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27 December, 2013

Bruno Pittelli - Emotion

Bruno Pittelli - Emotion (song review) |self-released, Stay Here EP, 2013| 4/5

For centuries, it's been known that music is directly linked to emotions. People look for certain songs based on a specific rhythm or atmosphere, but also express their own feelings through making music. What’s more, successful therapeutic healing through arts is a fact. Some people feel better when darker or heavier compositions occupy their minds, others prefer to stick to softer tones.
According to the 20 year-old composer of “Emotion”, making music provides a medium for communicating his own emotions, especially when they are stimulated by a sudden onrush of energy.

The aptly named track brings a positive, soothing vibe and non-intrusive guitar soloing. This rather short instrumental composition starts with a rock drum beat, promptly followed by an uplifting and proud arrangement - think of a 'victory' musical theme.
Next, synths bring on a slightly classical, gentle tune along with graded guitar riffs. The song structure changes and tempo increases with a dynamic rock cannonade beginning right afterwards. Now the soloing guitar and heavier drums take the lead while the bass adjusts accordingly. Passionate and repeating light riffs flow smoothly. If you like a neo-classical approach to guitar solos, you will totally enjoy Bruno's guitar play.
The synth part returns, joined by soothing riffs, stable drum beats and well-matched bass lines. The fade out effect that ends the track (and is quite a good idea for this type of composition) could have been extended a bit, though. Nevertheless, representatives of the movie industry should appreciate this song if it was submitted for licensing. The short piece could also be incorporated into a more complex neo-classical composition.

Pittelli generally plays several electric guitars. For “Emotion”, he used his signature Red'n'Blue Flames guitar by Italian manufacturer Molinelli. The instrument provided a very melodic, sentimental sound, suitable for extended solos, as well as rock ballads.

This guitarist had entered several European music contests and won a few awards so far. Make sure you'll visit his website to follow the latest news. You can also watch him play in a few music videos available on YouTube.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, December 27th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński).
This review on Fabryka Magazine: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=507



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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

22 December, 2013

ClosedHandPromise - [iam] Nemesis

ClosedHandPromise - [iam] Nemesis (song review) |self-released, [iam] Nemesis, 2013| 5/5

Most of the metal bands hailing from Texas come up with extremely powerful music - think of such famous acts as Skrew, Pantera or Rigor Mortis. Raging heat also radiates from this Austin based band, as if coming from a steel factory furnace.
ClosedHandsPromise was founded in 2004. Its line-up includes Domingo (Gitfiddle), Pumpkin Escobar (Slaps da bass), P-dro (Beatz), Colbonix (Propaganda) and K-Killa (Electrics). They've released Outer Space EP followed by a brand new [iam] Nemesis EP in 2013. The title track recorded with Tim Gerron (SOD, Skrew) and mastered by Roger Lian (Slayer, Candiria) offers a powerful and high quality sound.

Heavy metal arrangements mixed with hardcore influences and pumping dynamics are probably the first thing you notice about "[iam] Nemesis". The Greek mythology portrays Nemesis as the goddess of fate, justice and revenge, a personification of the gods' wrath. The song’s mood seems directly connected to these motifs.

"[iam] Nemesis" is a short, stimulating track clocking in at slightly over 3 minutes. The dynamics and the flood of arrangements change within the composition, keeping the song absorbing, both to your ears and brains.
The musicians cooperate together perfectly - the drummer comes into a forceful union with the bass player, while the guitarist supports the lead singer. Repetitive spirals of piercing riffs entwine with thorny, hateful and screaming vocals that add a serious set of claws to the music. Loud, angry shouts and a fast-paced stream of lyrics will fill your ears with an honest, in-your-face message, whether you're ready to hear it or not. Moreover, some parts of the song sound as if the vocalist was attacking the listener like an infuriated pitbull. If you enjoy growling, you'll get a serving as well.

These guys, once they gear up, turn into a collaborative team of warriors. If you wish to learn more about ClosedHandPromise, it would be wise to buy their brand new album, support them through social networks and best of all, go see them play a live show. Solid, furious and memorable.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, December 22nd, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)


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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

23 October, 2013

Interview with Jimmie Jones of Eroded Pride industrial metal 2013

Interview with Jimmie Jones of industrial metal band Eroded Pride (2013)

NINa: You've been making industrial and metal music for the last 12 years. What are 5 major changes you've noticed about the scene: older and newer bands, fans, support, music directions?

Jimmie Jones: Actually it's been longer than that. I started way back when I was in my teens playing bass for metal bands around the San Francisco Bay Area. For lack of better terminology, Eroded Pride is just the girlfriend I've had the longest.

The scene hasn't changed much in my opinion. You sadly have bands no matter where they are...

Read full interview at http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=505

Conducted by Fabryka Music Magazine

Eroded Pride - Short Attention-span Theatre

Eroded Pride - Short Attention-span Theatre |Elicit Music, 2013| 4/5

01. Cemetery Dance, 02. Alone, 03. March, 04. Pathology, 05. Death of SYNOD, 06. Bang, 07. Castigame, 08. Declaration, 09. Gallows, 10. Testosterone Conspiracy, 11. Flatline


Eroded Pride makes music on their own terms that should be appreciated by listeners who enjoy the conservative style of 90's industrial metal. The band, a musical initiative of Jimmie Jones, was founded as a quartet in 2001. After releasing Surviving Reno: the Biggest Little Headache debut, the line-up shrunk to a solo project 12 years later. However, for the purpose of recording the follow-up Short Attention-span Theatre album, Jimmie invited an L.A. guitar player — Todd Szklennik.

The opening track, "Cemetery Dance" refers to vampire mythos and as such was tuned to sound creepy. It brings almost spoken, neglectful and slightly distorted vocals supported by guitar riffs and a mechanical set of samples.

"Alone" sounds almost the same, but it is enriched with individual guitar riffs and matching sampling. The vocals are performed with some kind of disdain. Lyrically, it is a dark love story about a possessive, psychotic boy who falls in love with a girl. He locks her in a basement like a plastic doll, so he'll never feel alone again.

"March", accompanied by a recently released music video may be highly appreciated by die-hard Ministry fans. In addition, it refers to the politics in a way which lets listeners project their own political beliefs. Since we're talking about both Ministry and the US, there are speeches of G.W. Bush. He earned musicians interest due to his ridiculous sense of humor and frequent faux pas. Simple, march-friendly arrangements written for bass and guitar are surrounded by a cloud of industrial sampling.

The tale behind the next song, "Pathology" could perfectly suit a horror movie storyline. Imagine a mortician who works in a hospital. He passes by a junkie hooker on his way to work every night. She draws his interest but he's a shy guy. He's even more inspired to learn what was her story when she disappears one night. How will it end? A hint - on a steel morgue table. The track sounds memorable thanks to a dominating bass line, basic drum machine beats and synthesizers supported by vocals.

"Death of SYNOD" is accented by a catchy beat, additionally amplified by looped metal guitar riffs. Listeners may enjoy the shouted and spoken vocals layered with a slight distortion effect. A gentle touch of techno essentials plays a big part in this composition. SYNOD was planned to be another of Jimmie’s projects. Since the music sounded like Eroded Pride, he stuck to the original band, resulting in the death of the SYNOD idea.

"Bang" sounds quite frolicsome, like the music you may have heard from Revolting Cocks or MLWTTKK with the belligerent punk spirit of The Sex Pistols. Musically, there's less of electronica but more of a rock sound based on bass, guitar and drums. The overall atmosphere of the track is quite heavy, mainly thanks to the guitar riffs. A sentimental harmonica sound (as recognisable and standing out as a saxophone’s), gives the song an organic vibe. Should you also think about the Wild West? Sounds correct. In this track, Jimmie takes on the role of a demon telling the tale of Billy the Kid’s afterlife showdown with the devil.

A guitar driven roller-caster underlined by the bass line opens "Castigame". It is then replaced with dense rap vocals skillfully performed by guest vocalist Esko of Illaborate Minds. Intensified guitar riffs return in the chorus. Yet, when it seems that all hell will break loose, the whole anger is squeezed back into controlled boundaries and prolonged to last a few more minutes.

Speaking of anger, "Declaration" is a song about releasing strong emotions. The composition is solid and lacks improvisation or any softer moments as if it was to create a raw, rebellious mood. Screamed vocals match the bass, guitar and drum very well.

"Gallows" sounds both heavy and depressing. The atmosphere is supported by lyrics speaking of a man on death row who comes to terms with his life, actions and fate. The bleakness of the situation is expressed also through piano chords and shouted vocals.

The following "Testosterone Conspiracy" is characterized by a simple drum beat, looped guitar riffs and screamed vocals. The lyrics refer to working women who want to be respected and financially successful equally to men, especially in the same jobs. Sadly, all they experience is a devaluation of their skills due to sexism. There's even a suggestion that engaging in a manly fist fight, instead of relying on beauty, may help women break though 'the glass ceiling'.

The last track, "Flatline" refers to revenge. Looped guitar riffs bring the temperature to a boil, while gentle synth tunes introduce a bit of coolness at the same time. There are shooting sounds as well as beeping of an electrocardiograph with its typical, terminal sound.

Nevada-based Eroded Pride provides a lot of rough and repetitive tunes wrapped up in swift compositions on Short Attention-span Theatre. Sometimes though, a surprising moment springs forth — for example, a new diverged bass line creates a breakthrough along all the repetitions. The subjects of the songs could easily inspire the horror movie industry, while the sound will stimulate industrial metal fans. Assuming you're familiar with the genre, you may discover a few similarities to the music of bands such as Ministry, Treponem Pal or KMFDM, but developed further with Eroded Pride's very own conceptual ideas.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, October 21st, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
This review on Fabryka Magazine http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=504



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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

12 October, 2013

Lord Marius - Modern Warfare

Lord Marius - Modern Warfare (song review)|self-released, 2013| 5/5

Lord Marius, a professional guitarist and composer, played with a variety of famous Greek folk and rock artists in 2005. He began composing his own music based on classical and rock arrangements 4 years later. He's been extensively publishing new songs through social networks to let people discover his musical talent since 2012.

Some listeners pay attention to technical arrangements, while others enjoy the overall moods better. "Modern Warfare", one of Lord Marius’ newest tracks provides a specific type of emotional tension that’s skillfully developed within the composition. You could visualize a dark place with a torn-down wall and a strong warm light coming from the hole. The light would eventually touch, open and uplift your spirit, then turn into a fast-moving spiral, drag you inside and let you feel its inner pulse.

Technically speaking, the composition opens with a cold, vibrating, and then 'wavy' guitar riff. It is then supported by drum beats and joined by a truly rocking mix written for bass and guitar. These two part ways later on to focus on individual lines while giving priority to the guitar.
The vocals work very well. They fill the instrumental arrangements quite tightly and are properly balanced - neither too much in front of the instruments, nor drowned out by the guitars.

After the first 2 minutes, you should be convinced about this song’s genre classification. You may sense some Megadeth, but also 70s hard rock influences. However, there's quite a provoking surprise hidden here. Lord Marius gently utilizes vocals typical for rap music and adjusts the leading arrangements accordingly. If you're a purist, you may think the new element may have killed the initial mood of the song, but you should not rush to conclusions. Indeed, it does make "Modern Warfare" sound less classic than expected. Yet, this part is brilliantly balanced with the original theme and your favourite riffs eventually return with even more power.

The song gives you a taste of Lord Marius' technical and compositional skills. If you like it, you will also cheer the news about his debut album Shout that he's been working on. According to Lord Marius, the songs on the tracklist refer to social and psychological oppression, as well as his personal experience and speculation related to global issues. Such awareness is always crucial - you can find Lord Marius' updates on that matter on his Facebook or YouTube pages. The musician is also looking for a record company in order to release this album.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, October 10th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

04 October, 2013

22HERTZ - Detonate

22HERTZ - Detonate |self-released, 2013| 5/5

1. Give Me A Sign, 2. Access Denied, 3. Into This, 4. Is This Real, 5. The Signal In The Noise, 6. Getting Through, 7. Darker Shades Of Black, 8. Everything, 9. Detonate


If you found the last few Nine Inch Nails albums disappointing or think that waiting for the newest release of Gravity Kills takes too long, Detonate by 22Hertz is what will steal your attention whether you dig industrial rock music or not.

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.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, October 3rd, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)


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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

23 September, 2013

Zeistencroix - Stranger

Zeistencroix - Stranger (song review) |self-released, Stranger, 2013| 5/5

When you have a band with an original name, chances are you'll be noticed. Some may break their tongues trying to pronounce Zeistencroix (seemingly referring to German, Dutch or French). However, it's great to be visible in the world of the Internet ruled by search engines where algorithms decide about a brand's 'to be or not to be'.

Zeistencroix is an American band founded by singer and guitar player Orlando Draven along with a guitarist Jack Akopan in Los Angeles, CA in 2011. Basically speaking, the duo combine their skills into a mixture of tunes full of catchy electronica and soft guitar riffs.
Without a shadow of doubt, "Stranger" has major potential for an everlasting hit. If you're looking for an awesome single for your radio, podcast or TV channel, don't look any further. "Stranger" is a winner thanks to smooth arrangements, memorable and danceable melodies, a Depeche Mode-like romantic softness and an electro-darkwave feel. It's mostly an electronic song, but there's also a swift guitar riff taking the melody even higher and touching both the ears and souls of the listeners. The riff - a truly uplifting tear-jerker - appears in the most desired spot of the composition.

The song's length is ideal for radio-play. Less than 4 minutes of enchanting rhythms makes you want to play it over and over again. Of course, anything repeated too often will become less interesting. Until then, you'll probably spin the song a few more times as well as share the news about the band with your friends.

On the technical level, the song mixing, mastering and overall production are very well done. What's usually very important in any composition - the volume of the vocals - sounds just perfect; the drum beats don't sound too pushy and background synths don't steal the melody, either. All arrangements are brilliantly put in the right places and every instrument as well as each hook can be clearly heard.

Aside from powerful music, "Stranger" delivers a message of desire. The lyrics speak about a casual romance, a night spent with a stranger in an apartment. The narrator's sex is not specified, though. There's such a genre as 'sex music', and you can easily fit "Stranger" into that group thanks to lines such as: "Come now let's burn the flame, feel the desire, lose yourself, release the fire of your skin, unleash your lust consume the sin" which are skillfully aligned with the track's sensual atmosphere. In addition, lyrical rhymes match the song's rhythm very well.

So, are you interested? You need to know more? The latest news is that Zeistencroix have been working on an album called Stranger during the last few weeks. You can track their updates about its progress on both the band's Facebook profile and their official website.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, September 8th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
This review on Fabryka Magazine: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=499

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

20 September, 2013

Rayna - Shotgun Eyes

(Update) Rayna - Shotgun Eyes (song review)(ver. 2) |self-released, 2013| 4/5

Brett Rayner, the founder of Rayna, has been playing a guitar since he turned 15. The Australian has been writing music and recording demo songs for the last 9 years, inspired by a variety of bands such as The Beatles, AC/DC, INXS, Nirvana and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The exposure to such a temporally spread range of music resulted in a song that sounds like if it was made in the 70s, but carrying the grunge themes of the 90s. Brett, who plays rhythm guitar, was supported by the Marano brothers: Isaac on drums and Dom on bass and lead guitar.
"Shotgun Eyes" sounds solid - you won't find anything experimental in it. Swirling, yet cold guitar riffs mix with a pounding bass. The drums are played with extensive use of cymbals, which is quite typical for classic rock. Both the arrangements and lyrics are quite memorable, so amongst the rockers the song has a chance of popularity.

When it comes to lyrics, they are very well written and may suspend listeners in a state of wonder and tension. Their subject is that of fear of being chased - a manhunt. If a person is chased for evil things they committed, it’s naturally less mortifying than being chased for no reason. We don’t learn however, if the song’s protagonist was found guilty or not. Moreover, the lyrics cast a shade of doubt on the sanity of the runaway, as if the chase was a product of their imagination: "Moving in the shadows, They follow you, Run to a cave and hide, Tell me is it real, Is my imagination, Takin’ over my head", "Now you're running scared, Never look behind you, At the devil in your head". Also, survival is an inherent part when it comes to experiencing the manhunt on the side of the chased: "And like the running man, You gotta stay alive, And you can never leave, And there's no where to hide, The run is where you live".

As for the technical side, the track went through additional production. When compared to the original, home-made version by Brett I had a chance to review before, the song had been completely cleaned, yet the 70s vibe has been skillfully perpetuated. Most of the improvement is audible in the instrumental parts. The guitars sound clear, lively and sharp while the drums and bass became deeper, resulting in an intensified, pleasant groove. The vocals however might have been exposed and elevated over the instrumental cues a bit more. Overall, the new version of "Shotgun Eyes" sounds much, much better.

According to Brett, it's his devotion and love for music that keeps him creative. You should give "Shotgun Eyes" a listen because it brings a good classical groove with a strong 70s rock spirit, additionally wrapped in a murky plot.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, December 9th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, September 19th, 2013. 
This review on Fabryka Magazine: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=501

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

04 September, 2013

13 Shadows - 13 Shadows

13 Shadows - 13 Shadows |self-released, 2012| 5/5

01. Belong, 02. Broken, 03. Descend, 04. Energy, 05. Erase U, 06. Kamera, 07. Out of Phase, 08. 7 Years, 09. Slide, 10. Tangle of Thorns


13 Shadows is a musical project ran by singer/songwriter, pianist, guitarist and producer Denise Donahue. The New Yorker wrote, arranged and co-produced all the songs on the eponymous debut album released in 2012. The album shouldn't come unnoticed since at least 80% of the songs have hit potential thanks to fantasy moods, catchy hooks, guitar and piano driven arrangements as well as clear, sweet yet cold vocals of Denise.

The ten songs tracklist begins with "Belong", characterized by groovy dynamics reminiscent of Tool, but also the melodies of A Perfect Circle and the piercing clarity of Evanescence with traces of auto-tune in the vocals. The mysterious "Broken" comes next, with piano and vocals playing an important part throughout the entire track. It’s a radio-friendly song, since it carries a repetitive, love-orientated theme.
When it comes to "Descend", the composition is quite flexible, mostly adjusted to the vocals which play a role as major as the piano here. The song has an epic feel thanks to its slow tempo and spots of rising tension. Therefore, listening to "Descend" is as pleasurable as watching a calm ocean tide lick the sand off a shore.

Peachy bass, lively dynamics and a sugary melody are the major traits of "Energy". The track includes a few significant changes in tempo, keeping the listener focused. Add a few aggressive, chunky metal tunes of a rhythm guitar and bass collaborating with vocals and you get lots of hit potential.
"Erase U" comes in with its appealing, melodic, lyrical alt-rock features, where individual instrumental and vocal arrangements are as important as the entire composition. Again, bass and drums add a lot of dynamics to the song but they don't sound overwhelming as the composition is cut with delicate piano parts too. Another potential big hit.

An intriguing dreamy mood with a lead piano in the beginning of "Kamera" turns into a dynamic ride supported by a groovy bass, edgy guitars and well matched drums. In addition, Denise's sweet vocals may make many male hearts tremble. An extra helping of electronica creates a unique airy and positive atmosphere. The vibe eventually returns to its previous softness towards the end of the track. "Kamera" could be a great illustrative piece for cinema or advertising.
"Out of Phase", on the other hand, sounds less dynamic than the other songs on 13 Shadows. Not only does it include skillfully crafted lyrics fitting the music really well, but also verses that are perfectly integrated with choruses.

"7 Years" is the most promoted song of the album. The music video has earnt several thousand views on YouTube so far. The chorus wrapped in chunky guitar riffs is so catchy you’ll either love it or hate it with a passion. "7 Years" may be difficult to get out of your head for quite some time.
"Slide" begins with a cinematic intro but then brings the 80s gothic rock feel thanks to a buzzing guitar. Some elements of techno appear here as well, so the gothic vibe is eventually lost, but the song remains guitar driven and is additionally enriched with memorable choruses.
"Tangle of Thorns" provides an interesting bass line, soft sounding vocals and guitar driven motifs sustained with piano tunes. An overall sentimental mood befits the song that’s ending the tracklist.

The compositional structures on 13 Shadows are extremely well put together. When you add a fair share of instrumental arrangements and high quality production, you get a truly brilliant release with a magical atmosphere and groovy dynamics. The lyrics are an asset as well - not only do they match the music but carry a greater meaning, most often referring to the subject matter of love.
Denise's vocals (with additional voice effects) don't sound unique when compared to major alt-rock bands led by female singers but they are memorable nevertheless. Denise says she prefers to focus on composing rather than singing. She's probably best at creating moods that effectively interact with listeners’ senses and imagination. Everything on the record sounds absolutely professional, and the sound is definitely modern. The smart use of electronica does not diminish the organic vibe but covers the album’s soundscape with a strong nimbus of fantasy.

Bring 13 Shadows to MTV, Vevo or any other significant music outlets, as this project needs larger exposure, so that headhunters from major labels can give it a spin. I can hear undoubted potential of 13 Shadows and it'd be totally unfair if the band didn't get a shot at fame in the next few years.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 31st, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)




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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

30 August, 2013

Edward Lafuentes - E Magic

Edward Lafuentes - E Magic |self-released, 2013| 4/5

01. C the Sun, 02. Breath of God, 03. Anu, 04. God of War, 05. Mission Ea, 06. On the Bar Rock Star, 07. Don't Wake the Dead, 08. King No Name, 09. Live For Ever, 10. Save Me, 11. N.Y.C.S, 12. Magic


Ed Lafuentes has been working as an engineer and producer at Demon Rose Studio in the Bronx, NYC. During this time, he had a chance to collaborate with a variety of artists such as Pantheon, The Cannibals, Laz Pina (Ill Nino, Shang Hi Fye, Broom Hellda) and Dennis Bell (U2, Lenny Kravitz). As a result, his debut album E Magic shows a heavy metal pedigree. Lafuentes' music has been inspired by Black Sabbath, Slayer, Venom, S.O.D., Candlemass, Alice Cooper or Celtic Frost albums. Still, there's additional sampling, better known to industrial music, mixed into the solid rock sound.

The opening instrumental track "C the Sun" brings a light leitmotif mixed with low tuned bass and slided guitar riffs both enriched with a variety of electronic add-ons. The bass sounds neat and groovy, while the guitars make for a nice contrast with both electronica and drums.
"Breath of God" brings vocals and catchy hooks interlaced with jagged, vibrating guitar riffs. The wall of sound on this track is a result of a skillful combining of guitars, bass and drums. The song is tight and includes memorable arrangements.
The composition of "Anu" leaves space for rhythmic vocals and distorted guitars. Groovy drum beats and bass solidify the track. Since it's quite a long song, the sets of arrangements vary and thus, "Anu" doesn't sound too monothematic. In fact, it sounds like there were at least three musical themes included, each one becoming better developed and more complex as the song progresses.

If you like the heavy and mechanical (yet melodic) vibe of Fear Factory songs with the infamous sound of a drum machine, then "God of War" may be your favourite. Memorable vocal parts and highly pitched, contrasty guitar riffs make it a good track for airplay as well. The vocals seem to be multiplied in a few spots. This technique gives the song an epic, powerful and war-like anthem feel as if the lyrics were sung by a choir of warriors.

"Mission Ea" easily embeds itself in your memory after the first listening. Advancing, pitched guitar riffs with a slightly sentimental vibe make the track sound lighter than it seems to be due to the low tuned, digitally processed arrangements. It's a great track for an action/racing video games since it's instrumental, groovy, hooky, energetic and attractively repetitive.
However, if you need a melodic song which doesn't lack a heavy vibe, then "On the Bar Rock Star" falls into this category. It begins with typical heavy metal riffs, followed by catchy verses almost falling into pop. Yet another wall of sound is supported by the recurring, noisy 'Rock star' vocal phrase. In addition, the truly rocking and fiery mid-part should move everybody, regardless of individual music preferences.

The longest song on the album, "Don't Wake the Dead", begins slowly with a soloing bass and noisy, vibrating guitars. Its mood recalls a lullaby, but not one you may want to sleep to, as the vibe is as haunting as in many Ozzy Osbourne tracks. It's additionally enriched with intriguing electronica and 'crying' guitar riffs.
"King No Name" brings a groovy vibe again, along with repeating, rhythmically spoken verses and screamed choruses. There are a few intriguing, very well composed moments appearing throughout, breaking its seemingly monotone tempo. Then "Live For Ever" comes as another potential hit thanks to the melodic, catchy choruses and tight composition powered by heavy, guitar-driven arrangements. Additional background vocals give it a pop-rock feel, making the song very radio-friendly.

"Save Me" is loaded with very cool beats and techno or even acid house dynamics, on par with the trademark sound of The Prodigy or The Young Gods. The track gets a slightly more lyrical feel later on, eventually returning to the initial dynamic rollercoaster. A hardcore vibe flows out of "N.Y.C.S" thanks to the fast-paced, aggressive drum beats and rapidly shouted lyrics. The bass simply vibrates in the background while the pitched guitar riff gives the song a very cold feel.

The last track, "Magic" seems to be Ed's personal reflection on the subject. It channels Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper's music through the vocals and recurring themes, but also its heavy sound mix of bass, drums and guitars. There are also haunting background samples, illustratively weaving the magical atmosphere throughout the track.

Overall, all twelve songs on this release bring a positive, sensual and nocturnal feel. Several instrumental arrangements (with bits of background vocals sampled here and there) could be instantly deployed in movie trailers, video games or advertisements.
Technically, the rhythm brought by a low tuned bass with noisy, wailing guitars seems to be the most recognizable, key trait of Lafuentes' work on the album. Ed definitely knows how to put his music ideas into conceptual compositions. He keeps the vibe heavy yet mechanical, almost like a Terminator or a tank rolling across the place. Monotony is skillfully avoided through tempo and arrangement changes, but the main theme remains solid in each of the songs. On the downside, a few songs sound too similar to each other. Breaking out of the scheme could bring a slightly fresher feel. Nevertheless, if you like heavy metal music coupled with a modern approach, E Magic will undoubtedly hit the spot for you.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 30th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)




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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

26 August, 2013

13 Shadows - interview (2013)


NINa: For some singers, a clear and strong voice comes as a natural talent, but other people need to take a lot of lessons to train their voices well. What's your experience with singing?

Denise Donahue: I don't really see myself as a singer... more of a composer who happens to sing my own stuff. Singing actually comes with a lot of fear and loathing for me. I've never had any formal vocal training, or informal for that matter. I do the best I can with what I have. If I had any money I would be more than happy to take some lessons!... Hint, please help a poor tortured artist out and buy a song or two! I really focus a lot more on my instrumentation and composition. That's where I feel my strength truly is, and it's also what I most enjoy.

Read more at: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=496

Conducted by Fabryka Music Magazine

21 August, 2013

Xander Demos - interview (2013)


NINa: Guitar shredding has been used in many metal music subgenres, but it can be easily overdone. However, judging by your songs from Guitarcadia, it sounds like you've found the golden mean. What piece of advice could you give to other guitarists who lose themselves in either the technical details or too much passion?

Xander: Always remember that songs are the key in the music industry. Don’t lose sight of the melody and song structure. If you listen to my stuff, there are definite melodies and hooks. You can hum along in between bouts of shredding. The songs have definite verses, bridges, choruses, etc. So, it’s not just me going buck wild and masturbating all over the fretboard. That gets kind of boring. You want to have something that people can listen to and even if they aren’t a shred fan, they can hear the melodies.

Read full interview at http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=495

Conducted by Fabryka Music Magazine

10 August, 2013

Phenagen - Cannon Fodder

Phenagen - Cannon Fodder (song review) |Metastazis Records, Phenagen, 2012| 5/5

Established in 2010, Los Angeles based Phenagen is a project of Phil Glasses (vocals) mixing rock, metal and industrial.
"Cannon Fodder" ends the tracklist of the bands self-titled debut EP released in 2012. For the purpose of Phenagen, Phil completed an all star line-up. The song is supported by experienced guest musicians: Mike Clark (lead guitar, formerly in a famous crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies), Randy Bradbury of punk band Pennywise (bass) and Gary Ferguson (drums) who's better known from Geezer Butler's (GZR) & Gary Moore's bands.

This fruitful collaboration resulted in an excellent track for live performance. "Cannon Fodder" is both powerful and catchy, with groovy arrangements shared between guitar riffs, bass lines, vocals and drum beats. The repeating motifs and war-related lyrics fit perfectly into the linear structure of the song. Knowledgeable listeners will find the track a potential hit from the get-go.

Technically speaking, the composition is smooth and well developed, so it lacks any unexpected flaws. The rhythm is slow enough to make the sound heavy, solid and memorable. Nicely contrasting elements like a low tuned bass and alternatively high pitched and predatory sounding guitar riffs will certainly fill your ears with goodness. Both verses and choruses are unquestionably memorable, so it’s easy to imagine the live audience singing "Mother, I'm on the first line, Remember me forever, they'll turn off the light" along with the vocalist. Finally, Phil's voice is clearly recognizable with angry, dark and passionate tones, befitting hardcore as well as metal music.

Phil openly admits he draws influences from Killing Joke or Einstürzende Neubauten. Industrial samples carefully used in post-production give the song a mechanical, but not too experimental vibe. This sounds in line with the likes of Ministry, Skrew and other authentic industrial rock and industrial metal bands. Overdoing the 'industrial' layer would have killed the rock/metal spirit by limiting the range and impact of organic sounds brought forth by the guitars, bass and drums.

So far, Phenagen has been working on new material. Make sure you don’t miss their next release and live shows. Follow Phenagen on the social networks listed below to receive the newest updates.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, July 26th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)



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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

27 July, 2013

13 Shadows - Descend

13 Shadows - Descend (song review) |self-released, 13 Shadows, 2012| 5/5

13 Shadows is a musical project ran by singer/songwriter, pianist, guitarist and producer Denise Donahue. The New Yorker wrote, arranged and co-produced all the songs on her self-titled debut album released in 2012. Apparently, it is available in 2 versions - with 9 or 10 songs on the tracklist (with "Tangle of Thorns" as a bonus on the longer version) but it depends if you look up Bandcamp or iTunes/Amazon stores. For this review, let’s focus on "Descend".

In the beginning, an excellent mix of a sentimental piano and an organic (wind) instrument will lead you into the song’s atmosphere. The dreamy mood brings an unspoilt mysticism so if you're on the lookout for a background tune for practical purposes, this one may go along well with fantasy themes to illustrate movies, animations, interactive websites as well as audio-books. The song also has an epic feel thanks to its slow tempo and spots of rising tension. Therefore, listening to "Descend" is as pleasurable as watching a calm ocean tide lick the sand off a shore.

The composition is quite flexible, mostly adjusted to the vocals which play a role as major as the piano in the song. Denise’s angelic, crystal clear and peaceful voice immediately attracts the listener’s attention and is definitely her secret weapon. If you like female vocalists who don't growl like Shamaya of Otep but rather bring a more traditional female element into music then you'll definitely love Denise's performance in this track.

The track was labelled as 'gothic' due to its sublime, almost Victorian style. However, some of the effects used for the vocal parts are usually utilized in contemporary pop music, so defining the genre of the song may not be that easy. Regardless of that, it becomes memorable after the very first listening. The repeating phrases "On and on and on I've left these feelings unresolved, On and on and on I kept believing, But I can't repair this broken vow" easily hook into the listener's mind and give "Descend" a big chance at becoming a popular hit.

The song production is of very high quality. It emphasizes the most valuable aspects of the mood, vocals, electronic backgrounds (such as the cold, whistling sound of wind sampled at the end of the track) and piano arrangements.

Undoubtedly, 13 Shadows belong to those DIY bands that should get both the interest and the support of major labels. Denise has done a great job on her own with her music, so increased exposure could improve the album sales while her songs are still fresh.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, July 25th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

This review on Fabryka Magazine: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=493


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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine
13 Shadows: 13shadows

22 July, 2013

Message To The Machine - interview (2013)

Message To The Machine - interview (2013)

NINa: Your music is labelled as industrial for the most part. Have you ever analyzed why industrial musicians as well as fans are fascinated with heavy industry - machines, factories, repetitions, cycles, loneliness, the cold and the noise? What emotions can be expressed through making industrial or experimental noises?

James Orez: It's funny, when I started making music I had no direction, in terms of genre, for what the overall sound would be. I was very unfamiliar with Industrial music, apart from Nine Inch Nails, and I had only heard of Skinny Puppy. My music taste lies more in the metal genre, you could say. I mean, I am a huge fan of Tool and Deftones. So, after I made a few songs, which were dreadful, a bunch of people were calling it Industrial music. So, I did some research and really delved into the Industrial genre.

Full interview: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=492

Interview conducted by Fabryka Music Magazine

19 July, 2013

Message To The Machine - Self-Inflicted

Message To The Machine - Self-Inflicted |CRL Studios, 2013| 4/5

01. Screamer Number Four, 02. I Am Effigy, 03. Your Eyes My Lies, 04. Pariah, 05. Reclaimher, 06. Your Sex, 07. The Desolate Beat Of Tarquin Pain, 08. My Little Psycho, 09. Edens Laboratory, 10. Patiently We Drown, 11. The Engineer, 12. Demon Creeper


The third album of Message To The Machine that was written, performed, mixed, mastered and produced by British musician James Orez brings a lot of experimental electronica mixed with ambient and industrial tunes. The overall sound is also heavier when compared to the Endlessly Copying Ourselves EP released in 2012.

You'll probably notice a specific, hidden duality in most of the songs. It's a result of mixing aggressive, disturbing and noisy arrangements (including vocals) with initially innocent and sweet sounds. Clamorous repetitions are typical for industrial music as they are purposely utilized to mimic either working or broken machines but also heavy industry workers using hammers, drills and other tools. Message To The Machine operates with similar sound effects quite often, giving compositions a noisy vibe. Not only that, James also skilfully utilizes silence as well as dissonances.

"Screamer Number Four" opens with whispers and an arythmic tempo. As the title suggests, you will hear a lot of hard-hitting, hardcore-like vocals yelling the lyrics out, though they are interlaced with infantile voices as well. "I Am Effigy" brings rebellious punk moods mixed with electronic arrangements.
The composition of "Your Eyes My Lies" is based on repetitive arrangements built upon beats and synth driven tunes enriched with alternating aggressive and delicate vocals. Catchy yet complex, the song has the feel of early Nine Inch Nails music. 'Glassy' ringing sounds (as if played on bottles) and irregular beats in a cloud of oneirism characterize "Pariah". Stretched, groaning vocals sound as if James was murmuring a very creepy story to scare you.
"Reclaimher" starts with a quiet vocal part, reminiscent of The Cure songs. Soon after, it's followed by a noisy industrial turmoil in the style of Einstürzende Neubauten. The lyrics are almost declaimed with a voice full of hatred. In addition, you will also hear many cool sound effects and samples within this composition.
"Your Sex" sounds angry but an accented and thus irritating synth leitmotif may be stealing too much of your attention. The song seems to be a bit too long, as well (6:20). A similar remark could be pointed at "My Little Psycho". It's a tad annoying, pushy track which due to numerous repetitions seems to be longer than it actually is (04:11).

"The Desolate Beat Of Tarquin Pain" marks the first of the two ambient tracks on Self-Inflicted, not lacking in industrial flavors. The sound of an irregular heart-beat goes well with buzzy beats and gentle, oriental-ish backgrounds. Sonically rich and full of very well-thought arrangements, it speaks well for James' talent with making experimental ambient music.
The other instrumental song is called "Edens Laboratory". It brings lots of thriller/science-fiction motifs, ripe for use by the movie or video game industry. The dark ambient atmosphere will undoubtedly affect your imagination. In "Patiently We Drown", high quality experimental electronica is characterized by a non-disruptive, pumping tempo and gentle, high tuned piano chords. The vocals sound different here; they are dark and controlled as if you were listening to the famous Vincent Price retelling his eerie experiences.
"The Engineer" does not only include great lyrics (mind the memorable chorus: "I am the only engineer who can rewire"), but also an almost theatrical performance enriched with matching, mechanical music. The atmosphere feels a bit psychotic and delusional.
The closing song, "Demon Creeper", sounds a bit different when compared to the others. The opening, velvety sounding guitars may soothe your senses after the noisy tracklist so far, but the deeper you go into the track, the more of the industrial vibe comes back. You should also pay attention to the excellent mix of levelled guitars and low tuned synths, which comes up when the chorus begins.

James has a good voice (often powered up by filters and effects for the sake of the mechanical mood of his music). He also seems to have good theatrical skills allowing him to perform the songs in an animated way. At times smooth, then unexpectedly rough, he sounds unpredictable and a bit unbalanced on this album. Surely, it's a perfectly planned artistic manifestation and the final result will draw your attention.

These are not easy-listening compositions and will require your brain to focus. According to James, the idea of Self-Inflicted is related to self-doubt and self-loathing due to the reappearance of second-guessing and the fear of losing control (as in "Demon creeper lurking in the darkness, demon creeper trying to control (…) too many words are running through my mind, too many demons are trying to hurt me" /"Demon Creeper"/). Lyrically, the songs speak of frustration arising when false hopes meet sheer reality ("Drowning within our very own lonesome pathetic, apathetic so called lives staring blindly into, mind saturating screens filled with false hope and pre tense" /"Patiently We Drown"/).

A bit of criticism at the end. Some of the lyrics were seemingly written before the music, thus they were adjusted to the musical arrangements. The final result is that the lyrics sound stretched in a few spots ("Demon Creeper", "My Little Psycho").
Secondary, the drum machine sounds too automatic, loud, stiff and basically maintains the same depth in most of the tracks. However, while the beat may hurt you in "Screamer Number Four", "I Am Effigy", "Reclaimher", "The Engineer" or specifically in "My Little Psycho", it works in "Your Eyes My Lies" and "Your Sex" very well.

It'd be great to see a live performance of Message To The Machine if it included a screenplay, unique outfits, maybe some masks and make up too, as known for instance from Nivek Ogre's (Skinny Puppy) shows. Self-Inflicted is a great album to buy if you dig experimental industrial music with screamy vocals and brooding moods.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, July 19th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)



You may also like: Message To The Machine - Endlessly Copying Ourselves EP review.

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

18 July, 2013

UN-reason - interview


Check out this interview with UN-reason band at http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=491

Excerpt:

NINa: Is it more enjoyable when things one desires are difficult to obtain and hold? Does frustration stir up creativity?
Elio: You must work to get good results and when the results come and are good you feel gratified. Instant gratification is fleeting and it is, as the word itself suggests, very short lived. If you work hard to obtain something eventually you will also have built some strong foundation to start working on something else afterwards. The harder you work, the more skills you acquire and the more daring your future projects may become.


Conducted by Fabryka Music Magazine

15 July, 2013

UN-reason - UN-reason

UN-reason - UN-reason |Patetico Recordings, 2012| 5/5

1. A Place Of Truth, 2. Blinks, 3. Run Back, 4. Under, 5. Too Deep, 6. Twisted Metal, 7. Kids Hurting Kids, 8. Our Special Way, 9. Open, 10. This Is Not My Fear, 11. Waves


UN-reason hails from Savona, Italy and was founded in 2010. This relatively new project was formed by experienced musicians who were previously involved in such bands as Twenty One Crows, Pushkins, Fallen Tears, F.E.M. or The Sense.

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.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, July 15th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)



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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

04 July, 2013

SLOWtheIMPACT - Pleasantly Amused

SLOWtheIMPACT - Pleasantly Amused (song review) |self-released, ...and Those We've Left Behind, 2012| 4/5

SLOWtheIMPACT began as a solo project of Steve Cockayne (guitar, vocals) in Portland, OR in 2007. Presently, the band is a quintet - the line-up includes Amy Smith (keyboard/back vocals), Zach Barnum (bass/vocals), Brad Buttram (guitar) and Mark Matocha (drums).
The newly released "Pleasantly Amused" track comes from their 3rd album entitled ...and Those We've Left Behind. It starts off with vocals and bass bringing about the flavour of old school goth music (for instance The Cure).

As for the main theme, "Pleasantly Amused" is a love song. The lyrics talk about missing a partner when spending time away from one another and the desire to meet again. The band shows a lot of experience in handling the subject matter of saving or improving a relationship under such duress. This song may work really well for teenagers and 20-something couples who most often fall into a turbulent love life head-first.

Musically, from the very beginning, the bass builds a solid but dynamic core of the track, enriched with drums and keyboards later on. The bass line sounds simple and quite typical for 80s goth rock music. "Pleasantly Amused" doesn't bring along any dramatic moods, though your ear may detect a bit of impatience or even anxiety. A balanced share of instrumental parts, including peaceful guitars together with lightly accented drums make the whole a rather ear-friendly composition. Repeating arrangements and vocals easy enough to sing along work really well for the track, giving it a strong hit potential. The musicians play their parts very well and Steve's neat voice matches the overall mood of the song. Everything falls into place without stirring unexpected controversies within the song. Furthermore, it’s evident that considerable production, mixing and mastering skill were employed to polish the track, something that’s usually a problem for many self-sufficient bands.

Still, aside all this alternative-pop-rock compositional correctness, "Pleasantly Amused" lacks a bit more of an original approach, a touch of spirit to drag and shake the listener. Since a lot of listeners prefer a familiar sounding vibe, it should not be a big problem in terms of the band's success, though.
The song is as easy-listening as memorable, and one can definitely imagine "Pleasantly Amused" in movie trailers, commercials or popular radio playlists. The length of the track (almost 4 minutes) and its easy to adapt structure (thanks to repetitions) perfectly supports such purposes.

It should be also noted that SLOWtheIMPACT seems to be doing a good promotional job for their new, independently released album. They have an interestingly designed official website and frequently updated social profiles, which you should definitely visit. The song is available for purchase from the majority of popular digital distributors and the band also offers various merchandise in their own store.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, July 4th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine