Tuesday 8 January 2013

Review: The Cassandra Complex - 'Datakill EP 2.0' & 'Gnostic Xmas EP 2.0'

'Datakill EP 2.0' & 'Gnostic Xmas EP 2.0'

Legendary ebm pioneers The Cassandra Complex continue their series of remastered re-releases with 'Datakill EP 2.0' – the title track of which is still a live staple for the band – and the rare 'Gnostic Xmas EP 2.0'. Both releases have been given a loving overhaul and the sound quality feels a lot more modern because of it.

'Datakill' has been a trusty weapon in the band's arsenal since 1986 and although the equipment used in the recording may sound a little outdated by today's standards, the cyberpunk attitude and still relevant lyrical content hold their own. 'Wintry Weather Song' by contrast is a far more moody peace that sounds like it should be playing from a car radio in Bladerunner with it's darkly cinematic atmosphere. Its this cinematic feeling that the final track on the EP, the instrumental 'Three Cities' expresses perfectly with it's haunting sense of space really begging the question why The Cassandra Complex didn't get to score a full film.

The 'Gnostic Xmas EP 2.0' was originally released as a bonus disc with the limited edition of 'The War Against Sleep' album, and has subsequently become a bit of a lost classic. The opening song 'Sophia' is a great alternative Christmas anthem that features plenty of bells and pianos to give it that extra seasonal kick that will no doubt see it find its way onto many seasonal playlists now it is available again. 'Children' on the other hand is a darker and funkier track that makes use of some great guitar work over the addictive bass line. The final song 'Mind Machine' is another intricate instrumental offering that utilises samples of Aleister Crowley's wax cylinder recordings and feels like the band are just having a good time jamming more than anything.

Both EPs have benefited from the fine tuning that modern technology has afforded the band. And while in the case of 'Datakill' this can't completely hide the fact that it was recorded with what their 1986 budget allowed them, it has still given the songs a new sheen. The 'Gnostic Xmas EP' on the other hand is a lot smoother round the edges to begin with, and as a result of the remastering sounds quite fresh.   

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