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30 December, 2015

Ghost in the Machine - interview 2015

Interview with: Ghost in the Machine (December 2015)

NINa: You've successfully submitted a number of your songs for use in TV and games. What's the toughest part of licensing music? What kind of intellectual property risks should other musicians be aware of if they wish to submit their tracks for such placements?

GITM: The toughest part of licensing music is understanding what the customer really needs. Sure, it is hard to make connections to even have the opportunity to license music. But there are lots of publishing venues now where most bands can get a shot. But even once you have a foot in the door, there are many challenges to accurate communication with the customer. We have learned that how a musician looks at a song is very different from someone who wants to license it. Terminology is different ideas about what the music, mood or feel means is different. Sometimes they won't be able to articulate or express what they really want… you'll get the infamous "they'll know it when they hear it". 

Source & full interview at

Interview by Fabryka Music Magazine

Ghost in the Machine - Broken from Binary

Ghost in the Machine - Broken from Binary |self-released, 2015| 5/5 industrial rock, metal, pop, electronic

1. To Be Zero, 2. Crazy, 3. Estranged, 4. Lost, 5. What It Is, 6. Perfection, 7. Today is the Day, 8. Memories, 9. Hammers, 10. Samurai, 11. American Hero, 12. Feedback, 13. Drive, 14. Pressure (Billy Joel cover), 15. Time to Go Gently

The people behind Broken from Binary are a duo based in Florida, using the Ghost in the Machine moniker since 1996. We know them only by their stage names: Face (bass, programming, vocals) and C4 (vocals, guitar, programming).
The newest GITM's album brings over an hour of music that should definitely be checked out by fans of catchy cutting-edge industrial rock, metal and pop - but avid video gamers, too. Purists however, need to open their minds to enjoy the surprising concept better. The arrangements don't often repeat within a composition, but veer off into unexpected directions, as if based on bridges mostly rather than a traditional rock song structure. Therefore, expect your ears and brainwaves to be challenged frequently with this release. Here comes music dripping with seriousness, intelligence, groove, and sense of humor - all mixed together.

The album opener, 'To Be Zero', brings a lot of industrial rock references (think Gravity Kills and Die Krupps thanks to groovy bass lines and slightly mean yet seductive vocals as found in PIG's music), but that’s not all. The chorus includes a complete mood change - a nostalgic pop line you'd probably never expect to hear in a track based mostly on guitars & sampling. Once the chorus passes over, the heavy drumming gets back into the limelight.

'Crazy' and 'Drive' are comparable, since not only are they the two most coherent songs on the album overall, but also very rhythmic, even danceable. The arrangements in 'Crazy' are very well written, operating within a tight space for every instrument and vocals. The mood and tempo change at times to avoid repetitive monotony. 'Drive’' brings the industrial metal feel in vein of Rob Zombie's hit songs. The bass, guitars, and drums deliver pleasant heaviness and collaborate very well. Vocals and synths bring melodious lines in the chorus. Both tracks are potential hits, great for headbanging and stomping, and thus industrial/goth radio & dancefloor-friendly.
'Hammers' makes for a good match with the two aforementioned songs, but it adds sugared pop melodies and less tense arrangements.

'Estranged' and 'Samurai' let listeners take a break from high energy tracks thanks to a much slower tempo. The guitars are still heavy in 'Estranged' but the track seems to be mostly written to underline the lyrical content of the song. It sounds truly memorable with its anthem-esque vibe.

'Samurai' brings a nostalgic yet romantic feel. The lyrics tell a short dramatic story of an iconic Japanese warrior and his beloved woman who was killed due to a stealth attack while he was winning a war. Vocals sound extremely radio-friendly but the overall arrangements are not deprived of heavier moments. When you hear the ending verse: 'Now I pray for her' - James Hetfield's characteristic accent may come to mind.
The last track, 'Time to Go Gently', also brings a more delicate, almost a lullaby-like vibe - at least at start. Since GITM excels at musical surprises, the arrangements begin getting heavier in the second, then even more intense in the third part of the song - thanks to the increased tempo, the loud drum beat, and the imposition of angry, hateful vocals.

'Lost' brings a distinctive melodic line and mixes heavy and soft tunes. The arrangements fit perfectly into the overall composition, carrying a danceable, electro-music feel at times. Despite such repetitions, there are plenty of interesting irregularities to keep the track fresh for your ears.

'Today Is The Day' shows a skillful mix of alt-metal and electro sounds, through the nicely down-tuned guitar riffs with melodic choruses. The composition is somewhat complex and offers plenty of space for many different arrangements that don't interfere with the original leitmotif.

When 'What It Is' starts off with its synth lines, experienced listeners may second-guess what’s coming next - the song is going to explode with rhythm any second now. Surely enough, it does bring a lively groove and a lot of elements straight from pop. There's a big dose of fun as well, with additional gap fillers such as rock riffs or even a flute. It sounds like a great track for an anime, for listeners of all ages, ranging from little children to grey-haired elders.

In a similar fashion, 'Perfection' includes a plentiful dose of techno & EBM dynamics. Fans of KMFDM will feel at home thanks to a well known vocal effect and the method of aligning vocals with the beat. There's a great balance between verses and choruses - each appear at the right moment. This purely electronic song is another potential hit on the album.

'American Hero' also qualifies for that, thanks to its pop-disco rhythm and sound effects. It is a '2-in-1' composition though, built upon two matching parts which are then separated with a bit of silence halfway through the track. It may turn out to be popular in the movie or gaming industries thanks to its beat driven, memorable choruses.

GITM's original music is perhaps best represented by 'Memories'. It's a guitar driven track which is built upon a fast but not monotonous rhythm, melodious arrangements, and a dominating drum beat. On top of that, it clearly proves that not only can these musicians write twisted yet mature compositions but also apply a specific instrumentation through their craft. Vocals, bass and drums are such as mostly heard in metal music. The rhythm guitars match rock, whereas background synths are usually heard in pop and electro.

With so many songs on the tracklist it’s obvious that any smart band in a similar situation would challenge themselves to come up with a stand-out composition. Thus, the standard and the modern meet in 'Feedback'. At first, a classic hard rock reference (think Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd) may come to mind - GITM may have even used a Hammond organ in this one. Then, all of a sudden, a digitally beefed-up drum beat and modern rock/alt-metal vocals arrive. Fans of Nine Inch Nails won't go wrong with this track either, when they hear the unexpectedly fitting lines: 'Nothing, nothing, nothing will get me to testify / No way, no way, no way that you'll get me to lie'. This, along with characteristic guitar riffs and bass lines make for an unmistakable tribute to Trent Reznor's 90s music. The instrumental versatility, slow but still rocking tempo, and overall professional production make 'Feedback' an extremely memorable track.

Finally, a cover song. GITM have chosen 'Pressure' by Billy Joel, however their version is rather a close cousin of Joel's original despite the addition of a digitally improved beat, a bit of sampling and heavier guitars. It would be awesome to watch a smart video single accompanying this cover, that pointed out contemporary social pressures resulting in fear and frantic overreaction.

Broken from Binary is a well-thought out, masterfully executed, and highly entertaining cross-genre mash-up. Face and C4, blend several and typical sound effects or arrangements borrowed from trivial urban pop, chunky industrial dynamics, or vintage hard rock like true alchemists. The duo don't let themselves go astray in spite of utilizing a wide variety of different musical options, because their compositions are based on steady motifs. This technique remains the band's 'specialty of the house', whether it is an attempt to challenge their own song-writing skills, to please multi-subculture listeners, or to have ready-made arrangements for various commercial uses (ads, jingles, TV shows, video games, etc.) In fact, GITM have already successfully submitted music for a variety of major TV networks, brands and independent films.
The album's excellent audio production and mastering indicate that these musicians not only write and sell their music successfully, but can also provide other professional, studio-related services.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, December 22nd, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)


Interview with GITM - read here

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Buy on: Bandcamp | CDBaby | iTunes | Amazon

Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

28 December, 2015

Larry Leadfoot - Hellxotica

Larry Leadfoot - Hellxotica |self-released, 2015| 4/5

1. Leviathan, 2. Discarnate (War Planet), 3. Psychological Warfare, 4. SWAB, 5. Hellxotica

In Australia, where the band comes from, seasonal wildfires are hard to control. And such is Larry Leadfoot's music on their debut EP - once ignited, the musicians try to suppress the flames through dousing them with more fuel. The audible influences stretch between djent, prog, death metal, and grindcore, since the musicians are fans of Strapping Young Lad, Meshuggah, Mr. Bungle, Death, King Diamond, Slayer, and John Zorn amongst many other established names. Tension and thrills are dominant in most of the five songs present on this EP - expect a lot of excitement.

'Leviathan' opens the EP with darkness and gravity. Knotty and down-tuned guitar riffs are skillfully mixed with drum beats. Growled vocals sound murky, and are a bit on the noisy side, but are actually not present too much throughout the track. By the end of this song (and the whole release), it becomes clear that the material has been written to smash listeners to pieces with instrumentation rather than vocal parts. The arrangements sound steady, somewhat hypnotic when the tempo slows down and guitars start rattling in the background, yet they do not repeat often. All this diversity and additional sound effects here intrigue the ear to discover what’s next.

The only entirely instrumental composition, 'Discarnate (War Planet)' starts on a buzzy, heavy and slowly note. Think of Godflesh with its weariness but also everything else that sludge can offer. The song brings a very dark, cinematic atmosphere, so it instantly triggers one’s imagination. Upon reaching the middle of the song, the music goes for a 'binary' flavor, as if becoming further disintegrated digitally. This, in turn, leads to a sudden end.

The intro to 'Psychological Warfare' uses a slow blend of bass, down-tuned guitar and contrasting high-pitched riffage, while the accompanying drum beat is distinctive and fast. Think of arrangements heard in canon black or death metal tracks where darkness and fire prevail. The vocals sound as if coming from the deep pits down below - hidden, growled, tormented, and screamy at times. The wall of sound assaults the ears though a tightly packed guitars-drums cannonade. The band surely know how to control the mood through slowing down or speeding up.

'SWAB' is like a raging fiery tornado on the brink of releasing its compressed tension. The expertly chosen diversity of arrangements plays a significant role here. Drumming and down-tuned, chunky guitars are accented first, while a contrasting rhythm guitar riff along with soloing are enriching the background. There are high-speed flights and stopovers, as well. The vocals are based on a steady leitmotif utilizing deep growls and screams - but again, sound as if coming from beneath the surface. The tempo changes are quite unexpected but they allow you to adjust to them comfortably. And just when you expect all that diabolical atmosphere to end, the arrangements and rhythm take a different turn, pushing into another hell-gate. The band add more sonic fuel in parts where the flames need to be ignited - to suck in and then purge your soul through your ears. The trio make the most of their instruments here and perhaps reach the maximum power possible. This track, along with 'Psychological Warfare' may be the best representation of Larry Leadfoot's song writing and performance skills at this stage.

'Hellxotica' begins noisily, a manifest of the in-your-face method. The song takes you to a battlefield where instruments fight one another. Mad drumming meets unpredictable arrangements brought by guitars and bass - faster, louder, more intense each time. A bit of the pent-up tension is released by the end of the EP, finishing on a slower, droning, and fading-out note.

Larry Leadfoot’s crew are very skilled and cooperate dynamically. It's a pure joy to hear them play together, but also let your ear follow individual instrumentation paths. The band was formed in Sydney in 2011, but Aaron White (guitars, bass) and Nick Parkinson (drums) have been friends since their childhood years. They met Tama Makiiti (vocals) at an audio college several years later. Larry Leadfoot plays shows in Australia, making the best of their hard-hitting music through live application.

On the technical side, instrumental parts have definitely been prioritised - they are produced and mastered very well. Vocals seem to have secondary focus, yet they could have benefitted from improved loudness and depth to complement overall production quality. It is worth noting that Hellxotica was mixed and mastered by Jocke Skog who is best known for his involvement with Clawfinger.

For the purpose of this review, the music was streamed directly from Bandcamp. Hopefully the high quality downloads you can purchase through the band's online store sound better.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, December 23rd, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

18 December, 2015

Interview with Ghost Embrace (2015)

NINa: You own Hyperthreat Sound - a professional recording studio in Denver, CO. Nevertheless, you've decided to travel to NYC and then Vancouver to seek other professionals’ (Ten Jenson's and Randy Staub's, respectively) experience on the matter of mastering and production. Was it a smooth cooperation? What technical and interpersonal requirements did you have? Finally, what new things have you learned in the process?

One of my engineers suggest Randy Staub, and when I looked up his discography, I noticed he had mixed one of my favorite records. Evanescence latest release, was one of my musical addictions. I worked out to it every day for a year, and I am madly in love with that production. So it was a no brainer that I wanted Randy to mix the record. I had my lawyer contact him to see if it was even within the scope of my budget and if he would be interested. Randy only works on independent projects he personally likes, so when we got the thumbs up, I was very excited.

Full interview at

Interview by Fabryka Music Magazine

Ghost Embrace - Quantum Heart

Ghost Embrace - Quantum Heart |self-released, 2015| 5/5 metal, rock, jazz

1. Alone Again, 2. Neon, 3. Heartbeat, 4. Closing In, 5. Catch Me, 6. Remember, 7. People, 8. Still Here, 9. Quantum Theory, 10. Question of Faith, 11. Pirates, 12. School Yard

After a year in the making and getting together the best matching line-up, the latest (second) album of Colorado based Ghost Embrace has finally arrived.

The band is led by multi-talented vocalist, song writer and producer Annette Freeman. Morgan Rose who is best known as the founding member of Sevendust played drums. The bass player, Mario Pagliarulo, has toured and recorded with Serj Tankian (System of a Down) and Larry LaLonde (Primus) amongst others. There are also two skilled guitar players - Nema Sobhani and Chance Gallagher. Orchestration and piano arrangements were created by virtuoso Eric Moon who also worked with Victor Wooten, Nina Hagen, and Bjork. A line-up like this definitely helps with delivering a massive final result, so let's take a closer look at what this collaboration brings.

'Alone Again', the album opener, already suggests a possibility that Quantum Heart's essence relies on rhythmic melodies. There's the symphonic metal feel thanks to juicy orchestration, but also heavy textures brought by the guitar-bass-drums trio. Annette demonstrates a strong, brassy vocal and great interpretative skills. Her lyrics match with the arrangements and overall composition very well. A distinctive symphonic part which can be associated with movies set in The Middle Ages remains in the memory long after the song is over, but it's worth noting that the track ends on a heavier note.

In contrast, 'Neon' brings groovy, smooth jazz warmth with faster metal drumming, a pulsing bass line and lively rock soloing. Annette thrills with a predatory aggression in her voice, then it washes all away like an ocean wave leaving a beach. The instrumental parts and backup singers' voices play an important role here although the main vocals stand out - regardless of that, the songs keeps its balance perfectly.

A distinctive groove begins 'Heartbeat', along with a short lyrical verse, quickly followed by a chorus. This motif may suggest that the song is either short and repetitive or that its structural complexity may develop further. You'll discover the truth after a bit of listening. The melody is crucial here, making 'Heartbeat' a highly memorable, radio-orientated track.

'Closing In' sounds like a song to spend an evening with, thanks to its peaceful, repeating patterns. This is yet another jazz & soul based composition on this album, with medium tempo, a warm rhythm and a harmonious melodic flow. The arrangements here should let listeners relax in any environment, but perhaps are best experienced during a rainy night.

Ghost Embrace won't let you fall asleep yet, however. 'Catch Me' obviously sounds like a catchy hit thanks to its graded melodies and uplifting energy, making it another song on this album strongly recommended for radio play. It provides a tight, proportional mix between symphonic metal and pop/rock - definitely something for fans of Lacuna Coil, who may feel delighted upon discovering this particular track. Annette's voice is used here as an additional instrument, giving the composition a comprehensive and balanced sound.

Gentle, peaceful piano sounds in the intro of 'Remember' bring up a fairy tale image of delicate snowflakes falling during a winter evening. The entire instrumentation here deserves applause thanks to the compositional maturity, offering Annette's voice a desirable background. The song is pleasing to the ear, and its dynamics don't distract. An additional solo guitar makes for a classy enhancement, and is placed in the right spot. The mood is nostalgic and romantic, already indicating the song's message - a romance is over but it's alive in the lovers' memories.

'People' brings a social vibe since its title and introductory motif already suggest the best venue to play it. Imagine a Friday's night spent in a stylish music club, drifts of cigarette smoke coming from the shady corners, subdued conversations with individual bursts of low masculine or high feminine laughs - flirt and relaxation in the air. A pianist soloing on a small, intimately looking stage, eventually joined by the full band, fronted by the singer and supported by backup singers who gently swing to the rhythm of the song. People come out to dance once they are encouraged by the dynamics of the unfolding rock'n'roll tune. The drummer and bassist have steady parts to perform here, while the guitarist adds a quick solo on the side.

Contrary to its predecessor on the album, 'Still Here' opens with metal heaviness along with a progressive melodic line. Bass and drums are emphasized and rise up to the level of the vocals. The lively tone of the guitar may enchant you, together with the overall tight dynamic range. 'Still Here' could also be considered for use in advertising or media (for vehicles, travelling, music-related gadgets etc.) thanks to its strong, positive vibe and a memorable melody.

'Quantum Theory' is the only entirely instrumental composition on the album. Delicate electronica meets almost ambient-esque arrangements here, with traces of a rhythm that could make a ballerina dance. The song was written by Chance Gallagher who also played on a single guitar.

The founder of Ghost Embrace's must have an awesome musical empathy, since it let's her adjust own songs to the general vibe of certain genres along with types of instruments used. 'Question of Faith' is entirely based on an acoustic guitar along with the ethereal sounds of a keyboard, both often heard in Christian music, even though the song doesn't necessarily refer to religion but rather faith overall. Vocals are equally matching through their tender yet distant tone.

When you see a title such as 'Pirates' you may suspect the song is going to sound dark, intense or at least very dynamic. Instead, you get a lot of sweetness and a positive impression. Judging by the melody, it is a good follow up to 'Question of Faith' but when compared, 'Pirates' sounds more epic thanks to its running tempo and arrangements spread within the composition. The instruments build the song's steady core, but then vocals and guitar riffs reach higher tones, dispersing the melody beyond the beat delineated by the rhythm section.

According to Annette, 'School Yard' was the most difficult song to finish due to her busy schedule - vocals were put together with music on the plane to Vancouver. Nevertheless, the song sounds solid and energetic. It also has a dominating yet easy-going feel thanks to jazz fusion elements such as repetitive background choirs which support boldly performed vocals, a bit of guitar soloing, then lots of cymbals and piano play, too. Moreover, Annette's joyful laugh finishing the song may suggest that making 'School Yard' was actually fun.

There's evident stability and maturity found in the music of Ghost Embrace. Each of these twelve relatively short songs brings a different yet coherent vibe, mostly thanks to Annette Freeman's voice. Their sound is strong, distinctive, recognizable, and can bring both nostalgic and rapacious tones with equal agility. If you are familiar with the band's self-titled debut however, also recorded with a different line-up, you'll have some idea what to expect - Ghost Embrace loves jazzy groove but doesn't shy away from rock and metal heaviness. It doesn't mean that the band have already established their 'sound', considering the various guest musicians on each of the albums. Therefore, it will be interesting to track the direction of the band's future endeavors.

On the engineering side, Quantum Heart was mixed by Randy Staub (Warehouse Studio, Vancouver) who worked with all-star bands like U2, Motley Crew, or Alice in Chains. Mastering was provided by Ted Jensen (Sterling Sound, New York), whose name also rings a bell when you look up albums by The Alan Parsons Project, Billy Joel, Foreigner, and RATT, amongst others.

Clearly, lots of hard work and financial investment have been put into the making of this album, so send your positive feedback the band's way once you get it, to make sure you gratify these professional musicians' effort. A must-have 2015 release.

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

Interview with Ghost Embrace - read here

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Buy on: Official store | CDBaby

Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

18 November, 2015

Gus McArthur EP review

Gus McArthur - Gus McArthur |Evolution Square Records, 2015| 5/5 metal/hard rock

1. Good Evening, 2. Overlord, 3. Slaves Of The North Sea, 4. Succubus

It seems that Gus McArthur belongs to the group of recently created metal bands joining the music scene with proper preparation. They have met all known requirements that help a reliable artist become noticed in the sea of new bands quickly. Firstly, they have a great acoustic potential created by successful song writing and high performance skills. Secondly, they rely on a well established belief in their sound and talents alone for the initiation of their career, instead of super-duper outfits or an army of stylists hired for promotional purposes. Such a natural, organic band can be trusted much more easily than something more akin to a "product".

There is a diversity of moods and melodies brought by this self-titled EP, so the chances are low that you could get bored during its running time of 22 minutes. These tunes bring novelty to the fold of well known, mostly metal subgenres. Their refreshing new style is based on an intelligent mix of various influences together with a solid carving of the band's own sound definition.

The EP opens with "Good Evening", presenting sweet and innocent melodies from the beginning, in contrast to what metal music usually offers. Initially, the track is kept in a lyrical pop-rock style, but don't let yourself be fooled. The vocals along with increased riff and drum dynamics announce that something edgy may be coming next. There are strong hard rock influences in the choruses and a return to the opening, sugary style in verses. You'll stay with the band when you hear their evergreen, Santana-esque guitar riffs at the end here.
Gus McArthur have released a video for this track and possibly destroyed all expectations. If you had already visualised the audio on your own, you could be forgiven for placing these guys on a big stage, covered by blasting lights, in typical shredding poses reminiscent of Van Halen or Megadeth. In reality, you get a deep green cornfield under a blue sky and you'll watch Gus McArthur's musicians passing through, wearing totally ordinary clothes (there’s even a Star Wars T-shirt!) and black & white masks. You'll then realize that besides the band's ironical sense of humor, their musical talent shines through on its own, so they need no fireworks or masquerades to attract listeners to their music.

"Overlord" starts off as an in-your-face cannonade of sounds which also sticks closely to the style of hard rock through fast paced guitar riffs, drums, and bass. Vocals take on a classical hard rock and power metal direction, then switch to a more modern tuning. This song is about WWII soldiers who fought and died during the D-Day (also known as Operation Overlord). Indeed, said riffs stitch the composition like bullets released from a machine gun. The rhythm section works very nicely together, always in position to enrich the listening experience, instead of sabotaging each other. The band doesn't shy away from borrowing from hip-hop music, either. Since there are two vocalists in the band, this time you'll hear Gus performing spoken word during a part of the track where arrangements go to the background and serve to highlight lyrics. And again, everything fits together very well, thanks to the overpowering rhythm.

A victorious, cinematic theme opens "Slaves Of The North Sea" with a classical feel. It is then followed by fast paced, tight guitar riffs, a thrilling drum beat and a muezzin's prayer mixed together. It gives the impression that Gus McArthur might have been inspired by some of Ministry's music here, though a careful listener will also spot acoustic influences derived from progressive rock later on in the song. The tempo accelerates and the composition evolves into maturity by taking various, sometimes unexpected turns, surprising listeners on many occasions. Honan's vocals sound expressive and well controlled. The extensive skill of all musicians (Honan "The Destroyer" - guitar and vocals, Gus "The Hater" - vocals/spoken words, Jake "The Duke" - bass) can be heard in this track. Not only do they showcase an excellent collaboration within the collective, but also their own individual skills. "Slaves Of The North Sea" is another song on this EP with a 'military' background, and the theme is carried by accompanying SFX (the whizzing of falling bombs and people's screams) at the end of the composition.

The last song, "Succubus", opens with another thought-provoking and moody intro. It is then followed by arrangements which thematically oscillate between 70's progressive rock and 80's metal. The chorus sounds as if dedicated to Megadeth, due to melodious vocals - but there's no cheesiness about that, since it's performed very skillfully. Honan's riffs sound vital, clean and are performed extremely well technically. Drums and bass kick each other to run faster, or stop for the moment when the guitar wants to talk solo. "Succubus" is a potential hit waiting for all those listeners who enjoy both harmony and gradation of said arrangements. Other metal fans will definitely enjoy headbanging to an irresistible rhythm.

It should be noted that these Californian musicians keep a strong grip on the song writing process so neither do arrangements slip away nor are any of the elements misplaced. Even if the instrumental parts leave a bit of a space, the vocals fit in the gaps as smoothly as the only matching piece of a puzzle. Moreover, the trio's work is enriched by Alex Venders' excellent drumming - he's an Italian session & touring musician, who has worked with many other bands.

Finally, the audio quality of this EP (mastering and production) is exceptional. You can clearly hear every separate instrumental track along with the vocals, so you can easily switch your focus between them while listening to any of the songs present on the release. If you listen even closer, you'll soon discover that these compositions should work extremely well also as 'instrumental only' versions. Still Honan’s memorable and well-employed vocals complete these songs in their entirety by tying all and any loose ends.

Overall, true talent in connection with hard work pays off sooner or later - so Gus McArthur should continue sticking to their goals and never feel discouraged. Their live performances should be powerful enough to carry the vibe of the songs they recorded in the studio. Hopefully they will not make us wait for another EP or full album too long.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, November 18th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

03 November, 2015

DMK - Going Under

DMK - Going Under (song review) |self-released, Going Under, 2015| 5/5

Connecting various types of art takes the most expressive turn when musicians get access to the right tools to picture their compositions, along with storytelling through lyrics, in the form of a music video. Darice M. Kannon however, aside of her musical interests and holding two degrees (in business and paralegal), also enjoys writing stories. She formed DMK and ventured deeper, to not only add visuals to her music but first and foremost, to illustrate her novel entitled Condemned (due to be published in 2016) with a matching soundtrack of her own making. This lead to releasing the "Going Under" single in early 2015 together with a supporting video.

DMK's musical inspirations range from electronic to guitar driven (e.g. Trent Reznor, Papa Roach, Bastille, Breaking Benjamin, Coldplay, Lacuna Coil) and such is her music. "Going Under" is split between two contrasting yet surprisingly matching styles. The song's core is built upon a variety of electronic beats found in techno, hip hop, and drum'n'bass, with their slow paced but obviously catchy dynamics. The vocals, on the other hand, come in a classical, operatic style.
Based in Los Angeles, Darice has been a professional vocalist and live performer across the country in cover and original groups between 1989 to 2005 - and her experience definitely shows. Her voice immediately grabs your attention - it's mature, crystal clear, with a thrilling timbre. She has great control of her vocal abilities - she can sail the waves of both high and low tones with cool professionalism.

This unusual mix of modern and symphonic attributes gives the song a theatrical feel and puts it a bit ahead of its time, perhaps. "Going Under" may either get your attention right away or grow on you with time, but it’s surely hard to dismiss or skip. Musical purists might be confused at first, but after a few listens, they will find it extremely memorable. In addition, the sound quality is very pleasing here. It often becomes a challenge for indie musicians to come up with high quality audio, so James Pequignot (involved with mastering) did a great service for DMK.

Darice definitely brings forth a novel sound here which should get her noticed in the sea of new bands. In fact, illustrating poetry, novels, and other works of creative writing with soundtracks may become a new music business model very soon. Not only would it be gratifying for musicians, but also engaging across three demographics - the listeners, the readers, and those who combine these inspiring activities, enriching their own artistic experience.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, November 3rd, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

13 October, 2015

Dogmachine - Futuristic Urban Cult

Dogmachine - Futuristic Urban Cult |self-released, 1997/2015| 4/5 industrial rock metal

1. The Killer Inside, 2. Adrenalin, 3. Disorder, 4. Wetware, 5. Fetish, 6. Bastard Son, 7. Machinehead, 8. Endymion, 9. N.F.F., 10. Love Is A Disease, 11. Shadows Of The Abyss, 12. Rock Pig, 13. Headwound, 14. Scream Of Croetious

Stereotypically, Australia is a country where you'd rather expect to find organic, folk or easy-listening electronic music courtesy of Icehouse or Kylie Minogue, rather than industrial - unlike in the usually noisy regions of Europe or US. Of course, Australians have the mining industry digging in Aboriginal sacred sites and port harbours with their specific acoustic atmosphere, but a vast part of the land doesn't inspire creating cacophony. Yet there have been several bands utilizing industrial noises which have received an international recognition such as S.P.K. or Foetus.

Dogmachine is an industrial band from Brisbane founded in 1993 by Kraig Wilson and Mark Finch. They had their music videos for "Fetish" and "Headwound" aired on MTV during the 1990s, the station's best years. They toured with Atari Teenage Riot, White Zombie, Pitchshifter, Pop Will Eat Itself, Snog, and Insurge amongst others. However, the band was put on hiatus after releasing their Futuristic Urban Cult full-length album - the only in their so far discography (1997). When Pop Will Eat Itself toured Australia again and played in Brisbane in 2014, Dogmachine was reformed to support the PWEI's event.

The digital version of Futuristic Urban Cult that you can buy these days is a re-release of the original album. It has 14 songs on the tracklist and begins with "The Killer Inside" - a murderer's confession supported by steel factory-like bursts and beats. A short techno synth sequence joins next and is followed by guitar riffs kept in then trendy metal-esque arrangement mixed with pulsating synths. The song obviously brings a lot of influences derived from punk, industrial, techno, rock, and metal.

The beginning of "Adrenalin" recalls an 8-bit game's laser shooting SFX that is then combined with punching yet bubbly synths. The arrangements are mostly built upon sound effects that the entire track is full of. After getting the 'let's go', the tempo accelerates to catch up with the pace typically offered by speed metal. If you recognized any guitar riffs here, your ears didn't mislead you - they were digitized. Vocals are distorted and quite silent. The track brings the vibe of simplistic 90s industrial rock mixed with cyberpunk and therefore, may melt a few hearts of the older generation industrial music listeners.

We're entering the factory again at the beginning of "Disorder", where the metallic hammer beat dictates the rhythm. Messy, 'disordered' guitars join next and break that harsh industrial atmosphere apart by adding more lively dynamics. Simple, repetitive riffs are quite typical for the 90s decade and may be found in other industrial bands' compositions. The lyrics are rhythmically recited, because industrial songwriting often treats the human voice as yet another device, rather than letting it preserve its natural timbre.

"Wetware" is a noisy track which may be appreciated by die hard industrial music fans thanks to its knotty composition filled with simple arrangements. It begins with a buzz and sound distortions followed by short and looped guitar riffs. The instruments keep communicating in their own secret language, while male vocals whisper and groan for 'more'. The guitar riff becomes heavier and more dominating at times, but is then quickly pushed away by dry beats.

As mentioned before, "Fetish" was featured on MTV. It is a song in vein of Atari Teenage Riot, with feisty female vocals and a speedy tempo built upon beats and a looped guitar riff. There's also a cyberpunk accent with an old-school digitized computer voice commanding to 'enter the data now'.

A transformed bass guitar sound along with a vibrating riff open the following track, "Bastard Son". It sounds very rhythmic, concrete, and probably most organic from all the songs so far present on the album. A simple arrangement reoccurs like a smashing hammer's stroke through its entire length. The spoken lyrics match it very well, leaving some space between the instrumental and vocal parts, and avoiding excessive density.

"Are you human? You are simply a machine." This statement seemingly borrowed from Robocop, opens "Machinehead". It is followed by a suggestive mix of SFX once again reminiscent of old 8-bit video games. The drum beat and down-tuned guitars join next to take this initially old-school atmosphere into a hellish underground. The arrangements are quite tight and complex, making it another non-easy listening yet classically industrial track.

"Endymion" opens with the voice of a weeping woman and a short speech delivered by a man in one of Eastern European languages. The atmosphere turns tense through slow, ritualistic drum beats dealing their sound in unison with looped synths. A sense of panic goes alive through a crowd’s screams, the chorus in the song. Such a doomed mood may illustrate some kind of an ultimate, inevitable judgment day.

Another 90s industrial metal tune is brought with "N.F.F". This song's topic refers to Nazis so you get a sample of Hitler's voice. The song keeps a military mood delivered by harsh bass lines and a lot of drumming. The repetitive vocals may embed "N.F.F." deeply in your memory.

The following "Love Is A Disease" is a short and noisy, beat-driven track with an experimental vibe and science fiction SFX wheezes. The song title is repeated over and over as the sole line of the lyrics.

When you hear "Shadows Of The Abyss", you'll notice it is kept in a completely different mood when compared to all the other tracks on the album. The atmosphere is creepy, 'vampirish' and based on graded synth arrangements and female vocals inviting comparisons with Goth music.

"Rock Pig" sounds very complex from the very beginning, contrary to the title. It offers a dirty, distorted, garage sound in the vein of 80s hardcore bands. The arrangements written for drums, bass and guitars dominate here, while vocals are aggressively spoken as accompaniment. The overall mood makes it a good interlude for the next track, "Headwound", available as a single on many CD compilations. The dynamic, in-your-face intro brings looped chunky guitars, occasionally sprayed with industrial noises, pushy drumming, a spiral-esque rhythm, some police sirens, and the feverish mood of a street riot. "Headwound" could also illustrate three attributes of modern life that make your head spin - constant rush, stress and pressure.

The ultimate track, "Scream Of Croetious", brings a murky cinematic vibe that could easily act as a soundtrack for a post-apocalyptic short movie. Background droning is mixed with a piano, spoken lyrics, a man's screams and a crying baby. This mix is followed by a large scale explosion, similar to that of a nuke or a volcano. Later, guided by a carefully selected batch of sounds, listeners may imagine lost scared souls of deceased people escaping life’s hellish drama through a skewed dimension.

Futuristic Urban Cult is a trip back to the sensibilities of 90s industrial music, proving the genre’s and the era’s authentic vibe. The rise in popularity of electronic devices in making mainstream music was profound twenty years ago. Industrial musicians were the cutting edge protagonists in testing the boundaries of what could be done. Popular yet simple sound effects and sample libraries, utilized with analogue samplers in 1997 may sound a bit rough these days, but they give you a true taste of the past. In addition, every track on this release seem to have its background story announced through the song title, and then expressed with a collection of thematically composed sounds.

The reformed Dogmachine played two shows, but currently have no plans on performing live until another opportunity comes. The musicians have other musical projects going on. Roger Menso's NyteShayde (formerly known as Punch Drum Monkey) is busy making a new album. Daniel Newstead runs Omegachild, while Craig Wilson owns Synaptic Studio and creates under the moniker of Replikant, his solo project. Jodie Taylor is an educator, author, producer, vocalist and LGBT activist. Finally, Stephen C. Birt keeps drumming for many bands and is a prolific drum teacher.
More reissues from Dogmachine’s back catalogue are coming soon, so if you enjoyed Futuristic Urban Cult, check them out and share your feedback with the musicians.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, October 13th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

29 September, 2015

Interview with The Seas 2015

NINa: Does having 2 full-length albums released so far (A Separation, 2011 & Give Up The Ghost, 2015) make you feel self-confident about your band and the reception these albums have enjoyed, or do you still feel that you need to 'prove' yourself musically and grab more attention of the music industry? What response to your songs do you desire the most?

Michael Sliter: We are really proud of our two albums. I think there is a confidence that comes from all the hard work that goes into writing and recording the songs. There’s something cathartic about the whole process. Releasing those albums have probably taken away some of the pressure to prove ourselves to others, but we are perfectionists - so I think it’s more about proving to ourselves that have more to contribute that what we’ve already accomplished. Ultimately, I just want people to hear our music and feel a deeper connection to it.

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Interview by Fabryka Music Magazine

The Seas - Give Up The Ghost

The Seas - Give Up The Ghost |self-released, 2015| 5/5 electronic/rock/metal

1. Battlecry, 2. Across the Earth, 3. Broken Bones, 4. The Hunter, 5. Premonition, 6. Mistakes, 7. Heterochromia, 8. Give up the Ghost, 9. All Our Weight, 10. Staring at the Sun, 11. Into the Fray, 12. Down, 13. Sharona

It's been 4 years now since The Seas released their debut album, A Separation. The musicians of this American electronic-rock quartet have a special creative bond that has naturally grown throughout those years. This has resulted in putting out another well-thought, arranged and composed album, Give Up The Ghost, offering 13 brand new songs. The music on the new release is mostly guitar driven, but all compositions offer a variety of flavors and contrasts - either tense or uplifting, and always touching.

"Battlecry" opens the album with soft guitars, switching later to a heavier tune. The high-pitched vocals (by Michael Sliter) along with the guitar (by Logan Powell) occupy the foreground, while the bass (by Jeremy Williams) and drums (by Richard Sester) provide a matching fill in the background. The tempo is rather slow and the general feel is that of despair. A prolonged scream and low tuned guitars lead listeners to the song's end.

Give Up The Ghost was thought as a concept album and thus, every song is linked with its immediate neighbors - not technically, but rather based on moods and tempo. Therefore, "Across The Earth" begins with a heavier vibe which, judging by repetitive bass lines and slow drum beats joined by emotional male vocals, is reminiscent of Tool's music. Michael controls his voice very well - his tone and range make The Seas' songs sound very characteristic. On top of that, "Across The Earth" is a memorable, very well written composition with each arrangement in the right spot, but not sacrificing the melody’s freedom.

"Broken Bones" sounds straight up goth from the very beginning thanks to a melancholic guitar tune which once goes low and deep, then reaches up for higher, melodic tones. There are also screams of panicked people, so listeners may imagine some incoming horror. Nevertheless, the entire song sounds more like an intro to a potent sequel rather than an already completed composition. The tension is growing towards the end but never reaches the anticipated apex.

The first notes of "The Hunter" jump in with a refreshing vibe, making it an instantly memorable melody. There are samplers (by Richard Sester) in use as well, which give the arrangements an electronic feel. However, the combination of vocals, guitar, and bass keeps the organic priority here. There's even an interesting synth addition which a receptive ear may associate with Delia Derbyshire's Dr Who main theme. Such placement makes it a neat contrast with the low tuned bass and high-pitched guitar riffs so the execution of this nifty idea can be considered successful. The track's mood is nostalgic and heart-opening to the point that it might make a few more emotional listeners shed a tear or two.

"Premonition" opens with weird, quite disturbing sound effects that may be an attempt at imitating the resonance of telepathic communication or even an alien's messages. This short instrumental track brings a murky and mysterious atmosphere, that could easily be utilized in a thriller movie.

You will love "Mistakes" for its well written, heavy composition, amazing arrangements and professional performance. The song's intro doesn't reveal what's to come but once it develops further, you'll know there's so much to discover with every new bar.

The transition gap between "Mistakes" and "Heterochromia" is virtually inaudible. The latter is both heavy and melancholic. It seems to be written for Michael mostly, letting him present the best of his voice. His vocals are supported by subtle arrangements written for all instruments and combined with samplers. There's also a melodic guitar solo which artfully emphasizes the emotion of the voice track.

If you loved "Mistakes", you will get definitely hooked on the album’s title song as the well. The composition is rich with arrangements, including both organic and electronic sounds. There's nostalgia, mystery and tension. The melodies will carry listeners far away, anchoring their attention with a single bass line. "Give Up The Ghost" crowns the tracklist on the strength of its amazing song writing and skillful performance.

While most of so far songs sounded guitar-oriented, "All Our Weight" brings an electronic addition just in the very beginning. A repetitive, clapped beat, characteristic of pop and hip hop appears next to more elusive guitar tunes, definitely capturing listener attention. It is later replaced by drums which along with affectionate vocals continue the main motif to the end of the song.
And again, the end of the track is swiftly linked to the beginning of "Staring at the Sun". This composition is a return to the sound heard at the opening of the album - the low tuned bass and high-pitched guitars creating memorable melodies. Gazing at the Sun is generally not recommended due to the obvious danger of having your retinas damaged, but listening to this potent song (especially with eyes closed) should please you immensely.

"Into The Fray" is yet another short interval between compositions, akin to "Broken Bones" and "Premonition". Its piano-based instrumental arrangements make it a good fit for a thriller movie, while scary breathing makes eerie food for imagination.

The first tunes of the lyrical yet heavy "Down" should make your heart beat faster through a slightly increased tempo, like in "The Hunter". The vocals are high and charged at times, later giving instrumental arrangements enough space to grow. If you listen closely, you'll notice both magic and technology present in the song. The drum beats are irregular but matched within the composition very well. The bass lines sound solid and the guitar doesn't jump before vocals. Yet another song to enjoy Michael's voice.

It's time for a cover now. The original, rock'n'roll version of "Sharona" was released by The Knack in 1979. The evergreen hit song has been covered by several other artists throughout the last three decades. The Seas had taken their shot at it as well. The tune’s atmosphere feels slow and weary at first, quite surprisingly if you consider the original source. One could tell The Seas have been inspired by Nine Inch Nails' newer songs and Reznor's method of singing, specifically when Michael sings "never gonna stop, give it up". The arrangements gradually open up and grow to the point of expressing peril, supported by very heavy, pleasantly entwined and graded guitar riffs. The cover's finishing guitar sound imitates a motorbike’s engine, in accordance with the lyrics.
It definitely has the heaviest guitars on the album and certainly speaks for the band's creative potential. If the next album is going to be this massive, it should be greeted with applause.

Sensitive listeners may identify with all the difficult theme present throughout the album - spiritual development towards original purity, strength, and balance within. Songs on Give Up The Ghost speak of accepting change as a means of progress, defying fear and negativity, separating the truth from the lies, stereotypes and imposed dogmas, then finding one's place and fulfillment in the Universe. In addition, the diversity deeply entrenched within The Seas' work make their songs feel as if they were much shorter than they actually are. Four or six minutes pass by so quickly that listeners, captivated by the sound, may take a while to realize that another song is already on. If you've enjoyed the band’s first album (A Separation) or if you love Tool and similar bands but are looking for something fresher, make sure you buy Give Up The Ghost and support the band.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, September 29th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

Interview with The Seas

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

10 September, 2015

Cerakai - I Feel

Cerakai - I Feel (song review) |self-released, 2015| 4/5 rock/punk

If you're looking for an extremely memorable track here's one which is pretty short and has massive hit potential. "I Feel" talks about the importance of understanding the world around you with your heart and soul, not just with cold logic, as expressed in the lyrics: "We believe only what our eyes can see / We don't believe how to feel no more". The downside of an industrialized society is that when someone turns out to be sensitive and uses their feelings rather than the brain or acquired skills, the less empathetic but ego-driven people unfairly judge such an individual as 'weak'. Though, said empaths are a step further - feelings help humans connect with nature, since they come from it, and this link had never ceased to exist. When we go to a forest, we first feel its energy, then our brains recognize colors and sounds, yet all these are frequencies. The living Earth feels our actions, not just physically, but on an energetic level too, thus we must care for this meaningful relationship.

UK based Cerakai's "I Feel" addresses this subject through feisty, dynamic arrangements and an emotional performance. The track opener already gives listeners a taste of the chorus. The rebellious rocking mood turns subtle when the first fire is put out. Technically, the shift between verse and chorus is extremely well synchronized. The verse arrangement is reminiscent of 80s Punk, and New Wave judging by the melodic guitars and recognizable, slightly melancholic vocals.
Cerakai knows well how to serve tension by changing the tempo. Here, it also includes a mix of vocals and a random drum beat, both of which intensify during intersections between verses and the chorus. The voice then turns into a temperamental scream while the instrumental arrangements continue, joined by bass and guitar.

With such a track, Cerakai may reach out to Greenpeace or any other legal ecological organization about its placement on a various artists compilation album (in case they have another musical project to be announced). Undoubtedly, "I Feel" will be a perfect match, with its intense, rebellious vibe and the main theme referring to humanity's increasing ignorance towards its natural environment. It's enough to mention that the pushy industrial society hasn't yet developed any affordable and successful ways to let the entire population escape Earth in case of a global, man-made catastrophe. Hopefully, "I Feel" will raise the awareness of its subject matter among music fans.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 31st, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

12 August, 2015

New Breed Invasion - Eternity

New Breed Invasion - Eternity (song review) |self-released, New Breed Invasion, 2015| 4/5 industrial metal

New Breed Invasion is the new musical project of Daniel, the founder of Sekten7 and Tribeleader. Akin to Sekten7's music, the new track brings a rough, rhythmic, and industrialized vibe filled with chunky, vibrating guitar riffs and predatory vocals.
The atmosphere is dense and heavy but listeners will find the track quite easy to get hooked on thanks to well put together repetitions. Drums and guitars are put to the forefront, while the hellish voice remains a bit subdued throughout the entire track. Lyrics are rather spoken in a possessive way than sung. A simple looped yet melodic arrangement makes the guitar riffs sound mighty. Since the song is so down-tuned, any graded arrangements or sounds coming above the low scale make a big difference and engage the listeners better. This happens with the chorus, where the riff is higher and spread broader - also joined by vocals reminiscent of both 1980s Goth/Cold Wave and 90s Industrial Metal times. Fortunately, the track is not kept in any "trendy" style and therefore should age gracefully. Moreover, the guitars resonate with a slightly djent-esque distortion giving them a modern vibe.

Parts of the track are very memorable, but listeners will probably find this out only after a few additional plays. That's a good thing, since the song may not become boring after being looped on repeat.
The arrangements aren't complex, so they won't engage the logical part of your brain, but the dynamics will definitely make your heart beat stronger. The rhythm is so concrete and visual that sometimes you can easily imagine an audio graph with the dotted waves joyfully jumping along the scale.

Daniel as a sole member of the band wrote the track, played all the instruments, and then mixed and mastered it. Personally speaking, the drums could still have been cleaned a bit more, since the guitars and vocals have some depth or 'echo' effect but the drums sound too dry - specifically the cymbals sink into the composition without much of a footprint.

"Eternity" could be illustrated with a thought-provoking music video with rapidly moving, distorted images in low quality, where nothing is polished - similar to the visuals behind 90's Schnitt Acht. There could also be an additional background story like those found in The Fields of The Nephilim videos.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 11th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

02 August, 2015

Beer Killer - What Else

Beer Killer - What Else (song review) |Dogozilla S.R.L.S, Start Living Or Die Today, 2015| 4/5 hardcore/punk

Beer Killer is an Italian hardcore-punk quintet. The musicians’ influences and sonic experiences vary from metal, hardcore and punk through funky and electronic-dance to classical and jazz genres. The line up includes Fulvio (guitar), Miki (bass), Manuel (drums), Panga (guitar), and Viktor (vocals). Their musical careers began at the end of the 80s, except for Panga who started playing guitar in 1997. They performed several live shows and their tracks were played on various local radio stations. In addition, Miki - a former DJ - collaborated briefly with the once famous indie electronic act Apollo 440.

"What Else" begins with a short electronic arrangement which could illustrate such lofty themes as the Universe and its galaxies, space travel, spirituality, and more in that vein, thanks to its vibration. It then turns into an in-your-face hardcore song, clocking in at less than 3 minutes. The arrangements are fueled with edgy guitars, rebellious vocals and a fast-paced rhythm that emanates rough masculine energy all over.
The two guitars collaborate nicely with the bass in both verses and choruses. The riffs are simple, yet graded to increase the sonic tension when necessary. The intensity and dynamics run high through the entire track and hit listeners like a tornado mixed with a twister. It should be noted that Beer Killer has a very skilled and convincing drummer - Manuel plays like a well-oiled machine on this track! In addition, the drum beat is very exposed, perhaps even stealing the show from other instruments. The vocals are aggressive and coarse, and would definitely sound homely in any hardcore song.

"What Else" is a potential hit to the point that you can definitely see yourself rooting for the band to perform it live. The production sounds a bit dirty however - maybe this is what real hardcore fans like - allowing for a virtual trip to a venue rather than enjoying the track on a home stereo alone. Moreover, the song's arrangements bring back the original feel of old-school American and UK hardcore-crossover sound represented by the likes of Agnostic Front, Disorder or Broken Bones - the bands that inspired Beer Killer to form their own group. If you're in love with Ministry on the other hand, the speedy riffs here will keep you pleased as well.

Beer Killer's forthcoming album Start Living Or Die Today will be out in September 2015, available on iTunes, Amazon and other digital distribution channels. Interesting trivia: the band received the permission of the Madrid Pardo Museum to use a famous painting by Hieronymus Bosch as its cover.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 1st, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

Cerakai - Against It

Cerakai - Against It (song review) |self-released, Cerakai, 2015| 4/5 Punk/British Rock

Cerakai is a UK based producer and musician with over 10 years of experience in the field. He's been measuring his song writing and compositional skills against various music genres to find the best match for further musical development. Now he presents a brand new punk-rock track, making a solid departure from his previous hip-hop and electronic compositions released on the Within Your Realm solo EP.

"Against It" blooms from the very beginning with open dynamics provided by accented drums and high-pitched guitars, followed then by the bass and straightforward, shouted vocals. The mood and performance are as spontaneous as the punk attitude requires. The vocals have a taste of a 'young & rebellious' yet sound 'metallic', probably thanks to a mic filter. The arrangements are melodic but also include a mix of metal and hardcore sounds. The graded, vibrating guitar riffs and filling drum beats found in the third part of the composition make for a neat change from the simplistic punk rock songs which you may have heard before. The rhythm changes help the composition remain interesting by shifting the listeners' attention.

The song writing as well as the rhythmic, smart and well rhymed lyrics sound great. Consider this: "I was born in the ocean and dragged from the sea, I got goldfish lungs and I can't breathe (…) There's a bunch of vultures cycling me, I gotta find my way back to the sea". As you may suspect, the theme of "Against It" calls out for resisting things you are forced to do against your needs or will and the overall world-wide bigotry supported by the lack of human empathy. The song is quite memorable and could easily engage the audience to sing along with the band's leader when performed live. It may happen soon, as Cerakai is planning a national UK tour to promote the album.

On a final note, a few things you should know. Firstly, the reviewed track is a slightly different version to the final one appearing on the upcoming album, which you'll be able to buy from on-line music distributors in the last quarter of 2015. Secondly, Cerakai doesn't have a solid line-up yet as they've just formed mid-2015 - various guest musicians were invited for the album’s recording while Ben, the group's founder, sings and plays the guitar on each of the twelve songs. Finally, the mastering and production sound as if done a bit intuitively in this version, so an overall cleanup may be needed before the final release, since the current mixdown gives the impression of a live event rather than a studio version. Undoubtedly, the song's quality will be improved for the final release.

Overall, if you like bands that perform for the joy of playing and bringing pure British Rock energy at the speed of 145bpm, then Cerakai's sounds may be ideal for you.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 1st, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

23 June, 2015

Cerakai - Only You Know

Cerakai - Only You Know (song review) |Gracie Productions, Within Your Realm EP, 2015| 4/5 electronic lounge

Cerakai is a UK based producer and musician with over 10 years of musical experience. Despite playing in a UK band before, he traveled to Sydney, Australia, where he launched a solo project. This probably lets him get more control over writing and managing own content for further development.

Fans of mellow lounge music will definitely enjoy this well balanced song at its “just about right” length. "Only You Know" includes arrangements written for several instruments. The graded, organic bass lines sound moody and velvety. The synth is high-pitched, cold and at times resonating. The occasional guitar riff vibrates nicely and pins into the arrangement like a needle. The beats are quick and dry. On top of all this, there are also delicate male vocals reciting the lyrics. The voice is matched well to the subtle yet groovy atmosphere.

The composition is simple and based on sweet repeating arrangements. Nevertheless, it sounds 'multidimensional' thanks to the vibration of each sound - the bass brings a lot of warmth, countered by the coldness of the synth. Both always oscillate, catching your attention in their opposing ways. Therefore, the human brain's hemispheres seem to be equally involved in processing these sounds - their math (through the timing of repetitions) and harmony (overall mood) together.
However, the track undoubtedly needs a matching intro and outro, that would help emphasize the body of the content better and 'zap' it into a shapely form. Without these, the song has no frame and opens with the same synth-bass arrangements which continuously repeat to the very end.

Finally, what makes the most for an electronic song’s potential is its audible charm and power, but also repetitions that get you hooked. In case of "Only You Know", we can't talk of any overwhelming sonic impact, but the pleasing repetitions are definitely here. Despite the song's gentle vibe (definitely not meant for headbanging), it has a chance to catch on with the right crowd, thanks to memorable fragments in which a sampled female voice repeats "you know". So, a short part of this track could potentially be successfully used as an advertisement jingle.

Cerakai provides music for movies and TV shows as well. Within Your Realm EP which was released in May 2015 is also available in US. It has aired on BBC Radio as well.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, June 22nd, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

17 June, 2015

Ronan Le Barbare album review

Ronan Le Barbare - Ronan Le Barbare |self-released, 2015| 4/5 instrumental metal

1. Intro, 2. A Furor Normanorum, 3. Ascension Of The Black Insane Heart, 4. Tamdin, 5. In Utero, 6. The Barbarian, 7. Thulsa Doom, 8. Aromael, 9. Amen (Sepultura Cover)

Ronan Le Barbare is a solo project by French guitarist Ronan LeBouc. He has been making music for the last 17 years and the self-tilted album is his debut. Judging by the title, the musician has been touched and inspired by iconic 80's movies about a mighty warrior - Conan The Barbarian - which illustrated such aspects of human nature as brutality, spirituality, honor, vengeance, and sadness.

The album brings a collection of professionally arranged and performed instrumental songs which were mixed and mastered by Ronan's friend Vonig Le Mee. The highly poetic, spiritually moving "Intro" opens the tracklist with light guitar leitmotifs as well as an intriguing synth part. It is then followed by a series of chunky guitar riffs synced very well with drums, which all announce the arrival of "A Furor Normanorum". Technically, this 8+ minutes long track consists of two parts. The first is dynamic and metal-orientated and provides catchy arrangements (loud rhythm guitars vs soloing, background voice samples and slightly intrusive drums). The second is built upon repetitive, heavy guitar parts and sounds less rhythmic, yet captures the essence of human pain and suffering. It's finished with a murky, buzzing, electronic effect.

The introduction to "Ascension Of The Black Insane Heart" is a large quote taken from American Psycho movie where the protagonist, Patrick Bateman was confessing about his inner drama. The song keeps the tension, expressed through altered, extended, and sometime heavier guitar riffs, whereas a woman's lamentation and her insane laughter are the cherry on the pie of the overall atmosphere of this track. The arrangements are quite repetitive and tightly fill in this lengthy suite.

"Tamdin" begins innocently with an almost Victorian or even New Age set of passages. These then become enriched and develop into an epic guitar-driven arrangement. A Tibetan-like invocation comes in surprisingly, lowering the tone of the track and preparing the listener for a heavier ride. The drums, bass, and guitar that follow collaborate nicely, bringing a progressive metal vibe that sounds very vital thanks to a multitude of changes. The heavier part could definitely make a dynamic soundtrack for an action video game. Gloomy voices return to decrease the tempo and lead to an ending where two guitar arrangements (one gradual, the other stretched) collaborate together nicely, building up the mysterious atmosphere.

If you like melodious gothic moods, then the opening of "In Utero" should please you with its 'windy' mood and subtle, positive guitar arrangements. There's a feel of loneliness and isolation here, which slightly warms up until the spirited progressive rock riffs show up. Next, a very well written and performed, and also instantly memorable part of the composition starts. The listeners might vividly imagine a lone guitar virtuoso performing on a high cliff, with a grey sky as background, but also thunder and lightning approaching behind his silhouette. This lengthy composition gives some space for more 'exotic' instruments and ambient sounds such as ocean waves, which it ends with.

Now, in the name of aforementioned Conan, here comes "The Barbarian", with the most memorable Q&A quote from the movie ('Conan! What is best in life?') in the beginning, and the heaviest metal arrangements presented on this album. The rhythm guitars are layered and sound dirty, with shredding bringing us into higher tones. The drum parts are packed tightly and put on the top along with the bass lines. Tuned down, mighty guitar riffs come up next, reminiscent of Ministry's dense industrial metal vibe and enriched with similarly sampled quotes. Ideal for headbanging. Then the chase slows down again and the focus changes to cold melodic guitar riffs, supported by a slightly chaotic background. Both gradually fade away into the end of the song.

"Thulsa Doom" is another sonic trip into the heavy metal lands, with a dramatic performance by James Earl Jones, also sampled from the first Conan movie. Vibrating guitar riffs keep the sound up and spacey, while interestingly altered rhythm guitars attack from the other side like a swarm of angry hornets. The drums are very well matched, and don't steal attention from the initial guitar-driven dynamics. It's the best track of the whole album in my opinion, thanks to lively arrangements and equally interesting sonic backgrounds. It seems as if they make both of your brain’s hemispheres engaged into processing the incoming sound waves. Ronan openly and successfully shows a full spectrum of both playing and songwriting skills here.

You'll need some rest after the exposure to such a heavy cannonade. The eighth track on the album brings acoustic, subtle arrangements written for both guitar and synths. Moreover, it is the song which Ronan wrote for his daughter. Guitar riffs flow in steadily like ocean waves, later shaped into rock arrangements. A modulated sound of bells ends the track giving it a spiritual, ambient vibe.

The album’s closing track is the only one with actual vocals. Ronan chose to cover Sepultura's "Amen" with his very well matched, partly-growled voice that comes very close to the original. When the original song's overall tune is harsher, and more 'underground' thanks to a strongly accented bass, Ronan's version sounds much cleaner & spacey. Yet, his guitar riffs sound heavier and more modern than Sepultura’s. The song features an opera-like singer's voice, though Sepultura's original sounds more exotic, with the classical vibe playing that part here.

Ronan LeBouc seems to enjoy changing arrangements and may not settle down for making a track with just one mood, one arrangement, and all those repetitions that usually appear in popular song structures. The entire debut presents a cross-section of Ronan's best compositions so far, rather than being a concept album, but the music has lots to say to careful listeners. His songwriting and instrumental talents definitely are in their prime for another release, which could cover an original story narrated with several integrated chapters.

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

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine