Looking down the tracklisting of this superb sampler/compilation, released in 2001 to celebrate the founding of German label Sonic-X you might be surprised to learn that just about all of the usual suspects are missing from the line-up.No Funker Vogt, no Covenant, no Apoptygma Berzerk et al but this proves to be the album's strongpoint as many equally deserving lesser known bands get their chance in the spotlight with Massiv In Mensch's "Offensiv Shock" getting the album off to a hard hitting start with a cocktail of heavenly female and harsh male vocals mixed with no-nonsense electronics.
Sonic X stars Dead Turns Alive mix drum and bass influences into "Secret Borderline" while Headscan's "Zenith" owes as much to darker trance styles as much as the usual electro influences. Epileptic Shock's instrumental "Mental Distortion" is slower but with storming thumping rhythms while the ghostly voices that open Inscape's "Honigmund" herald another hard hitting affair.
Void Kampf, E.S.R., November Process and Torso Fiction (another German band with what sounds like the deepest voiced vocalist ever!) all do their bit to keep the mood dark while Liquidated Error and Coinside represent the heavier end of industrial as both weave powerful rhythmic spells offset only slightly by the dark melodic elements which do little to lighten the uncompromising mood.
If this sounds like it might be a bit much for you the synthpop of Unique and Spritual Cramp will find favour with fans of Beborn Beton and De/Vision.Both tracks benefit from excellent female vocalists making these two bands ones to watch.
Adversus close this collection with a brilliant piece entitled "Seelenwinter" which mixes darkly romantic synths, gothic/symphonic overtones with operatic female and harsh male vox (the latter bringing Das Ich and Goethes Erben to mind) for a compelling track that conjures up a number of dark moods and atmospheres simultanesously,like a mini gothic opera.At over 7 minutes long the epic feel is given the chance to reach it's full potenetial for a track that is little short of a masterpiece-why aren't this band better known?
The folks at Sonic-X deserve full marks for not taking the easy option and instead opting for an imaginative line-up on this excellent sampler.Synthmusic fans wishing to broaden their musical horizons will find this indispensible listening.