perpetual motion.
Piece and Love, released in the Fall of the last millennium, reached my grateful ears on a few weeks ago, and still tops the playlist on my stereo! If you only knew how much music... O! Nevermind!
Challenge your mind to lift from each track the connotative meanings. Spin the cd again, and again. Intelligence with a paper plate, a silver spoon, and a chemical rage against the dissonance of the norm: enter Meg Lee Chin. Follow this with a quite discipline to persevere, to push harder than you will, to split the strands that separate policy and fate.
"Is it heaven? Or is it hell? Or is this what you call a life?" (Sweat it Out)
An organic, melancholic, spiritual machine that won't quit when the music stops, because for Meg Lee Chin, the music never stops. Like a score to life, it plays on incessantly. Churning and burning and grinding away at the fabric of comfort, decimating the forever debatable, blurring lines between sanity and truth.
"Try harder, must try harder...Work, Sweat, Work, Sweat, Work, Sweat, Sweat, Sweat..." (Thing)
Carl Hanni, who wrote most of the following biography, writes, "It's a rare thing indeed to find someone who believes in staying true to their own artistic impulses, which is why London-based electronics whiz Meg Lee Chin comes across as such an exhilarating blast of fresh air."
Touring and recording with PIGFACE dropped Meg Lee Chin in to the spotlight of modern music on and off stage. Now, Meg Lee Chin makes a "fiercely indeprendent" solo debut with Piece and Love, released on Invisible Records.
Piece and Love, recorded in her London flat then mixed and edited by producer Martin Atkins, draws upon angst and observations, interactions and intolerance which malcontent Meg Lee Chin exhumes and vividly spray paints upon a wall of uncompromising music. Striving to grasp a sense of balance from within amid a world in social chaos Meg says, "...I'd be very pleased if I could just be normal. I became a singer because I have an overwhelming desire to express a lot of the pain that goes on in this world, and to express how cynical I am as a result of it. I'm not proud of it, but I am generally more of a social malcontent than most people and that's really colored by my early background."
Meg grew up perceived as a horrid young princess on a pedestal overlooking the slums of Taipei in Taiwan. Her mother Taiwanese, and her father a US Air Force electronics engineer. "...the Air Force put us there until we found more permanent accomodations," Meg reflects. "You could walk out on the balcony of my playroom and see this whole shanty town: you'd get all the little barefoot kids looking up at me, going '0h, that rich little princess in the castle, how lucky.' With older sisters and mother often away shopping, her father at work, and a genuinely indifferent Taiwanese maid as an occasional overseer, Meg turned toward playing music on a phonograph when not pre-occupied with school.
When Meg's family re-located to Pembroke, Massachusetts, the culture clash turned against her once again. "Living in the middle of two cultures is really weird," she laughs, When I lived in America, I was 'you chink,' while when I lived in Taiwan I was 'you rich white bitch.' Probably the only time I did belong was when I was hanging out with my juvenile delinquent friends in Massachusetts, but my folks moved us to California from Massachusetts because I just kept getting arrested. I wasn't your most stable teenager!" Meg's high school guidance counselor suggested that Meg might be better of in San Francisco and soon Meg found herself re-locating once again. After a while, Meg found her interests returning again to music. "My first gig was in a redneck pub. I got up and screamed this old Del Shannon song called 'Runaway' at the top of my lungs. The reaction was almost totally hostile, but it didn't matter: somehow, I got it into my head that I could be a really good singer."
Meg's first musical group, Felix Natural, sputtered in and out of existence with barely a trace of recognition "At the time, everyone was wearing black and chains and being all Gothy," Meg says, "I deliberately came out onstage wearing a Doris Day dress, nylon stockings and secretary pumps, and drinking a glass of milk. Everyone was mortified; the guitarist and drummer quit the band the next day!"
While studying video production and experimental art at San Fracisco State University, Meg spent a brief period as sound engineer for the university cafe and produced the first demo of school friends Faith No More on a four-track portable studio.
After the demise of another project, Teknofear, Meg launched to London; subsequently forming Crunch, an all-girl rock band she now laughingly describes as, "something like a grunge Spice Girls, except we had better songs and played our own instruments." After the dissolution of the Soviet Republic, Crunch had the distinction of becoming the first Western rock band to play in the Ukraine. However, the girls made little impression at home. "Our manager had this brilliant idea that we would never play live," says Meg. "We were just holed up in the recording studio the entire time. The good thing was that I learned a lot about engineering during that period."
Meg subsequently received an offer to audition for Garbage (before the advent of Shirley Manson) which resulted in a disappointing case of square pegs vs. round holes. Not to worry, Meg's fantastic vocal abilities soon found an outlet in Pigface, the unreserved and unpredictable industrial project led by drummer Martin Atkins of PIL, Killing Joke, Ministry, etc. "Pigface is the best live band ever," Meq insists, "They're just totally spontaneous; I did four or five tours with them because I loved it so much. Pigface tours, only happened about once every eighteen months, so the rest of the time I spent in my flat in London, working on demos and teaching myself audio engineering."
Piece and Love slowly evolved in Meg's living room. "The whole album was recorded on my computer" she says. "I used a sampler, a guitar, a bass, an analogue valve pre-amp, my Tannoy monitors, and my Pro-Mix One mixing desk. Martin took all the basic tracks that I recorded, and he chopped them and added his bits, like that really great bass sound on 'Heavy Scene'."
Meg's initiative and independence in audio engineering in the production of such a compelling debut bears pride and recognition which could alert other independently minded musicians to seize control of their own recording destinies. "I think there are going to be a lot of people who'll hear Piece and Love and go, 'Fuck! That little squirt did her own album,'" predicts Meg. "It might not have the expensive sheen you'd get from the studios that cost a million pounds a day, but I'm a pretty good songwriter and I think that definitely comes through, I like to think I've got fairly good taste, and that's something that's very rare, nowadays!"
and Love tracks:
Thing - guitars, vox, keyboards and Programming - Meg Lee chin. Sampled guitar - Fuzz D. Mixed by Martin Atkins at The Waiting Room.
More of a sing song, pleasure seeking groove through the darkened mosh pit of a club in L.A. long since gone, but quite the Sodom 'back in the Day'. I get so lost in my own memories, which have somehow become fused to the lyrics, when I listen to this music that's it's difficult for me to focus on anything not fused to the music... like what is this supposed to mean? And what's it made of? The opening lyrics actually speak of how, "It was a really boring night in Manchester," says Meg. And then the frantic trance of the hip hop dance and jungle grooves take over and "Helter Skelter" is thrown into the jungle, and the obsessive superego drives in and commands the body to let lose of the dissonance, focus and achieve. It's turmoil. It's chaos. It's set to music, and because it's real, it's beautiful this way.
Heavy Scene - guitar, vox, keyboards and programming - Meg Lee Chin. Mixed by Martin Atkins at The Waiting Room.
Of all the memorable songs on Piece and Love, Heavy scene is the one I hear in my head in the morning, even when the cd is again begging to be spun. This is hyper. I hear this and I imagine it's me having this much fun singing this song up on the stage, in the crowds. This is it! This is that fully-integrated song where you and your crowd are one, jumping, singing, felling the moment, sweating and exhilerating one another.
Nutopia - guitar, vox, keyboards, and programming - Meg Lee Chin. Guitars - Steve Crittall. Drums - Martin Atkins. Mixed by Martin Atkins at The Waiting Room.
Meg Lee Chin, prophetess on campus, in the street, carousing and gathering the crowd together in story and song. This one is by far the most recognizable, from years with PIGFACE. Listen to it again in relation now to all these other fantastic trips by Meg Lee Chin. One of the most widely quotable cds ever, the Nutopia track on Piece and Love seems more of a mantra and marching chant for those who love it than any other.
Sweat - guitars, keyboard and programming - Lee Fraser. Vox - Meg Lee Chin. Mixed by Martin Atkins and Chris Greene at ASI, Chicago.
Climb into your workout. Climb into your car and roll the windows down. let it all hang out ... "'cuz it's time to sweat it out!" Meg's irony and wit cuts through the b.s. like tight ropes cutting into skin. You won't walk away unscathed.
Swallowing You - guitar, vox, keyboards and programming - Meg Lee Chin. Bass & Guitars - Steve Crittall. Mixed by Martin Atkins at The Waiting Room. Manipulated at ASI, Chicago.
Flying into the release that is not catharsis, but instead escape. Exhilarating and liberating, you can taste the smiles and feel the freedom pouring from your body just imagining dancing to this music. Everything about this song screams spontaneity, liberation, uncertainty, and adrenaline bliss.
Sweet Thing - vox, keyboards and programming - Meg Lee Chin. Bass & Guitars - Steve Crittall. Talkvox - Mel Palmer.
And this... is the antithesis of "Swallowing You"! And I believe everyone can relate to the horrid self-loathing associated with the emotional sickness that sometimes follows impulsivity, regret, and a certain compulsion to reconcile.
Bottle - guitar, vox, keyboards and programming - Meg Lee Chin. Mixed and re-mixed by Martin Atkins at The Waiting Room.
Wavering in an out of visual clarity, racked in confusion and the sense of crying out to the world and not being heard, recognized, worthy, so much chaos and alcohol, and nightmares, and delerium, rather than dreams, depression, disconnection, disorientation... and then you wake up with a hangover listening to this song.
London - guitar, vox, keyboards and programming - Meg Lee Chin. Mixed by Martin Atkins at The Waiting Room.
Insomniatic perseverence, forgetting why? but it just goes on, the routine of self-persecution so familiar it's a mantra, a personal philosophy, a way of stability and consistency in existence. It has it's hang-ups, but at least you know what they are and can depend on them to be there for you. That's the mellow groove I get from this song. It's very relaxing. In my own mind, it's kind of a trippy ride through all these things I've described.
Deeper - guitar, vox, keyboards and programming - Meg Lee Chin. Vox - Jenny B. Mixed by Meg Lee Chin and Martin Atkins at Egg Studio and The Waiting Room.
Sexually seductive grindcore. Get into it, go thru it. Become part of it. Opening with sharply honest perspective. Bold truth can be very sexy. It's tough. Straight forward... raunchy in its richness. The music itself is so sexually compelling it's difficult to type. Slave to the beat.
Swallowing You (Subgenius Mix) - Keyboards and Programming - Martin King. Vox - Meg Lee Chin.
Deja vu... it hardly seems that way though.... this version seems so much more warped into the dance. I get lost in it... swimming through it. 'Swallowed up' in it. No doubt, nor confusion. It will absorb you. Get lost in it... hip-hop trance-dance.
The entrancing DIGIPAK cd packaging features artistry by photographic specialists Phoenix, and David Freeman.
Lee Chin - Meg@MegLeeChin.com
Meg's Engineering credits include:
PUBLICITY, CONTACT. CARL HANNI - MOD MEDIA
PO Box 5341, PORTLAND OR, 97228 PH/Fx: 503-239-8010 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
PO BOX 16008 CHICAGO, IL 60616 USA
PHONE/FAX: 312- 421-1443 - email: email@example.com
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola
Margot Day has already garnered many accolades for her work with Beastie Boy’s Adam Yauch and Nada Surf’s Ira Elliot as well as many other musical luminaries. Her website hits range in the 2k arena daily which indicates a growing underground phenomenon via word of mouth and club play. Clearly the solo work by this artist is forging new sonic frontiers, not unlike what Lene Lovich did in the 80’s. Day’s vocals manage to collide with the stratosphere and pierce it from the inside. Not since Lovich has any female singer come forth with an infectious style that is at once unusual, danceable, and unlike anything you may have heard before. The artist was classically trained in voice and flute, yet she demonstrates the ability to take it five steps beyond. She incorporates a hybrid of pop, goth, rock, techno, and industrial and whips it into a frothing new shape then delivers it back to the audience in a myriad of ways they would least expect.
"CyberDreams" starts as though it would be goth, transmutes into electro/industrial and then becomes something other worldly. Is it danceable? Hell yes. It also replays in your head and pulls us down the path that Day is marching us towards. One can’t help but feel that she is smirking and innocently saying to us to unleash our minds from any expectations. She will fill in any blanks you may have.
"Neptune" weaves dark percussion and electro EBM. The sonic blender is on frappe creating something that is 20 years ahead of itself. Vocally she starts out in a lower register, then soars the octaves through the layers of music offering elements of a dramatic futuristic opera diva .
"Wicked & Wize" mixes a touch of hip hop, EBM, industrial and middle eastern flavored vocals. At this point, it seems as if the artist is daring us to ignore her. It is impossible to do so. Just sit back and enjoy the ride because this is not something just anyone can attempt to create and make palatable.
"Radiating" is a funky grooving song that yet again pushes the envelope to flirt, undulate and castigate all at once.
"Sacred Life" dramatically opens with gothic style gongs, interlaced with militaristic drums and ambient sounds. Day has slowed the music down only momentarily to pull us into the drama of her world and vision.
"HereAfter" sounds like a post apocalyptic ambient lamentation where Day makes us feel devastation. Just when you think the song is going to stay relaxed, she becomes the growling banshee of retribution, rocking into the night. Here she takes her vocals on an excursion of high end soprano notes to low end rasp to push her message across.
"25th Hour" plays with sound samples and loops and just about any thing else she could get her hands on. This is Dali’s surrealistic clock painting come alive through sound.
"SoBeautifulSoDeadly" nods towards early punk rock but again mixes with so many hybrids that it is unclassifiable. This is the nano-second reinterpretation of Rilke’s quote about the terror of beauty.
"Sacred Dance" is an amalgamation of goth, industrial, illbient, EBM and pop all rolled into the vortex of a sonic Goddess who seems to have more mental tones in her head than the average human.
"Zenotopia" is probably the closest we come to traditional goth with the wolf howls, bubbling cauldron sounds, and wicked laughter. Day doesn’t stop there though. She includes a metronomic percussion to keep time with the bubbling and the wind which whips through the song at pertinent intervals. This is yet again another song, this time gothic, that is 20 years ahead of itself.
The Daydream section incorporates a live improvisation of tracks 11 through 13. It is not for the nervous and those less inclined to expand upon their exposure to something different. This part of the disc can be quite unnerving. If Day demonstrates that she can take ordinary genres and recreate them, imagine what she can do to totally terrify you! Let’s just say this section is the Exorcist meets Diamanda Galas and Jarboe and goes beyond THAT.
In some ways, Day is like Alice in the proverbial wonderland, only she is playing the role of Mad Hatter. She takes the boundaries of sound to swoop and swirl like a mad queen bee in a psychotic dive bomb. Despite the amount of movement and focus on switching the parameters of sound, you secretly get the feeling that Day is peering out of the corner of her eye, anticipating our next reaction. She stays focused and makes it appear as if she is not aware that we are present in her psychedelic world, but she is in full control of this work and knows just how to grab each reaction from us, her captive audience.
3. Wicked & Wize
5. Sacred Life
7. 25th Hour
9. Sacred Dance
12. High Noon
~review by Sonia Leonard
listened to the five track cd I have more good than bad to comment on.
I found the vocals of Martha M. Arce to be very deep in sincerity
and projection but if not watched may court the danger of sounding repetitive.
While her voice is pleasant I fear her range is unfortunately limited.
The subject matter she has chosen to write in her lyrics are mostly what
you would hear of anyone who has lost someone they want to continue to
Kept, of course, to the gothic fashion of writ and it’s trade mark angst. I would like to see her perform if her voice is any indication of her stage presence.
I appreciated the different styles of music put forward by Christian Kobusch. Imagination, being able to create melodies completely different from one song to the next is the mark of a true talent, (in my opinion) and Christian proves he has that. Together they make a good pair. This cd was copywritten in 1998, and hopefully more people will get a hold of it.
I listened to the whole cd many times and not without a critical ear. My observations are without prejudice, as with all reviews. What I have given is my soul felt opinion, starting with track number one.
1. You Want Me, You Hate Me- Starts almost retro. Kinda fun but not perky, rather sassy and sexy. Conflicts of the heart , body and soul in need. You can almost see a dominant/submissive relationship here.
coming to get you. You’ll be all right.
I’m crawling under your skin.
I am here.
the touch, it’s curse. You miss it so much.
Save me tonight
I am here.”
It’s really a catchy song. Vocals are bold at some points and pleading in others, adding to the conflict in the whole piece. After listening to it six times in a row I can say it is a winner in my opinion.
2. Drop- This song cuts dramatically from the first track. With great Faith and Muse type vocals and Edenesque flavors. It is a very compelling song. It makes you want to go out and dance your most passionate and tragic depiction of it. Although the length is about 5 mins, it really doesn’t seem like it. I can’t quite make out all of the lyrics but judging from the rest of the cd’s lyrics I’m sure it has something to do with loss. I would very much like to hear more of this kind of music from them.
3. Fear -Once again wonderful vocals giving the music an almost lonely soul. On the first listening the guitar/drums seemed dominant. Further listening proves a well mixed orchestral accompaniment Something you might hear in a main stream, vampire, action film, with awesome special effects in it. Listen to it and you’ll see what I mean. I noticed that vocals do seem to be a little washed out at points. Which is a shame because I like the despair and the all out passion Martha exudes in her powerfulvoice.
4 Those Eyes- “For you it was something to do. For me it was all about you.” Pretty much depicts what the song is about. Beautiful piano work when played , a little too long though. Takes away a bit from the tragedy of the song. Almost seeming too redundant towards the end.
5.In My Dream- A fast beat pausing only at the chorus momentarily. Vocals on this one seem to mimic the other songs in cadence. Which doesn’t seem to fit the music it is put with. Repeated chorus may keep from continuos play. I could almost hear it being played by some of the more main stream radio stations.
conclusion I can say I was impressed by this cd. I wasn’t sure at first
what to expect, but I found the different usage of instrumental sound and
almost haunting vocals to be truly well done. If you’re looking for industrial,
or something with a little bit more *umph* to it, you’d be better off avoiding
this one. For something slightly more different, you may want to check
This, for me, was one of those cd’s that you put in wondering what it’s all about. At first you’re not sure if you like it or not, then you find your head kind of bobbing with the music. I prefer industrial, ebm etc., but Distorted Reality is a nice breather from the heavier forms of music. Providing you are open to new things. It’s great break music for those songs in-between a nights worth of hard dancing. When you might want to sit down or get a drink, but still want to hear something that keeps your musical interest.
you would like to contact Distorted Reality you can;
E-mail -Melody King.
Call -(323) 912-0165
4705 Franklin Ave. Apt. #4
Los Angeles, CA 90027
~reviewed by Wolf
Tommy T. of DSBP records returns with his Diverje project, offering a disc with no less than 20(!) tracks. Instead of draining the listener's wallet with a seperate remix ep, Diverje combines 12 new tracks (Existence) with an additional 7 remixes, featuring the talents of Biopsy, Razed in Black, SMP, Testure, Matrix and Noxious Emotion.
The sound of Diverje ranges from traditional EBM to more experimental forms of industrial and electro. It's diverse and very well-produced, finding its main strength in aggressively pounding yet melodious tracks. On hightlights such as "Scream for Me", the almost melancholy "Existence", the crisp and trancey "Self Denied" and the somewhat :Wumpscut:-like instrumental "Mesmer", Tommy T. shows to be quite the master of his instruments.
For a release such as this the vocals aren't sub-standard, but they don't stand out either, which might be my only point of criticism. A clearer and more distinct vocal style would surely push the music to its full potential. Other than that the Existence part of this cd is a great display of Diverje's music and skills.
Program Remix features only one remix of an Existence track ("Existence" by Noxious Emotion) and the rest are all older Diverje favorites. All remixers leave their own distinct signature, with the Biopsy, Razed in Black and Testube contributions as the most remarkable.
An excellent cd with plenty variation, great remixes and a full 72 minutes of music. Diverje gives its fans more than worth their money, which has become quite a rare phenomenon. Keep up the good work, Tommy!
2. Scream for me
3. System Failed
6. Self Denied
8. Nothing to Believe
[track 13 is silence]
14. Outcast - Biopsy rmx
15. Digitized - Biopsy rmx
16. To Hell - Razed in Black rmx
17. Body Worship - SMP rmx
18. Manipulate - Testube rmx
19. Tragic Lost - Matrix rmx
20. Existence - Noxious Emotion rmx
Mike Whitten [3,8,18]
Official web site: http://dsbp.home.ml.org
Cyberage radio: http://cyberage.home.ml.org
Follow The Drip
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola
Drip packages very timely tunes that are a cross between The Cult, The Doors and somewhere between goth, post punk, alternative and psychedelica. The graphics that accompany this disc could leave art majors in a lengthy dissertation for quite some time.
"Bullwhipped" opens with creepy guitar twang that laments about the "kids" who take from one who has sacrificed for them. This is almost the message drummed out by elder parents who complain about the lack of responsiveness from their adult children.
"President Scum" takes direct aim at the previous scandals that surrounded our U.S. leader and lambastes the lies and the deceits we as a nation have had to tolerate. The song rails in punk fashion with a very catchy spoken sound that is layered underneath as a voice emerging from the water.
"She Male" never comes out to actually say anything other than to declare the beast within is causing torment. Lyrically, this is ambiguous that one can concede that either the protagonist is a she male or the angst ridden wife would like her mate to be more like her.
"O.J." with a song title such as this you would be correct in assuming it may be a nod towards a certain celebrity murder trial that riveted the world for far too long.
My Soul" is lyrically constructed with the finger on the pulse beat
of the disillusionment that surrounds the antipathy towards organized religion
today. "Controlled by fear - censor/
you hold them dear - scriptures/ I cannot hear - racists/and you can't save my soul." This mid tempo song is delivered rather passionately and seems to be a point of contention and concern with writer and singer.
"Waste Of Time" is your typical angry song about being a love slave and then tossed aside like yesterdays newspaper.
Into The Light" comes the closest to sounding goth/psychedelic with this
tune about viewing the insanity of the world. The latest news headlines
are captured and lyrically translated as a post script for the end of the
20th century. " I know it feels like cloudy days/ these plastic people
blind us with their haze/
Our leader's mouths filled with thorns hear them speak/Into this nation's lies we are born but we're all free/
And we see insanity And we see profanity/Should we bomb another nation enforce our peace/With our country's blindness revelation can’t we see?"
"Make It" introspectively tackles the reality of having to rely on the self while maintaining some semblance of dignity or else veer towards insanity and delusion.
"Chronic" is another angst written punk style tune dealing with someone who is chronically late, vapid and selfish who also tends to be pedantically obnoxious. This is the grief most guys experience from having to deal with someone who is daddy’s pampered princess.
"Inside Out" represents the mental dialogue that all is not safe in the world. It is youthful concern and hopelessness towards a world gone mad and made insane by those before us. "The armored fortress that is your mind/keeps out the real world but then you find/ outside the walls that you defend/the world is dying and it's the end/The end of time."
Jerk" is the crown of thorns worn by one who is a target of a society that
pre-judges who is redeemable and who is unworthy. "Got these horns on my
head /thought it was the devil but an angel instead/ I look closely through
your eyes/ see your soul it's my own demise /now I know I have to pay /
but I never give and I won't today."
"Bad Gas" is a castigation against Hitler and his army of master murderers who corrupted with power and hate. "Your master race has fallen from grace/Where you lay I'll piss on that place/Power has it's price /power is what they see/ Your hatred is what you've sown/Now it's what you'll reap!"
The Drip" is a rippling memory of being a victim of sexual abuse that haunts
and never seems to let go. "I was a child touched by your filthy
hands/death only smiles - I fight for a while/Oh my what we hide - secrets
of the past/ skeletons in the closets at last/have been exposed - dripping
echoes grow old /
flesh rotted away - fist through the wall of shame."
Although Drip is not my preferred style of music, I have to give this band great credit for musically tackling subject matters that remain somewhat taboo in most circles. They appropriately demonstrate the punk angst on some songs that require that type of energy and are just as able to pull back for a more introspective guitar work. A good portion of this CD could be equated as a time capsule of the last few years that closed out the decade of the nineties. If you like your alternative music to have something worthy of more than a five minute playing, I would highly recommend this band for their sheer presence to create cross genre sounds with lyrics that reflect our most recent past.
2. President Scum
3. She Male
5. Save My Soul
6. Waste of Time
7. Step Into the Light
8. Make It
10. Inside Out
11. Circle Jerk
12. Bad Gas
13. Follow The Drip
Politics Can Be Fun
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist
Formed in 1991 as a way of spreading propaganda and anti-propaganda messages, Eye combines the anti-government lyrical anger of punk with the sound of ebm/techno music. While their messages are aimed at Australians, they're done in such a way that they're not limited to that country.
The band's approach is like the title of this album states: fun. They use a lot of samples of political figures, and put them together in such a way as to make them sound completely incompetent.
"Mandate" is the best song on the disc, and seems to be a major hit in Australia, as the video for that song is seeing television play there.
There are also two tracks on the disc which feature remix work by Eye's sister band "aya" (now called elf, short for "Earth Liberation Front"). The remix work is done in such a way that the message and sound of the original band is preserved, which is the way that remixing should be done, in my opinion.
While this wouldn't usually be my sort of thing, I can at least derive some degree of amusement from the sampling on the disc, and I can also sympathize that the political situation elsewhere in the world isn't all that different from my own backyard. No politically-oriented show should be without this one.
2. Party Politicians part 1
3. Party Politicians part 2
4. (we need a proportional) House of Representatives
5. Respect the Mandate (aya mutation)
6. Goods & Services Tax
7. Puppets! (aya mutation)8. In Situ Leach Mining of Uranium by General Atomics at Beverly South Australia
9. Action = Life
10. Herd Under Social Hypnosis v.96
11. The Senate part 1
12. No Mandate
13. The Senate part 2
14. Transnational Corporations Own 90% of Australia but pay < 8% of the Tax
is J. Citizen
Smail: PO Box 1327 Woden, 2606 Australia
The Girl Pool
~reviewed by Kimberly
So I get this CD in the mail from Blu, asking me to review it. No problem. I pop it into my stereo, expecting to hear something that sounds like everything else. But wait, ohmygod, the band's really. I mean really good. I get all worked up thinking that I can have a new favorite band to obsess over. So naturally it makes sense that, when I get the band's history from Christian (lead vocals-very cute in an ubergoth sort of way. You can check out his pic at thegirlpool.com) they broke up three years ago.
The Girl Pool formed in 1995 in Athens, Ga. (is there pixie dust in the town's water, that they produce such glittering bands?). The band evolved from having a glam, new wave-y/synthpop feel to a darker sound. The lineup of The Girl Pool went through many changes before the band's final performance in 1997. By that time the band, consisting of only two members, laid down the tracks for this CD along with former bassist Michale. And now, sob, they will never be again. Winston Whitlock (major synthesizers) is now working on a project influenced by Missing Persons and Blondie; and Christian Engels (vocals, some synthesizers) is working on a project right here in NYC.
My favorite song on the self-titled album in "Paradise a.m.". I actually danced around my room to this track. The introduction has a "Poltergeist"-esque static quality to it. This combines seamlessly with the new wave dance beat and modern electric synthesized vocals in the song. Sounds improbable that two different genres of music could intertwine, but they do. The electronic effects on the vocals make Christian's voice a little hazy, but it almost doesn't matter.
"Technique", another great song, has a heartbeat-sounding introduction with echoing, hollow effects. Christian's voice sounds like many gossamer curtains wafting apart to envelop you. The song's lyrics are equally as entrancing- about an adored girl in the scene who's suffocating herself with the boredom and inanity of the cattier Goths. With lyrics like "Technique's on/there's terror in the hall/lips are dark and that isn't all/the eyes are watching everything", Christian makes jealousy sound sensuous.
Go out, and get this CD. Email Christian through the website, go into your local alterna-music store and comb the shelves, copy it from a friend. The album is one of the best I've ever heard from an "unknown".
Girl Pool was:
Christian Engels (vocals, minor synth work)
Winston Whitlock (major synth work)
1. Death Disco
2. Paradise a.m.
7. Space Angel
Demo & 3 Song CD
~reviewed by Matthew
When I attended the Pittsburgh Rhea’s Obsession show, a very friendly and well-dressed gentlemen was passing out copies of a band’s demo and after having a few words with him, he was kind enough to pass along both his band’s demo and latest 3 song EP.The gentleman was Erik Vaughn and promoting the band is Hollywood Morgue. He was very organized and professional, and it was very apparent that he had worked long and hard on this project. I wish him great success in all that he does, however, I have to admit, Hollywood Morgue is completely not my thing. Again, I stress, it is not my thing, which does in no way suggest it its not going to appeal to others. In fact, it seems that this style of music is really growing and acquiring quite a large fan base.
I guess you could describe this as glitter or glam, or what have you, as it is very fun and upbeat. Hollywood Morgue is a witty meshing of twisted beauty, and kinky sex with B-horror film sensibility, coming across in a very glamourous, polished way. Think new Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, TKK, and AstroVamps in a room on acid with some recording equipment and you can conjure up an idea of what this interesting DC outfit has to offer. The music is very tight, with a great production, and the vocals are a nice blend of harsh wails a la Manson at his best and shimmering Goth boy perfection. Keeping in check with the glam theme, they fit the bill, as nearly every female whose gaze passed over this tall and slender form were swooning over him all night long. The girlies are going to dig this band, I am telling you!
There is definitely an audience for this stuff, mainly in the younger crowds it seems, but regardless, I usually outright despise this kind of stuff being that it is completely the opposite of what I am into, but I admit, this was actually very catchy and memorable. The samples and choruses get stuck in your head instantly and you will be humming it for hours afterward. Some cute catty female vocals purr in and out amidst this horror/fashion show extravaganza, that are very amusing. All the elements are there and the most important thing is that it is focused and done well.
For those on the end of the underground rainbow where the colours areactually shining in, this is for you. You will be delighted with Hollywood Morgue and I would very much suggest you get in touch with these guys if it sounds like your thing.
5.) Sonic Vamp
6.) Sex Creep
7.) Sex Planet
EP Track List:
1.) Plan 9 Zombie
2.) Waiting On That Girl
3.) My Girlfriend’s A Whore
C/O Erik Vaughn
PO Box 230834
Centerville, VA 20120-0834
~reviewed by Matthew
Ah, I have loved these guys since day one. There are very few bands that possess the melodic majesty and frantic intensity of Sweden’s Hypocrisy. Returning with their sixth self-titled release, the band has expanded its boundaries even further, with beautiful guitar harmonies and layered vocal melodies that come across as very Pink Floydian in their ambience. Yet, the band began as a death metal act and they have not in the least abandoned their aggression all together, as the gruff and raspy vocals are still paired with haunting choirs and whispers. The songs seem to be split into separate categories, some being outright fast and speedy and akin to older material similar to the “Abducted” and “Final Chapter” CDs, while other tracks are twice as epic in scope and melancholic as anything from past releases. And there are a few tracks that are just outright mellow, ending with a colourful palette of sound for the listener.
seems to be a little bit of everything here, catering to the
black/power metal enthusiasts on tracks like “Apocalptic Hybrid.” But also to the brooding Goth metal atmosphere lovers on tracks such as “Paled Empty Sphere” and “Until The End.” There are even some shadows of punk rock vocal styles on the track “Time Warp.” The juggling of styles is commendable, as it not only reflects the range of the bands talent, but it keeps the listener engrossed and on their toes, as they really have no idea what to expect next.
Tagtren’s lyrical exploration of science fiction themes and alien abduction
is at its poetic best, and the music is very complementary to the wide
range of emotions that are linked with these themes, from anger, alienation,
despair, and outright fear. The lyrical content is very refreshing,
as it deals with an idea that is familiar to many and has never really
been touched on at such a personal depth before in the world of music.
This is by far some of Hypocrisy’s best and strongest material, but they are definitely following the path they set for themselves on the last few releases. It is doubtful that they will ever release an album as straightforward as say “Penetralia” or “The Fourth Dimension” again, but it is obvious that Hypocrisy has matured and I believe that their recent material is a solid cornucopia of all their styles past and present. They have found a successful balance amidst a wide range of material and for being able to successfully present so many different aspects of dark metallic music, they will go down in history as one of the best. This is essential for dark metal fans.
1.) Fractured Millennium
2.) Apocalyptic Hybrid
3.) Fusion Programmed Minds
4.) Elastic Inverted Visions
5.) Reversed Reflections
6.) Until The End
7.) Paranoia Mysteria
8.) Time Warp
9.) Disconnected Magnetic Corridors
10.) Paled Empty Sphere
11.) Self-Inflicted Overload
Peter Tagtren: guitar, vocals, keyboards
Michael Hedlund: bass
Lars Szoke: drums
"Damned In Black" CD
~reviewed by Kirin
Corpse paint is not a joke. It is not a fad. It is not "gay" and anyone who started using it because it meant something to them, should not stop using it just because Americans think it's silly. The Johnny-Come-Latelys to the "black metal" scene who spew this sort of "corpse paint is stupid" tripe are surely the result of the internet generation; so easy to have an opinion without doing the research. Lesson, Johnny: The second wave of black metal which was and is specifically Nordic, draws from very old Northern European traditions.
Corpse paint refers to the Wild Hunt, which appears in several old Nordic and other Northern European legends. As the story goes, a god or goddess, (Odin, Perchta,Bestla, etc.) rides forth in the night on a huge dark horse (a night mare?) and leads dead warriors back to their homelands. This is said to happen most often during high holidays like winter solstice. Other versions of the story say that the goddess or god, and his or her wild hunters, punish those who have not prepared their farms for the winter; this particular aspect of the Wild Hunt took place around the time we now call Hallowe'en. The human celebrants of these traditions donned hideous facepaint and animal pelts. They undertook berserker-like destruction of farms and farm animals. To appease the celebrants and the gods they represented, people began to leave offerings for mercy outside their doorsteps; (is this sounding familiar? Trick or treat, mates!) There were also apparently Northern European mystery cults akin to the Mithraic cults and mysteries, in which young male initiates participated in wild transmogrifications and acted out ecstatic orgies of death and destruction. These mysteries are surely where the idea of the "werewolf" in popular culture has come from; the magic pelts and the unleashing of animalistic fury are performed not to mimic the animal, but to *become* it. And all of this, Johnny, is where corpse paint comes from, and why it's not "stupid" to the people who use it, and why they should not be expected to cease use of their face paint when they come to America. To say so is as disrespectful and naive as to suggest that a Hopi Kachina dancer would look a lot coole without that shite all over his face.
In this spirit, I hope Immortal go right on blazing with their face paint and their nihilistic rage. For years they've been blasting the shite out of black metal with releases like "Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism." This release, "Damned In Black" is unquestionably the most slickly produced of the lot; it actually sounds almost like a completely different band than what you hear on, say, "Blizzard Beasts" or "Pure Holocaust." The drums on Damned in Black are finally brought up in the production, which is refreshing; the drumming on Immortal albums always seemed to get lost in the mix or sound like they were recorded from inside of a burlap sack. Damned In Black seems like a fine and natural progression for the band, and I think they can be proud of what they've achieved with it. They sound just as evil and berserk as ever, and the clean production has not ruined the raw spirit of the recording at all. The guitars skitter and skim over the demonically perverted drumming in a most delicious fashion. I'm happy that Immortal have been able to share their various talents with Americans, without pandering to the crowd of American "black metal" fans who actually believe that In Flames and The Haunted are black metal, and who think that Century Black Media somehow "found" black metal and brought it up from it's bad production and its ridiculous corpse paint. A pox on those people, and hails to fans of black metal the world over who continue to support the black metal underground.
-Wrath from Above
-Against the Tide
-The Darkness that Embrace Me
-In our Mystic Visions Blest
-Damned In Black
4470 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 6
Los Angeles, CA 90027
more information on The Wild Hunt, Black Metal,
and Nordic Black Metal:
of Chaos" by Michael Moynihan
and Didrik Søderlind (Feral House)
his journal called "Aorta."
Ask for information on how
to purchase the "Oskorei"issue.
(Remember, it takes two US stamps
to send a letter to Austria.)
Rising : A Book of Sin, Devil Worship and Rock 'n' Roll by Gavin Baddeley,
Paul Woods (Editor)
(Available from most booksellers.)
are endless books available about Norse Mythology. One of the ones
I've personally enjoyed is called "Myths of the Norsemen From the Eddas
and Sagas" by H.A. Guerber and is published
by Dover books.
~reviewed by Kirin
If you thought Impaled Nazarene scooped your brains out an threw them in the blender *before,* you gotta feckin' hear THIS!!! Not one but TWO guitarists beating the shite out of the harmony, and the drumming is as furious as you've come to expect from Impaled Nazarene. The bass alone is enough to make a person truly physically ill. Glorious. Bile and hatred veritably ooze from the speakers as this plays. Nihilism doesn't even begin to explain the ferocity of these lyrics and sounds. This may be the best Impaled Nazarene album yet, and who would've thought it could get any better? The added lead guitar into the fray is absolutely brutal and mindmelding; I've heard plenty of people say that the added lead makes Impaled Nazarene sound "gay" (the favourite word of the internet crowd, or so it seems,) but they must have wax in their ears 'cause brothers and sisters, this shite *blazes*. Furthermore, it's so good to know that Angel Rectums STILL Bleed.
The sequel is every bit as pulverising as the first bit of angel-buggery. Track four on Rapture and Nihil should be played especially loudly, to fend off the influence of any neighbours in your area who have the poor taste to paste those awful airy fairy simpering angels in every damned corner of their automobiles and homes. Make absolutely sure you see Impaled Nazarene live when they come to destroy a town near you; you'll leave pummelled, exhausted, and in a state of deafened bliss.
-Cogito Ergo Sum
-Wrath of the Goat
-Angel Rectums Still Bleed- The Sequel
-Nothing Is Sacred
-Assault the Weak
-How the Laughter Died
Jarno Anttila: Guitar
Reima Kellokoski: Drums
Alexi Laiiho: Guitar
Jani Lehtosaari: Bass
Mika Luttinen: Vocals
4470 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 6
Los Angeles, CA 90027
" Insect "
~Reviewed by Psionic Imperator
This cd is a teaser, only a three-song single. Sort of like one of those mini-bottles of Coke when you're really jonesin' for cola, you know? Lithium is the latest product of three enterprising Swedish lads, Carl Nilsson, Johnny Hagel, and Patrik Hultin. Interestingly enough (at least to ex-metalhead-types such as myself), Johnny Hagel has a previously established reputation as an ex-member of Tiamat, a well known experimentalist Doom/Death Metal band. So it was with an unusually hightened amount of curiosity that I popped this into my cd player... Would this be Tiamat-with-a-drum-machine? The answer to that question as it turns out, is no. Not quite.
about a little history before I leap into all of that though.. Sound good?
Lithium was formed in December, 1998 in Stockholm, Sweden. Home of many
notable death-metal bands, including Entombed, Dismember, and the infamous
Nihilist, Sweden has come a long way from being the spawning ground of
Abba, mostly as a result of Stockholm. Why do I keep harping on the Death
Metal element you ask? Well, mainly because with the exception of the aforementioned
Abba and perhaps Roxette, Swedish Death Metal has been the only truly brilliant
thing to be exported by that country in years... And I've come to expect
nothing but that from Sweden. Well, there's Covenant, too.. But I digress.
Lithium is so totally not what I expected, and I have only my ex-metalhead
biases to blame. Now before you come to think I'm absolutely enamoured
of this cd, hold back.. I'm not. But
it has many merits, enough to place it above much of the drek being spat onto shiny CD-R's these days.... Let's go over a few of those points, shall we?
has excellent production. I know that sounds like I'm grasping at straws
for nice things to say, but I'm not. It's truly superb production. Everything
is crispy and clean, without sounding slick and oily. If only more bands
paid this much attention to production values... *sigh* It seems to be
a lost art.
Lithium seems to have grasped the concept of 'Anthemic' music. This may be viewed as a bad thing by some people, but to me it's another lost art, especially in industrial-ish music. *boom boom boom Grr.. Arrggg...* But whatever happened to the days of music that had a memorable line to it? Something that stuck in your cerebral craw and made you want to chant along in a club? Another way to look at it is thusly: Lithium seems to have remembered how to actually write a song. Far too many projects these days are howling/whispering into effects boxes over 16th note basslines with a 4/4 kick-drum loop. Now, that's not to say I disagree with that style, but there is more to electronic music.
Carl Nilsson doesn't suck as a vocalist. Again, you might think that's a flippant comment, but I have heard more than my fair share of decent bands that are _completely_ ruined by the vocals. Lithium's vocals are strong enough to complement the band, and contribute to the overal sound. Impressive, I think.
you said you weren't blown away by this cd? What gives!?"
Well, I'm not. Here's why: Lithium aren't doing anything we haven't heard before. Striking a sort of cold-waveish sound, Lithium isn't heavy enough to appeal to the guitar-fiends, and yet at the same time isn't electronic enough to appeal to the EBM fans. There are plenty of fans of the Ministry/NineInchNails/KMFDM sound that this would appeal to, (eerily sounding nothing like any one of those bands, but just like all of them combined...) but I personally am not one of those people. Lithium doesn't caress my spine in that 'special' way, so while I admire just about all of Lithium's qualities, combined it doesn't make me shiver with glee. But WAIT!! (He said eagerly) The thing we must examine here, the lynchpin of my entire review is this: I'M AN ELITIST! So, stripping away my personal biases, I would recommend Lithium in a second as one of the most accomplished new projects to come along in quite some time. For all the reasons stated earlier, Lithium are a project to watch out for. Not everyone is as picky as I am (thank the Gods), and when Lithium releases their full-length (provided they recieve the promotional support they deserve), they will hit home like a hammer.
1 - Insect
Track 2 - Failure
Track 3 - Ugly Friend
Nilsson - Vocals/Machines
Johnny Hagel - Machines
Patrik Hultin - Guitars
and produced by Johnny Hagel and Carl Nilsson
Recorded and Mixed at Cellar Studios
Lithium C/O Johnny Hagel
167 57 Bromma
Of The Well
My Fruit Psychobells: A Seed Combustible
~reviewed by Matthew
As you will see in my review of Rain Fell Within and perhaps from past reviews, I am an avid fan of Gothic metal. I always appreciate it when new bands emerge and attempt to expand the boundaries of both the Gothic and metal genres and succeed in lurking somewhere between the two. Maudlin Of The Well are certainly one of the bands that are pushing at those walls and integrating a more experimental and unique aspect to their music. Hailing I believe from New England somewhere, the band could be regarded as the King Crimson of Goth metal in their own right. They use bizarre and often psychedelic approaches to their music, and they blend it successful with the vintage death vocalled doom of the days of yore. Yet stirring up their concoction and keeping a variation with heartfelt alto female vocals and lush clean throated male vocals. Their music is epic in its scale, as most songs are usually exceeding six to seven minutes in length. I was surprised and delighted to hear in the second track “A Conception Pathetic” an intro that hearkens back to death thrash a la Testament in a blender with Napalm Death. The variety that this band successfully utilizes is very impressive and is responsible for an engrossing listen and a bizarre journey into a sea of surreal and somber dream like melodies. The use of clarinet and trumpet has an oddly discordant and eerie effect, and expands a bit on the atypical use of violin or piano.
There are several memorable moments on this disc. The opening track sets a great tone, with the female vocals atop cathedrals of dense guitar and male vocals weaving in and out of a strange and bizarre break. “Pondering A Wall” is absolutely magnificent in its intensity, with a thrashy interlude that would incite an old-school circle pit within seconds, yet still retains a despondence about it that doesn’t destroy the mood, which is then expanded upon with an eerie passage of female vocals and more schizophrenic strangeness. The track that stands out the most to me is the central track “Catharsis Of Sea-Sleep…” which begins with a great watery guitar line; swingy, danceable drums fade in and then the clarinet and chorused guitars trade melodies back and forth, while a gruff daemonic voice laments lyrics that are again very Lovecraftian in approach. The song breaks down and is then reminiscent of Theatre Of Tragedy and old My Dying Bride, but still retaining its own touch, and back again to the lovely clarinet/watery guitar passage. Yet it doesn’t end there; the song builds up again to reach an utterly anguished dirgey climax that is absolutely heartwrenching. Brilliant and a permanent addition to my homemade Goth metal comps I comprise for the curious.
Maudlin Of The Well were a wonderful surprise, as I knew not what to expect, though never would have expected the majesty and brilliance they are responsible for. Again, Dark Symphonies records triumphs, first with Autumn Tears and then doubly with the signing of Rain Fell Within and this refreshing and memorable outfit. Fans of Goth metal take heed! This is some seriously excellent material!
1.) Ferocious Weights
2.) A Conception Pathetic
3.) Undine And Underwater Flowers
4.) The Oceans, The Kingdom, And The Temptation
5.) Pondering A Wall
6.) Catharsis OF Sea-Sleep And Dreaming Shrines
7.) Blight Of River Systems
Of The Well are:
Jason Byron: voice
Maria-Stella Fountoulakis: voice
Greg Massi: lead guitar
Tobias D.: guitar, bass, keyboards, voice, and clarinet
Jason Bitner: trumpet
Realm Of Shadows
~reviewed by Matthew
I have been bitching quite a bit lately due to the fact that there seems to be a serious drought of bands that actually come across as sinister and even remotely dark. There seems, however, to be a surplus in bouncy dancey things, and though I am all for a good synth pop, Industrial or Black Metal album once in awhile, the truly miserable Goths out there are being neglected. We have no where to turn save for the same old Death In June, Current 93, or Sopor Aeternus albums. Well, thankfully, there is at least one new CD in my collection that causes me to smile in pride when the chills run up my spine and despite the blazing damnable sun of May, I feel as though winter was not too far behind.
So here is this wonderful orchestral outfit by the name of Midnight Syndicate, who’s song titles ring bells that chime “D & D” or what have you, but they are actually one of the most effective ambient/soundtrack type bands around today. They set a stark atmosphere with the use of desolate Lisztian piano, peeling funeral bells, ghostly choirs, dense string passages, and miscellaneous wind effects, whispers, and occasional spoken word. The cool thing is, none of it comes across as cheesy; instead it retains a quality not unlike the score of an avant garde psychological horror film. It has its occasional mischievous classical marches and such, but overall, this is a great CD for background meditation, and the perfect music for sleeping to if of course you wish to colour your dreams with surreal, mediaeval torment images. Which is always a good thing.
I highly recommend this. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that its just boring and repetitive because its ‘orchestral’ or whatever, its actually very engrossing and one of the most listenable records I have heard in quite awhile. In fact, this is a conceptual album that explores the mystery of an abandoned city that fell prey to an ancient daemonic force that blanketed the city in darkness and unnerving silence. Quite Lovecraftian in scope, with a healty dose of medieval legend to balance it out. The inspiration to create strong and memorable music is easily heard within Midnight Syndicates shadowy masterpiece very impressive and sincerely effective.
2.) Into The Abyss
3.) Noctem Aeternus
5.) Eye Of The Storm
7.) Among The Ruins
8.) Realm Of Shadows
9.) Raven’s Hollow
10.) Beyond The Gates
11.) The Summoning
12.) Spectral Mist
15.) Serpent’s Lair
16.) Black Woods
17.) The Night Beckons
18.) Legions Of The Dead
19.) Witching Hour
20.) Harbored Souls
10035 Woodview Drive
Chardon, OH 44024
Frames of Technicolor
~reviewed By: BlackOrpheus
Recently the Middle Pillar label granted me the opportunity of reviewing their recent release The Mirror reveals "Frames of Technicolor". I had a premonition about the contents of this album as I admired the cover art of Alphonse Mucha. This is unquestionably one of the most moving albums I've heard this year. A great album is like a great movie. Special effects can often redeem pedestrian movies, this is also true of albums at times. It is the rare movie, and rarer album that addresses the viewer - listener on more than the most superficial level. This is just such an album. It is articulate, and rife with the melancholy poetry of experience, and increasing awareness. Kit Messick's (former Unto Ashes vocalist) voice wraps itself caressingly around James Babbo's words, and the music responds as any lover would.
"Confined" is the appeal of the emotionally unreachable heart, for understanding and patience. It wants, and needs to connect with another. When Messick sings "And I feel so alive, hoping these worlds collide," you feel the trembling anticipation of a potential fulfilled. Her sense of twilit isolation is re-enforced by night time sounds in the intro. Her voice stands out naked, and vulnerable against the canvas of supporting guitar work.
"Moebius Stripped" was a plaintive lament. A sparse guitar opened this track, before the beat kicked in. Kit's voice is an effective tool, at wringing the last ounce of sentiment from a lyric. This is a song of duality: rejection, and embrace. "Simply amazing to see, Shallow and torn away, One moment rejected, and then resurrected in two" is a poignant reminder of the war that rages inside. It is a war of passion, and insensibility.
"The Undying Man" could serve as an allegory about the severance of love on a great many levels. It is seldom regained as easily as we might hope. As this song illustrates so well, the gods are often arrayed against the very things we think will supply us with the greatest happiness. The male vocal, is an effective foil for Kits vocal. This is a myth that will never grow old, as it is replayed again and again.
In conclusion I'd like to express my thanks to MiddlePillar. The Mirror Reveals "Frames of Technicolor" is a work of uncommon skill, and passion. "The musician, like the mathematician, lives in a complex but tractable realm. it is vast, airy, and metaphysical, but in it his intelligence can freely function, and his faculties can find their peace." I have listened to it countless times now, and enjoy it more with each listen. I think many of you may respond to it as well.
3) Moebius Stripped
4) In A Box
5) Dreaming of Myself
6) In A Memory
7) The Undying Man
8) Frozen In Time
Mirror Reveals are:
James Babbo - Words & Music
Kit Messick - Vocals
Middle Pillar Distribution
P.O. Box 555
New York, NY 10009
Toll Free (USA) Order-line: 1-888-763-2323
Foreign & New York City Hotline: 1-212-378-2922
~reviewed by Wolf
the name Moev ring a bell? Not surprising if it does, because this
band's origin can be traced back all the way to the early eighties. With
releases on both Nettwerk and Atlantic, Vancouver based Moev was a big
name during those years, treating the public to albums such as Yeah Whatever,
Down and Wanting. At that time the line-up consisted of Tom Ferris, Cal Stephenson and vocalist Dean Russell. The latter sadly passed away several years ago, but despite the loss of their friend and fellow musician, the members of Moev returned to their music once more. The band's reinforced line-up now includes Julie Ferris (vocals) and Drew Maxwell (vocals/guitar/programming), with Tom and Cal still showcasing their mastery of eletronics. Signed to COP for the distribution of Suffer and with a brand new full-length in the works, Moev is ready to impress the industrial/electronic audience once again.
first question begging to be answered was of course how the new sound would
compare to Moev's back catalogue. The electronics on Suffer are certainly
state-of-the-art and updated
considerably, but that was to be expected. And Moev's music is still of the darker electronic kind, but with a synthpop touch to it. If it needs a name then industrial-pop would suit it nicely, but most importantly Moev still has its own sound, even after almost 2 decades.
"Suffer" starts off this 5-track ep with an instant example of Moev's crips sound. The vocals are lush and alluring, perfectly paired up with the compositions which float with ease from one segment to the other. This particular is track is very cheerful and light, but not any less captivating. The Mindfuck Mix is slightly darker and more aggressive, making for the best choice for a DJ's setlist.
there's "Complications", which provides a beautiful harmony of both Julie
and Drew's vocals. Again there's a very light and free feel to the song;
irresistably pleasant and bound to repeat itself in your head over and
over. Moev appears to have discovered the fine art of combining today's
electronic edge with
the wonderful (synth)pop feel of the eighties. It seems to me that their current sound will appeal to a widely varied audience, granted that the listener isn't looking for the conventional and predictable.
"Crossfire" is a lot harder and can be considered the ep's perfect instrumental contribution. The beats are firm and the synths and samples relentless in their assault. At first it's a bit of a switch from the first 3 tracks to this one, but after a few spins in my cd player I came to appreciate this track as much as the other ones.
However, at the end something very special awaits the listener: "Saviour". This song has haunted me for weeks now, begging to be played whenever it's not in my reach and engraved in my memory with every one of its infectious beats, catchy lyrics and splendid synths. As with the other songs there are many changes in "Saviour", keeping it interesting from beginning to end. This song is the prime example of Moev's ability to create dark and catchy pop without compromising the integrity of the legacy they temporarily abandoned at the end of the eighties.
All in all a great ep and if this is a hint of what can be found on the forthcoming album, then we're in for a treat. It's quite clear that this is a group of musicians with plenty experience in both the musical field, as well as life in general, to create exactly what they envision. There's something irresistable about their compositions and Moev certainly seems to be back to stay.
3. Suffer [Mindfuck Mix]
Official web site: http://www.moev.net
Cop International: http://www.copint.net
~reviewed by Matthew
Interesting and avant-garde Goth rock/metal from California. There is just so much going on with this band, that is really difficult to describe their music, as it is more of a virtual experience. The closest I can come is to describe them as a darker, more emotionally bleak version of VAST, but that still is not fair to this highly unique band. Characterized by hard rock guitar, with a fuzzy distortion and many lead solos and riffs that have an almost Egyptian quality to them, the band definitely sports a fresh sound.
The rhythm section is that of a drum machine and sparse electronics that reflects early nineties club industrial. The vocals are a deep baritone that flirts with whispers and traditional Goth rock stylings a la Carl McCoy of Fields Of The Nephilim. There are haunting classical passages comprised of violins, cello, and piano which stretches the atmosphere further. There are a lot of familiar elements within this band, however, I can think of really no other band that has approached it from this angle and incorporated the way that Museum has.
I believed this is their first release, and I have to admit “Lost” contains one of the coolest and entrancing intros I have heard in quite sometime with the opening trancelike “Forgotten Library.” The first half of the CD is much more guitar driven and upbeat, while the latter half sort of plunges into darker, more ambient pastures and the guitars switch off the overdrive and acquire chorus and flange for a more watery style and the classical orchestration starts to acquire a greater presence. Again, another band that shows variety and keep the listeners on their toes.
Museum takes a lot of pride in their work, as reflected in the artwork and extensive packaging adorning the lyric booklet and the bands interactive website. I could think of no better name for this band, for they are indeed a museum of sound and vision. There are spirits of all sorts and backgrounds haunting the halls these artists have decorated. Every listen yields yet another discovery and a new appreciation is garnered as well. I highly recommend this CD to those who are in search of something a little different yet not too far-gone and lacking a central focus. Passion is the center of this band, and I can scarcely recall a band with a passion as engrossing and contagious as this. An excellent CD from a band with a lot of ambition and creative intellect.
1.) Forgotten Library
2.) Passing Time
3.) Even Now
4.) Cut Inside
6.) A Tragedy
8.) Everything Is You
9.) Captured In Photographs
10.) Your Sin
Michael Danke: voice & programming
Toshi Yangai: guitars & violin
Chad Rafferty: keyboards & backing voice
Tim Santen: bass
Junichi Murakawa: guitar
Martha Lippi: cello
Daphne Chen: violin
Gorgeous Interactive Web Site:
9121 Atlanta Ave
Hunting Beach, CA 92646-6309
"Vol1: Le Theatre Du Vampire" CD
~reviewed by Kirin
Those of you familiar with the name "Snowy Shaw" will play the heck out of this. I can't comment on his work with Ill Will and Memento Mori, because I've never heard it, but I dare say his days with Mercyful Fate contribute greatly to the epic and theatrical flavour of this recording. Wolven Joker Lokison has written in the promo material that this sounds like "King Diamond meets Type O Negative meets Swedish Black Metal doing a guest appearance on The Muensters [sic] narrated by Dr. Suess..." and I couldn't agree more. A very apt description.
If you're looking for hardcore black metal that nothing but pure devastation, you'll be disappointed; however, if you approach this album with a sense of playfulness and a willingness to partake in the sort of oratorical splendour that Kind Diamond has perfected, you'll find yourself enjoying this recording immensely. In fact, technically speaking, this album is as good and better than most of the "theatrical black metal" bands out there that take themselves so terribly seriously. Kudos to Snowy and all his Notre Dame partners in crime for delving deep into the poisoned guts of darkness in a musical sense, and for incorporating all the camp and pomp and circumstance of theatre in a way that is both stunning to listen to, and is a damned good time as well.
-Le Theatre du Vampire
-Bouffoon Bloody Bouffoon
-Vlad the Impaler
-I Bring Nosferatu You
-A Sleigh-ride Through Transylvanian Winterland
-Faust: The Ghostwriter
-Black Birthday (Hip Hip Hooray)
Shaw: He-male voice, four and six strings.
Vampirella: She-male voice.
Jean Pierre de Sade: Four and six strings.
Mannequin de Sade: Lead drums and ill behaviour.
4470 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 6
Los Angeles, CA 90027
~reviewed by Kirin
"You are in a train, in Germany. Now the train is sinking. You will drown. On the countof ten, you will be dead. 1... 2... " Thus begins track five of the "Decay" CD, and if I could pick one track to define the tone and the focus of this CD, this track, titled "Tormentor," would be it. Nothing Inside seem to operate from the notion that the only way around despair, is through.
This album is settled decidedly in the very center of the heart of darkness. Again, comparisons must be drawn to the early work of Skinny Puppy. These sounds pique nerve-endings that Shiny Happy People don't even know they have. These songs come straight from the ache that is a result of being truly awake and alive in a world that is based, as the Buddha would tell you, on Sadness. 'Nice to know too, that Nothing Inside have their sense of humour intact. At the bottom of the credits page, are two words: "PUPPY MODE."
Indeed. Assuming that all the Skinny Puppy and Depeche Mode allusions made, probably, by the music press, have become a bit clichéd, (mea culpa!) it is reassuring to know that Nothing Inside don't mind. It is always meant as the very highest compliment. Whilst Nothing Inside seem to draw from the same deep well as those two bands, do not be lead to believe that Nothing Inside are not totally original. They are. I cannot possible rave loud enough and long enough about this band. If you dont' own any of their work yet, please, do yourself a favour, and get at least one of their CDs. "Decay" would be a fine place to start.
-The Sweetest Revenge
~reviewed by Kirin
Pure dark synth ecstasy. 'Takes me right back to downtown LA, circa 1987: artschool, Depeche Mode, Skinny Puppy, and the Cure blasting from almost every dorm room. Walls all painted black, little blinking Christmas lights, clove cigarettes, and the first gleaming fervors of the high-desert rave scene. Electronic music seemed so wondrous and heady and endless then. From Joy Division to Kraftwerk and beyond, I was convinced that electronica and only electronica would ever bring me joy. Of course, in time, I dug out my old Led Zeppelin and Who and Hendrix vinyl again, but I will always and forever have a deep and abiding love for just the sort of music that Nothing Inside make. This music goes straight to the centre of all that makes dark synth pop beautiful and good. Oddly enough, Nothing Inside manage to sound original and interesting in a genre that has been covered and recovered and reinvented several times already. An amazing feat, indeed, but they make it seem easy. If, like me, you still adore your New Order, Skinny Puppy, and yes, even Depeche Mode albums, take heart: Nothing Inside are doing it just as elegantly as it was done back then, with all the exotic aching and all of the deep regret that touched you before. Far far beyond highly recommended!!!
-A Matter Of Faith
-Willing To Lie
-Our Perfect Dream
-Empty (Remnants of Tension mix)
-End (Bitter Fragments)
This Album, Nothing Inside are:
Rome Clegg: Voice, synths, samples, percussion, programming.
Mike Coleman: Synths, samples, digital mutation.
Chris Camillo: Synths, samples, sequential deviation.
Stephanie Stinson: "Other voice on tracks 3,7,10, and sporadic keyboards on 7".
~reviewed by Kirin
If you remember my last rave review of a Nothing Inside album, you most certainly won't be shocked by this one. I'm gonna make a grandly sweeping statement which is downright heretical. I like this 1997 Nothing Inside album better than what I'm hearing of the new Cure album. I like it better than what Depeche Mode and New Order's last offerings to the world have been; (including Peter Hook's Monaco, etc.) I like it as much as I like the very first Skinny Puppy album, (and that's saying quite a bit.) Nothing Inside seem to understand the genre of dark pop better now than the masters who created it do. Maybe it's a little unfair to throw the Cure in there, being that Robert & Co. are much more guitar driven than what Nothing Inside are doing, but nevertheless, my point is that Nothing Inside capture the atmosphere I used to depend on the Cure for, far better than the Cure has been doing lately. Sacrilege, I know, but... well, I haven't heard Bloodflowers in full yet, so I'll just leave that statement where it lays. (You may well argue that the masters don't WANT to create that atmosphere anymore, and you might be correct in that.)
The refreshing thing about Nothing Inside is that they still sound hungry. They make dark synth pop sound refreshing again. They make it sound new again and wondrous again and vital again. I don't know how they do it, but they breathe new life into a genre that died a slow, painful, and horrendous death. Frankenstenian blessings to them. This album is all delicate beauty and painful mournings, and it deserves to be right up next to the best of the best of the 80s albums that got us using black marker for lipstick in the first place.
-just like you said
-elegy (for a small warm dog)
-i want to see you die
Rome Clegg: Voice, synths, electronics, samples, percussion, programming.
Stephanie Stinson: Other voice, keyboards, management.
PO Box 8521
Atlanta, GA 30306
"Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants" CD + 1
~reviewed by Kirin
First, let me say that I've disagreed with the critics about Oasis ever since they started saying that Oasis went to hell with "Be Here Now." I couldn't disagree more, and Be Here Now is one of my favourite albums. Liam has never been as deliriously swaggering as he was on "My Big Mouth." The critics now are saying that Standing On the Shoulder Of Giants is a flop. I don't know what *they're* hearing, but to my ears, this album is another stroke of genius from the Madchester lads. The song "Gas Panic!" is one of their best ever, and the line "cos my family don't seem so familiar and my enemies all know my name" was stuck in my head for days. "Go Let It Out" would be this summer's anthem in America, if folks in the States had any musical taste at all. "Go Let It Out" is the "Penny Lane" of Standing On The Shoulder. Perhaps what the critics can't quite stomach is the fact that the man who wrote "Cigarettes And Alcohol" is now writing songs with the depth and tenderness of "Who Feels Love?" "Where Did It All Go Wrong?" and "Roll It Over." I find it disgusting that people would actually expect a man whose life has gone like Noel Gallagher's, to keep writing about football hooliganism, when he's been through so much more now than just that.
It would be downright dishonest of him if he started writing about something different than what he's *always* written about, which is Noel Gallagher. Liam also makes a lyrical outing with "Little James," which is hauntingly sincere, considering it comes from the man who popularised the term "cuntybollocks" not so long ago; I always knew he was hiding a good man beneath that sneer. This particular limited CD comes with an extra disc which contains the single of "Go Let It Out," plus an extra song called "Let's All Make Believe." Let's All Make Believe features Noel on vocals, and is stunningly melancholic and full of the sort of longing that only a man like Noel could feel-- the emptiness of having made so much money and gained so much fame so quickly. The sadness of a man who's lost friends and family all along the way in his life, and who holds on, like all music lovers hold on, by the skin of our sonic teeth. (The single version of "Go Let It Out" contains "Let's All Make Believe", plus "(As Long As They've Got) Cigarettes In Hell.")
I must also highly recommend the recently released single for "Who Feels Love?", the B-side of which is a remake of "Helter Skelter." John would surely have been pleased by Liam's slur and slide, and the giddy horror of Oasis' generous interpretation. 'Dunno what Macca would think, but if I run into him, I'll surely ask. Anyway, don't listen to what the critics say. They can sod right off. This album is glorious.
1. Fuckin' In The Bushes
2. Go Let It Out!
3. Who Feels Love?
4. Put Your Money Where Yer Mouth Is
5. Little James
6. Gas Panic!
7. Where Did It All Go Wrong?
8. Sunday Morning Call
9. I Can See A Liar
10. Roll It Over
1. Go Let It Out
2. Let's All Make Believe
a division of Sony Music
550 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10022-3211
Frozen promo single
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist
This one track single from California band Pseudocypher is from the forthcoming album "Fragments of Empathy," which is planned to be a self-released and self-distributed album. This will be the band's second full length release.
It's extremely difficult to judge a band by just one song, but "Frozen" is an interesting track. They have a sort of modern gothic style to them, and there's definitely some interesting synth work going on. The duet's vocals work well together, with Christopher's in the foreground, and Rhonda's much quieter, accenting it in places.
Again, as it's very difficult to judge a band by one song, I won't state whether or not I like it. What I will say is check them out for yourself.
is Christopher Anton and Rhonda Amber
~reviewed by Matthew
In my ever present joy, unfaltering interest and undying respect for Gothic metal, I find that there seems to be a never ending supply of bands exploring this genre, and rarely is there a band that I do not find some element of originality or unique expansion upon what the greats such as My Dying Bride, Theatre Of Tragedy, and Anathema invented before them. However, there is rarely a band that ranks as high as those aforementioned forefathers, and without blinking or feeling at all that I am abusing flattery, I can say that Rain Fell Within are sharing wine and supping with the greats. What is even more impressive to me is that this quintet is from Virginia and not some desolate snow capped villa of Norway or some rain fogged moor in Britain, where most of the bands of this ilk hail. Perhaps there is hope for America in this genre besides Somnus, Morgion, and Type O Negative.
Regardless, this band is supremely gifted. Their music is upbeat, melancholic, intense and absolutely breathtaking. All the elements of gothic, doom, and power metal are present and crafted to a perfection that is sincerely awe-inspiring. With their musical majesty as fine-tuned as it its, they basically could have had any singer and it would have worked. Instead though, they found one of the most entrancing female vocalists I have ever heard in this genre. I do not know the extent of her training, but I honestly have rarely heard a soprano voice as powerful and emotionally devastating as this lovely siren whom the angels have named Dawn. Her voice just absolutely drips with sadness, yet she is spirited, alive, and animated with an energy that is accented rather than smothered by her apparent grief. Her voice is warm, and resonates with a clarity atop the woefully blended distortion, icy pianos, and thudding doom drums. She has a power that needs to be recognized, and she has without a doubt led my ship crashing into the rocks and I care not if I drown if her voice is to be the last sound I heard. Dramatic? Very. Wait until you hear the music, you will understand.
If this band continues in the direction they have started with, all other bands might as well quit if they seek to oust this band from where they will soon be reigning. If you buy no other gothic metal CD, if you own no other gothic metal CD, even if you hate the idea of gothic and metal music paired together, it doesn’t matter. I am willing to stake you will not be disappointed in this and will recognize the beauty in the melodies and atmosphere this CD is comprised of. If anyone reads my reviews, if anyone gives a damn what I say, email Dark Symphonies and order this CD. This is by far the most captivating Gothic metal to see the light of day.
1.) A False Reality
4.) Sorrow Becomes Me
5.) The Sun In My Wound
Fell Within Are:
Dawn: vocals & keyboards
Charles: fretted/fretless bass
PO Box 222713
Chantilly, VA 20153 USA
RESISTOR: An Electro Dance Compilation
~reviewed by Matthew
This comp is a MUST for darkwave/EBM DJ’s. Comprised by Nilaihah Records, this release features big name acts as well as up and coming acts, united by the frequent use of female vocals. There are remixes, alternate versions, and altogether unreleased material featured here, and in all honesty, every song has a memorable quality and every song is dance floor friendly.
Some tracks stand out to me more than others, The Azoic of course, always being one of my favourite bands, have contributed “Progression,” sort of a teaser of what is to come with their third full length release later this year. Kristy’s voice is smoother and more resonant than ever! An excellent track, further along the synth-pop edge than the oppressive frightening style they have been moving away from since their first release. Which is disappointing yet exciting at the same time to witness their maturity and ascension into a new realm they are obviously more comfortable with. Though still very dark, the song is more polished and electronic.
Athan Maroulis of Spahn Ranch appears with TNV for “Televisiual,” which is one of the tracks featuring exclusively male vocals. Very cool, I think anyone would make an exception for Athan to sing!
A breathtakingly beautiful contribution from a band called Distorted Reality highlights this disc for me. “In My Dream” is a hypnotic track, with sweet female vocals and great techno break beats. A beautiful and driving track, with a great melancholic vibe. Simply gorgeous and has me on a quest to find more material from this Florida act!
The offerings from This Ascension and Autumn are also standout tracks, as both bands driving, anguished Goth Rock sound as been slightly modified with an electronic edge. Yet still present are those powerful, deep female vocals to retain what fans are already familiar with and love about these acts.
Advent Sleep surprised me, as I find their usual style of metallic Goth rock sort of trite and tiresome, this was pretty cool. Wrought with feeling and spooky watery guitar and female vocals from Anita Haxsaw (lol! What a name!). Very cool surprise…
Attrition contribute a live version of “The Mercy Machine,” which can be found on the new live album they have just released. The original version is from “The Hidden Agenda” though this version is more akin to their new style of dark Electro found on “The Jeopardy Maze” CD.
Oneiroid Psychosis close the disc with their classic spine chilling darkwave style, this one with Kristy of The Azoic to add a little extra ambiance.
It is difficult to review this CD as each track deserves a positive nod, but I can safely recommend this comp to electronic and darkwave fanatics, as every song is of a superb quality and conviction. An excellent scrapbook of the new wave of darkness fogging our clubs.
1.) FICTION 8 – Let’s Go
2.) GOD MODULE – Resurrection
3.) THE AZOIC – Progression
4.) TNV w/ ATHAN MAROULIS – Televisiual
5.) DISTORTED REALITY – In My Dream
6.) INERTIA - Regime
7.) BIO-TEK – Shield
8.) THIS ASCENSION – I Wish (Rivers Mix)
9.) MAGENTA – Eccentricity
10.) HEAVY WATER FACTORY – Transluent Amber
11.) THE STRAND – Cleanse
12.) MANHOLE VORTEX – Loss
13.) AUTUMN – Still Breathing
14.) ADVENT SLEEP/ANITA HAXSAW – Guardian Angel
15.) THE MACHINE IN THE GARDEN – Control
16.) ATTRITION – The Mercy Machine (live)
17.) ONEROID PSYCHOSIS – Non Omnis Moriar
PO Box 82614
Columbus, OH 43202
Between Earth and Sky
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist
It always makes me happy when independent Canadian bands obtain any degree of international success. Rhea's Obsession, out of Toronto, has definitely done that by recently being signed on Metropolis. Hopefully this milestone in their career will make their beautiful music more accessible to many people around the world.
Flawlessly combining classical ethnic music with a modern sound, Rhea's Obsession leaves bands like Dead Can Dance behind in the dust. "Between Earth and Sky" is the followup to their independent first disc, "Initiation," released in 1996. The band has been kept very busy since then, however -- two of their tracks were used on the cult television series La Femme Nikita, bringing them more fame and recognition, and opening more opportunities for them to tour and perform.
Sue's sultry vocals combined with complex music make this a top notch band. If you haven't already heard of them, I suggest you figure it out really quickly. They're standing on the brink, about to take the world by storm.
1. Too Deep
2. Mortal Ground
3. Spiritual Fear
4. Dreaming Blade
6. Between Earth and Sky
8. Spill Elixir
Sue Hutton - All vocals, percussion, guitar
Jim Field - Guitars, basses, programming and additional percussion
Smail: P.O. Box 67575 576 Dundas Street West, Toronto Ontario, Canada, M5T 3B8
Smail: P.O. Box 54307, Philadelphia, PA 19105
Between Earth & Sky
~reviewed by Matthew
long awaited second release from Canada’s new age Goth rockers was finally
released earlier this spring on Metropolis records. Always a delight,
Rhea’s Obsession are sincerely one of the coolest and most absorbing dark
underground acts of the past decade. The music is a refreshing blend
of Dead Can Dance and Love Is Colder Than Death styled ethnic new age ambience
with trippy treated guitars, tribal drumming, and
They have taken the aforementioned ideas and blended them in a unique way all their own, and it is very easy to differentiate Rhea’s Obsession from almost any act out there, due to their distinct soundscapes and Sue’s exceptionally multi-faceted voice, which possesses a resonance and power that is uplifting, somber, sensual, and exotic all the same.
The new CD is tighter and more polished, with a greater use of electronics. But the characteristic middle-eastern charm that the band brought to the darkwave scene is still finely crafted, but perhaps a bit more rhythmically aggressive in the guitars and drumming than before, as heard on such standout new tracks as “Nightshade” and “Dreaming Blade.” Sue’s voice seems stronger, and perhaps deeper than before, and without a doubt more fluid.
She has experimented a lot more with whispers and multi-layers of her voice to produce a fuller, all consuming effect. Though I have not heard the first CD in its entirety, I am very familiar with most of those tracks, having seen the band live several times over the past three years. I would say that the new material has expanded upon all the elements that drew the attention of fans in the past, and Rhea’s Obsession is responsible for releasing yet another milestone record in the gothic/ethereal genre.
you always wished Dead Can Dance would have injected a bit more of a upbeat,
rock feel with their “Into The Labyrinth” era material, Rhea’s Obsession
has met that call and done more with the idea than you could even imagine.
This is excellent music that touches a vast amount of music bases and will
find success in several corners of the dark music underground as
well as with esoteric, new age culture enthusiasts.
Look for Rhea’s Obsession this summer as they may be hitting a city near you, and also, be on the look out for future compilation appearances on some upcoming Cleopatra and other leading label compilations later this summer.
1.) Too Deep
2.) Mortal Ground
3.) Spiritual Fear
4.) Dreaming Blade
6.) Between Earth & Sky
8.) Spill Elixir
Sue: vocals, percussion, guitar
Jim: guitars, bass, programming, additional percussion
Ryan Bloomer: live drums and noise
Chris Gagnon: live keyboards
Rakesh Tawari: studio/live drums, various percussion
Ed Hanley: tablas, percussion
Chris Cawthay: additional studio drums
Dave Klotz: studio keys
A Projekt Compilation Celebrating The Female Voice
Reviewed By: BlackOrpheus
What do you get, when you gather some of the finest voices in the Ethereal genre together in one place? You get yet another outstanding Projekt release. This time it's "Seireenia." This compilation is a homage to the most enduring sound of our existence, that of the female voice. These voices are loaded with all the archetypal meaning contained in the voice of woman.
It is melancholy, serene, and it is distinguished by the evident care with which it was compiled. This only inspires me with a greater reverence for women, and how much they enrich my life with their energy and spirit.
This disc opens with the Franco - Tibetan band Rajna, performing a song of the same name. The band is heavily influenced by Tibetan spirituality. I wouldn't mistake this for ethno music, because it is not. No, this is in the Dead Can Dance tradition. It is sad, mournful, and deliciously haunting. The traditional istruments of India and Nepal are used to extraordinary effect.It is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. It decided me to go search out this band, and to review their full length album. I hope to bring you more news of them soon.
Amber Asylum's " the bounding main" was a foray into cathedral atmospherics. I had a sense of the sacred as I listened to this, Hildegaard of Bingen meets Tangerine Dream? There was cello, violin, organ, whispers, and voice. This was another beautiful track, spirit - ambient. This was a fine introduction to this San Francisco band. I'd like to hear more of this, I think you would too.
Germany's Stoa emerges with "maare illucescend" it's first track in six years. It was well worth the wait. There is an ominous immediacy in the arrangement of the song. The bass drum, keys, and voices again catch the listener up in the intrigue of the songs movement. Kudos to Stoa.
In parting I'd like to express my gratitude to all responsible for bringing this compilation to fruition. I've been a fan of compilations for a long time now -- I've seen this meduim abused, but also seen it present a great body of worthy artists on occassion. This is just such an occassion. Some names will be familiar, while others may be new to you. The bands, the women here, are highly deserving of an audience. The inescapable fact is that this is your moment of decision, reach out and seize upon Seireenia.
1. Rajna: rajna
2. Love is Colder Than Death: questo mostrarsi
3. Stoa: maare illucescend
4. La Vuibre: tyriel
5. Mira: divine
6. Black Tape for a Blue Girl: overwhelmed, beneath me (2000
7. Faith & Disease: stray
8. Rosewater Elizabeth: it swallows me whole
9. Lycia: baltica
10. Switchblade Symphony: dissolve
11. Frolic: skin
12. Amber Asylum: the bounding main
13. Carl Stone: Shing Kee
PoBox 166155; Chicago, IL 60616
Phone: 312-913-9160 / Fax: 312-913-9164
Europe, stores + distributors can order from
Via aretina 240/B-C; I-50136 Firenze, Italy
Phone: ++390-55-65274209 / Fax: ++39055-650-3960 / firstname.lastname@example.org
mail order on the continent of Europe, contact:
Rohrackerstr. 99; 70329 Stuttgart Germany
Fax: +49-711-4077062 Pandaim@aol.com
"Empyreal Day Dreams"
~reviewed by Wolf
COP never seizes to amaze, and neither does Eric Chamberlain. Earlier this year the mastermind behind one of my all-time favorite industrial/electronic projects, Index, released the cd Empyreal Day Dreams under the name of Skylash. This release came as the perfect method to bridge the gap to Index's upcoming cd Ultra Hard Shadow and isn't just an appetizer either, but a powerhouse in its own right.
Skylash is, in comparison to Index, of a lighter nature, gearing more towards synthpop and a style of electronics that's fun without losing any of its integrity. For the trained ear it's still audible that this is an Index sideproject, especially when looking back at the slower and more orchestral tracks on previous Index releases, like the finishing track on Faith in Motion. The moment I started listening to this cd I was instantly in love with it and I have been playing it over and over ever since. It reminds me of being 12 years old and buying Synthesizer Greatest Hits; that same floating charm of luscious strings and melodies, but at the same time Skylash adds more updated elements of electronic music to its, almost Vangelis-like, compositions, with beats ranging from trip-hop to industrial and techno-like sequences to prevent the music from falling into a "been-there, heard-that".
"Airborne" presents a very pleasant opener, filled with rich strings and crisp sequences. It's instantly clear why this disc is called Empyreal Day Dreams, because the music brings forth images of dream-like and distant places. "Erato" carries on with the same sense of uplifting charm, this time more upbeat and incredibly catchy. I can't really catagorize Skylash's sound, because it's pleasantly strange and has a sense of playfulness to it that is very refreshing in today's repetitive world of electronic music.
The third track, "Modern Eyes/Stratus Gel" takes a more "serious" turn and finds its main strength in the way it gradually evolves into its full potential. Jumpy breakbeats, a sliding chorus melody and a very climatic "step up" towards the end make this a very diverse track. It also reminds me of music for computer games (the good kind) and at the same time leaves me grasping helplessly for a way to describe how wonderful it all sounds.
"Melancholy Man" is certainly very melancholy and the beautiful guitar makes this one of the most original songs I've heard in a long time. The song also features a certain vocal sample which somehow invokes a feeling of intense sadness and beauty at the same time. This cd truly leaves me riddled.
"XYZ Utopia" returns to a more happier note and features some of the strangest, but most wonderful songwriting. Eric is extremely skilled at keeping the song structure of his music varied and surprising, a welcome change to all the predictable electronic bands out there (i.e. VNV Nation...ooh, blasphemy...). Another great example of this is "A Starry Night/Empyrean", the album's most powerful song and again highly original. The beats are infectious and the melodies so deliciously strange that you'll remember them forever. Again tons of changes with sound effects swirling back and forth, and obscure samples echoing about in a fashion that's effective and not forced, as with so many other electronic artist. I can't help but keep making these comparisons, because Skylash (as well as Index) does the right thing where most others go wrong.
The rest of Empyreal Day Dreams is equally wonderful, filled with enchanting pieces like "Twilight Park" and "Dream De Menthe", as well as more upbeat tracks such as "Snow Mantra". The second half of the disc's regular tracklisting does appear to be a bit more mellow and laidback, but not any less pleasant to listen to. I've had Skylash on my headphones, losing myself in its incredible world of sound, as well as playing in the background while doing something else, and I can certainly see a handful of tracks being played in clubs as well.
Tracks 12 through 14 are listed as additional and ensure that the cd was used to its full playtime potential. Especially the last track Heliopolis is remarkable and brings the cd to a satisfying end. If you enjoy good electronics then it won't be the end though, but a reason to hit start again. Skylash has had me mesmerized for weeks now and if I sound like I'm stammering and stottering... well, isn't that what we do when we're in love and try to describe to the other what we're feeling? ;) Seriously though, this is wonderful music and I'm glad some people still realize that it doesn't all have to be dark, doom and gloom to achieve intelligent music. I have all confidence in the new Index being another masterpiece and hopefully we'll be treated to some more Skylash as well in the future. Possibly with vocals (although I didn't miss them one bit and this album stands firmly without them), because in the cd booklet Eric mentions that he's looking for a vocalist for Skylash. Anyone interested? You'll be singing for one of the best, that's for sure.
3. Modern Eyes/Stratus Gel
4. Mr. Melancholy
5. XYZ Utopia
6. A Starry Night/Empyrean
7. Twilight Park
8. The Bridge
9. Dream De Menthe
11. Snow Mantra
13. Nineteen-Ninety Nether
Eric Lawrence Chamberlain
Email Skylash: Lotuserik@aol.com
Cop International: http://www.copint.net
"Gung Ho" CD
~reviewed by Kirin
From the very first notes, this album took my breath away and gave me back to myself. "Gung Ho" is a return to the passion, brilliance, horror, and wonder that shimmered all throughout her former masterpieces like Easter and Horses. If you haven't bought a Patti Smith album in a while, now's the time to remember why you fell in love with her work in the first place. This album will be a not so gentle reminder that there's nothing like sorrow and loss to bring out the better angels in us all. Sad fact of human existence, but it seems that the death of Patti's husband and brother in recent years has caused her to draw again from the deep black goosepimple well that gave us songs like, "Gloria," "Birdland," "Pissing In A River," and "Land: Horses/Land Of A Thousand Dreams." I've also had the privilege of seeing the "Gung Ho" tour on a recent stop, and I cannot encourage anyone enough to make the effort to go see Patti Smith this time 'round. When I saw her, she played for about 2 1/2 hours straight; no opening bands, no breaks, no letting up whatsoever. I left the concert breathless, exhausted, and utterly clean. It's a religious experience of the highest order. If you've ever loved a Patti Smith song at all, or if you're curious about who this Patti Smith chick is, buy "Gung Ho." I can tell already, this is the album that will be burned forever in my mind as "the sound track of the summer of 2000." Oh, and one more thing. If you're wondering who that handsome lad is on the cover of the album, it's Patti's Dad. Pretty cool, huh?
-Lo and Beholden
-Boy Cried Wolf
-Glitter In Their Eyes
Patti Smith: Vocals and acoustic guitar.
Lenny Kaye: Electric and acoustic guitar.
Oliver Ray: Electric and acoustic guitar.
Tony Shanahan: Bass and keyboards.
Jay Dee Daugherty: Drums
Records, a unit of BMG entertainment
6 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
~reviewed by Matthew
I think Blu already reviewed this one a few months back, but I got a copy of it and wanted to express my opinion yet again how much I absolutely adore this band.
“Archetype” is a new ‘filler’ release of sorts, as it contains only four new songs and the other five are remixes. I usually am not too big on remixes, which strips me of a few rivethead points, but alas, I tend to find most remixes boring and a waste of time. But that was really not the case with this CD entirely. I absolutely adore the Razed In Black’s remix of “Poetry Of Angels,” as it very much enhanced the emotional feel of the original song and is sincerely breathtaking in its sadness. I truly like this version much better than the original. However that was not the case with “Thief Of Always,” which is my favourite track from the prior album and it should have been left exactly the way it was. This version stripped it of its power and bass heaviness. It just sounded flat and it lost the effect that I thought made the original song a success. The remaining remixes were pretty descent; “Exile” is a perfect for dance-clubs and again actually succeeded in enhancing the strength of the original.
the main attraction for this CD for myself and probably most fans will
be the new material, which perfectly blends the technical wizardry of the
prior album with the emotional depth and melancholy of the debut CD “Necromancy.”
If this is a hint of what is to come from this band, I am quite excited.
“Ascension” is by far the most upbeat of the four new ones, while “Prodigal
Son” is more of a mid-paced Depeche Mode-esque dirge, with superb dark
vocals, flashes of distorted guitar, and a nice swayable beat. “Heretic”
continues along the more somber, mid-paced mode with more choirs and warm
synths. Somewhat of a marching beat, yet still very dancey and perfect
for the fog drenched early hours of clubs that are smart enough to play
Soil & Eclipse. The fourth track surprised me even more, as they
included guitar in this one as well, only this time it is acoustic! Yet the electronics are still there, amidst trip hop type beats, swirling synths, and all the familiar elements of this extremely talented band.
Soil & Eclipse have it all; a strong vocalist, an unfaltering grasp upon atmosphere, musical variety, and electronics and drum beats that are rhythmic and danceable as opposed to just thudding at a particular 3 digit BPM. As always, these guys just spirit me to the most beautiful of places. Darkwave and EBM fans should check this out, as the material on this CD is as refreshing and enjoyable as if it were an entire full-length new release.
1.) Ascension (Cascading Lights)
2.) The Prodigal Son
4.) Whispering Trees
5.) Exile (return 2 glory mix) by M.O.
6.) Poetry Of Angels (blissfully dismal mix) by Razed In Black
7.) Thief Of Always (remix) by Audioparadox
8.) King Of Lies (diseased mix) by Nerve Factor
9.) Whispering Trees (Oakland 2k mix) by DLI
& Eclipse is:
G.W. Childs IV & Jay Tye
~reviewed by Matthew
Philadelphia’s Tapping The Vein have been lurking around in the scene for a couple of years now, gaining notoriety from their explosive and energetic live performances and the successful club single “Butterfly” from their debut self-titled EP. They have returned again with a new CD, with six new well produced and emotion fueled tracks.Heather Thompson fronts the band, with enigmatic and powerful vocals that go from a whisper to a scream without batting an eyelash, to keep up with the sonic darkwave meets crunchy alterna-metal of the talented musicians. Looped drums syncopated with live drumming, enveloping guitar effects, and driving bass make for a swayable, shoe gazing experience. But before you can drown too deeply, they pick things up again and you can’t help but stomp your feet and nod your head in approval as they start kicking your ass all over the place with explosive, mid paced metallic assaults.
Their latest CD, “Undone” is much more focused than the EP from a few years back, and is much more accessible with a wider range of styles. There is a definite contemporary alternative vibe to their music, but most likely, this music is too genuine and heartfelt to receive extensive radio airplay. If that is the case, Tapping The Vein are a special treat amidst the underground and we should be taking advantage and enjoying their brand of artistic passion.
The music will appeal to darkwave fans, due to the shimmering reverberated guitars, sensuous drumbeats, and heartfelt vocals. There are a few ambient parts in the tracks, especially the title track which is reminiscent of somber material from the Cranes, with what sound like cello, piano, and some haunting synth parts. The overall mood of the CD will definitely please swirly Projekt fans, yet still, the band does have some intense and sincerely heavy guitar elements and groove-oriented parts amidst the music. Heather’s voice soars over these parts, with a gruff punk rock intensity that is rare in the field of female vocalists these days.
Tapping The Vein was a nice surprise, and I would rank them as one of the better East Coast bands out today. They have remained a mere secret, due much more exposure than they have received. I was very impressed by this excellent band, and hopefully, they will continue to release material of this caliber.
5.) The River
The Vein Is:
Heather Thompson: vocals
Mark Butler: guitar
Joe Rolland: bass
Eric Fisher: drums, sampling, programming.
P.O. Box 187
Media, PA 19063
~reviewed by Wolf
The IDM (read: Intelligent Dance Music) of Thine Eyes has always been highly innovative and of that wonderful kind of strange from which we can all draw hope when today's music threatens to become a big clutter of formulaic mindlessness. After hearing "Short but Crushable" on Doppler Effect's Resurgence compilation I realized that I had been missing out on something and both Christian Sex Loops and My Knobs Taste Funny were a discovery in their own right. Thine Eyes has won me over from the first quirky sound I heard by them, so imagine what a pleasure it was for me to receive a cdr with unreleased material a few weeks back.
This disc, with handwritten tracklisting and no title, features 5 tracks, four of which are remixes and the fifth a brand new unreleased track. The same handwriting mentions on the other side of the insert that all songs are currently exclusive. Remixers include established names such as Not Breathing and Testube, as well as another one of the electronic genre's best-kept secrets: lxl. The 4th remixer, Sam Dellaria, is unknown to me, but does a remarkable job as well. The remixes might eventually make it onto compilations/future releases, but at the moment "-Oend" is the only one that will be available to the public soon, on Doppler Effect's upcoming compilation Transcendence.
Since this cd mostly has remixes its description won't be the most accurate when it comes to identifying the sound of Thine Eyes, but all remixers kept fairly close to the quirky and atmospheric IDM of the band. Imagine the tongue-in-cheek humor of Aphex Twin, a more lighthearted Autechre and the intelligence of any Uwe Schmidt (Lassigue Bendthaus, Atom Heart) project, and you're getting close to the music of Thine Eyes. Laird Sheldahl, Tanner Volz and Rian Callahan have been active under this moniker since 1991, but Christian Sex Loops wasn't released until '98. My Knobs Taste Funny followed shortly and the band is rapidly making a name for itself now.
Back to this CD. The remix of "Warpaint" by Not Breathing is a nice opener; atmospheric and taking the original on a space invaders-like trip of bleeps and sequences. Testube's remix of the excellent "Celibate", takes a more EBM turn and has several delicious sounds and changes. Certainly radioshow/club material, even if it might be a bit on the "off" side for most clubbers. Just educate your audience.
The third track, "Recomplicated", is a remix by lxl. I should do a write-up on this project in the future, because it's another artist that caught my attention after listening to a track on a Doppler Effect compilation. This remix is nothing short of amazing, just like everything else by lxl. It takes the track on a ride of intricate percussion and manipulated sounds, backed up by dark atmospheres and subtle effects. If only all music could sound like this.
Sam Dellaria's remix of "Vaseline Machine" is of a much slower pace and has a very ambient feel to it. The beats are as hypnotizing as the sounds, creating a refined soundscape of minimal proportions. It is followed by the cd's final track, "-Oend". This one's by Thine Eyes themselves and has to compete with lxl's remix for my favorite cut on this cd. The frantic beats perfectly counter the slow, loungy melodies, with an almost jazzy bassline hidden underneath and nice "vocoder" vocals surfacing throughout the composition. In a way this song reminded me of certain tracks off of Lassigue's Render, which might also apply to the remix of Celibate.
If your interest has been perked in the least , then you would make a wise decision by seeking out either Christian Sex Loops, My Knobs Taste Funny or one of the compilations on which Thine Eyes can be found. (All Doppler Effects compilations are excellent and feature many more lesser known but highly talented artists.) The many alternate futures of electronic music are dubious, but following Thine Eyes will always ensure the most original and surprising path. The music is fun as well, which Thine Eyes proves can be done without losing integrity. Their new album was finished recently and will most likely be released under the name Ml. Label-hunting season is open, so drop them a line if you have any suggestions. It's only a question of time before the sock monkey messiah has entranced us all...
1. Warpaint - remix by Not Breathing
2. Celibate - sludgehammer mix by Testube
3. Recomplicated - remix by Lxl
4. Vaseline Machine -remix by Sam Dellaria
Christian Sex Loops 
My Knobs Taste Funny 
Official site: http://www.thineeyes.com/
mp3.com site: http://www.mp3.com/thineeyes/
Official label site: http://www.sonic-boom.com/dfx/
~reviewed by Vassago
Before starting this review I want to say that this is my first contact with this group, so I am not in the position to refer to their past. From what I know Mislead is not a new release from Torn Skin because although the CD includes 10 songs, 8 of them is the same one in different remixes.
It is not boring listening to all of them since all the remixes differ in their sound. The best one is the remix from Jan Carleklev. With more power in the vocals, impressive guitars and drums filling with power the sound and making the song a dance floor hit for all the electro-pop clubs. All of the other remixes have a different style but the main theme is kept in all the songs. Guitars, ambient and pop sounds with industrial vocals make them generally good danceable songs.
“Addiction” is maybe the best song of the CD with wonderful dark double-vocals, fantastic drums and guitars, melodic loop-keyboards at the middle of the song bringing a peaceful atmosphere when needed, plus the wonderful production, makes it definitely a fantastic song. A must for all the electro- industrial fans.
As an epilogue of this review I’d like to say, remember the name TORN SKIN. I am sure that these guys will be heard in the future.
Mislead (remix by Fatal Blast Whip)
Mislead (Club remix by Pivot Clowj)
Mislead(Remix by 16 volt)
Mislead (Remix by Clolssal Spin)
Mislead (Remix by Jan Carleklev)
Mislead (Lifted Remix by Fish Tank 9)
4 Song Demo CD
~reviewed by Matthew
Truly an excellent, fresh, and original act out of Eastern PA. Covering musical ground that exists somewhere between Collide, Curve, and metallic tinged acts like The Gathering, Torsion are responsible for a well crafted pairing of Industrial electronics, live drumming, and crushingly intense guitars, crowned by powerful female vocals. What makes Torsion a success and what instantly won me over about this band is that there is a genuine passion and angst that is conveyed through this music; a consistent mood, a professionally dense sound, and most importantly, an inspired sincerity. This band could truly show many other “Industrial/metal” acts a thing or two or fifty.
The opening track, “Turn Away” captures and expresses the power of this band at its most edgy, catchy, and angry. There is a slight distortion on Kathryn’s sensual voice, which accents the bitter lovelorn words she spits forth with an almost intimidating conviction. I love this track. One of the coolest instrumental breaks follows the chorus of this song, as a rhythmic crunching guitar steamrollers atop a swinging drum rhythm and an icy synth drifts in and out to fill in the gaps. A superb expression of talent that sent chills up my spine.
“Clouded” the CD’s third track shows a more somber, atmospheric side of the band. A slower, cascading drum beat sludges behind swelling, swirling synths, which invokes shoegazing instantly. Kathryn’s voice reminds me of Anneke of The Gathering on this track, due to its clarity and resonant melancholy. The song picks up at the end, keeping the excellent drum beat but now accented and crescendoed by a wall of guitars and higher synths.
The other two tracks are also of an impressive quality, and I am very interested to see what the future has in store for this band. People really need to check this band out! EXCELLENT work!
1.) Turn Away
Kathryn Matuch – vocals
Bill Musil – bass
Paul Matuch – guitars
George Matuch – drums, keyboards, programming
PO Box 64
Chester Springs, PA 19425
The Symbol & The Shrine
~reviewed By BlackOrpheus
Void II Void's gestation began in 1997. Scott DeFusco's vision was to break new ground, not to necessarily travel the well worn path of those gone before. I can attest that by and large, he has succeeded admirably in realizing that which he envisioned. The Symbol & The Shrine was stirring by virtue of it's very freshness. It was quite inspired, and original. I was intrigued by the melding of the elements present.
"Temporary Threshold Shift" was the song that best captured my attention. The largely indistinguishable vocals seem to intimate a near elation at the opportunity for greater self knowledge; mixed with something of the vagaries of the attendant feelings of unconnectedness. The shift between colors in this musical palette signals shifts of the emotions. They crest, and break with every beat and effect. This was excellent.
"From Blood To Water" was a great track. There was a lot to hear in this arrangement. I heard the metal influence unmistakably. It opens with a keyboard exhalation, before the intro of a grinding guitar onslaught. It slows later to a synth sequence that unfolds dreamlike, before exploding again into this metal - industrial union. The energy was infectious.
"Nebularium 9" was an extraordinary, nakedly aggressive tune. Distorted vocals, quick changeups, a ride on the merry - go - round of death. This sounded like Satan and his minions performing in a concert hall. I mean that as a compliment of course. We all know the Prince of Darkness can carry a tune. I would liken this to KMFDM or Birmingham6, if anyone requires a comparison. That is fine company.
Void II Void has an as yet untapped potential. The talent is present and abundantly so. It is still too soon to say what will be seen of this dark horse, but I'd put money on this one. My only concern is that without proper promotion this band could be relegated to a small niche market indeed. That would be a shame, because they deserve more. Hell, we deserve more.
1. Glass Armour
3. Temporary Threshold Shift
4. Black Room Incident
5. From Blood To Water
6. The Symbol & The Shrine
II Void is:
Scott DeFusco - All music written, performed, recorded & produced.
Site: ...THE VOID SECTOR...
Void Sector Recordings, P.O.Box 1384
Salem, NH 03078 USA
~reviewed by Wolf
For some this will be like a reunion with old friends and if the name Will has been unknown to you till now then a whole new world of sound and imagery is about to open up. Normally I would be skeptical of a band that releases a "best of" after only 2 full-length releases, but both "Word.Flesh.Stone" and "Pearl of Great Price" have been out of print for quite some time now. And to be honest, Will could rerelease material every year; it wouldn't leave me any less mesmerized.
For those of you with neglected ears, Will was the project of John McRae, Rhys Fulber and Chris Peterson. Both Fulber and Peterson have worked on Frontline Assembly (with Rhys leaving FLA a while ago and Chris moving from a more background position to the forefront) and have also shared songwriting duties with FLA's frontman Bill Leeb on projects such as Delerium, Equinox and Pro>Tech. Fulber has produced albums for Fear Factory, Machine Head and Cubanate and is now involved in several soundtrack projects as well as a brand new project, while Peterson was, together with McRae, the founder of Decree. McRae was at the time responsible for Will's vocals (as well as the beautiful artwork) and add to this the guitar skills of Michael Balch (FLA, Numb, Ministry) and you have a wealth of experience and talent lurking behind the unique phenomenon known as Will. Deja-vu makes the quest for Will's previous 2 releases virtually obsolete (although they're still worth tracking down of course), since both cd's are on it (minus "New Mass" and the original "Father Forgive").
sound of Will is not an easy one to catagorize, but this is only to the
band's benefit. The music is extremely original and to this date I still
haven't heard anything quite like it, even though both of Will's albums
came out in the late eighties/early nineties. Described as Electro-Wagnerian,
it provides a bombastic and
orchestral sound which conjures images of medieval battlefields, burning castles and savage acts of conquest. The lyrics, sung (or should I say screamed) with anguish and possessing a raw quality slightly akin to the vocals of Das Ich's Stefan Ackermann, only enhance this imagery.
Crashing cymbals, harpsicords, horns, chanting choirs, symphonic strings and a wealth of other classical instruments are carried by percussion which varies from tribal to militaristic and occassionally makes a sidetrip towards industrial, with Balch's atmospheric guitars subtly hidden underneath. There's a majestic quality to Will's sound, extremely powerful and underlined by melancholy melodies of enchanting beauty. On songs such as the album's opener "Summoning" and the serene "Furnace Rekindled" comparisons could be made to Delerium no surprise, considering Will's line-up), while compositions such as "Crowning Glory", "Sacrament of Penance" and "Crusade" all deliver a sound that belongs to no one else but Will. Throughout 16 tracks the cd never encounters a dull moment and this is mostly due to the variety within Will's distinct sound. It's all undoubtedly Will, but the difference between an almost meditational track like "Furnace of Souls" and the "medieval dance" of "Father Forgive" keeps it fascinating throughout all of the disc's 71 minutes and 13 seconds. Interesting is also that on "Crimson Flow" and "Kingdom Come" Will uses the melody of Carmina Burana's "O Fortuna", for once borrowing the opera's widely known anthem in a tasteful manner.
me Will is one of the most memorable bands of the early nineties and COP
made a very wise move with the release of Deja-vu. Many are still unaware
of the quality and intensity
of Will's music, which will now hopefully change. It's great mood music, but tracks like "Crowning Glory" and "Father Forgive" would, in the hands of a skilled DJ, find their place on the dancefloors as well. With the knowledge that Will's members
weren't all satisfied with the project's sound and are currently also busy elsewhere in the musical field, a future follow-up to Will's legacy is highly unlikely. Perhaps this is only for the better, allowing an extraordinary achievement such as this to maintain it's legendary status and untouched sovereignty.
Deja-vu comes highly recommended.
2. Crowning Glory
3. Exhaust Inhibits
4. Sacrament of Penance
6. Visible Second Coming
7. Furnace of Souls
8. Father Forgive (Remixed version)
9. Crimson Flow
11. Measure Remedial
12. Furnace Rekindled
13. All Victorious
15. Kingdom Come
16. Souls of the Valiant
Cop International: http://www.copint.net
the unblessed world of When (1983-1998) CD
~review by Aaron Garland
It seems befitting that the frozen slate-gray landscape and freezing teeth of Norway would be home to the mind of Lars Pedersen - the brain behind possibly one of the most prolific experimental outfits to emerge from that country in the past decade. Having sporadically plowed through the catalogue of cutting-edge stalwarts such as Whitehouse or Nurse With Wound over the years, When is a universe that I missed entirely until now. Needless to say, this 2cd retrospective is too much too handle all in one sitting. The press release I got on this cd said "Dark edged experimental/collages" which seems apt enough, although that doesn't begin to describe the staggering amount of moods, textures and musicianship - the latter alone raising When several notches above every two-bit "ambient/noise/etc…" outfit emerging these days.
For starters, disc 1 ("Grey Disc") begins with a surreal and somewhat eerie snippet called "The Black Death Jingle". What follows is a bewildering amount of "musical" excerpts that alternate from ominous soundtrack excursions to upbeat near-melodic blasts of distorted pop music. In short, a variety of musical styles are utilized and re-defined, all the while never succumbing to any one in particular. Much of the same can be said for the darker-edged disc 2 ("Black Disc") which aurally pays homage to Norway's infamous Black Plague on a couple of tracks that are guaranteed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! Credit must also be given to the various other musicians on this cd who provide other fine moments of classical bombast, tortured cellos, and schizophrenic jaunts into folk and psychedelics. Nonetheless, "Bell II" - my favorite track of all (No. 13 no less), is a long-winded droning excursion that slowly builds into a maelstrom of manic percussion.
Overall, this is a unique and much deserved release that should be a worthwhile addition to any adventurous music connoisseur's collection. For me personally, this is probably all I'll ever need to hear of When, although any future indulgences in hallucinogenic substances may change all that.
Grey Disc 1
- The Black Death Jingle
- The Dark Abyss
- Witchwood - Excerpts
- Loosing Figures
- Anitra's Dance
- Peer Gynt's Serenade
- Black, White & Grey - excerpts
- From White to White
- Fellini's Hat
- Under X-Mas Tree
- Paint the Dance
- Frozen Atlantics
- Beardsoup in Tangier- Part I
- Beardsoup in Tangier- Part II
Grey Disc 2
- Sarood's Temple
- Karius & Baktus
- Death in the Blue Lake - excerpts
- The Black Death - the Movie
- The Black Death - excerpts
- Heart of Rage
- At the Wedding
- Peer Gynt and the Herd Girls
- Prefab Wreckage
- Bell II
- In the Hall of the Mountain King
- Peer Gynt Hunted by the Trolls
- Peer Gynt and the Boyg
- The Death of Ase
- Morning Mood
- Veil & Mere
Voices of Wonder
P.O. Box 2010 Grunnerlokka, 0505 Oslo,
Tel: 47 126.96.36.199
Fax: 47 188.8.131.52