The Sermon of Judgment

by Rev. Daryl Litts

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ASCII Disko—ASCII Disko—Metropolis
ASCII Disko’s roots are evidently buried in a time with bigger hair and brighter colors in the land of electronic music, yet the ideas and music are fresh and innovative. If Falco (at the height of their 80s glory) got together with mid-90s European electro-industrialists and modern synth-pop like Ladytron, ASCII Disko would be the infectious result. Since the band consists only of guitarist/keyboardist Daniel Holc (aka Kat D.D. Rokk of Slown and Venus Vegas), it is hard to believe such range comes from one head. The name couldn’t make the purity of the project simpler: electro disco music, and it’s damn good.

SermonDimmu Borgir—Death Cult Armageddon—Nuclear Blast
Quite possibly the best death metal ever. Dimmu’s riotously dramatic and orchestrated style is remisniscent of Laibach’s unlikely dabblings with Morbid Angel, but much more complex and layered. It is tight, theatrical, monstrous and still as beautiful as it is brutal. Such a varied array of creativity, style and enthusiasm comes through blaringly, making it a highly listenable album with enough crossover appeal to lynch goth, industrial, and metal fans into the same arena. Highly recommended.

Envy Is Blind—The Eye’s of Time’s Conception—Unified Aesthetic
Envy Is Blind grasps strongly at the ledge that will take them to a level beyond amateur. Not quite there yet, though—especially with the more “industrial” tracks. Repetitive beats and unrelenting vocals drown the listener under layers of complexity without letting them up for air. In art there is a thing called “white space,” that is to say that not every millimeter of canvas must be plastered with a shock of color and noise. The same holds true for music. Bands that grasp this concept are bands that create art, and this disc is within grasping distance on a couple of the instrumental tracks. Overall The Eye’s of Time’s Conception is close, but the proverbial cigar dangles just out of reach.

Front Line Assembly—Maniacal—Metropolis
Rhys Fulber is back in black! After adding some fuel to the latest Delerium album, Fulber decided to once again join Bill Leeb to kick up some dust, and from the sound of this single the full-length album is going to kick some serious ass, FLA style. Maniacal is similar to the ultra-industrial stuff offered on the last album Epitaph, but with a little more acididty and dare I say emotion, perhaps heralding a bright new age for Front Line Assembly.

Ganymede—Space and Time—Cohaagen
Perfect electro-pop from a perfect electro-pop band. Space and Time is an album full of analog life, blending old and new synth styles, (similar in effect to ASCII Disko, reviewed above) and galvanized by a strong charisma in musical form. Ganymede is a refinery for synth and electro-pop, taking the best elements of the genre and forging an impeccable album. This 2-disc set includes a disc of remixes that enhance the originals to even greater heights of coolness, and even includes a video for Daylight. Not to be missed.

Melotron seems to have come to the US out of nowhere, like flotsam landing on a beach to kick ass right off the bat. This German outfit produces thick, infectious synth-pop with heavy beats and German-only lyrics. The high energy level of this album makes for an enthusiastic listen, even on the first pass—a seldom seen (or rather heard) rarity. The fact that I can’t understand a word of their songs makes the vocals meld into the strong music as a catchy texture in itself. Fans of And One, De/Vision, and Beborn Beton should revel in Sternenstaub, a new favorite who I will definitely keep my eyes on.

What can be said of Ohgr other than awesome. Former Skinny Puppy frontman Ogre is still whipping cleverly off-beat verbal lashings at the world with Mark Walk at the musical helm. Fans of the previous album Welt will be lightly taken aback by the difference in sounds this album produces—much less syrupy with an obvious spoonful of bitterness. Easily as likable, however are the irresistible hooks and memorable lyrics that define Ohgr as a pairing of mad geniuses. Sunnypsyop is a milestone in an unpredictable evolution, setting a high standard for what is to come.

Suicide Commando—Axis of Evil—Metropolis
This is relentless, harsh, pounding industrial as it was meant to be. No holds are barred on Axis of Evil. Abusive beats, harsh vocals, and strong musical precision cut like a scalpel and punch you in the head at the same time. Suicide Commando (Johan Van Roy) seems to have captured a genre of white-knuckle industrial that no one else can quite touch. It is the kind that feels like calculated brutality or a car crash in cold, medicated musical form. The irony is that it makes you come back for more and more. My recommendation is to keep Axis of Evil out of your car. Listening to this album can cause severe road rage.

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