Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Deliberately Fragile
Alfa Matrix

Hot on the heels of their "Manifesto Ep" Technoir returns with the full length follow-up album "Deliberately Fragile." This is their second full length CD which took a little over 5 years to be released, but the wait was definitely worth it. So much of the synth-pop community has become re-hashed and generic, but Technoir find a great balance between beautiful melodies and a harder edge that will also give listeners their dance-floor fix as well. Julia Beyer's vocals are simply gorgeous and they compliment Steffen's music very nicely. You can also hear some guitar work on a few songs as well. Overall, this is a prime example of how a good synth-pop album should sound and Technoir rise high above the rest of their peers on each and every song.

- Craig Harvey

Sero Overdose

Heading For Tomorrow
Alfa Matrix

Sero Overdose bring us another ebm/futurepop album filled with catchy melodies, clean vocals, and good dance floor anthems that are merged with slower songs as well. The question remains however, do they add anything new to this genre or are they just riding the wave that was spawned by groundbreaking acts such as VNV Nation, And One, Covenant and Apoptygma Berzerk? Not really. While I did enjoy this CD, I felt it was mediocre at best as far as originality goes. Sero Overdose do offer several positive qualities (as mentioned earlier) but they just don't have anything specific that makes them stand out above the countless bands from this scene and that is it's major downfall. It's very by the numbers, so if you are looking for another ebm band that doesn't stray outside of safe territory then "Heading For Tomorrow" is right up your alley.

- Craig Harvey


As Our Army Grows
Napalm Records

Intense brings back the classic power metal sound from the eighties with a fury I have not heard in some time. The vocals really remind of the singer from Iced Earth (another great power metal band) but this UK outfit are no copycat rip-off band. They have their own sound that pays tribute to the influences from which their music stems. The guitar riffs are thrashy, with a great groove and the twin harmony lead work is technical but fits the songs perfectly. The drumming and basswork on this album is equally superb. Powerful and tight, it provides a rock solid anchor for the rest of the band to move over. Frontman, Sean Hetherington has the perfect range for this style of music and his vocals simply soar. Intense is a band who definitely hold their own in the power metal genre and "As Our Army Grows" proves this hands down.

- Craig Harvey

Visions Of Atlantis

Napalm Records

The story of Atlantis has been shrouded in mystery and legend for much of pre-recorded history. Was it real or just a myth? We may never know the true answer but that does not stop us being inspired by it's enigma. Austria's very own Visions Of Atlantis are one of the many who have taken their own fascination with this great tale and turned it into a symphonic metal powerhouse like no other. The dual vocals of Melissa Ferlaak and Mario Plank move together in a seamless flow over the downtuned guitar riffs and grandiose keyboards. I am not sure if Melissa has any formal opera training but if not, you could have fooled me. Her voice is simply amazing. One of the brightest and best female singers in metal today. You can really hear her shine on "Wing Shaped Heart" where for the first part, it's only her accompanied by piano and keys. Mario's voice has got an edge, but he cleans up nicely and stands alone as well for much of track four "The Poem." This album simply has it all; great production, well penned lyrics, excellent musicianship and great vocals. Not to mention the stunning cover art by Anthony Clarksson. The band has toured with some of their peers such as Nightwish, Edenbridge and Katatonia which surely has helped elevate their fanbase to even greater proportions. "Trinity" is set to dominate the metal world as it debuts this month in Europe and the US in June and with talent like this I have no doubt it will succeed.

- Craig Harvey


Solens Rotter
Napalm Records

On Vintersong's seventh release, they merge traditional instruments (harp/flute/violin/acoustic guitar) with darker black metal atmospheres and Nordic folk elements. It's a very unique combination, and the band manages to integrate all of these styles extremely well. However, none of the lyrics are in English, so unless your Norwegian is up to date, you won't have a clue as what they are talking about. Regardless, the music is so captivating that you really don't need to understand it. The vocals move from pure "clean" to the darker "growling" styles, but as cliché' as that has become, it works really well in this context. As much as I really like this album, I don't see it making a huge impact here in the states mainly because of the language barrier. However, it's still a great metal release from a very talented band.

- Craig Harvey


Worlds Untold & Dreams Unlived
Napalm Records

Serenity reminds me of classic Dream Theater back when they wrote great songs and not excuses for technical acrobatics. Think "Images & Words" or "Awake" and you will get the idea. Vocalist Georg Neuhauser is in fine form and shines on every track. It's nice to hear a great singer once in a while who has clarity, range and is not over the top with falsetto screams. Guitarist Thomas Buchberger and keyboardist Mario Hirzinger can hold their own in the prog-metal world as they display fiery leads and great riffs. On the bottom end, bassist Simon Holzknecht and drummer Andreas Schipflinger are definitely a tight unit as they keep it all together through each track. The nice thing is, these guys write great songs that you can really feel and sink your teeth into. It's not all 100 miles an hour, blastbeats, and guys showing off just because they can. Listen to "Dead Man Walking" or "From Where The Dark Is Born" and tell me I'm wrong! Sure, these guys have all the musical chops they could possibly need; but they know how to use them correctly. I feel that Serenity are the next prog-metal masters and I can't stress highly enough how good this album is.

- Craig Harvey



This is a "choose your own adventure" record. I kid you not. It’s still indie-pop by numbers, but the gimmick is cute. It doesn’t work overly well in practice, but in theory it’s great.

- Adam Naworal

Utah Carol

Stomping Ground

The cover is deceptive! This sounds like a heavenly cross between the Pixies and Slowdive! Slow and dreamy, with layers galore and weird effects , this is an impressive album. While it can get cloying at time, this should appeal to all indie popsters and noise popsters.

- Adam Naworal

I’m From Barcelona


Hmmm. Imagine a cross between the Killers, the Partridge Family, the Beach Boys, and Shel Silverstein. That is the sound of I’m From Barcelona. That should tell you enough, but this IS wonderfully catchy and as breezy as PET SOUNDS. Worth checking out if you dig indie pop.

- Adam Naworal



Enjoyable enough compilation of ATR covers by various industrial, gabber, and glitch bands. Some tracks are as good as the originals, others are truly horrid; nothing betters the originals.

- Adam Naworal



Hansel is a hybrid between trip-hop and glitchcore. While not groundbreaking, the programming is good enough and the music is catchy. However, the vocals are EXTREMELY weak, and his rapping style really doesn’t fit.

- Adam Naworal



Miles away from MOON SAFARI, Air continue their slightly retro pop crusade in earnest. With guest vocals from Jarvis Cocker and an appealing mix of acoustics and electronics, this album is like a poppier cousin to Bark Psychosis’ HEX and Talk Talk’s LAUGHING STOCK. Full of contradictions in mood and sound, and all the better for it, this is definitely required listening for any avant-pop fan.

- Adam Naworal

Je Suis France

Antenna Farm

Holy hell! Amazing neo-krautrock/psychedelia which recalls prime Mercury Rev jamming with Damo-era Can! Song titles like "Chemical Agents", "Digital Shrimp" and "Sufficiently Breakfast" give you a sterling idea of the joys you’re in for. A truly amazing album, and highly recommended to fans of Faust, Neu!, Sonic Youth….. you get the idea.

- Adam Naworal

Of God And Science


Indie-folkish EP which avoids the clichés of the genre. Featuring inspired writing and sometimes odd instrumentation, OGAS rise above the rest. The short running time DOES work in its advantage, but the potential shown encourages a full album’s worth of such whimsy. Worth checking out!

- Adam Naworal

Tracey Thorn


The voice of Everything But The Girl picks up pretty much where she left off. Alternating ambient techno trickery and odd Nico-esque instrumentation (harmoniums, bells, etc.), Tracey’s powerful voice still sounds as lovelorn and gorgeous as prime EBTG. A fine solo effort, not spectacular, but worthy of inspection.

- Adam Naworal



For fans of jazz-tinged female singer-songwriters, this live mini-album should do the trick. No new ground is covered, but the vocals are impressive enough and the music is well-written. Being a live album, this may not be representative of her work, so research into her full lengths is encouraged.

- Adam Naworal

Marilyn Manson

Eat Me, Drink Me
Interscope Records, 2007

I have one question. What the hell did I just listen too? As you can tell I am not impressed by the new Marilyn Manson album. There is no sense in highlighting any specific tracts since they all sound the same. The melodies remind me of early Cure songs. Leading me to remind Mr. Manson that he is not Robert Smith. There is no substance to any song lyrically. You are left with every song mostly repeat the chorus over and over at nauseum. Long gone is the rebellious cries of the anit-religious, riot inciting, Antichrist Super Star. We are now left with a man looking forty in the mirror who has created an album about his broken marriage and infidelities that led to it. I hope this only a lull in Manson's musical career. I pray that he will re-evaluate his work and produce a better product next time around.

- Kitten

Lou Reed and Zeitkratzer

Asphodel, 2007

Yes, you read that right. This is an orchestral version of METAL MACHINE MUSIC. The decision to perform only three parts may be viewed as merciful or unforgivable. The novelty of this particular piece being performed by essentially a CHAMBER ENSEMBLE makes up for it. Yes, this is the sound of MMM, the legendary first noise album, the litmus test by which all musical patience has been measured, performed live as a modern composition. It truly works! The inclusion of Reed himself playing a solo guitar, creating live waves of feedback and noise before having Zeitkratzer join in, is absolutely stunning and an inspired touch. A DVD of the complete performance is also included, and the DVD has a lengthy post-performance interview with Reed discussing the piece. So, is this necessary? Oh god no. Absolutely not. Do you still need to own it? YES. ABSOLUTELY. I would go so far as to say this should be the neophyte’s introduction to MMM; perhaps from there further tastes in noise and avant-garde music will develop.

- Adam Naworal

Monster In The Machine

Emotional Syphon

Hmmm. Well, this is interesting and catchy enough alt-rock. However, the Bowie copycat vocals leave a lot to be desired. Which is a shame, because the moody music is really quite accomplished.

- Adam Naworal



Hooray! More neo-noise rock from HighWheel! Airiel are more influenced by Ride and other noisy shoegaze than the American brand of noise rock, but they manage to find a very unique and powerful sound. The noise rock revival seems bright, and Airiel have a good chance at being the top of the line in neo-noise rock.

- Adam Naworal



This band definitely knows their stuff! Claiming to be influenced by Sonic Youth, Pere Ubu, and other indie/noise stalwarts, these guys can play angular noisy chops and oddly structured rhythms with the best of them. While a bit too much influence does show through, Arks are a good way to fill in the gap that bands like Bastro left in every noise rock fan’s heart. Highly recommended.

- Adam Naworal



Slightly disappointing if you buy the promo hype (this is NOT the sound of an electronic Spiritualized or My Bloody Valentine). Taken on its own, this IS a solid release with interesting effects and programming and dreamy vocals. If this is anything like an electronic shoegazer band, it would be most comparable to a livelier PYGMALION (Slowdive’s unjustly maligned swansong). Worth investigating, just don’t get your hopes up.

- Adam Naworal


Emotional Syphon

Like most metalcore, this didn’t do much for me. The musicianship is solid, but there is nothing new going on here. Be careful.

- Adam Naworal

Mick Harvey


Interesting solo album from the Bad Seeds member. Not as essential as any Bad Seeds material, but still this is a solid listen. A low-key folky/jazzy sound is present, and the songs veer between originals and well-selected covers. Worth checking out.

- Adam Naworal

Mustangs And Madras

Latest Flame, 2007

VERY much influenced by At The Drive-In, Mustangs and Madras fill the void that august entity left behind. If The Mars Volta doesn’t do it for you, these guys are HIGHLY recommended. Neat touches show up throughout this EP’s tracks, and the running time and musical quality leaves you desiring more. Definitely a promising band, but they may want to develop more so as not to be written off as an ATD-I clone.

- Adam Naworal

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Mute, 2007

EXCELLENT 4-disc set from the legendary Cave’s last tour. Consisting of 2 CDs, documenting different shows, and 2 DVDs (also documenting different shows, along with a couple of music videos and behind-the-scenes bits), this is absolutely essential for ANY Bad Seeds fan. Songs from all phases of his career are covered, from the now-standard "Red Right Hand" to the perverted voodoo blues of "Stagger Lee". I probably have said enough; you should already know whether this is your thing or not. It can even make an excellent introduction for a Cave neophyte
- Adam Naworal

Mystery Jets

Dim Mak, 2007

Hell yeah! Good ol’ fashioned power pop and garage rock is the order of the day here. Like a more fun Franz Ferdinand or an updated Elvis Costello, Mystery Jets rock out with due honors and also throw in a few nice experimental touches. Definitely one to look out for!

- Adam Naworal

Alan Vega

Blast First/Mute, 2007

Sadly this was a disappointment. Being a huge Alan Vega/Suicide fan, I was expecting more of the trademark lo-fi synthpunk that Vega is known for. Well, the MUSIC is still impeccable, but odd production pushes the vocals very far up in the mix. This detached sound detracts from the songs. Which is a shame, because the music IS on par with anything else in his catalogue. That having been said, this is an essential addition to any Vega/Suicide collection, and it DOES beat the last Suicide album by a long shot.

- Adam Naworal

Hannah Fury

MellowTraumatic, 2007

Hmmm. Interesting combination of Tori Amos-esque piano/ethereal vocal work and industrial textures. Hannah Fury has a powerful voice, and the music is impeccable. It DOES lose originality points, but overall this is a good solid listen. Fans of Dresden Dolls and Emilie Autumn should also take note.

- Adam Naworal

Tommie Sunshine presents

Ultra, 2007

This IS better than a lot of mix CDs. Artists like Kill Hannah, Mindless Self Indulgence, and the Faint get remixed. In all fairness, about half of the tracks work, while the other half really don’t offer anything exciting. That said, for a taste of what hybrid rock really is supposed to be like, you could do worse than this disc.

- Adam Naworal

The Winter Sounds

Livewire, 2007

Interesting debut. This comes across as a jo9urney through your cool older sibling’s record collection. A definite Smiths influence, with touches of other 80s-through-90s indie bands. While this isn’t the most original sound, these guys pull it off quite well. Definitely worth checking out.

- Adam Naworal


Warp, 2007

Battles brings talents from Helmet, Tomahawk, Lynx, Don Caballero, and Storm & Stress (as well as Tyondai Braxton, son of free jazz great Anthony Braxton) and blends them into an absolutely intoxicating brew. Nothing out there is really anything like this (besides Battles’ previous EPs), but imagine the best parts of tribal rock, math rock, and post-rock given muscle. THAT is Battles. You may be familiar with "Atlas", with its absolutely incredible video. Well, the whole album is THAT good! My personal faves are the epic "Tonto" and "Rainbow"; these two tracks have a sort of propulsion that’s rare in most modern music. Everyone may be wondering what a guitar based band is doing on Warp. Well, take a listen and it all becomes clear. The gonzo processed vocals add a nice touch too. ABSOLUTELY recommended!

- Adam Naworal

Genghis Tron

Crucial Blast, 2006

Holy hell! Genghis Tron’s debut full length recording takes their 8-bit/synth-pop/grindcore/prog blend up to the next level! In a blistering 30+ minutes, you get treated to grindcore maelstroms, INSANE programming (remember The Locust? Yeah, their keyboard work has NOTHING on these guys!), some of the most ear-piercing grind vocals ever recorded, and amazingly complex structures. The instruments used are "guitars, synthesizers, vocals, computers, lap steel, and some bass". Needless to say this is crucial for any grindcore/avant-metal fan, and I’m certain fans of any avant-garde style can find something to love here. ESSENTIAL!

- Adam Naworal

YEAR ZERO - Some Say it was a Warning

By Andrew Gregory

"With this record I feel a lot less concerned about what people think about it — especially the dying record industry. I couldn't care less about that right now."
-Trent Reznor

It is only fair to first state that I am a fan of Nine Inch Nails. So please note this article is coming from a place of utter bliss. After eagerly waiting and intently listening to the Newest Album ‘Year Zero’ (released April 17th) I find myself relieved. I feel validated.

Nine inch nail’s last release ‘With Teeth’ was not received well by many ‘fans’ because it had a mass appeal. And though I happen to be deeply in love with all the songs on ‘With Teeth’ I understand the sentiment. Rest assured you will be validated too.

You should know Trent Reznor fired his long time manager, John Malm for irresponsible accounting and possible embezzlement before recording his previous release ‘With Teeth’. After the many years of making music and touring Reznor found himself in a position of questionable prosperity. He needed to sell some records or NIN would not have a future at all. This would explain the numerous radio friendly singles released from ‘With Teeth’ such as ‘Everyday is Exactly the Same’. I believe this was Trent’s survivalism kicking in. Unfortunately, this action seems to have distanced the band from much of its base. With this in mind, I feel you should listen to the whole album and think on what the songs really mean. ‘With Teeth’ was a perfect step for NIN at the time.

Reznor stated that the new album titled ‘Year Zero’ was recorded in many different hotel rooms across the world by primarily only him in collaboration with engineer Atticus Ross. With riffs of static, strange digital loops, and gritty fills in true NIN fashion the record reflects this process.

"So, I took a little bit of time as a sort of writing experiment to imagine what the world might be like in the future. -Trent Reznor

‘Year Zero’ is a concept album about the future. Not unlike the future so many fear this nation and world seems to rapidly be heading toward. It is laced with laden political and ideological posturing from various people who might be living in the prospected future.

‘Survivalism’ is a virtual argument of Deconstruction.

‘Zero Sum’ is deism.

‘God Given’ is through the eyes of a racist who subscribes faithfully to the conflict thesis and the common western mantra of infallible entitlement and privilege.

‘Meet your Master’ is an ironic role-reversal for those captives who would commonly be referred to and considered to be enemy combatants.

‘The Great Destroyer’ is written as a nihilist who endeavors the destruction of everything.

‘In This Twilight’ Is a beautiful song about one excepting the end of life when it comes.

When you listen to all 16 tracks in their entirety Reznor fills in a cold vision of a passive yet hostel future not too far removed from the one described by our modern day sages.

Unlike the previous release "With Teeth", which had a more ‘marketable rock band’ feel to it, I anticipate a strong reception for ‘Year Zero’ from NIN fans at large. With a radical new direction Trent Reznor decided to make this album into something more then just another ‘Halo’.

"I wrote the soundtrack to a movie that doesn't exist."
-Trent Reznor

There are rumors of two movies being made by Trent featuring a vivid vision from the future. Year Zero

Go to


If you want to see the future, look into how NIN promoted this album using USB ports.