Jun 2011 20

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[x]-Rx
Category: Industrial
Album: Update 3.0
Stars: 4
Blurb: [x]-Rx throws down 13 highly addictive dance tracks that distinguish them as a band of uniquely abrasive and wonderfully unrefined style.

 

Over recent years, the aggressiveness of German industrial dance music has climaxed considerably and the number of purveyors of said music has exploded. How then is a band to stand out among the masses and show us that they have something special to offer? [x]-Rx is one of those lucky and talented acts that have managed to evolve from the ashes of mediocrity and prove around the world that they are an electronic force to be reckoned with. The self-proclaimed “industrial rave gods from Cologne” have put out two solid danceable electronic albums since emerging a few years back, and almost everything that they offer on their third collection solidifies their position in the electro/industrial scene.

[x]-Rx has consistently geared their music straight at the underground dance movement, consistently accelerating their pace and improving upon their production values in effort to appease the club-going masses. Bad boys Cyrex and Sine-X wish to simply pierce your eardrums and force you to move with Update 3.0, an album with content that picks up precisely where their last disc left off and offers no apologies. Hammering out track after track of pulsing, rhythmic electronic dance music shows that the [x]-Rx formula remains fairly unchanged, although there are a couple of glaring switch-ups that occur on this album. A first for the industrial duo comes through “Push It,” a track that includes complete lyrics from the band for the first time in their catalog. [x]-Rx’s characteristic sample-infused music takes a back seat to this track as it pushes the envelope (no pun intended) with vocals that yell at you to yell right back. Here the chant-along vocal grind winds up taking control of the song more so than any mere sample could have done. Another first is the series of remixes at the end of the album by such major electronic dance artists as Soman, SAM, and Chainreactor. This “imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery” mentality shows that even some of the pinnacle names in the electronic music scene now deem the hard-hitting music of [x]-Rx worthy of overhauling. Fundamental dance tracks that are notable by means of their aggressive simplicity include “Bass and Percussion,” “Virus Infect,” and “Drums Bass Drugz and Noize.” The characteristic club sound that the band is renowned for shines brightly with these as well as most other tracks on Update 3.0, making it great DJ fodder. But not to be labeled as a collection of club singles, this music also manages an intense yet straightforward listen from front to back as a full-length album – no small feat for a band in the industrial dance genre. As subtle as a punch in the face and as elegant as an explosion, the immediacy and fevered pace that [x]-Rx manages on Update 3.0 makes it one of the top industrial dance albums out today.
 
Track list:

  1. The Update
  2. Drums Bass Drugz and Noize
  3. Das Ewige Leben
  4. The Doll Underground
  5. Panikattacke
  6. Push It!
  7. Bass and Percussion
  8. Electric Man
  9. Kra
  10. Mechanics
  11. This is Rock ‘n’ Roll
  12. Virus Infect
  13. Der Prediger
  14. The Doll Underground (SAM RMX)
  15. Electric Man (Quagmired by Phosgore)
  16. Bass and Percussion (Add Distortion Remix by Chainreactor)
  17. The Update (Soman Remix)
  18. The Update (Cyrex’s Noise Mix)

 
[x]-Rx MySpace http://www.myspace.com/xrxindustrial
ProNoize / Dark Dimensions Website http://www.darkdimensions.de
ProNoize MySpace http://www.myspace.com/130111845
Dark Dimensions MySpace http://www.myspace.com/darkdimensionslabelgroup
 
Purchase at:
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2010-07-09
 
Stephen Lussier (ioweyouacoke)

Jun 2011 20

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Blackcentr
Category: Industrial
Album: Disease EP
Stars: 4
Blurb: Addictive and unstoppable, Blackcentr’s Disease EP will make you dance and beg for more.

 

Blackcentr does industrial dance music better than many of the groups to join the scene in the past decade. With unstoppable beats, superior engineering, and sexy yet understated vocals by Ryan Layne, the Disease EP is irresistible. We can only hope a full album will be released soon.

The music is complex yet primal, drawing out the listener’s basic need to move. With layers of heavy beats, intriguing samples, and vocals that range from wraithlike screams to seductive melodies that hint at a singer who actually knows how to use his voice, every one of the four songs on the EP is well crafted and leaves little room for improvement. The first track, “Disease” is a well done, but pretty standard industrial song with a steady beat and screaming vocals. It does its job – if you heard it in a crowded nightclub, there is little chance you could sit still. “Misanthrope” is a little slower and a good vehicle for Layne, but it would be nice to hear the vocals brought forward just a bit. “Salvation” draws the listener in within the first few seconds and then assaults the ears with an insanely addictive beat. Saving the best for last, “Down” is the track that boasts the most depth of sound. Layne’s vocals, though distorted, are featured more prominently and the tune is much more melodic than the previous three.

There are only two negative comments to be made about Blackcentr’s Disease EP: 1) The vocals should be brought more to the forefront, and 2) Only four songs?! That’s not fair! We want more!

If a full album is released, and the rest of the songs are half as good as the four on the EP, Blackcentr could end up being a major name in industrial dance music.
 
Track list:

  1. Disease
  2. Misanthrope
  3. Salvation
  4. Down

 
Blackcentr Website http://blackcentr.com
Blackcentr MySpace http://www.myspace.com/blackcentr
Blackcentr Facebook http://www.facebook.com/blackcentr
Blackcentr Twitter http://twitter.com/blackcentr
Blackcentr ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/blackcentr
Blackcentr Bandcamp http://blackcentr.bandcamp.com
 
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
 
2010-07-08
 
Charity VanDeberg (CharityV)

Jun 2011 20

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Covenant (feat. Necro Facility)
Category: EBM / Electro-pop
Album: Lightbringer (Single)
Stars: 3
Blurb: Covenant is back with a new member and new dance tunes that will make you forget they ever went away.

[..]

Jun 2011 20

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Trigger 10d
Category: Electro-pop / Trip-Hop / Indie Rock
Album: Trigger 10d
Stars: 3
Blurb: Replacing trip-hop with indie rock, Trigger 10d’s sophomore album makes a break toward a new sound with mixed results.

 

Having spent the better part of five years honing its craft and refine its sound, Chicago’s Trigger 10d comes out with a self-titled sophomore album that retains the mixed bag of catchy melody and chilled out style that dominated earlier works, but given a tougher, edgier touchup. While earlier material presented a band heavily influenced by the lighter moods of Depeche Mode and Portishead, wrought with wispy and jazzy atmospheres and lush vocals, the songs on Trigger 10d show the band transitioning toward a more driving rock sound. Right from the onset of opening track “Misplaced,” a grinding guitar dominates as Alicia Sotelo’s vocals, at once sultry and ballsy, take center stage atop discordant 8-bit style electronics to make for an energetic start. “Lullaby” follows suit with a much more restrained tempo as distorted bass and guitar mesh with sweeping electronics in a manner reminiscent of their past work, but again with a much more rocking edge. The same can be said for songs like “Kiss the Door” with its electric piano underscore and clean strumming guitars and “Skies Gone Dark” as symphonic and turntable effects play atop a shuffling beat. However, the overt similarity to older Trigger 10d prevalent on these tracks ends as the kickoff single, “A-List” drives through the speakers with a bit of punk rock energy, Sotelo’s vocals distorted just enough to give the track a little extra power, as if the jangling guitar, juicy beats, and slithering electronics didn’t deliver. “Again” picks the pace up as Sotelo’s melodies play counterpoint to some monotone guitar stutters in the verses while the synths maintain the tonality of a broken down arcade game from the ‘80s, making for an interesting sonic dynamic. “Puddlehopping” and “Whip You Wicked” allow the electronics to shine with some highly danceable electro beats rounding out the mix, making them standout tracks that are good in their own right, but if not for some tastefully arranged guitars would sound very out of place amid the heavier rock sounds that permeate the album. Fans of earlier Trigger 10d will surely still enjoy the band’s new direction as the emphasis on songwriting is still clearly at play, although the uneven mix of styles toward a more electro rock sound results in a rather disparate album.
 
Track list:

  1. Misplaced
  2. Lullaby
  3. Skies Gone Dark
  4. A-List
  5. Kiss the Door
  6. Laced
  7. Again
  8. Roadside
  9. Puddlehopping
  10. Whip You Wicked

 
Trigger 10d Website http://www.trigger10d.com
Trigger 10d MySpace http://www.myspace.com/trigger10d
Trigger 10d Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/TRIGGER-10d/325496797721
WTII Records Website http://wtiirecords.com
WTII Records MySpace http://www.myspace.com/wtIIrecords
WTII Records Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/WTII-Records-LLC/118624595174
WTII Records ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/wtiirecords
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
 
2010-06-29
 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

Jun 2011 20

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Hypefactor
Category: Electro-pop / Rock
Album: One.Nine.Five.Six (Single)
Stars: 3
Blurb: Hypefactor revisits an ongoing talent fore creating deliberately pop-styled electronic music.

[..]

Jun 2011 20

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DJ Rap
Category: Electronica / Electro-pop
Album: Synthesis
Stars: 2
Blurb: DJ Rap’s latest record is a spirited but forgettable entry in the world of dance-oriented pop music.

 

DJ Rap – a.k.a. Charissa Saverio – is a British DJ probably best known for her seemingly endless vinyl releases in drum & bass, house, as well as progressive electronic music. Her latest full-length record is the pop-infused disc Synthesis, a belated follow-up to her 1999 major label debut, Learning Curve.

Synthesis exhibits a range of instrumentation and dance-oriented styles, often incorporating organic equipment such as guitars and drums, while always maintaining a focus on an electronic pop structure that encompasses the entire record and gives it a cohesive, singular feel. Musically, the tracks on Synthesis are characteristically similar to those of Madonna or Lady Gaga. Even the edgier, more up-tempo tracks feature a sugary atmosphere that are equally inhibited by the album’s overly clean and polished production, ultimately forging a sound that seems flat and lacking in dimension.

Synthesis is also lyrically underdeveloped and often feels painfully sophomoric. Even the most fully realized song on the album, “In Your Corner” features one hackneyed phrase after another. With lyrics like “What a wicked web we’ve weaved / Guess that’s what I get for being naive” followed with “But you can’t see the forest through the trees / Because you’re in too deep,” it’s hard to take DJ Rap or Synthesis all that seriously.

DJ Rap’s finest attribute on this disc easily has to be her incredible singing voice, which is simply lush, breathy, and occasionally quite seductive. Her vocal work alone is what makes returning to certain songs worthwhile, and has understandably garnered her attention in the past from acts like BT, whom she has sung for. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to carry the bulk of Synthesis or make it an album that will stand the test of time in the pantheon of pop music.
 
Track list:

  1. My World
  2. In Your Corner
  3. Give It All Away
  4. I Just Wanna Feel Good
  5. Believe
  6. I’m Ready
  7. What Goes Around
  8. Open Your Eyes
  9. Finally Get to You
  10. Immune
  11. I Wouldn’t Change a Thing
  12. Catching Bullets

 
DJ Rap Website http://www.djrap.com
DJ Rap MySpace http://www.myspace.com/therealdjrap
DJ Rap Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/DJ-Rap/40198438599
DJ Rap Twitter http://twitter.com/djrap
DJ Rap SoundCloud http://www.soundcloud.com/djrap
Ministry of Sound Website http://www.ministryofsound.com
Ministry of Sound MySpace http://www.myspace.com/ministryofsound
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
 
2010-06-29
 
Brian Backlash (BrianBacklash)

Jun 2011 20

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Neutral Lies
Category: Synthpop
Album: A Deceptive Calm
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: An unabashedly retro sythpop album that unfortunately doesn’t quite cut it in the vocal department.

 

With the plethora of synthpop acts out there, it can sometimes be difficult for a band to distinguish itself from the herd; this French synthpop duo, Neutral Lies has decided to take the retro approach in their quest for individuality. Steeped in classic synths and an overall more simplistic style, Neutral Lies unquestionably captures the desired ‘80s feel, showing shades of classics such as Depeche Mode or Thomas Dolby, but unfortunately, a frequently flat vocal performance keeps A Deceptive Calm from being close to on par with albums from those classic artists.

Early on, Neutral Lies shows off what they’re capable with the supremely visual “Commuters” that captures the same kind of feel as Kraftwerk’s “Trans Europe Express” and conjures visions of the flow of passengers and trains through a crowded terminal. Unfortunately, immediately afterwards, they show how low they can sink with “S.X. Girls” as the goofy ear-piercing synth arrangements, painful attempts at harmonized vocals, and silly lyrics will leave the listener dumbfounded and in disbelief. From there, the album becomes a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Neutral Lies shows off some impeccably haunting composition like in “Between Glasses and Rewards” and “Waking Up On the Battlefield,” which do manage to successfully gel with the slightly off vocals, but they also show off how wince-inducing the vocals can be in tracks like “Rose in the Coffin” and “Nostalgia” as some nicely put together tracks are torpedoed by flat, off-key vocals.

Synthpop is a very vocal-centric musical genre, and unfortunately, Neutral Lies doesn’t quite have the vocal chops to carry their music. In the end, A Deceptive Calm is the sort of album that will likely be a guilty pleasure for many people. The vocals are sometimes a little cheesy and frequently seem to hit the wrong note, but the music is a fun, well put together throwback that is likely to put a smile on your face. Neutral Lies definitely has a great, stripped down sound that will keep the listener coming back for more, but the vocals are just as likely to drive that listener away after a song or two.
 
Track list:

  1. (In Your) Neutral Eyes
  2. Commuters
  3. S.X. Girls
  4. Introspection
  5. Between Glasses and Rewards
  6. Laugh at First Sight
  7. Rose in the Coffin
  8. Waking Up On the Battlefield
  9. Le Fou d’Echec
  10. Nostalgia
  11. Slough of Despond

 
Neutral Lies Website http://www.neutrallies.online.fr
Neutral Lies MySpace http://www.myspace.com/neutrallies
Neutral Lies Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/NEUTRAL-LIES/112746885429825
BOREDOMproduct Website http://www.boredomproduct.online.fr
BOREDOMproduct MySpace http://www.myspace.com/productofboredomonline
BOREDOMproduct Facebook http://www.facebook.com/boredomproduct
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
 
2010-06-28
 
Trubie Turner (Flexei)

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