66 posts

Icon Of Coil – Android (2003)

Icon Of Coil - Android (Cover)This is the preview single to Icon of Coil’s ‘Machines Like Us’ album, an album which could either launch the Norweigian trio to VNV-like levels of fame, or sink them in the future pop ocean. Frankly, I was starting to get just a little bored of Icon of Coil. Good at what they do, but not enough variety to be worth listening to for more than a track or two at a time. Continue reading

Fictional – Fiction (2003)

Fictional - Fiction (Cover)Fictional’s second album sees the arrival of the Scottish singer Jason Bainbridge, giving Fictional it’s first full-time singer. On paper, this should be sufficient to advance the project from the debut, although it doesn’t really work out in practise. Jason is a reasonable enough synth-pop vocalist, but his voice doesn’t really carry a great deal of character. Fictional has grown from a slightly flawed but generally likeable side-project into a clinical, pixel-perfect pop band, kind of like a child that stops being cute once it matures.

A decent run of songs in the middle of album, including ‘Intencity’, ‘Little Girl’ and the Funker-esque ‘Hunting Machine’ saves the album from disaster, with the decidedly groovy ‘Voyager’ the best of the albums later tracks, although the closing track ‘When The World Is Dying’ does that huge, mournful thing that crops up at least once on any album Gerrit Thomas produces. The remainder is listenable but rather bland and not especially memorable.

Fear Factory – Hatefiles (2003)

Fear Factory - Hatefiles (Cover)A miscellany containing alternate takes, remixes and obscurities. It’s about as good as albums of this kind get, with some interesting ‘never to be’ versions of ‘Invisible Wounds’ and ‘Resurrection’, and two songs from the original version of ‘Demanufacture’ (the album later re-worked with a different producer), as well as a number of songs from the bands final days – ‘Terminate’ actually assembled after they’d split!

The album will be of particular interest to those of you into the ‘Remanufacture’ era remixes, as a number of unused remixes from those sessions appear here. The liner notes tell a number of interesting stories about the band and the history of their recordings – the number of ‘rejected’ tracks that here seem perfectly listenable indicative of their exacting standards in the studio.

Blutengel – Forever (2003)

Blutengel - Forever (Cover)Right, that’s it. No more. Could all these Euro-bands please kindly stop calling their songs ‘Forever’. It’s been done. It’s finished. Get over it. Angels and Agony, Bruderschaft, Culture Kultür, a couple of others with band names so generic I can’t seriously be asked to recall them, and now Blutengel, too! It’s not original anymore. It’s become more cliched that an Access Virus preset. Continue reading

Zeromancer – ZZYZX (2003)

Zeromancer - ZZYZX (Cover)This is the third Zeromancer album, following on from ‘Clone Your Lover’ and ‘Eurotrash’, the quintet have gained themselves a fair bit of recognition for their line in electro-industrial rock. Certainly few could ignore the observational cynicism of ‘Doctor Online’ or the bouncy don’t-care-what-their-singing-about dynamics of ‘Clone Your Lover’. So more of the same this time then? Continue reading

Wumpscut – Preferential Legacy/Music For A German Tribe (2003)

:Wumpscut: - Preferential Legacy/Music For A German Tribe (Cover)This release (typically referred to as ‘Preferential Tribe’) consists of the ‘Preferential Legacy’ and ‘Music For A German Tribe’ 12″ (formerly part of limited box sets) plus a number of new and unreleased tracks. Or in simpler terms, it’s another :Wumpscut: miscellany. The kind of compilation only devoted fans will by. Just as well there’s plenty of them. The ‘Music For A German Tribe’ tracks are essentially versions of well-known :Wumpscut: tracks with German vocals. Some of these work well (The teutonic tongue gives ‘Soylent Grün’ a little extra ‘bite’), others less so (thanks to the slightly higher syllable count, ‘Schwarzer Tod” is fractionally less powerful that it’s English equivalent ‘Black Death’). Continue reading

Wolfsheim – Find You’re Here (2003)

Wolfsheim - Find You're Here (Cover)I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was severely disappointed with Wolfsheim’s ‘Casting Shadows’ album. The whole thing was just too easy on the ears, too easy to ignore. I do remember liking one track, however. That was ‘Find You’re Gone’. Having established that they were issuing a reworked version on CD single, I decided it was at least worth a go. Hey, it’s limited edition status meant that even if it was crap, I could probably get a good price for it on E-Bay some time. Even though I’d probably get paid in Euros. German ones. Continue reading

Wolfsheim – Casting Shadows (2003)

Wolfsheim - Casting Shadows (Cover)We’ve long since established here that ‘Wolfsheim’ are ‘Big in Germany’. They get into the ‘big’ charts for big bands, you see, and now they’ve gone and got a distribution deal with Warners (sure sign of being able to shift a unit or two). And in 2003 we see the long-awaited successor to ‘Spectators’, the album that has since, like it or not, grown into a something of a modern synth-pop standard by which others can be measured. Including this disc, the duo’s own follow-up. Continue reading

Type O Negative – Life Is Killing Me (2003)

Type O Negative - Life Is Killing Me (Cover)The New York quartet Type O Negative have a nickname. The Drab Four. They’re not exactly the wrist slashers guaranteed No.1 choice, but their blend of resignation, anger and cynicism isn’t really conductive to happiness either. And that last album put the lid on that. Songs the size of big green cities, it seemed intent on doing nothing except dragging out the experience until everyone got bored and went home. I liked it, being me and all that, but many others didn’t, thus making this disc something of a ‘make or break’. Continue reading

T.O.Y. – White Lights (2003)

T.O.Y. - White Lights (Cover)The group formerly known as Evil’s Toy became T.O.Y. in 2001. Hardly surprising, as they hadn’t sounded ‘Evil’ since the ‘Illusion Album’ back in the mid-1990s. Their debut album under the new name ‘Space Radio’ nevertheless proved to continue their recent trend for producing polished EBM/synth-pop in the style of just about every other band that seems to appear on these pages. Continue reading