This remarkable band hails from The Netherlands where they are able to create their popular blend of electro-pop and EBM music. Reinier Kahle started this project in 1995 by composing some of this dark electronic music. He was joined by guitarist Erik Wierenga and Marco van Belle as manager and helping with live elements. While demos were released during these years of establishing themselves in the local scene and doing a number of live shows, the first MCD wasn't released until 1999, which was produced by Axel Ermes of Girls Under Glass
. But it was 2000 that marked the year that this band really took off with the release of the single Darkness
and their debut full-length album Eternity
Over the years their sound has become widely accepted among fans of VNV Nation
. This comes as no surprise considering that Ronan Harris helped produce the two releases in 2000. But even with this relationship and comparison by fans, critics, DJs and the press, they have managed to create a unique style that one can recognize as their own. Overall, the music is powerful, layered with multiple synths, dance-friendly club hits and emotional with dark vocals relating the moods of the lyrics. Falling neatly within the european electronic scene and similar to great artists like VNV Nation, Covenant
and North American related club-friendly band Assemblage 23
, they have launched onto the international club scene.
2004 saw the release of their sophomore album Avatar
and it shows that over the years they have continued to progress and mature their sound. Along with this release on their European label Out Of Line
, they also have released this album on Metropolis Records
in North America. The band continues to work and release great music with their latest work Unison
continuing where they left off before and slightly evolving with the times. The solid styles of this new album are more distinct and recognizable with a great variety mixed in. I think synthpop, EBM and future pop fans will love this band if they haven't already picked up their releases. Check out more info, news, samples, lyrics and related material by visiting the band's website. Meanwhile, you can be sure to catch selections on the Gothic Paradise club radio show.
Unison - Review
It was great news to hear of yet another album from this band, and we didn't even have to wait another four years to get it.
The band continues to progress with their tried and true sound, building on that as a foundation to release this album. Maybe they've found their niche and with that the creative process is flowing better and so we have this album sooner with a total of another 13 tracks.
Following the pattern of previous releases, they start with a short ambient introductory piece titled "Emersion" which gives way to the driving dance-friendly track "Watchers". Also like their other album, each track has meaningful lyrics taking into account the world we live in, the problems we face, the hope that exists and so on. This driving piece includes many of these aspects and with the driving beat, powerful vocals and melodic electronics. This driving rhythm and power continues through the majority of the album through the title track "Unison" and many others. "Watchers" and "Forward" have quickly become favorite tracks because of their memorable lyrics and catchy rhythms and flow.
Like their previous works each track really sucks the listener in through all of these elements. Fans can really appreciate this style, while similar to other bands in the genre, they definitely have their own style in writing and composing their music that you can easily pick out and recognize. For newcomers that are familiar with bands like VNV Nation
, some of these similarities will really stand out and should provide a foundation for fans to jump on, and after listening more, they'll realize the differences and power behind their music. As the album moves along, some small diversity is present through tracks like "Secrets" or "Walk on the Stars" which slow down a bit, but remain just as powerful and meaningful. The album moves along and wraps up with "Inner Light", another slower downtempo piece and finalizes with "Immersion", ending the album in much the way it started through beautiful ambience.
So there you have it, another stellar album from this band. While it doesn't have as much material as their previous album, it's all really great, one powerful piece after another. One pitfall that seems to happen with many groups in the electronic genres is that some tracks really start to sound a lot like the others, losing their individuality. This band is able to avoid that in most cases but not 100%, but hopefully they'll continue to work hard and the creative juices will flow and we'll continue to be presented with great new material.
Avatar - Review
It has been an extremely long wait for fans to get our hands on this second album from this group.
Finally, after four years it is here and the wait was well worth it. This album is packed with great material, presenting 17 tracks in all, morphing from fast-paced dance beats to beautiful ambient textures and interludes.
It is one of these beautiful ambient pieces that starts off the album, appropriately titled "Opening" which gradually fades to give way and introduce the forceful and powerful selection "Stronghold". This could easily be the first single from this album, closely related in style to "One" from the previous album. The deep vocals steadily relate the deep feelings portrayed in the lyrics as the pulsating electronics keep the rhythm strong. Much of the album is powered by these dance-friendly tracks and I think form the foundation of the album. Personal favorites include the previously mentioned "Stronghold" as well as "Circles", "Blind World" and "Rites Of Passage". I'm sure as I listen to the album more, others will stand out, but I've already listened so many times and the fact that the album holds so much material, there is plenty to choose from.
Just because I mention these tracks because they really stand out, doesn't mean the reader should think any less of the rest of the album. "Karma", for example, breaks away from the driving rhythms that I love about this group, but is still very powerful and well composed. The tempo slows down and allows the meaning of the lyrics to come out clearer and more pristine. There are others along these lines of mid-tempo majesty, but what I think really adds great variety and makes it easier to listen to the album in it's entirety is the inclusion of the great ambient tracks I mentioned earlier. Included are a couple of tracks which include Chinese spoken word on "Insight" and "Experience". The translation of these are also included in the booklet as an added bonus.
As the reader can see, this album is truly packed with great material. And it all winds down with another dreamy ambient track, again appropriately titled "Closing". Thus it all comes together and comes to a close leaving the listener satisfied with another great album.
Label: Metropolis Records