REVIEW: Various Artists - "Resistor"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

ResistorOut of Ohio comes the latest round of new and upcomers in the industrial/darkwave/electronica gambit. Nilaihah Records, home of deep and dark favorites The Azoic and Oneiroid Psychosis, has just released their latest CD - a compilation bearing the name Resistor. Emblazoned with a wonderful slogan: "A dissipation of energy that resists the current flow," Resistor is, for all intents and purposes, an absolutely phenomenal compilation release. Macross of In Perpetual Motion (http://www.gothicindustrial.com) lauded it greatly when it first arrived in my hands and I casually mentioned it to him, spurring me to immediately cut off whatever it was that was playing at the time to begin this. And I wasn't disappointed.

A combined effort of Nilaihah and Arts Industria, the folks behind Resistor include the voice of The Azoic, Kristy Venrick. Joining forces with her is Paul Seegers of Arts Industria and the sound master, Steve Laskarides. A highlight of the compilation that I must mention is the inclusion of quite a few female fronted industrial/electronic acts: The Azoic of course, Distorted Reality (a favorite of mine), This Ascension (Dru rawks my world), The Machine In The Garden (awesome live performers) and others. Additionally Resistor is 17 tracks long - seventeen! And not one is a downer, leaving you with a near dual-length collection of some great material, much of it previously unreleased and brand spanking new. So let's begin - track by track, band by band, groove by groove…

Contact Information - Nilaihah Records:
Post: Nilaihah Records, P.O. Box 82614, Columbus, OH, 43202
E-Mail: info@nilaihah.com
Web: http://www.nilaihah.com

Contact Information - Arts Industria:
E-Mail: mv@artsindustria.com
Web: http://www.artsindustria.com

Track 1: Fiction 8 - Let's Go
I'm not sure how, but somewhere between studio time working on their upcoming third release, Tales from the Prophecy Club, Michael Smith, Steven Hart and Paisli have found the time to pass along to Nilaihah their single Let's Go for the compilation. Previously unreleased, it is possible this is an upcoming track from Tales from the Prophecy Club - I'm not sure. But nonetheless, Kristy couldn't have picked a better opening to Resistor. Smooth, rhythmic, a bright keyboard melody, awesome heavy-beat breakdowns, subdued vocals. A very complicated arrangement and very well put together. The chorus is amazingly catchy and begs you to sing with them. "Why can't you let go? Let go!"

Contact Information - Fiction 8:
E-Mail: fiction8@privatei.com
Web: http://www.fiction8.com

Track 2: God Module - Resurrection
The band name alone is great. Kicking off with more melodic synth-work, Resurrection is a dancefloor classic in the making. Stomping bass lines kick in to pound through you, effecting every dancing neuron in your brain. Metal-tinged, just-a-hint of whiny vocals coalesce just under the beats. Based out of Florida, God Module are Andrew and Jasyn, attempting (and succeeding quite nicely) to meld synth-pop elements with hard-beat electro. And they're just about done with their own debut release - Artificial. Resurrection was also unreleased prior to its appearance on Resistor.

Contact Information - God Module:
Post: God Module, 1128 Castlewood Terr. 104, Casselberry, FL, 32707
E-Mail: godmodule@prodigy.net
Web: http://www.angelfire.com/fl2/godmodule/gateway.html

Track 3: The Azoic - Progression
If I was mad about Kristy Venrick before after being introduced to her on The Azoic and spinning Resistor, I'm in love by track three. Joining with Steve Laskarides to form the darkwave genius of The Azoic, this is a side that you haven't heard yet. Previously unreleased, Progression is a deeper, faster and more synth-pop style that I remember from their last, more ambient and darkwave style releases. It's a refreshing change as the group show they can pick up the pace just as much as any.

Contact Information - The Azoic:
Post: Nilaihah Records, P.O. Box 82614, Columbus, OH, 43202
E-Mail: theazoic@nilaihah.com
Web: http://www.nilaihah.com/

Track 4: TNV w/Athan Maroulis - Televisual
Adding in a little bit more of the deeper, darker, more-bass, less synthesizer sounds, Televisual makes its US debut here on Resistor. Featuring the voice of Athan Maroulis of Spahn Ranch, TNV provides a harsher and more riveting, less-poppy track to the compilation. Rhythm is bass-ridden and vocals are powerful and up front, a forefront of the arrangement.

Contact Information - TNV:
Post: TNV, P.O. Box 46662, Los Angeles, CA, 90046
E-Mail: promo@cleorecs.com
Web: http://www.spahnranch.com

Track 5: Distorted Reality - In My Dream
I had the luck of receiving this track on a demo I received a while back (reviewed in Legends #88), so I've already had the pleasure to swoon to the sounds of the female-fronted Distorted Reality. Featuring the sweet yet strong vocals of Martha M. Arce and the programming of Christian Kobusch, Distorted Reality's In My Dream is a bright and rhythmic piece of music. Martha's vocals are extraordinary - it's not something you're soon to forget after the song has ended.

Contact Information - Distorted Reality:
Post: Distorted Reality, 9040 SW 125 Ave., D-202, Miami, FL, 33186
E-Mail: Dreality98@aol.com
Web: http://www.distorted-reality.com

Track 6: Inertia - Regime
German artist Reza Udhin forms the core of Inertia, a German industrial act formed in 1994 from the ashes of former band Mutagenic. Previously released on a Nightbreed compilation, Regime is a sonic barrage of old-skool, Mentallo And The Fixer style industrial programming. The beats are strong, the vocals subdued and hiding from you, the synthesizers keeping that nostalgic computeresque sequencing. Play this one over the dance floor and watch the old crusty industrialites come out and crush the new-fangled.

Contact Information - Inertia:
Post: Cryonica Productions, P.O. Box 24879, London, E1 3QN, UK
E-Mail: cryonica@angelfire.com
Web: http://www.cryonica.com

Track 7: Bio-Tek - Shield
A Resistor highlight, Bio-Tek is fresh from their Punishment for Decadence release on Doppler Effect which followed two previous releases on Zoth Ommog - a great among German industrial. With near-constant keyboard chords under which is laid a riveting drum track and vocals with just a tinge of growl, Shield is an amazing piece of work. You know damn well I'll be dropping these guys a line for a review request. This is another you can pivot over a dancefloor with similar effects as the previous Regime. And this mix of Shield is exclusive to Resistor.

Contact Information - Bio-Tek:
Post: Bio-Tek, P.O. Box 12, Maryport, Cumbria, CA15 6GA, England
E-Mail: kaq97@dial.pipet.com
Web: http://www.rivet-head.com/bionew/index4.html

Track 8: This Ascension - Wish
Going from deep German industrial into the ethereal/folk-like Wish from This Ascension. I can't get enough of this group. I just completed a barrage of interview questions for this California sextuplet just a few days ago after lavishing their latest release, Sever, in another review. In the interview I asked which version of Wish appeared here - I fear I've answered my own question - the John A. Rivers remix of course. This Ascension is a band of six that meld so well together to create beautiful and moving arrangements, even Dru's vocals becoming an instrument in itself alongside the others.

Contact Information - This Ascension:
Post: Tess Records, P.O. Box 206, Santa Barbara, CA, 93102
Web: http://www.tessrecords.com

Track 9: Magenta - Eccentricity
Keeping the female-fronted ethereal-style flow going, on Eccentricity from Magenta the vocals are deep and sultry. Guitars help the drum track keep rhythm with precisely placed and executed cuts. The track has a deeper groan to it overall, contradicted by the female vocals during the chorus that meld with the guitars.

Contact Information - Magenta:
Post: Magenta, Teisenin 37, N-0666 Oslo, Norway
E-Mail: odden23@hotmail.org
Web: http://www.katode.com/magenta

Track 10: Heavy Water Factory - Translucent Amber
Heavy Water Factory contribute the nominal track from their just-released CD, Translucent Amber, for this compilation. A heavier industrial feel returns again, harking back to older style Mentallo with lots of chunky bass and drum pounds. Rhythm breakdowns are fast-paced and precise, vocals subdued just under a mirage of anguish with breathy tones and a touch of whisper.

Contact Information - Heavy Water Factory:
E-Mail: d2ofactory@aol.com
Web: http://www.digitalangel.com/hwf

Track 11: The Strand - Cleanse
Taking a techno stance, The Strand's Cleanse is a highlight track of the compilation. Scream/breathy vocals and well-placed monologue samples, ambient-style keyboards and heavy-riff guitar-like keyboards make up Cleanse. Dave Levy (Strand) is the guiding force of this vision. The Strand are one of the largest industrial-electronic bands I've come across. Backing vocals by Kimberly Brown, keyboards by Jeremy Reich, Scott Levy and Steve Laskarides, percussion by Neal Z and media control by Randall Hampton.

Contact Information - The Strand:
Post: The Strand, Dave Levy, 720 E. McKellips Rd., #D221, Tempe, AZ, 85281
E-Mail: davestrand@aol.com
Web: http://www.strandland.com

Track 12: Manhole Vortex - Loss
Another previously unreleased track, Loss is rife with ambient/ethereal keyboard style and a heavy rhythm. The drums/percussion are actually quite heavy and pile against each other a bit much, but the brightness of the keyboards during chorus periods helps to lift the song up more. Manhole Vortex is one of Arts Industria's contributions to Resistor.

Contact Information - Manhole Vortex:
Post: Manhole Vortex, 25855 Lade Dr., Elkhart, IN, 46514
E-Mail: mv@artsindustria.com
Web: http://www.artsindustria.com

Track 13: Autumn - Still Breathing
Another female fronted electro unit, Autumn has powerful vocals compliments of Julie Plante, comforting and subdued keyboard chorales from Neil McKay and rhythmic bass movements from Jeff Leyda. Another band from the Tess Records label that holds This Ascension, Still Breathing has a lot of sound to it - keyboards rise to a crescendo as Julie's voice grows stronger and stronger.

Contact Information - Autumn:
Post: Autumn, P.O. Box 50094, Minneapolis, MN, 55405
E-Mail: autumn@autumn-us.com
Web: http://www.autumn-us.com

Track 14: Advent Sleep/Anita Haxsaw - Guardian Angel
A promo track from the one and only Advent Sleep appears on track 14. Opening with electric guitars and growing percussion. Also fronted by female vocals, the guitars are a refreshing change from the previous tracks of Resistor. Anita Haxsaw does a find job of continuing our womanly tread on the latter portion of the compilation.

Contact Information - Advent Sleep:
Post: Advent Sleep, 13116 Poplar Tr. Rd., Fairfax, VA, 22033
E-Mail: adventsleep@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.epix.net/~xymox

Track 15: The Machine In The Garden - Control
The Texas duo of Roger Frace and Summer Bowman (who let me buy her a drink once [swoon]) offer up Control from their latest release via Middle Pillar Presents (reviewed in Legends #91). A guitar-heavy track, Control is an amazing piece of work and is only more so when performed live. Ethereal keyboards climb and twist as the guitars strokes remain precise and controlled, yet with just that hint of chaos. Summer is an amazing vocalist to round off the piece.

Contact Information - The Machine In The Garden:
Post: tMitG, PMB 234, 4815 W. Braker Ln., Ste. 502, Austin, TX, 78759
E-Mail: tmitg@io.com
Web: http://www.io.com/~tmitg

Track 16: Attrition - The Mercy Machine
A wonderful surprise on the sixteenth track of Resistor with a live track! Attrition's The Mercy Machine is a sample-laden barrage with orgasmic female sighs and a heavy, oh-so-stompable bass/drum line. The samples are some of the most memorable I've heard in both placement, clarity and perfect choice. Vocals are growled or sighed, dependent on whether or not it is Martin Bowes or his female counterpart's turn to speak, just under the twisty-computer-blip synthesizer and oozing between the rumbling/droning bass. Punctuated by guitar hits and the "HELP ME!" screams of some unknown sampling, long-time UK favorites kick out a highlight to Resistor.

Contact Information - Attrition:
E-Mail: info@attrition.co.uk
Web: http://www.attrition.co.uk

Track 17: Oneiroid Psychosis - Non Omnis Moriar
The final track. Choosing to close with one of her own, Kristy places the exclusive, here-only, Non Omnis Moriar from fellow label mates Oneiroid Psychosis on track 17. Closing beautifully with classical flair and ambient keys, NOM bring Resistor to a comfortable, deep down ending. Not like a period ending a sentence, but more like an ellipse wonting more to come…

Contact Information - Oneiroid Psychosis:
Post: Nilaihah Records, P.O. Box 82614, Columbus, OH, 43202
E-Mail: psylabs@gdinet.com
Web: http://www.globaldialog.com/~psylabs/

In the course of writing this lengthy review I did finally come up with something I didn't like about Resistor. Something indeed quite bad. You see, now I can't decide whether I want Kristy to head back to the studio with Steve and record more from The Azoic, or whether I want her to hang out with Arts Industria more and put together another compilation. I can't decide…it's tearing me apart!

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