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Rome * Die Æsthetik Der Herrschaftsfreiheit (3cd 2011)

Following the ‘route’ Rome has taken with their earlier releases, I did not ignite in enthusiasm when I heard about the new album, especially not when I noticed that it is actually a 3cd! “Die Aesthetik Der Herrschaftsfreiheit” comes in a luxery 3cd box with a shirt and whatnot, but this box is 100 euros new. You can also get the three cds separately, each for the full price of a cd… I have to admit that I first looked up this album on the internet because I was still interested to hear what Rome would sound like today (and then I got the separate cds instead of the box). Of course the band has three full-length cds to their disposal, but I am very happy to be able to say that this new monster-release will probably please both old and new fans. The new fans who have known Rome since they signed on Trisol might be a bit intimidated by the opening of this grand opus. After some spoken word (a sample it seems), the first cd “Aufbruch / A Cross Of Wheat” opens with a noisy martial industrial track that may not conform with some people’s idea of the romantic-sounding band. Fans of old will put up a smile knowing that the band did not entirely disbandon their old sound. Things get better though! Like on the brilliant early releases, there are tracks with the great samples-backgrounds, instantly moistening my eyes. There are also more of the singer/songwriter songs, but also more experimental, almost industrial tracks and great poppy songs. All this is alternated with (either or not backed up by ambient sounds) speaking samples. Indeed, whatever you thought about Rome in the past and think about them now, you might want to listen to these three new cds. Overall “Die Æsthetik Der Herrschaftsfreiheit” might not be a masterpiece like the first cds, but it sounds better to me than the previous releases and there sure are some masterpieces on “Aufbruch / A Cross Of Wheat”, “Aufruhr / A Cross Of Fire” and “Aufgabe / A Cross Of Flowers”.
Links: Rome, Trisol

Tying Tiffany * Peoples Temple (2010)

I was surprised when I got a “confirmed artists” email of the Wave Gotik Treffen of this year that contained Tying Tiffany. I knew Tying Tiffany from when I listen to electropop or electropunk on Tying Tiffany is one of the many of such bands that does not really stand out (well, the photo’s are usually nice). It is just straightforward, nothing-special electropop sometimes with a slightly ‘punky’ edge. Because I wondered why an electropop band would be booked for the WGT, I listened to their Myspace and indeed, the songs there seem to be much more ‘wavey’, sometimes almost ‘batcave’ in sound. I guessed that perhaps the first two albums would be boring, while the last one spells a new direction. Indeed, “Peoples Temple” opens with a pretty gothic sounding tracks called “3 Circle” and the first seconds of the second track can also still be called “gothic” in a way. Several tracks bring memories of 80’ies wave with screaming guitars and drumcomputers, but “Peoples Temple” still is a not-too-good electropop album.
I just noticed that it is Trisol who released this album, so that may be the connection to the ‘black scene’.
Links: Tying Tiffany, Trisol

Spiritual Front * Rotten Roma Casino (cd 2010)

The previous version of the review was based on the music alone. Today I finally got the CD/DVD release. It comes in a luxery double digipack (fourfold) with a double-sided poster and a ‘booklet’. In the artwork the band obviously presents itself as a boyband with photos of pretty boy Salvatori. The DVD contains an interview, two short films with Italian poetry (I think) and two videos. In the latter, the boyband-attitude is worked out even more. Homo-erotic imaginary, a dreamy looking Salvatori, but on the other hand, exposing his many (weird) tattoos (and of others). Indeed, Spiritual Front remains a band with a twitch. Now that “FSK ab 16 freigegeben” (in Germany they think this is suitable for 16+ only) is a bit overfanatic, but still. Meanwhile I got a bit used to the music. It is much more poppy than older material (yes that is possible) mixes a variety of styles and the sound is much cleaner too (which is not necessarily a good thing). The songs are catchy singalongs (lyrics of course included), sometimes more melancholic. RRC is a nice album, but I still prefer the previous “Armageddon Gigolo”.
Links: Spiritual Front, Trisol

Rome * Nos Chants Perdus (cd 2010)

Rome continues in the direction which has been apparent since the earlier albums. “Nos Chants Perdus” is almost purely a “singer/songwriter” album, again more minimalistic in sound. Unfortunately for the first time, there are songs that do not really appeal to me, but there are also again very nice songs. Towards the end of this 43 minute album come a few unexpected sounds, such as the slightly ‘cabaretesk’ “La Rose et la Hache”. Reuter remains a gifted song-writer, but I am afraid he is drifting in a direction away from my musical taste. This album is already a bit too much popmusic. If this continues, I might not like a possible next album any longer. But of course musicians should not take much heed to that!
Links: Rome, Trisol

Rome * l’Assassin (mcd 2010)

The two new tracks on this mcd are like the cover: more minimalistic. There are almost no samples anymore and the two melancholic songs are again more singer/songwriter-like than previous releases. There are some nice string arrangements which also ‘upgraded’ two old songs “Der Brandtaucher” and “Der Erscheinungen Flucht”. The songs are nice, but not as ‘gripping’ as on earlier releases (safe for the strings). Rome might evolve out of the spectre of my musical taste, but first let us see what the future brings.
Links: Rome, Trisol

Rome * Flowers From Exile (cd 2009)

Flowers From ExileStarting as the new hope for martial industrial and military pop, the new label advertises for Rome with comparison to Leonard Cohen. You do not have to fear for a bluesy folk sound (nothing bad said about Cohen of course), but indeed, Rome seems to continue to move towards more of a singer/songwriter approach. I was not immediately impressed by the previous release, which Jérôme himself calls a “single”, but I do happen to like to play it. “Flowers From Exile” has blown me away from the first play, just like the earlier releases. Rome has officially turned into a duo, but that does not change much about the sound. As a matter of fact, the sound reminds more of the earlier material than I expected from “To Die Among Strangers”. Like I said, the music is more “singer/songwriter”, mostly just guitar and singing and a bit of drumming, but there are still things going on on the background and Rome does keep a ‘martial’ edge in the use of samples. The songs are great, better than when I heard them at the performance in Leipzig. Just as before, Rome manages to work on my mood (the fact that the music is pretty damn melancholic is a reason that I do not play it all that often). There are nice melodies, good ideas and, like I said before, that ‘full’ sound with things on the background, the details that I have loved Rome for since the beginning. “Flowers From Exile” is the first full length on the German label Trisol, which is Rome’s way of reaching new audiences and they definately deserve that, since they have again proven that they are the better songwriters of our scene. Finally a masterpiece has come from our scene again.
And I almost forget to mention that their finally is a proper website too (see link below).
Links: Rome, Trisol

Rome * To Die Among Strangers (mcd 2009)

To Die Among StrangersSo the new Rome is a mcd, a “teaser” for the new album? Because of the new label perhaps? Four tracks of which two are rerecorded old tracks. Three times poppy neofolk and an ambient/industrial sound collage. Not bad, but I prefered a new full-length. I guess I will have to wait.
Links: Rome, Trisol

Ostara * The Only Solace (cd 2009)

The Only SolaceI heard that the new Ostara would be ‘back to basics’. I heard a few Myspace tracks and was not really convinced. It is the old minimalistic neofolk style. The album as a whole is a bit better than expected. Most songs are the minimalistic neofolk style, some of them are nice, some are just alright. There are a few more poppy songs and some songs have some nice additions in violin (Matt Howden) or other instruments. I guess this cd is for people who long for the days of “Secret Homeland” (not not Strength Through Joy, the ‘wayback machine’ did not go that far). I like those early albums mostly because they were surprising at the time of release, but “The Only Solace” does not bring anything really new and not all songs are great, so… just a nice album I guess.
Links: Ostara, Trisol

Spiritual Front * Armageddon Gigolo (cd 2006 trisol)

Somewhere in June I ordered this cd, but something caused a long delay. Meanwhile I have seen the band live in Bochum (Germany), a good show, but in a too small venue with way to many people. Spiritual Front sounded more ‘poppy’ and indeed the same goes for the new album. I have always liked the fact that Spiritual Front do exactly what they want. From a strange kind of neofolk to a more melancholic sound with weird jazz-samples, amusing crazy sounds and now slightly more ‘poppy’. “Armageddon gigolo” is a magnificent album! Catchy melodies, bossanova and samba rhythms, Spanish sounds, a great string session (including Matt Howden), a melancholic undertone. Definitely more accessible than previous recordings and I am sure that the band with punch through to a larger audience. Still the sick sense of humour is present, ‘shocking’ artwork and lyrics (explicit sex and other taboos) (in a great digipack by the way), so the fans of old will probably not have to turn their backs. I don’t for sure! The ultimate “suicide pop” album! (13/9/06)

Sieben * High Broad Field (cd+dvd 2006 trisol)

When I noticed that the new album of Sieben comes with a one hour DVD, I figured that I might get myself another Sieben album. Sieben is another of these bands that make good music, but I don’t think it is necessary to get all albums. “High Broad Field” is a hearplay, so there are guest-vocalists on this album. Another result of this is, that this cd is really an album, instead of a collection of songs. Of course the sound is again catchy and all about Matt Howden’s violin. “High Broad Field” is another good album.
Then to the DVD. It is the album put to film by Joao Paulo Simoes. The film is not too interesting. Slow shots of nature, but with now and then a naked Martina Goodman to add to the interestness. It is not a film to watch (however it does have a story), but more something to play on the background. <4/12/06><3>