Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Front Line Assembly Plasticity Review

(Sorry some cover links keep going dead).

Artist: Front Line Assembly

Single: Plasticity.

Genre: Electro-Industrial, Electronic Body Music, Techno, Electronica, Industrial Metal.

Label: Offbeat/Metropolis

Released: 1996


1. Plasticity.
2. Replicant
3. Plasticity (' Zero' Remix By Haujobb).

Front Line was on top with this single. Hard Wired was a return to a more synth based sound but still kept the chord Electronica heavy style of Tactical Nerual Implant with the Guitars and heavy drums of their more mainstream breakthrough Millennium. Not to mention their Side projects Intermix and Deleruim (which found chart success in Canada with their new Deep Forest/Enigma inspired direction) which showed Leeb and Fulber experimenting with other Electronic music genres which they then inputted these styles back into Front Line varying their sound significantly.

This single was also marked the exit of Rhys Fulber from FLA (He would return for Civilization) who left to work on Remixing, Producing and solo work but continued to work on Delerium's follow up to Sematic Spaces, Karma which he then left Delerium for awhile.

Plasticity is a Electronic/Techno dance heavy track that incorporates hard Industrial drums, complex phasing flanged percussive loops and a throbbing EBM style bassline (sounds like a Oberhiem Xpander).

I love how complex the rhythms our on this tracks especially on the drums a style that Bill Leeb would continue on FLAvour Of The Weak, Implode and Epitaph. The Phased/Flanged rhythm give the track a manic energy. Leeb's vocals are really aggressive and warped sounding in. The chorus has a big arp sequence where Leeb's vocals come out really big, deep and thunderous.

The samples are mostly from the movie Timecop starring Jean-Claude Van Damme they even sampled a scream from Barcode off Hard Wired. The samples really help set the futuristic tone and atmosphere of the track.

Plasticity Promo:

The B-side Replicant starts off with minimal synth FX's and a sample of a man in pain from the movie Cronos then this complex modulated lead comes in (sounds like a Nord but could be an old analogue) followed by some really hard industrial drums then a pounding hard 4/4 rhythm which quickly switches to a more Industrial Metal rhythm. Leeb's vocals come in deep, heavy and raspy with twisted Metal guitar riffs and Rhys's atmospheric pad/strings Chords. This track would fit would well on Hard Wired or Millennium.

Cool Replicant Fan Made Music Video:

The final track on the single is remix by Haujobb. Daniel Meyer and Co give the track a more atmospheric intro with complex IDM/Techno inspired rhythms including Breakbeats. Very Electronica. The synths are complex, modulated and acid sounding. Even the vocals are phased, filtered and modulated. I like it, its different and the chorus is really unusual.

Haujobb Remix:

I not sure what I will review next maybe Delerium's Sematic Spaces (Some people hate it but I really like it) I then might review an old Platipus records Vol. 2 Compilation.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Velvet Acid Christ Calling Ov The Dead Reissue Review

Artist\Group: Velvet Acid Christ.

Album: Calling Ov The Dead

Genre: Electro-Industrial (Other Genre Influences include Electronica, Darkwave, Gothic Rock, Goa Trance, Metal).

Released: 1997.

Reissue: 2006.

Label: Offbeat

Reissue Label: Metropolis Records.

1. Phucking Phreak.

2. Malfunction

3. BSAT2

4. The Calling (Fuck Shit Motherfucker Mix).

5. The Dead (Deathwish Mix).

6. Timeless Visions.

7. Pray For Life.

8. Exquisite Stench.

9. The Hand Violent Trance Mix).

10. ZixZixZix (666 Mix).

11. Decay.

Reissue Bonus Tracks:

12. The Hand (Gut Cheek Remix By Disease Factory).

13. BSAT2 (Polymophix a theme to a visual epic by Bryan Erickson and Todd Loomis).

Eclecticism is a word I use heavily to describe the Industrial project known as Velvet Acid Christ. VAC in my eyes is up with Front Line Assembly, :Wumpscut: and Haujobb when comes to making Industrial music that doesn't stick to one pure style and yet remain true to their origins.

Few Industrial follow these bands example these days and as probably why musically the scene is full of cookie cutter Disco Ditty groups like Faderhead.

Velvet Acid Christ's debut album is full of raw hate and pure seething misery, every track has hard clacky drum rhythms that smash your face. Metal and Sister Of Mercy guitar riffs are layered over the throbbing modulated acid synth sounds that is key to their sound.

Bryan vocals remind me of Nivek Orge's tormented screams and cries on track's like 'Worlock' and 'Testure', yet Bryan retains his own filter distinctive growl.

The history of Velvet Acid Christ has had various group members come and go for various reasons (some quite bizarre), leaving only it's founder Bryan Erickson at the helm most of the time. But it was during making of the Calling Ov The Dead were the cracks began to show for two of its members, Gary Slaughter and Chris Workme whon were known to fall out with each other during sessions of earlier albums like the demo album Nerualblastoma (Released as Between The Eyes Vol.4).

This lead Bryan to work with the two members separately, but during a meeting with their main label Offbeat Records, who rejected the original tracks for Calling Ov The Dead on the grounds of it being "Too Gothic and Darkwave inspired" instead of a more Electro-Industrial styled record that they wanted. This event led to the falling out between Gary Slaughter and Bryan, Gary left VAC along with most of the bands equipment.

Bryan had no choice but to borrow money from friends to buy his own studio gear. As Bryan did this Gary tired to create a Coup d'etat by trying to claim that the band project was his sole idea and tried to justify this on the grounds that he owned most of the studio equipment, but Bryan had managed to claim his own studio by then. Offbeat had no choice but to meet the two musicians to discuss the matter, in the end it was Bryan who created the name of the band therefore he had the right to the project. This prompted Gary's permanent exit from VAC, but the legend still gives Bryan headaches to this day.

Chris Workman (Who would leave during the making of Fun With Knives to become a Born Again Christan and again during the marking of Twisted Thought Generator and the Walking with Razors tour) would work with Bryan on some of the new tracks for the album however Bryan decided to do most of it alone. Not all tracks from the Beta were scrapped but some of the tracks like 'The Dead' and 'The Calling' had to be reworked in a more Industrial style using new equipment.

Dan Olson also assisted with the sampling and engineering on this album along with Steve Bird.

The album was mastered by Stefan Herwig and Thorsten Stroht of Offbeat.

The Artwork was done by Jeff Pruett (who was designing a comic which some of the songs on this album are based on but didn't finish it in time and became a Republican).

Indeed, the equipment on this album varies depending on the sessions. Tracks like Phucking Phreak, Timeless Visions, Exquisite Stench, The Hand (Violent Trance Mix) and Decay were done using some of the older gear owned by Slaughter who also worked on them (The Korg Prophecy is most likely Bryan's):

Roland Juno 106.

Roland MKS-50.

Roland JD-800.

Ensoniq ASR-10.

Digitech RP-1.

Alesis Quadraverb Gt.

Boss DR-660.

Boss ME-10.

Peavy Trace Guitar (Most Likely Bryan's).

Korg Prophecy (used on Timeless Visions The Hand (Violent Trance Mix) and Exquisite Stench as well).

Korg M1 (Used on Decay).

The Gear on The newer tracks like Malfunction, BSAT2, The Calling (Fuck Shit Motherfucker Mix) and The Dead (Deathwish Mix), Pray For Life, ZixZixZix (666 Mix) is all Bryan's:

Nord Lead.

Korg Prophecy.

Korg Trinty.

Ensoniq ASR-X

Digitech RP-12.

Alesis Quadraverb 2.0.

Boss DR-660.

Ibanez Guitar (Not sure if this was Byans or Chris Workmans, might be Bryans).

The album opens with Phucking Phreak, a Guitar driven Darkwave track with Sisters of Mercy sytle Guitar and drums. But vocally is more aggressive with Electro-Industrial style vocals. The track is also very chord driven with Synth Strings and bellish sounding arpeggios. The samples are from the movie Seven hence the title. I admit I am not the most Guitar driven music listener these days but this track kicks ass. A good example of a Gothic Darkwave track. The strings at 2:54 are great, nice chorus sound. Very Tortured.

The next is Malfunction, this track is very Orbital/Juno Reactor Techno inspired track especially the high octave square sounding arp and the beginning of the track. The vocals have lots of chorus/flange and very atmospheric, no samples on this Bryan wanted to prove that he do a track without samples and this proves it. You can tell this track was done with the newer gear because the Nord sounds are really recognisable in this track, awesome. The Trinity choir pads are really good in this track, Korg make kick Choir ass pads. The drums are Industrial Hard Wired FLA sounding, heavy but still dancey in places. Really good track, awesome chord pads.

Some people say that on this album the overuse of samples and the length of them, ruin it, but I have never had this problem. I think the sample work well in the tracks in my opinion. I don't think you can criticize VAC too much for this as FLA used loads of movie samples in their mid to late 90's work.

BSAT2 makes me go fucking crazy when the buzzy phasing synth sequence 38 seconds into the track and then that acid sequence comes in. This is probably one of my favourite tracks on the whole album. Industrial drums. The 12 Monkeys samples fit the serious tone of the vocals and lyrics even the title was changed from Stefan Sucks At Teken 2 (Stefan was wise to Bryan's funny title) to Bryan Sucks At Teken 2 (Great Game). The word yeah is used a lot very much like the White Zombie song More Human Than Human. Yeaaah! :)

The next track is the reworking of The Calling (Fuck Shit Motherfucker Mix), original is similar but of a Skinny Puppy Electro- Industrial/Darkwave Dance track you can hear the original on Between The Eyes Vol.4. This has a more Hard Wire FLA Metal meets trippy Orbital Juno Reactor. Some really nice Nord Arp sequences in this track. Industrial Dance Drums with a more Electronic sounding 909 type kick on this track. Nice trippy acid sounds at 3:20 with this heavy metal in places, good chords. Fuck Shit Motherfucker indeed.

The Dead (Deathwish Mix) is really different from the Original which had a slower tempo and was more of Sisters Of Mercy style track. This version is more up tempo Techno Electronica inspired Electro-Industrial track. I love the samples on this especially when the Fonz (the actor) says "It's Not Fair. Fairness would be to rip your insides out and hang you from a tree so we can expose you for the heartless, desensitized, little shits that you are!". Reminds me of the scummy shithouses that fester in my fucking country. Interesting that the kick drum on this one with a big fat reverb acoustic sounding kick but its doing a straight four to the floor rhythm. Awesome trippy sounds. Nice Goa sounding trance leads. Choir Trinity pads again are great. I prefer this over original.

The next track Timeless Visions, is an older track from the early sessions. A Darkwave track about society and the Government. Really good string intro, nice chords. Sisters Of Mercy style drums (Ala Floodland), Depeche Mode/Cure like Melodies at the beginning. Filter breakbeat looped towards the end of the track. Very Clear vocals at the beginning of the track. As the track progress the vocals get darker and darker. Very atmospheric track.

Pray For Life is an another Darkwave track but with a more Industrial Rock/Metal edge. Animal and Human rights message is quite clear in the samples and lyrics. Really awesome chords and choir pad sounds. Never thought I would hear Hugh Grant's voice and Jackie Chan's screams in a Industrial track. Despite the Jackie Chan sample this track manages still sound dark and serious. Awesome Guitar riffs on this.

I can hear Hard Wire Influence on this album a lot but I can also hear a lot of Goth/Darkwave influences too as well as the Trippy Techno/Electronica influences that VAC is great at. For the Acid is the key part of what I think makes VAC great.

Exquisite Stench is another track that makes me go crazy I would love to hear this in a club and dance really aggressive and hyper. But nobody plays Industrial like this anymore. The aggressive bassline just sends a violent spasm in my spine that makes want to blow shit up and scream. Very Primal. Awesome Hellraiser samples. I also how well the breakbeat loops are layered underneath the nice dance beats give the track an awesome groove. Very 90's I love this track. Love the vocals Skinny meets Ministry's Stigmata, great.

The Hand (Violent Trance Mix) is awesome Electro-Industrial dance track. The samples are brilliant I love how the piano and atmospheres from the sample fit into the track. Awesome Technoish sounding leads on this track. The drums are varied from heavy Industrial Snares to 808 Kicks and hats.

ZixZixZix (666 Mix) is relentless. Hard and Heavy Industrial Drums with throbing acid bassline. This track is so hard it crushes you and scufocates with only the ambient pads of the Trinty and the Orbital sounding arp lead leaving some space and ambience within the track. This track is great gets you moving and makes hyperactive. The vocals are really aggressive too probably VAC's most aggressive next to 'Murder The World'.

Decay ends the original album like how it began with a Gothic Darkwave track. Like Timeless Visions its very atmospheric. Really heavy Gothic Rock style guitar on this track. Korg M1 is possibly doing the choir stabs on this track. Really harsh scream at the beginning of this track sends shivers down my spine.

The Bonus tracks on the reissue are Two Remixs one of The Hand. I really like this version sounds like it was done just after the original release of the album pre Fun With Knives. I really like acid sequences on this mix, really good modulated sounds. I like this a lot more the album version but I love the album version too. Great Remix.

The other remix is BSAT2 done by Bryan and Todd Loomis sounds like it was done before, during or after the marking of Lust For Blood. Really Nice Melodic Piano with a Heavy Ministry style Metal guitar riffs. I admit I prefer the original but this mix this is also really good and shows a different side to the track.

To me this album shows the transistion between the ealry VAC Gothic Darkwave/Electro-Industrial sound to the more Goa Trance/Techno/Electronica/Trip Hop sound of their next two albums.

In my opinion its a classic Electro-Industrial album of the 1990's and for proves why the 90's kick ass for Electronic and Industrial music. I love 70's, 80's synth stuff too. But the 90's is in my Blood.

If like 90's FLA, 90's :Wumpscut:, 90's Suicide Commando and 90's Mentallo & The Fixer. Then you will probably like this album its agressive and varied. Also check Juno Reactor and Orbtial they inspired a lot of the Electronica elements on this album.

I am going to do a Single Review of Front Line Assembly's Plascity next since its my favourite track of theirs and wasn't released on an album.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Gary Numan Berserker

Artist: Gary Numan.

Album: Berserker.

Released: 1984.

Label: Numa Records (Numan's own Label)

Produced: Gary Numan, Programming by The Wave Team.

Genre: Syntpop, New Wave, Synth-Funk, 80's Stadium Rock.


1. Berserker.

2. The is New Love.

3. The Secret.

4. My Dying Machine.

5. Cold Warning.

6. Pump It Up.

7. The God Film.

8. A Child With The Ghost.

9. The Hunter.

Bonus Tracks (1999 Reissue):

10. Empty Bed, Empty Heart.

11. Here I am.

12. She Cries.

13. Rumour.

14. This Ship Comes Apart.

For some reason my next review is going to Gary Numan's Berserker album. Released in 1984 after 1983 lukewarm Warriors Numan was furious, his comeback Warriors tour reflected this which was considered harder sounding than smooth Sax funk of the album. No Surprise that Berserker would asborb this 'Fury'. With Berserker Numan decided to dramatically update his sound after hearing Frankie Goes To Hollywood 'Relax' (in 1984 who didn't?) produced by Trevor Horn and his entourage of very clever programmers using then state of the art gear like the Infamous Fairlight CMI, NED Synclavier, Roland MC4 Hardware Sequencer , Roland Jupiter 8 (one of the only analogue synths to be rapped to death in the mid 80's), Roland GR300 Guitar Synth (for that soon dated sheen). Numan may also been inspired by the sampling techniques that Depeche Mode were empolying on their records at the time, especially Constrution Time Again.

This made Numan look for new Gear to update his studio one day the anwser was already there, Numan happened to be in the studio one day when he walked past one of the rooms and heard this sound that blew him away he popped his head in and said "what the fuck was that" it was the PPG Wave 2 Wavetable Synthesizer/Sampler/Sequncer, a unique digital synth that used Wavtable synthsis, it also had analog filters as well as a sequncer and sampler. It seemed the PPG had it all for Numan however it was very difficult to use and had a mind of its own this lead Gary to hear The Wave Team to operate and program the PPG for Berserker. As well as using sequncing, sampling and wavetable synthsis Numan also got into Electronic Drums notably Simmons Infamous SDS-5 Drum Kit which used heavly in the mid 80's by various artists. Numan also used some familar gear used on this previous albums howver I am only guessing like the Arp Odessy MKIII, Oberheim OB-Xa, Prophet 5 and a Linn Drum (mostly likely sampled probably the second model) the moogs like the Polymoog may have been used but I think they were phased out by now.

Using this equipment Numan created one of most eclectric and agressive albums to date, influence by digital dance funk of some of Trevor Horn's productions, pop synth funk of bands like Prince and Scritti Politti and experimental synth work of Thomas Dolby. I use the word funk a lot becuase this stlye and genre is present a lot this album especially some of Guitars and Sax parts but is also off matched with cold hard hitting synths and reverse distorted guitars, even violas and violins appear on this record not to metion the over use of female vocals a direction explored on his previous album and following albums which didn't end until 1993/1994.

Image wise the Berserker era is a odd one and probably another one of Numan's fashion faux pas'es which didn't end until 1993 when Numan got some more hair and fashion advice from Gemma. To be fair this 80's and most people did some crazy shit, unlike today were people just where branded shit like their mates. As you can tell from striking cover Numan has blue hair and full white and blue makeup. Numan refrence this image in his record Warriors as 'the Iceman' and the "Clown who forgot how to laugh". Numan got the idea from a Magazine he saw when he was a bit younger with a women head to toe in white piant to looks as if she was made from marble.

This new look is also interresting because it combines elements from previous images of Gary, for example on the cover Gary is wear a White Boiler suit/coat with white belt similar to spacey clothes of his Telekon and Wembly days. But in some promo photos for this album Gary wore Suit Shirts and pants with braces and a white or Blue bow tie (probably a proto Fury image idea another botched image idea which Numan created the following year).

Numan showed off his New hair (without make up) on the Leo Sayer Show where imfamous performed On BroadWay with the presenter who is also a Singer. Numan also perform an early Warriours sounding version of 'This is New Love' with mine artist Tik and Tok (who amusling made fun of Comdeian Mocking Gary's new hair). Though is image does look impressive on the cover it didn't work well live with heat from the heavy lighting which melted his make up his also had to be redone daily damaging Numans hair (which has weaved several times. Despite this I think Numan was brave and had balls from pulling off this image. I just feel sorry for the poor fans who copied this at time who most got so visiocus looks from the public.

Lryically the album is about "Something fictional. Something that was dreadful, powerful, unstoppable, Something Alien." This really comes off on this record especially on tracks like 'Berserker', 'My Dying Machine', 'Cold Warning' and 'The Hunter'. Numan also said the album was about "being cold, playing games with people, using people in ver unpleasent ways, whithout saying what they were exactly". With the Lryics, image and music can combine I feel personally that this album this pull this being one of Numans most ailenated feeling albums since Telekon.

The album starts with the title track that starts off with cold detached and delayed Female vocals "I been waiting for you, I waited far too long". A synth sequence starts with some hard simmons drums. Interesting think about this track is its hard to know if a real drum kit is being (though on the toms its clearly a Simmons) because they are that processed. Then Distorted guitar shrieks, reversed riffs and hard synth chords kick in. Numan's vocals are clear and menacing "My face the pictures changed do you remember me" Numan's vocals are come along way from the squeaky android punk on his early releases, deeper more mature and even more detached with a unique distinctiveness. I didn't like this track when I first heard it through me off a bit but I have come to enjoy its menacing sound and pervert vocals very familar to Frankies "Relax" with the word "come" repeated throughout. However unlike Frankie their song comes off a bit tongue and cheek, Numan's comes off as dark and perverted which isn't a bad idea it just makes a odd single choice especially on a self runned record label however this may have been Numan's idea at the time.

The Next track is 'This is New Love' a progressive funk track with a mechnical rhythm and big sax parts and a catchy chorus. I really like the icy synth pads on this track has as the precissive synth stabs. The guitar on this track is a complete conrast to heavy guitars on the previous instead the guitars on this track are funkier. This track also features slab bass which appears quite abit on this album. This has a lyric that always amuses me "these boys of passion will rule the world put their fingers in a dyke, well you know its what she need", what a lyric. Overall I really like the dynamics on sax solos on this track with the cold hard synths, really big and powerful.

The next track is 'the Secret' this track vocals by Zane Griff a synthpop star from New Zeland who vocals have an uncanny resemblance to David Bowie, well to my ears anyway. This one of my favourite tracks on the album, it has a strong chorus, icy synths, atmospheric female backing vocals that fit with the song. Guitar wise the track goes back to heavy screaming sound of the title track in the chorus in the verse the guitar is funky, the track also has a strong slap bass parts similar to 'this is New Love'. I also really like high octave synth strings in track. I personally think this would be a strong single choice. Lyrically this song hacks back to lyrics of 'Telekon' and 'The Pleasure Principle' which I like.

'My Dying Machine' is the second and final single taken off the album. 'My Dying Machine' is synthheavy track that has ethnic precussion like sequnce throughout the track. Heavy Simmons toms are also present on this track and where used to great effect on the Berserker tour. I really the synth on this track especially during the chorus. The drums on this track are very 80's. Musically this track is probably influnced by Thomas Dolby and Trevor Horn's Productions.

Cold Warning is probably my favourite track off the whole album. It starts off with a viola riff with an eastern feel (a sound Numan would experiment with on sounds like My Breathing, Pressure and Jagged) and precussion sequnce before a massive synth sound comes in which I feel really hooks the listener in. This track is really cold and manacing but melodic and progressive. Fretless bass also appears on this track but it works well. The lyrics on this track really reflect and bring some of the paranoid charracter on Numans early work but soundwise updates which I feel works really well. I also like the metalic slap bass sounding sequnce in this track.

The next track is 'Pump It Up' (though the backing lyrics clearly say 'Pump Me Up). A funky poppy track that was later given to Ex-Bond Girl Caroline Munro (The chick in the chopper in the car chase in the Bond film 'The Spy Who Loved Me') though I feel this track was already written for a female in mind. Personally this track is okay but I think Numan should replaced this track with another track Gary wrote for Caroline called 'The Picture' which I think would fitted better. This track features manpiulated digital sounds, lots of Sax, metal slap bass sequnces, funky guitar. The drums on track clearly are a drum machine you can also hear some orchcesta stabs here and there. Production wise this track has interresting effects esepically on the vocals and rhythm guitar parts.

'The God Film' is an interresting track with an interresting hi hat rhythm and experimental process sounds. Musically this track has a Warriors kind of vibe to it which I feel makes sound of place on the record, very slow groove and experimental feel. Lyrcially it seems like an interesting attack on God 'We saw the God film, its all wrong, well Im not blame'. Overall this my least track on the album I just don't feel that fits with the rest of the album it does a nice filter sweep and awesome flanged effect at the end though.

The track is probably one of my favourite tracks next to 'Cold Warning' and 'the Secret'. 'A Child With The Ghost' is emotional ballad like track dedicate to Gary's friend and former bassist Paul Gardiner who sadly died of a Heroin Overdose in a park the year this album was made. Simmon toms appear with a marching like rhythm, I really like the melody on this track too. Really icy synth sounds on this track, minimal Linn Precussion. Beautiful track the female vocals and delayed sax work really well on this track.

The final track off the old release is The Hunter a guitar heavy track with live drums, simmons toms and analogue synths. Very Warriors sounding but this time it actually works well. Good chorus. Could of been a good single choice. I do like the analogue synths on this track, different to some of the other tracks on this that are dominated by the PPG Wave 2. Interesting of eailest tracks recorded for the album finishes it.

The first bonus track off the 1999 reiusse is 'Empty Bed, Empty Heart' a slow cold feeling track with icy PPG synths and pads and other digital shireks, this track was probably record in the later sessions of the album. A short 3 minitue track that has a sax solo and some fretless this track also no drums or precussion.

'Here I Am' is another PPG/Oberheim dominated track recorded in the albums later sessions. Unlike Empty Bed, Empty Heart, 'Here I Am' is more developed featuring Linn drums ( with oriental precussion), slapped bass and even eastern sounding viola part and saxophone. Once again really good chorus and nice icy synths really set the tone of this track.

The next bonus track 'She Cries' is an interesting one because it doesn't sound like a B-side from the Berserker Era more like a B-side from Dance or I Assassin judging from its recording and synth sounds, slurred vocals as well. Its a good track its just I am surprised that its reissued and released on a album its not really related to. I do like this track, nice chords, Linn Drum over dub with real toms and clave precussion.

'Rumour' sounds more like a B-Side from Strange Charm session than Berserker, though it could be a song updated from the Berserker sessions mainly because the synth sounds like something off Strange Charm. An interesting fact about this song is that the chorus features only female vocals, good pad songs and chorus shame judging from its track length it was still a unfinshed idea.

The final bonus is called 'This Ship Comes apart'. A 'instrutmental' track of sorts which a Linn Drum pattern and 'tooting' female vocals, sax solo, rhythm guitar, slap band and soft synths. This track sounds more a experimental improvised idea or song unfinished idea written for somebody else.

Overall I would Berserker is a good album, personally not as good as his current stuff or his eariler heyday material. But I feel is one of his strongest releases from his wiilderness period and I was think that its a harder and stronger release compared to his previous album Warriors which I found was too experimental compared to this release. Interesting note is there is an recent interview on the Cold Warning Live DVD (Fully Filmed Berserker tour performace DVD) with Gary Numan was told by the interviewer that Berserker was liked by Alan Wilder and Martin Gore of Depeche Mode, very interesting seeing as album got slated by the press and sold poorly due to virutally no radio play.

I personally don't listen to much 80's stuff anymore mainly becuase their is just too much 80's shit around at the moment, 80's this, 80's that its like Reagan has returned from the dead. However I do listen some albums and this one of them, odd choice I know but its one of my favourites along with The Fury from Numan's middle period and the mid 80's in genreal.

I recommend if like Ultravox, 80's Depeche Mode, 80's Prince and Scritti Poltti.

P.S. Sorry For all the spelling mistakes, spell checker isn't working for some reason, sorry.

Not sure what my next review will be, might be Velvet Acid Christ's Calling Ov The Dead.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Psyclon Nine Divine Infekt Review.

Album: Divine Infekt.

Released: 2003

Produced by: Da5id Din of Informatik.

Label: Noitekk.

Genre: Electro-Industrial, Aggrotech, Dark Electro (with minor influences of Industrial Metal and Black Metal).


1. Divine Infekt.
2. Tyranny.
3. Clinik.
4. Slaughter.
5. Resurrekt.
6. Payback.
8. Rusted.
9. So Be It
10. As You Sleep.
11. Divine Infekt (Tactical Sekt Un Version).

Yes my Divine Infekt review is finally here on my blog. Sorry for the very long wait. Psyclon Nine have changed well over he past seven years starting out more as a Dark Electro act adding more Black and Industrial Metal influences into their sound increasing their accessibility to other audiences. Psyclon Nine began life in 2000 when P9 vocalist Nero Bellum was inspired my Industrial Metal and Rock acts like Ministry and KMFDM in his first project called 'Defkon Sodomy' but soon evolved more into a Electro-Industrial and Dark Electro sound influenced by bands like Suicide Commando, Hocico, :Wumpscut: and Velvet Acid Christ by going to clubs that played this kind of Industrial music. Nero Bellum also took his vocal style from Symphonic Black Metal acts like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir with the pitch shifted sound of Aggrotech bands. Thus started the sound of Psyclon Nine we know today.

Divine Infekt is synth heavy album featuring no Guitars, Bass or live drums compared to their latter albums. But it does contain Symphonic elements like strings and choir pads which feature heavly in Psyclon Nine's music.

Acording to Psyclon Nine's old site they used mainly Hardware Virtual Analogue synths and Drum Machines sequenced by Computer software they may have also used an Alesis electronic drum kit:

Cakewalk SONAR Computer MIDI and Audio Sequencer Digital Audio Workstation.

Nord Lead 3 Synthesizer.

Yamaha CS1X Synthesizer.

Korg KARMA Workstation.

Korg Electribes A, R and S.

Alesis Electronic Drum Kit.

The 'Infamous' Boss SE-50 Guitar Effects Processor.

The album starts quite differently from other Dark Electro acts who usually start their albums with a slow atmospheric build or an instrumental however it stops with distorted kick drum pattern and sample saying "We all deserve a life in hell"before the pitch shifted screams and synths kicking. The title track is relentless pounding track with a brilliant screaming choruses that lead into a brilliant build up with arpeggiated synths sequences. I love this track because it has a more metal tone than a Trance/Techno sytle like most Aggrotech/Dark Electro bands.

The next track Tyranny is a another stomping track with low pitch vocals in the verse and high pitch screams in the chorus. I really like choir pad cords in the verse which is a nice contrast from the previous track. The chorus is great hits you hard with arpeggiated bell synth. I really like the drums on this track there varied and have a very 'live' feel but with a hard electronic sound this really works well on this album.

Clinik is a fast paced track that starts with a modulated vocal. Probably one of the more dance orientated tracks on the album. I really like the samples in this track I also like the hit hat programming very Dismantled-like.

The next track is Slaughter a Symphonic Black Metal inspired track, P9 would continue to explore this style in their next album INRI. I like strings and choir pad on this track as well 'live' feel of the drums.

Resurrekt is another track Dark Electro track with a Symphonic Black Metal edge especially with the strings, rhythms and the vocals. Some cool sawtooth synth stabs on this one. I really do live the synth sounds on this album especially the bell synth sounds.

Payback is a short track fast paced track with massive strings and choir chords over a frantic rhythm. High pitch screams in full affect on this track. Like the other tracks on this album the drum programming is brilliant.

The next track Genocide is fast paced Aggrotech/Dark Electro style track. The synths on this track are relentless. Another track with interesting hit hat programming as well as being interesting sound wise.

Now Rusted is probably the most interesting track on the whole album next to As You Sleep due to its slow tempo and melodic feel the chorus is really sad and almost ballad like. I also like the vocals on this track because their low pitch compared to vocals on other tracks on the album. Very Symphonic too.

Next is probably my favourite off the whole album. 'So Be It' starts with a sample from Hellraiser Inferno but is used in a musical way which adds to the track, the synths are brilliant on this track filtered in and out and well sequenced. Love the vocals on this track. Awesome Symphonic Outro too.

Like 'Rusted', 'As You Sleep' is a Dark Electro track that really stands out chorus wise due to the vocoded vocal. I also like the steady rhythm of this track. 'As You Sleep' also has a really symphonic atmosphere do it as well.

The final track is a Tactical Sekt Remix of the titled track probably added as a bonus. I really like this remix because it is a more Aggrotech oriented version of Divine Infekt but without loosing the feel of the original mix. Plus it has a really nice throbing offbeat bass synth. A great ending to album even though I know that Nero was kinda annoyed that it got added to end of the album.

Overall Psylcon Nine's debut album is brilliant fusion of Dark Electro/Aggrotech sounds with a strong Symphonic Black Metal influence that makes album stand out.

Next I might review a classic Electro-Industial album, Velvet Acid Christ's 'Calling Ov the Dead'.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Command & Conquer Red Alert 1 Soundtrack by Frank Klepacki

Album: Command & Conquer Red Alert 1 Soundtrack.

Released: 1997

Genre: Video Game Soundtrack, Industrial, Metal, Techno, Ambient, Trip Hop, Electronica, Orchestral.


1. Hell March
2. Radio
3. Crush
4. Roll Out
5. Mud
6. Twin Cannon
7. Face the Enemy
8. Run
9. Terminate
10. Big Foot
11. Workmen
12. Militant Force
13. Dense
14. Vector
15. Smash

NOTE: The Full Game soundtrack is much larger with its exapansion packs Counterstrike and Aftermath so not all tracks that I talk about in this review are here in this tracklisting this is the track listing for the Offical Game Soundtrack CD.

Sorry with not updating my blog in a while, I will try to keep up to date as much as I can. Anyway I was going to review Psyclon Nines first album but instead I feel like review this game soundtrack. I am reviewing this soundtrack because it is a very big influence on me, I first played Red Alert when I was six years old and is probably responsible for some of my taste in music that I listen to today.

The soundtrack was composed by Frank Klepacki who started out as inspiring heavy Metal drummer (he is also very skilled with guitars and keyboards) who started out in various Metal bands around Las Vegas. To make ends meet Frank began a game tester at Westwood studios and manage to get a job scoring some Westwoods early projects like Dragonstrike Dune 2, Lands Of Lore. He even worked on Disney's the Lion King Video Game soundtrack were made with the film composer Hans Zimmer who was impressed with his work on rescoring his work for the games soundtrack. Eventually got to work on Westwoods most well known Game the First Command & Conquer one of the most groundbreaking Real Time Strategy games ever made. Using only an Electric Guitar, Roland JD990 Synth Module, Ensoniq ASR-10 Sampler Workstation and a Roland S760 sampler, Frank created an unique blend of Industrial (Nine Inch Nails, Ministry), Heavy Metal (Metallica), Rock, house, Funk (Prince, Sly and the Family Stone) as well Ambient and Orchestral music.

Released in 1996 Command & Conquer was a successful release for Westwood including Frank's soundtrack which stood out from most game soundtracks at that time.

After C&C's release Frank began work on the soundtrack for next game in the series even though he didn't what the C&C game would be. The first track he composed was the Iconic "Hell March" a track that features catchy Metallica style bass and electric guitar riffs, swing march live sounding drums before changing into a techno dance track with dance beats, techno bassline and synthetic stabs. The track was extremely popular with Westwoods producers who wanted as the main track for the next C&C red Alert. Frank first wrote as a Nod VS GDI theme of Tib series but got used for Red Alert Instead.

Westwood Producers told Frank that Red Alert was set in a Alternate 1950's where Hitler had been erased from existence by Albert Einstein who went back in time to 1920's to remove Hitler to prevent WWII one of the most brutal conflicts in Human History. However Einstein forgot about the USSR and Joseph Stalin's campaign to conquer Europe which happens in the games story between the Allies and Soviets creating an even more brutal Second World War with exotic technology like Tesla Coils and Chornospheres. Westwood first want to make the game as a campy Cold War spoof based old 50's B movies (Ironically they did this Red Alert 2 and 3) but instead the game was much darker and serious with less unusual technology than the latter Red Alert games.

With this in Mind Frank decide to making tracks with campy spoof sound like an unused Tanya theme that sounded like cheesy 70's Disco (which got scrapped quickly). Obviously the Game Producers had conflicting ideas of the games direction which led the game to have a more serious tone which help Frank make the music more in the styles he was known for with the first C&C game.

Gear wise Frank Klepacki probably used the same equipment from the first game (Electric Guitar, Ensoniq ASR-10 sampler, Roland S760 sampler and a Roland JD 990 synth module) he may have also used a Korg Trinty on the expansion Pack tracks (which also used on the next C&C game soundtrack Tiberian Sun) mainly for Ambient pads and 'Analog' type sounds like basslines, leads etc.

I really like the range of styles and genres this soundtrack has for example Industrial on tracks like Bigfoot, Smash, Hell March, Twin, Workmen, Chaos 2, Roll Out. Metal on tracks like Hell March, Twin, Militant Force. Alternative Rock on Vector. House and Techno on Crush, Radio 2, Arazoid. Trip Hop on Mud, Fogger, Shut It, Traction, Trench, Snake, The Search, Float V2. Ambient Electronica on Underlying Thoughts, Wasteland, The 2nd Hand, Terminate, Running Through Pipes, Voice Rhythm 2, Groundwire, Gloom, Dense, Await, Backstab and Bog. Orchestral tracks like Face the Enemy parts 1 and 2, Run For Your Lives.

Here are some of my favourite tracks off the soundtrack.

Hell March: Just a briilliant track catchy memorable riffs nice techno synth sounds, samples of marching feet, chant of an Officer shouting often misheard as "We Want War, WAKE UP!" when it is actually "Die Waffen Legt An!" which is German for Ready Weapons!

Radio 2: Reminds of a track off Moby's first album only a bit harder, hard dance beats, 303ish basslines, techno stabs to me one of my favourite tracks off the soundtrack, used put this on repeat when I was younger. I prefer this over the first Radio track off C&C 1 because its a bit Housey than Techno.

Bigfoot: This track reminds me of Front Line Assembly, hard marching beats, pulsating rhythms, I really like the phased bass sound. If you play as the Soviets this is usually the first track you hear get you straight into the game.

Smash: Awesome track love the 'live' feel of the drums over the hard synth sounds. Great for listening to if your blowing the shit out of enemy base.

Fogger: Interresting track laid back nice piano parts, jazzy hit hats and 80's sounding toms, this track really stands out but in a good way.

Title Track (The Track that plays at the Games Main Menu): My favourite track from the whole game actually, love the phased synth sound, the agressive bassline (not bad for a ROMpler) ambeint chords and 'live' sound drums, interresting track. Brilliant should of been put in the games main soundtrack.

Crush: Great Techno Industrial track, great kick sound, agressive synths marching rhyhtms suits the game really well.

I like alot of tracks off this game but there is just too many to metion. For me this is one of the best game soundtracks ever made it even beat the first Quake soundtrack that was composed by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails in a PC Gamer for Best Game Soundtrack in 1997. This soundtrack is big influence on the type of music I listein today. It is also probably responiable for getting into Electronic and Industrial, influencing me into getting into Gary Numan's Pure and so on.

Fran Klepacki is underrated musican you can listein most of his works on his website:

Please Check His music Out.

Next review will hopefully be Psyclon Nine's Divine Infekt.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

VST REVIEW: Free SCI Pro Synthesizer VST's

Above: P-600.

Above: Prophet 5.

Above: Pro 1.

I discovered these plugins while searching the internet for free plugins and I came across these.

Their based on Sequential Circuits a bit old school for me but their all very good for basslines (a bit of delay and reverb make them sound modern enough).

Their made by EFM synths who have also made VST's based on other well known hardware synths.

They don't come with many presets and most of them seem to be based on some of the sounds it created and came with, mainly the Prophet 5 which had a few presets and was one of the first synths to do so.

One of the presets is a haunting bell like sound which reminds me of a sound Gary Numan used on his Dance and I Asssassin albums, Just listen to opening sounds of 'Slow Car to China' on his Dance album.

Of course you can get better Prophet 5 VST's like Native Instrutments Pro 53 and Memorymoon's Messiah, but for a freebie EFM's you can't really complain.

I don't know how well they stand up against the real deal as I never used the actual synths themseleves, but I think you can do quite a bit with them.

Me I would use them for basslines as I think thats what they are really good at.

Give them a try.

PS: Next album review might be Psyclon Nine's Divine Infekt album.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

ALBUM REVIEW: Gary Numan Sacrifice.

Album: Sacrifice
Released: 1994
Genre: Darkwave/Gothic Rock.

1."Pray" – 3:55
2."Deadliner" – 4:29
3."A Question of Faith" – 4:52
4."Desire" – 3:47
5."Scar" – 3:25
6."Love And Napalm" – 5:08
7."You Walk in My Soul" – 4:39
8."Magic" – 4:42
9."Bleed" – 6:10
10."The Seed of a Lie" – 5:25
Reissue Bonus Tracks:
11."Play Like God" - 7:01
12."Whisper of Truth" - 4:21
13."Metal Beat" - 3:10
14."Absolution" - 4:37

For me this album was the return for Gary Numan, who spent probably the past 10 years trying recapturing his fame and fortune which only led him into a more fractured cult fan base.

After the faux Prince like funk of 1992's Machine + Soul (which Numan described as a piece of dog shit). Numan decided to make music for the sake of making music this led new Numan musically into a new direction along with the personal help of Gary's girlfriend (now wife) Gemma O' Neil. Apparently Numan musically was listeining to well known Goth groups like Sisters Of Mercy, the Cocteau Twins and even Depeche Mode who's album 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' was a big influence on Numan at the time. It is also possible that Numan was listeining to Electronica acts like Massive Attack, Portishead and Bjork as well.

With these musical influences Numan created a style that was far different from the white boy dance funk of his mid 80's and early 90's albums with a more update and back to basics sound that reflected his Early Tubeway Army albums of the late 1970's. Lyrically the album saw Numan going to back reading books and watching movies for inspiration, however instead of SCFI influencing him it was horror works of Clive Barker and Stephen King as well even the Holy Bible. This lryically led Numan to write about all things demonic dark supernatual and anti- Reilgious.

The overall sound of Sacrifice is dark brooding synth sounds, distortion rock guitars, uplifting Choir Pads, minor key Piano melodies, trip hop drum loops (actually Drum and Bass breakbeats from a sample CD slowed down to lower tempos).

Gear wise Sacrifice is very miminal in this respect a far cry from his old Analogue synth days. Numan instead created the album with only three synthesizer workstations, one sampler and his 'Dodgy' Les Paul Guitar that he has had since his teens.

Some of the equipment possibly used on Sacrifice:

  • Midi Keyboard.
  • Akai S1000 Sampler.
  • Gibson Les Paul guitar.
  • Korg M1REX Module.
  • Korg Wavestation SR Module.
  • Roland D550 Module.

Sacrifice starts off with a chilling track called Pray, Numan uses a pitch shifter for the open dialogue and uses clear vocal for chant at the end of the track, brilliant opener that shows you that this album is darker and different from all others before it.

Then next track on Sacrifice is Deadliner a slow piano choir based track about a Nightmare made reality very Jacob's Ladder.

The next track is 'A Question of Faith' an uptempo track with hard 'Vision Thing' Mercy Era stlye Guitar and percussion loops from the Korg Wavestation with a few minor programmed drum parts, a standout track. Lyrically at the end is brilliant "They kneel down, praise God Shout 'Hallelujah' Lift up their eyes while they pray.... When children kill childrenDon't it make them wonder?Don't it make them question their faith?".

The next track is one of my favourites called Desire a slow Trip Hop style track with some brilliant vocals from Numan, great track.

The fith track on the album is one of the most acessible on the album called 'Scar' it features Trip Hop drum loops, female vocals, a guitar solo from Kipper (Worked on the Machine + Soul and toured with Gary in 1993, he was the one who wears tight shorts during the Dream Corrosion tour, he looked like a very bad Axl Rose).

Track Six Love and Napalm (Name of this song was a line taken from the book by The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard, the title of this book was used for a Joy Division song). Love and Napalm is another 'Vision Thing' styled Hard Rock which features the infamous Kipper on synth bass duty.

The next track is a lush ballad called 'You Walk in My Soul' the track is dedicated to Gary's then Girlfirend Gemma O' Neil who he married in 1997 (ironically this track was played at their wedding). Beautiful ballad.

Track eight is Magic an uplifting track about someone who rather believe in magic then the idea of God, this track is brilliant live.

Track Nine Bleed is similar to Deadliner in that it is about a Nightmare that comes real this track has a great chorus.

Track Ten is another ballad called a Seed of a Lie a depressing track probably about an old relationship but written in a way that fits with the rest of the album. Another good melodic ballad similar to an old ballad called 'Whisper'.

Track 11 is 'Play Like God' the first of the bonus tracks off the 1999 English reissue of Sacrifice. Musically its similar to Love and Napalm and A question of Faith only personally not as good or dark. Lryically its a good track but it lacks the style of the latter tracks, a demo left off the orginal album.

Track 12 is ballad left off the album, musically its simiar to an old Ballad called 'Whipser' the track is about wanting to be saved. This track was probably left because Numan didn't want album to be too ballad heavy like his previous two albums. The recording quality of this track isn't as good as the rest of the demos unfortunely as I think its the best out of all demo bonus tracks.

Track 13 is Another "Vision Thing' style hard Rock track, catchy but personally it wouldn't fit with the musical style of Sacrifice, a demo left off the orginal.

The final track number 14 is the 1995 single version of Absolution a lush semi ballad about blind faith. This track is a great song that was put out as a single in 1995 that was slighty redone for Numan's next album Exile. This version is stripped down compared to the Exile version.

Overall I loved this album played it to death at was the first 'real' album I bought next to NIN's 'Things Falling apart'.

If you enjoyed this album I would recommend all three Sisters Of Mercy's albums and Clan of Xymox's Creatures.

I give is album 9.6/10.