Michael Ventarola @ Starvox.net
Azoic music review by Michael Ventarola @ Starvox.net
Where Broken Angels Lie
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola - mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
This second CD by The Azoic is the closest one can come to a psychotic nightmare and still maintain some semblance of sanity. It is scary, dark, evolving sounds that are not quite dance floor friendly for those easily unnerved. To say that I absolutely adore this disc is an understatement Where Broken Angles Lie is the type of music you would play when you want something haunting and eerie and not too rock oriented. From the first strains to the last, it creates a vacuum within your area to transform it with just the right touches of gloom and doom. Many of the songs are heavy with movie dialogue samples. Some folks find this disconcerting, however it seems to play extremely well with these songs, which also helps to make it morbidly endearing. The only contention is the lyrics are at times difficult to decipher, however they are printed up on the bands web page should this be of any major concern to the listener. Most folks get so caught up in the grotesque surrealism, that the lyrics are the last thing they are interested in.
"Nilaihah" coalesces like dire swirling bells , emerging from the depths of the darkest psyche. Movie dialogue guides and pulls us in the hall of souls. You are hooked and there is NO turning back. Kristy Venrick wails like the decadent angel of the misbegotten while additional dialogue plays between electronic tones of dread.
"Drown (Pulsating Mix)" further extrapolates the haunted house sound with echoes in the dark and screams to make your skin crawl. "Images pass with hallowed eyes/sucked of life that make my stomach crawl/ immortal are you my dead child/ weeping tears and silent cries/ trapped in a web" Technically this mix could be used for a dance club, but I am not too sure many of the so called goth clubs even have the nerve to go this far into the abyss.
"Terrible Space" continues to congeal ominous tones that erupt like fleeting memories for the damned. This is actually a very macabre love song of longing and yearning.
"Intimate Incisions" darker than dark and one of my all time favorites by this band. We are greeted with the sound byte, "even now in heaven there were angels carrying savage weaponswide awake for the experience?" As Kristy begins to sing, screams are accompanied in the background that makes this song quite unnerving. " The jagged edge of slithered eyes/ are seething with deceptive lies/ demoralize your affection/ feed you fruits of my deception/ the scraping silence penetrates beneath/ my lifeless skin with no relief."
"Summoning" provides only a slight reprieve from the ghoulish shrieks but still maintains the dark formation. " I take a lasting breath; in a realm unknown/ leaving an emulsion; sinking far below; bringing fear into the night/ draws me in/ never letting go."
"Terrible Space ( Oneiroid Psychosis Mix)" has a militaristic beat suffused with layers of dark tones. Imagine Kraftwerk as a morbid sounding band and you may get some idea of how this song was reconstructed.
"I Tried To Warn You (Flesh Field/ Decay/Theory Remix)" is another favorite off this CD as it goes beyond levels of darkness that few dare to venture into.
"The Sad Word" introduces more movie sound samples that combine with layers of haunted tones. The sung vocals are compressed beyond gender recognition and are like a ghost creeping through the ether regions of your mind.
"Drown" is the original version of this song which is more dark industrial sounding which seems to be the direction this band is going with their more recent work.
"The Sad Word ( Desert Mix)" despite the re-mixes having a dance beat, for some reason they just dont seem to play them often enough.
"Suffocation" echoes dialogue and white noise that is droning and pervasively dreadful. There is such a tense build up with the low somber notes and steam like progression that immediately you notice yourself tensing as you hear something akin to a heartbeat. Screams come from the nether reaches and will plague your dreams..GUARANTEED.
"God Help Us" is just those words coming from the walls like something out of the Nightmare on Elm Street films.
" Only Flesh" is another verbal work with added whispers that are infused between metronomic heartbeats.
The Azoic created this style of darkwave as musical entertainment long before many others dared to venture into this horizon. The band manages to provide frightening soundscapes and eerie music without having to resort to anything demonic or anti-religious. Since this discs initial release, many others
have come along in the dark wave genre but NO ONE does dark wave like this. Some of these selections are available on Mp3.com and I would encourage the curious to sample these songs as well as their more industrial uptempo songs that they have begun to develop. If you really like scary sounding music then this is a MUST for your collection.
Band Members on this Disc:
Steve Laskarides: keyboards, programming, effects, vocals
Shawn Lower: vocals, keyboards, lyrics
Kristy Venrick: vocals, keyboards, lyrics
2. Drown (pulsating mix)
3. Terrible Space
4. Intimate Incisions
6. Terrible Space ( Oneiroid Psychosis Remix)
7. I Tried To Warn You ( Flesh Field/ Decay/ Theory Remix)
8. The Sad Word
10. The Sad Word ( Desert Mix)
11. God Help Us
12. Only Flesh
Web page: http://www.nilaihah.com
Azoic music review by Michael Ventarola @ Starvox.net
By Rat Bastard - From Legends Magazine
off to a great start in cornering the market on quality darkwave music.
The term 'darkwave' has often come under attack as being far too ambiguous. Often when one uses it, one has to also explain whether one is referring to ethereal music (such as the sort that is often pushed by such labels as Projekt), electronic goth, German gothic/industrial, or whatever the hell else has managed to find itself absorbed into the mass of oft-used descriptions for 'darkwave' music.
Nilaihah Records openly presents itself as a 'darkwave' label, but the question that immediately comes to my mind is, "Does the music from the label best suit the term, or, for that matter, does the term best suit the music?" (After all, I would more be inclined to call much of what Projekt calls 'darkwave' ambient/ethereal and leave it at that; Black Tape for a Blue Girl just doesn't embody the term very well as far as I'm concerned).
After listening to Where Broken Angels Lie, the debut album from The Azoic, one of the first two offerings from Nilaihah (the other of which is Oneiroid Psychosis' Garden of Remembrance, which I have also reviewed [in this issue -PAN]) I would have to say that, labels aside, this is certainly music with a dark and sinister edge. I, for one, can refer to it as being 'darkwave' without reservation (not that this truly matters, of course, but this two-syllable description is a hell of a lot more convenient than 'dark ethereal industrial' or 'neoclassical horror electro').
The Azoic and Oneiroid Psychosis, however, are two sides of the same coin. Even though both bands employ the use of layered electronics as their modus operandi for the provision of sufficiently creepy and dark music, The Azoic is a bit more upbeat, drawing more from industrial influences with driving beats and copious use of sampling.
Sure, this is still music to brood around and stalk to, just like other exemplars of the genre, but The Azoic's music is meant to facilitate a bit more active movement during said brooding and stalking. Songs like Drown (of which there are two different mixes on the album) and the opener Nilaihah are very dancefloor friendly, while still maintaining a dark and sinister ambience.
The vocals come in two flavors: distorted male and not-so-distorted female. The male vocals are spoken/shouted, with the amount and form of distortion varying from song to song which provides a certain amount of range so the male vocals are executed well, even if they aren't particularly unique or original. The female vocalist, while not having the most technically impressive voice (she is certainly no Lisa Gerrard or Monica Richards), still gets the job done. She ranges from spoken word to a light airy timbre (which is showcased in Summoning) and even belts out a nice strong and forceful chorus line or two in the original mix of Drown (For some reason, these vocal sections are missing from the Pulsating Mix). So, The Azoic does present a great deal of vocal versatility, even if the vocalists don't really stand out from the hosts of others. And besides, the music is also quite good, making up for any shortcomings in the vocal department. Those who listen long enough will also be gifted with three bonus tracks: two ambient soundscapes and an ethereal instrumental piece.
Basically, if you like dark electronic music with a beat, then check out The Azoic (particularly if you're a fan of bands like Wumpscut or Mentallo and the Fixer). Where Broken Angels Lie is a solid release just as The Azoic is a solid representation of the darkwave genre. As I have implied there is room for improvement, but it is also obvious to me that the room is actually there and waiting to be occupied.
Getting back to my initial darkwave ponderings, I must conclude that Nilaihah, with The Azoic and Oneiroid Psychosis are off to a great start in cornering the market on quality darkwave music. Thus, I am definitely looking forward to the future releases from these bands and whoever else Nilaihah chooses to sign. I would advise any interested parties to do the same.