REVIEW: V/A - "Pandaemonium Volume One: Comatose Rose"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

PandaemoniumPandaemonium, now currently called Comatose Rose, is a mini-zine, previously an MP3.com station and now offers a various artists CD compilation that you originally could originally pick up on MP3.com's ever popular DAM CD format. It houses MP3.com artists of course, and offers you nine tracks that run from industrial to ambient. The CD is now being pressed by Canada's Interdimensional Industries record label and is available at HMV as well as Interdimensional.com. Here's the skinny on the music…

Track 1: Christopher - You're So Sexual
Christopher's You're So Sexual is an awesome opener. Arabian drum breakdowns surrounded by horn-like synthesizer melodies and excellently worked vocal harmonies featuring Christopher's boyish golden voice. For more on this fine MP3 based artist, see both the Christopher interview* and review of his Wer Next Projekt CD** in previous issues of Legends. You're So Sexual is a highlight to this compilation.

Track 2: Not Applicable - Atonement (remix)
Immediately slowing down the compilation to a mellow groove is Not Applicable's Atonement. Nearly seven minutes of slow piano, rhythm and sighing female vocals slam your aurality back to a more even keel as you float along with this one.

Track 3: DYM - Dirty
DYM's track, Dirty, is truth in advertising. It remains slow and floaty like the one before, but adds in a grittier makeup with scratchier sounds and mud-washed vocals. It's somewhat minimal in design and make-up, but it isn't bad really. It's just not great.

Track 4: Project Zarathustra - Innos Renegades
Project Zarathustra still keeps Comatose Rose's slow moodiness flowing along. It picks up from Dirty with a more robust rhythm and a droning bass, and standing at over nine minutes long it's hella repetitive even if it begins to layer on some soundscape like organs and keyboards over the other stuff. It acts as a filler and gives Pandaemonium the ability to say "nine" tracks instead of "eight," but that's really about it.

Track 5: Halo In Reverse - Go All the Way
Finally Comatose Rose wakes up and picks up the pace. Halo In Reverse's contribution to this collection is Go All the Way. Industra-crunchy guitar riffs, competent drums and garage-level production collide in a strong, gritty highlight to Comatose Rose. The track is arranged simplistically but does the job of being a healthy release from the grayscapes that preceded it. The really light touch ending will really surprise you - it doesn't quite fit the opening, but somehow manages to close Go All the Way nicely.

Track 6: Mistralth - Silent Scream
The sounds remain upbeat as we near the end of the CD. Again, Pandaemonium's picks for Comatose Rose (with the exception of Christopher's opening) hover on uncomplicated arrangements. While Mistralth's Silent Scream is a good song, it's not going to make me run out and buy their CD. Though it would make me preview more. The female vocalist is quite nice. The bubble-grit vocals don't fit with the upbeat and standard 4/4 rock rhythm.

Track 7: Silent Watcher of Dark Matter - Sandstorm
I discussed the work of Silent Watcher already in a previous review of all three of this outfit's releases (Deep Space I & II and Installation). This track, Sandstorm, comes off of the Installation CD. Installation was my favorite of the three releases I received from them. That's not saying much. See the review for a much deeper look into the minimalistic, windy, droney scapes of Silent Watcher of Dark Matter***. Try not to fall asleep - there's two more tracks left.

Track 8: CommonHaus - Acid
If you did fall into a comfy slumber moments ago, CommonHaus is going to wake you up with a rather well done track called Acid that reminds me of work by Dream Disciples. Blarey guitar chords wrap around plucky guitar melodies and keep time to a forgettable but does-the-job drumbeat. While I wouldn't call Acid heavy, I would say it's loud - or rather has a big sound to it in a plaster wall sort of way.

Track 9: VLE - Kano
I can't say the word Kano without wanting to run out to an arcade to play Mortal Kombat. VLE however have built up something of a decently numbered following at their MP3.com homestead. The most memorable aspect of Kano is it's interesting drum beat - a slow, paused-tap style that sounds strange, and almost like a mistake, at first. But with the minimal chord wraps it becomes a nice accompaniment to some well written piano and guitar arrangements. VLE's percussionist shows talent with rhythmic time changes, tweaks and steps.

Contact Information:
E-mail: azrieljknight@yahoo.com
Web: http://www.comatoserose.cjb.net

* Legends #114, September 2001.
** Legends #117, December 2001.
*** Legends #119, February 2002.

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