Jonathan Hill Dot EU

A Soapbox for Uninformed Opinions

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Nails Unsilent Death Review

General Information:

Artist: Nails
Album: Unsilent Death
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Grindcore
Released: 2010
Length: 14 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Six Feet Under Records, Southern Lord

Track List:

01. Conform
02. Scum Will Rise
03. Your God
04. Suffering Soul
05. Unsilent Death
06. Traitor
07. I Will Not Follow
08. No Servant
09. Scapegoat
10. Depths

Nails Unsilent Death Cover

Nails Unsilent Death Cover

Nails Unsilent Death Review

Unsilent Death is the debut album of American grindcore outfit Nails. At only 3 minutes longer than their 2009 EP, Obscene Humanity, this brings the total running time to approximately 14 minutes. For a debut album this is a meagre introduction on the surface because it doesn’t give the impression that you can fit much into such a short span of time.

Nails are quick on the draw to prove the listener wrong and throw you into the middle of their sonic fray with Conform, a 31 second blast straight from the bowels of hell that leads right into Scum Will Rise through feedback noises to continue their sensory assault. This serves as the base-line for Unsilent Death and there’s rarely a moment to remember because of the utter chaos compacted into these micro-songs, of which many are under a minute long, since it’s next to impossible to digest what you hear when most tracks almost start before the last one ends.

Suffering Soul and the title track do manage to slow down and retain some sense of melody, mainly due to the fact that there is a heavier focus on hardcore punk. At best it proves that Nails don’t have an entirely one-track mind and at worst were included for the sake of variety but in either scenario their inclusion works to the advantage of the album. The title track is especially well crafted and includes some of the bands noise elements.

For the listeners who manage to wade their way through Unsilent Death will also pick up on the knack that Nails possesses to do sudden, sharp tempo shifts in a seemingly effortless manner without ever sounding disjointed as demonstrated in the 28 second long track Traitor.

Every musical element from the blasting grindcore sounds to feedback noise and even sludge metal are used on the closing track, Depths, which proves that Nails are capable of far more dynamic compositions when they put their minds to it and they achieve far better results on the few longer tracks on Unsilent Death.

Nails are catering to the furthest ends of the extreme music community and if you happen to have a penchant for short blasts of unrelenting chaos and/or lack anything that resembles an attention span then you will feel right at home with Unsilent Death. For everyone else there isn’t going to be much in the way of replay value bar a few shining moments.

Performers:

Todd Jones: Vocals, guitars
John Gianelli : Bass guitar
Taylor Young: Drums

External Links:

Nails Homepage
Nails on Wikipedia
Unsilent Death on Wikipedia

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Dope Stars Inc. Neuromance Review

General Information:

Artist: Dope Stars Inc.
Album: Neuromance
Genre(s): Electronic Rock
Subgenres(s): Dance Rock
Released: 2005
Length: 59 minutes
Language(s): English, German
Label(s): Metropolis Records, Trisol Music Group

Track List:

01. 10,000 Watts
02. Infection 13
03. Platinum Girl
04. Mark a Star
05. Vyperpunk
06. Generation Plastic
07. Rebel Riot
08. Theta Titanium
09. Self Destructive Corp.
10. Plug ‘n’ Die
11. Defcon 5
12 Trance-Former
13. C-Beams

Dope Stars Inc Neuromance Cover

Dope Stars Inc Neuromance Cover

Dope Stars Inc. Neuromance Review

Neuromance is the first album by Italian electronic rock band Dope Stars Inc. Naming the album after the cyberpunk novel Neuromancer by author William Gibson, Dope Stars Inc frequently reference dystopian and technological themes in their lyrics which are spliced in with their dance rock hybrid sound.

Right off the bat the listener will find that Dope Stars Inc. lean heavily to the dance side of their influences with the rock side being secondary in most cases. The first song, 10,000 Watts, begins with a stadium crowd shouting and chanting before a garbled robotic voice queues the band to start with a steady rhythm composed of a simple drum machine loop and overlying synthesisers. The guitar doesn’t come into full swing until the chorus and the heavily distorted tone contrasts with the upbeat synthesiser sounds but at the same time it compliments singer Victor Love’s throaty voice.

C-Beams is instrumental aside from some small film samples and it closes Neuromance as one of the more pure electronic songs in that it concentrates on synth driven melodies and the drum machine until the bridge which introduces a low rumbling guitar riff and a stomping drumbeat that changes the tone of the song entirely. On the other hand Theta Titanium is as strong as the name suggests and concentrates almost exclusively on the abrasive guitar. Victor Love almost shouts some of his lyrics here but the real anomaly is that at near 3 minutes into the song everything cuts out and is replaced exclusively with a dance section that slowly builds up for 2 minutes and makes you forget about the punishing nature of the first part of the song before throwing you right back into it.

Platinum Girl is a love song that alternates between a rock verse that is also somewhat reflected in the percussion and a frantic yet brief electronic chorus. This, along with Make a Star, are of a slower tempo than many other songs on Neuromance but the latter seems to have been on the receiving end of a severe brick wall production job that makes it particularly difficult to listen to despite making uncharacteristic use of an acoustic guitar and a melodic guitar solo on one of the songs that focuses on the rock side of their sound.

Despite being Italian all of the lyrics are sung in English with the exception of a verse that is repeated in 10,000 Watts which, as curve ball, is in German. Vyperpunk seems to be about expressing self-loathing and dehumanisation through a virtual reality (“just giving me a VR-place/and kill me every time you want/keep loading shit into my head/it makes me feel like an empty drone”) and digital democracy is referenced in Rebel Riot (“all the networks are casting their own votes/that’s an auction/choosing for election/sweat is running over and over”). Theta Titanium is an apocalyptic song about the destruction and subsequent evacuation of Earth during a war which the protagonist returns to sometime in the future (“I see my Earth again yeah/but I can see just through/the windows of my ship/I see my Earth again yeah/unrecognizable, destroyed by human race”).

While Neuromance does have some short comings, particularly in terms of the overall quality of the lyrics, these can be put down to the fact that Dope Stars Inc. are not native speakers of English and this will improve over time as they progress in their career. Dope Stars Inc. has a unique sound and a lot of potential so it will be interesting to hear how they bridge the gap between rock and electronic music, which is quiet a task in its own right, on their future output.

Performers:

Victor Love: Lead vocals, guitar, synthesizers, drum machine
Alex Vega: Guitar
Darin Yevonde: Bass guitar

External Links:

Dope Stars Inc. on Bandcamp
Dope Stars Inc. on Wikipedia
Neuromance on Wikipedia

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Mortiis The Grudge Review

General Information:

Artist: Mortiis
Album: The Grudge
Genre(s): Industrial Rock
Subgenres(s): N/A
Released: 2004
Length: 47 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Earache Records

Track List:

01. Broken Skin
02. Way Too Wicked
03. The Grudge
04. Decadent & Desperate
05. The Worst in Me
06. Gibber
07. Twist the Knife
08. The Loneliest Thing
09. Le Petit Cochon Sordide
10. Asthma

Mortiis The Grudge Cover

Mortiis The Grudge Cover

Mortiis The Grudge Review

The Grudge is the 7th studio album by Norwegian artist Mortiis. It is the first album in the “Era 3” period of his career and is notable for being the album on which Mortiis evolved from a solo project to a full band as well as continuing the aggressive musical trajectory, which started out as long dark ambient songs before turning into angst-ridden synthpop and now industrial rock for the latest incarnation.

For a few seconds at the start of Broken Skin, the first song on The Grudge, you could easily be fooled into thinking that the use of synthesisers indicates a continuation of the synthpop sound found on The Smell of Rain. This is until short and sharp static bursts are injected to the mix and after a brief lull in the build-up Mortiis releases a long digitised scream with an assortment of synthesised noise before arriving at the first angst-ridden verse. This contrasts heavily with the chorus which softens up to ambient soundscaping with even-tempered singing over layered. While making use of the typical loud/quiet dynamic in rapid succession is certainly nothing new, what makes it impressive is how the two seemingly contradictory genres are woven together without making the listener think that they’re out of place.

Decadent & Desperate blends dance rhythms with heavily distorted guitars that explode into life with Mortiis shouting grotty lyrics that echo the songs title to make it one of the most intense moments on The Grudge. On the other hand The Loneliest Thing is almost a sort of industrial rock ballad that describes a woman stealing Gods light “to make her dark night turn in to day” before going into more antitheistic lyrics that touch on the absence of God when her refers to the light at the end of the song and says “and now she throws it away/when God has nothing to say/her God, she threw him away/he never had much to say.”

Fans of “Era 1” Mortiis will be pleased to know that The Grudge does in fact feature a short 2 and a half minute ambient song called Asthma at the end of the album that will entrance the listener quickly. It rounds off the experience in an unexpected but welcome way but it doesn’t necessarily have the same scope as the old dark ambient material Mortiis produced (mostly due to the short length which will leave you wanting more or playing it on repeat) and the more keen listeners will hear distorted voices and noises subtly planted in the background but it is easy to overlook them if you’re not paying attention.

The compositions cut out the excessive moments found on The Smell of Rain which makes The Grudge a more concise experience and Mortiis comes across as a much more confident singer and has expanded his range and style by quite a margin in 3 years. He also no longer relies on backing singers nearly as much although Louise Marie Degnzman Pedersen shares the bridge on The Grudge and has a much calmer presence when put next to Mortiis.

With The Grudge Mortiis will once again catch long-time fans off guard as his musical path progresses through different genres. He will have undoubtedly worked his way into a new niche audience of industrial rock fans at the same time and this album will certainly whet the appetite for future releases.

Performers:

Mortiis: Vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, programming
Levi Gawron: Guitars
Asmund Sveinunggard: Guitars
Leo Troy: Drums, percussion

Additional Performers:

Vegard Blomberg: Acoustic guitars, keyboards, programming
Endre Tonnesen: Bass on 1, 5, 7, 8 and 10
Magnus Abelsen: Bass on 9
Joe Gibber: Keyboards, programming
Louise Marie Degnzman Pedersen, Stephan Groth: Backing vocals

External Links:

Mortiis on Wikipedia
The Grudge on Wikipedia

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Mortiis The Smell of Rain Review

General Information:

Artist: Mortiis
Album: The Smell of Rain
Genre(s): Electronic
Subgenres(s): Synthpop
Released: 2001
Length: 51 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Earache Records

Track List:

01. Scar Trek/Parasite God
02. Flux/Mental Maelstrom
03. Spirit in a Vacuum
04. Monolith
05. You Put a Hex on Me
06. Everyone Leaves
07. Marshland
08. Antimental
09. Smell the Witch

Mortiis The Smell of Rain Cover

Mortiis The Smell of Rain Cover

Mortiis The Smell of Rain Review

The Smell of Rain is the 6th studio album by Norwegian solo artist Mortiis. This also marks the first and only entry of “Era 2” Mortiis in which he makes an unexpected transition from dark ambient music to synthpop.

This is also the first album wherein Mortiis assumes the role as lead vocalist and while he doesn’t possess the same vocal range or confidence that comes along further into his career, it’s not enough to outright dismiss his performance either. He also enlists additional vocalists including Sarah Jezebel Deva, of Cradle of Filth and Therion fame, for dramatic choral and solo arrangements that are laced together with straightforward distorted guitar work.

Scar Trek/Parasite God addresses contempt for God as Mortiis decries peoples willingness to “…sacrifice themselves/to the locust master, to the one that drowned the world” while saying “yet they crucify me,” presumably for having a simple difference of opinion on theological concerns. Many of the lyrics in other songs revolve around themes of alienation and angst while the final song, Smell the Witch, is more fantasy themed and less detailed in its narrative by comparison.

This is then followed by a two-part song found in Flux/Mental Maelstrom and Spirit in a Vacuum, which adds up to nearly 12 minutes between them, showing that Mortiis hasn’t lost his penchant for longer compositions in their entirety just yet. The long durations of many songs found on The Smell of Rain is also a point of contention due to the fact that they simply don’t need to be as long as they are and a more refined approach would have gone a long way in streamlining the overall presentation of the album.

Monolith breaks the synthpop framework for a dramatic piano and percussion driven number that brings the distorted guitar to the forefront for the bridge of the song and Everyone Leaves is a depressing synth-driven ballad that shows Mortiis at his most defeated as he describes the futility of loss found in the refrain in which he states “everyone leaves. In the end. Everything dies. In the end. It doesn’t matter how hard you hold on.” The build-up in the last minute of the latter song is merciful after around 6 minutes of mope but this song is easily the most stretched out.

Thankfully Mortiis bounces back from Everyone Leaves, particularly on Antimental and Smell the Witch. Both songs feature a cello and violin combined with the synthpop sound Mortiis has crafted but they are far more dramatic and intense than the other songs found on this album. The ending of the final track (Smell the Witch) is sudden but fitting and it will leave you with a good impression of The Smell of Rain, which will have undoubtedly alienated plenty of long-time Mortiis fans on its release but it is an important step in his musical evolution.

Performers:

Mortiis: Lead vocal, keyboards, synthesizers, synth programming, drum programming
Martina Binder: Additional lead vocal
Sarah Jezebel Deva: Vocal harmonies, soprano vocals
Mika Lindberg, “Raptor”, Suvi-Tuulia Virtanen: Alto vocals
Chris A: Guitars
Alzahr: Bass
Staffan Wieslander, Asa Anveden: Cello
Cecilia Lindgren, Johanna Wetter: Violin
Frederik Bergstrom: Tympani, percussion

External Links:

Mortiis Homepage
Mortiis on Wikipedia
The Smell of Rain on Wikipedia