Category: CD/DVD Reviews

Well, I got a nice CD choc-full of very metal tune and a flier, tape and even a bag of cotton candy (fairy floss) which disappeared in about five minutes upon its opening. Oh, did I mention the band? It is called Magnum Carnage (Myspace page) and the album rocks it with some dark, heavy stuff. The title of the album is pretty long – More Unreal Than a Box of Precious Metal and Radioactive Ore.

Magnum Carnage is an American black metal band from Honolulu, Hawaii. Originally formed in 1996, the band has gone through a number lineup changes all of which have been led and assembled by band leader Kai Laigo.

Now the review. Overall the album is hot, fast and (did I mention this?) heavy metal. It thrashes about like a crocodile chowing down a guy who didn’t read the warning message. Furthermore, like the croc’s lunch this band is very tasty and it’s hour-plus length cannot be devoured in a single bite. I found the first time I listened took a day as the tracks just overwhelmed me with the intensity of the music. Spinal Tap’s amps might go to 11, but these guys kept on cranking their amps to jet engine! Really, this music is really strong stuff and once you’ve got through it you’ll find yourself more than satisfied with the sound.

The album starts with the metal anthemesque head pumping Titanium Apocalypse, interspersed with speech during the track. It plays pretty hard, but this is just the start of a CD of madness. Track 2, Drowning in Feces/Death (The Slow Process), starts as a much more fierce track with machine-gun drums and ax-work slowing down midway to a heavy stomping vocalized tune.

Suitcase Nuke is a heavy, slow beating ensemble including a pepped up interlude, with the screamer giving a nice touch to the ax-oriented work. Following Suitcase Nuke is the raucous Night of the Chupacabra with spiced speed metal, strong screaming vocals and a quiet finishing flourish.

Divine Comedy Pt. 1 – Damn this Age plays like a metal version of a Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells) tracks. This is a multi-layered track that I particularly enjoy. Demon City Honolulu is a neat piece of thrash metal including Spanish guitar riffs during and fine, quieter drum- and guitar-led pieces. The quieter ax-work seems to almost sing. The song also includes some great vocals and scream-work.

The Wolf starts off as a slower track with goth-metal ove, before moving onto more higher-tempo metals midway during the song. The Ballad of Brian Well is a heavy rock piece that plays well with distorted guitars throughout the track.

Platinum Hell Tour is a short track that screams at you with every piece of equipment the band has to through at you! Temple of Doom starts pepped up on strong guitars and drums. The track mixes hard guitars and slower vocals. Depraved Fantasy is a straight hard rock/metal track with the screamer plying the song with his voice. There are some parts to this track that are reminiscent of other metal artists – though my knowledge of who is what in the metal would is very limited!

No Fear Pt. 2 Speed vs. Stupidity starts stomping away before guitar and vocals take over. As with other songs in this album it intersperses the metal with more melodious and ambient tunes to take the pressure down midway in the song. No Fear Pt. 3 Xmas Fight Song is a calmer song letting the song’s vocals clearly cut through the noise as the ax volume turns itself up to dominate later in the song. A fine drum-supported guitar solo kicks in later in the track.

Gold is a short heavy rock song with more straight-laced sounds coming from the band. Bronze plays along edgier lines with pumped up drums and guitars from the start and has a catchy beat and vocals. Silver is another catchy heavy rock song that plays easily to a rock/pop crowd.

Plutonium (Awesome Song II) is head-pumping and foot-stomping from the start. The music plays towards the vocals allowing you to hear the story of the song. It’s rocky style with twists and turns make this one of my favorite tunes on the disk.

Buick ’88 starts off with melancholic guitars, slowly building in intensity to heady rock before cranking into metal with screamer vocals.

Video Games of the Gods is short track featuring of epic metal from the 70s & 80s. Grain Reaper is a hot piece of metal with clear vocals ruling over the instrumentals. Again the Mike Oldfield influence can be heard in the second half of the track.

2012 is a psychedelic pop-rock piece reflecting the subject – the insane world in the near future.

The final song, Nightmarish Full-Scale War, starts hard and heady and just keeps on rocking the whole way with epic-styled metal.

At the end of the day, all I can say is “Wow” – this is the only response I can come up with. To listen to it takes you on an hour-long hell of a sound ride. What I would do if I heard it live is stomp till my feet dropped off and scream at them until my head explodes. The only down side I found was that it the vocals were hard to pick up, a small thing, but a bit more clarity of the voices would have made the experience a bit better. Yes, this is good with innovative solid sounds that should grab you by the shoulders and scream at you!

Igor scores it 8/10 – very hot

I have gone through most of the CDs that I have received relatively recently and don’t have any CDs left to review. Anyone want their CD reviewed? Just contact me via “Contact us” above.

Fashion Bomb

Fashion Bomb

Hailing from Chicago, Fashion Bomb delivers an infectious mix of hard industrial, laced heavily with rock and metal in “Devils to Some, Angels to Others.” Indeed, the metal plays such a significant role that it could be considered a dark metal album with Gothic overtones. Either way, this is an exciting work that should satisfy those who like some bite in their music. Weighing in at 14 songs plus one remix, this is one powerful CD. View full article »

Angelspit Blood Death Ivory

After several months offline, Igor is back to talk about new music he likes!

This album by Australian duo, Angelspit, kicks ass with extreme electro-clash and grinding glitch beats laced throughout. Cutting through the layered noise are the spoken-word vocals. The sound structure and vocals have a hint of Combi-Christ, but this band is definitely something unique and downright addictive.

The first track, “Grind,” unleashes heavily distorted beats with anthem-like vocals, which delivers an insidiously addictive sound. “Paint Hell Red” is a powerful track with a quirky electro-glitch beat. View full article »

The members of Stiff Valentine describe their blend of music as “industrial metal disco” (well that’s what some mag said), which rings true with their mix of electro, guttural screamo vocals and heavy guitar riffs found on their EP, Loveless. There is also a strong anger pumping through these songs as evidenced by the almost homicidal hatred of the number 23 in the bands opening track by the same name. The songs are a twisted mix of aggression with a strangely dancable beat thumping throughout the album.

Aside from Number 23 the band serves out a number gamboling vitriolic selection of songs.

The second track Absolution is a speedballing riot of a song, while Prison G starts as a slower somber track which explodes into a heavy rock part-way through. The forth track, Breaking Point, a quality hard electro piece, is followed by straight hard rock in Subsonic. The final song, Suck, is a fun speed rock piece.

Overall, I found this EP quite enjoyable and quite refreshing with tongue-in-cheek songs like Number 23 and Suck. The other songs also go down well on my iPod. Just don’t mention the number 23 around these guys.

Check them out at Stiff Valentine or on Myspace.

Loveless Tracks
1. Number 23
2. Absolution
3. Prison G
4. Breaking Point
5. Subsonic
6. Suck

Advertising various products and thinggies in the blog recently has helped me get a little online stash allowing for purchases of things like games and music. About two weeks ago I bought and downloaded Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV purely instrumental release. I have listened to the entire series a couple of times and I have grown very fond of it. View full article »

Enki smallOriginally released in 1999 Lorin Richards’ Enki album harkens back to the dark electronic music of the 80s. One name in particular keeps coming to mind – Gary Neuman. If you are a fan of electronica from the 80′s and 90′s then you should enjoy Enki by Lorin Richards.

From the Product Description at Amazon:

Enki is a theme, a beautiful collection of stories based on a sci-fi interpretation of ancient Sumerian religion. Imagine the beginning of the world not as an evolution over millions of years, or a creation that lasted six days, but a creation by beings of another planet. Beings seen in the eyes of early civilization as gods. A race so advanced that they had robots guard such fantastic places like the Garden of Eden. This is the idea behind Enki.

Personally I really enjoyed the electronic music and melancholia of the vocals throughout the album. Many tracks also include a Japonisme or oriental feel to them which explains the Japanese characters used to make the title on the album jacket.

The album’s introduction is Asian strings and wood pipes, then moves onto an ambient vaguely oriental electronic melancholia with The Mourning of the Day.

It is difficult to talk about each song individually as the tracks have similar all the tracks have strong flavors of the electronica of the 1980′s with a twist of oriental flavored instrumentals throughout. The songs I found standing out most were Due to Us and Recreate, which play a little louder with the stronger vocals. Many of the other tracks tend to keep the vocals in the background.

Essentially, this is a well-produced Japonisme/late 80s electronic album. The sounds are very crisp, and the ambient style of Enki is a nice change of pace. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a more peaceful electronic album.

Enki mediumEnki :: Tracklist
01. The Fortune Cookie Breaks (0:51)
02. In the Mourning of the Day (4:08)
03. Lying Naked (5:02)
04. Have We Given Our Way (3:25)
05. The Eagle Has Landed (3:44)
06. Take a Look Into My Eyes (4:21)
07. Little Words (1:12)
08. My Love for Enki (3:52)
09. Building a Saviour (4:39)
10. Due to Us (5:25)
11. Recreate (3:50)
12. Reprise (0:57)
Total time: 42 minutes
Lorin Richards’ site.

Royal Dead :: LycanthropeThe Royal Dead (ex. Phantasmagoria) released this Maxi-single CD way back in 2005 (and there’s a new full album out now so this review is behind the times!). The Maxi-single CD contains five tracks, but it is more like a three-track single CD with a prologue and epilogue added in. It is a concept mini-album focusing the music and lyrics around the lycanthropy – the ability to change into a werewolf and such (no kidding, I hear you say). The prologue and epilogue are more short thematic refrains than songs in themselves. I noticed some glitched sounds in the epilogue, but apart from that this album is a crisply-recorded, dark, dancable piece of electronicka.

The three main tracks, Howling, Fortune and Lycanthrope feature prominently in DJ sets at Gothic Events in Japan reflecting their very dance-friendly up-tempo electronicka, violins and backed up by the divine vocals making for an enjoyable listening experience.

Track two, Howling, should be particularly familiar to anyone who has gone to a Goth event in Tokyo as it is the most often played of the tracks. The dancable synth melds with the siren-like vocals. Luna is another familiar track on the local Goth scene. It starts slowly, but ramps up with some strong ax-riffs before the vocals slide in harmoniously. Fortune gets less club play, perhaps due to its slow start with synth-keyboards – but drumbeats soon give the track’s tempo a kick. Once again the vocals give the track a nice eerily beautiful feel.

Overall this is a good example of dark synth-pop backed with some rocky guitar and violin work and held together by the beautiful yet despairing vocals. On the negative side I think the tiny little glitch-sounds (whether intended or not) on Epilogue were a little off-putting, but the real negative is that Lycanthrope is too short! I think there should have been at least five full-blown tracks (or a couple of remixes would have been great) to add to the listener’s experience. In final conclusion, yes I would buy it for the three main tracks alone, but I am much more excited by their new-released self-titled album with 10 tracks!

Royal Dead :: LycanthropeThe Royal Dead/Phantasmagoria :: Lycanthrope :: Track Listing
01. Prologue (1:21)
02. Howling (4:17) – Sample
03. Luna (4:58) – Sample
04. Fortune (3:33) – Sample
05. Epilogue (1:22)
Total Tim: 15:31

I am not sure where you can pick up this MCD, but you can pick up the NEW 10-track CD from Music Non Stop! That is one I plan on getting some day soon…

Sawdust in MeMortification Made Me is the debut EP from Osakan femme-driven Sawdust in Me (MySpace). Formed in 2005 Sawdust in Me is a female duo consisting of Haji (vocals and programming) and Hinowa (vocals and performance). The music is club-play ready with its combination of EBM and distorted breakbeats. However, what makes the CD special however, are the two vocalists whose diverging voices create the six vocal variants with two screaming, singing, spoken voices playing throughout the CD. An extra plus is that the work has been the re-recording and mixing by Jude from DeathWatch Asia. The combination of varied vocals and professional recording makes this CD something any club goer of J-Music lover would enjoy. Don’t be fooled by the cakes and pretty animals, that’s just a cover for the evil inside!

The first three songs, Define, Envy, My Way Out start out as straight dance floor tracks before the vocals kick in. Once the screaming begins the songs take on a more serious mien. As the two vocalists play off each other’s voice ranges, the songs become quite a deep listening experience without losing their pop-appeal. Thirteenth starts the heavy EBM beat and kicks in some radio-voiced vocals.

Substitute knocks you like a tsunami with evil bitch screams crashing down over the sound. Clever mixing of the music and vocals makes this a quite unique industrial track – almost, but not quite – as heavy as Despair. This is probably my favorite track of this EP.

The final track, Heaven, is the instrumental sign-off track featuring slow, heavy Gothic keyboards with glitch beats thrown in for added effect.

Overall, I find this CD to be a really accessible dance CD with the twin vocalists giving it a real kick as a unique piece of work, although I would have liked a couple more extended tracks going over four minutes. It is definitely worth checking out.

Sawdust in MeMortification Made Me :: Track List
01. Define (3.00) – Sample
02. Envy (3.36) – Sample
03. My Way Out (3.03)
04. Thirteenth (3.28) – Sample
05. Substitute (2.47)
06. Heaven (2.49)
Total Time: 18 minutes
Price: ¥1000 / Euro 7.00

You can find distribution on the DeathWatch Asia distribution list or simply buy direct from Music Non Stop internationally.

Despair :: Rewired Riot TechnologyThe pure live Despair experience from Deserted Technology Riot (review here, buy from Music Non Stop) has been picked up, dropped into the audio shredder and put back together in novel new dance-mosh-friendly electro-technoise tracks. Rewired Riot Technology is a Despair album like no other and probably the coolest remixed album I’ve heard for a long time. The concept is similar to the twin Sins of the Flesh album (review here) that featured the original songs of the first CD and remixes on the second CD.

According to the official announcement Despair’s songs were “mangled and reprocessed into a unique and unprecedented sonic cocktail that takes the trademark beauty and brutality of Despair to new and unimaginable levels,” and that is not far from the truth.

Rewired Riot Technology starts with MPD Conflict: A New Model producing heavy noise and vocals cruising in on top of the whole noise-scape. It switches tempo several times during the song and gives doses of harsh sound and electro.

Jarring GOD: Rebel Action Remix just crashes the Jarring God original into a technoid beat with Ana at the center screaming out her anthem of mayhem, and Rieu’s deep growls coming in halfway through. This one is a daring track that would play well at a heavy club that allows moshing!

Mechanical Rabies: No Vaccine For You is one for the noise addicts playing more as a straight noise with glitch feeds and limited lyrics to emphasize the glitch-noise.

MPD Conflict: Mind Control Mix is a much more subliminal track with light glitch-noise and solid beat. The vocals are limited throughout the track and is certainly a track to chill out to (that’s alright).

Jarring GOD: The Devil Built My Beatbox mix is a heavy hellish noise-beat with vocals crashing down from time to time to give this song a real kick.

Aside from being a reference to cannibalism, Long Pig is also an interesting song, opening with sounds something like a monastery with Ana and Rieu’s vocals coming in later during the mix. The keyboards are a strong feature in this track creating a relaxing soundscape and with Ana and Rieu’s suppressed vocals make for a very easy-listening industrial track!

Junk Whore crashes open with Rieu’s belching out the evil in his vocals. The beat hits very hard here with Rieu and Ana beating down the noise. This one almost plays like a live Despair version and makes me want to get out and scream at someone.

MPD Conflict: A New Machine kicks in with serious industrial noise. Rieu and Ana get their freak on and deliver strong vocals throughout the song.

Becoming God starts with ambiance and a rolling voice-over. It is a very mellow track for the first half until the “Fuck tha’ Shit” sound sample cranks up the track to the heavy tech-noise. It springs out with a new anthem lyric from Ana – “Somebody fucked us. Who?” Amen guys, that rocks.

Overall the CD as remixed by keytarist, Jude, under the supervision of Rieu is one helluva piece of work! By the end of the CD I decided Rewired Riot Technology FREAKING ROCKS! This shows Despair in a new light with a mixture of heavy, and not-so-heavy sounds. It is unlike any Despair recording that I’ve heard before (sample or otherwise that I’ve managed to pick up) and works very well as the remixed version of Deserted Technology Riot. Despair fans with the original Deserted Technology Riot should really enjoy the added dimensions in this album and newbies should find Rewired Riot Technology a very accessible album. My personal favorites were the first MPD Conflict remix, Mechanical Rabies and Junk Whore

Despair :: Rewired Riot TechnologyRewired Riot Technology :: Track List
01. MPD Conflict: A New Model (4.33) Sample
02. Jarring God: Rebel Action Remix (4.11)
03. Mechanical Rabies: No Vaccine For Your Machines (2.58) Sample
04. MPD Conflict: Mind Control Mix (3.38)
05. Jarring God: The Devil Built My Beatbox (4.11)
06. Long Pig (6.29)
07. Junk Whore (3.43) Sample
08. MPD Conflict: A New Machine (3.35)
09. Becoming God (5.42)
Total time: 39:00
More samples available on Despair’s page.

You can find distribution on the DeathWatch Asia distribution list or buy direct from Music Non Stop internationally.