SONG MINI-REVIEW: Shadows & Mirrors - In The Dark (song review) |Nub Country Records, ARIA, 2016| 5/5
Here's an American one-man band established by Brian Diamond. He takes great care to ensure that anything authored under the name of Shadows & Mirrors is of professional quality, including catchy song writing, mastering, mixing, production, album artworks, music videos, and the official website's design.
'In The Dark' is the fifth track on debut album (titled ARIA
), deeply embedded in the genres of electronic, dance, and industrial. These genres are well defined and usually contain dynamic beats, haunting synths, distorted vocals, a dancey rhythm, memorable lyrics, and occasionally guitar riffs - and this song ticks all these boxes. In addition, it is enriched by equally rhythmic and intelligent lyrics, with a small reference to the late David Bowie.
This track clocks over seven minutes - almost like an extended version of a single. The composition isn't complex, allowing all components to swiftly flow, with coiling arrangements hypnotizing listeners at first play. Unquestionably, such a groovy vibe, and the frequently repeating chorus create an instantly memorable hit song.
On the more technical side of things, the project’s sound has been additionally mastered by Barry Grint at Alchemy Studios in London (who previously worked with Madonna, Gary Numan, Radiohead, David Bowie, and many other artists), so if you are an electronic music fan, you’ll definitely welcome this song into your personal playlist. DJs looking for fresh dance music, whether for airplay or a party should get in touch with this artist ASAP.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, November 28th, 2016. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
SONG MINI-REVIEW: Artphixia - An Artificial Heaven (song review) |self-released, Cerebral, 2016| 4/5
UK-based Andy S. Crofts (under his Dark User moniker; synths, backing vocals and production) and an American musician Jacob Fry (known as Mordeous; vocals) teamed up to explore more complex, experimental/industrial music. Both artists want their listeners participating in their efforts by tuning into the atmosphere and getting hijacked into a world painted with their sound. Here we have something a bit scary however, as the track was influenced by John Carpenter's sci-fi horror movies and H.R. Giger's art. If you're ready for that explosive cocktail, let's peep inside.
The song presents three distinctive attributes here – tightly packed beats, distorted, or even tormented vocals (almost like an orc from a fantasy movie) and cold, highly pitched, vital synths. The dark but non-aggressive scenery continues until the 3rd minute of the track's length, when your ears are drilled by the first installment of industrial/metal guitars replacing the synths.
The arrangements, vocals, and the mood are accented well here, but the overall flow of the composition seems a bit static, perhaps due to the excess of beats. Approaching this track needs a proper understanding - the song's pressuring mood may be perceived as quite draining, so you probably won't enjoy listening to it during a beautiful, sunny day, but play 'An Artificial Heaven' again when it's cold, dark, windy, and snowy outdoors - then it should resonate with your soul much better.
(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, November 28th, 2016. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
DMK - FITH (Fire In The Hole) (song review) |self-released, Condemned, 2015| 5/5
Darice M. Kannon, a writer and musician, had an interesting concept of merging both of her interests. She wrote a book titled Condemned
and illustrated the emotions of the book's characters through songs, gathered on an album with the same title.
'FITH (Fire In The Hole)' is one of these songs, and if you are a picky listener who looks for more than just dynamic, clubbing tracks, but also crystal-clear yet edgy female vocals, then you won't be disappointed. Darice brings both focused energy and a true lioness' claw into the composition – there's a bit of guitars mixed with sweetness, so her song doesn't sound too aggressive.
When it comes to genres, we can hear a modern mix of electronic pop (with super hooky, beat-driven arrangements and an instantly memorable chorus), but also vocal techniques borrowed from jazz and soul music. The track sounds attractive and very well produced. In addition, 'FITH' is over 3 minutes long which makes it a perfect match for radio play, TV ads and movies, possibly targeted at young adults thanks to its emotional, tempting and rebellious tone.
Finally, as mentioned above, Darice’s memorable voice is the cherry on top here, comparable with other famous female singers popular amongst Generation Y. Whether you're "just" a music fan or you work in the music industry, here is a song to make your day!
Related topics: DMK
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 15th, 2016. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
EP MINI-REVIEW: Heartlay - Remedy EP |self-released, 2015| 4/5
1. Bring You Down, 2. Consequence, 3. The Battle, 4. Through The Window, 5. Black Walls
Heartlay is a French industrial/alt-metal band formed by Aaron Sadrin (vocals/composing) in 2014. He was later joined by Johan Laë on guitar, Flo Lemonnier on bass, Loïs Arnaldi on drums. This collaboration resulted last year in the Remedy
EP - their second release, mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima (Tower Studio; best known for his work with Septicflesh, Kalisia, Cynic and Devin Townsend among others).
The tracklist here is pleasant for an ear, especially if you like rhythmic, well balanced, heavy guitar driven music with hooky melodies. The opener titled 'Bring You Down' begins with chunky and vibrating guitar riffs followed by vocals marked with a quite high and cold timbre. Bass lines sound juicy and drum beats are deep enough. A keyboard arrangement that appears in the first song becomes an acoustic leitmotif for the next track, 'Consequence'. Here, changes of tempo are somewhat characteristic, alongside its noisy, rhythmic, guitar driven atmosphere and a very accented bass guitar.
'The Battle' is the most aggressive song on Remedy
, underlined with a distinctive bass line, well matched drums, lazy-sounding vocals and tiny keyboard sounds. Leading vocals are additionally accompanied by a background growl sometime - these give the song claws. The following 'Through The Window' is also kept in vein of modern industrial and alt-metal music, but opens with a vibrating straight-forward cannonade written for bass, guitars, and drums. Arrangements remain heavy and dynamic but sweetness and melody appear at times as well.
All compositions are skilfully linked together on this EP, so the ending part of 'Through The Window' prepares listeners for the 'Black Walls'. It isn't entirely instrumental, as you would expect after hearing the songs' beginning, but is very atmospheric. Darkness and light mix here slowly - gloomy ambiance and industrial steam-like beats represent the former, while gentle piano chords (which had been already introduced in the previous track) become the leitmotif now, and speak for the 'light'. Equally soft vocals appear only at the end of the track.
All four guitar driven songs have a lot of hit potential. Fans of modern industrial rock and alt-metal will be definitely happy with this EP since it makes a good match with discographies of the likes of Lluther
, Nine Inch Nails
, In Virgo
, The Dreaming, and even Rammstein at some point. Undoubtedly, the musicians perform as a collective here, but you'll soon realize that drums are emphasized the most. Therefore, while listening make sure you tune down the bass on your speakers to avoid having higher tones being overridden.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, January 5th, 2016. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
SONG MINI-REVIEW: Kamil Kowalczyk - New World (song review) |self-released, Nova, 2013| 4/5
Kamil Kowalczyk is an electronic musician who prefers dark, droning sounds over light-headed electronica. 'New World' is the last song on his Nova
album for which the 'soundscape' term applies perfectly, as it allows listeners to 'escape' the physical body and become an astral traveler in a timeless void. It’s a useful composition to test yourself in this regard.
Imagine that you have been sent on a mission to collect sound field recordings for a Galactic Library. You're zipped into a spacesuit, equipped with a high fidelity recording device, and then teleported afar. The first location is in deep space - an incredibly vast yet seemingly quiet multi-dimensional mix between darkness and subtle light. When you listen closer though, you'll catch soothing frequencies of different amplitudes and full-blown waves, which act like arrangements within a galactic composition. The void opens up your senses, and you're able to receive telepathic messages now - voice fragments of other beings who were sent on a mission akin to yours.
Once you pass a slowly rotating asteroid, you are awestruck with the view of a majestic blue star that hypnotizes you by making unhurried pulsing sounds. The more you gaze, the more psychedelic patterns appear on its surface. Are you gazing at an alien-made hologram? The echoing voices re-appear with bits of messages for you. There's no turning back. Next, you wake up in the engine room on an alien spaceship, following a sudden blackout upon entering the star's core. Your head spins - everything looks so strange! You then recognize a 'welcome home' message expressed through an enchanting palette of silent whispers, echoing voices and layers of sounds. They make you ditch the recording task, lay down in one of the puffy pods and reconnect with your star-based ancestors through deep meditation.
Such an imaginative trip is possible thanks to Kamil's ability to paint a composition with esoteric sounds. Listeners could perhaps expect a bit more adrenaline, but we only get very transitory sounds here. Nevertheless, 'New World' is a perfect soundscape for an SF video game or a short movie, though it can also feed your imagination as a stand-alone audio track. Some spiritual theories state that the human origin lies in the stars, therefore it seems natural that we resonate with sounds of the Universe so well. Make sure to explore this piece of it on your own.
Buy it: Bandcamp
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, December 3rd, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
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