CD and Demo Reviews

Live Reviews are with their corresponding gigs in the Gigs section

CORROSION
NYAGA
Review by Mick Mercer


At least I know this was sent to me in the spirit of optimism, after I wandered away carefree after the last autopsy, leaving them seething, and at just under 40 minutes even I can get through it easily. In fact opening track ‘Temple Of Secrets’ is hugely engaging, with a chirpy opening, brisk guitar and a nagging, circulatory gleeful chorus. The lightweight ‘Soulless City’ started fine, only for the singing of the word ‘ain-gells’ to stand out as something hackneyed, then they bumble happily along with some sub-techno rumble-rhythm in ‘Resurrection Playground’ maintaining a fairly low-key approach, before throwing their real weight into the chorus.

‘Armageddon In A Can (revisited)’ also has a very good bass and synth opening, behind which some greasy guitar festers and the rockiest vocals are lightly treated to spill into the poisonous froth, which is kept simmering by that synth. When it lapses into rock squalls I make a coffee, pop back and they’re still gyrating! Honestly, some people. Rock fans who find plain Metal overtone s a trifle wearisome will like the perverse traits exhibited, including the soiled poppy heart of ‘Nyaga, My Brother’ which is a clever mixture of enigmatic narrative and a nagging guitar undertow which reminds me of Bauhaus, but my memory refuses to regurgitate exactly what, which is irritating me enormously. Then you get piano introducing ‘Cold Blooded Martyr’ which is cooled down rock with some refreshing touches, and is that ‘Killer In The Home’???!!! Yes it is, trapped behind some murky, passionate rock wrestling. ‘Speak And Destroy’ is mild-mannered by comparison, with too much bleepiness, and then they coast belligerently over a rock plateau with ‘Shattered Fragments’, ‘Dead’ and ‘The Elemental’ before ‘Sinister Dexter’ conjures up a nicely searing ending

There’s nothing predictable about this new record, so if you like guitar noise, it could suit you. The reason it succeeds, in its own modest way, is because they’ve livened up, become slimmer and sharper, and haven’t allowed excess into the open. They’ve also got round any production limitations that deprive them of plush sounds by keeping the songs moving, and having peaks that really work. For the most part they manage that rather well.

It’s still rock though.

(Pouts, then sidles off, sulking.)

 

Corrosion
Nyaga
~review by Uncle Nemsis
At last, the debut album from Corrosion. I say ‘at last’ because Corrosion formed back in 2001, as a side project of 90s-scene goth-rockers All Living Fear. The band have shoved out a few demo CDs since then, but it’s taken four years to arrive here, at first-album stage - a delay that possibly came about because All Living Fear, instead of being put on ice for the duration, just kept on going. I suspect Matthew North, who is the principal musician, songwriter, arranger and producer in both bands, found himself with too little time to devote to his second band. During those four years, however, Corrosion have managed to make the occasional foray out onto the gig circuit, where they’ve proved themselves a suitably loud and boisterous live rock outfit - no mean feat in itself for a two-men-and-a-drum-machine combo.

So, here’s the album, bizarrely named after the New York Amateur Gardening Association, and sure enough it follows on from the live experience in that it reveals Corrosion to be first and foremost a rock project, rather than anything directly related to goth. Of course, because of the presence of that pesky ol’ drum machine, it may be that Corrosion’s main audience will nevertheless turn out to be goths, who tend to tolerate programmed rhythms in a rock context far more readily than rock fans, who usually insist on a human tub-thumper being in evidence before they’ll take a band seriously.

The programmed drums are unashamedly to the fore on the opening track, ‘Temple Of Secrets’, the rhythm clattering away with drum rolls dialled in every four bars - one of Matt North’s trademark programming techniques, that. And there’s Corrosion’s essential dilemma: the song is a good old rollicking rocker, driven along by a splendidly dirty chugger of a guitar riff, while vocalist Paul Roe gives it the full-on angst ‘n’ anguish treatment in the verses. But the relentless artificiality of the drum sound does rather detract from the overall flavour of full-on rock-ness the band are obviously trying to create. Perhaps in an attempt to deal with this, the beat is stripped back and simplified for ‘Soulless City’, and while there’s never any doubt that we’re in the presence of machinery rather than humanity, at least there’s not quite so much of that frustratingly artificial ticky-tocky sound going on here. In any case, the song is more of a power ballad than a rocker, although Paul’s vocal is so far back in the mix he struggles to make headway as the layered synths gang up on him.

Then there’s a new version of ‘Resurrection Playground’, possibly Corrosion’s best-known track from those early demos, which here appears in a pulsing dance/rock crossover anthem - the beat ruthlessly chopped back to a whump-and-thump floor-filling rumble. I’m just getting into it when a rinky-dink hi-hat starts ticking away, as if someone’s set a clockwork toy in operation, and some frankly rather weedy keyboards start see-sawing up and down the scale. Argh! And it was going so well up to that point! The track works very well as a hurtling club anthem, but there really was no need to clutter the mix with those eeee-oooow keyboards and chintzy hi-hats. But that’s Corrosion for you: just when they hit on something simple and effective, they can’t stop themselves from throwing in the kitsch and sync.

‘Armageddon In A Can’ employs a menacing bassline rumble, slashed-out guitar chords, a distorted, freaked-out vocal and - say hello to another Matt North trademark effect, folks - a sampled choir to create an acid rock experience that sounds very early-seventies, in a way. A taste of Corrosion’s classic rock influences coming through here, I think. The mood is maintained for ‘Nyaga, My Brother’, which is the most fully-realised track here - a genuine tour de force upon which Corrosion move decisively away from their goth-scene connections and their drum-machine-with-everything rock ‘n’ programming approach. It’s a deceptively subtle thing, based on a restrained percussion backdrop - all maracas and hand-claps - around which other-worldly psychedelic sounds and voices swirl. A real lost-in-the-desert tune, and a hint of what Corrosion could do if they decided to move boldly away from what the goth/rock audience is assumed to want.

‘Cold Blooded Martyr’ sees Corrosion move boldly in the direction of Led Zep, with a feel that suggests ‘Kashmir’ is in the influence-pile somewhere. ‘Speak And Destroy’ is a weirdly eighties-style slice of synth-rock, complete with lush keyboard sounds, like an out-take from an Alphaville album. The rattly drum machine is back, though, and the song chops off so abruptly at the end that I can’t help wondering if the studio experienced a sudden power cut. ‘Shattered Fragments’ brings back Matt’s tame sampled choir for an encore on a track which is otherwise a good old punkish blast. Good stuff, but I recall an earlier demo version of this song which was rather more rough and raw, and which I wish had been included here. Then ‘Dead’ leads us through a brief all-purpose demonstration of the essential Corrosion soundscape, with Paul Roe cruising through the vocal in uncharacteristically restrained fashion, as if he’s just giving it a swift run-through before he has to dash off to catch his train. ‘The Elemental’ employs some Big Country-ish guitars on a psychedelic rocker - nice electronic effects in there too, dropped in to the song like Worcester sauce in soup, but, as so often with Corrosion, the drum machine is uncomfortably dominant. And finally, ‘Sinister Dexter’ gives us a slice of spook rock upon which the band make a virtue of their drum-machine-driven sound by employing a deliberately old-skool rhythm sound on a whacked-out slice of almost sixties-ish acid strangeness.

This is a curate’s egg of an album, in that parts of it are excellent. Matt and Paul certainly have a genuine feel for the classic rock stylings they deploy here and there, and when they let their influences off the leash and go for that psychedelic seventies rock feel Corrosion really do hint at potential far beyond the DIY gothic rock zone which All Living Fear have inhabited these many years. But the programmed stuff too often tends to sound cheap and stuck-on, like a lump of fibreglass filler on the bodyshell of a classic car, and that’s the factor that I think will hold Corrosion back. If the band want to make any headway in the rock zone - the direction in which they’ve obviously pointed their music - then I think they’re going to have to up the ante in the area of programming and production.

It’s a paradox: Matt North is clearly so proud of his home studio set-up that he even puts pictures of his kit on the CD inlay (where, interestingly enough, the hardware shots are given significantly more prominence than the single, indistinct, photo of the people in the band). Guitars, amps, computer, mixing desk - they’re all here, displayed with almost fetishistic devotion, as if the most important aspect of the entire Corrosion project is the opportunity it gives Matt to play with his toys. I’m surprised he didn’t stick a photo of his Scalectrix set in there while he was at it. But for all the attention paid to the technology, Corrosion’s sound often betrays Matt’s background in years of DIY goth-projects. Those clattering drum machine beats, those squeaky synths and cheesy hi-hats - that’s just Matt’s style, a sound palette he first put together when All Living Fear first emerged in the early 90s as one of many ‘bedroom goth’ outfits of the time. Corrosion hint at greater potential, the possibility of pushing on to real rock scene success. But I think it’ll take another producer to get them there.

The tunestack:
Temple Of Secrets
Soulless City
Resurrection Playground
Armageddon In A Can (Revisited)
Nyaga, My Brother
Cold Blooded Martyr
Speak And Destroy
Shattered Fragments
Dead
The Elemental
Sinister Dexter
The players:
No specific credits are given, but it's probably fair to say that Matthew North takes care of most of the guitar/bass/programming, while Paul Roe contributes all the vocals plus more guitars and programming.

The website: http://www.corrosionuk.com
Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis: http://www.nemesis.to
03/26/05

Corrosion
The Elemental
~review by Jezebel

As the opening of West Coast, US clubs start to prohibit techno, there may be hope for gothic rock and here in the UK, there are bands who are trying valiantly to continue to carry the torch, Corrosion is one of them.
Founded in the later part of 2000 by Matthew North and Paul Roe, their debut EP is rich is what gothic rock should be and can become. There is the base of strong guitars, an overwhelming, but welcome bass and powerful vocals. But here, they incorporate, to this reviewer, usage of “techno sounds” in the right dose. You hear the keyboards, the computer sampling, but it becomes part of the music, supporting what is more important, drums, guitar and bass.
The first track, "The Elemental", is reminiscent vocally of Wayne Hussey while the music is JUDITH with a stronger bass. And the second, "Resurrection Playground", is a danceable track, the vocals less Hussey-like. This could definitely get the dance floor filled, with trads as well as bleepy people.
We move on to "Dream Stalker". I must admit the title of the song made me shudder as it sounded like a bad death metal song. And I was disappointed in the quality of the song. The vocal was horrifically lost, as it seemed as they mixed it purposely, since the song may have been outside of Paul’s range. It does have the potential to be an excellent song – and again quite danceable – but would need to be reworked with either the vocal being brought forward more or perhaps dropping the melody down a half octave.
And finally, we have "Shattered Fragments", starting out excellently….I really love beginnings like this. They are all anxious and almost anticipatory….which may or may not be a word…but you sit on the edge of your seat, wondering, waiting for the weight of the song to be dropped onto you. As it builds, you want more, almost left panting for more. This doesn’t do that – it does, and quite well I think, continue to draw you in and keep you interested.
All in all, it’s a fine album and I must say the first two tracks are the stronger of the two – both danceable and filled with the promise of more to come. The second two, while excellent, leave me a bit wanting of more development into them.
Corrosion are off this year to Coventry and Euro Rock in Belgium….one of the bands that hopefully will lead us away from techno bleepy damnation and back to goth rock salvation.

Taken from Starvox.net



Corrosion The Elemental
Review by John Swaine (Neon Promotions)


CORROSION - "The Elemental." This 4 track CD opens with title track "The Elemental" - a good solid gothic offering. Next track "Ressurection Playground" has a dancey edge to it (which works great live). "Dream Stalker" is very gothic (mid period Mission?) and with a great chorus is a fine track indeed. The final track "Shattered Fragments" creeps up eerily, and has an industrial edge to it which works very well. If you like your gothic sounds with a shot of Vodka and a twist of lime, check out this refreshing offering from Paul and Mathew.



Corrosion Promotional Sampler
Review by Loki Music


This is a six track CD from Corrosion, which has a tradition gothic feel about it, which could be off-putting to some and 'must have' for others; which means it's down to personal choice. In all honesty I feel it's good to hear gothic rock with a fresh feel, for this is what it is. It is certainly one to play in clubs, which should see the dance floor full with any of the tracks.
No particular track stands out as they all have the traditional sound, which is still good to hear nowadays. I think there is a lot more to come from this band and if this production is anything to go by it will be interesting to see what's next.

Taken From www.loki-music.co.uk



Corrosion - Promotional Sampler
Review by John Swaine


New project from Matt North (ex All Living Fear). Moving away from their more gothic roots, this album is reminiscent of mid period Cult, or perhaps the sisters` around the Vision thing era. Furious drum box accompanies rock guitars, with lingering vocals sitting on top of it all. "Shattered Fragments" sees the band at its best, when an industrial feel creeps in. Other highlights include "Temple of secrets" and "Cold blooded Martyr"


Taken From Neon Promotions Website



Corrosion - Club Noir, London
30 August 2002
~review by Uncle Nemesis


It's time for a complete change of style now, as Corrosion arrive on stage. This is the band which grew out of guitarist Matt North's perennial 90s-scene contenders All Living Fear, and anyone familiar with ALF's guitar 'n' drum machine mash-up will hear similarities in Corrosion's sound. But there are differences, too, and those differences are more significant than the similarities. Corrosion are a *rock* band first and foremost - the gothic choir-samples which cropped up in All Living Fear stuff are conspicuous by their absence here. The guitar (and, at times, guitars, for vocalist Paul spanks a mean plank himself in a couple of songs) is well to the fore: a big, bad, crunchy, physical sound. Sometimes the guitars overwhelm the rhythm section, which is all on the backing track - and this perhaps points up a potential problem. These days, when all the rocky bands of the goth scene seem to be cutting the crap and going for the full-band line-up, Corrosion's reliance on a backing track for a large chunk of their sound does take away some of the force of the music. The Faces Of Sarah, Belisha, even Passion Play now - all these bands have the full 'rock band' line-up: bass, drums, the works. These bands are Corrosion's peer group, their contemporaries - even, dare I say it, the competition. If Corrosion want to make serious waves in the current scene, it's these bands they've got to match, and I wonder how they'll fare when so much of their live show is on Minidisc. Still, for all that, the set hammers along quite impressively. Paul's vocals are intense and - if we really must have a comparison - a touch Cult-like, but, thankfully, without any of Ian Astbury's tiresome 'Look, mum, I'm a rock star!' stuff. The songs themselves are, by and large, full-on rockers - 'Resurrection Playground' in particular comes roaring out of the traps - but there's also an interlude of distilled Essence Of Punk in the form of 'Shattered Fragments'. This song is a 60-second explosion, a musical hand grenade lobbed into the set. It's all good solid stuff, and more rocky than Kilimanjaro.


Taken From www.starvox.net



Corrosion - Promotional Sampler
Review by Paul Kinsler


Posted to the uk.people.gothic Newsgroup on the 8th August 2001

It would probably be best to avoid stereotyping, but I'll save effort by giving in and labelling Corrosion a goth-rock band, which is, I think, a pretty accurate description. The CD starts with "Resurrection Playground", which has lyrics along the lines suggested by the title.
It's a good straight forward opening track which charges along at a pace, but with no sign of the quasi-religious overtones that you might get from, say, Inkubus Sukubus if they wrote a "Reincarnation Playground". There is a slightly squeaky synth part that cuts in a couple of times as a counterpoint to the rest, a part which seems to me to be crying out for replacement by a real brass section, but I suspect goth trumpeters are even harder to find than real drummers.

Next is "Cold Blooded Martyr", with a slow-building intro cutting into a rather laid-back track, ... which then happens to contrast rather with lyrics you might expect to be delivered with a little more anger: "let the guilty burn in everlasting fire". I'm not sure whether this conflict is deliberate or not. Either way would probably be fine ... but the lack of an authoritative stamp perhaps lets the track down a little.

Then on to "Temple of Secrets", breaking into a fragment of a guitar- solo soon after the start, a flavour which returns throughout the track; giving a nicely balanced feel. "Dream Stalker" is next, with it's echoey-twang of an initial sound blending through to a vocals-over- backing style. The lyric "somebody wake me from this dream before I drown" sums up the atmosphere of the track.

Second to last is a track with chunky guitar work and distorted vocals, and the addition of some droning siren sounds to fill up the audio spectrum. This is "Shattered Fragments", a track that marches across the landscape steadily, with brief thinner bits to add the necessary dynamic range, but without ever losing the tracks sense of attack.

Last but not least, "Speak and Destroy", where Corrosion return to trad-rock opening feel, but probably the best lyrics of all the tracks, as they don't get lost in the ghetto of the undead/graveyard/blah tendency, which perhaps the opening track did.

In general, the tracks here have got intelligible, non-repetitive lyrics, and there's musical variation inside each track. Perhaps the non-fan might hear the selection as being a little lacking in variety; but this would be unfair, and I think that the consistency that there is works well given historical gigging bias of Corrosion's lineup.
There's nothing obviously dance-floor friendly here, so we probably won't be hearing much club-play unless they get a remix done, or the DJ's get hit with a blizzard of requests. On the evidence of this CD, anyone with a liking for this sort of thing should be think of looking out for the next gig.

--
Paul Kinsler
Taken From http://www.kinsler.org/paul/




Corrosion - The Elemental
Review by Stuart Moses
Rateing ***
Matt, one half of Corrosion and his other band All Living Fear, is a stalwart of the UK goth scene. I liken his relationship to the one between crows and the Tower Of London: should he ever leave then we shall know that Goth is truly dead. Or undead. Whatever. So he gets full marks for determination and staying power. Where others have fallen away he has kept on plodding. If you like rocky Mission/Cult inspired rock, or even just All Living Fear, then you should get this EP, with it's four tracks of trad-goth fun.
Review by Stuart Moses For Meltdown Magazine





Review from Meltdown Magazine

Temple of Secrets Demo - Review by starvox
~reviewed by Jezebel
This CD was given to me in February – and yes, it took me this long to review it. Firstly, let me apologize. The only reason/excuse that I can offer up is that the spending of most of my time working four jobs while looking for full time employment plus getting married interfered with the timeliness of my reviews. This band is not the only one who has been waiting for a review. But with a new job, I hope to catch up on reviews…And this is the first.

I actually really liked the first Corrosion CD that I was given, The Elemental. It was well produced, and the music was an evolution of a trademark gothic sound. The band has the review on their website and I believe, uses a quote from my review as part of a header for their pages. And for this I am grateful

So, I was ready for something great from this album and from the band. I am sorry to say that I was disappointed.

The production quality of this CD is of a very low standard. The CD would only work on my boom box; not my CD walkman, not my home stereo. And when I did finally get it working, it cracked and skipped. I do not know if this is across the board of the pressing, but if it is, the band has a problem, as this is not up to industry standard.

Corrosion opens up with the title track, "Temple of Secrets". Now…unfortunately, this is where it begins to fall apart and that is not a good sign. Yes, most (I might be daring and say all) bands are influenced by Sisters of Mercy, but the chanting in the beginning of the track is so reminiscent of SoM that any validity the song may have had is lost. The guitar line, although very well played, sounds like its from "Snake Dance" by March Violets. And whereas on the first album, the vocals were powerful on the first two tracks (and as per my previous review lost and possibly out of Paul’s range on another), the vocals here seem to be, well, amateur-ish. Paul’s voice has lost its power, any kind of range and tone.

"Morning Dew" is a departure, if ever so slightly. Paul’s vocals work better here, but there is a distinctive 80’s sound to it and although thoughtfully played, this is still not a new twist on something old. Unfortunately, there is a Bryan Adams, "Summer of ’69" quality to it that really doesn’t work. And unfortunately, again, it sounds formula – guitar over a drum machine. The last album actually somehow overcome the lack of musicians actually playing on the album. This does sound like two guys. The programming on the drum machine was either skipping, out of time or just badly mixed with the rest of the tune, as it just didn’t work. The brief loud interlude of the drum machine was overwhelming, took over the beauty that was in the song and was unnecessary. Make a soft song soft. Let it be pretty.

Track three – "Cold Blooded Martyr" - suffered again from some bad mixing/engineering. The re-verb on the vocals made them sound like they were recorded in an empty bathroom. There is also a ghoulish – may I say Brickbat – quality to the tune that although is a departure, is not adequately explored to make it truly recognizable and respectable.

The final track is a remix (the disco remix) of the title track. Since I didn’t look down at the track listing when it first started, I thought they had done a remake of the "Communards Don’t Leave Me This Way". Although I understand the thought process behind it – “let’s make a dance floor fillable tune that has a techno/disco beat for the glow sticks to be shaken at” – I can only see it be liked by those at Slimelight who are too involved in partying to care about the quality of music that they are dancing to.

So – what happened? I don’t know. Perhaps Corrosion is trying something new with this album while trying to revisit their roots, that which influenced them. Perhaps there were production problems along the way. Or they are trying new production techniques. I am not sure.

What I do know is that what I liked about Corrosion, powerful guitars, great base lines, utilizing drum machines and technology in such a way that they brought in aspects of what was popular (techno/EBM) and mixing it with what is good about gothic rock is gone. There isn’t even a base line that I can speak of on this CD.

What I also don’t understand about Corrosion is the putting out of two four-track CDs in two years? Why not wait a bit and give us one gorgeous, well produced full album? I am a bit confused on the reasoning behind it.

It’s just not what the doctor ordered for overworked Jez. I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows that I ~live~ to like UK bands. I breathe wanting to support gothic bands in the UK and bring their music out to the masses. But unfortunately, this CD is just a rehashing of old sounds with a bad mixing of experimentation and techno bits. They did it right on their first album. They were unable to recapture it here.
Taken from www.starvox.net



Temple of Secrets Demo - Review by starvox
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

As this is the only second release in 2 year from the ex-All Living Fear boys, it’s hard to know what they’re doing it for. (You certainly get no explanation on their website.) Maybe the album planned for early 2004 will explain things better?

I’d heard they were rocky, but despite some good ideas, the fact their ‘The Elemental’ won Meltdown’s best demo for 2001 shows what a drab year it must have been, with such regimented vocals and non-committal guitar, which is why it is good that the Dopamines remix here has happened. They recommend you go hot foot to http://www.dopamines.co.uk for more information, but the site isn’t there! Because this is so much livelier (despite highlighting how plain the synth sound is) I think they should run their ideas past him/her first in future, then follow the power plan suggested, because the ideas works well and could help them.

Their main problem is they’re a duo, and on this EP you see too much evidence of this, where the voice lacks true power and aren’t brought up enough in the mix, because the instruments are already being held back enough to give the vocals some sort of emphasis.

The songs are okay. ‘Temple Of Secrets’ is 80’s trad Goth with a bit more in the way of guitar lines, ‘Morning Dew’ is apparently some ‘classic’ Bonnie Dobson track, and never having heard the original I accept this plaintive thing is lovingly crafted, because it’s a tribute to a mate of theirs, who was involved with the original song, one Tim Rose. It’s very gentle, with occasional soaring notes. (To my amazement it has also been covered by Einsturzende, Pulp, Marc Almond and – eek! – Robert Plant.) The most imaginative Corrosion track is ‘Cold Blooded Martyr’ where the rock element seems freer, and the guitar is great throughout, then the Dopamine thing saves the day properly.

I’m not meaning to imply this is bad at all, as it has a consistently quality level, very much in the lighter end of Goth Rock. Being curiously mild, it simply isn’t exciting in any way.