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05 December, 2014

Concept 7 The Machinery Of Control

Concept 7 - (random songs review) |self-released, The Machinery Of Control, 2014| 4/5 techno/metal

1. Innerstate, 2. Mindfield, 3. Beserker, 4. Seven Declared, 6. Catastrophe

This UK based band (secretively and purposely hiding their musicians' names) are not new on the music scene. They've been releasing albums since 2001. Their discography includes such titles as The End Of Time Project, Time Project: Remixes, Extract E.P, and The Undeniable Constant. They also contributed a soundtrack for an sci-fi anime Full Metal Panic. According to the musicians, they have decided to put out a set of songs - defined as 'projects' - online, since CDs have a decreasing value. One of these is a very fresh release of The Machinery Of Control.

Concept 7 make a hybrid built upon music genres such as metal, techno and industrial which are driven by the beat and speed. Speaking of techno, it is the very recognizable UK-techno style with all of its vital high pitched synths on the top along with dense, curved and looped dynamics in the background. And such is the opening track 'Innerstate'. Its compositional spine is based on a groovy bass line mixed with chunky guitar riffs but purely instrumental arrangements divide the song into catchy verses and choruses.

The love for industrial - trains, engines and machines is expressed in 'Mindfield'. A big part of the arrangement however - metal riffs and techno synths - is based on a mix already known from the previous track. The difference is that they sound heavier and more aggressively thanks to guitars. The song is supported by a music video single you can watch on the Concept 7's YouTube channel.

Once you see the title 'Beserker', you’ll probably imagine a song represented by hard-hitting dynamics. It is true for this track, although it begins quite innocently with only a vibrating riff which suggests what is to come next. It is then joined by a 'rain' of tiny synthetic sounds and a sampled male voice in vein of Skinny Puppy's or Ministry's best known tracks. The guitar versus synth ride continues to the very end of the track.

The band seems to like number 7, which has been universally used throughout centuries, to mention 7 luminaries, 7 heavens, 7 wonders, 7 seas, 7 deadly sins, lucky 7, etc., but also utilized in video game or movie titles. 'Seven Declared' makes for such an interesting title as well. The song begins with a motorcycle engine, then is extended into a rocket-like launch whizz. Beats and sampled vocals come out next reporting a bomb detonation (in a reference to the nuclear test at the Mururoa atoll conducted in 1971). The song's mood is lighter than 'Berserker', but still uneasy.

'Catastrophe' is my favorite of the five songs described. It begins with a mix of repetitive noise and a very intriguing sound that beams like a laser ray into the composition. The sets of dense hard techno/EBM beats sound haunting. Your head will bang to the rhythm. The composition and arrangements are simple, but it's that simplicity of the sound which attracts the human ear, especially if it involves beats. They put the mind in a state of trance, just like ancient drums. The track ends with a sound effect resembling an altered purr, just to make a difference perhaps.

All these songs on The Machinery Of Control are good for listening on their own, but one can get the most of them if utilized in video games or as background illustration in a motion picture. Played alone, they may sound too restricted and rigid. Concept 7 have defined their sound on this release. Therefore, if you're looking for a non-intrusive yet catchy, guitar driven arrangements, you should get these tracks.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, December 5th, 2014. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)




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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

26 November, 2014

Celestial Flesh - Suspended Motion

Celestial Flesh - Suspended Motion |self-released, 2014| 5/5 djent progmetal

1. Dictating (Voices In The Ocean), 2. Open Heart, Open Mind, 3. Breathing With Swollen Lungs, 4. Exposure, 5. Bent To Your Will, 6. Light On The Surface, 7. Speak To Me, 8. Suspended Motion

There are listeners, like me, who are looking for passion, intensity, might, emotions and soul cleansing locked all together inside sound, yet expressed with heavy guitar driven arrangements. Suspended Motion by Celestial Flesh is a perfect choice to fulfill such a desire.

The band's founder, Eric Machel (guitar, bass, drum programming, synth, production) has been playing guitar since he turned 15. In love with intense music by metal acts such as Meshuggah, Gojira, Tool, as well as a varied array of music genres, he has his own vision of music he wants to write and perform. Due to various circumstances however, this American musician has decided to launch a solo project instead of joining or creating a band. Either way, it’s great that he chose to invest his time and talents in music, otherwise we could have never heard of Celestial Flesh.
His newest album, Suspended Motion brings eight instrumental compositions which give a new meaning to the word 'intense'.

'Dictating (Voices In The Ocean)' opens the album with versatile arrangements and a skillful mix of genres. The core of the composition is based on down-tuned, syncopated bass and guitars. Synths and a higher guitar riff contrast the groove, so the mood becomes brighter at times. The drums (played by guest musician Ettore Fritz, also present in the next song) appear in all the right spots throughout the composition. Since the bass & guitars combo drives the rhythm, the drums step in only when a heavier beat is required. If you listen closely, you'll also hear traditional Eastern music arrangements on guitars.

'Open Heart, Open Mind' brings the best of progressive rock and metal together. Drums & bass arrangements represent metal while old-school synths are very typical of the former. Fans of Rush & Steven Wilson's music will feel excited. There are choruses and verses, composed very swiftly yet with pleasingly repeating themes. A diversity of perfectly matched riffs, beats and cold synth passages make the track sparkling and memorable.

Eric's a musical architect. He structures arrangements (bass) then paints them with moods (synth). Since he does listen to a variety of genres, he was able to incorporate their characteristics into his tracks, yet leave listeners without confusion. The less intense, but more atmospheric 'Breathing With Swollen Lungs' is a good proof of the above. There are moments of true progrock & progmetal passion with their knotty schemes drowning the world out easily. The beat present here in the more tender parts of the composition is just enough for an ambient track when supported by dreamy guitar riffs and looped synths. Again, fans of Rush-style bass will instantly recognize familiar sounds.
'Exposure' comes out quite innocently at first, with just a simple stick against stick beat and a gentle guitar riff, but then the arrangements grow big and thorny. The beat is taken over by down-tuned djent guitars but aside of their exponentially unfolding complexity, there are also delicate riffs, fast bass play and guitar soloing interlaced within. The track production and mastering are very well done, as various instruments are properly exposed when necessary, while the overall sound is kept clear.

One might think that there's no chance for progressive metal or djent to sound catchy due to their seriousness and intensity but Celestial Flesh tracks have hooks with decent amounts of hit potential. My personal favourite, 'Bent To Your Will', makes time and space become less important. Listening to it actually feels as if the track drags the listeners away from the ‘here and now’ and throws them into a new, undiscovered dimension instead. It begins with an in-your-face stitching guitar cannonade wrapped with a lovely riff. No sound is left unheard and all are equivocally important. The arrangements live their own mighty life as if they were flooding, erupting, crying, dancing, racing - so they will obviously seize your attention completely. Drums fit in between competing guitars very well, but get full exposure at time as well. Eric showcases his genius guitar & song writing skills here. A natural reaction to this experience may be spreading your arms wide, letting the sounds open and lift you up, then purify to the point of the transformation of your self. A truly addictive song that will rip your emotions from the depth of your spirit after the very first listening.

Now, as a counterweight to this behemoth of a song, the next track called 'Light On The Surface' let’s you rest, as it is characterized by a slower tempo and more rock (even hard-rock) oriented guitar and bass arrangements. This 7 minutes’ long track includes also fierce, repeating moments in the latter half of the composition, but its overall mood is more subtle compared to previous songs.

This undoubtedly therapeutic music is a perfect fit for someone with a good visual imagination. Play the album loud and draw what you feel while listening to it. 'Speak To Me' may be a good example, and it's the only composition on the album to include a person’s voice. To give you an idea, it's sampled the way Ministry used to play with G.W. Bush's speeches on their albums. Drums and guitars are bringing all elements of the composition either closer together while engaging in a friendly battle or driving them apart, giving each other enough space to flourish separately. A lot of high-pitched riffs are crushed into pieces with more down-tuned ones.

There's a good balance hidden in the tracklist - passionate songs are followed by calmer ones. The final track, 'Suspended Motion', features a guest appearance by Alex Basart on guitars and synth and is mostly a soothing, almost romantic affair, yet hides a few potent moments. It allows for taking a deep breath before... playing the album again, and again.

Suspended Motion is a masterpiece of which Eric Machel should be absolutely proud. It brings a powerful catharsis - the soul purification, for both the creator and the listener. Those who understand how music influences brainwaves and heartbeats, will love it. It's a truly colorful, superb release which should never be forgotten. Make sure it won't sink amongst all other indie productions - buy it, promote it, review it and interview this musician. You're gonna love it.

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



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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

09 November, 2014

While U Were Out - It's Always You

While U Were Out - It's Always You (song review) |self-released, 2014| 4/5

While U Were Out (also known as TWPHMusic) is a composing and recording British duo founded in 2013 and consisting of Trevor Wiles (keyboards) and Paul Hadler (vocals & guitar). Both musicians however, have already been writing music collectively for over 10 years.

While U Were Out’s debut single titled 'It's Always You' was released in mid-2014. It’s a pop-rock song with hit potential. It begins with a grungy-dirty rhythm guitar riff that is soon joined by another riff, tuned up higher to build a contrast. Drums and bass come next. The vocals are rather high, clear, initially quite gentle, getting emotional in choruses.

Most listeners prefer music they've already heard before in terms of melodies or arrangements. Thus, they are more eager to learn about and buy songs recorded in a style similar to the ones they already know. The composition and arrangements here were written with a classical approach. This kind of songwriting has resulted in an easy listening song. 'It's Always You' turned out reasonably short - it makes for an excellent radio, movie trailer or TV ad track. The rhythm however, is the same for verses and choruses. With a bit of additional diversity, slightly more intriguing arrangements could have been created. The atmosphere is light and friendly, possibly directed towards the teenage listeners, though it’s not definitely a teen-chart-product type of song.
The production is very good and underlines the importance of vocals and guitars at first, while drums and bass are placed in the background. This way, the song sounds more emotional rather than heavy, yet it keeps being rhythmic.

While U Were Out write music for other bands as well, not limiting themselves to pop or rock alone. It is worth mentioning that Pink Floyd's Nick Mason played drums on their track called 'Loves Forever'.
If you're looking for non-intrusive music that talks about relationships between people, this single is certainly for you.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, November 9th, 2014. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)


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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

30 July, 2014

Interview with Ogenix

Interview with Ogenix (Canada, industrial/metal) (2014)

I also believe that with the advent of social medias and the hyper-solicitation of people's attention, this has built a generation which is suffering of a nearly pathological attention deficit disorder, which means that they will probably not have the cognitive capacity to take the time to research and dig for the best bands or music deep within the the ocean of s**t which represents the majority of what's available today. (Gabriel Duceppe).

Read this interview at http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=543

Interview by Fabryka Music Magazine

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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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine