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24 June, 2014

Cybertoyz - Undo.Exit

Cybertoyz - Undo.Exit |self-released, 2014| 5/5 metal/electronic

01. Enter: A Fistful Of Dust, 02. Absolutely Identifiable, 03. Battery Operated pt 1, 04. i:Romance, 05. Bleed Your God, 06. Battery Operated pt 2, 07. Survival Type, 08. The Dead Drive Fast, 09. Heavenly, 10. Exit: A Handful Of Stars

Cybertoyz is the solo project of Zyggie (Alexander Korpusov; guitars, programming, sampling) - a guitar player armed with his favourite Framus Diablo 7-string and Ibanez JS1000 guitars. Undo.Exit is the sophomore release of the Moscow-based project founded in 2004, coming 8 years after the debut Chaos Theory album.

The newest album brings a mix of two main sound themes - guitar driven and electronica, matched together successfully so far. As Zyggie admits, he managed to incorporate catchy riffs on odd chord progressions and Satriani-like legato shredding into industrial and electro tunes. He was inspired by highly influential rock artists such as Led Zeppelin, Rush, Steve Vai, Buckethead and Jeff Beck as well as electronic acts: Aphex Twin, The Young Gods, Nine Inch Nails, Gravity Kills, Switchkicker/MM9, Pitchshifter and Die Krupps.

The technique called 'shredding' is quite important for the majority of metal guitarists - either for their own finger training, best guitarist contests or just showing off. It is always entertaining to watch or listen to, but when included in several songs on an album, it must be well arranged and mixed to avoid sticking out. Undo.Exit is an example of production done right.
You'll have a taste of shredding in the very first track, "Enter: A Fistful Of Dust", which would suit an action video game perfectly. In fact, it reminds me of a theme from Quake III. However, aside of the guitar soloing, there are electro synths and a symphonic female voice in the background. The composition is pretty short but rhythmic with somewhat an epic motif.

The following track, "Absolutely Identifiable" begins with a high-pitched looped guitar riff, later altered by a small spattering of electronica. The mix grows potent when dense drums and bass join in next. The guitar returns with a memorable, spiritual solo further along the track. The arrangements change quite often in this purely instrumental track, and probably only the rhythm remains solid throughout.

If you're craving modern electronic music, listen to "Battery Operated pt 1". It is not deprived of guitars, reminiscent of how Robert Fripp (King Crimson) uses his instrument quite often. Think of spirals drawn with high-pitched sounds and expressed with the entire scale. There are also a contrasting groovy bass and fundamental drums in the background so in all, there's some good fodder for your ears.

The moods on this album do come in different shades, but they don’t change too often. You can already sense differences in the song titles, e.g. "Battery Operated pt 1" sounds technical and sophisticated when compared to "i:Romance" which brings the style of the 80s rock songs through a warm and melodic vibe. There are upbeat dynamics and classical guitar solos that go well with tiny electronic add-ons. Balance in the track has a strong focus, certainly helping listeners keep a healthy, steady heartbeat. If this track is about a romance, it's about a spirit-opening experience.

After that you get exotic, nostalgic, stretched and singular tone guitar passages wrapped around a rather cold and 'windy' composition. "Bleed Your God" sounds like typical Middle East music but performed on an electronic guitar instead of traditional Eastern instruments. It is a very short instrumental track, that might as well have been used as the intro to the album. Here, it gives you a breather before you dive into the complex arrangements written for "Battery Operated pt 2".
This composition, built upon improvisation and performed on guitars, drums and bass is even shorter than the previous track, so you won't get too deep into musical confusion. Think that you've just jumped into a malfunctioning electronic device, where some lines of code are still working well, but others loop like a damaged vinyl record.

"Survival Type" begins with a KMFDM-like electronic passage, but then turns into a prog-rock or even a prog-metal composition, thanks to dualistic guitars vs synths arrangements. There are symphonic metal elements smuggled in as well, with an additional dose of beat-driven electronica, which fits in very well. The guitars seem to have an argument with the bass regarding leadership. Both however, stitch interesting arrangements individually as well as together, so they do complement each other like lovers in a passionate relationship.

"The Dead Drive Fast" brings a bit of an iconic Depeche Mode-esque motif but then falls into rock'n'blues & rock'n'roll. Not entirely though, if you recall the main goal of the album - to reconcile guitar driven arrangements with modern electronic music. There are far more variegated influences coming from different genres (metal as well!), thus only you can decide if Ziggy succeeded.

Linking tracks within an album to make changes in the tracklist smooth is a good move - check out how "The Dead Drive Fast" slides into "Heavenly". The latter is a rock ballad, but you should forget about nostalgic boredom you may find in trendy songs by Chris Isaak, for example. You'll find a bit more of Clapton's guitar mastery instead, but still altered with clean, chillout electronica in some spots.

All this leads us unto the final track, "Exit: A Handful Of Stars". A sad (but not melancholic) mood permeates this song. Female background vocals appear rarely, just enough to give the track a slightly heroic feel. This instrumental ending of the album should leave listeners in contemplation.

All compositions on Undo.Exit flow smoothly, instead of possibly interrupting each other when groovy electronica extends what guitars only kick off. This speaks perfectly for Zyggie's expert songwriting - after all he studied jazz theory in a college, but also spent around 15 years on self-mastering his guitar techniques.

The guest musicians on this album are: Anna Lyapina (vocals), Sergey Timofeyev (bass), Alexander Karpukhin (drums), Dmitry Oslyakov (drums) and Ruslan Dzhigkaity (drums).

It's also worth adding that mastering and production are very well done (by Nickolay Vengrzhanovich at Light Temple Records, Moscow, Russia). Both styles of music that meet on this album need a different mastering approach, and it turned out successful on Cybertoyz' Undo.Exit. Neither guitars nor electronica take up all the bandwidth.

The excellent, cyber-punkesque blue cover artwork was designed by Eugene "Jonny" Postebaylo and looking at it while listening to the music feels just right.

Watch out for Cybertoyz in your area - they do play live gigs. Zyggie also had an endorsement contract with Framus/Warwick and AMT Electronics between 2009-2010. You should not miss this release if you're looking for innovative guitar driven compositions.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, June 23rd, 2014. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
This review on Fabryka Magazine: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=542

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Buy on: Bandcamp


Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

03 June, 2014

Interview with Spookshow inc. electronic rock

I think what is important for all of us, is to try to rise the level of consciousness and awareness - to talk to our inner self rather than catch up with and follow the tempo of "progress" and madness of the modern world in general. It is a big market place out there: the system really got accelerated. I mean we get offers to put on and try out new stuff - be it glasses (what about these Google glasses – do we really need it?), political and media campaigns, whatever. During one single day that is sick.

Full interview: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=540

Interview by Fabryka Music Magazine

27 May, 2014

Spookshow inc. - random songs review


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.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, May 26th, 2014. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)




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Buy on: CDBaby | Bandcamp | Amazon


Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

24 May, 2014

Crash-Scan - interview (2014)

Crash-Scan - interview (2014)

NINa: You seem to like reaching out into the very core of things, then mixing and shaking them up. Does the use of technology alter the organic sound of guitars, voice and drums to the point of a better understanding through dissonances?

Bryan: I think that is quite true for us, yes. In the end it’s all about the feeling you’re trying to express and communicate to the listener. With Crash-Scan we’re obviously using semi-traditional ‘song’ forms, but to do that and create unsettling or oppressive feelings involve manipulation and subversion of known elements. Modern technology allows us to do that a lot more drastically than older tape and sampler manipulation methods, but we’re still trying to keep within relatable forms for this band. We love recontextualizing sounds and field recordings, putting things together that don’t fit and trying to make something we like out of it.
Read full interview: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=536

Interview by Fabryka Music Magazine

Crash-Scan - Repeat Until False

Crash-Scan - Repeat Until False |self-released, 2014| 5/5 metal experimental industrial

1. Choke, 2. Pure, 3. Ohm, 4. Desolation, 5. Senescence, 6. Chrome Lies, 7. Chronic Atrophy, 8. Plans For Winter, 9. Tentacle Vortex, 10. An Eye For A Tooth, 11. Subduction, 12. Out Of Reach, 13. Under The Dirt


Crash-Scan is a heavy yet innovative band from New Zealand that formed in 2008. Repeat Until False album was released 5 years after the band's debut album Catalyst and is written, performed and recorded by Ron Nobbs (vocals, programming), Bryan Tabuteau (programming, synths), Vivian Stewart (guitar, bass) along with Brad Gallen (additional percussion).

The music presented on the latest release is inspired by a variety of industrial and metal bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Fear Factory, Meshuggah, and Gojira. Crash-Scan however, have taken the industrial metal genre to the next level. There are no melodies, rather pure torment expressed through machines and guitars. They took the core of what heavy steel industry is all about and transferred it into music - repetitions, noise, weight and all the impact you can imagine. The music on the album is about 'processing', 'making', 'transforming' and other associated activities. The atmosphere in all songs is comparable to that on Godflesh albums, though the sound is more modern.

Let's look into the following 13 songs, with average track length varying between 3 to 6 minutes. The tracklist begins with "Choke", which will give you a taste of things to come. It sounds like a slower and distorted sound of the late 90s Ministry and Fear Factory, but flavored with Crash-Scan's own ingredients. It gets even noisier with experimental add-ons but the repetitions and heavy guitar riffs (cut with lighter motifs in a few spots) make the track as memorable as a mantra.

"Pure" involves a bigger share of electronics, reminiscent of Frontline Assembly, but mixed with guitars and beats. The contrast between verses and choruses is accented better than in the previous song, but still almost lacks any melody. Distorted whispers add a sense of thrill.

"Ohm" begins with a set of structured rhythms that are then followed by chunky guitar riffs. A variety of additional effects creates an experimental feel, with the vocal style similar to that of digitized black metal compositions. Heavy guitars create an interesting wall of sound near the end. Since they are digitally processed, there's a strong sense of higher mathematics flowing throughout this track.

"Desolation" involves tuned down guitars and a very contrasty world music motif, as if it was derived from Turkish or Middle Eastern music. The sound may be irritating at first, but at the same time it sticks to your ears and underlines the verses. It is as if a painter splashed a natural color image with neon paint with equidistant spots. Angry, digitally processed vocals, looped effects (used so often by Fear Factory) and the overall sequence of sounds make it a memorable composition. In fact, it could gain even more attention with a matching music video.

Now it’s time for the best track on this album. At first, there’s a creepy, piano-based intro enriched with a digital, gloomy follow-up. Then, it's transformed into amazing arrangements accompanied by a heavy load of guitars and distorted, hellish vocals that you'll love. The composition is complex, but this speaks for the band’s song-writing skills - and Crash-Scan are definitely proving theirs here. Less deformed guitars appear a bit later, and the overall feel of "Senescence" is that of shifting dynamics.

The songs seems to be carefully put in order on the tracklist, and so those heavier are intersected with slower but equally dark moods. This applies for instance to "Chrome Lies". It sounds like it could have been developed better, however. The drums sound a tad too simple and repetitive, with the vocals falling into the background and almost gothic melodies coming out in some parts as well. Fortunately, the end of the track brings an intriguing heavy guitar arrangement.

"Chronic Atrophy" brings atonal, broken rhythms and has quite an experimental feel, still being supported by healthy metal riffs and factory-like industrial tunes. The beat and the drums are perfectly set up for this composition, which is alive & kicking (or even stinging) inside of its dark meaning. You'll probably sense a bit of Ministry's Filth Pig and The Darkside of the Spoon albums in this song.

Likewise, the next track "Plans For Winter" sounds like a mix of "Chronic Atrophy" and "Senescence" in terms of the composition complexity as well as general heaviness. The load of low tuned guitars and altered vocals are what Godflesh fans will enjoy here. If you like sounds accompanied by matching visuals, you may imagine a mining drill or any heavy gear making its way slowly through rather inaccessible terrain.

"Tentacle Vortex" sounds like a heavy take on impressionism mixed with a complicated device manual - open to interpretation despite initial definition. Arrangements here are based on very heavy, tuned down guitars, noises, repetitions and distorted screams. They appear only in the background, so that they are not overwhelming. Besides, "Tentacle Vortex" is a very cool title; not only does it suit this track but also a book, movie or painting.

Then there's "An Eye For A Tooth", another slow'n'heavy composition in case you thought it couldn't get any heavier. The song is not as 'easy' to remember as "Desolation" however, even though a similar high-pitched sound appears in a few spots. Again, classical industrial attributes are treated with a modern approach and, of course, guitars.

You'll relax when "Subduction" appears in your speakers. It's a purely instrumental composition and a short one at that - a dark interlude, one of those you may associate with science fiction movies like Aliens or Event Horizon. It fits here thanks to the silently droning, reverberated sounds which create an atmosphere of both mystery and anxiety.
To trouble your balanced mind, "Subduction" is followed by another heavy song entitled "Out Of Reach", bringing a heap of distorted sounds, feedback and dissonances. There are random low tuned chunky guitars, sampled monologues and angry deformed vocals; things which can be found in Ministry music but ground a bit better.

The 13th song, "Under The Dirt" is the most traumatizing, even brainwashing experience. Not literary, but your brain may feel overwhelmed when reaching just the middle of the track, regardless if you try to fish out separated instrument tracks or understand the entire composition. It presents a combination of everything heard so far on the album but kept even dirtier, noisier, tuned lower, chaotic yet technical at the same time. I'm not talking about diving into a symbolic 'hell', but something way more disturbing.

Repeat Until False sounds haunting and grabs your attention as much as a trip down into an endless spiral, thanks to repetitions and guitar riffs, but also omnipresent atonal rhythms. The beat is not too intense or overused, otherwise the songs would sound too danceable and marching and thus, shallow. The tracks on the album express depth, darkness and gravity, instead. You may find them occasionally chaotic because of the extended use of noise & distortions but the range of chaos is narrowed down by mathematically precise arrangements.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the album is available as a simple digital download as well as a highly customized, sophisticated and limited version on a 4GB USB drive.
Crash-Scan are planning a few more live shows around New Zealand and the release of a new EP with 4 new songs and remixes from Repeat Until False. I urge you to support this band, since they still care for what others have abandoned - creative ideas.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, May 23rd, 2014. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)





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Buy on: Crash-Scan store | Bandcamp | iTunes | Amazon

See also: 'Choke' music video | 'Game Over' music video (from Catalyst album)


Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

24 April, 2014

Victoria Love - Yours For The Taking

Victoria Love - Yours For The Taking (song review) |Elle Indie Records, Ataraxis, 2014| 5/5 rock electronic

Victoria Love is undoubtedly 100% certified Texan, not only thanks to the singer/song writer Monique Jamail's rebellious looks, but most importantly her half raspy, half sad voice.

"Yours For The Taking" is characterized by a mix of both organic-symphonic and industrial sounds. The former represented by the cello, viola or oud, while the latter introduces programming and samplers. The song begins with a cello but then an industrial set creates a surprising, yet matching contrast to the opening arrangement. The two continue crossing each other throughout the entire song with a viola, bass and guitars joining them next. The bass is quite dominating - not only giving the song a rhythm but also a dark tone. The composition is well thought out and written, leaving a balanced space for both instrumental and lyrical parts.

As mentioned, Monique's raspy voice is very memorable thanks to its interesting timbre. The vocals sound sweet yet aggressive at times. It's seems like she could sing you a whole story a capella, and you'd still be affected by the impact of underlying emotion.
The open, easily understandable lyrics complete the music extremely well: "I spent most of my life afraid of myself / My thoughts, my actions, my temper, my hell / Behind my door hides every emotion I’ve ever felt / I never really talk yet have so many stories to tell".

Apart from Monique Jamail (acoustic guitar, vocals), "Yours For The Taking" features guest musicians such as Ivan de Prume (drums; ex-White Zombie), Marc 'Frap' Frappier (bass; ex-Circus of Power, ex-Skrew), Roberto Paolo Riggio (Atash; violins, oud), James 'Roz' Rosnack (drums, programming, electric guitar, synths) and Jen Mulhern on cello.

In addition, the song is supported by a high quality video single. It tells the story of a sensual relationship between two adult women and the revenge taken after the discovery of a third party joining a seemingly committed union. All the transforming feelings and behaviors relating betrayal are portrayed in vivid imagery - tears, questioning, depression, sorrow, anger, blame and despair. Apparently, there's some karma to be worked out and lessons to be learnt for one's spiritual development. The bitter find leads Victoria deeper into inner self analysis, and consequently the discovery of issues such as holding things back and unbalancing the proportions of giving and receiving. Nevertheless, the video reveals a quick fix for the unexpected problem, which results in a murder driven by wounded feelings, just like in a psychological thriller or drama. Monique, who plays the role of the betrayed woman seems to be a good actress, with very expressive eyes.

Finally, it should be noted that a different version of "Yours For The Taking" was released on Monique’s Just Breathe EP in 2011. The new master version reviewed here and present on Ataraxis, features Ivan de Prume on drums. Also, according to Victoria Love, the drums are produced better this time. The third, acoustic version was published by Victoria Love's own Elle Indie Records label. This track is also featured in the movie White Rabbit and a few compilations. The pre-sale of Ataraxis will begin in the Fall of 2014 and the album will be out this winter.

Victoria Love actively discovers and supports women in music by releasing compilations and organising a music festival. Make sure you'll visit her official website and support this artist by buying her music as well.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, April 24th, 2014. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)




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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine