Archive for Aggrotech

Iza’s Highlights of 2017 part 2: Industrial & other non-metal

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Industrial, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 30th December 2017 by izaforestspirit

This year saw the return of some of my favorite industrial artists. I also made some new discoveries and I checked out some genres that I would have never thought that I would listen to. So here are my top 10 industrial and other non-metal albums of 2017:

1. Suicide Commando – Forest of the Impaled
Genre: Aggrotech/Harsh Industrial/Harsh EBM

 

2. Grendel – Age of the Disposable Body
Genre: Aggrotech/Harsh Industrial

Grendel - Age of the Disposable Body - 2CD

 

3. Blutengel – Leitbild
Genre: Synth-pop/Gothic EBM

 

4. Aurelio Voltaire – Heart-Shaped Wound
Genre: Dark Cabaret/Goth/Alternative Rock

 

5. The Crüxshadows – Astromythology
Genre: Dark Wave/EBM

Cover-Astromythology

 

6. Scandroid – Monochrome
Genre: Synth-wave

 

7. Centhron – Allvater
Genre: Aggrotech/Harsh Industrial

Image result for centhron allvater

8. Blue Stahli – Anti-Sleep Vol.4
Genre: Electro-rock/ Funk-rock/instrumental

Image result

 

9. Cephalgy – Gott Maschine Vaterland
Genre: EBM

Cephalgy - Gott Maschine Vaterland - CD

 

10. iVardensphere – Hesitation
Genre: Power noise/Tribal Industrial

One album that didn’t make my top 10 was Celldweller’s ‘Offworld’; a good effort but no match for his earlier work. I prefer his heavier, more metal-oriented albums.

Best Live Show
Nachtmahr live at Lumous Gothic Festival

Biggest New Discovery
Aurelio Voltaire

Most Anticipated Albums of 2018

New albums from God Module and FGFC820.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Advertisements

Iza’s Highlights of 2016 (part 1: Industrial/EBM/darkwave)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Industrial, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 30th December 2016 by izaforestspirit

2016 is almost over which means that it’s now time for my annual “Best of” or “Highlights” as I prefer to call them. This year’s edition will be in two parts – industrial and metal. I’m still working on my list of top ten metal albums so I’ve decided to list the industrial ones first. So here are my favorite industrial/EBM and electro releases of 2016:

1. Lord of the Lost – Empyrean
Genre: Industrial Rock/Dark Rock

Lord of the Lost is a new discovery for me. I’ve been ignoring them for years, thinking that they were some sort of glam rock band. Then this year I had the pleasure of seeing them live when they supported Combichrist and I was totally blown away by their performance. I ended up buying all their albums. They sound like a mixture of HIM and Deathstars. ‘Empyrean’ is their heaviest and most complex album to date. Stand-out tracks: ‘Drag Me to Hell’ and ‘In Silence’

2. Heimataerde – Aerdenbrand
Genre: Medieval Industrial/Aggrotech

The German brotherhood of dark electro Templar knights are back with a new album. Fans of their work will know what to expect from this one; atmospheric dark electro with a medieval tinge. It’s a delightful mix of creepy and catchy Aggrotech with both ballads and dancefloor hits. Favourite tracks: ‘Fühl die Zeit (featuring Joachim Witt)’ and the kids’ nursery rhyme -inspired ‘Hick Hack Hackelbeil’.

3. Combichrist – This is Where Death Begins
Genre: Industrial Rock/Aggrotech

This album was not the easiest one to get into. Fans of Combichrist’s older songs will be shocked to discover just how guitar-driven this band has become. The previous album ‘We Love You’ was just a taster of what’s to come. The industrial and harsh electro elements are still present, but guitars are making inroads and they are here to stay. Combichrist is now an industrial rock band. As soon as you accept that you might actually start to enjoy this album. I did. Favourite songs: ‘Exit Eternity’, ‘My Life My Rules and ‘Skullcrusher’.

4. Memmaker – Let There Be Lasers
Genre – Power Noise/Rhythmic Noise

Eight years is a long time to wait for an album and that’s how long it’s been since Memmaker released their debut ‘How to Enlist a Robot Uprising’. Luckily the follow-up ‘Let The Be Lasers’ was worth the wait. The Canadian power noise band have essentially picked up from where they left off. So if you like power noise and songs about space travel and robots is your thing, then this is the album for you. Best tracks: ‘Doom Ray’, ‘Manipulate’ and ‘Race to Space (feat. Detroit Diesel)’.

5. Nachtmahr – Kampfbereit
Genre: Techno Industrial/Aggrotech

Nachtmahr are a bit controversial band within the industrial scene. Their music has always had a militaristic theme which has led to allegations of fascism. They sure like to harbour a fetish for women in uniform but I never quite got the fascist or misogynistic connections. I personally I like their music and I try not to think too much about their imagery. This year was the first time that I chose not to buy a physical copy of their new album. I have enough coffee-table books and these days I mostly listen to their music at the gym. So I bought the digital version instead. It’s great treadmill/cross trainer music. Best tracks: ‘Kampbereit’, ‘Tempus Fugit’ and ‘Burning Bridges’.

6. Scandroid – Scandroid
Genre: Synthwave

Scandroid is a side-project of the American musician Klayton (Celldweller, Circle of Dust). It was originally a two-man project featuring Klayton and Nick Pittsinger (Varien) who took on the identities of “Red” and “Raven” in the futuristic cyberpunk world of Neo-Tokyo, where the Scandroid story takes place. “Raven” left the project in 2014 which means Scandroid is now a solo project with “Red” as the main character. The music is a mixture of ’80s -style synth-pop/synthwave with a sci-fi tinge. The album tells a story so it’s difficult to pick out any specific individual tracks, but personally I’m very fond of ‘Aphelion’, ‘Empty Streets’ and ‘Neo-Tokyo’.

7. Terrolokaust – Dissensions
Genre: Industrial Rock/Aggrotech/Dark Electro

This year I finally got to see this Spanish harsh electro duo live at Resistanz Festival. That was a good show which served as my introduction to the band. They are similar to Combichrist in a sense as their style has changed from Aggrotech towards a more industrial rock sound. Their latest opus ‘Dissensions’ contains a mixture of both styles. There is something here for fans of either genre – whether it’s dance tracks like ‘Pursuit of Ruin’ or guitar driven industrial rock song such as ‘A Masochist’s Tale’.

8.Ost+Front
Genre: Neue-Deutsche-Härte

I have to be honest here in that I have mixed feelings about this album and Ost+Front in general. They give the impression of being essentially a Rammstein-clone, adapting not only the music and vocal style but also the themes and the imagery of their world-famous countrymen. Despite this I decided to include their new album on this list because of a few tracks that stood out – the sombre and profound ballad ‘Sternenkinder’ and ‘Bruderherz’. ‘Fiesta de sexo’ also deserves a mention due to guest appearance of Erk Aicrag (Hocico).

9. My Own Sorrow – The Entity
Genre: Dark Electro/Occult Ambient

‘The Entity’ is the latest album from the Swedish dark electro artist My Own Sorrow. His music is primarily instrumental, atmospheric dark electro with strong themes of horror and occultism. All the songs have an eerie feel to them. It’s like listening soundtrack to a horror movie. Best tracks ‘Succubus’ and ‘Rats In The Walls’.

10. Blutzukker – The Ultimate Collection
Genre: Dark Electro

Blutzukker is the dark electro project of the German artist Ben Blutzukker. He is currently involved in two projects; a heavy metal band under the name of Ben Blutzukker, who released an EP last year and the aforementioned dark electro act Blutzukker. What we have here isn’t really a new release but rather a collection of all Blutzukker’s works including some rarities and unreleased demos. So if you like dark electro, horror themes with a touch of humour then I would strongly recommend this. Best tracks ‘Fright Club’, ‘Queen of the Nite’, ‘The Vampire Strikes Back’.

Biggest new discovery: Lord of the Lost
Best live show: it’s a tie between Combichrist live in Tampere and Memmaker at Club Infektio, Helsinki
Most Anticipated albums of 2016:
Marilyn Manson – Say10
Blutengel – Leitbild
New albums by Suicide Commando and Grendel

Stay tuned for the metal edition, coming soon!

Lumous Gothic Festival 2016

Posted in Festival, Folk, Industrial, Live, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on 17th July 2016 by izaforestspirit

Shiv-R, Two Witches, Aesthetic Perfection

Klubi, Tampere, Finland

1516th July

For the past few years, Finland’s biggest Gothic event – Lumous Gothic Festival – has been one of the highlights of my summer. There was some rumours going around that last year’s 15th anniversary edition was going to be the last one. Luckily that was not the case. Not only is Lumous still running, they actually sold out the Saturday’s show. This year the music on offer was a mixture of EBM, Harsh Electro/Aggrotech, Goth Rock and neo-folk.

Friday

First up was the futuristic-styled EBM duo Blastromen. These two really looked like extras from one of the Tron movies, thanks to their luminous “space robot” suits. They played some catchy EBM enhanced with robotic vocals and plenty of flashing lights. The flashing lights were a bit too much for my little camera to handle but I enjoyed the performance. 3/5

Goth rock is one of the most popular genres at the festival. I’ve seen a number of good Goth rock bands at Lumous and Canis Lupus was no exception. Unlike some goth bands who tend to overdo the melancholic and gloomy atmosphere, these guys actually looked like they were enjoying themselves. Their vocals and overall style reminded me of Sisters of Mercy. 4/5

The night’s headlining act, the Australian Harsh Electro band Shiv-R was the main band that I came to see. I’ve only discovered them recently so I was keen to see what they are like live. Their show was very energetic, filled with lots of creepy imagery projected from the screens and lots of very catchy dark electro tunes. I was dancing pretty much throughout the show. 5/5

 

Saturday

Every year Lumous Gothic Festival features at least one “wild card” – a band or solo artist who sounds or sometimes looks dramatically different from all the others. This year that “wild card” was the British neo-folk artist Naevus. This was a special “solo set” featuring just the band’s singer on acoustic guitar. Whilst I can fully acknowledge that Mr. Lloyd James has a good voice and he is a talented guitar player, this type of music is simply not my style. 3.5/5

Local favourites, the renowned Finnish goth rock band Two Witches are big part of the local Goth scene and they are heavily involved with the festival. Last night was the official release party for the brand new live album ‘Voodoo Wytches -Live. I’ve seen them live before but each show is a little different… This time they played at a venue packed full of cheering fans at a sold.out show. Their set consisted primarily of old songs including several classics such as ‘Vampire Empire’, ‘The Dark Angels of Sin’, ‘The Omen’ and ‘Burn The Witch’. It was really good to see them live again. There’s not that many Goth rock bands that I enjoy but Two Witches is definitely one of them. 5/5

 

Whilst I’m not a massive of their latest work, I have to admit that American electro- industrial Aggrotech band Aesthetic Perfection are always entertaining to watch live. I’m a big fan of the first three albums so I was really happy when they played most of the hits from that era including: ‘Spit It Out’, The Great Depression’, ‘Inhuman’ and ‘The Ones’. ‘Antibody’ wasn’t bad either but I’m not super keen on their mellow ballads. 4.5/5

 

So there you have it. Another great weekend at Lumous Gothic Festival. Two Witches is always fun to watch live, Aesthetic Perfection put on another great show, Shiv-R was a new discovery and my favourite performance of the festival.

Iza Raittila

 

Resistanz Festival 2016

Posted in Alternative, Festival, Industrial, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Grendel, iVardensphere, Godflesh
The Corporation, Sheffield, The United Kingdom
Saturday 26th  March 2016

 
Resistanz was one of those festivals that I’ve wanted to return to. I’ve been there once before; in 2011 which was the very first time that it was held and one of the few times that it didn’t sell out. Since then the dates have been moved to the Easter weekend, which meant that it usually clashed with a family gathering making it impossible for me to attend. This year was an exception, I just happened to be in the U.K. that weekend and within easily commutable distance of the city where it was being held.

I missed the first band, Neonsol. The next band was a local band Randolf & Mortimer, who played a mixture of EBM, techno, punk and early Ministry -style industrial rock. It was catchy at times and definitely a good way to start to the night. 3/5

Terrolokaust were one of the main bands that I was looking forward to. They’re essentially a Harsh Electro / Aggrotech band, similar to the likes of Combichrist but the vocal style is different from most of the bands of that genre. They played some tracks from their upcoming album along with older tracks plus a few covers including their take on The Prodigy’s ‘Spitfire’. I had only heard a handful of tracks by them before the gig so most of the stuff they played was unfamiliar. I enjoyed the show so much that I bought two of their albums afterwards. 4/5

Next up was the British EBM band Cyferdyne. They played some catchy and mostly dancefloor-friendly electro. It was fun to dance to and some of my friends also really enjoyed it. Personally I preferred Terrolokaust to them. 3.5/5

Grendel was the main band that I came to see. I’ve been a fan of their music for years and I’ve missed several opportunities to see them live. So, needless to say that I was really looking forward to their show. And they didn’t disappoint. They had two guitarists with them on stage along with the usual industrial synths and JD’s harsh electro vocals. They played all the hit songs including: ‘Chemicals & Circuitry’, ‘Timewave Zero’, ‘Hate This’ along with some older material including one of my favorites ‘Pax Psychosis’ and two new tracks from the upcoming EP ‘The Age of the Disposable Body’. I had a great time dancing and singing along to all the songs. This was my favorite performance of the whole night. 5/5

I had no idea what to expect from iVardensphere. I assumed them to be an experimental industrial noise band, which is the type of stuff that tends to give me a headache. I was initially reluctant to see their show. Then one of my friends convinced me to give them a try, saying that their style was more power noise mixed with some tribal music influences. I have a much better experience with power and rhythmic noise bands such as SAM, X-RX and Memmaker. This sub-genre tends to sound good live, so I decided to give iVardensphere a try. What I heard turned out to be a lot better than I expected. Their music is a fascinating mix of techno, industrial and power noise along with some tribal music. They even did a cover of Sepultura’s ‘Roots Bloody Roots’. Their performance was very energetic, great to dance to and the additional tribal elements made the songs sound all the more intriguing. 4/5

Now, I like my metal and I like my industrial music. I also like some industrial metal so in theory Godflesh should have been right up my alley. The thing is, they seemed a little out of place at Resistanz Festival being the only metal band there. They also happened to be the headlining act, playing after a very catchy power noise band whose fans packed the venue. It’s not that I hated Godflesh’s performance; it was decent-sounding industrial metal but not as memorable as some of other industrial metal bands I’ve seen in the past such as Ministry. 3/5

I spent the rest of the night dancing and hanging around with friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in years. Overall this was an intense, exhausting but also really fun way to spend Easter Saturday. I finally got to see Grendel live, Terrolokaust were really good and I discovered the delights of iVardensphere. It’s really a shame that this was the last Resistanz Festival. I’m so glad that I got to attend it, even if it was just for one day after such a long break.

Iza Raittila

 

Iza’s Highlights of 2013

Posted in Industrial, Live, Metal, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 30th December 2013 by izaforestspirit

It’s been one hell of a busy year in the world of alternative music. Lots of great new releases, memorable shows and festivals. I’ve decided to write a short summary of some of the highlights of 2013. Here are some of the albums that caught my attention this year:

1. Chthonic – Bú Tik
Genre: Melodic Black Metal/ Oriental Metal

 photo 373296_zps494e0303.jpg
This is easily my favourite metal album of 2013. ‘Bú Tik’ brings together the aggression of black and death metal with the melodic oriental sounds of the erhu for that unique mix that only Chthonic are renowned for. The results of this combination are both complex and beautiful in their design. Best tracks: ‘Supreme Pain For a Tyrant’, ‘Sail into The Sunset’s Fire’ and Defenders of Bú Tik Palace’.

2. Suicide Commando – When Evil Speaks
Genre: Industrial/ Aggrotech/ Harsh Electro

 photo whenevilspeaks_zpsddbbedec.jpg
I’ve been a fan of Suicide Commando for a number of years now. ‘When Evil Speaks’ is the long-awaited follow-up to ‘Implements of Hell’. Based around the overall subject of hate and evil in today’s society; the album features dark and sinister lyrical themes, old-school EBM tunes and Aggrotech dance-floor hits. Best tracks: ‘My Blasphemy’, ‘Unterwelt’ and ‘Monster’.

3. Children of Bodom – Halo of Blood
Genre: Melodic Death/Power Metal

 photo haloofblood_zps31ec4b24.jpg
I’ve been of a fan of this band since my early teens, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to review their latest album. Aside from the odd surprise such as the ballad ‘Dead Man’s Hand On You’, ‘Halo of Blood’ features the signature Bodom sound and is without a shadow of doubt their strongest release in years. Best tracks: ‘Transference’ , ‘Bodom Blue Moon’ and ‘Dead Man’s Hand On You’.

4. Psyclon Nine – [Order of the Shadow : Act I]
Genre: Aggrotech/ Industrial Metal

 photo PsyclonNine_OrderoftheShadowActI_zpse9992e54.jpg
This band is not an easy one to categorise into a specific genre. Some industrial and EBM fans dismiss their style by saying that their black metal influences are too strong to earn them a place in the industrial scene. Not that I give a damn since that’s precisely why I like them. ‘Order of The Shadow…” is their harshest and most aggressive release to date. After 10 tracks of intense, adrenaline fueled, blackened industrial, I was shocked to hear the sombre ballads at the end. Best tracks: ‘Shadows Unveiled’ , ‘Use Once and Destroy’ and ‘The Saint and The Valentine’.

5. Agathodaimon – In Darkness
Genre: Melodic Black Metal/ Symphonic Black Metal

 photo Agathodaimon-InDarknesscover_zpsd0e06cd6.jpg
This album marks a departure from the gothic metal days of its predecessor ‘Phoenix’ and a return their older, melodic black metal sound depicted in earlier releases such as ‘Chapter III’ and ‘Higher Art of Rebellion’. Whilst not quite reaching the greatness of ‘Chapter III’ (an album which holds a special place in my heart); ‘In Darkness’ is definitely a step in the right direction, offering a mixture of agression and melancholic melodies. Best tracks: ‘In Darkness (We Shall be Reborn), ‘I’ve Risen’ and ‘Favourite Sin’.

Best Live Shows of 2013

1. Sabaton live at Sauna Open Air, Tampere, Finland.

2. Children of Bodom live at Sauna Open Air, Tampere, Finland.

3. Chthonic live at Klubi, Tampere, Finland.

4. Suicide Commando live in London, the U.K.

5. Heimataerde live at KOMA festival, Oslo, Norway.

Best New Discovery of 2013: ErilaZ
 photo Erilaz_zps5dc772f4.jpg

This Finnish band caught my attention during their performance at this year’s Lumous festival in Tampere, Finland. What do they sound like? Imagine a mixture of Fear Factory, Front Line Assembly with the combined lyrical themes of Amon Amarth. Impossible, you say? Go on, I dare you to give them a try!

To finish off I’d like to list some of the releases that I’m looking forward to in 2014:

Most Anticipated Albums of 2014:

1. Behemoth – The Satanist
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Release Date: 3rd February 2014

2. Vader – TIBI ET IGNI “For You (and only You) and Fire
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: Spring 2014

3. Kampfar – Djevelmakt
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

Release Date: 27th January, 2014

4. Combichrist – We Love You
Genre: Industrial/ Aggrotech
Release Date: 15th March 2014

5. Nachtmahr – Feindbild
Genre: Industrial/ Aggrotech
Release Date: 14th February 2014

That’s all for now. Happy New Year!