karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
Yay for new music from established artists!
For those of you who don't yet know, Grinderman is a new project by Nick Cave (with members of the Bad Seeds) and was described somewhere as "Foul-mouthed, noisy, hairy, and damn well old enough to know better" and that's exactly what it sounds like. You can hear the smoke and smell of booze in the air. This is music for a dark, smoky, sleazy club for the discerning professional who needs time out from the stresses of everyday life just as for the down-and-out from the street.
Pretty much like Tom Waits, it's raw poetry wrapped in raw, spontaneous music. Yum.
9 out of 10 on the Ozzometer.

N.B.: thanks to [livejournal.com profile] raggedy_man for bringing this to my attention.
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
Heimataerde - Kadavergehorsam
I finally remembered to buy this and I'm actually quite disappointed with this release.
The debut album Gotteskrieger was really rather good and added some interesting twists (fine synth melodies and medieval bagpipe samples) to the usual molasses of Hard EBM/Harsh Electro/WhateverYouCallIt these days. Kadavergehorsam is more of the same and doesn't really inspire as you've heard most of it before.
One thing that makes it stand out a little is that the vocals are actually understandable (if you understand German, that is) rather than utterly distorted.
The guest appearances by ASP, Die in Winter, Winterstahl, X-Fusion and XOTOX add a welcome touch but aren't quite enough to drag it into being brilliant.
I also miss a real dancefloor stomper like Deus Lo Vult. Shame.

6/10 on the Ozzometer not because it's bad but because it gets boring rather quickly.

Unter Null - Sacrament and Absolution (two separately sold EPs)
Those of you who were at Infest (or listened to the previews [livejournal.com profile] missnull posted) got a glimpse of this and music-wise, it delivers.
Unlike with Heimataerde, the music has evolved. It's more melodic and has more elements of trance as well as minimal electronics while still being stompy and in your face which should make it more accessible for a wider audience.
Bad point:
16 tracks (on two separate EPs) of which 6 are original tracks and the others remixes of those 6. Despite for a couple of superb remixes (especially the HEADSCAN mix of This is Your End) this makes for a rather meagre value for your money (18 quid for both at MNS) which is the main reason for the score because those originals are as good as expected. If you compare this to the Endzeit Bunkertracks 4 CD set, it's a bit of a rip-off on Alpha Matrix' part if you ask me.

7/10 because of bad value for money, otherwise it would be a 9.

VA - Das Bunker: Fear of a Distorted Planet (2 CDs)
Another compilation from long running Industrial/Noise club Das Bunker in LA featuring new and exclusive tracks from such varied artists as Combichrist, Karstadt, Synapscape and The [lah-rah] Collective plus [livejournal.com profile] echo_echo's Modulate delivering a cool mix across many electronic/industrial genres from the most minimalist to the harshest.
As with the first one (which I only bought because of Iszoloscope's Axel F remix and was then pleasantly surprised with the rest) it's not available over here but you can order it from the Das Bunker website.
This, on the other hand is good value of money (under 15 quid).

8/10 on the Ozzometer
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (2 turntables)

[livejournal.com profile] snapesbabe recently pointed me at this band, praising them as "mediaeval prog rock" and the song samples she provided sounded promising so I ordered their new album.

In this album, the rock aspect is almost completely gone and it's a lot quieter and slower than before but still not bad, two thirds between Jethro Tull and Blackmore's Night.
So rather than RAWK, it's happy, easy on the ear ballads and, to be brutally honest, a bit bland.
The instrumentation mix of acoustic guitarish and woodwind instruments combined with Moog synth lines unfortunately doesn't quite work, either, as the synths aren't organic enough. A classic Hammond would have fit better, I think.
The only track the sound really works is the last, Reality's a Fantasy but it's atypical for the whole album as it has very little of the mediaeval ballad element.
The last comment might sound odd considering I love other mediaeval-electronic crossover music and I'm not quite sure why. I guess it's the harsher sounds that work better than the reedy trickles.

It's still not bad but not what I expected. It's not that it's quiet and slow as I love that kind of music, too but it's simply missing substance but the production values are good.

6/10 on the Ozzometer.
Sorry, SB.
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)

Dixie Chicks - Taking the Long Way

I first heard a few tracks from this album a few weeks ago on the BBC2 Country show (Thursdays at 7) and boy have they grown up.

I used to be a big Country fan but a lot of it has been leaving me rather cold, there has been little new blood, most of what you got to hear was one Brooks&Dunn clone after another, people like Garth Brooks getting more and more commercial and samey and the old league disappearing into oblivion, two notable exceptions being Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson but their music really isn't Country anymore.
The Dixie Chicks were cool, modern, irreverent, had guts and spoke their mind (they got into big trouble with the rather conservative Country establishment when they publically told everyone what they thought of the Bush administration) but their music was still not quite there, it was all a bit too happy and pandering to the masses for my taste.

Enter Rick Rubin, producer extraordinaire of all kinds of music across all genres from Rap to Speed Metal, including the superb American series of Johnny Cash's late work, who again proves his knack for bringing out the best in the artist.

This album really shows their talent, both as artists and songwriters.
The music is varied from standard modern Country instrumentation (Lubbock or Leave it) via more traditional Bluegrass inspired tracks (Silent House), pure acoustic tracks and finising off with a fantastic Soul number (I Hope).
It's good value for money, too. 14 tracks, only two are (just) under four minutes.
Some of them are beautiful, some of them are engaging, others are just plain fun but all of them have extremely high production values.

One point of criticism would be that the lead vocals get a bit boring after a while, they could be a bit stronger/more emotional. The harmonies are really good, though.

So, in closing, a well thought out, well produced, high quality Country/Americana album.

8/10 on the Ozzometer (new scale)

Ali Farka Touré - Savane

I picked this up on a whim after reading a really good review of it in Mojo. I've known of him for a while but hadn't gotten round to actually buying something of his stuff.
This is his latest album and really good.

For those who don't know Touré's World Music, he combines traditional Blues elements (guitar and harp) with equally Northern and West African melodies and instrumentation, singing in French and various African dialects. There's quite a bit of Zydeco influence, too.
This combination might sound odd at first but it really works, which actually isn't surprising as the Blues was developed by the descendants of West African slaves in North America so the music has common roots.
The title track, Savane, is definitely my favourite, it has the best groove but all the songs have their qualities.
The booklet is also worth reading as contains notes and interesting bits about each songs (in French and English), rather than just the lyrics.

Bored of conventional music and looking for something new? You can't go wrong with this.

8/10 on the Ozzometer
(crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] ultimatereviews)
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)

Tactical Sekt - Syncope
There's nothing new or innovative in this release but if you like their style (hard beats, not too badly vocals with clear background melodies) or Hard/Terror EBM in general, you can't go wrong with it, really. While a bit too much of the same old, it's still very solid. I would have loved to hear some more variety, maybe a few more Noise tracks like Beslan and some into a more ambient direction, but there are quite a few definite floor fillers.


23 Sep 2005 12:26 pm
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (DJ)
Finally bowed to the pressure and bought Demon Days and I'm glad I did.
Very impressive. Also, every track is different, as they draw the best from a huge number of musical styles and somehow manage to make them their own. I don't think mostly electronic music ever sounded that good.

"Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head" is my favourite, closely followed by, strangely enough, "Dare".

I might write a longer review soon but I'm very busy.

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