Download: Effector [Nettwerk
Following 1997's III, Effector takes Download into an area filled with funky beats, laid-back rhythms, and more focused structures while retaining the slick spacey atmospheres, distorted beats, and experimentalism that Skinny Puppy founder cEvin Key is most known for. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this album is its diversity in mood...it can go from happy and care-free in a track like "Vagator" to serious and contemplative in nature in one such as "ego Dissolve," or even both in one track like "Affirmed." It makes this album stand out from previous Download releases, replacing their unfocused character with an evolved and purposeful intent.
One: Platform One [Deathbed Records]
This disc was much better than I had anticipated. Even I judge a book by its cover sometimes, and when I see that the cover is homemade I brace myself for the worst. Fortunately for Platform One, their music is well-produced and entrancing enough to warrant an apology! Blending what some would consider goth with an electro-pop style, the music creates something completely worthwhile without falling into any specific or degrading pigeon-holes. The vocals are clean and fit the music well, although sometimes the production in that area seems a bit lacking, mostly in terms of mixing the male vocals with female backups which aren't always as suiting. They are rather beautiful on "The Haunting of Your Love," one of the standout tracks, among which "Naked," "Standing" and the industrial-tinged "Can't Go Back" belong. These tracks make the album strong as an independent release.
Secular: Hatesex [Suffer Creek Records]
Sweet merciful heavens...this disc was so terrible that I'm momentarily at a loss for words. Okay, moment over. First off, I can't tell you what type of music this is. It sounds like crusty alterna-garage metal at first, but soon one notices that minimal programming is used and the fem-vocalist on the inside cover looks like she's dressed for a goth show. The production is so low-end that it sounds like they recorded this live with a Fisher-Price My First Microphone in a dumpster. Constructive criticism? Stop making music. Now a special message to bands like this: Before creating such an album, come to me for permission. I could save the planet of such wastes of plastic and paper, and you of embarrassment. Next.
Point: The Soul Den [MeatBelt Media]
I really wanted to like this CD. There are remixes by Fire 99, Deadjump and Thine Eyes; there's a track featuring vocals by Karen of Razor Skyline...but unfortunately those are its only saving attributes. The original music is quite elementary, a bland mix of tired electro cliches, repetitive high-tempo drum noise, and for god's sake...a cover of "Holding Out for a Hero." One track, "Security," would be worth salvaging if it weren't torn apart by generic and terribly rendered vocals. The instrumental pieces counter these with a more sensible approach to the band's resources and limitations, making "No Ordinary Psychosis" and "Project Sunshine" stand out. In short: this disc has 13 tracks, 6 of which are worth saving, and four of these are touched by other bands.