May 2011 18

Hanin Elias, best known as one of the founding members of Atari Teenage Riot, will release Get It Back, her first new studio solo album in five years, May 20 on Rustblade. The album features collaborations with such artists as Die Krupps guitarist Marcel Degaz and Chilean industrial rock act Vigilante. In addition to the standard version, several limited edition packages are also available from Rustblade.

May 2011 10

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Peter Hook’s influence on modern music is undeniable; known for his melodic and high bass lines, a style developed out of necessity due to a poor amplifier, Hook singlehandedly created a style of bass playing that continues to resonate in goth and indie rock bands to this day. His work with Joy Division and New Order has earned him the status of a living legend, delving further into other more electronic styles with later bands Monaco and Revenge and contributing to tracks by such groups as Hybrid, The Crystal Method and Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party. In 2005, Hook began working with former Primal Scream bassist Gary “Mani” Mounfield, former Smiths bassist Andy Rourke and former Haven singer Gary Briggs in Freebass, releasing the It’s a Beautiful Life album in 2010. Having opened the FAC 251 nightclub, situated in the old headquarters of Joy Division and New Order label Factory Records, Hook was also the co-owner of the Haçienda nightclub, an experience that led to the publication of his 2009 book, How Not to Run a Club. In 2010, Hook switched from bass to lead vocals with his band The Light, performing on May 18, 2010 – the 30th anniversary of Ian Curtis’ death – the Joy Division LP Unknown Pleasures in its entirety. Due to popular demand, Hook is taking the band and the performance on tour, joined by his son Jack on bass.

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May 2011 09

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Absurd Minds
Category: Industrial
Album: Serve or Suffer
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: Absurd Minds sticks to the simplicity that has gained them so much ground over the years.

 

After a five year silence, Absurd Minds returns to the scene with their fifth studio album to date, Serve or Suffer. Absurd Minds differs itself from others in the genre by sticking to simplicity, with well defined drumming and synth lines that steer away from overt complexity blending with clear-cut vocals. With five albums in this style, it’s clear to see that Absurd Minds has got the delivery down to a science, and there’s seemingly no reason to change a model that’s worked so well for so long; especially when no one else is doing what they are.

The 13 tracks of Serve or Suffer stick solidly to the mold, though each track is independently enjoyable and varied. The heavy drums are a constant throughout the album, providing a strong pulse to the music that accelerates through songs such as “Human Bomb,” “Deficit Mindset,” and the title track “Serve or Suffer,” and slows things down through songs like “The King,” “Countdown,” and “Interconnectedness” at all the right moments. Absurd Minds throws catchy hooks at the listeners to reel them in, and they keep them captivated with strong, critical lyrics. The album is moving and strong across the board. Serve or Suffer wraps with a new take on the Metallica track “Holier than Thou,” on which Absurd Minds bring static pads, swelling synths, and wispy vocals over powerful drums for a wholly unique rendition to make the track their own.

The music of Serve or Suffer strongly reflects Absurd Mind’s persistent style, from The Focus and further back. While there’s nothing innovative or new in this album, it’s all enjoyable. Consistency can be a gift, especially if you’ve got it right the first time.

 

Track list:

  1. The King
  2. Human Bomb
  3. Interconnectedness
  4. Deficit Mindset
  5. Pendulum Swing
  6. Eternal Witness
  7. Serve or Suffer
  8. S[HELL]S
  9. Countdown
  10. Tear It Down
  11. I Enter You
  12. Somebody
  13. Holier than Thou

 

Absurd Minds Website http://www.absurdminds.de
Absurd Minds MySpace http://www.myspace.com/absurdminds
Absurd Minds Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AbsurdMinds
Artoffact Records Website http://artoffact.com

 

Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3

 

2010-06-08

 

Zak Vaudo (Chaostar)

May 2011 09

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Grains of Sound
Category: Electronica
Album: Sine Language
Stars: 4
Blurb: Three volumes, three hours, three distinct styles, all coming together into an energetic package of ambient psy-trance that will keep you dancing and tripping.

[..]

May 2011 09

Cover Image
Grendel
Category: EBM / Terror EBM
Album: Chemicals + Circuitry EP
Stars: 3
Blurb: Grendel’s new EP shows a change in style that could benefit or hurt the band.

 

Grendel is a band known for harsh electronics and harsher vocals, slamming head-on with coarse vocals for a brutal sound. Fans of Grendel will be surprised, though, to hear a different sound coming from their speakers when spinning the newest EP, Chemicals + Circuitry: distortion-free vocals. Gone are the heavily modulated, harsh vocal distorters that have become commonplace – if not trademarked – of the band and the aggrotech scene. Chemicals + Circuitry barely holds on to Grendel’s roots as the band explores a broader electronic/industrial horizon, with three new songs and a handful of remixes.

The real question at hand is will fans embrace the distortion-less vocals or reject it outright? Grendel’s new vocal style is decidedly not the Grendel of old – it’s not harder or faster or louder, as the track “Chemicals + Circuitry” might hint. In some areas, the vocals sound more pop-like than dark and industrial. But does this inherently make the new Grendel sound “bad,” simply because the fans of old might disapprove? In this writer’s opinion, no; no, it does not. It simply means that Grendel is not the same band they once were. Besides, they never used the vocal distortion live anyway, so one might argue that this is closer to the true Grendel sound.

The three new tracks are very well composed despite being starkly different from the expected style. “Chemicals + Circuitry” blends harsh elements with more a more electro/dance feel, with catchy hooks and a heavy beat. Lyrical content is a bit weak and clichéd, but one may argue that some of the catchiest songs are as well. “Shortwired” continues the EBM trend, with trace elements of the old Grendel buried underneath much more pop-sounding vocals (such as the callback to “straight for the flatline,” though sounding a lot less menacing this time around). Third up, the instrumental “Serotonin Rush” brings a club/jungle/house sound to the album, a style seemingly completely out of leftfield for Grendel. All in all, the three new tracks give a decent ground for Grendel to stand on and a view of what’s to come.

The remainder of the EP consists of remixes; a tactic that always has the looming tendency to drag down an EP, depending on how the other artists interpret the music. Leading off with a Komor Kommando mix is always a good idea, though, as seemingly everything Sebastian Komor remixes turns to gold. His remix of “Chemicals + Circuitry” builds heavier tension and brings the song back in the rough direction of darker electro/industrial. Overall though, the remixes tend to bleed together into a similar sound with punchy dance/club beats running amok. Such is the case with the remixes by The Synthetic Dream Foundation, Thomas Rainer, Studio-X, Statik Sky, and Modulate. The heavy dance remixes are solid, but note that the previous list has encompassed almost all of the remixes on the EP. Each remix could stand on its own, but variation would have served this EP well. Only DYM breaks away from the obvious route, implementing a slower and more dramatic take on the title track, complete with incredibly glitched vocals to make the track a completely new entity unto itself.

With a new take on vocals and a slightly less dark sound, Grendel may begin to appeal to others outside of the aggrotech genre, much to the chagrin of loyal fans. Will this hurt Grendel’s fanbase or will it help it to grow? Will Grendel revert back to their ways of old or “never give in” to their fans’ will to do so? Time will tell, but one thing is for certain: this is not the same Grendel.

 

Track list:

  1. Chemicals + Circuitry
  2. Shortwired
  3. Serotonin Rush
  4. Chemicals + Circuitry (Komor Kommando Remix)
  5. Shortwired (Synthetic Dream Foundation Remix)
  6. Chemicals + Circuitry (Dym Remix)
  7. Shortwired (Statik Sky Remix)
  8. Chemicals + Circuitry (Studio-X Remix)
  9. Shortwired (Thomas Rainer Remix)
  10. Chemicals + Circuitry (Modulate Remix)

 

Grendel Website http://www.grendel-base.com
Grendel MySpace http://www.myspace.com/grendel
Grendel Facebook http://www.facebook.com/grendel.music
Metropolis Records Website http://www.metropolis-records.com

 

Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3

 

2010-01-12

 

Zak Vaudo (Chaostar)

May 2011 09

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Lovespirals
Category: Indie Rock
Album: Future Past
Stars: 4
Blurb: Ryan Lum and Anji Bee go big on their fourth full-length album, adding ‘70s blues and progressive rock elements to their chilled out soul-tinged electronica.

 

Their fourth album together is a step into a bigger sound for Ryan Lum and Anji Bee. The duo’s fascination for ‘70s soul and jazz is amplified in Lum’s production, with the Rhodes piano that gave 2007’s Long Way from Home so much of its signature warmth joined by lush, almost disco-tinged strings on the languid, smokey “Rain” and the laidback but funky “Water Under the Bridge.” The guitars are bigger too, the spaced out progressive instrumental “Meanwhile, Irreplaceable Time Flees” segueing into the wah-wah-laced soul of “Insignificant.” Bee’s voice is stronger, more mature, and more powerful this time around as well; Lum and Bee have a reputation for love songs, but “Feel So Good” and “Shine” are positively lusty, highlighting both Bee’s range and her sensuality. The real standout on this album, though, is “Home,” which is more reminiscent of earlier Lovespirals songs in its cozy romantic vibe but features the best singing the pair have ever recorded, with subtle multi-tracking enhancing an already impressive vocal showing. While Future Past is undeniably warm throughout, there are also hints of the cooler, more dreamlike elements present in their earliest work. “Love” is the project’s most unabashedly electronic offering in years, all emphasis on the groovy breakbeats, and both “Shine” and “Believe” utilize softly insistent guitar strumming in the vein of Lum’s earlier project, Love Spirals Downward, in addition to the warmer grooves and subtle jazz instrumentation that characterize much of his work with Bee. The end result is an album that’s at once a leap forward and a fond glance back; the duo could hardly have picked a better title than Future Past.

 

Track list:

  1. Home
  2. Feel So Good
  3. Rain
  4. Shine
  5. One of Those Days
  6. Love
  7. Water Under the Bridge
  8. Meanwhile, Irreplaceable Time Flees
  9. Insignificant
  10. Sinking
  11. Believe

 

Lovespirals Website http://www.lovespirals.com
Lovespirals MySpace http://www.myspace.com/lovespirals
Lovespirals Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Lovespirals
Chillcuts Website http://www.chillcuts.com

 

Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
CDBaby

 

2010-01-01

 

Matthew Johnson (infinitywaltz)

12
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