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  Black From the Dead  
  Black From the Dead  
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I had to open my big mouth several months ago and say that I wouldn’t mind reviewing items for EvilSponge. Much to my chagrin, my suggestion prompted interest and encouragement. Haha, great. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a ‘deep’ reviewer of music, so my reviews might not evoke the kind of comparisons or deep musical philosophy of the rest of the EvilSponge Minions. However, I will give this a go.

I am a pretty avid listener of the vague subgenres of goth/synthpop/industrial/darkwave, etc. I say vague because I’ve yet to determine if any band really fits solidly into any of those categories without obvious overlaps. So I suppose it was fitting that the first item I was handed (several months ago, I might add) is titled Black from the Dead, an EP from Bilestyle Records.

Oh my. Where to begin? As if the name wasn’t cheesy enough: Black From the Dead? *snickers* Despite this first strike against it, I was determined to give this EP a serious listen and prove myself in musical criticdom.

There is really no subtle way to say this, so I will get it out of the way early: this stuff sucks. Overall, the entire album is obviously trying too hard to evoke comparisons to Marilyn Manson with a dash of Skinny Puppy. Now, granted, I must guiltily admit to liking Marilyn Manson. They were good at what they did: shock rock. With that said, however, one Marilyn Manson in the world is definitely enough for this music reviewer. In other words, at least TRY to be original. And when you add in repetitive lyrics, music that sounds as if the programmers were trying to incorporate all the pre-programmed sounds included with their sound-mixing program, and all too typical machine distorted vocals (and groans!) that Manson used and you have one uninspired album.

Still, if you need a song by song fly-by, here it is.

The first song, Black’s Theme, starts out vaguely interesting, maybe, with a typically industrial drumbeat. Then a weird siren sound effect start going off and the lead singer sings in a creepy distorted voice, "Black fell to earth on a shooting star/ Black lives in an abandoned car/ Black has come to earth before/ Black is black because he wants war." Yeeeah. This entire song makes you cringe at the lyrics. More gems: “Black is white, and black is blue/ Black won’t ever see it through/ Black is me and black is you,” and “Black is in a funky mood/ Black thinks that you’re being rude.” Scared yet? Good, you really should be.

On the next song, Black From the Dead, we start off with the again all too typical distorted beyond recognition sound samples of someone talking. The rest of the song is so obviously trying to be a Manson song that it’s really quite sad. Heavy guitar, screams, and more distorted lyrics. Ouch.

The third song is called Black Don’t Hate Me. Are we seeing a pattern here? It has a catchy drumbeat to start with. Then the guitar comes in, pausing every couple of seconds after each series of chords. The singer sounds so much like Manson in this song that I had to shake my head. Actually, scarily enough, this is probably the best song on the EP, simply because it does sound just like Manson. Again, though, to reiterate, if you have to sound just like another band to sound good, you have a problem.

Then comes a song without the word black in the title, called Creep. Ethereal synthesizer bit to start out. More distorted lyrics. Reverby guitar. Groaning Manson-y voice. I mean, come on, is this a Manson tribute band? I’m beginning to wonder here. Again, though, it’s not all that bad of a song if you don’t mind Manson.

And here is the Skinny Puppy wannabe song, Black Shamed Back. Well at least they are trying to rip off more than just Marilyn Manson…

Finally, the last song on the EP, The Empire Strikes Black has an Arabian inspired synth bit with a catchy under drumbeat which sounds kind of promising to start. Then it just gets repetitive. Still, I think this may be my favorite song on the EP: it has no lyrics.

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