click on a band/title and away ye go! unless otherwise noted, all reviews by melpomene whitehead. check early and often! I'll be constantly revising...
Alien Faktor, Arterial Spray...;
Burning Matrix, Neon Skyline;
Doubting Thomas, Father Don't Cry;;
Download, Charlie's Family
Hanzel und Gretyl, Transmissions from Uranus;
Heavy Water Factory, Cries from Hell;
Ikon, in the shadow of the angel;
In Strict Confidence, Collapse
Lords of Acid: *Rubber Doll * Our Little Secret;
Mentallo and the Fixer,False Prophets
Mindless Faith, The Silence;
Mortal Kombat Annihilation soundtrack;
Numb,blind and Blood Meridian;
Porcupine Defense, Splinter;
Seven Trees, embracing the unknown;
Out Out, Voiceprint
Euroland uber alles
Yes, I know they're from NY, but since they sometimes sing in German (and Greek, Italian and whatever other languages they come up with), I thought I'd include them in this section. This second HundG disk is absolutely amazing -- I'm sure I'm going to consider it to be among the best disks to come out in '97. Their first, "Ausgeflippt" was awesome enough... and Transmissions blows that one away! It's so varied, so entertaining, so intelligently written and performed, has such an incredible amount of energy... well, I just can't say enough about it. It's "electronica," it's industrial, it's heavy metal, it's glam, it's pop, it's whatever you want to make of it. Vas Kallas and Lupie, with their new age space-age sensibilities have tapped into many pop cultural energy vortexes and have been kind enough to process them and spit them back out to us in easy-to-digest dance music. Vas and Lupie have incredible wealth of knowledge on the topic of UFOs and the alleged pleiadian agenda, and even if you don't care much for that particular topic, the music is infectious. Vas sings more songs in her "natural" voice this time -- no more vocal effects for this baby! And her vocals are strong, clear and exciting. C'mon, ride, as Vas intones us to do, in her strong deep commanding voice, "das ist ein komet ride"! Oh, I almost forget, there's a really neat game and video presentation on this disk.
Two covers (Depeche Mode's Stripped and Metallica's Hero), yet I still like it. It fits right in that haujobb/:W: cubbyhole, but like both those bands, In Strict Confidence is original and talented. It's very soundtrack-y, depressing grey-day-at-the-salt-mines music, but they add some really nice touches. What can I say, even I can recognize talent when it's this apparent, even tho I'm not really "into" this genre per se.
The only point there is in reviewing this particular disk is to convince you all who were not going to get yet another KMFDM disk that, if you only buy one KMFDM disk this year, this should be the one (that's a joke kiddies, cus they release soo much stuff it's like they come out with something every month...) This disk, the one with no title, is my favorite one since Naive. Guitars are way way toned down, beats are up!!! I'm very happy with this one. I bet they are too. It's still KMFDM, but it's newer! Fresher! Brighter! And they're still bragging (Megalomaniac), still angry (Waste), still acting loony (Down and Out, Unfit). And enough German to get me tweaked...
Lords of Acid, You Want Sex with a Rubber Doll? cd single and Our Little Secret
Always the masters of subtlety, Belgian beatmasters Lords of Acid herein sing odes to the odious blow-up doll, a nemesis apparently the likes of Nikkie Van Lierop has never seen. Van Lierop sings about how she would like to murder the doll due in part to its ubiquitous presence and constant availability. But there's no way a mere blow-up dolly can compete with this super-woman. Luckily for us, we get six different mixes about this amazing fantasy wrestling match, the likes of which the world has never seen. And they're all kick-ass electro-dance mixes. I love all of them, especially My, but you're a fine one and the six-minute do you mind if we dance with yo' date? (mixed by Frankie Bones! Really!). But it's all good. really. Lords of Acid, even when they're saying absolutely nothing, say it better than most. For you rivet-heads, 'back off, the bitch is mine" is probably the most "industrial" of all the mixes. Listen to this single over and over, it's so varied it'll be months before you tire of it. Our Little Secret is much more varied than I would expect! It's not all elektro-dance. Hey kids! Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics!
Well, I adore Sielwolf. I have a soft spot for German bands that actually sing in their native tongue, and I'm additionally sweet on Petra Tausendpfund, Sielwolf's female half who programs and collects samples. Nachtstrom only makes me love them more. Right off the bat, first track (Korrosion) is so infectious, so contagious, such an incredible mix of noise, rhythm and atonal melody, it makes me want to jump up and groove. Unlike many industrial bands, Sielwolf's rhythms are extremely varied, making for a funkier sound. This particular mix of funk and noise is so completely original. I defy you to find another band that sounds anything like Sielwolf, and if they do, they must be copying them. "Korrosion," with its mix of animal sounds, heavy drums, dense electronics and subtle spoken vocals, would be enough to satisfy any EBM aficionado, but there's even more stuff on this disk! We have the syncopated militaristic Verstarker Zerstort, the plodding heavy Embryo, the complicated and intense title cut.
Peter Prochir's vocals have gotten more aggressive and passionate. Sielwolf is a powerhouse. Oh! and I almost forgot, this was produced by Carlos Peron of Yello! And there is one very Yello-like song, Vengessen. Lyrics are included, but not only are they written in German, but they're printed green on red, so it's impossible to read.
Van Richter Records
Seven Trees, embracing the unknown
I'm not the biggest fan of this sort of new-wave influenced, deep-voiced dance industrial. Alot of it reminds me of music from Suspiria. But I know that there are plenty of people who completely disagree with me, and if you know who you are, and I hope you do because if you don't you're in trouble, you probably ought to go out and get this Seven Trees disk because it will be right up your alley. Similar to the first haujobb disk whose name escapes me at the moment. None of it is too fast, which is why it seems very goth to me. Oh, and I know they're Swedish, but thematically they fit in this category.
Can't help but to think that Rudy Ratzinger is not joking about all this. Embryodead is dedicated to "all foetus acting wisely enough to die in their mother's womb before they could be thrown into this cruel world full of blind hate." And no, there is nothing cheery about E+, it is about as dark as German dance-industrial can get, just the sort of thing to stomp around to in a fit of anger. I think the title cut Embryodead, is my favorite -- it's has a very hard beat, a haunting keyboard melody, very bitter lyrics PLUS Rudy single part of it in German which always gets me hot. You new wave kittens will love the languid beats and swirling melodies of "Is It You." Damn, if you think Reznor is a dark depressed bitter guy, just wait til you get a taste of :W:! To offset all this acridity are some very very beautiful melodies. Poor poor Rudy... He's very effective at communicating the depths of his black soul to the rest of us. I think this is as close as anyone has gotten to putting depression to music.
Oh! Canada...Oh ! Australia!
I really enjoy the hard, fast, almost punk-rock sensibility of Numb's latest single, blind, but the album, being of course longer and more varied, shows the thoughtful side of Numb beside their aggressive natures. Isn't Blood Meridian the name of a Cormac McCarthy book about the American West in the 19th century or something? What, have you guys been reading?
Apparently there's an entire vault of DR Goettel material stored somewhere, and out of this warehouse comes Doubting Thomas. Can't believe this stuff is seven years old. Sounds like an electro Mike Oldfield (you know Tubular Bells), but with a contemporary feel. Very much the disturbing trance we've all come to expect from the Skinny Puppy side projects. And could Excrement be the Careful with that axe, Eugene of the goth set?
This is actually the soundtrack for a movie by Jim Van Bebber. Of course it's disturbing and freaky. There's a lot of playing with samples and electronics, changing pitches, static, whistling wind. It's a movie it itself.
Ikon, in the shadow of the angel
Promo material claims this to be Sisters of Mercy-esque, but it's much more Sisters of Morrissey! Much lusher, richer, more textured and varied than I expected, not overly goth, almost rockin' at points. Ikon clearly owes a huge debt to Joy Division, but that's not such a bad thing. You know, with titles likesuicide and love is colder than death i was certainly expecting the worse, but, hey! It ain't half bad. Very "apocalyptic folk," you know, lots of acoustic gee-tars.
Our American Cousins
It's brilliant. By far the best disk of 1997. It's hard and snotty like Prodigy wish they were, it's smart enough to satisfy a Phillip Glass fan, it's metal, it's elektro, it's the Barbie DreamHouse of industrial -- it's just what I wanted. One song is named Liber Hate after Crwoley, and one named V, is that for Thomas Pynchon or the sci-fi tv show? I'd like to think it's for Pynchon. It's very very hard to read the CD notes (type is gold printed on a red/gold pattern), but I can see that Chris Randall appears on this disk, and Tom Muschitz is now calling himself "rev." Is everyone getting religion? Regardless, get this disk at any price. Kill if you have to. It's worth it.
Sort of haujobb-y industrial/elektro trance. It's very infectious! Good deep beats, extremely varied electronic textures.
209A E. Mombasha Road, Monroe, NY 10950 (I think)
Sorry to say this, but I think this is going to be my favorite electronic compilation of the year. I got a ridiculous press release with this, about the "Mortal Kombat" sound, and I was like, yeh, right, incredulous as ever, but guess what? There is a Mortal Kombat sound. And I like it. This disc may be the last best hope for industrial to cross over into the mainstream for real. You know, unlike Nirvana, who made the entire "Seattle scene" commercial viable, no one has been able to do that for industrial dance. Not NIN, certainly. And I still think there is a place for this music within mainstream contemporary pop. It's not so outrageous to imagine hearing 16 Volt on the radio, is it? Most of the "industrial" acts included on this soundtrack are Wax Trax artists, but that doesn't mean it's all bad. The average buyer will probably be drawn in by the Megadeth track, but hopefully those 12 year old boys will love the anger and humor of KMFDM and Psykosonik and Pitchshifter. Overall,, this is a fun, entertaining, uncomplicated compilation. But, be warned, after listening you may feel like tearing someone's heart out.
Here's Mark Allen Miller, formerly of Vein Cage. Out Out is vaguely NIN-sounding, but not derivative. You know, pretty much all pop-oriented industrial sounds like NIN in some way. Or 16 Volt. But it's good, I like it, for whatever that's worth. Miller seems to have something to say and he has an interesting way of saying it. Songs are mid-tempo with harsh keyboards, and he covers a Wire song (an old one) and he does a pretty good job of it.
Another winner. Everything sounds good this month. Sort of like a more obviously electronic 16Volt. Oh boy, and this guy is from Terminal Sect? I hate them. But this is too cool. Very original, very surprising. What can I say? I'm too shocked to speak.
The music is pretty good, the songs have interesting melodies and good beats. It's pretty hard, but not harsh, you know? I can hear that this is one of those disks that demands repeated listenings, so I'm gonna come back to this. I gotta listen to this one more.
AlterCulture, 360 Meyran Ave, 1st floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Remixes from their 2nd CDAuthor of Pain. At this point I get to admit what a slacker I've been for these past six months--I got that HWF disk in May and never listened to the damned thing. Handed it off to Erik who was too busy to listen, as he was preparing to go on tour. So, I cannot compare this with the original. But on it's own, it's fine. It's more than fine, it's spectacular. Gotta hand it to Energy, they put out all the best stuff this year (except for Alien Faktor). You know, despite all the electronics and noise, HWF has a very personal sound; it's like you're in a room having a conversation with these guys. Battery's remix of Vampire is really cool--something about it reminds me of that Everything But the Girl song (you know the one). Alot of this disk has a very commercial and accessible sound, but it's not at all compromised. It's good, it's clean, it can be pretty or angry or sad. There are so many notes here, not just that one note of anger that we hear in a lot of dance industrial. For the fans, there are two previously unreleased tracks.
Heavy Water Factory site
Once again, back on the biblical bandwagon that is Mentallo and the Fixer (these days, anyway). Not bad, very soft. False Prophets has a definite mid-80s euro-dance feel to it. Oh no, parts of it remind me very much of Flock of Seagulls. Some ever-so pretty and delicate moog courtesy of John Bustamante (you know, he's in Fektion Fekler)on False Prophets. Two versions of Mother of Harlots with some very typical MTF riffs (one of these mixes is called "Tempo Crusher," but it must be all of 80bpm. Not exactly tempo-crushing by my standards.)Dwayne Dassing's Deluge 2370 BCE is probably my favorite track of the four: very discordant with some very unexpected funk elements.
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