Thursday, August 11, 2016

Coptic Rain - "11:11" [1995]

Artist: Coptic Rain
Title: Eleven:Eleven
Genre: Aggro-Industrial, Industrial Metal
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 1995

Track List: 
  1. The Moment
  2. Unseen - Untold
  3. ?Sane?
  4. Double Edge
  5. Sweethome Under White Clouds (Virgin Prunes cover)
  6. Videodrome
  7. Yggdrasil
  8. Gallery
  9. First Wave
  10. Mind Cage
  11. Clarions End
  12. Ascension
  13. Implants
  14. The Moment (Cyberbass Mix)
  15. ?Sane? (No Greys Mix)
The second album by Coptic Rain, which is similar in many ways to their third (and the best) release "Clarion's End", but with harsher and more diverse sound. The "heavyness" of guitars on "Eleven:Eleven" is roughly the same than on "Clarion's End", but there's more distorted vocals, sirens, etc. There are also several interesting experimental tracks (def. more interesting than the noise interludes on the "Discovery" EP), including "Videodrome" - a homage to the eponymous cult movie by David Cronenberg. The only weak spot on this album is the cover of Virgin Prunes track (although those who like the debut album of CR, "Dies Irae", might like this track too).

Overall, "Eleven:Eleven" is a very good representation of mid-90s aggro-industrial, and the use of female vocals is definitely a plus too. Too bad Coptic Rain had to split up a decade and a half ago without getting much recognition. They surely have deserved more!

Coptic Rain - "Clarion's End" [1996]

Artist: Coptic Rain
Title: Clarion's End
Genre: Aggro-Industrial, Industrial Metal
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 1996

Track List:
  1. The Haunt
  2. Devil In Disguise (Elvis Presley cover)
  3. Into The Sun
  4. And All I Loved
  5. Rejoice
  6. Selvas
  7. Midgard
  8. Cortex Wave
  9. Scanner
  10. Slepnir
  11. Even Closer
Yes, this is that 1996 Coptic Rain album which I consider to be the best in their whole discography (and one of my all-time favourites in general). This album is dominated by cathy energetic songs like "The Haunt" or "Cortex Wave", which I'd rather call "industrial punk" than "industrial metal", although it's diverse enough to have even one acoustic ballad ("And All I Loved"). Katrin Radman's slightly distorted vocals sound cold and robotic, yet energetic and touching at the same time - a perfect kind of vocal work for such kind of music. The best song on the whole album, "Rejoice", makes up for its name as I become inexplicably happy each time I listen to it. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Coptic Rain - "Discovery" [1998]

Artist: Coptic Rain
Title: Discovery
Genre: Aggro-Industrial, Industrial Metal
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 1998

Track List: 
  1. Restricted
  2. People Are Strange (The Doors cover)
  3. Fantom
  4. The Pentagram
  5. Painted Bird (Siouxsie And The Banshees cover)
  6. Eclipse '99
  7. Bullet The Blue Sky (U2 cover)
  8. Forbidden
  9. Polarlicht (X-mal Deutschland cover)
  10. Painted Bird (DB-Mix)
  11. Where Are U Now
  12. Painted Bird (Slower Mix)
It isn't hard to tell what this EP is about, from its title: "DisCOVERy". All the covers on there sound better (or at least no worse) than the originals, except for "Bullet The Blue Sky" (the only song on this EP which I dislike). The X-Mal Deutschland's "Polarlicht" cover is especially good, although I love the original Anja Huwe's version of this song too. There are also several short noisy interludes (however, you won't lose much by skipping them).

Coptic Rain - "The Last World" [2000]

Artist: Coptic Rain
Title: The Last World
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 2000

Track List: 
  1. New Dawn
  2. After Hours
  3. Thought vs The Dragon
  4. Purple Song
  5. Fire Inbetween
  6. Pastplastik
  7. Cold Cut
  8. Rio
  9. Against Perfection
  10. Clandestine Clean
  11. The Day That Passed
Another Slovenian band that I wanted to post on here for the long time. I don't remember how exactly I've discovered Coptic Rain, but they were one of the first aggro-industrial bands (and definitely the first one with the female vocals) I've heard. That was in early 2000s, when the only their songs available to me were "After Hours" on the "old" mp3.com, and several songs from their 1996 album encoded in horrible bitrate (something like 16kbps - remember that it was almost 15 years ago when the internet was quite slow and the size of downloads mattered a lot).

In mid-2000s, I finally found their complete discography on a pirate MP3 compilation CD, and I have no words to describe how happy I was. After all these years, they still are among my favourite industrial metal bands (note that their idea of how "industrial metal" should sound was quite different from that of many modern bands). This is the last album in their discography, and definitely the most accessible to an average listener. I like the vocal work of Katrin Radman on there - here voice fits the music extremely well, and reminds me of such female-fronted gothic rock bands as X-Mal Deutschland.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Borghesia - "No Hope No Fear" [1987]

Artist: Borghesia
Title: No Hope No Fear
Genre: Old School EBM
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 1987

Track List: 
  1. Ni Upanja, Ni Strahu / No Hope No Fear
  2. Na Smrtno Kazen / Sentenced To Death
  3. 133
  4. Blato / Mud
  5. Lovci / Hunters
  6. Mi Smo Povsod / We Are Everywhere
Borghesia, formed in 1982 in Ljubljana, were among the first industrial projects from Slovenia, along with Laibach. Like Laibach, they have evolved from a contemporary art group ("Theatre FV-112/15"), and they also have flirted with various political imagery for shock value. However, they never got as internationally famous as Laibach, although they did have some successes (such as their appearance on Swedish national radio in 1988). The band split up in 1995, but re-united in 2009.

While early Borghesia recordings are said to be new wave/disco (not sure about that, because I haven't listened to their first two cassettes), this one is pure old school EBM in the vein of DAF and Front 242. The "totalitarian disco" label, which is often applied to many Laibach works, is quite applicable to late-80s' Borghesia too. I also like the pixel-style cover art which has a very old school and "cyberpunk"-ish feel to it (the earlier Borghesia albums featured mostly fetish/BDSM imagery on their covers).

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Laibach - "Spectre" [2014]

Artist: Laibach
Title: Spectre
Genre: Industrial Electronic, Martial
Country: Slovenia
Release date: 2014

Track List: 
  1. Whistleblowers
  2. No History
  3. Eat Liver!
  4. Americana
  5. We Are Millions And Millions Are One
  6. Eurovision
  7. Walk With Me
  8. Bossanova
  9. Resistance Is Futile
  10. Koran
Laibach already were mentioned on my blog numerous times before, and that's for a good reason: no one would deny them the place among the biggest classics of the industrial scene. While they rarely release anything new nowadays, they did manage to record an excellent album a couple of years ago. I didn't like it that much after the first listening (mostly because it reminded me too much of such Laibach albums from the 90's as "Kapital" and "NATO", which aren't among my favourites), but it grew up on me after few more listenings. Not sure if I can put it on the same level with "Opus Dei", "Jesus Christ Superstars", or "WAT", yet it's certainly better than their previous work ("Volk", 2006), which surely had an interesting concept, but its execution was far from perfect:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Parzival - "Casta" [2014]

Artist: Parzival
Title: Casta
Genre: Neoclassical, Martial Industrial
Country: Denmark / Russia / India
Release date: 2014

Track List: 
  1. Kalachakra
  2. Kurushektra Purana
  3. Himagni Purana
  4. Airyanem Vaejah Purana
  5. Uttara Purana
  6. Navadi Purana
  7. Ayo Purana
  8. Rudra Purana
  9. Yavashtra Purana
  10. Andra Purana
  11. Regnabit
Parzival was founded in 1999 by Dmitry Bablevsky, who was a member (initially a drummer, then a vocalist known for his unusually low-pitched voice) of several rock bands in late USSR, one of which became popular enough that its members managed to move to Denmark in 1989. In 1992, Bablevsky started a new project called Stiff Miners, which played industrial techno in the vein of "Kapital"-era Laibach. After Stiff Miners have released two full-length albums, Bablevsky decided to abandon the futuristic industrial sound in favour of more medieval neoclassical music. Thus, Parzival was born.

I've read several quite disparaging reviews of early Parzival albums, according to which, the band started as a pretty poor clone of Laibach. However, this album is quite solid, and doesn't sound like plagiarism of Laibach at all. It's a concept work dedicated to the Hindu tradition and the Indian classical music, made with the help of guest musicians from India:

Allerseelen - "Terra Incognita" [2015]

Artist: Allerseelen
Title: Terra Incognita
Genre: Neofolk, "Industrial Folklore"
Country: Austria
Release date: 2015

Track List: 
  1. Steingeburt (2015)
  2. Fliegerlied
  3. Böses Blut
  4. Ikarus
  5. Flamme (2015)
  6. Totenschiff
  7. Thule (2015)
  8. From The Emptiness
  9. Grünes Licht
  10. Neunmondmesser
  11. Sturmlied (2015)
  12. Wir Sind Schwäne (2015)
  13. Panzergarten (2015)
  14. Was Wissen Wir Vom Licht
  15. Schwarzes Vinyl
As you probably know, I rarely go to concerts, and there aren't many ones worth going to where I live. The one and only neofolk concert I've been to was the performance of Allerseelen, Otzepenevshiye and Sal Solaris, which took place in one of local theaters in 2007. Unsurprisingly, the attendance wasn't huge, but Allerseelen's performance was great, even if wasn't too familiar with his studio works at the time (the only his song I've heard before that concert was "Sturmlied 2.0" on some neofolk compilation).

Now, after I've listened to the whole Allerseelen discography, I can saafely say that this relatively new album is one of the best. I'm not too much into the occult/esoteric aspect of Allerseelen's works, but I love the music (which goes far beyond withing the borders of neofolk and even incorporates some elements of jazz and flamenco). While I can't find this particular album on Bandcamp, it can be found on dark-world.ru. There's also a very good detailed review of "Terra Incognita" on Heathen Harvest.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Vàli - "Forlatt" [2004]

Artist: Vàli
Title: Forlatt
Genre: Neofolk, Acoustic
Country: Norway
Release date: 2004

Track List:
  1. Naar Vinden Graater...
  2. Dypt Inne I Skogen
  3. Et Ensomt Minne
  4. Nordlysets Dans
  5. Lengsel
  6. Sorg
  7. Skumringens Omfavn
  8. Her Ute I Moerket
  9. Taake
  10. Doedens Evige Kall 
One of the most beautiful works in instrumental neofolk, which is now (deservedly) considered to be one of the classics of the genre. I personally like Vàli more than other similar projects (Tenhi, Nest). Unfortunately, the musician hasn't released anything else until 2013. Haven't listened to his sophomore release it, but I can only hope it to be as good as this one.

Amethystium - "Autumn Interlude" [2000]

Artist: Amethystium
Title: Autumn Interlude
Genre: Ambient, New Age
Country: Norway
Release date: 2000

Track List: 
  1. Ilona
  2. Arcana Voice
  3. Calantha
  4. Meadowland
  5. Autumn Interlude
The debut EP of the Norwegian project that needs no introduction to most fans of ambient and new age music. It was released on CD-R (250 copies) around the same time when Øystein Ramfjord was uploading his music to mp3.com (yeah, I'm present on the internet long enough to remember the "old" mp3.com, which was probably the most popular music hosting service in the early 2000), which eventually led his project to worldwide recognition. I don't listen to new age music that much, but I really like this EP, which in my opinion is one of the best in Amethystium's discography. It's mostly instrumental like the rest of Amethystium's works, with some beautiful female vocals performed by Joyelle Brandt. Of course it's available on dark-world.ru too.