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Week 38

Issue 28 - Updated 12th September 2004

·Release of the week


·Other album this week

Agnus Dei / Babylon Mystery Orchestra / Brad Dutz * John Holmes / Darksun / Heavy Dance / Lampshade / Lonewolf / Makrel / Numen / Pleasures Remain / Stars and Stripes / The Heartaches / Uppercut / Various Artists: Still Going Strong /

·Singles/EP’s this week

Coppelius / Coppelius / Coppelius


·                                 All releases are out now unless otherwise noted

·                                 All reviews written by Hans Jákup Eiðisgarð


Release of the week:


Mortiis; The Grudge


(Provided by Target Distribution)

The first single taken from Norwegian Mortiis’ new album (the title-track “The Grudge”) landed on the 42nd place on the UK singles-chart the first week of its release, which is quite an accomplishment considering that Mortiis was once the bassist of black metal band Emperor and later recorded music for Swedish left-wing label Cold Meat Industry. On “The Grudge” the Norwegian misfit (or previous misfit as it seems...) takes the Treznor-like electro-industrial that he started on his previous album, “The Smell of Rain” from 2001, and takes it one step further turning the intensity up a notch or two. He may we weird, but he’s certainly interesting and his music, well, it’s amazing. (JJJJJ-) Release date: 13th September 2004 


Other album this week:


Agnus Dei; Gaia

Indigo Music

You know what? All the instrumental piano CD’s I’ve received lately have been a little boring, so to be perfectly honest with you all, I wasn’t expecting much when I started listening to Agnus Dei’s “Gaia” that is classical piano-playing accompanying the poems of his late wife featured in the booklet. Since not expecting too much, I was sincerely surprised with the quality of this recording. It’s classically oriented piano-playing alright, but instead of being all sentimental, slow and romantic (okay, it may still be a little romantic, but not in the same way the last classical albums I listened to were) there’s more tempo on the playing. It gives you more of a warm and happy feeling rather than a dreamy one, which is odd because this is also to be considered a new age/ambient-like project. All I know is that I like the playing of former prog-rock keyboarder Gerald Krampl, which is very convincing and definitely something you should check out if you’re into classical piano melodies. (JJJJ--)


Babylon Mystery Orchestra; On earth As It Is In Heaven


It’s said that in the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which are supposed to be the oldest known surviving manuscripts of the Old Testament, a musical form is described that by description is very comparable to the rock-music of today. It’s this story that Babylon Mystery Orchestra is trying to tell, which is probably also the reason for the band name. Anyway, Babylon Mystery Orchestra isn’t really an orchestra or even a band, but rather the project of Sidney Allen Johnson who plays all instruments and has written all the music. Basically this is heavy metal, but Babylon Mystery Orchestra escapes the high-pitched vocals, which is good because it’s really annoying to have those kind of vocals on 90% of all pure heavy metal albums these days. (JJJ---)


Brad Dutz * John Holmes; My Bongo


The biggest difference between the Brad Dutz Obliteration Percussion Quartet release reviewed last week and this one, is the fact that here there are only two percussion players while on the other one there were four (as in quartet of course). I hated the Brad Dutz Obliteration Percussion Quartet release, which anyone who read last weeks issue has noticed, but this one is a little better although I can’t say that I am really that much into it either. It’s a lot less messy than the quartet release. It’s more structured and there’s not going as much on at the same time, but I am still finding it hard to enjoy all the these percussive sounds without anything else accompanying them. (JJ----) Release date: out now


Darksun; El Lagado


I would love to tell you a little about this Spanish band, but I am not going to since there was no press-release with this CD. However, I can tell you what their CD sounds like. It’s pretty typical European power metal. Sounds a lot like a lot of those Italian acts that keep appearing these days. It’s actually pretty good, although it’s nothing overtly special and heard often before. Oh and the lyrics are all in Spanish. (JJJ---)


Heavy Dance

Sony Music Entertainment

If you live in Scandinavia, you’ve probably seen the ad for this Finnish release on TV. I heard a few sound-files of some of the tracks on this thing before I got the CD – they all sounded terrible. It’s a relief to say that the sound is way better on the actual CD than on those sound-files. If the album-title doesn’t make a bell ring, I can tell you that this is heavy music from the 80’s gone dance. These people remix tracks like “Livin’ On A Prayer”, “You Give Love A Bad Name”, “The Final Countdown”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “Ace of Spades”, “Bark at the Moon”, Thunderstruck”, “Out In The Fields” and more, but in most cases when old hits are remixed like this the result is a little so and so. I’ll admit it, though, that there was a track or two that made my head nod a bit, but overall these people haven’t resurrected these classics, although they’ll probably be spinning quite a bit at your local disco where I am quite sure they’ll also be enjoyed the most. (JJ----)


Lampshade; Because Trees Can Fly


Imagine Bjørk fronting Glorybox? That’d be something, right? The new album from Danish Lampshade is one of the most touching pieces of slow-core indie-pop I’ve heard in a long time. Coming from different backgrounds all the way from hardcore to lo-fi-rock, the members of this band have found a perfect way to fuse all their ideas and backgrounds into a wonderful slow-core album with its fare share of noise-pop which helps in making this a more dynamic album overall. The most wonderful thing about this record, however, is the voice of lead-singer Rebekkamaria whose voice is passionate, heartfelt and warm while at the same time being utterly sad - and quite Bjørk-sounding too, I might add. Her vocals also go well along with the male-vocals of bassist Johannes Dybjæer Andersson and I’d wish they’d try and combine the two of them even more. All in all, I think this is one heck of an album and especially “Treasure Is” is a song that I will be playing a lot in the time to come. (JJJJJ-)   

Lonewolf; Unholy Paradise


Here’s another band from this label that I haven’t heard about before and that I really know that much about. It turns out that they hail from France, which is cool because it’s not too often that a metal-release from France lands on my desk, although it happens on occasion. Anyway, “Unholy Paradise”, which is Lonewolf’s second album, is pure heavy metal which by some would be labeled true metal. It sounds like it could’ve been taken straight out of the early 80’s without even seeing the slightest trace of anything just a little bit influenced by anything else from the last 15 years or so. Wanna go back in time? Well, here’s your ride. (JJJ---)


Makrel; Wonderland


I first heard this Faroese band on the CD “Prix Krem”, which was a CD featuring a track from every band that was in the finals in the music competition “Prix Føroyar.” These guys ended on a third place in that competition, I might add. The music of this band, however, goes way farther back than that. These guys have been together in some form for eight years, although under the name Happy? for a while there, as who they were featured on the documentary film “Frostpop” alongside Icelandic stars Sigur Rós an Gus Gus. Now featuring the amazingly good ex-Diatribes guitarist Rasmus Rasmussen (don’t think he’s been with them all along, although I might be wrong) on guitar, Makrel are heading for a definite position among the best rock bands in the Faroe Islands. And really, judging on the rather unique musical style of the band I don’t see why the interest beyond The Faroe Islands (and Iceland) shouldn’t be in its place. The music of Makrel is hard, but also emotional and poetic. The unusual vocals of Ari Rouch can be a little hard on the ears if you’re not used to this kind of music, but overall I think they just add another dimension to the sound of Makrel. Don’t know what to label these guys. This is definitely metallic, but I wouldn’t label it metal. Let’s just say that this is great music that rocks hard, shall we? (JJJJ--)


Numen; Basoaren Semeak


Kind of like Týr, Numen from the Basque country have combined the traditional folk-music of their culture with metal-music. They’ve even taking one step further by letting every word sung on this album being in the Basque language. Musically they combine pagan black metal with a little bit of death metal and then adding, as I said, Basque folk on top. The result is not as mind blowing as in Týr’s and Turisas’ cases, but it’s slightly different than your average piece of black metal. (JJJ---)


Pleasures Remain; Magmatears


I know that I compare a lot of synth-pop sounding bands with Depeche Mode, but Pleasures Remain really do have similarities to the legendary 80’s band. And 80’s sounding is also something Pleasures Remain are, but not so much that newer electronic music fans won’t get a kick out of this CD. The music may not be exactly what will fill the dance floors nowadays and it certainly won’t be reaching the mainstream charts in sales nor radio airplay, but it’s definitely worth seeking out if you’re longing to go back to the 80’s synth-pop genre. Here you just have to get used to a few modern influences as well. (JJJJ--) 


Stars and Stripes; One Man Army

I Scream Records

This is the long awaited full-length from Choke’s (Slapshot) side-project. So you’re wondering about the name? Well, all I can say that there are lots of anthems on here, but none of them are to the US of A, alright? This is just punk-rock, baby... and, well, a little hardcore too. It’s fast, fun and, well, fast. (JJJJ--)  


The Heartaches; Move On

I Scream Records

Previously known as Take Warning, The Heartaches got together in 1999 just wanting to play punk rock. After five years with tons of shows, a name-change, band members coming and going, releasing a 5-track demo, a split CD with The Forgotten on “People Like You” and a full-length album, The Heartaches are, after signing to Belgian label I Scream Records earlier this year, back with their sophomore release once again produced by Kerry Martinez of the US Bombs. Personally I find the record a little below the standard of the latest I Scream CDs I’ve heard. It doesn’t hold my attention long enough and it’s a little too repetitive for its own good. (JJJ---)


Uppercut; Reanimation of Hate


Uppercut is a German metal band that has been around since 1997. These guys have released some stuff before, but if I am not mistaken from reading the press-release this is their first proper full-length album. It features 12 tracks of old-school thrash metal. It’s well-played, but there’s really nothing that unusual about it. I think it’s safe to say that the lead-singer, who is a girl, is one of the tougher girls in metal these days. (JJJ---)


Various Artists; Still Going Strong

I Scream Records

Celebrating their 10th anniversary, I Scream Records proudly present this low-price 25-track compilation CD featuring bands such as Agnostic Front, Slapshot, Slumlords, Awkward Thought and Discipline. If you’re into the hardcore and old-school punk stuff that this label usually releases, then this is for you because most of the stuff on here sounds exactly like what you’re used to. The only thing that is different is Convict and their unplugged version of “Picture”, which is nice and easy featuring piano and everything. That song is also one of my favorite tracks on this compilation alongside Blood For Blood’s “Hanging On The Corner” and The Blue Bloods’ “Twice As Strong”. (JJJJ--)


Singles/EP’s this week:


Coppelius; 1803

Noiseworks Records

This is a very different band. They combine classical elements with metal, but although that isn’t very uncommon within metal music these days – believe me, these guys don’t sound like your average metal-freaks with a few Bach works in their record-collection just for being higher-class. These guys really sound different with clarinets, a cello and double-bass playing just as big a role as the metallic guitars. According to the band they’re bringing forth the atmosphere of Berlin in the 1920’s and I believe them. They even have frickin’ butler for crying out loud. (JJJ---)


Coppelius; Coppelius


This is the first release from this German band. It’s a three-track single featuring the same kind of wacko music described in the review of their new EP. There’s also a really different cover of Iron Maiden’s “Phantom of The Opera” on here. (JJJ---)


Coppelius; Video-CD


You probably won’t be able to get your hands on this one, as I think it’s mostly made for promotional purposes. It’s 8-minutes-and-something with video-clips from concerts. The most hilarious part of the show is their butler who, for the most part, just stands there being polite. At other times he holds the instruments for the other guys (or should I say gentlemen) while they do something else. Their live-show is as different as their music. (JJJ---)

Hans Jakup Eidisgard, PO BOX 38, FO-470 Eidi, Faroe Islands, Via Denmark