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Einstürzende Neubauten: Alles wieder Offen

Track list: Die Wellen - Nagorny Karabach - Weilweilweil - Ich hatte ein Wort - Von wegen - Let's do it a Dada! - Alles wieder offen - Unvollständigkeit - Susej - Ich warte

Einstürzende Neubauten continues making great noise. Like Perpetuum Mobile, Alles wieder offen is a calm, subtle album, full of beautiful little touches, occasional storms and curious sounds. It all sounds very mature and elegant.

There are good tracks, too. From the first rounds, I've picked up Nagorny Karabach and Weilweilweil, but I'd say the album is overall quite balanced and good. No standout hits that would challenge the likes of Die Befindlichkeit des Landes or Die Interimsliebende, but a balanced, beautiful album that is perhaps more than the sum of its individual tracks. ****

Slave's Mask: Faustian Electronics & Bruise PoetryCD, Ahdistuksen Aihio 2006

Track list: Slavery Soaking the Spartan Spirit - Rubbercunt - For My Kin Who Waits You in the Shadows - Black Powder Orgasm, Dum-dum Bullet Climax - Baptized at Bermuda Triangle - Neon Destroyer - Do Insects Have Graves? - Sadomatic Rites - Pinion Pie & Sweet White Wine

This album mixes raw black metal vocals with surprisingly light and cheery electronics. The mismatch is obvious and annoying. The music should be oppressive, aggressive and threatening; now it's none of that. Either the music needs new vocals or the vocals need new music. Only Do Insects Have Graves? gets where the other tracks should be. The music also sounds too clean, too sparse and minimalistic. So - not even almost there. **

Covenant: Northern Lights

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Covenant: Northern LightsCD, Sony 2002

Track list: Monochrome - Call the Ships to Port - Bullet - Invisible & Silent - Prometheus - We Stand Alone - Rising Sun - Winter Comes - We Want Revolution - Scared - Atlas

Covenant hits it home with another strong album. This time they've rigged their sound towards Depeche Mode, it seems. While Call the Ships to Port is a classic Covenant track (perhaps a bit too classic, as it sounds almost too familiar; the brilliant anthem-like chorus line is, however, alone enough to make this album worth four stars), many of the tracks offer a softer touch and aim for more emotional effect. That's all good and well; it's still Covenant, and they're still good. ****

8th Sin: Angelseed & Demonmilk

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8th Sin: Angelseed & DemonmilkCD, Black Lodge 2005

Track list: A Sleepover at the Feeling of Death - Liars - Demons - Irreligious - Nocturnal - Templo Mayor - Angels - Humans Without Disguise - Black Widow - Angelseed & Demonmilk - The Eight Sins, Part 2

I found Sinners, Inc. a bit boring, but had some hopes for 8th Sin's second album. Indeed, it is better. Finally there are some real hooks and good songs. Irreligious borrows heavily from Manson, but kicks ass nonetheless. The vocalist IT is still far from being my favourite and the degree of originality is less than I'd expect from a really good album, but Angelseed & Demonmilk is certainly some solid industrial metal. ****

8thSin: Sinners inc.

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8thSin: Sinners inc.CD, Black Lodge 2004

Track list: Karaoke Life - Hello Japan - Sometimes & Othertimes - Trip Trap - Eastern Empress - Dreamqueen - Sex FX - Sister - Money - Sinners - The Eight Sins, part 1

8thSin's debut album is, frankly, boring. Their industrial metal lacks imagination and poer. It's all very decent and average, but could use better songs and better vocals. There are some glimpses of light all through it and some clever hooks (many of which sound like they're borrowed from somewhere, unfortunately), so maybe the second album will be better? Leave this to the stores, however. **

Fu-Tourist: The Universe Is For UsCD, Sony Music Entertainment Finland 2002

Track list: Amaze - You Come Alive (Take Control) - Remedy - Night Ride - Ordinary - You Could Be Mine - Big Trouble - The Universe Is For Us - Out of Your Head - New World Stranger - Getting to Know You - King Kong of the Dancefloor

I bought this cd for only 20 cents. That was a no-brainer, King Kong of the Dancefloor is already enough reason to buy this album for such a low price. Unfortunately there isn't much more. Fu-Tourist's style is very French, it reminds me of Air or Daft Punk. Vocoder is a cool effect, but overused like nothing else. There's some of that, hypnotic beats and some 80's sound. All in all, it's a pleasant enough but doesn't really impress. **

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult: 13 Above the NightCD, Interscope 1993

Track list: The Velvet Edge - Delicate Terror - Badlife - Dirty Little Secrets - China de Sade - Dimentia 66 - Final Blindness - Blue Buddha - Starmartyr - Electrical Soul Wish - 13 Above the Night - Disko Fleshpot - Savage Sexteen

13 Above the Night is a curious mix of industrial dance beats, distorted lyrics about various more or less pleasant activities, samples from various ungodly sources, all wrapped up in one big psychedelic groove jet. This is excellent party music for alternative uses. Groovy, yet dark and strange. Definitely recommended to goth dj's and like. 13 Above the Night is less useful for home use, but surely has it's fans. Who could resists music so satanically groovy? ***

Electric Hellfire Club: Unholy RollerCD, Cleopatra 1998

Track list: Unholy Roller, He Who Holds the Lightning Rod (Ranchero ReMix), Prince of Darkness (Black Version), Hellfire (Cytophuk ReMix), Prince of Darkness (Mutated Mix), The Root of All Evil (Bring Me the Head of Bob Larsen), Prince of Darkness (Laughing All the Way ReMix), Shout at the Devil, Prince of Darkness (Darkest Version), Book of Lies (Ether-eal Mix)

Unholy Roller is mostly a remix album from the happy gang of camp satanists. Prince of Darkness gets many treatments, some of which are actually quite nice. Unholy Roller is a nice anthem track and Shout at the Devil an excellent cover song. It's not the best starting point (I'd suggest Burn, Baby, Burn) and I wouldn't pay much for it; I bought mine used. ***

Verde: Karhun epäillään paskantaneen golfkentälleCD, self published 2002

Track list: Valkoisella mersulla lyömään golfpalloja joutsenia kohti - Golfpelaajan harjoituskenttänä oli lintulahti - Karhun epäillään paskantaneen golfkentälle - Haamukalja - Talouskasvu - Metsässä näkemäsi eläimet ilmoita poliisille - Hakkuuaukko n:o 2 - Osta lisää - Kasvukeskus - Käsi nousee jo - Ohi kelistä välittämättä

Verde paints aural pictures. The curious and intriguing track titles feed the imagination and the music does the rest. Most of the songs are instrumental soundscapes, only "Käsi nousee jo" has "lyrics": a young girl is featured as a sports commentator. In a slightly silly way, indeed. So, watch out - you might be puzzled by this one. ****

Merzbow: 1930

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Merzbow: 1930CD, Tzadik 1998

Track list: Intro - 1930 - Munchen - Degradation of Tapes - Iron, Glass, Blocks & White Lights

Merzbow is the very intense music - if you can call it music. Ask any Joe Average, and the answer you get is no. Merzbow crafts sound, creating terrifying atmospheres and emotionally heavy soundscapes. There's more to it than just random noise. The key to enjoying 1930 is to listen to it loud enough - it's probably best to do with headphones, unless you live far enough from other people or don't mind getting evicted. 1930 is not an album you would like to listen to twice in a row, but every now and then, it works wonders. ****

Laibach: Kapital

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Laibach: KapitalCD, Mute 1992

Track list: Decade Null - Everlasting in Union - Illumination - Le Privilege des Morts - Codex Durex - Hymn to the Black Sun - Young Europa Pts 1-10 - The Hunter's Funeral Procession (From the "Wunderhorn" trilogy) - White Law - Wirtschaft ist tot - Torso - Entartete Welt (The Discovery of the North Pole) - Kinderreich - Sponsored by Mars - Regime of the Coincidence, State

Kapital features Laibach gone techno. This very long album is full of Laibachian grandeur and over-the-top dramatics. And that, my friends, is good and well. In the end, the tracks sort of blend into one big mass of similar beats and vocals, with few notable differences - "Hymn to the Black Sun" being the most explicit one. Gods, the song features a guest star rapper as a vocalist! That's something I didn't expect, but it works out well. Other key tracks include "Wirtschaft ist tot", "Le Privilege des Morts" and "Sponsored by Mars". ****

Panasonic: Kulma

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Panasonic: KulmaCD, Blast First! 1996

Track list: Teurastamo - Luotain - Vapina - Puhdistus - Jakso - Murto neste - Kylmä massa - Hahmo - Aines - -25 - Säätö - Kurnutus - Rutina - Moottori

Kulma is a challenging album. The whirr and click of machinery presents a problem to the listener. How to react? I react with enthusiasm. However, I'm not as enthusiastic about Kulma than A or Aaltopiiri - they are definitely better albums than this one. Why? I'm not sure, but I'd say it's because they are even more minimalistic than this, the essential is even more concentrated. Don't know for sure, but that's how I feel. Still, Kulma is a challenging alternative to the boring realm of catchy pop music. ****

Avanto 2001

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Avanto 2001CD, Avanto Recordings 2001

Track list: Kari Aronpuro: Urkertomus ("Kammottava vale") - Fennesz: Tradition Is the Handing on of Fire and not the Worship of Ashes - Alexei Borisov: Total NII - Es: Experimental Songcycles #1-5 - [The User]: LPT1 - ZGA: Miners - Toshimaru Nakamura: nimb #9.2 - Ruins: Untitled - Bas van Koolwijk: TST.04 - Jari Haanperä: Indoor Light - Comae: Portadyne - Shogun Kunitoki: 5.36 - Pekka Airaksinen: Epistemological Word Error - Sachiko M: div 1 - farmersmanual: Sonderzeichenmassaker - Circle: Sarvet - Otomo Yoshihide: FF - Op:l Bastards: Copenhagen - Semiconductor: LinEar - Keuhkot: Käynnistys on suuri hetki - Kari Aronpuro: Timokratian jänis

Listening to this CD makes me regret a lot that I didn't go to Helsinki to hear all these amazing acts live. Fortunately Circle and Ruins visited Tampere, too, so I didn't miss all the fun. Ruins definitely was fun, but that doesn't come through on this album as clearly. However, many other strange and confusing things are here to puzzle the listener. Tracks vary a lot, only common thing being their somewhat experimental nature. Most are also quite electronic. Some of my favourites include [The User], Sachiko M and Circle. This compilation probably doesn't compare at all with the real experience, but is a very interesting and quite challenging album on it's own. ****

Pan Sonic: A

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Pan sonic: ACD, Blast First! 1999

Track list: Maa - Pala - Lomittain - Joskus - Askel - Ahdin - A-kemia - Johto 1 - Havainto - Etäisyys - Aleneva - Aktiivi - Rajatila - Johto 2 - Telakoe - Särmäys - Voima

The very reason why I give A the best grade is this: the album has everything necessary and nothing else. For some reason, I enjoy Pan sonic's buzzing and clicking minimalism very much. It takes a little more than a single click to make an interesting track and the magicians Vainio/Väisänen are very skillful to figure out what that little is. Grab a good pair of headphones, crank up the volume and concentrate. *****

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