Archive for electronic

Maxdmyz – Alchemical Metal (EP)

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 17th June 2017 by Paul Macmillan

Maxdmyz
“Alchemical Metal” (EP)
Released April 17th 2017
Electronic/metal
Released via Renegade Records

This swift EP from London’s Maxdmyz is an odd, and mildly confusing one. Hell, I don’t even know for sure how we’re supposed to pronounce their name! Yet it’s the audio which keeps chucking out curveballs.

Swamped in the soundscape of 1990s rock and metal, collective tastes are somewhat obvious. The electronic edge of Obsolete era Fear Factory taken to its club friendly extreme, and the odd power-pop metal of Faith No More’s The Real Thing; the classics of that era are the big player’s in the canon of influences on display. One could also put some credence behind picking out the occasional nod to Alice In Chains, One Minute Silence, Rage Against The Machine, or even early nu-metal such as Hed(pe) or System Of Down.

There is plenty play on more current trends, though, albeit far more subtle in application. It does take a bit to push the overarching style to one side to filter them out, and then another shove to allow your head the space to blend everything back into one again. It’s no wonder they opted for the title of Alchemical Metal, as this pulls on predecessors from all throughout the metal and rock kingdom. From flecks of melo-death to stoned-out sludge, old-school to futuristic, the sonic melange is openly bizarre.

Not for the first time in reviews, I have to say, this should, in theory, have ended up a bit of a mess of mismatched tropes and idioms, but has managed to come together as one solid sound. Hopefully, the prevalence of this type of free-roaming artistic success story is a sign of things to come. Slightly disjointed at times, if you really look for it, but delivered with passion and talent, accessible, yet powerful and genuinely musical.

Paul Macmillan

3.5/5

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To The Rats And Wolves – Neverland

Posted in 'Core, Alternative, CD with tags , , , , , on 23rd February 2016 by Pieni

To The Rats And Wolves
“Neverland”
Trancecore
Release: 19th February 2016
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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I’m not surprised that trancecore is a thing, as anything goes nowadays. What I’m surprised is that To The Rats And Wolves is included in that category as electro-pop-core is way more accurate. Their homeland Germany is a country where you have a rave in one corner of the block and a metal gig in the other (yes, kids, it’s a hyperbole) and it is said that many go to the former after the latter is finished. Nothing against it, open-mindedness is something to be treasured. I’m just not sure if it’s a good idea to merge both, no matter how out-of-the-box the concept might be.

Especially when only the trance is shaping the songs, while the hardcore is pretty much repeating itself in every track – similar cranking riffs, predictable breakdowns… It’s in the electronics that you’ll hear different patterns defining different melodies (and not exactly outstanding ones). When it comes to vocals, even though the growls and screams assume a big role, it’s the pop-ish clean tones that always take lead in the choruses. So eventually you feel like this is not a real fusion but just the addition of some elements of one genre into the basic structure of another. The opener “Suburban Romance” is the most balanced track, followed by “Schoolyard Warfare”, but the majority of the album heads towards the dancefloor – especially “Wild At Heart” and “Kill The DJ”. And then there’s the ballad “Ghosts” which… Well, it’s a ballad. ‘Nuff said.

On the other hand, the nature of “Neverland” is so mainstream that it may actually cause some fuss. I still think it lacks substance.

2/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrad – Big in Europe vol.2 – Amsterdam

Posted in Alternative, Experimental, Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 12th October 2014 by izaforestspirit

Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrard
Big in Europe vol.2 – Amsterdam (live DVD)
Released 19th September 2014
Electronica/ Ambient
Released via M.I.G. (Made in Germany) Music

‘Big in Europe vol.2 – Amsterdam’ is a live DVD from the electronic artist Klaus Schulze (ex- Tangerine Dream) in collaboration with the singer Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance). This is a recording of their “Bootleg Concert” filmed in Amsterdam back in 2009.

I’ve never actually been to a Klaus Schulze live show so this live DVD is as close as I can get to the real deal. So for those who are unfamiliar with his work, I am now able to provide a basic introduction to his style. Mr. Schulze prides himself in the creation of experimental electronic music using a variety of synthesizers with an emphasis on improvisation in the spirit of the moment. His songs are mostly lengthy, atmospheric instrumentals with a somewhat tranquil ambience to them.

The concert has a rather slow start and it took me a while to get used to the atmosphere. I mean, I do like some electronic music but my taste leans more towards the dance/trance or industrial styles. This is not what Klaus Schulze is about. His songs are much slower and more atmospheric than the stuff which I’m accustomed to hearing. Then there is the fact that all you see in the beginning is Mr. Schulze alone on stage with all his synthesizers. His songs are really not the kind of tunes that someone can sing along to so the interaction with the audience is limited and not as frequent as it might be with a rock or metal band.

It wasn’t until Lisa Gerrard took to the stage that I actually began to appreciate this show. Her melodic voice and vibrant stage presence makes the songs sound more dynamic. The combination of electronic/ambient music with her operatic-styled, angelic vocals works surprising well on here. The songs ‘Prisengracht‘ and ‘The Polish Rider‘ are good examples of how fusion of the two styles works in harmony. One thing which I can’t get my head around though is Mr. Schulze’s experimental songs that are more more akin to synthesizer noise than anything resembling actual music.

In summary, watching this DVD has been an interesting experience. I’m not overly familiar with the work of either artist. Having seen this performance, I think that Lisa Gerrard’s music might be more appealing to me than the experimental electronica of Klaus Schulze.

3/5

Iza Raittila

Etta Zero – The Last Of All Sunsets

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , on 27th May 2014 by mickbirchy

Etta Zero
The Last Of All Sunsets
Modern Rock / Electronic Groove Metal
To be released on 30th May 2014
Via Dr. Music Records

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Hailing from Liechtenstein, Etta Zero produce and interesting mix of rock, metal, electro, and pop that sounds really gripping and, on a personal note, fits really nicely in to my music taste.  They have a rock and metal tone, basically heavy sounding and riff based tunes that form the base of their sound. They take the melodies and harmonies from a more pop sounding style of writing.  Finally, the “electro sound” is just some synth and keys that plays in the background of the production, overall the sound is quite an engaging experience.  They’re first full length record The Last of All Sunsets is a great album and I’ve had a ball listening to it.

The album opens on a good intro called Something Big setting up the album brilliantly, it’s tense and shows off, albeit instrumentally, the sound that they clearly want to convey.  The album goes through some riveting subjects such as failed relationships, the fight with their own self doubts and the emotions of pain, mourning and despair. Then they proceed to cover these subjects in an impressive, almost grandiose, style.

Etta Zero sound a lot like the more interesting version of the alt. rock/post grunge bands of America. In fact, some of the better songs on the album come with the tunes From The Ashes, All That I See and the bands self-titled song Etta Zero.  I feel these songs capitalise on the bands rock and metal nature and since they are delivered with so much energy, they stand out beyond the rest of the record.  There cover of the song Heartbeats, originally performed by Swedish band The Knife, is also a enthralling tune, taking the original source material and warping it into their own creation, as they used to be a synth pop cover band, they are well acquainted with the art of cover-songs.

The album doesn’t have many downfalls, but, there are some things that just bothered me.  Let’s use the song Heaven is Closer as an example.  I feel there could have been more control in the song-writing and production on the record, in this song the outro goes on for about 2 minutes and it just has this dragging feeling to it, it was one of the few track that I actually felt the need to skip.  To be honest it’s decisions like this that stop me loving this album wholeheartedly.   Also some of the songs are just downright forgettable and are clearly album filler, and unfortunately this involves the albums title track The Last of all Sunsets.  These songs don’t really go anywhere and they’re not as involving as the rest of the album.

In summary, this is a pretty effort for a debut full length album.  It’s got some really good songs that are easy to listen to.  The pop melodies add to the easy listening element and the synth and keys electro sound is pretty drowned out by the metal and rock elements, although, they do have a good place when used properly, like in the intro track.  Also I would recommend the bands first two EP’s: Tribute To Pop from 2002 and Downfall from 2007, there’s some really good songs on there too.

3/5

Mick Birchall