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15 February, 2015

melodic DIRT album review

melodic DIRT - melodic DIRT |self-released, 2015| 4/5 experimental

1. Another Day In The Life, 2. I'd Like To Fly, 3. Sounding For Me, 4. Out Of This World, 5. Away From My, 6. Falling, 7. From The Ground

Here's the debut solo album of multi-instrumentalist Joe. His compositions are inspired by various music styles ranging from rock, grunge, metal and jazz, including bands like Deftones, Korn, Soundgarden, Nirvana, but also great instrumentalists such as Jimi Hendrix, Jackie Mclean, Theloniuos Monk, John Coltrane or Miles Davis. Some of you may catch a few melodic and vocal lines comparable to The Young Gods' tunes as well. This interesting mix results in music that by no means makes for easy-listening, but remains original and intriguing, despite the multitude of influences.

The material has undoubtedly been written for vocals and moods, actually one specific mood I'll elaborate below on. The instrumental parts played on drums, guitar and bass were added in the background, fitting between compositional parts very well. The lyrics are uttered in a spoken, languid manner rather than sung. If you however, imagined Joe as an opera singer and his tracks as classical, emotional compositions, you'd also picture him singing aloud rather than seemingly reciting poetry. Joe's rough voice is unmistakable and therefore, it is a large part of his potential. Just after a few tracks it will imprint itself into your mind, dominating the compositions along with dirty guitar vibrations.

There are a lot of unclean tunes here, interspersed with melodies. The atmosphere brought by down-tuned bass and guitars is ponderous, lethargic. There's very little life, almost no energy, dynamics, or power on this album, but these songs were not written for such purpose at all. If you listen closely to the vocals, they do push their own melody into heavy compositions. This happens already in the two opening tracks - "Another Day In The Life" and "I'd Like To Fly".

Most of the tracks on melodic DIRT last a bit over 3 minutes, which normally could be perceived as short. Here though, since the same arrangements repeat often and the overall mood is heavy, these songs sound as if they were prolonged. The guitar is sometimes employed to introduce a lighter, vibrating and memorable motif between all the other instruments, as it is in "Sounding For Me".

When you get to "Out Of This World", you may have an impression that Joe was loosely improvising here, but there are a few specific, repetitive lines within the composition. The vocals are raspy and almost resonating. While listening to "Away From My", you'll notice a neurotic bass line which dominates the vocals at first. Joe doesn't use the typical intro-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus-outro structure. He uses a lot of verses with occasional bridges. This track is a good example of his creativity in that respect.

When it comes to "Falling", this is indeed a free fall yet based on wisely planned arrangements. An initially annoying, high-pitched synth brings a looped melody thanks to which your ear will mainly focus on the melody instead of the grungy tunes introduced by the guitar-and-vocals combo. This follows the technique already used in "Sounding For Me", but expressed through a guitar there.

The last track on the list, "From The Ground", sounds the heaviest and most apathetic at the same time. One could say that it describes the process of slitting veins and observing the dripping blood and escaping life, but make sure your reading of this track is not so dramatic. The drumbeats are arrhythmic, while the guitar only marks stops and makes another line of rhythm. There are many asynchronous, atonal sounds and little harmonious arrangements. Trust me, though - everything done on purpose.

To sum up, not everyone expects music to be cheerful, swift or pleasant for the ear. Despite of its quite chaotic, slow and extended song structures, the individual formula of traditional industrial or drone metal music presented by bands such as Einstürzende Neubauten, SPK, Godflesh, Earth or Sun O))) has turned out to be inspirational for many listeners and performers. It is all about understanding the sound. If you're looking for a tune which a commercial radio station may not play, then melodic DIRT album is what you need. And here's exactly what Joe is winning you over with - not virtuosity but originality, because not many of you will be able to admit that they'd heard identical tunes before.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, February 15th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)





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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

22 January, 2015

In_zekT - Industrial-Scale Murder

In_zekT - Industrial-Scale Murder |self-released, single, 2015| 5/5

After their successful release of the ARTIFEX album in 2013, In_zekT had come up with another idea. The newest, over 20 minutes long extended single is made up of various compositional parts. It's an avant-garde suite, which technically could be compared to those better known from classical or progressive tracks, though In_zekT's music is definitely much more 'bratty' yet disciplined than these.

The first five minutes of the suite is built upon all-engaging dynamics. Ferocious arrangements were written for vocals, guitars, bass, drums and synths. All sounds are digitally altered however, which gives them a cybernetic-quality. The mood is aggressive, raging yet haunting and the inclusion of an EBM-like rhythm mixed with chunky guitar riffs will easily turn you into a headbanger in this pat.

Since it's also industrial, you should expect machines - their silent or very loud sounds such as clicking, buzzing, whizzing, hissing, humming etc. are a significant ingredient of In_zekT's music. These, along with saturated, dark ambient backgrounds become welcomed breaks between more turbulent arrangements. And so, the next few minutes of the single will turn your imagination on.

Then again, around 11th minute of the single, hell breaks loose again with uttermost intensity. Dense arrangements are expressed through a collaboration of heavy screams, digitalized drums, bass and chopped guitars. There's no place for spontaneity here, only discipline and order. Metal/djent fans will go crazy about the ultra fast tempo, atonal rhythm and violent formula which this part of Industrial-Scale Murder is made of.
Don't be fooled though when the follow-up comes out softer, melodious and even sentimental, thus letting the heart slightly drop its heightened beat. In_zekT knows how to shock a listener with a sound, therefore you'll definitely witness it while listening what's next.

The final portion of the single is 'the music of a vehicle', probably a bulldozer or excavator. If you enjoy environmental sounds so called 'field recordings' which are not synchronous, harmonic or pleasant for the ear, then you won't skip this part.

Technically speaking, the sound quality, the mastering and production of Industrial-Scale Murder are all brilliant - the bass is deep, the riffs are scalpel-sharp and omnipresent industrial samples are crystal clear. The separate parts link very smoothly. Yet, the arrival of a new arrangement is usually unexpected, so this should keep your ears and brain fully attentive.

The band members - Kjetil Ottersen (vocals, guitars, bass, synth, programming and sampling) and Peter Vindel (lead vocals, guitars, bass, synth, programming and sampling) admit to be inspired by works of Merzbow and other extreme noise-experimental artists, as well as hybrid metal bands such as Meshuggah.
To me, fans of djent style, or the likes of Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend, and Fear Factory may find Industrial-Scale Murder a must-have release. In addition, there are scarcely any new genres being coined these days but with this single, In_zekT is undoubtedly stepping into something new. Should it become mainstream? This is up to you, the listeners, to make it more known through your support.
Finally, according to the musicians, the concept of the single is based on a contemplation of events that unfolded throughout 2014 - a divide caused by conflicts between scarcely compatible societal models and civilizations.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, January 21st, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)





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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

08 January, 2015

The Blackmail Seduction - War At Home

The Blackmail Seduction - War At Home (song review) |The Rocks Recordworks, The Blackmail Seduction, 2013| 5/5 hard rock/alt-rock

The Blackmail Seduction quartet writes music in two American cities - Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Their self-titled debut album includes 7 tracks and ends with a memorable hard rock ballad, "War At Home".

Home should be, by definition, a safe place filled with positive atmosphere which allows for resting and enjoying one's space. On the surface, this track seems to speak of a frustrating situation when there's a home war between family members. However, the subjects are not specified in the song, meaning the 'war' could easily represent any personal struggle.

Musically, "War At Home" begins with a stimulating combo built from the bass (Mike Mennell), guitars (Troy Hardy, Jess McClellan) and subdued drums (Blair Sinta). These are then joined by rather high sounding vocals by Jess McClellan. Listeners will definitely pay attention to very well written arrangements which leave enough space for both vocal and instrumental parts. The chorus however, is kept in a brighter alt-rock tune thanks to vocals, yet it is still supported with heavier hard rock arrangements in the background.

At times, the aforementioned instrumental parts break away from the vocals which is always a desired method of building a mood. Previously heard verse-chorus arrangements repeat, but they are then followed by a new addition - a soloing lead guitar backed with non-distracting keyboards (both by Hardy). It is an epic solution making the likes of Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple so touching since such composition opens up space for listeners' imagination to roam free. A 'crying' guitar adds a strong and emotional accent to these arrangements. Thus, the mood takes over thanks to a very beautiful yet powerful part of the song which hard rock fans will truly admire.
The track's final part sounds very professional, with the guitar and keyboard having the last word in the composition.

When it comes to production, it's kept on not so clean or deep but rather 'analogue' levels, quite typical for 70s hard rock music due to the gear used back then. Apparently, the band also prefers this style, though to me a deeper dimension & cleaner sound could have been utilized as well to make the best of modern mixing consoles.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, January 6th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)



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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

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