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What others have said:
  • Todd Brown for (Jan. 99)
  • Todd Clapp
  • Richard Maaranen

  • Jan. 99 - Todd Brown  

    A benefit project for charities working with families who lost children in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, Requiem features new materials written specifically for this project by dark ambient / industrial acts EnGrave, Cult of Jester, Aphorism (essentially an introspective Audio Paradox), The Way Sect Bloom, Welt Washer and Kevin Dumps Core, and a six track neo-classical Requiem penned by Brian Janes of Tempestuous All which clocks in at over half an hour long. And make no mistake, strong as many of the other tracks are, it is Janes' Requiem that makes up the essence of this project.

    Recorded live with a full choir, Janes' Requiem sets its roots deep into the world of ancient church liturgy, specifically choral funeral rites, and fuses the liturgical elements with bursts of tribal percussion, dark keyboard ambiance, sampled sounds of children playing, and a powerful vocal performance from soprano Kathryn Amerlan. The end product is a truly beautiful, truly haunting piece of work which at times moves into ground similar to that covered by The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus. Production quality is quite good for a live recording, and full text (in Latin and English) is included for those unfamiliar with the rite.

    In the face of something as monstrous as the Oklahoma City bombing, mourning can be the only appropriate response. Janes understands that and has here paid a fitting tribute to the nineteen children who lost their lives.


    Todd Clapp  

    In a beautifully orchestrated compilation of movements to recognize the children who lost their lives in the Oklahoma City bombing and compassionate prayers for their families, "Requiem" flows through a landscape of a majestic choral masterpiece. It possesses a magnitude of wonderfully layered sounds, operatic scores, and classically styled harmonies for the modern listener's ears.

    Brian C. Janes has proved himself a gifted gentleman. Not only does he capture the essence of the emotions some feel in the wake of this horrific act of violence, but he also balances it perfectly with praises to the Father who has His hands in everything. With its textured layers of haunting sounds, tribal percussion, playful children, and voices to God, nothing escapes the ear. Requiem stands forth as one of the most impressively touching pieces I have ever heard. It truly is emotionally driven. Each of the six movements takes the listener to a plain on which the cries for mercy and understanding are enveloping. With each time the movements are played, something new pierces through the darkness.

    This live performance will touch the hardest of hearts. It will sing to you amid every surrounding confusion the world can grant. It will remind you that through all the hardships we may endure, God is still in control. And through our praises to Him we can find comfort. I have been blessed by this grand accomplishment.

    In addition to the song "Requiem", there are also six other tracks by six of some of the more popular music makers in the Christian industrial scene. Each has left a definite mark on this compilation.

    An electronic piece done by Kevin Dumps Core called "Cement Skeleton" possessed some nice haunting elements, which, amidst the basic beat, kept encouraging me to listen further. Slowly the sounds evolved into a nicely blended, yet simple, electro-industrial tune. Just as I became a little worried about the simplicity of this track, a more aggressive techno-styled melody broke through to end the song with a bang. It clearly shows that this man has talent. I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.

    What things can be said for Jeff Bruce and The Way Sect Bloom? If history repeats itself, then TWSB has no fears in the light of such astounding electro-industrial. The first few minutes of the song "FZCO: Requiem" begin with a well-orchestrated mixture of electronic sounds, darkened chants and, percussion. Soon there after, the signature TWSB style develops and Jeff Bruce begins praying to God for deliverance. A thrust of techno shortly bursts forth and rap-styled lyrics flow on top of a layered field of likable melodies, aggressive beats and a host of different sounds. Again the tempo shifts and begins another peaceful prayer to finish the track. This is an exceptional song.

    WeltWasher carved its electronic fusion confusion and energetic percussion accompaniment into a crazy, yet handsome work of art. With an experimental mixture of space-aged noises, modern day beats, and groovy bass line, the self-titled track "WeltWaher" was one that really stuck out.

    Aphorism delivers some very ethereal sounds together with moody drumming and just an overall eerie soundscape that proves very enchanting. Throughout the track, moods seem to flow from calming to provoking very pleasantly. "Infertile Landscape/Children of God" is worth listening to over and over.

    Cult of Jester, known for more energetic pieces of music, entrances the listener with some very airy melodies that softly drift together in a dreamy tune. This ambient piece called "Where No Shadow Falls" is simple, yet maintains a very strong hold on the soul.

    "Remembrance Blue" by EnGrave commences with a tintinnabulation of sorts that will lull you off into a dreamland. EnGrave has always been on top of dark ambient music and this track proves why. I recommend playing this track through headphones to acquire the full beauty of this song.

    Overall, this compilation is quite a grand accomplishment for Kraynight Productions, Inc. and highly recommended for anyone who can hear.


    Richard Maaranen  

    The Oklahoma City bombing of April 19th, 1995 was the worst act of terrorism to ever occur on U.S. soil. 168 lives were lost on that day including the lives of 19 innocent children. Music composer Brian C. Janes was compelled soon thereafter to convey the pain and confusion that the parents of these children have endured in this tragedy through his six part Requiem neo-classical composition which consists of the first half of this CD. A second purpose is to express his belief that the victim's parents, and others deeply afflicted, can seek comfort in the arms of our loving God who remains in control of the course of history. Brian also invited several other industrial/darkwave bands to each contribute a piece of electronic music that reflects the emotions and condolences of the artist. These six tracks comprise the second half of this lengthy 74 minute CD.

    Brian C. Janes' "Requiem" consists of six parts with the instrumentation as follows: 2 conductors, 2 percussionists, 2 synthesists, 1 solo soprano, and a 30 voice choir. These elements combine to form a neo-classical whole with waves of soprano opera singing, beautiful choral harmonies and layering techniques, as well as sparse, minimalistic percussion. While I am a neophyte when it comes to assessing opera singing and classical music, I can tell you which components I prefer. In part 1 "Introit" the 30 member choir singing in unison is truly haunting and the sounds of bell rings, cymbol shakes and big drum hits for percussion are great but seldom heard. The sombre, soprano soloist wails in part 2 "Requiem" is unnerving when the ultra high notes are reached and held for longer than I'd like to hear. Opera fans may disagree however and emphasize with the depressing sorrow. Things pick back up in part 3 "Kyrie", where the percussion plays a bigger role, being more active while the choir returns for more deep, penetrating harmonies. In part 4 "Sanctus", the male vocal chants and the split of female singers between echoes and singing is one of my favourite moments of "Requiem". Part 5, "Benedictus" is short and sweet with an ambient synth drone and a more contained, enjoyable soprano opera performance. Finally, in part 6 "Agnus Dei" the resonating dark ambient synths and the powerful, emotive but gentle gothic choir bring about a fitting closure.

    The second half of this CD is devoted to six different bands. This is the first time I have ever heard Kevin Dumps Core and I am impressed. The dark electro-industrial programming in "Cement Skeleton" is excellent when the music flows. But the song wanes when the music stagnates for the delivery of some chilling spoken word about the bombing aftermath. Next it's The Way Sect Bloom with "FZCO: Requiem". I have no Idea what "FZCO" stands for, but this seven minute track is one the best I have ever heard from the band. The first half of it consists of dark, gothic ambient with sampled gregorian chants. The transition to pulsating industrial sequencing and decipherable whipered vocals for the second half of the song is a smooth one. After that Weltwasher appears with the instrumental "Weltwasher". While I have only heard two other tracks by this noise band, I like this one the best. Catchy percussion, quirky but tiny electro effects, warped synth lines and piano textures result in the weirdest track on this CD. Then comes Aphorism (a side project of cyber industrialists Audio Paradox) with "Infertile Landscape / Children of God". This brilliant dark ambient piece has conveys a soothing, comforting mood through it's classical orchestration feel vis-a-vis futuristic textures. Cult of Jester's "Where No Shadows Fall" also has a symphonic-like feel to it but without the percussion which makes for a much smoother sound. The simulated violins and cellos are simply beautiful, heart-touching and intimate. Finally, Engrave's "Remembrance Blue (these quiet moments by your bed)" ends of the CD. At first this track sounds similar to "Deep Cavern Unit" from the "Awaiting the Dawn" compilation but contains a more active yet still subdued display of the band's signature electronic bell sounds and ominous, immersive ambient synths.

    "Requiem" is a draining and at times depressing experience that ultimately offers the message of God's eternal peace, hope and unconditional love. These artists have presented some of their best works ever and you are unlikely to find them anywhere else. This is quite remarkable given the inherent difficulties in producing high-quality compilations. My prayer is for God to use the music on this CD as part of the healing process needed by those individuals, parents, families and friends impacted by the bombing in any way. Let us not forget how precious life is, especially the life of a child and that no matter what happens, our omnipotent God loves us.


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