Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy – CD // DD
American Recordings – released April 15, 2008
Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner
Lineup for Mercy…Dancing…: Jimmy Gnecco – Vocals, Electric Guitars, Bass, Drum outro, Percussion
Static – Space Guitar, Loops
Locke – Electric Guitar in instrumental, Piano, Keyboard
Anthony DeMarco – Piano
Michael Jerome – Drums, Percussion
Previous Releases: 1994 Demo “Sour”
2001 “Distorted Lullabies”
2008 “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy”
2013 “Ballet the Boxer 1”
2017 ***upcoming “Spectacular Sight”
Tracklist: “Mercy” 6:41
“The Worst Things Beautiful” 4:21
“Ran Away to Tell the World” 5:00
“God Only Wants You” 4:23
“Live Again” 4:27
“Get Up” 4:50
Video of Title Track “Mercy”
The Band: Ours is an Alternative Rock band from New Jersey.
Album Art: “Ghost Girl” was made by James Gnecco IV.
Review: In 2004, Ours relocated from New Jersey to Los Angeles to work with Producer / Engineer Rick Rubin. The resulting album, Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy was released on April 15, 2008. If you are not familiar with Mr. Rubin, he is one of the most famous producers of modern music. He has produced music from genres like: Hip Hop, Rock, Heavy Metal and even Country.
Musically this album is very similar to the other music from the late 90’s and early 2000’s like heavy hitters like H.I.M., U2, Sixx A.M., and at some points have a Muse flair. Some more accurate (meaning more recent) comparisons are 10 years and Evans Blue. There is a heaviness in the music but not enough to change the genre from Rock to Metal.
This album is a family affair, in between the album art, the singing (track 12) and the lyrics themselves are focused on Jimmy’s family. It is also a heavy album because of the emotion that is delivered through the singing and with some string arrangements that are present, but not overpowering. Ours’ “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy” could be considered a sulky emo record; while it is a more downtempo album, it isn’t wallowing in its own sadness. It is just poppy enough to be played on the radio and even in some TV shows like NCIS and CSI.
While looking around for info on this album I found that there is hardly any reviews, so in turn, not much open love for it by “The Powers….”. This is a really solid album that (if you like any of the bands above) you should take a listen to. Ours mix their first two albums together perfectly; the great production that was used in their first album, and a rough (while still polished) vocals. The personal lyrics from all of the band’s releases are fueled by meaningful, personal and often times heavy in weight that only frontman Jimmy can deliver.
There isn’t a dull song in the album (and after 20 months) that shows how good Ours are as musicians, as well as arrangers. If I were to choose a favorite track, it would be the title track. It is one of the most powerful vocal performances by Jimmy Gnecco; along with “Live Again”. Give “Mercy…Dancing…” a listen as I cannot recommend
Marilyn Manson – vocals
Tyler Bates – instrumentation, engineering, recording, production, mixing
Gil Sharone – drums Additional musicians:
Dana Dentata – backing vocals (on track 9)
Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. – Clavinet (on track 10)
Album Art: The cover is similar to his previous album without distortion. It’s a black and white side profile shot with an upside down cross with an extra horizontal line.
History: In late 2016 and early 2017 Manson announced and released a working title for the album named Say10. He also said that the projected release date would be Valentine’s Day 2017, needless to say, it was put off until a further date because he had a couple more ideas for the album and needed time to produce them. These songs being “Revelation #12”, “Saturnalia” and “Heaven Upside Down”. In an interview with Loudwire he stated: “Those three songs take place where, if [the album] were a film, it’s the opening, the middle and the ending. Then there’s the song after ‘Heaven Upside Down’, it’s sort of the end title credits where it’s really surmising the story of the record, which is to be interpreted by the listener.”
This album was produced by film/video game composer Tyler Bates. (He also produced The Pale Emperor) During the time that this album was being made; Manson produced a song for a movie that Bates was working on, Atomic Blonde. The song is a cover of a Ministry song “Stigmata.” (Which I have included here because it fits in this album as a bonus track, (along with the Mystery Skulls remix of “Kill4Me”) The last two tracks are a throwback to the Mechanical Animals period of his career.
Marilyn Manson as a band has gone through many lineup and personnel changes since its inception as Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids in 1989. As Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids there are seven official releases, they are mostly demo versions of tracks later remade for the Marilyn Manson album “Portrait of an American Family”. As just Marilyn Manson there are ten albums, one live album, three compilation albums, and 37 E.P.s and singles. So, suffice to say he has had a prolific musical career since the 1990s.
Review: Unlike his previous releases from this decade this album has a more of a “throwback” sound of his heyday of the 90’s. He also keeps some of the changes he has made in the aforementioned albums. There is a meme that describes it perfectly: it has the cover of Born Villain with the words “Who are you” and then it has this albums cover saying “I’m you, but stronger.” This album has more of a dirty sound; in terms of more distortion, not lyric content, it sounds like whoever mixed/mastered the album let the sound go into the max.
The Opening: In “Revelation #12” there is a call back to one of the chants in “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” and “The Reflecting God” (from Antichrist Superstar). It is also a sort of sequel to the soundscape they put out in 1994 on the Get Your Gunn single. (i.e. The repetition and some of the samples in the background.) “Tattooed in Reverse” is closer to his work in the early 2000s, Holy Wood/The High End of Low. The sound itself is more industrial than the music at that period (with the use of samples and drum pattern).
“WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE” is a mix of “The Beautiful People” and “Mister Superstar” the fast and then the quieter parts being interchanged with the shout/yelling. It ends with him whispering the beginning of the track; which helps introduce us to “SAY10” which is a lot like some of the songs from Holy Wood with the electronic sound of Mechanical Animals. “KILL4ME” sounds like it was a song that could’ve been recorded during the Mechanical Animals session with a hint of “If I Was Your Vampire” style lyrics.
The Middle: “Saturnalia” is the longest track on the album, but, in a way it feels like it is about the same as the others. The repeated drum pattern works as a way to get you in a sort of trance as you hear the back-masked sounding words in between delivery of vocals. The song also works as a part one to the Ministry cover, even though I highly doubt he planned it that way. This song ends like “WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE.” “JE$U$ CRI$I$” sounds like either a song from Born Villain or The Golden Age of Grotesque. The song is like two different songs, with the second song being put in the middle of the first. It is almost a breakdown, maybe that is what he wanted the song to be like. “Blood Honey” is the first of the slower more mellow tracks. It sounds like, once again, a song from The High End of Low.
The Ending: “Heaven Upside Down” the title track is the second of the slower tracks and is almost a continuation of the previous track. It has almost the same structure and tempo and lyrical content, but it isn’t quite the same song. “Threats of Romance” is the most traditional rock song on the album. It is just has the Manson mix on it like a distorted vocals and the way the Clavinet in the background. I included “Stigmata” (Ministry Cover) here because it fits the album. I don’t know why it wasn’t included but it brings the beat back up from the previous three tracks. “Kill4Me” (Mystery Skulls Remix) is a Japanese bonus track that I included here because it is another track that is an example of the Mechanical Animals being brought into the “modern” version of electronic music and is a good song to bring you down from “Stigmata” as it (in a way) takes you out of the album.
This album is an excellent example of Manson showing his ability to reflect on his past but make it new in a way. Like Alice Cooper with Welcome 2 My Nightmare or like David Bowie with The Next Day. In a way Marilyn Manson is a Alice Cooper/David Bowie 2.0 taking his influences and putting his spin on it, even from his early days as a leader of the Spooky Kids. If you are a fan our just like his music but have stayed away since the 90s, this would be a good time to come back.
Stream the album here.
Download or buy (from Amazon) here.
Buy album and/or merch from Loma Vista Recordings here.
Magic Bullet Records – Release Date September 15th, 2017
Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr
Location: Los Angeles, California
Previous Releases: “Field Of The Host” (2013)
“Iseult” single (2014)
“BLACK MARE / Syndrome” split LP (2014)
“Low Crimes” single (2015)
Review: Black Mare, the solo project of Sera Timms (Ides of the Gemini, ex-Black Math Horseman), and focuses on conveying a world of meaning with a minimalistic vocabulary. With a focus on rhythmic repetition and atmospheric simplicity, Black Mare steps outside the collaborative dynamic to reveal a creative process that is all Sera’s. Black Mare immerses the listener into her own mythical world, an aurally lush, yet glacially-paced cruise through Timms’ frozen world wherein she encourages the mind’s eye to notice relics like the feathers of fallen angels scattered about the snow.
This latest release goes further into the shadowed realms of contemplation and darkened spheres that exists between the here and there, the now and the then and all hidden points between. Sera masterfully guides us along, showing the landmarks of her mindscape along the way.
From opener ‘Ingress To Form’ through ‘Femme Couverte’ to ‘Death By Desire’, the ringing clarity of the vocal layers haunting every shadow along the journey. As her ringing bass notes lead us into the ‘Coral Vaults’ that are seemingly filled with ethereal guitar notes that wrap themselves through the cadence set, flowing into ‘Babylon’s Fold’, hypnotic and morose in tone, unrelenting even as the soft cymbal washes back and forth.
Even as ‘Kala’ comes in, once the muted chords lead directly into Sera‘s vocal, commanding and demanding in her beckoning execution, further summoning the roar of her vision of deafening inevitability. Closer ‘Inverted Tower’ begins with that signature vocal layering that is the signature mark and this tale is the exacting summation of where we have traveled so far and nothing is left on the table. All ingredients and flavors swirled together to give us this opus to satiate the mind and heart in the secrets and shadows that are revealed throughout.
36 minutes made up of a cohesive gathering of seven saga’s that flow from and to each other effortlessly. Grab this one immediately, share the wonder with every ear you come in contact with and support them live if you are granted the chance to and keep it LOUD!!
Band Members: Sera Timms, J. Bennett, Scott Batiste, Adam Murray
Previous Releases: Old World New Wave (Neurot September 2014) / Hexagram 45 7″ (Magic Bullet, April 2013) / Constantinople (Neurot, May 2012) / Ides Of Gemini / Vermapyre split (Magic Bullet, February 2012) / The Disruption Writ EP (November 2010)
What started as a two member project at some point in 2010 (or before), has since become a four member force. Core members Sera and J. began this journey as a cult/Slavic revival type of project using all things dark and ethereal and forging their own sound of plush harmonies and foreboding imagery in their compositions that keep fans coming back for more and dragging their friends along for the ride. With this new line-up and fifth release, IDES OF GEMINI are ready to take us to the next-level as they serve up 10 tracks, each about a woman as the title implies.
‘Mother Kiev’ comes out of the gate fast and strong showing this new line-up is serious and ready to prove it. Power chords running amock and a drumline that takes full control of the body and that bass line, the perfect accent. Sera’s voice has never sounded better and J.’s chops are as biting as you could expect. ‘The Rose’ has a more tempered pace and Sera’s voice writhes around your head with her signature crescendo and lilt all the way through the slide out ending. ‘The Dancer’ is more staccato in pace and the choppy guitar lines flow seamlessly. ‘Raft Of Medusa’ has a lone guitar intro and then the band jumps up and rolls through this tale, not afraid to go all out with this pace that pulls you forth without resistance. ‘Heroine’s descent’ is slower and darker than we have been to this point on the record and lets the IDES OF GEMINI legacy of plush vocals shrouded in shadows continue with an even bigger sound than we have witnessed on any previous release while keeping that thicker guitar presence brought to this album permeate with an intensity that completes the recipe that J. and Sera have been perfection for the last seven years plus. ‘Swan Diver’ / ‘Zohra’ / ‘She Has A Secret’ and’Queen Of New Orleans’ are each strong compositions on their own and continue the stellar performance from EACH member to make this record the best to come yet from the IDES OF GEMINI camp and whether intentional as a concept or not, they fit perfectly together as a whole and show what focus and perseverance can achieve.
Standout track on this record, for ME, is ‘The Last Siren’. From the slow fade in of the thundering drum/bass combo to the jangly yet biting guitar line, complete with staggered fills, I found myself moving with involuntarily and turning it up louder and louder while feeling wrapped in that soaring voice and welcoming and savoring each high note and low alike.
This could and SHOULD be the one to break them out to the rest of the world and I encourage to do your part; BUY the record, support them when they make it to your part of the world and tell anybody you know to do the same. Once they hear this, they will have to agree it is a must-have for 2017!!