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February 15, 2013

Ghost & Writer – “Red Flags”: Viva Music Album Review

ghost_writer_red_flags_2013Tracklist: “Gambit” * “[Do I Have] Your Word” * “Hurricane” * “Shine” * “Demons Crawl” * “Never Take Fire” * “Just the Same” * “Beyond Repair” * CD also includes 8 remixes of tracks above by various artists + 8 additional remixes are available in the “Black Album” limited edition, only available to purchasers of physical CD | Release date: Dependent (Europe) – 04-Apr; Metropolis (US) – Mar-12.

Previously on darkwave.roGhost & Writer – “Shipwrecks”: Viva Music Album Review

About Ghost & WriterGHOST & WRITER is a project group devised by JIMMYJOE SNARK III, a man of multiple talents featured as VIVA MUSIC’s Artist of the Month in October 2010, and SEABOUND’s Frank Spinath – a killer combination that comes with a great concept album and good vibes. Prior to the album’s release, JIMMYJOE SNARK III confessed toVIVA MUSIC that “Shipwrecks” comes as a mirrored structure of 8 tracks and their remixes, with a Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde quality to it: “both Frank and I are involved in different bands and projects, so there are some elements we put in here and not there, maybe because that is not the right project for it, and in that sense, there is a Dr. Jeckyll aspect to how we behave”’.

Ghost & Writer: “Red Flags” – Viva Music Review:

When the news of a new Ghost & Writer album got to us, we took it as a good sign for 2013. Not only had their previous “Shipwrecks” left a strong impression with us, but it also stayed. We somehow knew that the creative efforts put into a side project are sometimes larger, paradoxically, than in a main project, because you usually want to pour into it a larger scale of emotions and a more minute musical effect, so somehow, the news of a new Ghost & Writer album took us aback. Had time passed so fast? Have they found something new to show and proudly present it? To both questions, we were to find, the answer was yes.

The thing with “Red Flags” is that it hits you from the moment you see the disc. The strong colors and imagery of the cover play with disclosure and secrecy in the exact recipe that makes you curious to go further, with the next sense, that of hearing. Listening to the album, you realize, it’s a great distance from what you loved in “Shipwrecks“, but not at all least lovable. “Red Flags” uses this imagery – of ‘red flags’ signaling peril, getting attention, asking for caution. These are the red flags of a personal experience, in which things do not go as partners wish or expect, they are red flags for no-fairytale and put-your-feet-back-on-the-ground.

The songs in the album come in a narrative sequence: beginning with the melodious “Gambit“, in which we see the signs of a strong bond (“when one of us is cut/we both bleed“), which simply sweeps the listener off their feet, to “[Do I Have] Your Word”, in which the notion that the fairytale ended (“the fairy dust is gone“), we see a transition, both musical and lyrical. “[Do I Have] Your Word” strikes as a very vibrant and emotional piece, you can actually see how many boundaries of emotions are trespassed in front of your eyes, and it brings along a very elegiac, yet unhurt streak of feeling. “Hurricane” shows if not the storm, its aftermath, and lights up in bright and dark undertones which complete each others like tresses of hair. But then with “Shine“, when we also gain more intuition into what probably went wrong, we also see the facts as they are: the contrasting mild English and stark German lyrics add to the composition greatly and the result is a great musical piece. And if emotions are to be laid bare, the unleashed “Demons Crawl” shows more. Gradually we see how music during the conception phase of the album was thought to escalate and capture like a musical photo camera the emotions in their best melodic line. “Never Take Fire” shows in terms of the romantic affair described by the album some love fatigue – but luckily for the listener, this comes packed in a great tune. “Just the Same“, covers oceans of emotions and shows how intricate the question of ‘going on’, ‘with or without’ is when you talk about the sublime and mundane emotions which entangle two people. And then, “Beyond Repair” gives the verdict, although we don’t know whether they are going on, finding happiness together or elsewhere, or even trying to keep up appearances and content themselves with what they have, which, emotionally, is already a lot. But we do know “Beyond Repair” is a great track, even without a denouement – and has a wonderful effect of letting you wanting more of what Ghost & Writer have produced, which is a great quality for any album. Enjoy!

Ghost & Writer: Official Website  | on Facebook

April 9, 2012

Lord of the Lost – “Beside & Beyond”: Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Beyond Beautiful” * “Bad Romance” (Original performance by: Lady Gaga) * “Dry The Rain” (Acoustic Version) * “October 29” * “Love Is Not Enough” (Piano Version) * “Sooner or Later” (Stage Version) * “Dry the Rain” (Orchestra Version feat. Mono Inc.)

Read Viva Music‘s review of Lord of the Lost‘s “Fears” (2010) here. | Read Viva Music‘s review of Lord of the Lost‘s “Antagony” (2011) here.

Already a yearly presence on darkwave.ro, Chris Harms‘s project Lord of the Lost comes back in 2012 with “Beside & Beyond“. The project’s new release does not only include new tracks, but also new renditions of both 2010 and 2011 tracks, as well as a terrifyingly good cover. “Beyond Beautiful“, the opening track, sounds really enticing, and is, just as the title says, beyond beautiful. You could say that it also gives the “beyond” of the album title, while the beside, if you’re looking for it, it must be hidden in the b-side quality of the compilation. While, at the same time, “beside and beyond” means literally an exploration of the seams of previously produced music, and in this respect,  the album does what it says! The cover of Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance” is not entirely new, since it has been played before live and it went viral on YouTube in 2011, but it stands out, among the many covers of the song, not only because it is not produced with a Gaga followership gene, but with a creed of staying true to one’s musical path. Coming up next, “Dry the Rain” from “Fears” in both an acoustic version and an orchestra version featuring Mono Inc. It is recontextualized, but it preserves its outstanding quality and offers ruminating material for Lord of the Lost fans. The second new track of the album, “October 29” is again a very good addition, and it with it on, you cannot fear that the 2013 release is going to sound anything short of amazing. “Love Is Not Enough” from “Antagony” is rendered in a beautiful piano version, while “Sooner or Later“, again from “Fears” is rendered in a stage version. “Beside & Beyond” is a great compilation: for the newcomer to the dark and sexy realm of Lord of the Lost it brings a rich and tasty band consommé, while to the Lord of the Lost old timer it brings extra listening material, which is always a good thing. Enjoy!

Lord of the Lost on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

March 19, 2012

Guilt Trip “Feed the Fire” – Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Headplate” * “Breathe” * “Inanimate” * “Eternal Return” * “Unite” * “Once a Week Twice a Day” * “Reset” * “Life Spit Love” * “Fragments” * “Crack Up” * “Baptism” * “The Bright Side of Lies

About Guilt Trip:

“We are Guilt Trip. We exist in the in between as existence is relative. We destroy to create, oppose to liberate and sodomize to not be victimized. We are the splinter in our brother’s and sister’s eye. We spit in the face of “truth”, “reality” and authority. Deconstruct, revaluate, resist, react and expand. Guilt Trip. Banging on the walls of reality. Eternal warfare is the price of that existence. Eternally returning. To be sane we have to go out of our minds. We can be our mind’s own midwife. The normal is perverse so we’ll slit throats to help with the breathing. Extreme conditions demand extreme responses. Guilt Trip. Sometimes personal but always political as the personal is political. Everything is ideology. A false universe. Rules + submission = culture. Disobey. Tear it all down and start again. Guilt Trip are one of a number, part of a whole, individuals in a collective. Subjects trapped in construed positions, smashing our heads against that cage. A cure for history. New hammers, new rhythms, new chants. Guilt Trip is beyond good and evil. Pretentious? Yes, but for a reason, so open the blood gates and pack your bags. We’re going on a Guilt Trip.” (source: label site)

Guilt Trip – “Feed the Fire” – Viva Music Album Review:

Out on Mar-13/-23 (Scandinavia) with Complete Control Productions, the new release from Guilt Trip entitled “Feed the Fire” was a thorough and satiating experience even on first listen! If you remember Chirurgie Esthetique (and you should), then there is some 90’s industrial residual that is going to appeal even to the untrained ear. What is so lovable about this album? Any answer given at this moment would diminish the album’s multifaceted sexiness; it checks off most rubrics you would expect an album to: it’s rough and tender, it’s arid and luxurious, it’s real and surreal. And all that with a strict agenda, like the one expressed by the band in their statement (above).

Headplate” is a great induction into the art of Guilt Trip – the beats are excellent, and the production of the track flawless. It would not be wrong to consider “Headplate” a masterpiece, but that’s just the first track! “Breathe” comes up next; and you are up against serious trouble – just take into account the phrasing “colonial colon cleansing” and you know that M. Nilssson and K. Lindberg know what they are talking about. Intent on deconstructing our ‘real’ pleasantries and leaving us spectators to a world that is, in fact, living its worst while extolling its best, “Breathe” is a very creative and enticing piece of music. And then there’s “Inanimate” to enhance your awareness – taking as a standpoint the cruelty of modernity under the guise of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the song talks no-nonsense about antonymous “humanity” and “being human”. And if this standpoint seems radical, you should wait for “Eternal Return” to reset your vision: not because there’s a brighter future, but because you can actually be washed over by the torrent of lyrics, scatological but do not let yourselves be fooled; as they say in the song, “can’t be denied, although we tried/there is no true meaning/all based on lies it glorifies/but there’s no redemption”. The same standstill, absent redemption clarifies the meaning of the very palatable “Unite”, as well as of the up next “Once a Week Twice a Day”. A Viva Music favorite, “Reset” does what it says, with a very dance compatible beat and a very pertinent score of lyrics, it truly changes the field of vision toward an unexpected, but at the same time so natural plateau of very dignified music. And the ensuing “Life Spit Love” is a wonderful find, frankly, it should be aired a lot this summer in clubs, because it has all it takes! “Fragments” is there to perpetuate the same feeling, all with great zest and with an undeniable vein of 1990’s nostalgia. “Crack Up” is sleek and insinuates itself into the album, requesting its rights at a very plausible pace; as is “Baptism”. To close the album compilation, “The Bright Side of Lies”, again a Viva Music favorite, captures a truly delectable experience, not cathartic, despite its “this is my life” litany, but taking hold of a very clear-minded and firm-gripping position.

Feed the Fire” is a damn good album and throughout, industrial sharpness vies with electronic effervescence. Not only is it very melodic and dance friendly, but also it carries a message that should be taken heed of; under the varied magmatic layers of words there lies an acuity of the world we live in, and that’s another merit of  Guilt Trip, working slowly but surely their way into your awareness of how things are. If you feel guilty on listening to the album, then their job is done. Enjoy!

Guilt Trip – on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

January 25, 2012

Stahlmann “Quecksilber” – Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Engel der Dunkelheit” * “Spring Nicht” * “Tanzmaschine” * “Asche” * “Mein Leib” * “Am Grunde” * “Goetter” * “Schmerz” * “Diener” * “Tanzmaschine (Club Remix)” * “Herzschlag” * “Tanzmaschine (Single Version)” * “Mein Leib (Club Remix)

About Stahlmann – “Quecksilber:

“We wanted this album to show an even more danceable side. We wanted to merge metal guitars with danceable EBM and dance, and at the same time focus more on the elements that pertain to electronic music.  And while doing so, we wanted to stay true to ourselves.” (…) Stahlmann stand for a new era of German music. They represent a new generation of harder music sung in German, and they develop the menacing and yet powerful vibrations of the so called Neue Deutsche Härte that began in the 1990’s with Die Krupps and Oomph and were perfected at a later date by Rammstein.  Founded in 2008, the first band engaged in industrial sounds, but also in driving rhythms of metal, and gothic intense melodies, all put together in one furnace, forging their craft from the solid base of their character and music. With catchy lyrics, a deep and distinctive voice, as well as a spectacular appearance, Stahlmann are a very welcome and much awaited addition to our music scene. (source: press release)

Stahlmann – “Spring Nicht” (Video Trailer):

Stahlmann – “Quecksilber” – Viva Music Album Review:

Quecksilber” (English: “Mercury”) is an album that is sure to get your musical attention. Released on Jan-20 with Afm Records/Soulfood, the album departs from a very sound premise of being creative, diverse and at the same time keeping to the straight and narrow of music-making, production and performance. (more…)

January 17, 2012

And One “Back Home” – Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Back Home (Club Mix)” * “Wounds” * “Rick” * “High (Live in Peine, the Original)” * “Back Home (Mixed Conditioner)” * “Back Home (Berlin Mixer)” * “Missing Track

Other And One news on darkwave.ro: And One – Tanzomat Album Review by Viva Music

 One year after their diamond-studded “Tanzomat” and after a lot of turmoil that accompanied the band’s renewal in 2011, And One renew their covenant with their scene with the release on Jan-13 with SPV of a new EP, entitled enigmatically “Back Home”. With three mix versions of the title track, but also a live version of “High”, and two studio edits of “Wounds” and “Rick”, the EP is a charming piece of music, and there is a definite chance we are not the only ones believing so. Adding up to the good reviews of the EP, their 1st position in Deutsche Alternative Charts helps with understanding the thirst there was after such a satiating experience such as “Tanzomat” of new material from the same line of creative thought. Which, as much was expected, did not turn but partly true. There are prominent hues of “Tanzomat” jutting out into “Back Home”, but there’s also the replenishing promise of something new, part of any artist’s path of redefinition. And we are glad it is there, definitely so, all the more as “Back Home” is compelling, forcing you to listen it as a whole and revisit it promptly. The new EP is not the only good news that And One drags into the house as the clocks say 2012 already; numerous live dates and also a “Cover for the Masses Tour” with enviable names such as Covenant and Welle:Erdball.

All the tracks and versions included in the EP claim their compatibility with club and dance, but with that refined vein of elegance and eighties inspiration that make And One one of the few acts who still know how to do that without sounding ridiculous. Of course, it’s easy to see through the weft of the EP and decide what allegiances And One are willing to make, but they are all powerful and endearing. With the exception of the multi-faceted “Back Home”, which, as the EP flows, you will notice, seems to renew its content from one version to another – to the effect that the thick and elastic rope lassoed from the Club Mix to the Berlin Mixer you get a whole new song, so to say – is not the only highlight of the album. The live version of “High”, as well as the good vibes sent by “Wounds” and by the Viva Music favorite “Rick” interlaced in the attentive work of the EP create a very well-natured and interesting breathing space

This cadenced ascendance toward the pampering of a track in its multifaceted qualities, taking us back and forth in time, creates the meandering effect of a prodigal return to one’s home base, where the music is just good and you feel cozy. And that is “Back Home”. Enjoy!

And OneOfficial Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

December 7, 2011

Amduscia “Death, Thou Shalt Die”: Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Damn Punks” * “Desequilibrio Mental” * “I’ll Hate You” * “Seduccion es mi placer” * “F*** the F***ing F***ers” * “Solo Maquina (Antihuman Remix)” * “R.I.P.” * “Creepy Life” * “Adicto al dolor” * “How I Hate You” * “Wild Girls” * “Battle in Paradise” * “Creepy Life (Cid Project Remix)” * “Creepy Life (Eelectrovot Remix)

About Amduscia – “Death, Thou Shalt Die”:

After the tragic untimely death of sound wizard Edgar Acevedo in March 2010, it was not clear whether the fourth studio album of Amduscia was ever to see the light of day. His brother Polo, the band’s shouter decided that there could not be a better legacy for the Mexican band, completed the album by himself and had it produced in a German studio. “Death, Thou Shalt Die” has become an album that is hard to top in terms of intensity. Amduscia have not sounded this compact, aggressive, striking and club-compatible since their debut. Now, the band rises like a phoenix from the flame, with a record that sounds like a challenge – a challenge to the grim reaper himself!

Amduscia “Death, Thou Shalt Die” – Viva Music Album Review:

Out on Dec-02 with Out of Line Records, the new album from Amduscia takes its title from the remarkable and memorable last line of metaphysical poet John Donne’s “Holy Sonnet X”, one of the most commonly referred to verses about the individual’s revolt against implacable death. The title reference is even more evocative if we take into account its history of bereavement and the fact that it is added to a band name so full of meaning such as Amduscia, after the demon whose voice of thunder is heard during storms, accompanied by the sound of trumpets of medieval lore. (more…)

November 29, 2011

Sopor AEternus & the Ensemble of Shadows – “Children of the Corn”: Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Children of the Corn” * “Bis Zum Hahnenschrei” * “Cornflowers” * “The Curse of the Mummy” * “Night of the Scarecrow” * “To Walk Behind the Rows” * “Harvest Moon (Cornflowers II)

Sopor AEternus & the Ensembe of Shadows Children of the Corn” – Viva Music Album Review:

Out in November 2011 with Apocalyptic Records, the new album from Sopor AEternus & the Ensembe of Shadows is a baroque musical contraption with a definite style and grandeur. In the shortest of whiles after the release of late 2010 “A Strange Thing to Say” and of early 2011 “Have You Seen This Ghost?”, the third and last part of “A Triptychon of GHOSTS (or: El Sexorcismo de Anna-Varney Cantodea)” is a delight and a truly erudite excursion in the dimmed depths of music, accompanied, Charon-style, by the unequivocal, and unrepeatable voice of Anna-Varney Cantodea.

Musically speaking, the production is a unitary chorale of floating unrealities and cadenced potencies, and a firm grip on the handlebar of the darkest pool. Imaginative in a manner that is at the same time true to life and elegantly far-fetched, the album’s sound consistency and definite feel is carried on in the rhythm and measure of classical elegy. “Children of the Corn” is a cinematic experience with a voyeur camera spotted on an imaginary and exemplary childhood at the exact moment in which corruption can permeate the thick skin of sweet dreams and bring in the less sweet smell of growing up, part in nature, part in trauma. “Bis Zum Hahnenschrei” (approximate English translation: “Before  the Rooster’s Crow”), plays with the Jesus story moment and renaissance tunes in a playful but cautious manner, as if handling the minutest and most precious rough diamonds. “Cornflowers”, the song is at the same carousal and elegy and pertains to a very classical scheme, speaking in musical undertones to centuries of human existence.

Not unlike it, but at a different level of perception, “The Curse of the Mummy” indicates a displacement and a return to innocence despite the rabid, forward-moving pace of humanity. In a dance macabre pattern, this return to innocence, to maidenhood unravished and purity unsullied carries forth and above water level a torch of wisdom and of resilience. With the advent of “Night of the Scarecrow”, the imagery becomes richer, while the organ powered requiem soars and makes the experience of the album tilt between poles of tragedy and optimism. A Viva Music favorite, “To Walk Behind the Rows” unapologetically brings with its appeasing music box filled with memories a draft of stillness and motion, a certainty of the unfathomable immensity of fantasy and depicts its role in the formation of emotion in mannerisms and quirks that you simply have to adore. “Harvest Moon (Cornflowers II)”, the album coda, reenacts the beauty of the earlier “Cornflowers” in a bagpipe powered advance at the head of which walks a true maven.

Children of the Corn” (Part Three of “A Triptychon of GHOSTS (or: El Sexorcismo de Anna-Varney Cantodea)”) is an unforgettable musical experience. Responding to the taste of baroque-crazed dark music lovers, the album transports in its many intertwined fibers a grandeur and strength of imagination that are at the same time enviable and dignified. With its multifaceted, baroque compositions, it may well sit on your CD shelf next to classical music and your relevant artists from the dark scene – and that’s a feat hardly any other album manages to outdo in 2011. Hats off, Sopor AEternus & the Ensembe of Shadows!

Sopor AEternusOfficial Website | on Facebook | Discography on Discogs

November 28, 2011

David Lynch “Crazy Clown Time” – Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Pinky’s Dream” * “Good Day Today” * “So Glad” * “Noah’s Ark” * “Football Game” * “I Know” * “Strange and Unproductive Thinking” * “The Night Bell with Lightning” * “Stone’s Gone Up” * “Crazy Clown Time” * “These Are My Friends” * “Speed Roadster” * “Movin’ On” * “She Rise Up

David Lynch – “Crazy Clown Time” – Viva Music Album Review:

The debut album from world-famous director David Lynch, if we conveniently close an eye to his work in the soundtrack of his own movies, “Crazy Clown Time” has been out for two weeks already, being released on Nov-07 with Sunday Best Records/Play It Again Sam, but we think it takes at least two weeks – just to be lenient with such an important issue – of constant listening to the album in order to make sure you’re not that kind of sloppy listener who misses the right influences and tone of the album. While it is true that the jingle the name of David Lynch carries about it is sufficient to get your ears pricked from the word go, it is also true that such an album is worthy of consideration from a number of perspectives that can only enhance, and never diminish, the merits of the album.

Two of the songs from the album are not novel auditions; “Good Day Today” and “I Know”, with their sequin-harsh surface, were released just one year ago, not a real appetizer, but a good standpoint for the work that was going to be unveiled. With basically only good reviews (“it transfers something of Lynch’s uncanny cinema to the musical medium”, “everyday, avant-garde vision” are some examples of conceptual criticism of the album), “Crazy Clown Time” is set, as the title well puts it, in its own, special time. It is not unlikely that the album be less well received in the electropop, ambient-loving crowd, because it is carried through straight and long conduits of blues-y and melancholy melody, but in a firm coating of electronic, temperature resistant material.

Pinky’s Dream”, the opening track that features vocals from Karen Lee Orzolek (better known as The Yeah Yeah YeahsKaren O) induces a cool that is at the same time cinematic and minimal. Verbally pertinent for an opening track (there’s vent of pathfinding and watchfulness), “Pinky’s Dream” carries on atmosphere and anticipates it its melodic knit the outburst of “Good Day Today”, which sounds like a delayed trance, not deprived of its individuality, and resorting to oracular language. On the same topic of positivity, “So Glad” sounds tongue-in-cheek in its outside makeup, but deeper veins of sensibility throb behind that. With the same slo mo tempo of previous tracks, combining the soundtrack for a funeral and a victory dance in a very unsettling manner. (more…)

November 11, 2011

Haujobb “New World March” Out Today 11.11.11 – Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Control” * “Crossfire” * “Let’s Drop Bombs” * “More than Us” * “Machine Drum” * “Dead Market” * “Lost” * “Soul Reader” * “Little World” * “Membrane” * “New World March” * “Echo

Read Viva Music’s review of Haujobb’s single “Dead Markethere | Order “New World March” from here.

Haujobb New World March” – Viva Music Album Review:

The new world march begins today 11.11.11 with the release of Haujobb’s “New World March” album with Zweieck Recordings/Basic Unit Productions,. Beside Daniel Myer and Dejan Samardzic, several other artists joined their efforts in the project: Covenant’s Joakim Montelius, Paul Kendall, Achim Faerber, Sebastian Ullmann, to the result of a very impressive album. Our expectations were already geared up with the June release of their single “Dead Market”, but listening to the album (which, as you will see, cannot happen just once) provided way deeper insight into a musical universe worth settling in, in the coziest and most empathetic manner. It flows naturally, and it is heavy with feeling. There are no extraneous things in the album, and lyrical content is impactful, though it is kept at a minimum: no fancy embedded and subordinated clauses, proof of the fact that you don’t have to be verbose to get your message across. (more…)

October 20, 2011

Aos Crowley – “Hexennacht”: Viva Music Album Review

Tracklist: “Deconstructing Yoko in the Snow” * “Maldoror and the Delicious Tears” * “Green and Red Shimmering Metal” * “Book of Changes II (for Ai WeiWei)” * “Morven Inuit” * “Hexennacht” * “Arkheion Tongues” * “Rock Fog Rain” * “ER Pulse

Aos Crowley is one of the primary projects of composer and sound designer Matt Dean. His other projects are Chromasonic and Slo Virus. Aos Crowley, the sound necromancer, proposes an album laden with cultural references, and replete with a very eerie atmosphere in his “Hexennacht” (German for Witches’ Night or, Witches’ Gathering), released in early September with Mind Plug Records.

Hexennacht” is a really intriguing album, and one that, it goes without saying, we recommend as a curio addition to your playlists. Falling really smoothly into the safety net of promoters of ‘mystical, obscure, meditative, and noisy tunes’ aka Mind Plug Records, the musical program put up by Aos Crowley enthuses and delights with its very strong intellectual coordinates, but also with its overall genuine discernment of sound. (more…)

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