Spookshow inc. - random songs review |self-released, Visions of The Blinded World (pt. 1), 2013| 5/5 electronic industrial rock
Scary Dream, Falling Down pt. 2, Cyberage
Born and raised in Lithuania but making music in UK and norway, Lucky Spook (guitar, programming, songwriting and production) released the Visions of The Blinded World (pt. 1) album in late 2013, even though the majority of the material on the album was written 10 years ago. His inspirations come from a diverse host of bands such as Pink Floyd, Paradise Lost, Rob Zombie, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails mixed with modern beats made famous by Prodigy or Chemical Brothers. He can still recall that Pink Floyd and KISS were on the list of dangerous and unwanted Western culture products, as he found out at school in his Soviet homeland back then. Motivated to rebel and equipped with a guitar, he began playing with fire soon after. The album is available as a digital download and a limited edition CD with the same 10 songs available through both channels. This review covers only three of them.
"Scary Dream" is one of the opening tracks and refers to a phenomena of dreaming, its symbolism and hidden meanings. In the lyrics, the author speaks of an oniric encounter with animals such as snakes, unicorns, and dogs. These stand for either the author's or the society's primitive instincts related to magic, which he needs to face himself. As for the music, it is a rhythmic track. Because the lyrics are relatively short, the leitmotif is rooted rather in the repetitive instrumental parts than vocals. The leading guitar riff is altered, looped and mixed with tunes typical of Prodigy or Sonic Mayhem songs. Arrangements are wisely thought out and include a fair share of dynamics but also silent spots. "Scary Dream" sounds suitable for an action video game.
"Falling Down Pt. 2" is a slightly darker track, where guitar riffs are mixed with electronica and sampling. The screamed vocals have a touch of added processing, as much as you would spot in an average coldwave track. In addition, they are mixed with a variety of well-matched sounds, which place them in a lively surrounding. It's a highly memorable track thanks to the rhythm, repetitions, female whispers, and the high-pitched guitar leitmotif. If you like White Zombie or Rob Zombie's solo work, this may be your favorite song of the three. The track is short just like its dark lyrics are. They seem to relate to OBE (out of body experiences) that take place when a dreamer or someone meditating feel their spirit leave their physical body and traverse through space. In this case, the dreamer seems to be a fan of an access-all-areas with evil intent.
Finally, "Cyberage" speaks of a person born in an age of no peace, only fear and hatred leading to war and isolation. But there's the Internet, a cybernetic child that almost everybody adopted and got addicted to through video games, dating, trolling, gathering information or stealing copyrighted materials. Moreover, the fear of privacy abuse keeps haunting about, even though a lot of people leave open traces of their own on-line activities. Sonically, the song resembles Prodigy with its single high-pitched guitar riff, but also KMFDM or Sister Machine Gun thanks to the minimally exposed, whispered or processed vocals. There's a nice groovy line based on beats placed between the lower and higher end of the spectrum. Both the beginning and the end of the track sound very intriguing and pleasantly attractive. The track could be a great way of getting the listeners interested in hearing more from Spookshow inc.
These are songs of high quality in terms of mastering and production - an additional advantage aside of their dynamic musical themes. It's also worth mentioning that Lucky Spook along with his friend Soltex and additionally hired musicians supported The Legendary Pink Dots live in 2005. Hopefully, you'll check out the remaining 7 songs on Visions of The Blinded World (pt. 1) and will look forward to the release date news for the 2nd part of this album.
Switzerland based electro-rock band Mephistosystem released a video single for "Place You Today" new song. The plot is about breaking free and getting rid of psychological pressure which is continuously holding back one's activity.
22Hertz is a solo project of Ralf Muller, who founded the band in Toronto, Canada in 2011. The debut album released two years later brings a cloud of distorted guitar riffs, gentle piano add-ons, slightly distorted but melodic vocals, brooding yet not depressive moods and tension - all wrapped into a high quality production.
The opening song 'Give Me a Sign' sounds memorable thanks to its hooky choruses and quite simple arrangements, broken up with intriguing sampling and a variety of guitar riffs buzzing in the background. There's surely much more going on here than words could describe, but you'll discover all the gems once you listen to the song.
'Access Denied' is based on a set of noisy guitars, low tuned bass, little exposed drums and almost 90s synths making a good background layer for nihilistic, 'lazy' kind of vocals. The song arrangements may sound basic, but there’s a variety of matching NIN-like samples on top of them, to break through its simplicity.
Now, we're rolling to my favourite track called 'Into This', with its haunting, yet provocative atmosphere. It always sounds better when the song is not overloaded with vocals and the instrumental part is well developed, as it keeps the song safe from falling into the pop genre. Tension, memorable repetitions and a trance-like rhythm are what may make you like the song. There are also gradated rock guitar riffs, pulsing synth effects and great vocals matching the balanced arrangements very well. The riffs, vocals and tempting whispers come in all the right spots. Still, some of the arrangements appear only once, making the song stimulating.
'Is This Real' may be related to what we've heard on both Gravity Kills and Nine Inch Nails albums so far. The song brings edgy and quick guitar riffs along with gentle piano chords. The latter produce brighter accents over heavier themes, while the overall tempo remains moderate. Furthermore, seductive whispers, later replaced with shouts, keep coming back with a catchy (if sinister) line: 'If I can't have you, nobody can'.
The next track is fully instrumental. A cinematic dark atmosphere arranged with synths, a sound of ocean waves and other extended tunes make up for an oneiric mood. The part near the end opens up for two repetitive, collaborating and merging signals, enriched with isolated piano chords. It's a brilliant track that should leave listeners in a state of reverie. 'The Signal in the Noise' should be definitely utilized in an ambitious short movie.
'Getting Through' brings themes which old-school NIN fans should find most attractive. The connection to Pretty Hate Machine is quite recognizable, with the track’s simple arrangements built upon a low tuned synth, distorted vocals, slightly syncopated drums mixed with varying beats and alternating whispers and shouts for vocals. Regardless of the obvious musical heritage, the sampling sounds fresh thanks to a pulsating bass line that bubbles so deep you can imagine its sphericity.
'Darker Shades of Black' sounds haunting with its instrumental intro recalling what Trent Reznor and Adrian Belew did on The Fragile album. The composition is thought out very well. While the tempo remains solid, contrasts occur. They come out from dominating, possessive themes arranged for bass as well as samplers and brighter motifs (thanks to stretched guitar riffs). Both easily grab a listener's attention.
'Everything' begins with a simple, rhythmic drum beat enriched with vocals. References to Nine Inch Nails music are quite clear here, thanks to distorted guitars and repetitive arrangements. Moreover, short moments of silence are mixed with a bit of a piano, enforcing a dark atmosphere.
'Detonate', the last track is divided between moderately melodic verses and aggressive, purely industrial rock choruses. The song may have been inspired by Gravity Kills music, since it involves similarly sounding guitar riffs as well as sampling. Ralf knows how to create and develop tension in music very well. There's an instrumental bridge after a pure guitar fueled drive which puts a new theme into the composition, yet perfectly fits all other arrangements.
To sum up, most of these songs have quite the potential to be genre hits. Not only does Detonate offer high quality production but also catchy and dark themes, edgy guitar riffage and industrial distortions. The vocals, drums and sampling are accented in the majority of compositions, while instruments such as guitars, piano and bass have been used to enrich the arrangements. The album is very memorable and perfectly represents industrial rock. If you like trying out new things, you can buy Detonate for a few bitcoins - the revolutionary new virtual currency (more standard currencies are accepted as well). A note to the buyers: the CD version contains a bonus track entitled 'White Dove', not present in the digital download.
1. A Place Of Truth 3:38 2. Blinks 6:04 3. Run Back 5:23 4. Under 4:00 5. Too Deep 5:02 6. Twisted Metal 2:51 7. Kids Hurting Kids 4:06 8. Our Special Way 6:04 9. Open 4:16 10. This Is Not My Fear 6:04 11. Waves 3:32
Their eponymous debut album mastered by Reza Udhin (Inertia, Killing Joke) brings 11 songs - a mix of post-rock, post-punk and industrial. The compositions sound emotional and touching. Extremely well elaborated, lyrical arrangements are built upon harmonious tunes with peaceful moments found throughout the release. The overall mood on UN-reason is based on non-invasive contrasts.
If you study the lyrics a bit closer, you'll also find out that there's a bit of frustration due to disappointment, unwanted changes and unrealized needs usually referring to one's love life. Elio Isaia (voice, guitars) with Jacques Pedretti (a guest song writer) wrote poetical lyrics that match the music very well. Various figurative expressions speak almost as visually as paintings (for instance: "I stole her love and melt it, and buried it on the Moon, I bathed at night in her cool blue room" /"Run Back"/). Elio's voice is instantly recognizable, which is always beneficial for a singer. It's rather high-pitched (between tenor and baritone) and makes a good match with the music. Elio fits within all the songs and never goes out of tune. He also occasionally uses voice effects, adding a rough industrial overlay to songs such as "Blinks", "This Is Not My Fear" and "Kids Hurting Kids".
The musicians express their know-how by tuning in through truly skillful, cooperative play. Jon Griffin (guitar) places accents or puts up noisy walls of sound wherever it's necessary ("A Place of Truth", "Under") while Jan Maio (synths, virtual orchestra, guitar) builds intriguing sonic backgrounds ("A Place Of Truth", "Blinks", "Kids Hurting Kids", "Open"). The rhythm section adds a refined vibe to the compositions. The bass (Giorgio Bormida - guitar, bass, piano) sounds range from murky, quite characteristic for gothic rock ("Blinks", "This Is Not My Fear", "Waves") to warm ("Twisted Metal"). The drums played by Lorenzo Bartolini feel just right and work really well with the bass. The interplay between both instruments really shines in more emotional tunes like "Run Back", "Our Special Way", "Too Deep", or "Waves". As a side note, the drums in "Open" were manned by a renown guest from the scene - Martin Atkins (PiL, Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails, Pigface).
My favorite songs are "Our Special Way", for the gentle "guitar versus bass" arrangements (as known from the 80s Bauhaus or New Model Army songs); "Run Back", which could be the main theme of a movie; and "Blinks", thanks to its edgy industrial rock vibe.
All tracks on UN-reason album are memorable through their verses and choruses, but also little dirty (and a little dreamy) guitar vibes coloured with bits of sampling. Regardless of the typical chorus/verse repetitions there’s little to no boredom to be found on this album.
When it comes to the album concept, it aims in bringing back the interest in true creativity and inspiration, against the global trends, slowly drowning the world in rather nonspiritual ideas and populist consumerism for the last two decades. It's also about the importance of freedom - leaving the system and mass behind and becoming a unique human being integrated with and expressing one’s own soul again. As articulated in "Kids Hurting Kids": "We have been plugged, we've been drugged at home, our life is a box, a prison we pay, only when I close my eyes this distance is gone".
The band’s comprehensive and well designed official website should encourage you to visit often. Make sure you follow the band on their active social profiles. Moreover, if you like visual arts, you should pay attention to Giorgio's personal website presenting his dark designs. And don’t forget that he also remixed a few tracks for known industrial bands such as Pigface and 16volt.
01. Dirty [02:56] 02. Voices [03:56] 03. The Fall [04:27] 04. No God [04:21] 05. Sleep Forever [03:46]
Evestus is an Estonian band founded in 2004 by Ott Evestus. Initially a solo project, Evestus has turned into a four-piece band featuring Latvian drummer girl Tanya, guitarist Jan and HK playing bass and keyboards. No God is the fifth studio release from Evestus and includes five brand new songs.
The opening track titled "Dirty" begins with a synth usually heard in Electro music styles. Slightly distorted bass, drums and lead guitars follow. Additional layers of noise make Evestus sound more Industrial. The vocals, when performed in the same heavy-duty manner, match the arrangements well. The lyrics are dark and sound very imaginative: "To see the smiles on your dirty little mouths while you're crawling all over me - an army of bugs" and thus, they bring up an idea of an artistic video as well.
"Voices" could be bracketed in the electro-rock genre as a result of the synth, which accents throughout the entire composition. The band smuggled guitars into the track as well, giving it an edgy tone. These however, are covered with a dense and jumping layer of electronic beats. The song has been illustrated with a high quality video production, which includes various different camera perspectives cut together in a fast paced and interesting montage. To give you a little glimpse - the plot begins with a group of young yuppies, along with some desirable goth/ebm women partying together. A mysterious man sprays gas into their room in order to break in and steal a suitcase. Be sure to visit the Evestus YouTube channel to discover more about this video.
The third song on the album, "The Fall" brings in a Breakbeat-Electronica sound in the vein of The Prodigy, The Crystal Method and Propellerheads. If you listen closely, you will hear symphonic sounds that conjure up violins. On the other hand, there's Big-Beat spiced up with a lot noisy FX that may make this song pleasant for less rock-orientated listeners. There are many instrumental movements in "The Fall" but Ott left room for the vocals, which come in shouted and distorted. It seems also that a soundtrack compilation CD would be a good idea for a better exposure of this track.
"No God" is reminiscent of Marilyn Manson’s music and is presented with psychedelic synth, grooving bass, dirty guitar riffs and haunting vocals. Yet, the song’s mood is mixed. Initially there's melancholy, created by the sound of the piano that opens the song, but you'll also experience many dynamics performed on bass and punk-esque drums. Anger strikes within the choruses as the vocalist contests the existence of a deity, arguing that no god has protected the human race against tragedies: "There is no god. For every miracle you witness my friend there's a disaster and there will never be an end to our fears and our dreams and the hope that they feed so you believe someone else will pick you up from your knees" and “I'm lost but my madness will lead me to the answers I need to know, not to believe in".
The final song on the album could be a perfect soundtrack for a big budget movie, however Evestus have already illustrated this track with a meaningful video in a black & white production style. "Sleep Forever" begins with a subtle piano joined by cold background samples, synth and broken drum beats. This quite innocent mood continues for almost 3 minutes until it dramatically changes. Nostalgic atmosphere turns into a fast ride with rhythmic drumbeats, pitched up synth and yelled vocals.
On a side note, the lyrics of "Sleep Forever" may refer to escapism, a behavior resulting from avoiding problems and the reality of living a struggled day-to-day existence. An individual who becomes frustrated with too many overwhelming issues, locks himself in an alternative world built upon either activity or the opposite, passivity. In this case, the lyrics dwell on escaping into sleep - either into an everlasting dream world or more presumably, a suicide: "I don't want to wake up ever, I just want to sleep forever, let me leave this cold and clever world - don't want to be here".
Any day can be a good day to launch a new music release. Nonetheless, Evestus did it on 12/21/2012 - the fearful date on the mayan calendar supposed to mark 'the end of the world', and frequently brought up by the media last year. Happily, not only have we survived but we’ve also received an interesting new EP.
No God is available from most of major digital distributors and also as a digi-pack CD, limited to only 300 numbered copies. It's also worth mentioning that Evestus is going to release a new album in 2013 which may be followed by a series of music video singles next.
File Transfer Protocol - The Gargoyle Studio Sessions (2010-2012) self-released, 2012 Rating: 4/4 Genre: industrial rock
01. World of One, 02. Rain, 03. Shadows, 04. Attrition, 05. Ivory Towers, 06. The Singularity, 07. This Machine, 08. 99%, 09. Regime, 10. Subversion
The true industrial rock scene has seemed to be dead for some time now, but this is not a secret for die hard fans. Provided that the United States has been the genre's homeland where it found success in the 1990's, European bands have come up with a few new industrial musical sub-genres over the course of the past 5 years that are personified as i.e. electro rock defined by more melodic arrangements. I cannot say however that these modifications have increased the chances for a revival of the original scene. Nonetheless, there are still new bands being created by musicians who's period of teenage revolt occurred in the last decade of the 20th century. Some of these artist have never set themselves free of this revolutionary attitude, yet they have been ignited by idiotic ideas that are introduced by factions of our governments. Following this theorem, we'll look into Texas, the police state of America where Sean Rieger, the founder of File Transfer Protocol makes his music.
It should be noticed first that FTP's sound has undoubtedly been inspired by the accomplishments of Nine Inch Nails, Gravity Kills and Stabbing Westward at some point. New artists who seem to be fascinated with cold, industrial & guitar driven music have been encouraged by the success of Trent Reznor. Many of these artist find themselves as the founders of one-man projects that they utilize to express their frustrations through music with either aggressive or melancholic attributes.
Sean Rieger appears to be well balanced somewhere in-between. His songs bring positive vibes, yet they do not touch upon the common elements of pop music. His lyrics raise awareness about topics that should be important to every down to earth American, however Sean doesn't stir anger by relying on the use of brutal arrangements either. The idea behind his music seems to be rooted in the promulgation of warnings supported by sheer facts. He wants to redirect the listener's attention to issues which may happen to become a real danger in the near future and which are being prepared by legislators whom the citizens have elected.
After three years passing since the release of the debut album Bipolar, a new compilation album has just been released entitled The Gargoyle Studio Sessions. The album title harks back to Sean's personal fascination with magical gargoyles which he collects as figurines and displays in his recording studio, although he treats them as protective totems. This release features a set of 11 songs recorded and released as singles between 2010 and 2012.
"World of One" is the opening track for this compilation. Pulsing beats as well as various effects that are created with the utilization of samplers build an intriguing atmosphere which is followed by slightly echoing vocals. The tempo speeds up as the intro is joined by drums and guitars. There are ethereal piano sounds as well in the end of the track which standardize the composition, giving it a classical feel.
"Rain" is an instrumental arrangement that features distorted guitars, most probably inspired by Nine Inch Nails' album The Fragile. Once again, the piano appears to create a very interesting contrast when held in comparison to the sound of modern electronic music. The atmosphere feels kind of sad, but this may have been done to illustrate the psychological process of dealing with some problems.
"Shadows" is the best song on this album as far as I'm concerned. The first element of the song structure brings arrangements that are inspired by 'big bubble' effects and phat beats that are commonly utilized in electronic dance music. Although these aspects can also be heard in rock-sounding songs by bands such as Nine Inch Nails or Gravity Kills. Most often, Sean creates tension within the verses of his songs which becomes a sensation that increases and is finally released throughout the choruses; a method that has also been used in “Shadows”. The overall sound of this track is far beyond uncanny, which may cause the listener to feel shivers up their spine. This effect is due to an interesting mix of guitars and samples. A contrast of lazy, sensual tempos and non-distressing tensions have built a plot for a song that has turned out magnetic.
Gothic sounds reverberating from a bass guitar along with industrial samples and declaimed lyrics are the opening sequence for the following track called "Attrition". The listener may find a few connections to the music of Gravity Kills, but also to another industrial rock icon - Stabbing Westward. Effectively distorted guitar riffs are reminiscent of tunes on The Fragile as I mentioned above. Due to a slow rhythm, piano and lengthy vocals present in the choruses, the atmosphere of the track sounds a bit epic. Nevertheless, it has been wisely crosscut with beats and rasping guitars, but also hushed up effects.
"Ivory Towers" plainly forces the listener to react either by stamping the floor, headbanging or other activity which lets them adjust to the rhythm and dynamics of the song. This specific method by FTP of building tension in the verses as I mentioned before, stands out in this track and makes emotions explode through the following choruses. Overall, the composition recalls of a junction between songs such as "Gave Up" and "Wish" by Trent Reznor, which are both marked by turmoil and nervous anxiety.
"The Singularity" is the next song on the tracklist. It is expressed by a murky, concerned introduction that is based on synths and cold, layered, protracted guitar riffs. This composition blooms in time, which enables it to gain speed along with a colorful portrayal of emotions. Sean perfectly matched the rhythm of the lyrics into the arrangement. There are also subtle effects present in the verses which are laid over the vocals. On top of it all, memorable choruses turn out as catchy as those which are present in the song "Ivory Towers".
A melancholic and gloomy intro foreshadows a song entitled "This Machine". It is surrounded by samples and intelligently layered guitars, drums as well as bass which create an interesting background for deeper, brooding vocals which come next.
On the other hand, both "99%" and "Regime" originate from two events which occurred in the United States, but gained momentum and spread across several other countries in 2011. The first song is related to the occupy movement which featured angry Americans dissatisfied with levels of poverty. Many of whom are seeing their rights abused every few weeks by legislators whose actions are exposed through the national news cycle. They oppose the policies and long accepted practices of banks, Wall Street and the super wealthy during this time of extended economic crisis. The mood of the song is closest to "Ivory Towers", which is characterized by a rapid tempo that may illustrate anxiety and insecurity as well as methods of escape or attack. Background sounds have been orchestrated into layers enriched by screams, guitar riffs and vocal communications that are stylized to sound like the TV news.
The idea behind the track "Regime" has come out of a recent attempt at censorship towards Internet content as well as advancing surveillance upon civil society. This is based on legislation masked by innocent looking four-letter acronyms such as acta, sopa or PIPA. In fact, ACTA has been signed by representatives of the United States along with a few other countries without any public consultation, but a few countries in the European Union have given up on this idea due to the fervid public protests of internet users. The pulsing beats in “Regime” are for instance reminiscent of early Stabbing Westward songs. This aspect combined with edgy guitar riffs and well matched vocals make yet another memorable track that has been written to encourage the mentality of the people to wake up.
"Subversion" finishes The Gargoyle Studio Sessions album. It's the newest track and is a bit different from the other songs due to heavy, funky bass lines a'la Red Hot Chili Peppers which begin this composition. As for the atmosphere, "Subversion" brings an aggressive feel with it mainly due to a rhythmic bass line along with buzzing samples, effects and screaming vocals. There is no graduating advance of tension either. Instead, listening to the entire "Subversion" track feels like sitting on a bomb while playing with a TV remote-control style detonator in hand which works as good as a game of Russian roulette.
There are a few ways to call for a revolution - from throwing Molotov cocktails to making punk music. This can also be accomplished with the use of more subtle methods such as presented by File Transfer Protocol through this album. I'm not sure if Sean has successfully gotten rid of his tension, however a listener will be undoubtedly left watchful and alert after listening to The Gargoyle Studio Sessions. Both the music and lyrics assign a mature form of rebellion which is used by this artist to protest against the abuse of a citizens' freedom by their respective governmental institutions more and more often. The Gargoyle Studio Sessions will open the eyes, ears and minds of listeners in regards to a few issues which are not only important to Americans, but also citizens around the world who blindly follow 'Made in the USA' trends which sometimes have a bad impact on their individual rights and liberty (see: ACTA controversial legislation).
Musical know-how, writing skills, intelligent arrangements for multiple instruments, well thought out compositional characteristics, valuable inspirational elements, smooth performance techniques as well as high quality mastering and overall album production make this compilation stand high among many other industrial rock releases. To top it all off, The Gargoyle Studio Sessions are the tireless work of one man. Ten years ago an album like this would have been released by a major label and never have been offered as a free download. In this current market independent artists control their own business and a digital copy of this release can be easily downloaded for free directly from FTP's official website. Of course this doesn't mean that a listener should not try to offer support to this musician financially if possible. It is important to keep Sean motivated to come up with yet another great album while he remains inspired and there are definitely many other items you can purchase from his online store!
BELT - Cause & Infect (song review) |self-released, Cause & Infect, 2011| 4/5
Industrial rock music has faded in and out since the late 80s. However, every decade has brought several famous names, first to the mainstream, then to the ever green underground. The 90s has seen dominant names like Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, Marilyn Manson, Filter or Stabbing Westward supported by labels and MTV who have not only influenced listeners, but other musicians as well.
An American multi-instrumentalist performing under the Belt moniker is one musician who decided to make industrial music on his own terms. "Cause & Infect" has a song structure that is simple along with moods that are classically brooding. The verses are based on a repetitive beat and this technique may make the composition memorable. At the same time, theatrically articulated and screaming vocals bring to mind the picture of half-Joker/half-demon singer. BELT's voice matches all sorts of dark music very well, so it fits this song properly. There are samples and synths in use that help to create a specific atmosphere. When the choruses come in, the bass and guitar fuse together and tear the beat to shreds. Matching guitar riffs as well as bass lines make these segments of the song sound very aggressive.
When you listen to "Cause & Infect" you will be able to tell whom inspired BELT the most... Marilyn Manson, who scared and offended as many people as he mirrored in the world through the "Antichrist Superstar" track. This song was supported by a unique video that must have had an artistic impact on BELT's "Cause & Infect". It can also be proven by watching this video single (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnDyjGpyczw) where the vocalist with the painted zombie-like face wears a pope robe and acts like a psychotic preacher. Musically, BELT as well as Manson operate within the method of a strong beat where the vocals can be heard without any additional background present.
As for the less positive impressions, the intro of the song is quite long. Secondly, an automated and basic cymbal beat appears throughout the entire song with hardly any variation. The beat seems to be missing the greater vibrancy and depth that could really make the track much more powerful. This usually happens in black metal music too, where great riffs miss a bit a percussive excitement that could really make them stand out. Last, the mastering doesn't underline or emphasize any of the instruments or vocals during any moment. The combined tracks sound as if they were equalized at the same level.
It should be noted however that BELT did everything from A to Z on this track. He arranged, composed, recorded, mixed, mastered, produced then drafted a screenplay as well as performed in his video. As an indie artist he may be currently crafting his skill level on everything, but he's definitely driven by passion and this is something that you can't buy or learn without fighting for. Moreover, industrial musicians usually claim to release frustration and anger though their music or visuals. These negative, yet powerful emotions feel reliable to fans who seem to both savor as well as identify with the tunes that reflect their own opinions or problems. As does "Cause & Infect" by BELT.
Testimonials: Your the first professional to give me a review and I love it. Yes everything is correct. Reading it fills me with hope and is a real confidence booster. (...) You've been a big help (...) Thank you for what you said about my video, because I straight up did the filming and the editing by myself and it was the first time I had done anything like that. Belt | 07.08.2012 |
[...] E’ con voce ancora tremante che ha inizio a “Fall Foliage”, ma stavolta tale condizione canora va ad illuminare il brano di un’angoscia claustrofobica perfettamente aderente alla disperata rassegnazione del testo; luci rosse sangue immergono la scena, la Plaschg si alza, si dirige fuori dal palco e si lascia cadere a peso morto sull’erba.
E’ forse in questo ricercato malore, in questa presa di contatto con il suolo e con il peso del proprio corpo, la possibile chiave di lettura dell’arte di Soap & Skin, nonché un momento di tesissima intensità. [...]
Mike Drazka - Songs from the Asylum |self-released, 2012| 4/4
01. The Awakening , 02. Angels Of War, 03. The Nightmare, 04. Black River, 05. Sucker Punch, 06. Crown Of Thorns, 07. Path of Destruction
Mike Drazka is an American songwriter and self taught multi-instrumentalist who has already placed his music into various forms of visual media such as TV, radio and internet multimedia sources including Oxygen Network, News12 Networks, MSG Networks and The Motion Picture Association of America with the award winning documentary Flight 587. His Songs from the Asylum album brings seven instrumental tracks that could be easily utilized in action video games as well as movies.
The album begins with "The Awakening" which brings orchestrated rock sounds spiced up with electronica. It would be perfect if Mike hired a metal genre female singer to add vocals to it. The compositional aspects of the song are built on verses and choruses with cumulative moments and spots where a listener's brain can relax as well. Arrangements which have been written for guitars, bass, drums and keyboards have resulted in a cool rock track that has a chance for hit potential despite missing vocals.
"Angels of War" is a heavy track due to its looped guitar riffs and sampling. Atmospheric parts in the background based on angel-esque voices and violins are interlaced with the main theme. On the other hand, "The Nightmare" has an intro that consist of brooding metal bass lines and drums which are joined by noisy guitars and cut with a synthesizer sometimes too. This would be also a perfect song to have male rock vocals added that could intensify the track and add a remarkable aspect. Overall, the dark and heavy moods sound as if they smuggled a nightmare into an asylum.
Creative noise opens the fourth song on the tracklist called "Black River", which I personally find one of the best compositions on this album along with "Crown of Thorns" and "Sucker Punch". "Black River" sounds powerful due to chunky guitars joined by keyboards while the drum beat builds the structure of the song. An unforgettable and ear-friendly guitar motif that appears in segments of the song may also steal your heart. Moreover, the guitar tracks act as a surrogate to vocal parts which makes a listener take no notice that the song is missing a vocalist. The composition flows quite stable and the arrangements match one another well. "Black River" is as full of dynamics as it is memorable, this is thanks to Mike's great songwriting and sound design skills.
Mike Drazka wrote and played each instrument on every song except for two. You can hear very heavy metal, yet distorted riffs played by American guitarist Frank Guertin as well as the drum beats by Russ Miller in "Sucker Punch" and "Crown of Thorns". The first of the two, “Sucker Punch”, is a track where heavy metal collides with electronica. Hardcore riffs lead the song over backgrounds which feature drums, bass and rhythm guitars, but electronic effects and sampling appear in some spots too. This track would be a great fit to an action movie trailer since it can underline specific scenes and moods very well. "Crown of Thorns" turns out quite short (less than 3 minutes), though it is fully dominated by deep tribal drum beats. The initial mixture of Mike's concept of synths and silence gave me a flashback of Harold Faltermeyer's compositions. The intro may be a bit too long, but the track continuously evolves. However, if the purpose of the song was to be background music for a presentation or a video game with a few images slid into the beginning, the length of the intro would make a perfect sense.
"Path of Destruction" finishes the Songs from the Asylum album. It seems to utilize the same ideas as are found in "Crown of Thorns" (the length of intro) in the beginning, but the overall vibe is more electronic and noisy than in the previous songs. There are some guitar riffs involved, although it seems like they were processed through a digital sequencer.
Well designed music doubles the joy of playing video games as well as watching movies. Images and motion do speak directly, yet they become harsh without matching music. Some game designers and movie directors have awesome works in progress, but they are missing music that can emphasize their work to a maximum dynamic effect. Mike has an excellent set of songs which would match any type of 'action' motion picture or video game due to their climactic guitar driven instrumental themes. It would be great if Mike had a chance to collaborate with such professionals as mentioned above to utilize his music in their productions and allow for visually stunning multimedia. Hopefully some professionals who are in the gaming and film industries may find Mike Drazka thanks to this review and begin a creative and successful collaboration together.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, June 11th, 2012)
Testimonials Quoth Mike Drazka: Thank you sooo much for the fantastic review! It is very honest and well written. I agree with you that some of the tracks would work really well with a vocalist. Unfortunately I don't sing and I didn't want to ruin a good song with bad vocals. If you happen to know any singers who might be interested in collaborating please let me know. (June 18, 2012)