ARTIST: Various Artists Compilation
ALBUM: Cryotank, Vol. 2
LABEL: Cryonica Music
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
British label Cryonica Music have carved out a very definite niche for themselves, focusing on dark but melodic EBM and electronic music, often with soulful female vocals, and that is very much in evidence on the company's latest sampler. The amazing Swarf start things off with "Don't Silence," which takes things in a more acid house direction than previous work while keeping the primary focus on Liz Greene's sensuous vocal work. Blue October provide slick-sounding synthpop with just a hint of guitars on "Miracles Gone" and "Nervous Energy," and Mono Chrome combine the ethereal voice of Claire Voyant's Victoria Lloyd with the electronic programming of Synnack's Clint Sand on the experimental trip-hop of "Covered in You" and the more driving dance music of "Thunder." This compilation also offers an early taste of the label's newest addition, Swedish duo Octolab, who fit in well with the rest of the roster with chanteuse-style singing layered over throbbing acid house on "The Doll" and "Mind Control." It wouldn't be a Cryonica compilation without an appearance from Inertia, the label's founders, who in this case show both sides of their sound, first on the industrial rocker "Paralysed" and then on the funky female-fronted "Pressure," while Fiction 8 offer up contemporary synthpop on "Sometimes," which features some exceptionally soulful vocals. KnifeLadder are sort of the odd man out, here, with an experimental industrial approach built on tribal, metallic percussion and slow, grim guitar work, but "The World Tears Its Heart Out" and "None of You" are quality tracks in the vein of old school Laibach and Einsturzende Neubauten, nonetheless. The heaviest bits are tacked onto the end as bonus tracks; first power noise guru Terrorfakt throws some of the vocal lines on top of a jackhammer drum machine on a remix of Mono Chrome's "Fall Into You," then British terror EBM favorites Aslan Faction ramp up the cold brutality of Inertia's "Slow Motion." All in all, this is a solid sampler; you get to see what the Cryonica Music crew does best, but the contributions by folks like Terrorfakt and KnifeLadder show that this label is no one-trick pony, and there really isn't a bad track anywhere in the bunch.
Visit www.cryonica.com for more information about the artists featured on this compilation.
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