The new album by Ataraxia is a 7 (very long) tracks concept album, referring to the Holy number of 7, like the colours of the rainbow or of the Archangels of the Ortodox doctrine.

Every track of the album is dedicated το an Archangel and to his  correspondent etheric energy. The aim of this music is to create with the vibration of the notes a spiritual path toward Knowledge and the Divine, both the one dwelling above and the divine sparkle within us, that for syncronicity is going to be published in those hard days that will shape a new future.

"Iniziazione" has a mystic-alchemic atmosphere that with the music that reminds of progressive, and the voice of Francesca Nicoli, that ranges from angelic-like highs to a summoning like spoking calling of Gabriel, the archangel from which is inspired this first track.

 "Nebula" has a slow, sweetly dream like bucolic music, that brings us back to the magic harmony of the lost Golden Age, outlined also by the voice of Francesca, that here sings in italian a praise to the beauty of Mother Nature. Listening to it you can feel back in Eden experiencing the bliss of the Eternal Harmony. Gabriel is the archangel of the Announcement, and I like to think that composing its song they could have imagined him to come and announce the awakening of  mankind and our awakening under a new consciousness.

"Oneness" has an epic atmosphere, like the legend of Michael, the Archangels that picked up the Sword to defeat the Dragon and save Heaven. It conveys strength and at the same time love and connection with the Divine, because warriors fight for love, and their (here ethereal) land, returns its devotion with angelic choirs praises, masterfully interpreted by Francesca.

"Sex is a prayer", is opened by the contrast between the "heavy" bassline and the sweet and seducing voice of Francesca, that sound like a representation of the male-female duality; then the music rises, like the heartbeat in a climax, to return slow and sweet again, like the moment when two lovers embrace, and join their souls in the higher communion of two souls that have experienced for a while the pleasure of returning a whole. This song is dedicated to  Chamael, the ruler of Love, and of the Quest for the Holy Graal, because what else could be in that divine Chalice if not Love in its purest, deepest form?

"Radiance" is an hypnotic track, that gives a divine vertigo, taking us in a sort of Elevation - vertigo. The mystical side is out stands in the repeated OM, on which Francesca sings with a voice ranging from high to deeply evocative words that might be inspired by both Buddhism and the iconology of  Jehudiel, because when  our awareness is enlightened by a higher radiance, names and doctrines doesn't matter any more, as we witness the nameless essence of the Truth.

"The timeless" brings us back to a blissful atmosphere, but this track, instead of the Harmony with the material Nature, makes me think more about the journey of a soul back to the Source of everything. The echoes of the voice at the beginning make me thing about the dismay at the Gate where immensity becomes Infinite, and time becomes time-less, because it loses its meaning into Eternity, then, note after note, line after line, the music, the voice of Francesca succeed in the ultimate Transmutation of the White Opera: the Return, after being purified by  Tdzadkiel's flame.

"Beyondness" is the ultimate step of this journey, and to me is like an artistic door opening on the mindset of of an Initiated: people whose sight and mind stretch beyond the appearance of a moment or of a situation to reach the deep reason and meaning of life and whatever happens during it. For this reason the song, dedicated to Uriel, the ruler of extrasensorial gifts, has a transcendent aura, a sense of duality, of being "here" and somewhere else at the same time.

Review by Lory Dusk

Read More …

The darkwave project Iamtheshadow from Lisbon, Portugal began in 2015 by Pedro Code (previously in the bands The Dream Collision and Rainy Days Factory). Now with the lineup consisting of Pedro Code (voices, guitar, synthesizers, programming), Vitor J. Moreira (synthesizers) and Herr G (bass), they have just released their fourth album "Pitchblack" on the German Cold Transmission label. The band from the very moment, when they released their stunning debut "Everything In This Nothingness" back in 2016, attracted a massive amount of attention from the dark scene. They have also proven to be a very productive unit, having released an album every year.

The opener "Lifeless" is a more electronic track, where Pedro’s amazing deep voice dominates and sets the atmosphere. On "Always" that follows, we have a lovely dark melodic tune. Next is the title-track "Pitchblack", a pulsing darkwave track with cold synths spread through it. In similar vein we have "The Days", a bleaker track and the more melodic "Higher Than The Soul". Then we have "Awake & Asleep" that features the familiar voice of Diego Merletto from The Frozen Autumn. A great track with deep melodic bassline and some uplifting synths in the chorus.

Halfway through we hear "Shivers", a song that surely standout, a classic example of Pedro’s songwriting. Electronic drumming, deep basslines, icy synths, melancholy guitar riffs, topped with Pedro’s emotional vocals. We have a shift in style on the track "Ouroboros" that features on vocals Kadri Sammel from Bedless Bones. A rhythmic tune that exchanges the male and female vocals between Pedro and Kadri nicely. On "Grace" they return to Iamtheshadow’s familiar sound, while on the slower "Rise", featuring Yvette Winkler from Vaselyne, we have yet another male-female duet. As we reach towards the end, we have the darker "To Last", a down beat song with a shoegaze feel. The album closes with melodic "Undress", a song that sums up all the general sound of the whole album.

A beautiful album, and it keeps the atmosphere from their last album "Embracing The Fall" from 2018. Again, we hear their artistic influences that vary and navigate from the blackest and sharpest sounds of the 80s. Their modern touch of dark romance, where melody and words touch deeply have managed to make them loved by an ever-growing audience.

Review by Nick Drivas

Read More …

The legendary Berlin band Einstürzende Neubauten have returned after more than 12 years with their long-awaited new studio album "Alles In Allem" It contains ten songs that explore the German capital city that has been home to the band for the past four decades. "Alles In Allem" is the first proper Einstürzende Neubauten album following "The Jewells" in 2008, however, the band did release the World War I concept album "Lament" in 2014.

The official promotion synopsis for the album read “An extremely cynical reflection of the state of the capital, which has become a song, did not make it onto the album, leaving a hole around which there were far more differentiated debates with Berlin. So Blixa Bargeld wanders through memories, through dreams, assembles fragments – and yet it is always about the presence of this intangible city”.

Their 40th anniversary album begins with the first single, the moody and jazzy percussive "Ten Grand Goldie". A typical Neubauten song, with its characteristic custom-made percussive sounds with various materials. The second track "Am Landwehrkanal" has a more traditional feel, like a song from older days, with its singalong style and accordion. Things get more ‘metallic’ with "Möbliertes Lied", although the tempo is kept low. On top of a metallic percussion and Blixa’s spoken word a beautiful keyboard brings to it a great atmosphere. The haunting "Zivilisatorisches Missgeschick" follows, a unique track filled with both quiet passages and screaming siren outbursts. "Taschen" that follows is a beautiful low-key piece with melancholy strings. In the same vein we have "Seven Screws".

The second single, the title track "Alles In Allem" meaning All In All, was released during the Corona-virus pandemic quarantine. A stylish and cinematically moody piece, is surely a standout, featuring crooning surreal lyrics with Blixa’s baritone voice. The album continues in a quite tone with "Grazer Damm" and "Wedding" that slightly climaxes with the repeatedly singing of the of the song’s name, a district of the city of Berlin. The album closes with "Tempelhof", another a district of Berlin and name of its old airport. Again, we have a gentle piece of music, almost cinematic, with more strings, harps and Blixa’s almost whispering vocals.

The unique sound and textual landscapes of the band reveal the timelessness that members Blixa Bargeld, N. U. Unruh, Alexander Hacke, Jochen Arbeit and Rudolph Moser have continuously maintained. Their ongoing sound research, combining edgy sound with sophisticated poetry, through experimental approaches to songwriting, has provided us with yet another great piece of work, mature as the band itself has matured gracefully.

Review by Nick Drivas

Read More …