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11 December, 2018

Spookshow Inc. - Visions of the Blinded World pt. I & II

Spookshow Inc. - Visions of the Blinded World pt. I & II |self-released, 2018| 5/5 Electronic/rock/metal

Part 1: 1. New World Crash, 2. Scary Dream, 3. Falling Down pt. 2, 4. Game of Delusions, 5. Requiem For a Vision, 6. Seven Trumpets, 7. Dead Shot Baby feat. Subliminal Mentality, 8. Lizard Eyes, 9. My Secret Plan feat. Matangi Shakti, 10. Cyberage, 11. Map Of The World, 12. Other Side Of Time

Part 2: 13. Virtual Insanity, 14. Devil's Triangle, 15. Mindgame feat. XRC, 16. Little Pill feat. Subliminal Mentality, 17. Blackbird from Karachi feat. D. Tschirner, 18. Prison Planet, 19. Falling Down pt. 1, 20. Cold Frantic Boy, 21. Match of the Century / A. Crowley vs. A. Einstein, 22. Underworld feat. Kissing in Graveyards, 23. Midnight Tango, 24. Follow Me, 25. Battle for Babylon feat. R. Carey

Spookshow Inc.'s newest album tracklist impressively counts up to a total of 25 industrial and electronic songs, with some familiar titles included. The mighty set created by Lucky Spook (the band's founder, based in Norway) includes "Falling Down pt. 2" which was developed further into a brand new track (a pre-sequel if you will). In addition, the new front cover definitely draws attention since it's a thought-provoking, surreal art piece in sepia.

"Virtual Insanity" offers a lot of craziness. It merges the density of guitar riffs supported by fast-paced beats with aggressively expressed lyrics. The dynamics slow down at some point to avoid an overload of sounds, but then the wild sonic ride returns.
Similarly, "Mindgame" offers exotic tunes in the beginning, but then an intriguing industrial rock vibe comes in. The tempo is slow but highly pitched soloing guitars contrast with low beats and make the whole into a delicious listening experience.

"Little Pill" talks about a fantasized psychedelic experience caused by taking a drug delivered by a dealer. The initial dialogue to the story was recorded in collaboration with Subliminal Mentality, an American musician. It's delivered through a comedy or even a cartoon concept – a guy receives a pill, feels something is not right but takes it anyway, then is off tripping into a dreamland. The track soon evolves into an angry, metal, and serious composition which gives an impression of being inspired by early albums of Marilyn Manson.

Despite its soothing intro, "Blackbird from Karachi" evolves into a lively, dynamic track, driven by its repetitive guitar riff. Two vocals placed in fitting places help the whole composition flow very smoothly. The beat is later replaced by bells, chants, and esoteric moods. These are then followed by a completely opposite, dynamic vibe. It turns out in the end that the composition is cleverly split into four major arrangements without any in-between breaks. According to Lucky Spook, the track is inspired and dedicated to Shantaram, the book written by Gregory David Roberts.
"Devil's Triangle" is kept in a similar atmosphere, but rooted in a purely rock-metal vibe, and enriched with matching vocals. The composition is well designed to hold all accompanied arrangements tightly within.

As mentioned in the beginning, "Falling Down pt. 1" is a sister track to "Falling Down pt. II" which was featured on the first part of the album, and again takes a listener on the mystical journey of out of body (OBE, near death) experience. It's a very trippy track with steady, bouncing dynamics - at once intriguing with its variety of electronic sounds and whispered vocals in vein of The Young Gods' music, then suddenly aggressive, guitar driven with screamed vocals. A must-have song from this release!

Pay attention to "Match of the Century Aleister Crowley vs. Albert Einstein" which begins with the tiny sound of a music box and creepy, whispering vocals. How awesome would it be to see the two famous characters play chess together? Every piece could represent an argument of a different nature – science against esotericism. Who wins? Could the two men find a common, agreeable ground for their thoughts? Musically, there's a repetitive guitar riff involved with many background sounds and interlaced with vocals. These continue throughout the entire song with breaks for a catchy chorus.

When it comes to "Underworld feat. Kissing in Graveyards", its mostly electronic yet guitar-driven vibe is accented with a broad selection of vocals. Kissing in Graveyards' lead singer Rylan Chaos brings her Lilith-like artistic personality here while Soltex (the other moniker of Lucky Spook) represents provocative masculine energy. When Rylan's voice is the bait, then Soltex's is the whip. The result is a musical dialogue not too far from an argument between two 'possessed' souls, rather than two talented musicians.

"Midnight Tango" utilizes a very famous arrangement borrowed from "Riders of the Storm" by The Doors. Similarly to the source track, "Midnight Tango" also allows the mind to tune in and relax, to flow together with arrangements and the mood. Spookshow Inc. however added drum'n'bass beats which couldn't have been used by musicians in the 60s and which make the song sound fresh.

In terms of composition, "Follow me" sounds quite complex and consists of a few differently sounding parts yet they easily make for a perfect whole. Exotic music opens the track, followed by chunky, repetitive guitar riffs and whispered vocals. The Middle Eastern sounds return to be replaced with a black-metallish cannonade of sounds and dominating vocals. The atmosphere gets more tense and anxious towards the end of the track.

Probably the biggest jewel on the album,"Battle For Babylon", is a cinematic song supported by an epic atmosphere. Middle Eastern tunes are mixed with metal soloing here. The composition is well thought and gradually builds up. The rhythm is slow and verses become memorable after just a moment of listening. It is a fully orchestrated track accompanied by many different yet matching sounds which show up in the background and make the composition even more interesting. The vocals are definitely fitting the rest of the track (and they are performed by R. Carey aka Fiery Jack, a singer from New Zealand).

The album clearly shows lots of hard work and deeply developed ideas that went into making it. The release comes with amazing audio quality, showcasing mastering and production skills as well. It's obvious that Lucky Spook listens to a lot of music, and is able to catch the best of the best musical ideas without copying them directly, to later enhance them with his own arrangements. If you buy this album, you'll get a complete package of music, high audio quality, and profound sonic ideas to recommend to your like-minded mates.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'Draconina' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, December 3rd, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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10 December, 2018

Retaliate of Anger - Final Echo

Retaliate of Anger – Final Echo (album review) |Machine Man Records, 2018| 4/5 EBM/electro-industrial

1. I Don't Like You Too Much, 2. Gunslinger, 3. Fuck In Question, 4. The Deep Ones (Part 1), 5. Autotopsyturvy, 6. The Color Of The Enemy (Part 2), 7. Pyre Of Absolution

Josh Lamison (Schwenksville, Pennsylvania) is the sole musician behind Retaliate of Anger but he's also involved in another project, Dizzolve. However, in contrast to the latter band which provides electronic and guitar driven music, ROA brings sterile EBM, glitch, and electro-industrial vibes of high audio quality.
Every song on the album clocks in no longer than at around 4 minutes. That's totally enough since the tracks are based on repetitive, beat-oriented schemes; thus, if they lasted longer they would have sounded overwhelming.
It should be noted that the lyrical themes of the songs were inspired by literature - Stephen King's The Dark Tower series or H.P. Lovecraft's works amongst others, as well as MMORPG games such as Secret World.

The first track, "I Don't Like You Too Much" gives a taste of the sounds to come – architecturally structured electronic tunes, supported by angry vocals processed through distorted voice effects. There are usually many different sounds to be found in the background of cues, which smoothly become a big part of the composition.

The dynamics develop further in "Gunslinger" which sounds more entertaining than the previous song. The vocals are distorted through the use of a voice filter, varying between demonic and robotic.

"Fuck In Question" offers a solid beat supported by vocals and synths. Lyrics are well matched within the composition next to instrumental parts yet each section is restricted by assigned time frames. The uneasy atmosphere brings a feel of a danger as if a predator was on the lookout for its prey.

A slightly gothic vibe opens "The Deep Ones (Part 1)" thanks to an automatic beat and repetitive synth, quickly replaced with lighter, entertaining, and modern beats. Digitized voices and electronic sounds are mixed in here yet again, so the composition develops around a scheme similar to the ones we've heard already on the release.

"Autotopsyturvy" is characterized by a complex, sturdy beat, and swirling dynamics. There's a lot of electro-aggression put into it yet there is also tight control for both arrangements and the general mood. This song would probably sound very powerful with edgy guitars added to it. This would let the anger flow and be blasted onto the listeners better.

Stepping dynamics brought by "The Color Of The Enemy (Part 2)" should make you move as the rhythm dictates. It's a good track for dancefloors as it encourages to release one's energy through a few good cardio exercises. Listening to the song made me think of a spiral bouncing up and down within a glassy container as if in an animated gif image.

The last song, "Pyre Of Absolution", brings a faster beat, pitched synths, and notorious vocals perfectly fitting itself into the EBM genre. It's another great track for the dancefloor, to let the rushing thoughts stop and let the body process its energy in a state of detachment.

Combative electronic music allows for a passive-aggressive anger release only, in contrast to guitar driven music which allows for a wider range of emotions to be catapulted through. Electronic music feels restrictive, as if it couldn't express that what a human energy field holds within – feelings, traumas, frustration, confusion, love, etc. It certainly allows energy to flow but simultaneously holds it within a 'circuit'; what needs to be released, bounces back to the source in a loop. In a way, a person who tries to get rid of negative emotions gets back to what was supposed to be released.

The tracks on the album are restricted in their form, probably due to a lack of meaningful contrasts between high and low tunes, unlike the arrangements found in, for example, psy-trance music. Nevertheless, the audio quality, mathematical precision, and overall dynamics should be enjoyed by fans of EBM and electro genres and the album is definitely a recommended listen for those groups.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'Draconina' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, December 8th, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia

16 November, 2018

Krebs – The Last Place on Earth

Krebs – The Last Place on Earth (EP review) |Machine Man Records, 2017| 5/5 Darkwave / electronic

1. The Hollow, 2. When Hands Go Still, 3. Umbra, 4. Moonlit Window

Krebs is an electronic music project of Michael Haggerty (lyrics, vocals, programming, keyboards, guitars and bass) founded in Philadelphia in 2012. He released two EPs in 2017 – The Last Place on Earth is followed by Blood and Stone.

A mysterious, ambient mood opens the EP with 'The Hollow', which is the longest track on this release. The chorus’ rhythm appears soon after the quick intro, but then slows down serving as the core for following verse arrangements. The track has an open composition which allows for many various elements to be placed throughout. Here, melancholic dark wave meets the brighter side of the electronic genre, while the vocals remain calm and balanced.

'When Hands Go Still' sounds very goth through operating on a low level of dynamics and a characteristic vibrated guitar riff appearing next to percussive parts. Compared to other tracks on the EP, the soft vocals receive an additional voice effect here. The mood isn't too dark, as a variety of silenced, lighter, and colder synth sounds appear between the cues.

On the other hand, 'Umbra' is a fully instrumental song which influences listener's imagination through its scenic, ocean-like waves of peaceful ambient arrangements and inner beauty. It could easily make for a soundtrack candidate for a movie with both futuristic and historical motifs (just like Highlander), thanks to utilizing newer electronica and traditional instruments side by side.

'Moonlit Window' (the last song) returns to the dark wave themes previously brought by 'When Hands Go Still'. Arrangements become one with carefully placed vocals and are distributed skillfully, letting the composition enchant the listeners with its instrumental lines and Michael's voice. There's something creepy going on in the background too, accompanied by sounds of an electric bolt and wind chimes at the song's end.

The Last Place on Earth EP offers darker moods than songs released on Blood and Stone. It's almost as if Michael wrote them to suit listeners during all four seasons of the year – the former fits the fall/winter time, while the latter is great for spring and summer. Get both EPs and reach out to the musician to let him know how much you liked the songs!

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'Draconina' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, October 31st, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)


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Krebs - Blood and Stone

Krebs – Blood and Stone (EP review) |Machine Man Records, 2017| 5/5 Electronic

1. Blood and Stone, 2. Vulnerable Outline, 3. Razor Tree

Blood and Stone is the 2nd EP of Krebs, released in 2017. The band is the brainchild of Michael Haggerty (lyrics, vocals, programming, keyboards, guitars, and bass).

Blood and Stone EP offers 3 high quality electronic songs. Even though moods as well as subgenres (such as dark electro, electronic rock) vary between each song, the EP's concept is consistent.
The opening song pleasantly develops until the very last note. The composition is based on a steady tempo with beats supporting various but always delicately organized arrangements. These are shared between memorable verses and the chorus which can be sung along with the vocalist. Michael's voice is soft here, and feels a bit lonely and distant.

Guitar riffs accented in the following 'Vulnerable Outline' firmly place it in electronic rock. The solid rhythm is occasionally shattered by noises and repetitive vocals. The track is memorable and short enough to become a potential hit, especially if accompanied by a suitable video. Fans of Marilyn Manson or Skinny Puppy should dig the song from the very first listening. 

'Razor Tree', on the contrary, brings an uplifting, almost sunny mood. It's a perfect track that not only sounds good as it is but could also play its part really well as a component of an advertising campaign.

It should be noted that excellent the audio quality, mastering, and production enhance the listening experience of this release quite a lot. Grab it as soon as you can, whether you're deep into alternative electronic music or a listener of many tastes.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'Draconina' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, October 31st, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)


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16 September, 2018

GoMa - GoMa

GoMa - GoMa (album review) |Machine Man Records, 2018| 4/5 industrial, electronic

1. D.D.D., 2. Fool Song (Take Me with You), 3. Disappoint, 4. Hora Gris, 5. The Monitor, 6. The Poison, 7. Trippin Trippin, 8. Untitled

This is a one man band founded by Juan Madrigal in South Dakota. Inspired by modern electronic music, he wrote, performed, and recorded the eponymous debut album for his GoMa project.

The opening track ('D.D.D.') has a danceable vibe, though the singer's voice sounds somewhat tired and overwhelmed, similarly to what can usually be found in goth music. The simplicity of arrangements and catchy melodies make the song memorable. Then, 'Fool Song (Take Me with You)' brings a whole new, more lively rhythm and stamina within. Since its smart composition, lots of body moving electronica, and intensity make the track a song hit, it could easily be submitted for matching publication opportunities such as Various Artists compilations, to allow GoMa reach a broader audience.

'Disappoint' focuses on both vocal arrangements and sound structures. Some parts include 8-bit music, techno, experimental, and similar electronic add-ons - all wrapped up with a dynamic rhythm.
'Hora Gris' is a perfect track for an action movie (involving car racing or military jets, choppers, Air Wolf like themes or video games of that kind). Rhythm and beats along with electronic backgrounds bring back the best known sound of 90's Skinny Puppy, with vocal arrangements nicely placed between the instrumental lines. 'The Monitor' may give listeners ideas about a futuristic self-conscious A.I. being locked within displays just like Shodan in the System Shock video game. Again, techno beats, vocals, and intelligently utilized electronic music create another highly memorable track on the album.

There's a duality found in 'The Poison'. Its verses offer mechanical and darker, mysterious tunes. On the other hand, the chorus is clearly inspired by NIN's's 'The Perfect Drug'. 'Clicking' sounds and 'breathing' machines build up a certain atmosphere in verses, which speaks for Juan's creative programming skills. 'Trippin Trippin', just like 'Hora Gris' carries a lively journey-like vibe but the overall composition lacks consistency despite its catchy arrangements, then ends up weirdly - one could even say 'psychedelically'. The last song called 'Untitled' offers a swirl of gradually developing arrangements. Highly danceable and marching rhythm forces the body to actively merge with the music. The track has a massive potential to be re-worked and expanded further because the 4 minutes of music it contains truly isn't enough as of now.

Make sure to check out this and other Machine Man Records releases, as Chris Bollinger (the label owner) is a prolific industrial music talent headhunter.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'Draconina' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, September 13th, 2018. Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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09 August, 2018

Varicella - Dead Is Better

Varicella - Dead Is Better (album review) |Machine Man Records, 2018| 4/5 industrial metal

1. Where Does Evil Live, 2. We Belong Dead, 3. Obey, 4. All Hail, 5. Obsessed with Flesh (Fuck Slave), 6. Beautified Death, 7. A Pause for Reflection, 8. Mindfucked, 9. The Sound of Four, 10. Burn My Eyes (featuring Otto Kinzel), 11. (silence), 12. (silence), 13. Die Down Here (Where The Monsters Are)

The band is the brainchild of Chris Bollinger, the founder of Machine Man Records (vocals, programming, samples) and Chris Pasquarelli (guitar and bass). Established in Philadelphia in 2008, it aims to bring back the sound of "good old" industrial metal known from the 90s albums of Ministry, Godflesh, Skrew, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, Marilyn Manson, and Pitchshifter, amongst other classics of that era. It has taken over 6 years for the duo to complete their debut album. Dead Is Better brings 13 songs of which 2 are silent connectors between full-sized tracks.

The intro ("Where Does Evil Live") is an instrumental track, giving listeners a taste of the music pervading the entire album. Reverberated, rhythmic sounds are mixed with obsessive guitar tunes and interlaced with movie samples - a well known technique in industrial music. The next track, "We Belong Dead" includes vocals with a very cool, demonic voice effect which was used in the music of Godflesh and Skrew but is not unknown to black metal either. The guitar riffs are often graded and sound enjoyable if you are into the genre. The band has no drummer, so all the beats are pre-programmed and mechanical.

"Obey" sounds much more aggressive and should satisfy fans of both metal and industrial. The guitars are densely packed, swirling and stinging like a swarm of pissed off wasps throughout the entire track. Jumpy, devilish vocals spice up the instrumental cues again.
In the beginning, "All Hail" offers the fun of listening to the music on alternating channels. Then it definitely borrows from Rammstein with their marching, anthem-like rhythm and choruses but also the harshness and simplicity of Godflesh. It's definitely inducive towards slow headbanging as well!

There's a very cool sample technique utilized in "Obsessed with Flesh (Fuck Slave)" at the beginning, followed by a machinery of guitars, bass, drum-beats, and distorted vocals. It's this famous 'heavy industry' music which many industrial metal fans are yearning to hear again. Repetitive arrangements are interlaced with movie samples just like in Ministry's music. In fact, Al Jourgensen’s band sounds a bit stuck with their new albums lately, so Varicella could steal quite a few fans from Ministry, easily. The following track ("Beautified Death") is deeply rooted in early ritualistic black metal productions and is additionally mixed with buzzing industrial tunes. The guitar arrangements are catchy, sometimes complex and dominating. I enjoyed this track the most of all the ones on the album.

"A Pause for Reflection" allows for taking a 7 minute-long breath before the next flood of rough sounds. If the previous tracks stayed away from sounding melodious or nostalgic, then this one completely changes the album theme. Its poetic, slow but still rhythmic atmosphere includes a bit of an experimental approach as well.

What could one expect seeing a song titled "Mindfucked"? The music explains itself. Layered arrangements are based on the bass and low tuned, multiplied guitar lines repeating and rising up from the underground like an army of golems, ready to storm the surface life. Aggressive, heavy, and powerful, very memorable after the first listening, so I'm rooting for it as the second best track on the album.

"The Sound of Four" begins with intense hammering, followed by entertaining drumming. Yet the overall sound of the song is more goth than industrial, thanks to sentimental guitar riffs. Distorted vocals are just an addition to the track yet it feels well-balanced this way. Then "Burn My Eyes" is almost a 'tribute to Skrew' thanks to its slow, heavy rhythm guitars mixed with programmed beats, a soloing guitar and demonic, masterful vocals. The song is quite an earworm and would benefit from an artistic video single - as I'm imagining it - full of fire and lava in the darkness, heat, hellish theatrical scenery, and matching outfits. My personal 3rd best on the album.

Tracks 11 and 12th are silent, five seconds long breaks, leading up to the last song. "Die Down Here (Where The Monsters Are)" is characterized by a running tempo and a tense atmosphere of horror. The song is somewhat experimental as it's missing a typical rock or metal compositional structure - there aren't any verses or choruses present, just mad arrangements based on a quick repetitive guitar riff and lots of movie samples sewn in between the cues.

It’s worth noting that a few guest musicians participated in making this album. Tim Chandler played bass on tracks 1, 4, 5 and synth on tracks 2 and 8. Otto Kinzel can be heard on guitar and bass on "Burn My Eyes". Michael Haggerty (Krebs) created vocal samples for "Obey". Additional backing vocals on "All Hail" are provided by Gunns Mahoney, while Glen Mitchell (Isolated Antagonist) with Ghoulie Julie took care of the gang vocals in "Mindfucked". Unfortunately, the band has no live drummer, but their music is desperately calling for incorporating such an additional musician. I hope a new band member will join the duo sometime in the near future to replace the beat blueprints with real, organic, and fiery performances.

If you're already an industrial music fan looking for new bands of the scene, you should consider your money well spent on this release (either a CD or digital download). Varicella is also a good segway for newcomers to tap into the 90s bands for a clear idea of the sound that the industrial subculture carried back then.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, July 31st, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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21 February, 2018

Mr. Kaplan - Rage Thrills Wow

Mr. Kaplan - Rage Thrills Wow (song review) | self-released, single, 2017| 4/5

Mr. Kaplan (the artistic moniker of Jason McClary) has been trained as a classical pianist but turned to electronic (house, techno) music thanks to his early interests. After 20 years spent on studying and practicing, not only does he mix and produce his own songs but also provides services to other musicians (as "Mr. Kaplan Productions", situated in Nashville, TN). He has also released two EPs, several singles and remixes so far.

The gentle, synthetic intro does not let listeners guess what kind of sound could follow it. As it turns out a bit later, 'Rage Thrills Wow' has high dynamics and is kept in the vibe of 90's 'old school' industrial metal. Most probably, Mr. Kaplan had been inspired by the most representative attributes of songs written by such staples as Ministry, KMFDM, and Circle of Dust. His song is splattered with repetitive drum beats, tiny electronic additions, and drilling metal guitar riffs as well as sampled political (John F. Kennedy's) and radio (George Orwell's) speeches. Predatory guitar riffs obviously carry a nice physical thrill. The selection of samples is perfect to keep the composition entertaining. They create an atmosphere of impatience and tension which has been prevailing in many countries as the world rises up against tyranny and political, childish games. The composition doesn't offer release for these emotions however, since the repetitive arrangement continues until the song's end. 'Rage Thrills Wow' is supported by a music video which you can find on the Mr. Kaplan’s YouTube channel.

The audio, mixing, and production qualities draw attention at once, even if the metal-sounding song needed less-than-perfect audio purity (compared to the requirements of any electronic track, for example). Jason McClary has learned a lot from Grammy Award Mix Engineer Dave Pensado whose lessons certainly paid off, as listeners can judge by listening to Mr. Kaplan's songs and remixes (check out New Order's 'Blue Monday' remix at his official website). On the downside, the percussion part in 'Rage Thrills Wow' sounds a bit too repetitive and comes over the guitar cues almost as if it tried to push the riffs away too hard.

Regardless the final, dystopian quote borrowed from Orwell's famous 1984 novel ("If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever"), you will get the point – Mr. Kaplan brings the joy of life and the rhythm to the music he makes, and thus his tunes offer quick motivation to let you rebel against the lies and manipulations streamed everywhere. Moreover, it looks like he could easily raise the dead with the "phat", deep, reverberated bass being his favourite resurrection tool.
Whether Jason continues releasing his own songs or focuses on producing/mixing other artists' music, he has a ton of potential to write obvious hits. Get in touch with him soon if your track lacks power!

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, February 19th, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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05 February, 2018

Gene Gorski - Nowhere To Hide

Gene Gorski - Nowhere To Hide (song review) |self-released, single, 2016| 4/5 spoken word

Gene Gorski has been writing songs for the last thirty years, recording music at his home studio. He has released three albums so far, donating all his income to various charities. Gene follows his heart – the main reason why he has been more interested in providing original pieces of music instead of trying to fit in mainstream trends.

This time, he re-interpreted a classic theme - passing to the other side of the mirror - as found in the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In Gene's version of the story, Alice lands in a dystopian, twisted world. It is not full of wonders but rather includes many aspects found in our reality. Suffice it to say that the protagonist of the story becomes a stripper involved in sado-masochistic activities.

The tempo of this rather short (3:15) song is very lethargic, comparable to a slowly rocking boat stuck on a still ocean with a sole survivor on board. The composition consists of several verses and a chorus, repeating a few times. The lyrics are poetic and they rhyme well. They are short and lack in meaningful details, since they are written for those already familiar with Carroll's original tale.

Acoustically, the song has a story-telling motif with random guitar play which adds tones to the vocal line and supports the overall vibe. One could relate this to Johnny Cash's spoken word songs. Gene also focused on building an atmosphere of minimalism and isolation, equipped only with a microphone, an open body Gretch guitar and a Swart Atomic Space Tone amp. His voice is definitely memorable for its masculine strength, tremble, vibration, pride, nasal tone, and a touch of decadence. It is clear he perfectly knows how to control these elements to build up tension when necessary, but also bring the song down again.

It's pleasing to listen to the entirety of 'Nowhere To Hide' for both the distinctive vocals and the random, accompanying guitar arrangements. Those of you who search for rather intellectual than simply rhythmic music will surely enjoy it.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, January 30th, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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30 January, 2018

Kevon Carter - Hey Alice

Kevon Carter - Hey Alice (song review) |self-released, single, 2018| 4/5, pop

So far, many artists have paid their tribute to the imaginary Alice of Lewis Carroll's famous story and her dream-like trip into the unknown followed by discoveries have been interpreted differently each time.
'Hey Alice' by Kevon Carter is an easy-listening, rhythmic song where the accent is put on building a memorable melody. The composition follows classic rules. The arrangements repeat and sound flexible so that the song could easily exist in its original (pop) space, but could also have a more guitar or drums driven version (which matters in case of using the song in other media).

The song speaks of a romantic relationship – the titular Alice is being encouraged to come into physical contact with the one who wishes to please her: (…) I'll show you magic, working wonders with the palm of my hands / Won't you please come and play with me (…) This invites a comparison between Alice's icy innocence (expressed by the piano/electronics) and the man's experience - he's trying to build trust by gently knocking on her personal igloo door (represented by a non-invasive beat in the composition). The details of their encounter are what listeners may want to work out on their own.

The mood here feels fragile, almost on the verge on breaking like a layer of thin ice at times, yet it's solidly grasped by the composition. The softness results from instrumental arrangements (written mostly for the piano and synths), led by Kevon's vocals for the most part.
Speaking of which, Kevon’s voice is high, melodious, and youthful - in some tones may resemble that of Michael Jackson's and Mick Hucknall's (Simply Red). Kevon grew up in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad & Tobago and later moved to NYC. Inspired by a variety of famous voices (Prince, Bob Marley, and John Lennon to name a few), he gained musical experience in both singing (lead vocals) and performing live with several tribute/cover bands. Lately however, Kevon has been focussing on making solo music - recording an album, mastering his voice, and song writing in general.

The target audience for 'Hey Alice' may vary, as it could seem to be a track meant for teenagers, but due to its accessibility it can be easily picked up by others. It's a memorable song that any modern radio station should appreciate, but it lacks any ground-breaking, unique attributes - that's why it may become a seasonal hit only. It fits the current trend of modern pop songs to be performed live, supported by a team of dancers and flashing stage lights. It’s easy to imagine ‘Hey Alice’ played for a large crowd singing along with the artist. Movie, advertisement, and TV entertainment execs are always on the lookout for songs based on light notes and romantic themes, so Kevon would be right to submit his single for their consideration.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, January 22nd, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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15 January, 2018

AutomatoN - Sub Coma

AutomatoN - Sub Coma (album review) |Machine Man Records, 2017| 5/5

1. Sub Coma, 2. Automata, 3. Deus Machine, 4. Corperate Oxide, 5. Get Out, 6. Bionic Rain, 7. Run, 8. State of Creation, 9. Thought Process, 10. Light Bending, 11. Demise, 12. As the Ship Burns, 13. Silence

This is a concept album to tell the story of a violent space battle between humans and Synths which started in August, 2717 and lasted four days. Sub Coma is the first of the trilogy (together with Human Purge and III: A New Life).
The album begins on a heavy note with the title track. Arrangements roll out slowly. Listener are introduced to the story behind the album's concept which speaks of an isolated spaceship where Synths took over and were not controlled by the human crew anymore. The human astronauts feel threatened and hopeless, so they record memos while awaiting death. Their reports and observations are cleverly mixed with low tuned guitars, often played in unison. Occasional lyrics are sung with a contrasting, higher voice.
Next, dynamic electro lines open 'Automata', followed by grounding, vibrating guitar riffs. Moods vary between conflicted - frustrated and sad, expressing the readiness to rebel, then submission. Progressive metal meets djent here - a common theme throughout the whole of the album.

'Deus Ex Machine' won't show mercy for your ears. Here, the fight between humans and Synths gets real. Guitar riffs simulate rapidly shot bullets and squirting blood. The vocals are angry and growled, supported by higher backing vocals. The bass plays in unison with guitars, with complex drum lines providing a perfect fit.
The following track, 'Corporate Oxide' continues the hateful release. Drum beats and riffs accelerate immensely here. The verses include growled vocals and complex structures, but the choruses seem to have been written in compliance with Fear Factory's most famous sound (high vocals sung in quasi-childish manner), supported by a heavy metal background. The short ending part is completely different, kept in an electro vibe.

If you love 90s industrial metal in the vein of N17, Bile or Ministry, the next track is dedicated to you. 'Get Out' steals the show for all the good reasons. It is based on a simple composition but driven by powerful, repetitive arrangements (for guitars, bass, drums, and vocals), which resonate within the listener's body, giving it a desired chill. 'Get Out' brings an atmosphere of doom, threat, and domination - indestructible demonic energy spills out in every direction here.
In contrast to that, and perhaps to let you catch a breath, the follow-up entitled 'Bionic Rain' sounds quite positive, despite of the angry vocals utilized in verses. The song uses a classic rock and metal composition and could easily be a radio hit. After that, 'Run' again falls into the tune of Fear Factory and Mnemic - expressed by solid, repetitive, heavier tunes and distorted vocals mixed with lighter electronic music at times.

Fast, dynamic tempo and djent-like arrangements are the driving forces behind 'State of Creation'. The contrast between high and low tunes sounds very pleasing and makes the brain easily switch between such amplitudes. Drumming is the most underlined instrumentation in this track but at times surrenders enough space to let guitars lead the way till the end of the song. Next, 'Thought Process' mixes electronica with low tuned guitars. The vocals here are expressive in their anger, then replaced with memorable innocence. All this is spiced up by soul-tearing solo riffs.

'Light Bending' bring melodies of sheer beauty for all ears. The wall of sound increases and decreases, enhanced with both kinds of vocals, as heard before. It's characterized by sudden changes in tempo, where arrangements are cut rapidly then replaced - and by memorable choruses. All the song writing techniques should keep your ears full and interested enough to follow on.
Afterwards, 'Demise' lets you experience catharsis through powerful and complex arrangements. The composition is built upon contrasts, where hellish doom meets divine beauty. In the beginning, a sensitive ear may find the electronic background not very much in sync with guitars and drums, yet there is no trace of an unacceptable discord here. During the choruses, the whole song shines victoriously like the rays of a new dawn. In the ending part of the track, the arrangements and general mood touch one’s heart so deeply that the more sensitive among you may shed a tear or two. The verses drag you forcefully back into the darker side of music. It totally makes sense to press 'stop' after hearing 'Demise' to let your heart cope with emotions a bit better, until you're able to continue listening to the last two tracks of the album.

The battle for the ship is over 'As the Ship Burns'. Whether humans have won or not, it's time for evacuation before mass destruction erases all of its current crew. The song's atmosphere brings tension, yet the music can become quite peaceful at times. It's the longest track on this release and is definitely memorable thanks to the ending choruses. The whole fight will never be forgotten.
The final scene: the sky is filled with smoke. The only survivor looks on as the burning parts of the exploded spaceship fade in the outer space. Emotions of sadness, realization of loss mixed with relief are expressed through electronic sounds, piano tones, and a dead-tired automaton's report. Love energy and beauty radiate from 'Silence' strongly, thus sensitive, imaginative listeners may burst into tears again.

AutomatoN's Sub Coma album is a purifier of a record. There are melodies, smart passages between arrangements, the vibe of both doomsday and victory, and a heart-opening catharsis experience. The band has been founded by Nate Exx Gradowski. Judging by the complexity of arrangements, compositions, and the overall amazing performance, nobody could have guessed it's the work of a single person. Nate's not a newbie, however - he's been a member of Isolated Antagonist since 2014.
Fans of Fear Factory, Mnemic, Dagoba, Sybreed or Strapping Young Lad, as well as hard sci-fi stories will be greatly pleased with this release and should definitely hunt down the remaining two parts of the trilogy.
If you're however into different genres, you should give Sub Coma a try simply because it may drastically influence your musical interests and broaden your horizons.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, January 14th, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia