Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Christian Death - Catastrophe Ballet (1984)

Christian Death
Catastrophe Ballet
L'Invitation Au Suicide

What could be said about this beloved album that hasn't already been said in numerous reviews? I will give my personal take on the 2009 remastered release of this seminal 1984 album...
Beneath His Widow (the bonus B side) adds dark mystique and acoustic guitars to this already near perfect album, a great song but I feel takes away from the original soft intro of Awake at the Wall. With words that seems to envelope the room in a dark fog as Rozz seduces the listener with his poetry.
"I decadence and sane, I stood by the wall. Thought Id turn my back to stone..."
This remastered release definitely receives the much needed volume the original 1984 CD lacked. Rightfully so, as this album could not be played loud enough. Catastrophe Ballet marks the first album featuring Valor on guitar. Despite one's feelings towards Rozz and/or Valor, the musical pairing is nothing short of a Gothic masterpiece. Rozz is a masterful lyricist and performance artist, which could not have had the same impact if its musical foundation wasn't structurally sound.
Sleepwalk bombards the listener with it's wailing guitars and fast percussions, then orbits between a drudging funeral lament back again for a second helpings of punk rock assults. The Drowning perfectly picks up the scattered emotions and feeds the senses with honest words...
I'm in an empty Room...I'm burning books from you...I'm lost in bed with you...breaking these mirrors to end all I've seen.”
While Only Theatre of Pain demonstrated the bands west coast punk roots with Gothic undertones, Catastrophe Ballet puts dark decadence, elegance and poetry to the forefront. Still, the album manages not to be slow or abysmal; it treads with a combination of funeral march and dance macabre. I find the album to be quite versatile with either a reflective gaze on a rainy afternoon, a club dance floor, or even a loved one's funeral. No track mourns so blissfully than The Blue Hour (A personal favorite).
We could make ourselves blind, as Evening Falls around us...” could easily be an anthem to those that take solice and peace from the night. I cannot stress the importance of musical arrangement here; it's a key factor that separates the exceptianal from the generic rock song. Following the evening are the tribal rumblings of Androgynous Noise Hand Permeates, a one minute track bridging the gap to the next classic anthem.
Perhaps the most dance floor friendly track is the infamous Electra Descending. Gitane Demone's keyboard work cascades wall barriers, trancing and foreboding, Gothic Rock at it's absolute finest as who could resist lip syncing Rozz's words...
"What about her? The wages of sin. What about him? He's getting closer. What about the bells? Nipples licking the clouds..."
The elegy begins with Cervix Couch, a funeral dirge that lumbers and gives reflect on the surreal and intimate hopelessness, backdropped with Gitane's wailing requiem. Like minded individuals know all too well the impact of a depressed threnody and how it cradles us, comforts us, giving muse to the life of black clad.
This Glass House returns energy back to us with Rozz and Gitane's classic chorus duet of the same name, and finally the album concludes with the experimental outro The Fleeing Somnambulist; a carnival ride into church organs, soldiers marching, and megaphone riot turmoil.
What sets the standard to a classic album isn't just it's sexy exterior, or enduring song structure, or even perfect production. What Catastrophe Ballet manages to accomplish is touching the listener with it's purpose, reaching inner emotions and embracing darkness for those who relate. The key here is emotional content, the paramount to a classic album; and Catastrophe Ballet is a classic album
> by Detra

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dead - Verse EP (2014)

Verse EP

Music from beyond the grave, exuding pain and anger, full of emotions, but danceable too: this is what Dead offers with their second EP VerseThe French start with a killer beat, and a superb wall of sound in “Loser”. Somewhere between Shoegaze, Industrial, Noise and Post-Punk, it’s got distorted guitars, blurry vocals, and a haunting beat. The song moves and changes and evolves until its delightful climax. “Push” has got a more industrial base with a danceable drum machine beat. Layers of distorted guitars can’t be missing. The bridge almost reminds me of NIN. Next comes “My Friend”, proving to be the darkest track on Verse. Hypnotic drums, noxious guitars, and cold, emotionless vocals: Great how such an apparently cold song can be so moving. The last track is “Firedrop”. With its frantic drums topped up by demented guitars and psychotic vocals, it’s pretty fucked up and addictive.

It impresses me how Dead can blend styles and create their own sound. Although the songs on this EP are relatively short for Shoegaze or Noise tracks, the band has managed to create four living, evolving pieces of music, like four prowling animals, sometimes hiding in the dark, sometimes showing their teeth and snarling. The composition seem to be done in layers like a huge musical sandwich. Drum machine, keyboards, vocals, with loads of guitars and pedal effects between each layer and on top of it all. I love it. Play it LOUD!

> Guillaume Renard

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Double Echo - Double Echo Vol​.​1 (2014)

Double Echo
Double Echo Vol​.​1 

This compilation (released by Ritual Tapes) on cassette are the sum of Double Echo's singles and unreleased work over the past few years. Upon first listen the songs are indeed very different from one other, but I have the utmost respect for any band that could pull such different colored rabbits out of a single hat. This duo is comprised of Chris Luna and Ash Lerczak hailing from both Liverpool and San Diego who manage to collaborate from across the ocean to create this great project.

Without Ceremony has a minimal drum percussion intro with an entrancing thick bass chorus line to introduce and seduce the listener to this album. The vocal delivery is low on Black Morning but this seems intentional to compliment the minimal drum beats, this might suggest that this was an early track as this delivery is not repeated again on the album.

The third track Life Inside is a fun Goth rock romp to dance to for sure. It reminds me of Batzz in the Belfry with 80's style drums and Faith era Simon Gallup on bass. Following this track is Rupture featuring beautiful (and sadly the only) female ethereal vocals to accompany the ghostly atmosphere; VERY different from the previous tracks but pleasantly refreshing for viewing the band from a different angle. Double Echo can write very catchy bass line hooks, demonstrated strongly in such songs as Sylvia and Black House. The last track Then Again on side A, is probably my personal favorite with a catchy bass line as funky as Bowie if he had a romantic rendezvous with Suspiria.

Side B kicks off with Darkroom, a fast pace brilliant recharging of the ears with dreamy guitar work; easily a dance floor hit! Plain Sight keeps the dance fever flowing with it's hypnotizing bass and locomotive drum kick. Eve and the Apple is a bit strange because it stands out so much from the other tracks, like a dream pop song; it's fun, bright and dance friendliness juxtaposed with dark brooding vocals makes for an excellent experiment gone right! Desertion has great seduction skills for pulling people to the dance floor, again the bass is hypnotizing! Finally the last track Ephemerol gives an outro of chilling drums to permeate the night air of an eerie ending.

All in all, the mixture of cold wave, Gothic rock and ethereal wave prove very interesting. Considering it's a compilation, there wouldn't necessarily be a single message for the listener, but the culmination of these tracks gives great insight into the bands eclectic style. Perhaps the message being sent is “We play great music in many styles.” which would be quite fair and correct.

Double Echo Vol​.​1 is an excellent compilation worthy of any fan of Double Echo wanting to hear the band's singles and rare tracks. To catch a glimpse into the bands different approaches (which are all quite fascinating) look them up, find news, upcoming tracks and general information at Bandcamp
> by Detra

Saigon Blue Rain - What I Don't See (2014)

Saigon Blue Rain
What I Don't See

I must say, this album was a pleasant surprise. My first impression listening to the first few tracks was that it reminded me a bit of Scarlet Leaves with its dreamy guitars and female fronted vocals. Saigon Blue Rain began in September of 2012 under the name 'Stupid Bitch Reject', a name that doesn't quite fit the effervescence of this band's lush and beautiful sound. This French duo: Ophilia SBR and Franck SBR really have something special here; intertwining great styles of music that branch into something enchanting, sombre, and at times dance friendly. This is an album I'm sure many will enjoy.

The first songs Queen Ephemeria and So Cold are fined tuned to your inner spirit, like watching a sunrise. Clean guitar tones and heavenly vocals make for a pleasant soundtrack to have playing in the background while laying about the house. Corps Astral, the third track, will carry you into the night with rushing trance beats and blissful guitar work.

On Borlialis the music switches gears a bit for a dance friendly foray into divine stars. This ethereal wave act combines the best aspects of cold wave and shoe-gaze with danceable songs sprinkled throughout. I Wanna Be You really picks up the pace and had me dancing in my kitchen; an enchanting dream scape of a song that flows brilliantly into the title track What I don't See.

If one were curious as to whether they would enjoy this album, I would highly recommend starting with Beyond the Stone; my absolute favorite track, a beautiful bass line inviting the listener to Ophilia's truth and enchantment. The flow slows down on Lovelorn, which makes me wish there was a lyrics sheet so I could decipher whom is being lovelorn for what!

Break the Disease cascades into your mind like a trip-hop inspired daze, flowing like water. This ten track album concludes with the song L'Offrande (The Offering) giving the listener a celestial farewell sending you off to look forward to what else this band may have in store for us.

What I Don't See will be the bands first album release on Cold Insanity Records. To see more news and information on this band's future projects, for fans of ethereal and cold-wave (with slight electronics that cause trance and dance) I highly recommend everyone to stop and give this exquisite album a listen. You won't be disappointed. 
> by Detra