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Rock: Age of Nemesis, Andi Sex Gang, Khallice, Shinyville

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AGE OF NEMESIS: Terra Incognita (CD on Magna Carta Records)

This release from 2006 features 68 minutes of gripping metal rock.

Hailing from Hungary, Age of Nemesis is: Zoltan Fabian (on guitars), Zoltan Kiss (on English vocals), Gyorgy Nagy (on keyboards), Csaba Berczelly (on bass), and Lazlo Nagy (on drums).

The tuneage resounds with savage guitars and vibrant drumming. The guitars growl and thrash with heavy metal sensibilities, churning out brutal riffs that sear the air with their passionate outcries. Blazing passages tremble with the fevered delivery. The percussion threatens to unstabilize the ground with its ferocity, delivering rhythms of dazzling force. Slipping through the mix, the basslines are molten and insidiously contagious.

Keyboards provide delicate embellishment to this frenzied pastiche, injecting a liquid quality that adds sparkle to the music's volcanic disposition.

The vocals are potent, belted out with robust command that grips the attention and guides the audience through each stage of the tale.

The album tells the story of a girl's glimpse of the afterlife and her promise to an angel to keep secret what she's learned. The songs channel the tale as seen through the girl's diary. The compositions throb with vitality, conveying an earnest desire to share secret knowledge with the listener.

Fans of Deep Purple, Rush, and Iron Maiden will find rewarding satisfaction in the music of Age of Nemesis.

This CD features a video and some bonus MP3 tracks.

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ANDI SEX GANG: The Madman in the Basket (CD on Pink Noise Records)

This release from 2006 features 58 minutes of industrial pop.

Joining Andi Sex Gang on a few tracks are: Kevin Matthews, Lucas Lanthier, Leo Abrahams, and Mark Sunderland.

Although the first track evokes strong memories of old Suicide tunes, the rest of this music pursues darker terrain with industrial guitar growling away under a full moon and monstrous percussion fracturing the audience's skull with each emphatic beat. A host of nasty electronics seethe with deadly intent, generating a snake pit of toothy effects and desperately resounding textures.

The shrill vocals are central to the tuneage, communicating messages of gothic significance and recounting tales of spooky lore designed to chill the heart of the surliest cynic. In actual timbre, the vocals sound like a child's voice that has been tortured to the point of staggering halfway to masculinity, then mutated with demonic vitality until the utterances tremble with diabolical mien.

The compositions channel sardonic ambitions with brutal abandon. This wanton nature does not necessarily mean that the tunes are hyperactive or bloodthirsty. In fact, the pace is often sedate, delivering diseased notions with lithe structure and sultry charm. Whether the missives concern hell on earth or a very personal angst, the overall mood is dire and cataclysmic.

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KHALLICE: The Journey (CD on Magna Carta Records)

This release from 2006 features 56 minutes of dynamic progressive metal.

Khallice is a Brazilian heavy metal band. Their line-up is: Marcelo Barbosa (on guitars), Alirio Netto (on English vocals), Michel Marciano (on bass), Bruno Wambier (on keyboards), and Cesar Zolhof (on drums).

Powerful riffs dominate this music. Merciless guitar licks generate a seething atmosphere of breathless dynamics, relentless and bloodthirsty. The chords often come with superhuman velocity, squealing with delightful vehemence.

The percussion exhibits an inhuman energy, producing earthshattering rhythms of bewitching charm.

The keyboards possess a speed freak demeanor, achieving a pyrotechnic presence as chords slide into dazzling melodies with fierce sincerity. Nimble-fingered sweeps cascade through the mix with wild abandon, latching onto the listener and dragging them into a rollercoaster ride through the feverish tuneage.

Basslines ooze with gargantuan scale through the songs, rattling teeth and churning intestines with their guttural expressions.

The vocals expand in the air like a climatic tempest, shimmering with a Rush quality that imparts momentous significance to every syllable.

The compositions are frenzied and emphatic. Taking no prisoners, the tunes attain a mammoth stature that shakes the firmament with their emotional messages. This music is guaranteed to increase the heart rate.

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SHINYVILLE:No Sleep Till Babylon (CD on Public Eyesore)

This release from 2006 features 49 minutes of clever pop tunes.

Shinyville is: Mr. Pan Tastic (on vocals), Dr. Tao Honeybunsen (on drums), and Pope-bot 2012 (on guitar), with the three members contributing synths, programming, and noise.

Hyperactive rhythms propel quirky melodies rendered by guitar pyrotechnics and an assortment of nimble effects designed to dazzle and bewilder the audience. The drums (natural and synthetic) generate a plethora of frantic beats whose influence cannot be dodged or avoided. The tempos are infectious and delightfully unpredictable.

The guitar alternates between softly lilting chords and overtly frenetic assaults, delivering a relentless dose of captivating riffs whose allure is far from subtle, striking to a psychosomatic core with deadly intent. Growling like a beast one minute, then crooning with romantic appeal the next, the guitar refuses to be easily codified.

The vocals are agile and emphatic. The cerebral singing is often exhausting to follow, jumping all over the place and stabbing the audience from numerous directions at once. Laced with political sentiments and relationship quandaries, the lyrics cover a versatile range of topics, all of which stem from a point-of-view drenched in humorous cynicism.

Steeped in influences as widely ranging as funk and prog rock and pop, the compositions are slickly crafted, then filtered through a highly eccentric disposition. The result has great cross-market appeal.

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