6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smoldering
2 - Room Temp.
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multiple Listening
B: Deserves Another Spin
C: Once Should Suffice

This music archive is growing as you read...where applicable, click image or title for pop-up review

PAULA ABDUL - Greatest Hits
Well this is one from leftfield…Being in the back of many minds, the 80’s choreographer turned popstar and brief spouse to Emilio Estevez rears up with a greatest hits album after many years in the “where are they now?” file. And I thought she only brought out one album. But, in fact she released four of which many tunes are instantly recognizable. Straight Up and Forever Your Girl are probably the most notable. Opposites Attract and Rush, Rush are right up there with them. There’s an R&B mix of My Love Is For Real and a Megamix Medley thrown in for good measure. Many of today’s kids will have no idea who Paula is, but might hopefully discover her via this Hits collection - otherwise it’ll be great for those who loved her back in the late 80’s, early 90’s and only had her records on vinyl.
3 / B
- PB

ABOMINATOR - Subversives For Lucifer

Brutal, Evil and all that kinda creepy stuff


This incredible locally mixed 80's dance collection is a total blast from the past

ABSU - Tara (exhibit v)

Still intent on spreading the dark word, Absu returns


Old rockers never die - they just keep on releasing hits


Homegrown tunes

AFROCELT SOUNDSYSTEM - Volume 3: Further in Time

Great blend of world/folk music & electronic modern sounds

AFROMAN - Because I Got High

Silly rappin' Weed humour - Dope tunes, in the smokin' sense

A-HA - Lifelines

After the Swedish hit trio reformed, they realised they still had quite a bit of Pop left in them

AIR - 10 000hz Legend

French retro poppers shift gears a touch and go a little darker


Smooth blend of doom metal and hardgoth

ALI - Motion Picture Soundtrack

Focussing on the songs in stead of the thematic music, this soundtrack tries to capture the mood of this historic living legend in that way

ALIEN ANT FARM - Anthology

New young rock act with good songs & good production

ALL SAINTS - Saints & Sinners
Cute, pretty voices and with a highly competent & professional production team behind them, the girls are back (post natal and all that) to once more rival the likes of the
Spice Girls’ stale new effort. All these factors considered, it is still sometimes hard to enjoy when the sincerity and passion seems so by-the-book and artificial. Still, I don’t think they should be forgiven for that cover version of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Under The Bridge
- PB
3 / C

AMEN - We Have Come For Your Parents

Hard hitting and intese social commentary fueled by hate and discontent for a world going down


Youngblooded new rock

AMERICAN PIE 2 - Motion Picture Soundtrack

A collection of new American alternative rock spliced all over
this unnecessary movie sequel

AMORPHIS - Am Universum

Talented metallers drift deeper into a milder hard rock state of being

A.C. - Everyone Should Be Killed (Earache)
Nutzo. That’s what they are. And you gotta love ‘em for it. This little 56 track gem (yes, fifty-six), can be used as the “Getting into Grindcore without prior Experience” handbook if you like music without any volume-, structural-, commercial- or talent restrictions. This is total abandon. Punk, Noise-, Hard- & Grindcore all rolled into one…and then some. Seth Putnam and the boys let with some of the shortest (and brutal) song ever. Well most people wouldn't regard these “songs” as such - more like an involuntary airwave assault. But, I love it, purely for its absolute anarchy and unhinged energy and aggression. Rumours of their live shows turning into riots within a few songs isn’t hard to believe. The whacky humour is not only in the attitude and psycho vocals (which is, obviously, most of the time inaudible), but also in their ludicrous song titles. Some of them are: Brutally Morbid Axe of Satan, Our Band is Wicked Sick (We Have The Flu), When I Think of True Punk Rock Bands, I Think of Nirvana and The Melvins, Song Titles Are Fucking Stupid, Selling Out By Having Song Titles On This Album etc. Then, the ever present cover versions, or rather rape, crippling or destruction of existing songs. Here EMF’s Unbelievable and Eddy Grant stand out. Totally brilliant. For a wake up call into music you never knew existed, check this out. At just under an hour of total mayhem, see if you’re tough enough to handle it.
- PB
5 / A

A.C. - Top 40 Hits (Earache)
These nuts will never give up. And that fact brings me comfort, for the simple reason that the deconstruction of music as we know it is an essential part of our renewal process. A.C. (full name the rather commercially unacceptable and shocking Anal Cunt) again deliver a truckload of tracks. Blasting through 40, to be exact, from there the album title. But, the loony sense of humour branches out in the fact that they are incapable of ever getting airplay (and proud of it), but had the cover’s track list design look like the Billboard Charts. Pure genius or a philosophical antithesis of everything they’re not? Neither, perhaps. But, these maniacs can blast and grind through a 3 second song as much as one of, oh, as long as under a whole two minutes, with as much ferocity and dare I say it, humour (?). Sick, silly and mad humour, to be exact. The funniest bits are the cover versions. Here the highlight is by far the Oi version of the Bee Gees’s Stayin Alive. A classic rendition. Then there’s the 10 second version of Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, The Guess Who’s American Woman (outstripping and preceding Lenny Kravitz’s lame rendition). Then, of course there is the crazy take on the A-Team theme song. Then of course, as usual, there are the crazy song titles: Living Colour Is My Favourite Black Metal Band, “Stealing Seth’s Ideas”-The New Book By Kevin Chang, I Liked Earache Better When Dig Answered The Phone, Old Lady Across The Hall With No Life…and so forth. A.C. is a phenomenon that should never go away. Each time I play these albums (usually to uninitiated friends) I crack up laughing, not only because my friends are freaked out at the ear rattling distorted rumbling-screeching-blasting-screaming noise, but because through the cacophony lies a primal release of just going “fuck it, I’m going crazy for half an hour”. A vibrant exorcism that could make some people appreciate music they’d normally call “noisy” as not that bad, once they’ve been assaulted by A.C.
- PB
5 / A

ANATHEMA - A Fine Day To Exit

UK doom rockers make the final transition to impactful hard rock

...AND OCEANS - a.m.g.o.d.

One of the more impressive acts to emerge from the Black Metal ashes that aren't afraid of experimenting with technlogy

ANVIL- Plenty Of Power

Classic old school Euro-Metallers are back on the war path

AFTERGLOW - original soundtrack by Mark Isham (Sony)
Those of you who hate jazz and never considered giving it a shot should grab this and be enlightened. The main man who gets a featured credit is saxophonist Charles Lloyd. Other fine musicians include Gary Burton on vibes, Sid Page on violin, Geri Allen on piano, Billy Higgins on drums, Jeff Littleton on bass and of course, Mark Isham who plays trumpet & flumpet. The moods created here are so warm, deep and emotional it'll transport you in an instant. I can listen to the hardest Grindcore available and love it, but mellow-time is also a must. One of the many times I listened to this CD was while lazing on the couch. It relaxed me and sent me off to a most calm snooze. It was great. Without being pretentiously progressive or trailing off into self-indulgence, this soundtrack propels you into a state of mellow reserve. Great therapy. As the film's director Alan Rudolph states on the sleeve: "You don't listen to this music; it listens to you."
- PB
5 / A

ANASTACIA - Not That Kind
Nowadays it is not enough to have a pretty face alone - you need a voice to back it up. Anastacia certainly has the latter with which to back up her more mature sex appeal. Her strong voice has an R&B/Gospel foundation surpassing the teen sex kitten chirping as well as the moaning, weaving (yet versatile) sound of say, a Whitney Houston. She sounds a lot like a more gritty Vonda Shepard; not bad for a white girl (but then, I’m still not sure what Mariah Carey is…not like it matters, know what I mean?). The subject matter at hand pretty obviously mingles around the usual love/relationships/romance areas. Anastacia’s brand of music can loosely be described as vocal pop with funky undertones. The instrumentation on Cowboys & Kisses has a classic Verve/Oasis mood that blends into a country style. Musically she (or her manager and label representative) managed to garner a wide range of musicians to play on her album. So much so that almost each song has a different drummer, guitarist and keyboard player. Never having heard of her, it’s quite an accomplishment in itself, besides the relief to have another real woman emerge as a new artist in stead of those 16 year old bimbos marketed for schoolboys’ libidos (and pocket money).
- PB
4 / B

FIONA APPLE - When The Pawn (Epic/Sony)
Many think this interesting lady is weird, strange & pretenscious. Her pleasant sounds and poetic soul however surpasses any such closed minded preconceptions.
- PB
4 / B

Besides the All Blacks, sheep and Once Were Warriors, many of us don’t really know what else comes from New Zealand. That’s why it’s good to see (& of course hear) some music blowing over from that region of Oceania. For a start, Ardijah is quite attached to “da fonk” and they make this point clear from the outset. Their danceable tracks seem a little outdated in sound, its old school funky approach mixed with retro sounding modern technology taking a while to settle in ones psyche. At first it carries little impact, but when it becomes clear how strongly they feel about it (mentioning Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire and The Commodores in the lyrics as influences that seriously “fonked them up”). The foundation of their musical direction is a direct result of these classic bands. It’s interesting to hear what they do with these influences, but the outcome is pretty commercial and “safe”. With fine vocals, the lyrics are, however, painfully predictable and a bit vacant. They include two cover versions: Paul & Linda McCartney’s Silly Love Songs and the Bee Gees’ Love So Right. (Not like it’s at all necessary or a prerequisite, but) there is no trace of traditional New Zealand influences in this straight to the point pop-funk excursion.
- PB
3 / B


Noizy dark metal with a comical evil slant and quite a few chuckles

ASH - Free All Angels

Energized young gun rock with a carefree aura

AT THE GATES - Suicidal Final Art
Unexpected return by old-school Deathmetallers - or a re-release we weren't aware of?

After the Death Metal wave of the ‘90s I was under the impression that At The Gates had called it a day - especially with their principle songwriter leaving to venture into his solo project Oxyplegatz (a spaced-out Black tinged PC created phenomenon with operatic vocals thrown in between the dark and extreme screams and growls). But, hey, here they are, in full glory, on Peaceville Records - another ‘90s name in metal that seemed to have vanished (releasing early Paradise Lost, Anathema & My Dying Bride albums - as well as other experimentally rich projects like Kong, old school Sabbath style outfit Pentagram and one of the first real Black Metal bands, Dark Throne). This At The Gates album is like a flashback, that raw aggression a presence - but, the equally raw production setting it back when it comes to convincing the fans of modern Metal and its slick production values. That doesn’t mean that a large segment of the Metal fraternity doesn’t like the more hardcore underground approach. In fact, the over processed, reverb drenched epic sound can sometimes lose its touch. This album is reserved for those who like their music with a no-holds-barred temperament and execution.
3 / B
- PB

ROBIN AULD - Iron In The Sky (EMI)
This man has given his voice to South Africans for over a decade - and he still looks and sounds almost exactly the same! This can be taken two ways. He either stuck to his guns & carried on doing what he’s good at, or he hasn’t progressed or evolved much. Adamant or conservative? Brave or ignorant? Whichever, it doesn’t matter. Robin has become a part of the SA landscape, almost like David Kramer, albeit in a more diminished acoustic blues laced pop-rock kind of way sans humour. Where there are some people who don’t take much note of Robin Auld, they’ll noticed that there is something missing they can’t quite put their finger on if he disappears.
- PB
3 / B


Nu-Metal with just enough of its own identity to keep you interested

THE AWAKENING - Ethereal Menace (Special Edition)
That The Awakening is as much a foreign contender as it is the only real SA Goth project to speak of, is known to all. First off, the packaging of this release is not bad at all. Complete with special CD casing cover and hazey, waxpapered centre spread, it’s professional if nothing else. And the whole thing only features about 10 images of the man behind the sound, Mr Nyte. Hey, even if it tries to be more mysterious, it’s still a form of glam. Ethereal Menace attempts a harder approach, with more energy and electronica injected that definitely veers away from the dreary Goth -cliché. It still reflects, however, the timeless Gothic sensibilities of love-lorn, love-lost, scorned broken hearts with the will and courage to overcome emotional trauma in a world where they don’t fit in. The ominous, atmospheric mood does explode with many peaks and a pace that luckily doesn’t slog along. The outcry against an unjust world covers many levels but has its roots firmly set in the tombs of passion. If you’re (still) a Sisters Of Mercy fan or prefer the likes of Rosetta Stone, it doesn’t matter, this album will give a shine to your black nail varnish and give new colour to your dead roses.
4 / B
- PB