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pop rock

Bain Wolfkind * The Swamp Angel (cd 2008)

The Swamp AngelHowever I have the debut 10″ of Novo Homo, I have seen the man live a couple of times and I like what he does with Der Blutharsch, I have almost completely neglected Bain Wolfkind. Stupid me! “The Swamp Angel” is an amazing dirty (blues) rock album which reminds me of Bluebob here and there. Wolfkind has more releases available, I might need to see if they are as enjoyable as this one.
Links: Bain Wolfkind, Hau Ruck!

Der Blutharsch * Everything Is Alright (cd 2008 wkn)

Everything Is AlrightThe five last albums (or so) were all the last release of Der Blutharsch, but new releases kept coming. “Everything Is Alright” is just like “Rest On Your Arms Reversed”, the last cd of The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, a cd with collected rare tracks from limited vinyls and compilations, so who knows. “Rest On Your Arms Reversed” is the best cd of TMLHBAC. The same is not the case for “Everything Is Alright” for Der Blutharsch, but I must say that this collection is very, very enjoyable. I have quite a few of the limited vinyls, so I already had several of the tracks presented here, but I seldom play 7″s, so it is nice to be able to play them easily now. “Everything Is Alright” goes from about “Time Is Thee Enemy” to the present day, so do not expect the martial industrial old style Der Blutharsch, but the catchy poprock side of later days. Many people may think that Der Blutharsch has “lost its magic” when it stepped away from the popular martial style, I must say that I play the later ‘rocky’ albums much more often than the older material and “Everything Is Alright” may not be a “best of” compilation, it is an album that listens easily and can be played even when you have visitors. A nice collection of poprock songs.
Link: Der Blutharsch/WKN

Der Blutharsch * The Philosopher’s Stone (cd 2007)

As mentioned in the review of the 7″ with the same name, this is again the last Der Blutharsch release. The 7″ proved a good indication for the cd. The music is still recognisable for Der Blutharsch, but different from earlier releases, also the later ones. The style has gone more into a poprock direction, but also with a more industrial sound than before. “The Philosopher’s Stone” is more tranquil than the last more rock-oriented cds and after a few listenings I might say, not as good either. The last cd certainly is a bad one, and there are some very nice songs and melodies here, but I have to admit that I hoped Herr Julius would leave the arena with a blow.
Links: Der Blutharsch / WKN

Der Blutharsch * The Philosopher’s Stone (7″ 2007 wkn)

After a few times having quitted the project, Albin Julius again anounced a few last releases. Here we have a 7″ with the title of the upcoming cd (and cd+7″ box) with one track of the cd and of course one exclusive one. Der Blutharsch again managed to sound like Der Blutharsch, but different from before. As anounced, there are no more “martial” influences in the sound. The two tracks are rather soft experimental industrial rock or whatever you want to call it. In the line of the last material, but a bit different. The tracks are not bad, not great, but I find that Der Blutharsch’ music usually comes out better on an album where they are in line of the other tracks, so I have no fears that the next last release, will again be a nice one.
Links: Der Blutharsch / WKN

Naevus * The Silent Life (cd 2007 hau ruck!)

I have the idea that this bands operates somewhere in the margins of the scene, but maybe they are more popular than I think. I have some compilations when them on it, a split 10″ with Spiritual Front and now I decided to buy their latest album. “The Silent Life” sounds quite ‘typical’ for the band, but as you may know, Naevus have a sound of their own. There are the typical vocals, poppy sound that can not really be called neofolk anymore and electric guitars. “The Silent Life” turns out to be a poprock kind of album. Not smashing, but nice and easy to listen to. The bands deserves the recognition if they don’t already get it, not because they are the best ‘new thing’, but just because they keep doing their own thing and do it well too.
links: Naevus, Hau Ruck!

Ostara * Immaculate Destruction (2cd 2005 trisol)

It is funny. I learned about Ostara when Richard Leviathan sent me an email when the first cd was released. I found Strength Through Joy just alright, so I hadn’t heard “Secret Homeland” yet. When I did, I didn’t like it, too progressive or something. The album proved to be one of the few that grew on me. Usually I immediately hear if I like something, “Secret Homeland” became a good album after various rounds in my player. Then there were “Whispers To The Soul” (2001) and “Kingdom Gone” (2002) which are the best Ostara recordings in my opinion. With “Ultima Thule” the progressive and folky neofolk sound (which has already set new standards for the scene) was replaced for a more poprock oriented style. I like the album, but I already expected that this was probabaly the last Ostara album that I would enjoy. When “Immaculate Destruction” was released, I listened to a few mp3-snippets and decided that this album is not for me. Now I have the whole album and my conclusion stays. The first cd contains rather straightforward poprock, the second cd is a bit more experimental, but still not too much of my liking. u

Ostara * Ultima Thule (cd 2003 eislicht verlag)

This is the third cd of Ostara and so far all have been ‘shocking’ in some respect. First too accessible neofolk, then too poppy neofolk but Ostara gets away with it and after a while the first albums proved to be brilliant. Then a year ago, mr. Leviathan ‘warned me’ that the new cd could contain some metal elements and as the year 2003 continued ‘rumours’ said that the new cd would be more ‘rocky’, so when “Ultima Thule” eventually DID come out, I waited a while before ordering the cd… So… the cd indeed opens with who a whole range of rock songs and around the end more songs that would have been the more ‘natural development’ for Ostara. Musically it is still Ostara, but different. The melodies, Leviathan’s vocals, rhythms, samples and the keyboards are still recognisable, but these electric guitars… I have heard the cd several times now and I start to hear the recognisable elements, but I am still not used to the rocking guitars…

Ostara * Kingdom Gone (cd 2002 eis & licht tonträger)

I don’t buy most neofolk cds, but of course there are also bands that I do like and Ostara is one of them. If you follow the band a little, you will already have 5 of the 12 tracks of this cd, which is a bit of a pitty. “Kingdom Gone” opens with the brilliant “Bavaria” that we of course already got from the page. “Hammer Of Ages” is new and nice. “The Trees March North” was already available on the 10″. “March Of The Rising Sun” is an experimental ‘industrial’ track showing that Ostara means to continue to push the boundaries of the genre. Songs 5 and 7 (“Overworld” and “Never Weep”) were already available on the picture 7″ and 10″ and also 10. “Divine Wind” comes from the “Whispers To The Soul” 10″. The new songs 6. “Sword Of Reverie”, 9. “Life’s Symmetry” and 11. “Transsylvania” are very beautiful (especially the last), quite melancholic actually. And speaking of pushing boundaries, 8. “Talenokai” is some kind of techno/trance like track that is nice, but a bit too long. The closer is a slightly darker track “Kingdom Gone”. Overall resulting in a wonderfull cd of almost an hour.
The back had the well-known photo of Richard Leviathan and Timothy Jenn, but Leviathan will continue Ostara alone with guest musicians.

Dream Into Dust * The Lathe Of Heaven (cd 2003 chthonic streams)

At last there is a new DID cd. It was a long wait since the masterpiece “The World We Have Lost”. A less interesting (but still nice) 7″ and compilation contributions in the meantime and now a new fulllength. Derek Rush released it himself and did the wonderfull artwork himself as well. Musically DID has evolved but is still obviously DID. A strange but magnificent mix between tranquil electronic music, industrial, rock, acoustic guitars and the vocals of Rush and time also a violin. The cd is fairly melancholic and tranquil, but not without some harscher industrial sounds. 52 Minutes of great music of one of the best and most original bands from the scene.

Dream Into Dust * The World We Have Lost (cd 1999 elfenblut)

It’s really about time that this US gothicer got some recognition! For years he’s been making the most wonderous music under the monickers December and Dream Into Dust. His releases have always been hard to get, mostly only through his own Chthonic Streams label. Now Derek Rush has been picked up by the English Misanthropy label. Their sublabel Elfenblut alread re-released the December 7″ “River Of Blood” and now there’s the first cd of Dream Into Dust. Both with December and Dreams Into Dust, Derek makes a marvelous piece of gothic music. Really tranquil music with industrial-like sounds, Derek’s warm vocals and his peculiar (bass)guitar-playing. There’re a lot of orchestral themes and for this cd he even used violins and chellos.
Derek’s also very active on the internet, making the homepages of various underground bands. Check out the Chthonic Streams homepage to find out.