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26 February, 2013

Alex Von Z - Life's Addiction

Alex Von Z - Life's Addiction (song review) |self-released, Life's Addiction EP, 2012| 4/5

American musician, Alex Von Z belongs to this group of creative Indies who know well, how to draw and prolong fans’ interest. He seems to utilize the new music business model. The year of 2012 looked especially fruitful judging by his discography - Implicate Order EP was released in October and Life's Addiction EP two months later. The newest release includes 3 brand new songs and "Life's Addiction" opens the tracklist.

"Life's Addiction" begins with a drumbeat, dictating the rhythm and preparing the way for some classic hard rock sounding guitar riffs. Bass joins next, cooperating very well. Yet it’s the guitars that are the most vital instruments in this song. You can hear a bit of soloing as well as extended high-note bridges and fills. The core arrangement of this track is repetitive and easy to listen to, but the layers create a composition with 'hit' potential. That being said, it may be a good idea if Alex looked up a suitable TV ad placement or some radio airplay opportunities for the track. His vocals keep up with punk or alt-rock styles and fill the arrangements tightly.
My only complaint applies to a dead drumbeat that sticks out too much in parts of the song. Although, it may not be such a bad thing since other bands I’ve heard have utilized this technique as well.

When it comes to lyrics, "Life's Addiction" speaks of people's compulsive desires and addictions which can be either innocent or life threatening. Alex lists such obsessions as workaholism, video-gaming, Internet and virtual reality, television, sex, stimulants. Also, addictions to pain, gambling, dieting and plastic surgery that mirrors a modern yet unnecessary rush for an ideal beauty. Not only can these dependencies drown an individual but maniacal behaviors can also ruin friendships and families. How to overcome these issues? Let's say wisdom, awakening and will-power could be helpful, just as much as therapy though art and sound... That’s if the music doesn't push an addict into yet another, music-related obsession.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, February 25th, 2013. Proofreading: SanDeE)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

Carved In Ashes - Lupus Homini

Carved In Ashes - Lupus Homini (song review) |self-released, The Drowned Silhuette, 2012| 4/5

Carved In Ashes is a Finnish band from Helsinki formed in 2009. Their musical style can be described as progressive rock or art-rock. So far they've released two EPs - Neversary (2010) and Drowned Silhouette (2012).

The phrase, homo homini lupus comes from the Latin, meaning 'the worst enemy of a human can be another human'. The above is proven when considering political, economic and religious wars observed across the ages, but is also noticeable yet no less harmful on a daily basis. These issues commonly come out of jealousy, greed and competition amongst both individuals and groups of people.

The song title, "Lupus Homini" is a neologism build upon a reference to the above phrase. The track was released on Drowned Silhouette EP and lasts over 8 minutes, an average Progressive track length. The composition not only carries moods originating from Progressive music but also from Gothic and Metal. The reason may be that Carved In Ashes has been influenced by the work of bands such as Katatonia, Riverside, Tool and Anathema. You may also spot references to Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson's music - harmonious yet unpredictable arrangements, enchanting atmospheres but also intensity which grows around the time of bridges and endings.

This intriguing composition doesn't lack contrast however. Groovy bass lines performed by Jaakko Kuusisto along with non-intrusive, well thought drum beats by Lauri Kuussalo stand as the song’s core structure and plays the main role in this composition. Yet they are at times replaced with airy lead riffs and rhythmic background chords brought by guitarist duo, Kimmo Kokki and Tomi Issakainen. This method allows for achieving a dynamic range in which tempo, melody and moods vary but don't interfere with the song structure. It should be also mentioned that keyboard player, Jani Lehtinen put a lot of magic into "Lupus Homini". High-pitched notes sound as freezing as if played on icicles (which were utilized in many 70's jazz tracks) but there are also cold wavy passages within the arrangements.

"Lupus Homini" sounds almost like an instrumental track since the vocal parts have been reduced to a necessary minimum. Juanma Draven both speaks the lyrics and sings them. When he operates at higher notes, his voice recalls Rush's Geddy Lee at times. On the other hand he can also scream, although this adds a dramatic tension to the track rather than making a powerful metal growl.

The song is atmospheric and melodic enough to make you like it after the first listening. At the same time, it was not written with the typical verse and chorus structure. It's an ambitious composition with plenty of layers, perfect for listeners who prefer complexity over monotony.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, February 24th, 2013. Proofreading: SanDeE)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

12 February, 2013

Theia Collides - Last Song

Theia Collides - Last Song (song review) |self-released, single, 2012| 4/5

Theia Collides is an American progressive rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As their bio says, their goal is to "create a lasting impact on the listener with every song, using conviction, high energy and improvisation". The track, "Last Song" shows this a true statement.

To begin with, Theia is the name of a hypothetical body the size of Mars, said to have hit the Earth approximately 4.5 billion years ago (about 30–50 million years after the Solar System began to form). The debris left over created the Moon. Science Fiction and Fantasy references are well known to progressive rock music. However, the best known characteristic is the tempo and time signature changes that feature frequently throughout compositions. This free-form method can be heard in "Last Song" although it's not an experimental track by any means. More so, it brings a classic rock vibe and melodies as well. The composition is multi-layered and the arrangement is rich in variety, but there's still space to breathe fresh air.

It should be noted that the rhythmic section that builds the core song structure cooperates very well. The leading bass line, performed by very skilled musician, Ben Chiarini sounds dense yet it remains mild and organic. This pulsing groove is accented in every part of the song. Drums by Eric Wiegand are balanced and weighed well ensuring they aren’t ahead of the other instruments in the mix. Their soft tone also adds a pacifying atmosphere to the track.
During the verses, Scott V’s guitar sounds delicate while accompanying the bass, drums and vocals. However, the riffs intensity grows within the chorus. You'll hear classic sounding solos as well.

The vocals are the only weak point in this song. They lack conviction. The vocalist and keyboardist, George Stevens sounds under confident with singing technique, especially when shifting between octaves. He does well singing in a tenor range, keeping it bright and interesting. Progressive rock singers quite regularly embrace this style. Unfortunately, he gets a bit out of tune during verses, which were written for a lower and stronger voice in a baritone range. It means that George may need a further vocal training to overcome possible vocal range difficulties.

In conclusion, "Last Song" sounds soothing but carries a rock spirit as well. If you're looking for a non-intrusive track that leaves the room with your imagination, then you should definitely listen to this. There's also a chance of seeing Theia Collides live, as they appear to perform quite frequently.
"Last Song" will be one of the 5 songs on a currently untitled EP, to be released in 2013. Apparently, however, it may not be the 'last' song on the tracklist.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, February 8th, 2013)
This review on Fabryka Music Magazine


Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

05 February, 2013

Evestus - No God EP

Evestus - No God EP |self-released, album, 2012| 4/5

01. Dirty, 02. Voices, 03. The Fall, 04. No God, 05. Sleep Forever

Evestus is an Estonian band founded in 2004 by Ott Evestus. Initially a solo project, Evestus has turned into a four-piece band featuring Latvian drummer girl Tanya, guitarist Jan and HK playing bass and keyboards. No God is the fifth studio release from Evestus and includes five brand new songs.

The opening track titled "Dirty" begins with a synth usually heard in Electro music styles. Slightly distorted bass, drums and lead guitars follow. Additional layers of noise make Evestus sound more Industrial. The vocals, when performed in the same heavy-duty manner, match the arrangements well. The lyrics are dark and sound very imaginative: "To see the smiles on your dirty little mouths while you're crawling all over me - an army of bugs" and thus, they bring up an idea of an artistic video as well.

"Voices" could be bracketed in the Electro-Rock genre as a result of the synth, which accents throughout the entire composition. The band smuggled guitars into the track as well, giving it an edgy tone. These however, are covered with a dense and jumping layer of electronic beats. The song has been illustrated with a high quality video production, which includes various different camera perspectives cut together in a fast paced and interesting montage. To give you a little glimpse - the plot begins with a group of young yuppies, along with some desirable goth/EBM women partying together. A mysterious man sprays gas into their room in order to break in and steal a suitcase. Be sure to visit the Evestus YouTube channel to discover more about this video.

The third song on the album, "The Fall" brings in a Breakbeat-Electronica sound in the vein of The Prodigy, The Crystal Method and Propellerheads. If you listen closely, you will hear symphonic sounds that conjure up violins. On the other hand, there's Big-Beat spiced up with a lot noisy FX that may make this song pleasant for less rock-orientated listeners. There are many instrumental movements in "The Fall" but Ott left room for the vocals, which come in shouted and distorted. It seems also that a soundtrack compilation CD would be a good idea for a better exposure of this track.

"No God" is reminiscent of Marilyn Manson’s music and is presented with psychedelic synth, grooving bass, dirty guitar riffs and haunting vocals. Yet, the song’s mood is mixed. Initially there's melancholy, created by the sound of the piano that opens the song, but you'll also experience many dynamics performed on bass and punk-esque drums. Anger strikes within the choruses as the vocalist contests the existence of a deity, arguing that no god has protected the human race against tragedies: "There is no god. For every miracle you witness my friend there's a disaster and there will never be an end to our fears and our dreams and the hope that they feed so you believe someone else will pick you up from your knees" and "I'm lost but my madness will lead me to the answers I need to know, not to believe in".

The final song on the album could be a perfect soundtrack for a big budget movie, however Evestus have already illustrated this track with a meaningful video in a black & white production style. "Sleep Forever" begins with a subtle piano joined by cold background samples, synth and broken drum beats. This quite innocent mood continues for almost 3 minutes until it dramatically changes. Nostalgic atmosphere turns into a fast ride with rhythmic drumbeats, pitched up synth and yelled vocals.

On a side note, the lyrics of "Sleep Forever" may refer to Escapism, a behavior resulting from avoiding problems and the reality of living a struggled day-to-day existence. An individual who becomes frustrated with too many overwhelming issues, locks himself in an alternative world built upon either activity or the opposite, passivity. In this case, the lyrics dwell on escaping into sleep - either into an everlasting dream world or more presumably, a suicide: "I don't want to wake up ever, I just want to sleep forever, let me leave this cold and clever world - don't want to be here".

Any day can be a good day to launch a new music release. Nonetheless, Evestus did it on 12/21/2012 - the fearful date on the Mayan Calendar supposed to mark 'the end of the world', and frequently brought up by the media last year. Happily, not only have we survived but we’ve also received an interesting new EP.

No God is available from most of major digital distributors and also as a digi-pack CD, limited to only 300 numbered copies. It's also worth mentioning that Evestus is going to release a new album in 2013 which may be followed by a series of music video singles next.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, February 4th, 2013. Proofreading: SanDeE)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine