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Hailing from Germany, another great Darkwave, Electro-Goth band is born and brings us their excellent music.  Final Selection had it's beginnings as early as 1992 when Riccardo Schult and Mario Tews met for the first time.  They soon formed their group and started recording songs.  Several demos were released over the years and they were able to have many live performances during this time that can most likely be called a maturing and learning experience.  After nearly a decade of this they put their mind toward releasing a full-length album.  AntiHero is the result of this hard work over the next two years.  They signed with the excellent Black Flames label for this release and it saw the light of day in late 2002.

Over the next two years the band continued to work on more music releasing their EP Heading For Graceland.  This 11-track EP was a great follow-up to AntiHero and an excellent precursor to their latest work Meridian.  The EP contains selections from this latest album as well as remixes from their previous work, and a few exclusive tracks that fans will enjoy.  Finally we have their latest album with sixteen excellent tracks that fans will love.

With these releases under their belt, they've embarked on a world of creating music with a solid Darkwave sound.  The images are laiden with emotion and meaning as they are presented in the form of pulsating synths and deep vocals.  In trying to define and identify their style, I immediately reflected on the better and darker days of Depeche Mode circa the Violator years and also a good cross with the modern synthpop scene and similar to Diary of Dreams and other bands from the area.  Fans of the above-mentioned bands should really enjoy their work and we really look forward to more of what they have to offer in the future.  In the meantime, you can catch plenty of selections getting airplay on the radio shows.


Meridian - Review

Since the captivating release of AntiHero I have been longing for the next full-length album from this band to emerge. We finally have this release presented to us which is overall a laid-back and melodic approach to synthpop comparable to the peak years of Depeche Mode and De/Vision for those that are still not familiar with this band.

This album comes packaged in a beautiful digipack with a 36-page booklet containing lyrics and packed with excellent artwork.  This album is a concept album which tells something of a complete story the band and collaborators came up with.  The listener can enjoy it all by going to the band's website and downloading the pdf of the story and read it while listening to the music.  Of course, the lyrics themselves also tell much of the story and so the book itself is just an added bonus.

After the short intro "Echo" we're treated with the first chapter in this story "Coming Home".  This shows how the mid-tempo melodic electronic sounds can be used so well to portray the meaning of the lyrics as a backdrop for the smooth vocals.  Picking up the pace a bit is "Dangerous Horizon" which in many ways is similar to early Alphaville with the synth loops and steady beat.  The overall concept goes on through a myriad of these stories providing some excellent material for this album.

Leaving the story behind and focusing on the music of this album provides something excellent in itself.  While there is nothing quite like "Your Smile" from their debut, this CD is packed with emotionally charged smooth electronic music.  "Jupiters Child" is a perfect example of the choice of loops and excellent effects that drive each lyric home to the listener with intensity.  The tempo varies throughout with "Lava" picking up and creating a beautiful dance-friendly track that will keep people moving across the world.  "Thieves of my Soul" drifts back into that melancholy mood very similar to the "Jupiters Child" with the captivating ambient moods.  Diana Poppnack picks up the guest vocals on a couple of tracks, including the awesome "Avalon" providing sweet female vox for even more dynamic quality.

There are sixteen wonderful tracks on this album spanning the range of electronic music from the dance-friendly to the smooth, melodic, mid-tempo ballads.  Each of these is great on its own or perfect together with the album as a whole and even nicer with the concept story from the band's website.  Be sure to check this one out!

Rating: 4.5/5


AntiHero - Review

I must admit that I didn't even really know about this group until I had this album in my hands.  From the first minute I started listening I was completely enthralled and amazed.  I had found another group that could hold me entranced for the duration of their full album.  As a die-hard fan of Diary of Dreams and older Depeche Mode, I really connected with this group and their style and the similarities.  However, the differences are such that really create a unique and enjoyable sound, such as the dynamics and distinctive loops and layers presented in many of the tracks.  Coupled with Riccardo's smooth and mostly deep vocals, the combination is broody and captivating.

From the crashing intro of "Salvation" to the final instrumental piece "Dead Hero", the music is mesmerizing with it's layers and dynamics.  "Salvation" is easily a template for the excellent style mixing New Wave electronics from the early 90's with various unique percussion and other loops alongside the modern powerful synths and moving rhythms.  "Tears" delves into the more ballad-like lyrics and vocals while maintaining a moving beat and Darkwave electronic styles.  "Divine Punishment" follows suit, maintaining the moving electronic loops and rhythms with the brooding emotions portrayed through the solid vocals.

The entire album is full of great classic Darkwave and New Wave sounds that I have enjoyed ever since I can remember listening to music.  But the modern touches mixed with the darker imagery is really the icing on the cake for this album.  For example, my favorite from this excellent disc is definitely "Your Smile".  Starting off with choral voices and an awesome electronic bass loop that is really hard to describe that just pulsates throughout the song really adds an overall dynamic that is really cool.  Add to this the whispered vocals through most of the song that maintains a very subdued approach until the climax when the chorus is sung out with power and emotion.  This is really an excellent and unique approach that is absolutely stunning.

There are some modern leanings toward EBM and Synthpop with the inclusion of "Static City" with slightly distorted vocals and a fast-paced beat.  With the inclusion of this and other slightly varied styles, this album is well-rounded and is easy to listen to from start to finish over and over without getting bored or tired of it.

Rating: 5/5


Website: www.final-selection.de
Label: Black Flames Records

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