Hailing from the European electronic scene, Frank Spinath and Martin Vorbrodt formed Seabound and in 2001 the debut album No Sleep Demon was released on Dependent Records. This album was well-received around the world and they embarked on a successful tour. Three years later Metropolis Records licensed and released their sophomore album Beyond Flatline from Dependent for added exposure in North America. Following this successful album they released the Poisonous Friend EP. Because of the nice success of these releases on Metropolis the band decided to remaster and re-release the debut album under the title No Sleep Demon V2.0. Not slowing down, even amidts a number of side projects, this duo went to work on their next solid album titled Double-Crosser. It would be a few years before we would see more from this band, but we were finally graced with Speak in Storms, another stellar work from this band. Along with these releases, I'm sure we'll see more live performances and more great music to come.
Following in the footsteps of other popular Electro-Pop acts such as Covenant and other similar groups, this duo has embarked on their own journey in this ever-changing scene. Their music is solid electronic music, blending club-friendly beats with smooth vocals. The lyrics are thought-provoking and follow various themes throughout each album. Over time their style has become a solid, well-recognized sound through Frank's vocals and the excellent dance-friendly music.
With the success of these albums, you should be able to catch their music on many radio shows and dance floors around the world. Be sure to check out selections here on the Gothic Paradise club radio show.
Speak in Storms - Review
This excellent album got buried in a slew of releases so we're late getting to it, however this doesn't mean it's any less enjoyable than their previously released albums. As with previous works, it's a pleasure to have new material from this band that has become such a staple in the electro-pop scene over the years. The vocals of Frank Spinath can be heard on several projects and yet this band retains a unique and recognizable style of their own. As the previous album hinted, the overall moods and style of the band does lean a little more to the mid-tempo and experimental rather than the straight-up four-on-the-floor electro-pop club-friendly sounds, there are still plenty of those present on this album. Overall we end up with a great mix of a variety of tempos, moods and styles all presented well on this album.
The intense, mid-tempo piece "For Life" acts as the intro to the album, seemingly constantly building and growing, yet never truly taking off, leaving that for later pieces. It does take a few tracks before the up-tempo beats do kick in, but when they do we're presented with some catchy selections. "For Another Day" is the first of these that I think club-goers might enjoy with a danceable rhythm and catchy hooks layered with electronic loops and melodic vocals on each chorus. Taking on something of an anthemic approach similar to "Domination" on their previous release, this track definitely captivates and catapults the listener into the fray. A few tracks later we get to a definite favorite on the album with "Everything". This mesmerizing piece is fairly simple in nature with the repeated refrain "One at a time, crossing the line, you are everything, you are everything...", yet with the simple nature of this piece we're also captivated with the catchy hooks and loops. These elements all keep the listener moving no matter where they happen to be while they soon find themselves singing along and enjoying this track like a new classic. The final moving piece on the album is "Nothing But Love", again with a catchy refrain driven home through a moving beat and intelligently constructed layers of synths.
With ten tracks on the album, you can see that they've definitely put a lot of emphasis on the down-tempo and experimental pieces with ambient soundscapes. With a definite dark and mysterious feel to it overall, the album slowly moves along with the pulsating electronics with the previously mentioned tracks breaking it up here and there, injecting a touch of adrenaline for a nice spark and touch to the album. It wraps with "Black Feathers", starting off slow and down-tempo, slowly building throughout though the pace and rhythm stays the same, the backing vocals, percussion and music build in intensity throughout, giving way for softer pulsating synths and electronic loops backing the soft, but melodic vocals and then building again for a nice finale.
Once again we have a nice gem here from this band, while fans have to be more open to the down-tempo selections, the few dance-friendly trakcs are definite treasures. Overall it's a great album, blending and flowing well if at times finding it hard to gain traction, it's still a good listen, best enjoyed from start to finish.
Double-Crosser - Review
Oh it was great to have this new album from this band. With each new work I grow more and more fond of the talents and abilities from this duo as they leave any trace of the rude and shocking behind and move into solid, great music. This excellent album contains 10 superb tracks ranging from the upbeat, dance-friendly electro-pop we've grown to love, including the occasional experimental elements to the smooth, electronic downtempo ballad-like pieces.
"Scorch the Ground (version)" kicks off the album with a solid electro-pop track, while not heavy and driving it is still moving with smooth vocals and catchy electronics. This moving style actually becomes the minority on this disc, but these few pieces really shine from "The Promise" which is a little more on the experimental side with darker vocals and an experimental beat but breaks out into melodic synthpop on the chorus for a really great diverse mix. Another stellar dance-friendly piece is "Domination". This includes distorted "whispered" vocals for a sinister sound layered over the excellent EBM rhythm and style. In similar style as the album starts to wrap up is "Traitor (Extended)". The original of this track appears as a b-side track on the Poisonous Friend EPand this mix doesn't stray too far from the original, merely stretching certain elements out making it, well... extended. The moving beat makes this a definite club-friendly track that DJ's should pick up and club-goers will enjoy.
With the quick-paced, pulsating, club-friendly pieces out of the way we're left with another handful of great tracks for just listening to anywhere else. These include everything from the great downtempo piece "DoublePlusUngood" with a myriad of ambient soundscapes acting as the background to the vocals for a dreamy layer underlying the slowly moving beats and pulsating synths. "Sapphire" follows close behind as it slowly builds through spatialized futuristic ambient sounds to include some breakbeats and additional electronics until a solid beat kicks in to create an excellent piece. This track shows the diversity on this album all in one piece while maintaining a cohesive overall sound without confusing or putting off the listener.
"Every Last Grain" provides an excellent break in the album as a beautiful instrumental piece. Other slower pieces include "Castaway" and "October Song" each of these picking up the pace somewhat, though still somber and broken down in between the chorus. Melodic vocals combined with the other elements make this latter an excellent piece that synthpop fans will love. And to wrap up the album in style, we have "Breathe". This starts out with somber, ambient moods that slowly build to an excellent finale to the album with power, distorted vocals and moving beats.
I don't really know what more to say. This is a great disc that fans should love with the diversity and solid electronic elements and they should also be commended with the selection of vocals and compositional elements.
No Sleep Demon V2.0 - Review
After the initial success of this album when it was released as a debut, it only makes sense to re-release it to the North American audience with Metropolis Records. I dare say that those that waited to get this release probably got a little better deal, and those die-hard fans looking for more great music have three extra previously un-released tracks to enjoy on this album as well as many tracks being remastered.
As soon as I put on the album I could see why it had received such great praise from it's initial release. "Smoke" begins with the catchy hooks, smooth electronics and moving dance beats. This track introduces the thought-provoking and in-depth work that goes into the lyrics and music of each piece on this and subsequent albums. Of course by the time I got to "Exorcize" I could see why it had become such a controversial track. At first I was intrigued and totally caught up in the great quality of the music and nice vocals expressing some meaningful lyrics. Then throughout the track, over and over again is repeated a quite offensive sample, and so I was completely turned off and couldn't listen anymore. If you can put this song aside, as good as it could have been had the sample been stripped, which I don't see how it fits in with the song at all, it could have been perfect.
Moving on with the album the listener is soon swept away in a range of great music. Smooth mid-tempo tracks with subtle intricate details and somber moods create a great variety in the album. "Point Break" provides something of a break amongst the danceable tracks, but my favorite of these slower selections is the finale to this album, the "Vocal Version" of "Avalost". This last work is something that has had a lasting impression on me and has quickly become a favorite. The instrumental version was present on the original release and is again present here and is a great alternative, but I think that the vocals add a whole new level to this great piece.
Besides these great selections, I also have really gotten into the dance-friendly tracks "Hooked" and "Coward" which are great club selections. They move more into the synthpop realm with slightly smoother and less experimental elements that make them a little more accessible to synth and electro-pop fans. The smooth vocals move along nicely creating a nice dynamic atmosphere against the fast-paced beats. I also found it interesting that these two tracks that fit so well on the dancefloor also fade right from one into the other. When listening to the album in it's entirety, little details like these can make it much more interesting.
So, overall, the original was great, but the re-release is just that much better. So fans of great electronic music should look into this album.
Poisonous Friend - Review
What a great surprise when this single came out with my favorite song from the full-length album Beyond Flatline. The driving rhythm and excellent elements of this track are captured in four remixes that are all very well done. The first remix is just named "remix", and that's exactly what it is, just a slight variation on the original, comparable to a "radio edit". The "club remix" extends the song by a minute making it easier to mix with other tracks but maintains the same solid approach as the original. Iris add their talents with the "Iris Remix" which takes that great Synthpop style and adds their signature approach to this great track. And finally we're left with the "Severed Heads" remix done by Severed Heads which takes a slightly minimalistic approach leaving the percussion as the solid foundation slowly building and adding loops and layers to provide a full and dynamic sound which again fades to the end.
The "b-side" tracks included on this single are also excellent. These include remixes of the experimental track "Contact", "Watching Over You" and "Transformer". Each of these remixes are very well done which made it very hard for me to pick out a favorite. "Watching Over You" steps down the beat a notch to a nice mid-tempo and Haujobb adds their own experimental approach to this track adding a bit of variety and texture to it. "Contact" was already quite experimental to begin with, but Cut.Rate.Box manages to add their own layered electronic elements to it for a further experimental approach. Stromkern contribute their unique take on EBM music with the break beats and pulsing electronics on "Transformer" for a well-done remix.
Additional unreleased songs include "Without You" and "Traitor". "Without You" has quickly become my favorite selection on this single. While the remixes of the other tracks are very well done, which is a feat in itself, this stellar track surpasses the others in many ways. The lyrical content is intelligent and thoughtful, the vocals are solid and emotional as the layered synths and moving rhythm drive it all home to the listener. "Traitor" breaks out some of the experimental elements with the percussion adding distortions here and there, but overall keeps that same solid dance-friendly beat and crisp vocals mixed with harsh distortion thrown in to add a bit of an Industrial sound. The overall power and intensity are turned up a notch on this track also, making it a great addition to this single providing even more variety.
I think this single really breaks out of the mold of the "single dilemna" that I mention so often when presented with a single full of different remixes of the same song with maybe on or two additional tracks. There is a enough diversity in the additional material supplied that it really becomes something of an EP rather than a Maxi CD. The diversity of the remixes are nice, yet they all maintained solid integrity from the original style and content. I highly recommend it to all fans of this and similar groups.
Beyond Flatline - Review
After the success of their debut album, we're now presented with this follow-up work. With this release they carry on with the solid dance-friendly Electro-pop sound. The distant, cold and slightly robotic sounds the vocals portray add a slightly haunting sound to each track. Coupled with the electronic elements, you might think it would remove the emotional context from this music. However, each track is laced with the disturbing and pensive lyrics that the vocals manage to milk the emotion and make it ooze through each melody.
"Transformer" starts off the album with a catchy rhythm and hooks that immediately start you moving. This sets one standard for the album which several tracks follow. "Poisonous Friend" has quickly become one of my favorites with a similar club-friendly style. The more synthpop-oriented sound in these few tracks are very catchy with their own unique elements. The jazzy track "Go International", despite it's slightly disturbing lyrics, follows close behind. Perhaps the nature of the music softens the shock of the reality of the lyrics, because at first listen I didn't realize the message until I sat down to read the lyrics.
Drifting slightly into the cold and un-feeling world of power noise is the monotonous, yet hard-hitting "Contact". This sets the stage for some of the deviations from the club-friendly music on this album. While this one is certainly one of the more club-oriented tracks, it drifts away from the cookie-cutter sound into it's own realm. Others that follow and leave the normal moving beat include "Soul Diver" with it's melo-dramatic feeling and "Separation" with the angst-ridden, down-tempo rhythms and vocals.
Overall, the music is great on this album. The vocals are melodic and the metallic touches are used just right to add a distant nature where needed. When sitting down and reading the lyrics, it's almost like reading a newspaper of world events, disturbing, harsh, yet true in many ways. Maybe it isn't for everyone, but something to consider.
Label: Metropolis Records