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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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Reviewed by Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia

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