Aug 2011 09

Cauterised - Trifler Gets Hammered
Cauterised
Category: Ambient
Album: Trifler Gets Hammered
Stars: 2
Blurb: Remixed soundtrack samples from Hammer Horror make for a brief but entertaining trifle.

 

Cauterised is the side project of Ian Proudfoot, who also releases music under the name Quartersized and who is one of the cofounders of now-defunct UK label MoMT Records. On previous Cauterised EPs, Proudfoot has applied his brand of dark ambient soundtrack remixing to everything from Front Line Assembly side project Delerium to early ‘90s videogame Flashback. This release sees him creating new soundtrack material from sampled Hammer Horror films. The end result is surprisingly close to the original material, with lots of screeching violins, melodramatic horn loops, and gamboling woodwinds. Apart from a few obvious touches, like repeating loops on “Curse of the Golden Vampires” and “It Bites” and deliberate fuzziness on “Hyde Your Sisters,” the compositions on Trifler Gets Hammered sound very much like a twice-copied cassette recording from an actual early ‘70s horror film. The song titles and the concept are amusing enough, but at just over 10 minutes, this EP is little more than a mildly entertaining trifle.
 
Track list:

  1. Curse of the Golden Vampires
  2. Frankie Says
  3. Hyde Your Sisters
  4. It Bites

 
MoMT Records Website http://www.momt.co.uk
MoMT Records MySpace http://www.myspace.com/momtrecords
 
2010-10-31
 
Matthew Johnson (infinitywaltz)

Aug 2011 09

Hujaboy - The Fact EP
Hujaboy
Category: Techno / Trance
Album: The Fact EP
Stars: 1
Blurb: Three tracks that sound exactly like the same three tracks.

 

What we have here from Hujaboy are three tracks of techno with little difference between each track. The first track, “The Core” is a stomper with a nice beat ranging in the 120 or better BPM range. The track clocks in at nearly nine minutes long and has a strong bass beat, at times feeling like perhaps something that Psykosonik might have done or even a remix. A minimalistic melody fills in some of the background but it never overpowers the mix. On “The Fact,” the beat stays the same with an added clap on the “and” of the 4/4 beat. Again this track sounds rather dated and like something that could have been played in the clubs in the mid-to-late ‘90s. No new ground is explored here and no new envelopes are even hinted at so that by the time we get to the third and final track on the album, the beat hasn’t changed; it’s still the same 4/4 beat at the same BPM level. The melodies don’t vary much and it really just sounds like a long version of the same song flowing into each other without much definition. While this may be fun to listen to at a club or even in the background while you are doing housework, it lacks any kind of definition or uniqueness to make the listener want to further explore this ride. In fact, it’s so repetitive that by the end of the three-song EP, this writer wasn’t even sure that he hadn’t missed something while listening to it. While the production is done well, and there is enough here to get a club floor stomping, the casual listener will want to stay clear of this EP.
 
Track list:

  1. The Core
  2. The Fact
  3. The Flower

 
Hujaboy Website http://www.hujaboy.com
Hujaboy MySpace http://www.myspace.com/hujaboy
Bionics Records Website http://www.bionics.co.il
Bionics Records MySpace http://www.myspace.com/bionicsrecords
Bionics Records Facebook http://www.facebook.com/bionicsrecords
Bionics Records Twitter http://www.twitter.com/bionicsrecords
 
2010-09-20
 
Gabe Wilkinson (Microwaved)

Aug 2011 09

Heimatærde - Dark Dance EP
Heimatærde
Category: Industrial / Folk
Album: Dark Dance EP
Stars: 3
Blurb: A highly unique sound, blending old and new.

 

Heimatærde is the solo project of DJ Ash, blending modern electronic/industrial music with medieval and anachronistic motifs and sounds. Leading up to their newest album release is the Dark Dance EP, composed of various forms of the title track and additional songs to showcase the band’s individual sound.

Heimatærde presents three variations on the “Dark Dance” theme; each sound extremely similar to each other, save for minor changes in instrumentation, moving from a more renaissance/electro sound to an entirely electro/industrial presentation. The song itself is very catchy, with a solid club beat and strong synth stabs to carry the vocals forward. The drum and bass remains identical through all three versions though, making the variations (as previously stated) only minor. All three tracks are enjoyable, though one might hope for some more variation than a simple one instrument changeup when presenting three different mixes of a track.

The remaining half of the album continues to showcase Heimatærde’s hybrid style. The intro track “Taenzer der Nacht” layers deep voiced narration over tribal drumming, introducing the Dark Dance tracks; “Veni Veni Emmanuel” mixes danceable and dark drums and bass with ethereal, monastic chanting, very reminiscent of earlier artists E Nomine, while “Herr Mannelig” continues the steady club beat that has permeated the entire EP, mixing in the hybrid electro/renaissance sound with an electro/industrial base, carrying droning German lyrics.

Dark Dance is a solid lead-up to Heimatærde’s full-length album, presenting the band’s style to fans old and new in a small and enjoyable package.
 
Track list:

  1. Taenzer der Nacht
  2. Dark Dance (Medievalfloor)
  3. Veni Veni Emmanuel
  4. Dark Dance (Mainfloor)
  5. Herr Mannelig
  6. Dark Dance (Maschinenfloor)

 
Heimatærde Website http://www.heimataerde.de
Heimatærde MySpace http://www.myspace.com/heimataerde
Heimatærde Facebook http://www.facebook.com/heimataerdeoffiziell
Heimatærde Twitter http://twitter.com/heimataerde
Metropolis Records Website http://www.metropolis-records.com
Metropolis Records MySpace http://www.myspace.com/metropolisrecords
 
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
 
2010-09-09
 
Zak Vaudo (Chaostar)

Aug 2011 09

Angelzoom - Nothing is Infinite
Angelzoom
Category: Electro-pop
Album: Nothing is Infinite
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: A finely crafted balance of excellent composition and emotional brilliance, the likes of which aren’t often heard in the genre.

 

Since its inception in 2004, Angelzoom has been on a steady rise to the heavens with its ambient blend of dark and trippy electro-pop, touring with the likes of Apocalyptica and Joachim Witt. The solo project of Claudia Uhle, Angelzoom’s music stands above most synthpop artists with an effective mix of melancholy melodies and masterful musicality as demonstrated by her sophomore album, Nothing is Infinite. Beginning with the introductory “Battle Angel Chpt. V,” part of a series of instrumentals whose conceptual entirety is stretched across the album and its corresponding singles, we are plunged into a frigid atmosphere of cold synthesizers and Uhle’s emotive voice performing a cover of Depeche Mode’s “The Things You Said.” While this writer is normally adverse to the notion of starting an album with a cover song, it more than does well to introduce Nothing is Infinite to the listener, with the lush keyboard arpeggios and harmonious vocals of “These Arms of Mine” introducing us to Uhle’s songwriting skills firsthand. The rest of the album follows suit, with “Fragile” balancing cold electronic ambience befitting a wintry landscape with trip-hop beats and subtle layers of acoustic and electric guitars, making for a delicately ghostly track, while “Everyone Cares” moves with a light but danceable rhythm of twinkling synths and uplifting vocal melodies, sounding as lovely as any of the best pop ballads of the last 30 years. “Handsome World” moves with a chord progression and ambient waves of vocal harmonies coupled with airy piano arpeggios in such a way that it could easily pass for an Enya track, while “Runaway” builds to an explosive climax in its final chorus, the drums sounding the most powerful throughout the album as faux-strings build an orchestral backdrop before fading into a wispy bedrock of synthesized atmosphere. The other two entries in the “Battle Angel” series, Chapters I and II are perhaps the best examples of Uhle’s compositional skills, with Chapter I presenting a tapestry of tense martial percussive rhythms juxtaposed with contemplative piano and strings like the soundtrack to an historic war epic, while Chapter II presents more of a gothic romanticism full of somber melody and classical grandeur. Nothing is Infinite is a finely crafted album that proves Angelzoom is not the run-of-the-mill electro-pop act; the fluid mesh of compositional excellence and emotive brilliance make for a standout combination the likes of which are not often heard in the genre. If Claudia Uhle can maintain this level of quality songwriting on future releases, she stands to be recognized as one of the great pop artists of the next generation.
 
Track list:

  1. Battle Angel Chpt. V
  2. The Things You Said
  3. These Arms of Mine
  4. Runaway
  5. Battle Angel Chpt. I
  6. My Innermost
  7. Hypnotised
  8. Fragile
  9. Everyone Cares
  10. Doomsday (AD.2010)
  11. Handsome World
  12. Battle Angel Chpt. II
  13. Clones
  14. Afterlife (Bonus Track)

 
Angelzoom Website http://www.angelzoom.de
Angelzoom MySpace http://www.myspace.com/angelzoommusic
Angelzoom Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Angelzoom/112689508770484
Wannsee Records http://www.wannsee-records.de
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
 
2010-09-24
 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

Aug 2011 09

Moodorgan - PRV2: Process Remixes, Volume 2
Moodorgan
Category: Goth / Synthpop / Futurepop
Album: PRV2: Process Remixes, Volume 2
Stars: 3
Blurb: California based electronic project Moodorgan delivers a collection of remixes rich in glossy futurepop production, gothic attitudes, and trancelike atmospheres.

 

Peter, the primary member of Moodorgan, began his dark electronic project in Boston, Massachusetts, eventually relocating to Los Angeles to solidify his current incarnation of the band. Developing a sound that is characterized as darkwave, it is more accurate to say that it is gothic-influenced synthpop and futurepop, especially on this remix release. The album draws tracks from the full-length release Nexus, as well as the Process EP, while also including some unreleased tracks as well. Opening the disc is a remix done by Tom Shear of Assemblage 23 of the track “Treasure,” a mix that is heavily pushed in a commercial pop direction while maintaining a sleek and very simplistic structure to the song. The 9.9.9 mix of “Remember the Truth” is the next track, injecting an EBM flavor to the mix that processes well as a great dance track to melt easily in to a DJ’s higher BPM set list. The following mix of “Velveteen” is referenced as the Bone China mix and offers a very ambient, almost new age version of the track, dosing it with light operatic vocals, world music soundscapes, as well as a plodding, groove-oriented rhythm. Here is where Peter’s vocals shine, showcasing his velvety voice that teases with its gothic delivery and minimal synthetic processing, giving it just enough of a shimmer among the darkly enrapturing groove. Two mixes of “Darkness” follow, the first being a Silent Tears mix that gives the song an old-school ‘80s feel with epic synth lines floating delicately behind the synthetic rhythms. The Predator at the Gate mix tightens up the fluid sound of the previous version and places higher emphasis on the vocals and playful keyboard chorus. The placement of space between the notes and filling them with more percussive beat structures changes the song quite a bit, but it still sounds like a song that would have had greater success had it been released 25 years earlier. “Innocence” gets another 9.9.9 treatment, a track that is slower in pace than the rest of the disc, but has a mechanical, almost trancelike drive to it, giving it an enveloping sense of urgency, desire, and darkness. The disc ends with two unreleased tracks from two Moodorgan related projects, the first being “Martin,” a song that features Rikk Agnew of Christian Death. This track is actually far less of a gothic track as it employs a dark industrial slant and little bit of a guitar rock feel to it. The final track is the Discipline mix of “You Can’t _ More Than I Can _” by Black.Empathy.Box, a song that is a bit more experimental in nature with its edgy industrial dance feeling and overall repetitive structure. It clearly separates itself from the overall Moodorgan sound and actually provides as the most exciting and club-oriented cut on the disc. Moodorgan certainly has more than a few tricks up its sleeve and have made quite a name for itself in the live club circuit scene in Los Angeles with an expanded live lineup and a full-on multimedia experience. Unfortunately, the tracks on this disc do very little to capture that element and despite a few fleeting moments of dance floor excitement, the overall feel of the disc falls a little flat. Perhaps this is pivotal time for Peter to shed the studio feel of his music and explore capturing the live sound a little more on his upcoming releases.
 
Track list:

  1. Treasure (Assemblage 23 Mix)
  2. Remember the Truth (9.9.9 Mix)
  3. Velveteen (Bone China Mix)
  4. Darkness (Silent Tears Mix)
  5. Darkness (Predator at the Gate Mix)
  6. Innocence (9.9.9 Mix)
  7. Catalog: Martin (Moodorgan Mix)
  8. Black.Empathy.Box: You Can’t _ More Than I Can _ (Discipline Mix)

 
Moodorgan Website http://moodorgan.com
Moodorgan MySpace http://myspace.com/moodorganla
Moodorgan Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/moodorgan/161789619426
Moodorgan Twitter http://twitter.com/moodorgan
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
CDBaby
 
2009-11-28
 
Joseph Graham (ChromeSkinJesus)

Aug 2011 09

Everpresent - Darklight
Everpresent
Category: Synthpop
Album: Darklight
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: Everpresent’s new single aims for dark sensuality and doesn’t quite get there.

 

With “Darklight,” Everpresent’s Matthew Cahoon tries to create a darkly seductive song that works in multiple genres, from synthpop to contemporary R&B, but he only half-succeeds. The instrumentation works well enough with hints of Arabic-tinged strings and tom-toms adding a hint of exotic sensuality to a deliberately understated synthpop groove, but Cahoon’s vocals, delivered in an almost breathless but still full-throated tenor, miss the mark, neither unabashedly sexual enough for the R&B crowd nor wistfully melancholy enough for synthpop stalwarts. Further hampering things are clunky couplets like, “I like the way you fight / You’re such a dark angel of light.” Thankfully, a remix by Galvanax takes things in a more interesting direction, adding drum & bass rhythms for extra grit while also drawing emphasis to the Middle Eastern elements. The rest of the single is filled out with instrumental and a capella versions, neither of which seem particularly necessary, though the instrumental mix at least highlights the song’s best qualities. A teaser for Everpresent’s next full-length album, this release is probably best left to fans already familiar with Cahoon’s work.
 
Track list:

  1. Darklight
  2. Darklight (DJGX Remix)
  3. Darklight (Instrumental)
  4. Darklight (A Capella)

 
Everpresent Website http://everpresent.org
Everpresent MySpace http://www.myspace.com/everpresent
Everpresent Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Everpresent/10077520865
Everpresent Twitter http://twitter.com/everpresentep
Artistik Soul Productions
 
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
CDBaby
 
2010-08-20
 
Matthew Johnson (infinitywaltz)

Aug 2011 09

Adversus - Der Zeit Abhanden
Adversus
Category: Goth / Metal
Album: Der Zeit Abhanden
Stars: 3
Blurb: Theatrical and imaginative, Adversus’ Der Zeit Abhanden builds a dark fairy tale world with bold vocals and no shortage of musical talent.

 

According to the English version of the press kit, Adversus’ Der Zeit Abhanden (Lost in Time) has a subtitle that translates to “Eleven Stories for Escapees,” but that may be a mistranslation as it doesn’t take a fluent bilingual to see that “Elf Märchen für Entflohene” has something to do with elves. Punch that into a translation program and it says, literally: Elf fairytale for escapee. That pretty much sums it up right there. Intense and theatrical, Adversus delivers exactly what you would expect from a German gothic metal band. Gorgeous orchestrations back dramatic operatic vocals and tell fable-worthy stories of heroes, monsters, daring rescues, and damsels in distress. Whether the listener knows German or not, the epic adventure unfolding is apparent.

If Adversus does one thing really well, it is to create intriguing musical scenery. Disregarding the vocals, the music is lovely – with the majority performed on actual instruments rather than depending completely on synths and preprogrammed beats, you have to respect the talent involved. The medieval-sounding melodies are complex and interesting, a blend of fantasy and modern electric guitar. They feel like a fairytale created from glitter and leg of mutton. Add the female vocals performed by Aysel and you get true operatic passion. You don’t have to know what she’s singing to know it’s probably important. The final element is Rosendorn’s creepy growling and screaming, which keeps the whole thing from falling into a pink princess fantasy. It provides fascinating contrast to the smoothness of everything else.

Fans of dark fantasy will find plenty to enjoy on Der Zeit Abhanden. Whether they prefer the lovely medieval orchestrations, the gothic opera female vocals, or the disturbing creature-like male vocals, they cannot deny the mixture is potent.
 
Track list:

  1. Prolog
  2. Gespinste
  3. Brüder
  4. Unter den Huellen
  5. Einer Nacht Gewesenes
  6. Entropia
  7. Ein Ding im Spiegel
  8. Das Mädchen mit den Grablichtern
  9. Feuersbrunst im Jammertal
  10. Dies minniglich Lied
  11. Kellerkind
  12. In des Hades Tiefen
  13. Epilog

 
Adversus Website http://www.adversus.de
Adversus MySpace http://www.myspace.com/adversusband
Sonorium Records Website http://www.sonorium.de
Sonorium Records MySpace http://www.myspace.com/sonoriumrecords
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
CDBaby
 
2010-12-03
 
Charity VanDeberg (CharityV)

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