In Rotation, May 2005
Aenima Never Fragile
Track Listing: Intro to End All Intros, Forlorn, At The Edge of A Cliff, The Light, Lilith, Rapture.
Why do I have a divine weakness for gothic Portugese bands? Why question it, since I derive such pleasure from this weakness? It doesnt matter if its a heavy hitter like Moonspell or the beautiful, passionate drama of Aenima, the effect is still that of a narcotic drug. My heart swells and shivers from this offering by the lovely Carmen and company, with its deft musicianship, quasi-operatic vocalizations, and urgent outcry.
Blitzkriegbliss Every Day Is Marked
Track Listing: Beast, Vronsky, Goin Out West, Dance, Dark, Fisherman, Citadel, Raise, Be Here, Spark.
The perfect antidote to EMOcore new punk; what this female fronted hardcore outfit has in the old school mode is is an obviously untutored vocal delivery that fairly screams A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E with every breath, coupled with a darkness not suggestive of teenage crushes and petty angst. When the singer launches from the standard snarling and shrieking into what can only be described as a berserk trumpet on helium, the effect is truly eerie. The song Dance makes me want to mosh my face straight into a slamming fist... aaaahhh! I am honestly convinced from my longtime exposure to The Plasmatics that the wickedly wonderous Wendy O. Williams was possessed by a very real demon from hell... well, that demon is back and has its own band.
Tara Vanflower My Little Fire-Filled Heart
Track Listing: Ligertily, Yaya, Rabbit, The Honour of Silence, Naked King, Silverback, The Girl From The Green Dimension, I Lost The Moon, A Rusted Nail Through The Wrist, A Conversation with Death, Wren, Tigerlily.
Not at all what I might have expected from this aetherial siren, who I knew of previously only from her inspired work with Mike Van Portfleet and Lycia. This effort is decidedly not something that shamelessly milks Ms. Vanflowers exceptional gift for wistful, dreamlike singing, though there are some very fine, harmonious entwinings of silky vocal strands. This work is, in fact, very hard hitting in unexpected ways. Strange, mysterious, chantlike droning enlaced with spoken word and fragments of semisong and other vocal utterances for an utterly disturbing effect. Psycho fairytale/reality story telling that is markedly outre... relentless solar-plexus punches of a highly experimental song form that is violent, angry, humiliating, empathetic, profound, and hilarious all at once; one of the most erotic bits I have heard in years, not for an instant pornographic, but filling the hearer with an acute awareness of the presence of the other as a whole mind and person, or is it a fish?. I could go on, but you get the idea. This is original and provocative material of an often radical sort. It blew my mind a bunch of times, and it has Spoonerism bookends.
KOBE Economy of Movement
Track Listing: Avatar, Seppuku, Lotus, Harbinger, Mouth, Year of the Horse, Primary / Aftermath, Dragon Chases Fly, A Drought of Fear, KOBE vs. 4th Sign of the Apocalypse: An Opening.
This act gets amazing mileage from the amalgamation of martial Taiko drumming and industrial electronics. One might expect a lot of self-cloning repetition from track to track, but that is not the case here. What you get instead is variation, and a subtlety resulting in actual thematic development, though the ideas sometimes appear to have their wings pulled off and are pinned, wriggling, to something like a dark matter killing-wall. Personally, I rather enjoyed hearing my friendly Where The Wild Things Are beasties metamorphosing into something really nightmarish and terrifying. If this was the audio version of an inkblot test, what would that say about the state of my psyche?
Zombina and the Skeletones I Was A Human Bomb For The F.B.I.
Track Listing: Nobody Likes You (When Youre Dead), I Was A Human Bomb For The F.B.I., Punk Rock Vampires (Destroy!), I Love Rock n Roll, Come On!, Meteorite, New Orleans Incident (demo).
Highly enjoyable goth-punk, with nods to vintage rocknroll. Next time youre slam-dancing the night away down at the morgue, this is definitely the record you need on repeat. Often bizarrely funny ala The Dead Kennedys. Well played, kickass, straight ahead, punk... marked by impressive drive and stamina. Probably dynamite live.
The Offering Three Broken Threads
Track Listing: Evca, An Angel Who Fell, Tears and Chocolate, The Scene of My Crime, Carol Came.
Flower on the razor wire? Dreamy, sirensong female vocal ensconced in grinding, slicing, well played dronerock guitar/drums/bass... very nice effect. How about a slow, melodic, eminently gothish male/female duet? This band does that well too, followed by a fine piece featuring some very healthy guitar licks, and ending with a song that is more like...well, a song. Quite a worthy offering... haha, pun intended.
Track Listing: Ground Zero, Grey Race, Manifest, Deleted Souls, The Demon Energy Cube, The Digital Vortex, Machine Enhanced Sorcery.
Butt-whomping, apocalyptic, cybertronic hellmetal that could readily lay waste to a lot of the new-metal groups currently owned by the weasel industry. Occasionally whips from ultrathrash to melodic and back in an enjoyable manner. An immense, symphonic feel to the instrumental side, with excellent musicianship. My ears are smokin and my soul is a wasteland.
S.Sturgis In A Haze
Track Listing: At The End, Down, Tomorrow, Lost Time, Free, Euphondisson.
Electronic soundscape paintings that H.R. Geigers Alien probably dances to at the Acid Blood Club. Well done, hypnotic, and very, very dark. I am listening to it now and finding it difficult to write, since the sounds occupy the imagination to such a degree. The one thing I find annoying, though, is that the tracks sometimes do not conclude, they just stop dead in their tracks. The effect is like falling off something very high without knowing where youll land. Hmmmmmmmmmmm... maybe that isnt annoying after all. The final track, Euphondisson, breaks from the hard-edged tonality of the previous pieces and leads the listener instead through blissful emotional panoramas. Okay, I am repeating this track for the third time right now and it just gets better. This sort of sensitive beauty where it is unexpected is stunning.