"Faith is that quality which enables us to believe what we know
to be untrue."
SELECTED MUSIC REVIEWS
by Richard Karsmakers
In this time's CD review column there's even a few music video
reviews that I didn't want to write a separate article for. Apart
from that it's pretty much the same as in the previous issue of
ST NEWS, only with different CDs of course <grin>.
ENTOMBED - OUT OF HAND (EARACHE)
This is an interesting CD single. Apart from the "Wolverine
Blues" album track "Out of Hand" (without the sampled bit at the
beginning) it contains a cover of Kiss' "God of Thunder" and
Repulsion's "Black Breath". They both sound unmistakably
Entombed, although perhaps "God of Thunder" could have done with
some more subtle use of samples in the background, parallel to
the original Kiss version on the album "Destroyer". I can't judge
the Repulsion cover because I'm afraid I never heard the
original. Having said all this, it's still an interesting CD
MERCYFUL FATE - THE BELLWITCH (MUSIC FOR NATIONS)
I like Mercyful Fate, no matter if actually "Mercyful" is not a
proper English word but should be "Merciful". I have all their
old stuff, their new stuff, and I have been known to repeatedly
torture my voice trying to squeeze out King Diamond's
preternaturally high singing when in a good mood. However, "The
Bellwitch" (EP) really disappointed me.
For starters it's basically a somewhat longer CD single but it's
priced like a mid price CD - probably deemed possible because of
the "limited edition" words printed on the cover. The EP contains
two songs everybody already has ("The Bell Witch" and "Is That
You, Melissa" from their latest full-length album) and three live
tracks ("Egypt", "Come to the Sabbath" and "Black Funeral").
Musically the live tracks are OK, of course, but I've heard
better sound quality and - a thing I was afraid of even before I
bought - King Diamond's voice is no longer capable of handling
the rigours of touring. On studio albums his voice is excellently
high alternated with growlingly low, but live the high bits sound
like pig slaughter and more oftent than not does he have to
resort to singing them in a low voice.
No, Mercyful Fate is OK to see live because then everybody's
singing along anyway so you can't hear the way King screws up the
vocal parts. But to just listen to a live recording is not worth
the rather high price attached to "The Bell Witch". I am a big
fan. If you are, too, I suggest you wait for their next album,
due to be released in autumn 1994.
MY DYING BRIDE - SEXUALITY OF BEREAVEMENT (SINGLE) (PEACEVILLE)
Some of you may remember my mentioning the Peaceville
Collector's Club some time ago. Well, now is the best time to
subscribe because the welcome gift will be the My Dying Bride
"Sexuality of Bereavement" (a signed 7") as well as a free T-
shirt. Depending on the time when you finally get to read this,
another offer may be valid though.
This is certainly the most interesting CC 7" so far, with the
exclusive non-album track of the same title that was recorded
during the "Turn Loose the Swans" sessions. The B-side contains
the "Crown of Sympathy" remix also found on the "I am the Bloody
Earth" EP. "Sexuality..." is a very good song in the same vein as
other recent My Dying Bride songs. Not better, not worse, just
This particular single totals to 16 minutes of music - quite
long for a single (but, then again, you have to play it at 33 rpm
as opposed to the regular 45 that are actually mentioned on the
sleeve). Much worth your while!
PARADISE LOST - GOTHIC EP (PEACEVILLE)
This CD single has been long in the making, but now it's finally
available (or it will be soon, at any rate). Slightly longer than
20 minutes, this EP contains four tracks that are rare in some
way or other. The EP contains "Gothic (mix)", "Rotting Misery
(Doom Dub)", "Breeding Fear (Demolition Dub)" and "The Painless
(Mix)". The songs sound louder and more 'live' than the
originals, almost as if they were played on one of more expensive
CD players with "STADIUM" or "JAZZ CLUB" Digital Signal
The two 'dubs' previously appeared on the now deleted limited
edition vinyl "In Dub" 12". The other two tracks, off "Gothic",
just happen to be my two personal favourites (with plenty of
For the completists among you, I don't think this release should
be lacking in your collection. It's a good release but, taken
strictly, doesn't really offer anything new.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE - BOMBTRACK (SPECIAL PINKPOP 25 EDITION)
This is a special release of an existing CD single (I think) to
the honour of Rage Against The Machine performing at the Dutch
Pinkpop Festival for the second consecutive year. Pinkpop also
celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.
According to an advertisement I read somewhere this single
contains all bonus tracks ever found on any Rage Against The
Machine CD singles released, but I couldn't judge that myself as
I haven't got them all.
Well, what's on it... "Bombtrack" (from the debut album, nothing
new under the sun), "Freedom" (a live track that hasn't been
produced very well, most notably the bass drum and vocals too
soft and the snare somehow diferent), "Settle for Nothing" (live
track recorded at Melkweg, Netherlands, February 7th 1993,
previously available on the "Bullet in the Head" CD single,
excellently produced), "Bombtrack" (a track recorded at Mark
Goodier's "Evening Sessions" from the BBC, a totally different
arrangement), "Bullet in the Head" (the same version of a remix
previously found on the "Bullet in the Head" CD single, though
timed on the liner as one that's over 1.5 minute longer which it
isn't), "Take the Power Back" (live at Vancouver, Canada, April
11th 1993, great recording with good guitar work!), "Darkness of
Greed" (an extra track found on the "Killing in the Name" CD
single), "Bullet in the Head" (also recorded at Melkweg, and also
from the "Bullet in the Head" CD single) and "Bombtrack" (live at
Minneapolis, April 5th 1993).
All in all, it's a good CD especially at its price even
though it's not perfect. It's something much worth getting
especially because it's available at a regular CD single's price
(Hfl 14.95). And you can sell the "Bullet in the Head" CD single
if you have it (I assume you would have the normal version of the
song on the debut album). Had they included the "Clear the Lane"
track off the "Killing in the Name" CD single you could have sold
that one as well. I can't make any comments on other CD singles
and their extra tracks, as I haven't got them.
DREAM THEATER - IMAGES AND WORDS LIVE IN TOKYO (MUSIC VIDEO)
When I saw this video standing on a record shop shelf I had to
swallow. Purchasing it would set me back 50 Dutch guilders (some
27-28 US$). Being the Dream Theater fan I am, however, I felt the
required amount of money burning a hole through my pocket (and my
hand) so I got it nonetheless.
What I saw when I watched at home was a total of 90 minutes
comprising mostly live performance at Tokyo, August 26th 1993,
with three video clips and a few minutes of intermediate home
video footage thrown in for good measure.
Let's start by saying that it's a joy to see there guys play.
Some progressive rock bands have good musicians - such as Rush
and Queensrÿche - but Dream Theater has superior craftsmanship
all around. Guitarist John Petrucci can match himself with the
best, drummer Mike Portnoy is a human drum computer and the
others are very capable too. The only somewhat weak link might be
vocalist James LaBrie's lack of purity when going for the high
notes (unlike his studio efforts), but it's never irritating.
Live tracks comprise "Under A Glass Moon", "Wait for Sleep",
"Surrounded", "Ytse Jam" (a Great Song including drum solo), "To
Live Forever" (with a long guitar intermezzo), "A Fortune in
Lies", "Take the Time" (with alternative intro) and "Pull Me
Under". In between you get three video clips of "Pull Me Under"
(where James is wearing a Napalm Death T-shirt!), "Take the Time"
and "Another Day". The bad thing about these videos is that
they're readily pre-chewed for MTV public consumption, i.e.
scandalously cut with some repeating passages simply thrown away.
But I suppose that just caters for the low interest threshold of
the average eMpTyVee viewer.
There's only one thing I don't like about the video: It hasn't
got "Metropolis" on it (except for a teaser during the intro),
which just so happens to be my favourite track. Also, the sound
mix quality is not as good as the "Live at the Marquee" CD,
notably during the first song when the drums are not 100% and the
bass and keyboard are too soft. On a whole it's something no
Dream Theater fan should be disappointed to have.
A thing I find weird is that it's rated for 15 years and up
(with another rating in German saying it's suitable for 6 and
up). I don't know what could possible be the reason, except maybe
the fact that they look at a condom poster at one instant, and
they use the sentences "what the fuck", "it's fuckin' amazing",
"I fuckin' love it" and "these fuckers are amazing" (the latter
being barely audible). I see that the occurrence of these
expletives and, of course, that of the condom poster, would
irreversible corrupt anyone below 15...
PARADISE LOST - HARMONY BREAKS (MUSIC VIDEO) (MUSIC FOR NATIONS)
Finally, the first Paradise Lost live video, with some video
clips and interview excerpts thrown in for good measure. The live
bits of this 70 minute video are much worth your while, recorded
at Stuttgart, Germany, during the first leg of the "Icon" tour
last year. One of these tracks was already represented by "Your
Hand in Mine" on the "Seals the Sense" EP. Others are "Desolate",
"Mortals Watch the Day", "Joys of the Emptiness", "Gothic",
"Widow", "Pity the Sadness", "As I Die" (great), "Eternal" and
"Shallow Seasons". Live sound production is excellent, thought
the interview bits in-between were obviously taped when they were
drunk or just feeling in a zany mood - 'Well, "Widow" is about
this spider, or perhaps about women, or perhaps neither.'
Video clips are "As I Die" (quite weak), "Pity the Sadness",
"True Belief" and "Embers Fire". These are OK. The video also
contains a very artistic booklet.
All in all quite an excellent video that no fan should be
without, though perhaps it would have been nice had they thrown
in some extra live songs instead of the video clips (what about a
live version of the excellent "Embers Fire"?).
ALIAS - METAL TO INFINITY (ROCK THE NATIONS)
First of all, I should want to say that this is not the American
band Alias that debuted with "Alias" on EMI America in 1990
(Curci - DeMarchi - Fisher - Fossen - DeRosier) but an American
band Alias that debuted with "Alias" in 1987 (Mark Severn guitar
and backing vocals; Phil Arnt drums & percussion; Carl Hayden
vocals; Dirk van Tilborg bass and keyboards), unless their entire
line-up has changed and there was a mix-up with debut release
What we have here is typical AOR that I suppose had its audience
but totally fails to convince. The vocals are in some ways
similar to Fates Warning but not just as good. Compositions vary
from cliche 'progressive metal' to a few fairly powerful songs
that are too few and far between. The consistently weak part is
the drum production. The bass drums sound more like a slab of wet
meat hitting something rather than anything else. Had this album
been produced more capably it would no doubt have been a platform
where the excellent guitar player would not constantly be left
unappreciated because of the high drums irritation factor.
ALTAR - YOUTH AGAINST CHRIST (DISPLEASED RECORDS)
If you want black f@*kin' metal with excellent production, a
high flip factor, heaps of speed changes and the occasional "come
on you Christian mother fuckers" thrown in, you need look no
further than Altar's "Youth Against Christ". The CD is filled
with almost 50 minutes of uncompromising, aggressive mayhem that
is as black as early Venom but apparently more sincere and
logically evolved and cross-bred further into a putrifying
pulsating pool of Satanic Bliss. Titles like "Jesus is Dead!",
"Hypochristianity" and "Cauterize the Church Council" throw
themselves mercilessly at your senses, but the good thing about
it is that you'll always want to come back for more
blasphemically Devilish beatings.
Slam the CD in the player and see what fun it can be to spit on
But why the goat's skull in the group photography? I thought the
time of bands posing with various pseudo-Satanic paraphernalia
was behind us?
NL-1502 NL Zaandam
(IRC for huge mailorder catalogue)
ANGELS W/DIRTY FACES - SOUNDS OF THE WORLD TURNING (BLUE FLAME)
Around early 1991 a band called Angels with Dirty Faces was
formed in North West England, consisting of Jemery Dykes on bass,
Simon Gibbs on vocals, Paul Roscrow on drums and Jason Woolley on
guitar. After a self-financed mini-LP by the name of "A Little
Taste" they have now released their debut full-length album,
"Sounds of the World Turning", on Rock the Nation's Blue Flame
Records label (from Luxemburg).
Angels with Dirty Faces play a sort of grunge, quite melodic
too, and certainly accessible to a wide audience I should think.
Some songs have the kind of Lolapolooza appeal that you'd need to
get a current-day non-house contemporary music hit, while many of
the songs have a disctinctly heavy layer of guitar at the base of
it all. When you listen to the album you don't get the idea
you're listening to a vague Pearl Jam, Nirvana or Alice in Chains
rehash (need I mention that blasted Stiltskin or whatever they're
called?). It all sounds quite fresh and original, and my personal
favourites are "Retro", "People" (though it's quite mellow),
The only thing I dislike about the album - sometimes - is the
vocalist. He can do some good shouting and singing but in some
songs (such as the non-chorus parts of "Pots of Gold" and the
beginning of "Retro") he's a bit too whiny, too experimental. Bit
it's kept down to a minimum so that, overall, it's one hell of a
good debut album with the drums coming out especially alive and
I am beginning to believe the bit at the end of their press
release: "There is no way this band can fail!" Other than not
being signed to a major label, that is, which I think is
something this band really needs. If this band were signed to
Geffen I reckon the sky would be the limit, and then some.
AT THE GATES - TERMINAL SPIRIT DISEASE (PEACEVILLE)
At the Gates is one of the bands Peaceville is very proud of.
Only recently, the band was lifted up from the Deaf label to the
Peaceville label itself, and Peaceville have vowed to give the
band a lot more attention in the time to come.
Their recent release is "Terminal Spirit Disease", and a very
good release it is. For starters the whole CD looks as if it's
produced by a major label - plenty of pictures and colour and
handwritten texts and that kind of thing. And the music is good
too. I have heard some people complaining about Tomas Lindberg's
vocals, but they are all right by me (I can handle a great
variety of vocals, varying from King Diamond to Paradise Lost and
Inquisitor to Enya). At the Gates are said to be contending with
Entombed for the title of "Best Swedish Metal Act". They might
not yet be there, but they're well on their way.
Unfortunately there is a thing about the album that I don't
really like: It's only 35 minutes (9 songs) long, of which 22
minutes (6 songs) are new. The other tracks are live versions of
older songs - "All Life Ends", "The Burning Darkness" and
"Kingdom Gone" - recorded at Magasinet, Gothenburg, on February
6th 1994. I never liked the older At the Gates material a lot,
but thankfully they have selected some of their best tracks here.
DARKTHRONE - TRANSILVANIAN HUNGER (PEACEVILLE)
Well...what to say of this new Darkthrone album?
I heard Darkthrone have already recorded four albums, and want
to record another three (including a Fenriz solo album) before
the year is out. When listening to "Transilvanian Hunger",
suddenly you understand how this is possible. All tracks sound
rather the same, especially the quality of the vocals and the
lack of speed changes. Pertaining the latter I clocked most of
the album 4 beats per second and they don't really deviate from
that except on one song I believe. And if it's not fast enough to
be the fastest band, why do it? And Norwegian lyrics are fun but
half of their intended darkness (or even more) passes me by.
I like the album's production least of all. It sounds as if
you're listening to a transistor radio. Ancient Venom recordings
were just as evil but at least their production was sortof OK. Is
just making a recording appear sub-standard an artistic statement
of sorts? I personally think Darkthrone will disappear when the
Norwegian Death Metal Scene Controversy wears off. If people
actually start to listen to the music and forget about the image
that's behind it, they won't like what they hear.
Some of the statements originally set for inclusion on the
sleeve have been left out due to the current Norwegian death
metal scene controversy. Four tracks have lyrics by Count
Grishnack, convicted murdered recently imprisoned for 21 years in
Norway for killing arch rival Euronymous.
This album will not be available all too well in Germany and
Britian because of said controversy, but I don't think anyone
there will really miss anything. Without a doubt, Darkthrone is
the least talented band in the Peaceville catalogue and, so far,
their only band that I don't like.
ELEGY - SUPREMACY
A few short remarks on this rather brilliant CD from Dutch band
Elegy. On the contrary to many Dutch bands that I tend to devote
some space to, this is not an instrumental outfit. Rather, what
we have here is a cross between Cacophony and Fates Warning. That
means plenty of excellent guitar stuff but also accessible
compositions and a vocalist in the vein of Fates Warning's Ray
Alder. I think most progressive hard rock fans with a taste for
good guitar twiddling will really like this CD, released by T&T
Records of Gelsenkirchen, Germany (address unfortunately not on
the CD liner notes).
ENTOMBED - THE TRUTH BEYOND
One of the few bootlegs I have recently acquired. Recorded at
"Het Paard" at The Hague during the "Gods of Grind" tour, this CD
features a bit more than 40 minutes of average quality recorded
material. Apart from the lack of quality I have reason to dislike
it because Lars Goran (the singer) sounds as if he really doesn't
want to sing at all. His vocals radiate boredom. Perhaps the
audience wasn't enthusiastic enough, but even so a professional
band should be able to put down a great set nonetheless.
This is one of the very few Entombed CD bootlegs available
(actually the only one I know of) so it's the best you can get.
But I expect something better in the future. I'm looking forward
to it. Maybe even a commercial Entombed live album or video?
FEAR OF GOD - TOXIC VOODOO
Dawn Crosby's Fear of God is back to kill, and the faithful fans
annex worshippers will be all the happier for it. "Within the
Veil", Fear of God's debut album released in 1991, kicked some
serious gothically doomy ass. Great atmospheric songs with Dawn's
vocals dubbed thousandfold atop it - the thing we all know and
love. For a long time it looked as if Dawn, after losing her
record deal with Warner Brothers and the band splitting, would
never be heard of again. Fortunately a relativele small record
company by the name of Pavement Music Inc. signed her anyway.
With a totally revised bunch of musicians she recorded "Toxic
Voodoo", an album that is intermediate between "Within the Veil"
and her earlier band Detente. Which means what you get is an
album not as good as "Within the Veil" but still plenty
aggressive with her inimitable "cigarettes-and-booze" vocals,
lyrics involving betrayal and other possibly feminist subjects,
and genuinely heavy songs.
I would hasten to add that "Toxic Voodoo" is not perfect. The
guitars sound like those on really old Destruction albums - a
sound that is a bit dated - and the drums could have been more
crispy clear. In other words the production could have been done
Oh...no...I suddenly get a dream vision. There is a cloud. I am
in a cloud chamber, there's a white door...I open it and see
Scott Burns sitting at the knobs for Fear of God's third album. I
have to close the door. Satan laughs, but I haven't got a clue
why. Then I wake up, bathing in sweat. I find I have to change my
Pavement Music Inc.
17W703A Butterfield Rd.
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
GWAR - THIS TOILET EARTH (MUSIC FOR NATIONS)
After their second album, "Scumdogs of the Universe", the
members (oo-er!) of Gwar said they were going to do one more
album and one more tour. After that, they claimed, artistic
integrity might fail and the concept would have been milked
enough. Out came "America Must be Destroyed", a most excellent
album. Out came an accompanying video (not easily available so I
haven't seen it yet), "Tour de Scum".
A few months ago they surprised the world with their fourth
album, "This Toilet Earth". And, if you ask me, I think they
should have stopped the way they had originally intended.
The album is much more explicit (lots of explicit vulgar sex and
references to cum, penises, etc.) and the music much less
melodic. I think they've gone back to their roots, but I didn't
like their roots at all. I always told people Gwar was much
underestimated because their music is actually quite good. Now,
with "This Toilet Earth", that is no longer the case. The album
is filth for filth's sake, and I find it very difficult to find
any artistic credibility. It's more like they're trying to get
more mileage from a worn concept.
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN - THE SEVENTH SIGN (MUSIC FOR NATIONS)
Many people thought "Eclipse" was a bit of a letdown. I didn't.
As a matter of fact I recall mustering some enthusiasm of a
genuine kind. The singer was, well, different. Not necessarily
any worse than the previous singers, at the least. But when
Yngwie's next album came out, "Fire & Ice", it seemed to have
embraced commercial values a bit too much. Goran Edman's vocals
now sounded a bit too similar, there were a few MTV-ish songs and
the thing as a whole didn't convince me. I think this album
actually caused Mr. Malmsteen to fall off his Guitarist #1
pedestal as far as I was concerned. Joe Satriani became The
Master of Guitar in my mind, and after I had seen the "Guitar
Legends" Sevilla gig Steve Vai came second. Malmsteen had moved
to number 3, possible even lower if you take into consideration
my liking of Jason Becker, Cyril Whistler and Mads Eriksen. All
this aside now, for Yngwie's 7th studio album is out and I am
glad to say it has some classic tracks on there again.
What we're looking at are 12 songs - plus an additional Hendrix-
influenced "Angel in Heat" on the Japanese import version - of
which some are more than excellent and some are rather sugarsweet
and too reminiscent of the "Fire & Ice" times. Overall the album
seems more Hendrix-influenced with plenty of wah-wah use, most
particularly in "I don't know". Of course he plagiarizes himself
a bit (this time I most definitely heard something from the
"Marching Out" album in the first song) and the lyrics are still
a bit plain to say the least. Only once the lyrics go beyond
plainness into the realm of sheer vomit-inducing ballad-sweetness
in a song called "Prisoner of your Love". These particular lyrics
were written by his newly-wed (January) wife Amber, of whom I
wouldn't have mind getting a semi-large pin-up but not the paltry
load of cliché we get here. On top of that the music is based on
"Air", which Malmsteen has rehashed perhaps once too many.
Although all of this sounds rather negative indeed, "The
Seventh Sign" is a good album most particularly because of the
title song (which is really f*@kin' excellent) and "Pyramid of
Cheops", the latter bringing back to life a severely heavy song
the likes of "Dark Ages" off "Trilogy". It's Malmsteen at his
best, and it makes you forget the singer's slight accent (?!) and
the overall less melodic guitar solos.
Usually Malmsteen's instrumentals are the best songs on his CDs,
at least as far as I am concerned. Even "Perpetual" and
"Leviathan" off "Fire & Ice" were quite excellent. This time,
however, they seem too constrained. "Sorrow", for example, is
just another acoustic ditty the likes of "Memories". We have no
"Cryin'" or "Krakatau" on this CD.
All in all "The Seventh Sign" is a thoroughly enjoyable CD but
not as perfect as, say, "Rising Force" or "Trilogy". On a
sideline I would like to mention that the CD liner artwork is the
worst I've ever seen. Far too plain, and with a rather too large
picture of Malmsteen's head. Why not put that foxy Amber on that
cover, clad in a vague collection of animal skins or even
delicately obscured by a guitar?
Addition: I sent a copy of this review to the Malmsteen Militia,
who reported back saying that actually "Prisoner of Your Love"
has lyrics based on a poem Amber wrote for Yngwie, which was
quite cynical and written after Yngwie had been arrested for
alledgedly kidnapping her. He changed it into a ballad and the
cynical bits were thrown out. Amber didn't like it but he
insisted, so she gave in. Hence the slightly crap "Prisoner of
your Love" lyrics.
MISANTHROPE - MIRACLES: TOTEM TABOO (HOLY RECORDS)
I have listened to this album about a handful of times, but no
matter how open-minded I listen to it I don't really like it.
With the risk of losing review status at Holy Records (I
understand Misanthrope is their favourite and prime band, and
it's French too) I have to say I don't like it at all actually.
The music is quite inaccessible, which in itself is no problem.
Compositions are complex and quite ingenious, certainly not void
of a desire for experimentation and featuring treats such as
classical music excerpts, subtle violin, and copper instruments.
The album consists of three parts - five new tracks, one remix of
an old song and four bonus tracks that were recorded in June '92
without bass. These latter four songs are quite excellent, but
the other songs have very experimental, almost whining vocals by
main man guitarist/vocalist Philippe Courtois De L'Argiliere. Had
the album been filled with tracks similar to these last four
tracks it would have been quite excellent, but alas these four
only make up less than 20 minutes of the total 55 minutes.
I realise it's asking a band to act against its own developing
and evolutionizing instinct, but I wish they would stick to their
older style. I would consider myself quite open-minded but the
vocals on the first five tracks primarily really don't suit me at
all. Musically it's all OK though.
Thanks to Severine and Philippe for sending the CD. And it was
nice meeting you at Waldrock!
MISERY - A NECESSARY EVIL
I seem to recall this band having done one demo some time ago,
and now they have released their debut album, "A Necessary Evil".
They're an Australian outfit and are exclusively distributed
through Siren Records (in Australia, I think, phone (03) 826
Misery consist of Laszlo Kananghinis (guitar), Darren Goulding
(vocals), Anthony Dwyer (drums), Scott Edgar (guitar) and Damon
Robinson (bass and vocals), and they bring a healthy dose of
death metal with interesting speed changes, subtle and sparse use
of keyboards and generally great songs. A friend of mine
compared it to Morbid Angel, but it's less speed-ridden and the
singer is different. Misery are a technically quite capable bunch
and I really like what they've done. Should you ever find it,
have a listen to "Inverted Prophet" and see if it hooks you too.
NOKTURNEL - NOTHING BUT HATRED (JL AMERICA)
I would like to be short about this one. It's uncompromising,
roughly produced, aggressive thrash metal. The vocals are a lot
like Inquisitor (review in previous ST NEWS issue), the drums are
very fast and I think the guitar player(s) is (are) quite capable
in the fast riff deparment (though I don't think too highly of
the solos). This album is actually not bad at all, if you're into
NAPALM DEATH - FEAR, DESPAIR, EMPTINESS (EARACHE)
Napalm Death...an interesting band. After two rather extreme
records they came with "Harmony Corruption" that I reckoned was
their best album thus far. The entire hardcore world swore and
yelled profanities because the album sounded too much death metal
influenced and whatnot (probably more due to the producer, Scott
Burns, rather than the actual songs). After that they hit back
with "Utopia Banished", where the pendulum had swung back deep
into hardcore territory, perhaps even a bit too far to my taste.
And now there's "Fear Emptiness Despair". I don't know why, but
I think they have found the golden route between "Harmony
Corruption" and "Utopia Banished". There are fast parts,
intrigueing melodies, good rhythms and the whole lot. I liked the
album already after playing it once, but the staying and growing
power is immense too. Suffice to say I play it rather a lot. Some
of the best songs are "Hung" (my absolute favourite), "More Than
Meets the Eye", "Remain Nameless" and "Twist the Knife
(Slowly)", and all of them are true corkers.
It's not something you can explain. It's just good.
Thanks to Hanneke at Play It Again Sam for sending the disc!
RENAISSANCE - THE DEATH OF ART (SHIVER RECORDS)
Renaissance is a Belgian band signed to Belgian label Shiver
Records. This is their debut CD, called "The Death of Art"
(dubious English phrase I think) and contains two tracks that
last over 70 minutes together.
From start the end the CD locks you in its grip of attention.
You constantly hear stuff you've never heard before, countless
riff changes and rhythm variations, deep lyrics (by their
resident poet, John Hymers) and generally pleasing aural
excitement. The vocals vary from excellent to mediocre to grunt
to mainstream. Pretty unusual.
This is certainly a very good CD, and probably the best band
I've ever heard to come out of Belgium.
If you're interested in getting it, send US$ 18 (US$ 20 if you
live outside Europe) to:
Hans de Wyngaert
If you like progressive rock with some vague influenced of doom,
sympho and guitar heroes, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
SEPTIC FLESH - MYSTIC PLACES OF DAWN (HOLY RECORDS)
Septic Flesh is a Greek band that has recently released their
debut CD, "Mystic Places of Dawn". Their music is somewhat in the
vein of Nightfall, but with a better production. Their label,
Holy Records, calls it "dreamy war metal" I seem to recall, and
this is most appropriate. Where Nightfall goes all-out no-holds-
barred for the "war" bit, Septic Flesh gives more attention to
the atmosphere, the "dreamy". In between viciously fast and
aggressive segments, Septic Flesh creates some of the most
beautiful (yes, the word "beautiful" is definitely in order here)
music possible within the confinements of doom/war metal, or
whatever you call it. Subtle use of keyboards, violin and female
vocals takes to soaring heights their eeriely haunting
compositions. This is music that doesn't just touch your neck and
bowels, it also touches the mind and the heart. Masterpieces such
as "Chasing the Chimera" and the sublime "The Underwater Garden"
are interspersed with songs such as "Behind the Iron Mask" and
"Return to Carthage" that cater for the lover of somewhat more
straight-between-the-eyes metal. And then, once again, Septic
Flesh glide beyond all previous limits into the long instrumental
epos, "Mythos", one of the many climaxes on "Mystic Places of
I loved Nightfall, but Septic Flesh takes everything so much
further. Spiros Antoniou's vocals are deep and doomy, on top of
which melodies superb are laid. Words fail, really. This is the
best in the genre, without a doubt. This is music to kill for.
The only negative thing I can come up with is that, even at its
55 minutes of playing time, there's not enough of it.
Thanks to Severine and Philippe for sending the CD. You have
made my musical life a much more enjoyable one. Looking forward
to the Orphaned Land album!
SHIP OF FOOLS - OUT THERE SOMEWHERE (PEACEVILLE)
One of Peaceville's Dreamtime label bands, Ship of Fools, has
released their long-awaited second album. Well...it's not
actually long awaited because it hasn't been more than about a
year, but I was waiting for it nonetheless.
Ship of Fools produce sortof semi-dreaming music, instrumental,
with the use of speech samples. It's inspiring music to sit and
do something intellectual or creative. It's hardly the music that
will cause you to bang your brains out, but progressive...er...
what progressive? It's difficult to classify, and I'm not sure
whether they would need to be classified properly anyway. I guess
they wouldn't, for otherwise they would have signed to Holy
Records probably <grin>.
The new album "Out There Somewhere" has funky bits, some vaguely
heavy bits, and seemingly a lot more guitar than their debut
"Close Your Eyes, Forget the World". I think they describe their
music as "dreamy, the stuff astronauts need". This is a proper
description. I know for sure that if I am ever to book a Shuttle
trip to the moon and back, I will insist on some Ship of Fools
being on the tape in my walkman.
This is music that will redefine your definition of
redefinition. Good stuff.
TEKTON MOTOR CORPORATION - HUMAN RACE IGNITION (PEACEVILLE)
If your musical taste isn't limited solely to heavy metal or a
mainstream genre, you may care to check out "Human Race
Ignition", the debut album of the Slovenian dudes in Tekton Motor
Corporation. It's an interesting cross-over of loud guitars and
semi-commercial beats with elements of opera thrown in. The icing
on the cake are sounds achievable with Formula One engines, quite
original and not half as bad as you would think. They call it
"dromology opera", and it's a raving sort of music with an eerie
sense of beauty.
I really fuckin' hate (no excuse for my French there) braindead
house music that you can only dig after popping a few XTC pills.
Tekton's rhythms are distinctively 'house' but thankfully misses
the 'braindead' adjective. It's really a quite excellent CD,
especially when you play it loud. And then you notice that a
cookie or a peppermint can be just as stimulating as a XTC pill.
Thanks to Dinger at Peaceville for the CD.
VANGELIS - BLADE RUNNER (EAST WEST/WARNER)
Some of you may recall a review of "Blade Runner - Original
Sound Track" (the bootleg version) in the previous issue of ST
NEWS. Well, I am not sure wether or not Warner reacted to the
immediate sell-out success of this bootleg when suddenly they
dediced to confine Vangelis to a studio to redo parts of the
original soundtrack and tell him to record the whole thing on an
official "Blade Runner" original soundtrack CD, which is what I
recently bought after repeated recommendations by the people on
"Direct", the Internet Vangelis mailing list.
This new incarnation of the soundtrack (and let's forget all
about the orchestral version of the soundtrack available
previously that didn't have Vangelis on it) offers almost 58
minutes of music. The cool thing is that the sound quality,
obviously, is superior to the bootleg. Also, there are bits on
this original that weren't on the bootleg - probably stuff
Vangelis 'redid' or 'added' to the original score. However, there
are also plenty of things on the bootleg that aren't on the
official release, and "Direct" sources claim there are even bits
of music from the film that are on neither.
Best would be to get both, of course, even though you won't miss
too much if you just get the real one. The bootleg is quite
expensive and very hard to get nowadays, and the official version
had good screenshots and good sound quality. The thing I like
most about the bootleg is still the much longer version of "End
Titles" (even though the version on the official "Blade Runner"
OST is a bit longer than that on "Themes").
I realise this wasn't much of a review. If you're in a good
financial position, get both. If you have neither, but you're a
big Vangelis fan, make sure to get this "Blade Runner" Original
WHISTLER - WORDS, COMMUNICATION, WISDOM
Last April saw the release of Whistler's debut CD, Whistler
being the new name of Dutch instrumental trio Whistler Courbois
Whistler after bass player Barend Courbois left the band. Their
new bassist is Stefan Lievestro, who does a good job at replacing
Barend even though the Dutch No. 1 bass player's presence is
The first untitled WCW CD was brilliant. The second one,
"Privilege", was very good but needed some getting used to
because of a rather hefty dose of oriental influences. Their
third (or I should say Whistler's first) is quite different
again. Music is much more mellow, and immediately made the name
of Al DiMeola spring to mind. Cyril Whistler's awesome guitar
playing is still present but it's much less flashy than before.
This almost makes the album liable to be played in the background
of a party where you've invited your parents. The songs are good,
don't get me wrong, but they don't catch on like the old songs. I
think it's a good album, but I can understand old WCW fans being
a bit disappointed. So listen before buying.
Z - SHAMPOO HORN
Finally I got to hear this CD and I'd like to write down a few
thoughts about it. For starters it's weird, it has a lot of
piccies in the CD liner and the lyrics and typically Zappa-esque
remarks are fun to read. Instrumentally everything's hunky-dory,
and Ahmet's singing is good too. It's good value for money with
about 75 minutes of music. If you like somewhat weird,
experimental and certainly not-middle-of-the-road music, this is
exactly the kind of stuff you'd like.
And now I finally know the names of some of the songs played at
the gig I saw some time ago: "Rubberband" (truly great
instrumental), "Leviathan", "Kidz Cereal" and "Lucky Jones" I can
That's all. Like I said, just a few thoughts only.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.