Music Reviews



KMFDM: Salvation

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Nov 02 2015
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Artist: KMFDM (@)
Title: Salvation
Format: CD EP
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
German industrial-rock band KMFDM doesn't really need any introduction as I told on the occassion of some words about their album "Our Time Will Come", a title which sounds an ironic statement about their 30-years lasting groundshaking path across the amazing boundaries between industrial, metal/rock and meaningful, shouted and somehow tantalizing incitements where they let the polemic and wisely argumentative vein pulse in their temples. The prolific label Metropolis recently added another nice title to their rich discography by means of this concise collection of remixes, which includes the original song that gives the title to the EP, whose energetic rough mix of vocals, sticky distorted guitars and visceral electronic sequences could surmise some relatively old acts of the band such as "Angst" as well as being perfect as the soundtrack of a fair-minded reportage about Vatileaks... Allelujah! Two remixes of "Salvation" got included in the tracklist, one by Italian cyberpunkster Victor Love (Dope Stars Inc.), whose firing intro by means of a catchy grinding electro-punk push doens't really lift off and features somehow predictable directions, and a more interesting remix by Jimmy Urine (Mindless Self Indulgence), who managed to add nitro to an already energetic track by slightest propellants - an additional female vocal to the catchy chorus of the original track, some sliding electronic sounds, a sequence which reprises the melodic line in the middle of the track and an emphasis on the reverbs on guitar distortions as well as a final medley, which could surmise the easy "danceability" of many tunes by New Order and LCD Soundsystem -. I personally enjoyed the remixes of other tracks more than the ones of "Salvation", particularly the one of "Blood vs.Money" by Bradley Bills, which replaced the Asian Dub Foundation-like drum'n'bass groove of the original track by means of a tribal industrial one, and the amazing vocoderized make-up of "Brainwashed" by KMFDM's female singer Sascha Konietzko, while the alternation of nervous breaks and temporary slow-downs and the whole treatment that Tom Stanzel made on his Tritoxin Remix of "Blood vs.Money"'s spinning time doesn't really enthuse me.

Lyke Wake: Fall Of The Corrupt

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Oct 21 2015
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Artist: Lyke Wake (@)
Title: Fall Of The Corrupt
Format: CD
Label: Aseptic Noise
Rated: *****
After its come back Lyke Wake, the Stefano Di Serio's musical project, has been busy producing new music and this year, after the tape "The Hatred Of A Thousand Years", is back with a sixty nine dark electronic cosmic suite. "The Fall Of The Corrupt" is a magmatic ever changing piece that is giving me the idea of a nebula. Try to think about that interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases and imagine the tension that make them collapse until a new temporary balance has reached. Some nebulae are formed as the result of supernova explosions, the death throes of massive, short-lived stars but try to apply this image to what the album's title suggest and you'll be projected into a mental supernova made of fast thoughts and sticky obsessions which have to find a new balance and have to fall... to stop. By listening to "Fall Of The Corrupt" you'll decide to embrace a voyage into your self conscience guided by Lyke Wake's sound and it won't be an easy listening. Catch your headphones and "bonne voyage"!

ADMX-71: Coherent Abstractions

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 16 2015
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Artist: ADMX-71
Title: Coherent Abstractions
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: L.I.E.S.
Rated: *****
Adam X started his adventure in the musical world on early nineties, as founder, along with Frankie Bones, of Groove Records, which later became Sonic Groove Records, one of the main American techno shops. In the mid nineties he started his own label and he's still running it. As a musician, actually he has several solo side-projects: ADMX-71, Traversable Wormhole, X-Crashed & Mass-X-odus. My review is dealing with his ADMX-71 moniker, as, on mid October, L.I.E.S. Records will release its third album "Coherent Abstractions". Containing eleven new tracks, the album shows Adam's industrial techno downtempo side which is made of menacing atmospheres, electro intuitions and now obsessive and then minimal rhythmic patterns. If the opening "Virtuality Continuum" is a repetitive track with smooth industrial noise loops and drums, the following "Arrival Into Uncharted Territory", will please the lovers of Der Zyklus' most glacial side (like some tracks you can find on "Biometry"). Also lovers of early e.b.m. could find some satisfaction thanks to Adam's melodic loops mixed to pounding drum sequences. If I would have to find a small weakness, is that, besides having interesting sounds and structure, the overall atmosphere is the same. There are no hard tracks alternating dark/ambient ones and this, in my opinion, would have helped a lot appreciating even more the album which is a good one, anyway.

White Shadow: Panopticon

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Aug 24 2015
cover
Artist: White Shadow (@)
Title: Panopticon
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
It's been a while since I've heard anything from Baltimore-based Industrial-Metal outfit White Shadow. I reviewed their 'The Wastelands' album back in 2010 and found it a so-so affair. I never heard their 2012 EP, 'Zugzwang', but 'Panopticon' is definitely a big leap
forward from what I heard previously. While DXNero (vocals, synth & drum programming) is still the ringmaster in this cyanide circus of sound, the band lineup now consists of Kryptych (bass, guitars, guitar synth, drum & synth programming); Nytro (guitars); Wahkeen (sound design, additional programming) and Marowit (live drums). On this recording there are additional performances by Crawford (bass), and Julia Beach (piano on "Six Months of Sundays").

'Panopticon' is a concept album based on 18th century English philosopher Jeremy Bentham's conceptual prison by the same name. For the unfamiliar, the idea behind the design was to allow a single watchman to observe all the inmates of an institution without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Through the paranoia of not knowing whether or not one was being observed, the inmate would be forced to conform, being on their best behavior at all times. Bentham himself described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example." The concept itself is a timely one in this age of ever-growing detention and surveillance. The album opens strong with "Slipgate", roaring with the power of a locomotive (and interjected "HEY"s) DXNero spits out the lyrics with machine-gun precision (something he's really good at) and muscular guitars provide fuel for the engine. The song goes through some changes- a quiet break with acoustic guitars and calmer vocals (progressive for an Industrial Metal group), alt-metal, then back to the locomotive. Very dynamic and creative. "The Fix is In" keeps this train chugging along nicely with heavy slabs of industrial guitar chords and nifty synth work. A very cool tune filled with appropriate malice and anger. (Something else DXNero is very good at.) "Zugwang" is another powerhouse number with
a great chorus hook - "Zugwang"- if we want to live, We all know something's got to give, Zugwang - even if it hurts, It's the only choice I know will work..." Next track "Crowd [Control}" continues the on-target assault, albeit with a few twists in the quieter passages. DXNero comes across with an appropriate amount of nastiness and it's kind of reminiscent of Disturbed here, maybe with a touch of Reznor. "I Don't Know Who I Am" features more engaging synth, and intersperses the metal aspect of the song with some more thoughtful and progressive passages. "10,000 Masks" alternates machinegun metal with less hyper and more melodic movements. Good hook too. The effected transitional piece "Ingress" offers a spoken word PSA in the Panopticon before you actually get into the title track, which is the first installment of a three part Suite. Some slidey guitar alludes a little to Pink Floyd in a brief instrumental break, but don't expect Mr. Gilmore. Part 2 of the
Suite, "Six Months of Sunday" is a piano-based confessional ballad, but DXNero's voice is all wrong for this track; he comes across as whiny and pathetic. Perhaps that was the intention but it's painful to listen to. Part 3 - "Cold Ground" is low key but somewhat better than the preceding track. It becomes obvious that DXNero is at his best with a full head of steam as opposed to trying to evoke pathos. "Egress" is another brief ambient transitional track leading into "Addicted to Despair". I feel a little ambivalent about this one; it has a quirky rhythmic groove, but the vocals are problematic. Some of it is
crooned in that typical alt metal style, some manic, and some rapped. I'm getting a NuMetal vibe here and for me, it took a bit of the wind out of the sails. It all ends with "Temple" and by this time I'm a bit fatigued, and it's showing in the music too.

At times White Shadow conjures up the best of what I recall of Stabbing Westward; a band with some great tracks and a lot of potential. 'Panopticon' kicks off with a bang and blazes through six dynamite tracks. After that though, it falters. Still, that's quite an achievement in my book. In an oblique way, DXNero does manage to carry off the panopticon concept, but still the songs stand on their own without being weighted down by said concept. I don't think the same could be said of most other rock concept albums.

Torque Order: Trust No One

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
 Edit (8808)
Jul 13 2015
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Artist: Torque Order (@)
Title: Trust No One
Format: CD
Label: New Regime Records
Rated: *****
From Austin, Texas comes Torque Order, a three person Industrial Metal rock group consisting of Loz (vocals, programming); Josef Pfost (guitar); and Jaye Lee Vincent (percussion). The first and most obvious thing about this band is the album cover's obviously similarity to KFMDM album covers. (Not the same designer though.) The music is pretty similar too, except for the lack of the occasional KMFDM female vocals. Torque Order is a little heavier on the guitars and lighter on the electronics, and they also make copious use of dialogue samples as evidenced on the opener, "Nothing to Lose" as there are actually more spoken words on this track than Loz's lyrics. Loz sings in that screamed hoarse vocal style of Combichrist's Andy LaPlegua, suitably appropriate for this kind of guitar-driven Industrial. Further on down the line Torque Order relies more on Loz's vocals than samples, much to my relief. Songwriting is simple but effective, and nicely varied within the confines of the genre, which is all you could hope for from a band like this. Some tracks are better than others, and I can't pick a hit here, but a number of them should go down well on the dark dancefloor, taking names and kicking ass. I don't know why they chose to cover AwolNation's "Sail" but I actually found it more engaging than the original, given the Torque treatment. For a debut album, Torque Order's 'Trust No One' is pretty damn good. This is a band with an agenda though; they claim to be a movement to liberate the world from the System's, bland, cookie cutter music. Well, good luck with that, but they've got my vote. On the CD packaging is states: "Dedicated to exposing the corrupt systems of governance throughout the world, the legislators and enforcers of 'morality' and the greedy vultures who prey on the weak. Your days are numbered." Ah, the idealism of youth. Don't buy the rhetoric, buy the album.


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