Another month, another quick run-down of my favourite tracks of the past month.
Track of the Month
The Art of Revenge
The Art of Revenge
Wow, what a change. The free download a few months back of Download Me hinted at a change of direction, the album shows the change in it's full glory. While previous material was perhaps a little derivative – while competent EBM/synthpop, it had little of it's own identity, owing a lot to the likes to Icon of Coil amongst others – the new material has a much harder, more danceable edge to it and is all the better for it. The title track is for me the pick of the album, with a snarling vocal that has, perhaps, a clear target.
Talking of danceable, the Hocico album is full of possible dancefloor-fillers (at least looking at it with my DJ-hat on). This is my favourite track so far: it doesn't do anything particularly different as Hocico tracks go, but they just do it very well indeed.
And talking of artists using "goblin" vocals, here is another. DoA are one of a number of newer acts that have been heavily influenced by Hocico and other veterans of the scene, and while they aren't doing anything especially original I still quite like it. The video is worth a look, too – although I can't recall how worksafe it is…
Stay on Target
When I'm Dead
Being a fan of this band over the past six years or so has been a frustrating experience, as Gary Zon has moved his musical output in directions apparently at odds with his talents. I've been here before, of course, so I'll be brief – after a debut album of extraordinary, FLA-influenced soundscapes, he has moved increasingly towards an ideal of becoming an "industrial/pop" band, which reached it's nadir with messy attempts at poking fun at EBM and at creating electro-pop on last album Standard Issue. So it is refreshing to see that the new album has it moments of brilliance once again, even if it is still a patchy album overall. This track is probably the best of the bunch, and is likely to see a fair bit of airplay from me in due course.
This new track (from forthcoming album FH3) was a highlight of the recent support slot with Die Krupps, and even in this seemingly unfinished state (I'd be really surprised if the album version is not substantially different) this is another dancefloor smash in the making.
This lot are from Belarus, and if it wasn't for the A-M promo I received, I'm not sure if I'd have come across them yet. Still, this is great – bouncy electro with a darker edge that sounds considerably fresher than many of their contemporaries. Now to track down the album…
Nightlife (Single Mix)
Advanced Electronics Vol. 6
A real shame that I missed this lot live last week – now I've finally had the chance to listen to them properly, and I love it. Gah. Anyway, this is the act that Chris Corner has formed from the ashes of Sneaker Pimps, and they seem to have a far wider appeal. This track is awesomely good electro, with a killer chorus and anthemic feel that I could just see breaking the charts, perhaps, one day…
Fire & Flames
The brutal opener to Hate Eternal's new album, this is a four-minute maelstrom that is getting towards being about as brutal as it gets for death metal. The musicianship is astounding – particularly the viciously fast drumming that underpins the entire song – and while the album is a little one-dimensional at points, it is fantastic in short bursts.
It's been a while since I've heard any doom metal worth mentioning, but this certainly is. They are of the romantic, gothic doom persuasion, bearing at points a resemblance to those masters of the genre My Dying Bride, and this epic title track is just gorgeous. The interplay between the male and female vocals work really well, too, although it is the sweeping intro that gets me every time.
Second Toughest In The Infants
For some reason I've put this album back on my iPod recently, and it's reminded me just how sodding fantastic this track, never mind the album, is. A wierd mix of ambient and softly set breakbeats, it was never exactly a likely single but remains a classic track. I've never worked out what the hell Karl Hyde was on about, though.