Archive for February, 2010

Type O Negative/October Rust [Special Edition]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 280000002-04:00 12 by marky7235

October Rust, issued in 1996, is the 4th full length release by Goth Metal Band Type O Negative. This release was much darker in sound and marked a turning point for the band as their output became heavier, darker and more brooding while abandoning the punkier feel of earlier releases. Despite listing a drummer on the credits, the band now admits that all songs on this release featured programmed drums and machines!

Bad Ground—-An annoying 40 second intro that is full of the hum you get when you plug your speakers in the wrong way, this only fits right in with the typical TON brand of obscure dark humor.

October Rust/Spoken Word/Intro—-Clocking in at 23 seconds, this again is a particular brand of humor the band is known for….this is a nice spoken word intro from the band thanking you for buying it and explaining they took many months of getting high to bring it to you…classic!!!

Love You To Death—-This has a brilliant intro full of orchestration and brilliant keyboards. Steele comes on the scene sounding even more demented and morose than usual. It is hard to believe that these drums are all programmed!!! Excellent…..the song has nice layers of mood to it and you will not be acutely aware of the shift to a darker sound minus they fact that at times the band plays with an excruciating slowness that is dark in itself. This is a classic song from their catalog and fits in very well with the new direction.

Be My Druidess—-Full of masterful feedback from the onset, again…can these drums really be programmed!!!!???? Steele sings in that higher level of his voice that I like so much and the result is fantastic. The song has a slight muted feel with the annoying crackles of an old lp running through the entire song…not necessary guys…this is a great, great song without it. The highs and lows of the tempo fit the mood so well…this is classic TON!!!!

Green Man—-Approaching this song from the opposite spectrum, the song begins with birds singing and the impression of a sunny day. Steele enters sounding damn near devastated in his vocal….this is morose and intense…a constant dichotomy of sounds as the birds singing can be heard here and there. As far as the Green Man?….you figure it out. This is fantastic.

Red Water—-Again, the intro will surprise you, but the track only takes seconds to travel down a dark tunnel of immense sound. The mood is so ghostly and layered that you are spooked…the vocal comes out as a whispered kind of incantation that transfixes your ears. This is wonderfully dark and more Goth than any band cornered into this genre has ever been. This is a huge masterpiece.

My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend—-The black humor of the band is in full display on this track. The sound is a bit faster and more metal than most things on this release. The keyboards are great…it is nice to find a guitar based band from this year range that was not afraid to embrace keyboards and what they could add to a recording. Pete sings in the weird voice of his…deep and twirling his r’s…this is fantastic.

Die With Me—-Acoustic based and tender, the mood is not for long…you know this band better than that. Even Pete surprises me with lyrics that speak of real pain and emotion…imagine that! The song comes alive but still keeps the ballad feel as it progresses. The sound is really huge and layered…giving it a really grand feel. Pete is so depressed, I wonder if he needs some of my meds!!!! Ahhh….it just would not be the same though would it. Mid-song, the track becomes even more metallic and guitar driven….but still magically keeping the original melody sound intact. Brilliant!

Burnt Flowers Fallen—-Taking a bit to get going, Steele enters with that higher pitched vocal that fits this music so well. the keyboards provide a huge melody that the bass guitar grabs onto right away. The leads are fuzzy in the background the drums that are not really drums are in your forehead. This is brilliant…long at over 6 minutes, but so is much of this bands music. Great…don’t miss this.

In Praise Of Bacchus—-With a nice almost acoustic guitar, this is somber and quiet at the onset. The vocal starts as a whisper but is full on shout by the second bar. This is metallic, with a great downshift sound that keeps plunging you further and further in. The voice is so comfortable at this tone and pace, it is easy to see why this has become the trademark of the band. The interlude chorus in brilliant!

Cinnamon Girl—-A brilliant reworking of the Neil Young classic. No one but me loves this song….AND I LOVE THIS SONG….nuff said!!!

The Glorious Liberation…….—-At a little more than a minute long, this is a glorious display of TON humor….wonderfully short and noisy. A masterful little interlude of nothingness.

Wolf Moon—-With a stark and somber tone, Steele begins right off with the mystic and gross. Speaking of wolves and periods in one sentence!!! The song erupts into a classic heavy dirge that is not to be missed. The emotion in Steele’s voice was much more intense at this point in his career….he was driven…these days he is much more relaxed and drunk. This is heavy….dark…even the keyboards come across as being particularly sad. Remarkable…nice for a Sunday afternoon.

Haunted—-At 10+ minutes, this track has every element of the TON sound that you have come to take for granted. The beginning of the song has a slight annoyance factor, but the keyboard overrides the squeal and sets the tone for the song. The guitars come from out of the darkness and give the song a heavy bass dirge that is trademark. The melody runs throughout the song and Steele sounds even deeper and stoned than usual. Make no mistake…this is not a bad thing!!! Steele has a way of singing that just lulls you right into the mood of the song and this is no exception. The strong keyboard line again appears and gives the song a mystical and darker sound. This is fantastic dirge!!!

October Rust/Spoken Word/Outro—-This 9 second oral delivery is simply a thank you and a goodbye….how appropriate!

Black Sabbath—-A remarkable and extremely acceptable cover version of the Sabbath classic, this is even darker and loaded with more dirge than the original. The song plods at such a slow pace….then the vocal enters in time to keep you interested. Pete almost speaks his way through the song…the pace must be about 35 beats a minute…I mean this is SLLLOOOOWWWW…..but magnificently dark and frightening. Almost magical!!!

Haunted [Extended]—-This offers little new to the original…although it runs almost a minute longer, I’m not sure i get the point. Just as nice as they original, I though I was listening to the masterpiece all over again. The main difference, I guess, would be the monk like vocal chant at the onset of the song…Pete does a pretty darn good job.

Cinnamon Girl [Extended]—-This is nice….much more electronic in sound. I was really pleased to hear this…the song also seems faster paced and more machine driven than the original. This is a basic remix, but it is fantastic. There is slight echo and vocal manipulation, the biggest draw is the dancier beat and the bass heavy delivery. Fantastic!!!!!

****3/4 out of 5

Susan Boyle/I Dreamed A Dream

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 280000002-04:00 12 by marky7235

Susan Boyle is a Scottish singer that came to international public attention after her appearance on the British reality TV talent show Britain’s Got Talent. Boyle released her debut CD in November 2009 and quickly broke all debut sales records within the first week. Her video from television enjoyed 100 million hits, while her debut release became the biggest selling record in the world for 2009.

Wild Horses—-A very quiet version of the Richards/Jagger composition is heavily orchestrated and delivered with a tenderness that is soothing and relaxed. Released as the first single from this release, it placed in the top ten in 9 countries and is a brilliant display of Boyle’s pure and unadulterated voice.

I Dreamed A Dream—-The song that started the entire Boyle revolution, this recording is classic in sound and much more polished than her TV version. As hard as I try not to like this CD, it screams at me…it is a miraculous beautiful recording. You will not be disappointed. The most remarkable thing is the purity of the voice, although at times with all of the orchestration you feel as if you are listening to a Broadway soundtrack. Not a bad thing though.

Cry Me A River—-From the onset, the song is lush and filled with the slow and breezy sound of a smoky jazz club that is full of mournful singles with nowhere to go, crying at a steady stream into their whisky. The drums are a nice touch with that gentle wisp of sound of the cymbals. The track seems to have a full orchestra driving the song…Boyle sounds natural and comfortable. This is nice!!!

How Great Thou Art—-Probably one of my favorite religious based songs, this rendition is full of beauty and awe. Boyle delivers her vocal in a higher tone and barely sounds like herself. The music swells and there is a slight vocal overlay that gives the track depth and added beauty. This is remarkable and full of beauty.

You’ll See—-Boyle takes this Madonna track and claims it for herself. The delivery is intense and so believable you will lay in a heap on the floor afterwards. The orchestration swells with the chorus, and a gentle guitar keeps the track in line. This is remarkable…my favorite track on this release, this borders on brilliance!

Daydream Believer—-This is a classic Monkee’s song that I’m not sure anyone should touch, but again Boyle puts her own spin on the track and gives it a brand new feel. The song is mainly piano driven and much more sedate, giving the song a feel and emotion that is entirely different from the original. This is remarkably simple, but manages to come off in a really great way.

Up To The Mountain—-Introduced with a nice ‘electric’ piano, this is a bit out of Boyle’s comfort zone, but she rallies like a champ and delivers a great rendition. The song has a nice blues flavor that is only made deeper by the keyboard. Boyle sings in such a convincing voice, you can not help but be sucked in by her magnificent delivery. The choir of voices behind her beef up the song and turn it into a modern-day Gospel….great!!

Amazing Grace—-Spiritual music is obviously Boyle’s forte’ and this is not a disappointment to the AOR crowd. This is tender, real and full of true emotion…as it was intended to be sung. Very nice!

Who I Was Born To Be—-With a huge simple piano, the voice is even stronger and more pure than can be imagined. Susan sings songs that she can relate to and that help her define herself. This is remarkable…her alto range is limited, but more than does the job necessary to raise the hairs on your arms. This is beautifully delivered and wonderfully produced.

Proud—-Remarkably simple, the lyrics seem to fit the story of Boyle without a doubt. the range of her vocal varies a great deal more….the song is tender but strong. Full of emotion and a true feeling that you will not be able to escape. This is wonderful. A brilliant choice by the producers of this release.

The End Of The World—-Wow…..I have not heard this song in like a million years…..remarkable….full of memories and an awe-inspiring tender vocal. The music is simple…the guitar is understated but give the song all of the structure that the voice needs. This is wonderfully done!!!

Silent Night—-What can you say about such a classic Yuletide track…added on to coincide with the time of release, Boyle again delivers the song in a predictable and expected way…just what we asked for.

**** out of 5

Mercyful Fate/The Best Of [Roadrunner Records]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 270000002-04:00 12 by marky7235

The Best Of Mercyful Fate is a compilation release issued by Roadrunner Records in 2003. This compilation runs the gamut from the initial single to the last single before the famed reunion.

Doomed By The Living Dead—-One thing you have to note about this band is the unique sound to the music itself. Even before King opens his mouth, you can tell a Fate song just by the guitars. The song is basic and at the time was groundbreaking. Of course you have the voice…but even more you have a great sense of melody, a shift in the guitar sound that gives the track a layered mood and drums that sound so primitive in today’s world, but none the less always deliver.

A Corpse Without A Soul—-Delivered with an aggressive flair from the very first note, the song has a nice soaring lead that sets the pace from the onset. The musical intro is very long and drawn out, but still keeps your interest. Diamond spews all the primitive Black Metal lines about Satan and your soul. It is pretty mild compared to the Norwegian movement that followed. At the time of this recording, the band was groundbreaking and shocking to mainstream America….just what I needed.

Nuns Have No Fun—-One of the bands signature tracks, it is wrought full of black humor and a great vocal. On this particular track, the drums are much more forward and deliver a rhythmic sense to the song. The familiar guitars are in full display and the vocal of Diamond is once again fantastic. I really never have figured out how he can sing like this. Tremendous!!!

Evil—-Again, the song is full of that Sherman sound that melds with the vocal of Diamond in a predictable and comfortable way. The two had quite a partnership that produced quality release after quality release. This shows it’s sound, but it is a joy to revisit this. Fantastic!!

Curse Of The Pharaohs—-Although the signature guitar is welcome, the beginning strains of the song have a dated and decided 80’s Metal sound. Diamond is in great form…his vocal is surprisingly clear and mainstream at times. The soaring falsetto is always welcome, but the song does seem to show its age.

Into The Coven—-Beginning with an almost acoustic guitar sound, you almost fear you are to be subjected to a ballad!!! The song comes to life as you would expect and the Danes deliver yet another slice of Mercyful pie. This is nice…the guitars and drums work in perfect aggressive tandem and Diamond screams over screams over overlayed screams….this is intense.

Black Funeral—-Delivering a remarkable Iron Maiden guitar sound, the song is aggressive from the onset. The lyrics are the real deal but sound almost juvenile after my recent infatuation with Emperor and Gorgoroth. The downshift guitar sound works really well here and the drums are much louder and obvious. Great!

Satan’s Fall—-Incredibly muted and sounding to deep in the mix recording, this is a classic track that really does show its age. The beats and blasts are almost primitive next to some of the Swedish bands I continue to love. This is nice to hear again, but it is childs play anymore! Clocking in at 11 minutes, this song will take you all over the map…but it is a tad bit oversone one thinks.

A Dangerous Meeting—-From the excellent Don’t Break The Oath, the next 4 songs are a slice of pure heaven for me… pun intended. This is remarkable in melody, the great, great guitar lead and a vocal that is so accessible you often ignore the falsetto just to hear the harmonies of the overlays that are created. This is fantastic!!!

Desecration Of Souls—-Diamond begins the song is an evil, muted form that reeks of evil and darness….WOW!!! This is fantastic…taken from a highpoint in the band’s career before things started to go sour. The is nice…Diamond still seems to be singing through a tube but the overall effect is accomplished…Diamond sounds more possessed than ever and the bass guitar really drives the entire song.

Gypsy—-Probably my favorite Fate track, this has every familiar element of the band intact!!! Plus adds a healthy dose of evil and the sinister. The song has a remarkable melody and an overlayed vocal that is harmonious and almost mainstream….This is as great now as if was the very first time I heard it.

Come To The Sabbath—-King surprises everyone with this vocal that is so accessible, you almost wish he would use this tone more often. The musical landscape seems beefier and more textured…the drums are much more pronounced and faster than on previous tracks. This is probably a great start point for the un-indoctrinated.

Burning The Cross—-Deeper in sound, the song immediately has a more sinister sound. The drums are literally crashing….surprise!!! The rhythm section of the band as a whole is priceless. Diamond delivers a vocal that is fast…overlayed and impossible to perform live. This is a great song….with a very Sabbath lean.

Return Of The Vampire—-Sounding even more Sabbath dirge than the band we were accustomed to, this has never been a favorite time period of the band for me. This is acceptable, but it is way too slow and bass driven….the band lost its remarkable signature sound here.

***1/2 out of 5

Cradle Of Filth/Live Bait For The Dead [Eleven Black Masses]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 270000002-04:00 12 by marky7235

Recorded live in Nottingham in 2001, this release was issued in 2002, as the confusing counterpart Eleven Burial Masses was also released by Pitchfork records. This release, features a second disc of  rare tracks and remixes. The Disc One of this release still is offered as Eleven Black Masses. Do not be confused…spend the money and get the dual disc set!!

Disc One:

Intro [ The Ceremony Opens]—-From the onset, you realize the size and primitive nature of the show…the mics pick up the audience and the excitement as the band delivers a typical intro that is orchestrated and overblown…think Morrissey on crack!!! This is nice, but the sound is a little to high-pitched and full of tin…..the crowd prepares for the entrance of Dani and….

Lord Abortion—-The crowd erupts in a drunken way when the band enters the fray and the sound seems even more distorted and less than stellar on this classic track. Dani sounds so deep and distorted, you find him to be literally a madman…when he hits his trademark squeal of a vocal, the song truly becomes alive. This is poorly mixed, but manages to capture Filth at the trademark best. This is nice…but tinny!

Ebony Dressed For Sunset—-Dani introduces the song and the mayhem begins immediately as he bellows in his deepest tone and manages to rise to an unregistered squeal all in the same sentence of lyrics. Live, this track is so fast and maniacal, I fear I may lose my mind. This is wonderful!!!! Dani sounds as crazed and driven as you would expect…the sound seems better and the barrage of instruments smack you in the forehead…..exstacy.

The Forest Whispers My Name—-Melding wonderfully from one song to the nest, this is met with a nice crowd response and a wonderful high five from me in my living room. this is nice…the keyboards are a tad bit more prominent, the drums are highlighted and the entire band goes almost ‘postal’ as the track kicks into high gear. The vocal sucks on this track…mostly due to the mixer. But you get the high points and the lows…this is wonderful all in all.

Cthulthu Dawn—-Driven by bass and drums, the musical mix on this track is really great. The guitar ministrations are wonderful!!!! This is a nice speedy track that forces Dani to shove word upon word in one sentence in a rapid fire way. This is orchestrated and accented by the background voice of Sarah….the keyboards are so important to the song….the vocal is outstanding and literally driven. Dani has a middle ground vocal that is almost pleasant…one we rarely hear, but you are treated to on this song.

Dusk And Her Embrace—-Eliciting a huge crowd response, Cradle delivers this fan favor with all of the intensity and grandeur of the original recording. Dani growls so deeply, Satan will rise from your carpet. Sarah adds a nice backdrop and the entire song becomes a huge musical landscape of darkness and desolation…this is indeed a classic.

The Principal Of Evil Made Flesh—-Announcing the song in a classic Dani manner, the song is a true barrage of metal noise and orchestration. even live, the song retains its original layered and complicated form. the guitars are delivered in machine like precision and the drum kick my ass. this is classic…brutal…dark and aggressive. This is brilliant!!!!

Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids—-Dani manages to incite the crowd even more as the band delivers a crowd favorite in true form. The delivery is magnificent…the aggressive delivery will punch your lights out. The drums will make you puke and the vocal leaves you laying on the floor seeking the meaning of life…this is fantastic!!!!

Her Ghost In A Fog—-Obviously a crowd favorite, the song begins with the trademark keyboard intro and the orchestration only grows from there. Dani delivers a vocal that makes you really realize why you love this band…despite the fan and critical criticism, this is an entertaining and talented band, and they prove that in this live setting….Fantastic!!!!

Summer Dying Fast—-Literally snapping your neck, the band is warmed up and the vocals are more fluid….the band seems to truly come alive at this point in the show. Sarah delivers a keyboard line that shapes the entire song…Dani vocalizes puke and disdain for everything in the world…this is brilliant…heavy yet accessible…..mainstream but way to the right….true art!

Interlude [Creatures That Kissed In Cold Mirrors]—-Nicely keyboard driven and meant as a rest stop for Dani before the encores, this is atmospheric and orchestrated…a dark journey instrumental that welcomes in……

From Cradle To Enslave—-Offered as an encore song, the crowd knows and loves this track. The beat of the sonf=g is far more mainstream than anything offered on this live recording…Dani is outstanding. This vocal is SICK….the recording of it is better…fuller and more dynamic. this sounds much more like modern-day Cradle than at the time of this pressing. This was a promise of the things to come. Detractors aside…perhaps I am a poseur….I love this band and love them more with each more progressive recording…This is outstanding!!!

Queen Of Winter, Throned—-Clocking in at an impressive 10 minutes, this parting track for the Nottingham crowd only seems to leave the audience panting for more. Dani sounds so good on this track…how he can growl and then scream like that is beyond me. The musical landscape is a literal landscape of textured sound and layered orchestration….this is incredible…the crowd leaves happy…wanting more but looking forward…….

Disc Two:

Born In A Burial Gown [Polished Coffin Mix]—-From the onset, the song is full of grand orchestration and grandeur that the band has built its entire career on. This in wonderfully aggressive, yet remarkably accessible. Dani still seems driven by a maniacal being that brings out all these level of vocals that he is capable of…this is extraordinary…..brilliant mess!!!!

No Time To Cry [Sisters Of No Mercy Mix]—-Brilliant in its interpretation, this song takes on an industrial edge while still maintaining th integrity of the Jezebel signature keyboard and literal interpretation as it was intended, this is remarkable…brilliant…a perfect blend of orchestrated machinery and true instruments, mixed with a vocal you will not soon forget.

Funeral In Carpanthia [Soundcheck Recording]—-This is an incredibly well delivered rendition of this track….to imagine it was a sound check!!!! Dani fucking hit some god damn notes that are super freakin’ human….this is remarkable,,,better and more aggressive than the original, this is incredible. Classic…..but sounds brand new!

Deleted Scenes Of A Snuff Princess—-This is keyboard laden and driven by a orchestrsated Cradle that was not yet delivered to the masses. This turns into an acid rave romp that is so pleasing and out-of-place, you wonder what the hell is going on and then you realize that you really secretly love it…shhhh!!!!! This was even more unexpected that ‘Temptation‘ !!!!

Scorched Earth Erotica [Original Demo]—-This is rough, but intriguing in a way….the music is much as it appeared  CD…..the vocal is raw and the band interaction is great. The add a vocal element that is always drowned out by the final mix…make no mistake, the band sings along with Dani pretty damn often….make a note of this…in a demo form, you are able to catch a lot more of the band importance to the overall sound of the band…so many people think Dani is Cradle….not even close!

Nocturnal Supremacy [Soundcheck Recording]—-Again, you would never ever….ever belive this was not studio or live in the moment. The intensity of the sound check only shows the intensity and vigor of the band. This is 24/7….Cradle is what Cradle is…this is pure and unadulterated in this form….magnificent!!!!

From Cradle To Enslave [Under Martian Rule Mix]—-This is incredible!!!  This is a huge industrialized version of  Cradle that might just blow your brains out of your ears,,,,this is so manipulated…the vocal is only showcased at it VERY BEST!!!! The screams and screeches will make you horny….this is huge and dirty industrial heaven.This will make you glad that you are alive.

The Fire Still Burns [Twisted Sister Cover]—-This is Freakin’ Fantastic!!!! I always love COF and their exploration of others songs…this is a great result of such experimentation. This is studio produced and mixed…the voice on top of voice…the end result is a magnificent layer of sound…this is remarkable!!!

*** 1/2 out of 5

Gary Numan/Scarred [Live Brixton Academy 2000]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 250000002-04:00 12 by marky7235

Scarred is a live album by English Musician Gary Numan. Released in January 2003, this release is a historical recording of Numan’s October 2000 show, which was a warm up for the Electronic God’s Pure tour. This is an enhanced recording with videos on the disc as well as a nine panel fold out sleeve from the date. This also feature liner notes from fan and follower Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory. I was fortunate enough to see this tour at a very small club in Pontiac. Mich. It was none the less, life changing…as an encore Numan magically sang my favorite composition in his entire catalog…‘Remind Me To Smile’….and I clearly almost lost my mind….Bliss!!!!

Disc One:

Intro—-The anticipation of the crowd is incredibly high and you can feel the energy throughout the noisy Industrial into…..the beginning keyboard synths are slow to appear but the sound builds and builds for almost 4 minutes before….

Pure—-Numan makes his presence on the stage the entire feel of the recording is deeper and more majestic. The synth lines are high and expertly delivered live. The voice finally greets us and you know that Gary is ready for you. The ebb and flows of the song are even stronger live…Gary is a GOD!!!! When Numan reminds you that “Bitch. this is what you are”….you pause at the intensity and then slam on!!!!

Me! I Disconnect From You—-Gliding so majestically from era to era without a beat, Numan updates his older material to a strange Industrial level that he probably was looking for all along. Technology has made the dreams of this man come true…as we await in 2010…his new release….I marvel. Numan takes a familiar song and makes it so much more aggressive and pertinent. Great!!!

The Angel Wars—-Filled with blissful dark and heavy synths, the song really opens up with the bass intro and becomes more and more aggressive as the song continues. This is the new Numan….Industrial God!!! The voice has never sounded better or more tortured..the mood never more somber or hopeless…the edge of anger is blissful. This man is remarkable.

My Jesus—-Numan exposes Jesus in the most bitter and brutal way ever done!!! The God complex that Gary has in incredibly thick and prevades most every song he has written for the last 15 years or so. The animalistic vigor of the song shows how deep the disdain runs….this is remarkable. The way the band manages to transport from CD to the stage is something Numan struggled with at the beginning of his career. He now has the technology to go ballistic…and he does. When Numan screams…..”I’m praying for my soul….” you believe it.

Films—-One of my very favorite tracks from early on in the Numan catalogue, this live version is beefier and more aggressive, yet comfortably familiar. The downshift sound of the music is magically displayed in this live setting and numan uses his higher register to create a landscape that is haunting and almost beautiful. This is magical.

Magic—-Even deeper than previous tracks, this tracks swell with atmosphere and a dark haze that makes me smile almost from the onset. The synths and guitars enter the picture and it is quasi-Industrial heave. Numan sings in a slight tender voice…bringing to the forefront his humanity and emotion. The jest of the song is magically transported to the stage…Gary has never sounded better!

Rip—-When I first heard the studio version of this song, I knew that the Numan of old was a changed man…..this is as aggressive as Trent and as manipulated as Nitzer Ebb. A brilliant mis of disdain, anger and a general pissed off attitude……Numan again displays that upper register that sounds so well…and he is doing it in a grand fashion. This is classic…aggressive….driven and very, very real!!!

Cars—-Having heard this song at least a million times, this live rendition is re-energized and fresh with a new even colder feel. Numan seems so vocally distant and removed, the song takes on a complete and new sound. This is an extraordinary working of a really played out song. Fantastic!!!

Metal—-Again, Numan takes a very dated song and gives it a feeling of being brand new. The synth effects and tape loops are incredible…the atmosphere almost magic. The easy-going synth line is beefed up and heavier…with a very deep sound. This is wonderful…the crowd reaction is fantastic and even more pronounced than on Cars. This is nice…I just love it when Numan breaks out that higher tone of his voice….I’m literally in heaven.

Little Invitro—-Incredibly heavy and dark, this song always touches a place in my heart. Written about the loss of his child via a miscarriage, Numan relives this pain everytime he sings this song and it is as intense each time I have heard this. This drops you in a dark emotional hole, but have no fear…Gary will rescue you and bring you back out again. Tremendous.

Down In The Park—-Sticking to most of the original synth orchestration of the song as it was intended, Numan delivers this ancient track like it was the first time he had ever preformed it. The sound is fresh and a bit more aggressive, but it is true to the original and the result is nothing less than superb.

Disc Two:

This Wreckage—-Going all the way back to the Telekon release from 1982, Numan manages to once again inject a new energy to a song that any true fan has heard countless times. The synth line is beefier and more laden with a deep bass sound, although Numan sounds 25 when he sings the song. This is remarkable and a testament to the timeless quality of many of his compositions.

Dead Heaven—-From the Exile release, this particular CD gave official notice of the new direction of Numan…heavier and even darker than Sacrifice, this release included much more Industrial leanings. Numan delivers all of that and more on this live version….as he opens his vocal. it is more of an English tinged rap than singing, but the chorus shows that wonderful and classic sound of his voice. This is so layered you wonder how many recorded tracks must be playing along with the live loops. Magnificent…a piece of art.

I Can’t Breathe—-If you think the recorded version of this Pure track is intense, you must experience it live. Of course. the song begins in a quiet fashion….that is remarkable in itself…the mood shifts on this track is incredible. The deep bass synth along with the natural drum track builds up the song….Numan delivers a whispered vocal ala the original on this version, but it sounds even more maniacal and haunted than before. When the song really lets loose, this is a barrage of every Industrial sound you have heard. As Numan screams about not being able to breathe, you find yourself short of breath  and you live the fear with him. This is wonderfully delivered and preformed…the band is awesome!!!

Are ‘friends’ Electric?—-The song that started my personal love affair with Numan, this live rendition is met by a crowd reaction beyond description. This live version sticks close to the original although the more aggressive keyboards and guitars are present. Numan sounds, again, like this is the first time he has ever preformed this song and it comes off in a fantastic way. Numan, in that upper register, is one of the best British singers anywhere. The emotion in the voice makes the lyric believable…this is intense!!!

A Prayer For The Unborn—-Winding up for the punch in a slow mechanical way, this track really comes to life during the chorus. The beginning vocal is tender and the lyric introspective and touching. The music is short and jerky with a nice low hum that promises for the things to come. The  chorus is a huge grand affair that reeks of a coldness and machine generated emotion. This is remarkably cold and sterile, yet leaves me feeling intense and emotional.

Listen To My Voice—-Another selection from the Pure CD, this is neither hear nor there. This has never been a favorite track of mine, but the cold and distant delivery fulfills my prescription for Numan. This is nice…the instrumentation is heavy and layred…..the vocal as you would expect…perfect!

Replicas—-Digging way back in the crate of his career, Numan pulls out this reworked classic and surprises even me. This is remarkably dark while still maintaining all of the integrity of the original. this is awe inspiring…Numan sings in that register that makes me feel cold and emotionally frozen…job well done. The synths are brilliant…the Industrial edge is magnificent. This is just classic!

Observer—-Again, going back in time, Numan digs out a classic from his funkier era and infuses it with new life and breath. This is nice, but not a favorite of mine…this era kind of missed with me. I have to admit the funky bass line is infectious…this is ok.

Dance—-Remarkably quiet and delivered with an almost musical silence, Numan has never sounded more emotional and real. This will make you stop and wonder what love is all about…this is real emotion magically put into words. I love this track!!! Remarkable.

Tracks—-Sensing the end is near, the crowd erupts in cheers and handclaps that are remarkable. The brits are the true fans of this man and it shows as he performs in his own comfort zone. This is beefed up and heavier with a remarkable bright synth line though. I love this….very nice ending to a truly incredible performance.

****1/2 out of 5

A Flock Of Seagulls/Greatest Hits Remixed

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 240000002-04:00 12 by marky7235

Greatest Hits Remixed is a remix compilation release by Cleopatra Records. As they have done with many bands popular during the New Wave era of the 80’s, Cleopatra executives handed over songs to many of the labels premier acts for remixing and this is the final result.

I Ran [So Far Away] Die Krupps Remix]—-Keeping all the basic elements of a song in place has been a strongpoint of this label when presenting remixes. Many of the familiar sounds of this 80’s classic jumps out at you, but the knobs are twisted in the process. Sometimes the song travels at hyper speed…at other times it becomes an annoying tick. It remains difficult to improve on the original, although Mike Score sounds remarkably fresh.

Space Age Love Song [KMFDM Remix]—-The super Industrial giants give this track an appropriate workout. As one would expect!!! Bass driven and even more Electronic than the original…imagine that…the song has a very long manipulated introduction. As the true melody of the song emerges it is mired in a barbed wire mute that takes away a great deal of life. The vocal is manipulated and pushed to the back, but the Germans march on to triumphantly pull you over to the side of the Beat…which is GRAND!!!! This is really great…a nice alternative.

The More You Live, The More You Love [Mission UK Mix]—-Being familiar with the Mission UK, you would expect this track to take on a much darker tone…you will not be disappointed. The levels of sound are deep, while the upfront vocal is full of reverb and manipulated emotion. A tad to fast for my taste, the song is literally better than the original…the sound is much heavier and the tempo is much more garage dance based. This is nice!!!

Telecommunication [JLab Remix]—-Originally, one of the most basic and Punk sounding songs the band ever recorded. I have clear memories of seeing the band live outside at Blossom Music Center in Cleveland. When this song was played the entire lawn was a mass of pogo’ing….I wondered what a plane might see and think if they flew above at that moment…a world gone crazy!!!! This ‘reworking’ looses none of the energy and only inspires a more aggressive response…the bass drives the track, yet the basic elements of the song are never abandoned. The vocal is muted and full of echoes, but this only adds to the hyper musical delivery of the track. Outstanding!

Wishing [If I Had A Photograph Of You] [Intra-Venus Remix]—-One of my favorite songs from this band, this remix looses none of the texture and layers that comprised the original version. Predictably, the pace of the song is faster and more involved, but the swirling synths that made this song so important to mid 80’s architecture remain intact. This is nice…noisier but still as pleasing.

Messages [Interface Remix]—-This is a spastic disjointed delivery that is neither pleasant or accessible….what is the purpose. The track loses all the elements of the vocal, which was quite haunting at times…only the original synth line remains….this is not reworking..this is destruction!

The Traveller [Julian Beeston Remix]—-Again, this track is put through the washing machine and b=never dried properly…the attractive ghostly haunt of the vocal is lost in a bevy of heavy manipulated Industrial beats that drown and obliterate the true meaning of the song. Score manages to come across as a cheap John Lydon impersonator that is neither attractive or appealing.

Burning Up [Pigface Remix]—-Taken from the seldom heard, excellent 1995 release Light At The End Of The World, this release was the last breath of life for the band and it resulted in a masterful record that only true fans managed to investigate. My chief complaint is the gross manipulation of a masterful vocal…the beat of the song steals the sedate mastery of the synth gods…this is a disappointment to me…the original of this track is so much better…but what would you expect from a Pigface remix…pure adultery…and they deliver their end of the package wonderfully.

Wishing [If I Had A Photograph Of You] [LCD Remix]—-To me, this is freakin’ BRILLIANT!!!! The downshift of the synth, the added vocal and the gentle manipulation add layers and layers to an already thick song. Kudos for this remix…I will take this over the orif=ginal…it has an element of fun and hyperactivity while still clinging desperately to the original. This is WONDERFUL!!!!

Nightmares [Interfaith Psi-Fix Remix]—-Again, this is an adulterated version of the original that takes fro it the meaning, the basis and the magical eerie vision of the original. this is a too hyped garage beat techno fest that does not congeal with the vision of the original track…a huge disappointment. Ruination!!!

Rainfall [Spahn Ranch Remix]—-Also taken from the 1995 release of the groups last effort, this mix surprisingly surprises me. the original elements are so in place that the melancholy brought by inhuman synths come alive in my soul. The song is built on warm lyrics…the music is a cold and distant dichotomy that plays magically well with my soul. This is a wonderful re-interpretation…THE BEST RELEASE ON THIS COMPILATION……MAGICA!!!!!

I Ran [So Far Away] [L. Remix]—-This is pure and unadulterated obliteration of a masterful synth driven song that looses every element of its intefrity….This is terrible…..UGH!!!!

Space Age Love Song [Astralasia Remix]—-This beefed up and dance floor ready version of this song does not disappoint…the only fallible measure is the remarkable loss of the distinctive elements of the c=song that made it a classic. This is disturbing because experimentation removing the key elements creates a new song not a remix…we require familiarity and a comfortable sense of sound…this has none of the above.

** out of 5

Shout Out Louds/Work [Bonus Tracks]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 240000002-04:00 12 by marky7235

Work is the third studio release from the ever evolving Indie Rock Band Shout Out Louds. The band, hailing from Stockholm Sweden released Work in the US in February 2010.

1999—-As stated in my brief introduction, this band is always evolving and manages to sound different on every release. Where there have been many Robert Smith impressions in the past, they have been replaced by a light and airy vocal that hearkens to folky sounds of the 60’s. This is so damn pleasant, you will be hooked from the first listen. Mid song, the tempo and delivery becomes more electric, but overall this song leaves you feeling remarkably happy.

Fall Hard—-Returning to a musical delivery and vocal that reminds you again of Smith & Co., I am in love with this band all over again. Even the tale will take you back to the mope years of 1987 when everything in life seemed sour and terrible. The gentle drumming on the track sets the entire mood for me…the gentle guitars are allowed to become electric for short bursts that die with a magical ebb and flow. The voices are perfect together as always and the sentiment is one of slight pain and mellow unhappiness. This is fantastic!

Play The Game—-The music begins sedate…the voice just as much. There are gentle swelling strings..but the drums again lead the song. When the jangly guitar enters the fray, you rev up for a New Order style song that never occurs…this is not a bad thing. The sedation that the vocal leads your mind into is hard to shake,,,,I sit and daydream to the pleasant and soothing sounds of heartbreak and unhappiness. This is better than fantastic!

Walls—-Taking on a different persona all together, this song is not a favorite of mine…even though it has been the first release for this outing. Too me, there is way better stuff on this release. I don’t mind the great guitar on this song…the keyboards give the song a sometimes blues tinge and the vocal is utterly predictable and normal. This is nice, but there is more to come guys!!

The Candle Burned Out—-Coming at you as a low hum, the kick drum and the far off guitars create a landscape of utter desolation. Literally Brilliant!!! This is moody, complex and so well-played that you forget even who the band is as you lose yourself in the music. The vocals enter and you are amazed at the gentle and delicate delivery. The emotions that come from this guy are immense yet subtle and natural. This is wonderfully delivered, fantastic conceptually and a masterpiece in the world according to ME!

Throwing Stones—-Again delivering a landscape that makes me think of the folky 60’s, the song is mellow and relaxed. The guitars evolve into that quaint jangly sound of Britain in the late 80’s, but the vocal is laden with a hippy flair you can’t escape. Wow!

Four By Four—-Brought alive again by the drum lead, the song allows for a nice piano and keyboard line that gives the song added texture. This is nice and at times makes you think it may evolve into a sonic sound…then the vocal enters and delivers a line that is so relaxed and mellow, you want noting to break out…it does’nt and the song progresses in somewhat familiar fashion. This is not groundbreaking, but it is consistent and damn pleasant.

Paper Moon—-If you have nights like I do, when the mind nor the body will settle and the racing of thoughts chase sleep away, pop in this release and you will find yourself comfortably floating above those things that trouble you. This release is so consistent, I might get a whole night of sleep out of it. This is wonderful…not a CD for everyday listening…well maybe at first…but something to be revisited like the treasure it is.

Show Me Something New—-Reportedly, the second single from this release, you will find that the mood is much lighter and the guitar delivery again reminds you of that familiar New Order/Cure sound that defined our adolescence. This is wonderfully layered…synth lines that are understated…a poppy drum and a jangly guitar that shines like the sun on a cold Swedish morning. This is fantastic. Lots of energy, but still keeping the mood.

Too Late Too Slow—-Closing out the proper release, this track sounds as if it could be the first. At this point, it is amazing that the release is still as appealing as it is. This is rather consistent, but consistency is sometimes required. This is gentle, breezy and not all together happy. The drums are understated and the keyboards supply a steady stream od emotion. This is remarkable. Bravo!!!

Bonus Tracks:

Show Me Something New [Demo]—-This demo version comes across as even more electronic than the final version. The handclaps [natural or machine-made] become annoying after a spell and the final cut is much more remarkable than this is. I love how bands will allow us just a tad bit of the creative process through cuts like this. I really love the voice, delivered with a slight echo and an even heavier Smith sound. Remarkable.

Walls [Fontaine Rework]—-Heavily layered and much more electronic in sound, this comes off as a weak MGMT musically. I’m not immediately impressed….all of the robot sounds and beefed up beats are not what this band is about for me. I much prefer the gentle stripped and emotional aspect of the songwriting and playing. This is ok, but it just does not go anywhere for me.

****3/4 out of 5