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Re:Illumination [the mixes] - full length CD 2008
Side-Line
They Fell
Regen
A Different Drum
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Illuminate - full length CD 2004
Kaleidoscope
Wrapped in Wire
DJ Genesis / Texas Goth Productions
Yet Another Electro Webzine
Infest UK
Chain DLK
Smother.net
Collected Sounds
DJ Kantrip
Ik Echt [in Dutch]
A Different Drum Weekly Update
Wetworks ezine
MotorCity Goths
Side-Line Magazine (Checkline)
Side-Line Magazine (October/November/December 2004 Top 10 - #2)
ReGen Magazine
Synthpop.ru (in Russian)
Dark Realms Magazine
Morbid Outlook
The Other Paper (Columbus)
A Different Drum
Gothtronic
Gothic Paradise
GothicInfo.net
Release Magazine
Synthpop.net
Starvox.net
Gothic Beauty Magazine
Sick Among The Pure
________________________________

Forward + Conflict - European Release 2004
Pendul
Industrial Nation
Side-Line
Gothtronic
Synthpop.net
ElectroGothic.com
Music Non Stop
________________________________

Conflict - multimedia maxi CD 2003
Legends Magazine
Smother.net [Editor's Pick]
Synthpop.net
Industrial Nation
Side-Line
Collected Sounds
Starvox
Re>gen Magazine
Fiend
Grave Concerns + IMWT + Club Illuminati
A Different Drum Weekly Update
Gothic Paradise
eye.lyft
Freon Productions UK
DJ Copper Top
Melektro.com
Chain D.L.K.
Synthpop.ru (in Russian)
Music Non Stop
________________________________

forward...
- CD 2001
Wrapped in Wire
Alternative Zine
Columbus Alive
Copper Top/DJ Duracell
Darkcell Digital Media
DJ MindCage
Electroage - webzine
Gothic Beauty Magazine
Gothic Paradise webzine
Hard Wired - Magazine
In Music We Trust
Legends Magazine
Morbid Outlook
Music Non Stop (MSN)
Negative Pop
The Other Paper
OUTBURN
Seventh Circle Webzine
Sordid Magazine
Starvox - webzine
Sun Machine
Synthpop.ru (in Russian)
Toronto industrial Koillective
WetWorks ezine
DJ Aceldama
________________________________

Live Reviews
The Factory - 01.17.03
________________________________

Accession Records Volume One compilation - CD 2001
Sordid Magazine
Starvox
________________________________

Where Broken Angels Lie - CD 1998
Corridor of Cells
Da'Core
Dark Emporium
DeadWyre - EBM webzine
DJ Squid - Toronto DJ
Electrozine - Singapore webzine
Elektrik Transfusion
Grinding into Emptiness - July '98
The Industrial Bible - September '98
Isolation Tank - electro distribution
j.sin
Last Sigh - August '98
Legends Magazine - Mike Ventarola review
Legends Magazine - Rat Bastard review
M.K. Ultra - Dirty Black Summer '98
Middle Pillar - gothic/industrial/darkwave distribution
Music Non Stop (MSN)
Neon Madness
New Empire - German webzine
Outburn - issue #7 - September '98
The Plague - June '98
Sonic-Boom - July '98
Storming the Base of the Alien Foe - radio show of Antithesis Online
Wrapped in Wire
Zoo TV - Beyond the Mainstream
'M' Magazine (in Russian)

______________________________________

Circuit Noir compilation - CD 1998
Corridor of Cells
Fallout (Radio Scorpio)
Gaze Into A Gloom - Issue #6 (Latvia)
Grinding Into Emptiness
The Industrial Bible
Musik Magazine - Russia
Outburn
The Plague
Radio Free Underground
Sonic-Boom
Velvet Realm radio show by Stefani (and Culture Shock reviewer)

______________________________________

the divine suffering - CD 1997
Top 20 Albums of 1997 - Voted 2nd by Corridor of Cells
Corridor of Cells - Album of the Month - May '97
Christian Says... - March '97
DeadWyre - EBM webzine
Ephemeral - Magazine - issue 7
Genocide - a webzine of Metal/Darkwave/Atmospheric/Industrial/Black/Gothic music
Graven Space - Online Gothic and Industrial magazine
The Industrial Bible - June '97 in 'Samuel: There was a Man...'
In Thy Name
M.K. Ultra - Spring '97 issue's "Pick of the Litter"
Middle Pillar - gothic/industrial/darkwave distribution
Outburn - Issue #4
The Plague
Sideline
Third Nail - Issue #16

______________________________________

the divine suffering - DEMO tape 1996
The Aether Sanctum - 'Tarantula' Issue 4 - Austrailian webzine
Black Moon - Issue #8
Corridor of Cells - January '97
Da'Core

 

REVIEWS

RE:ILLUMINATION [the mixes]

Side-Line
Time runs fast and The Azoic didn’t give us a sign of life since quite a long time. Their “Illuminate”-album being released in 2004 this “Re:Illumination”-piece delivers 15 remixes from that album. I guess it’s a good way to recover the band from dust although I would have prefer some new songs. Well, I’m not starting to complain because the remixes are high quality! 5 songs from “Illuminate” has been exposed to the remix creativity from bands like DJ Delobbo, Caustic, Liquid Divine, Conetik, Null Device, Hungry Lucy, XP8, Cesium 137, Interface and a few more names. The list of bands is quite diversified in style and that’s a real good point resulting in a diversified sound. Rich Ratvasky (member of bands like Team Smile and Nod) is a rather unknown American musician, but his remix of “Ever” is simply terrific! The style is a bit psy-trance like, but the song remains easily recognizable. It has been just boosted a bit more while creating some irresistible dance vibes. Another great remix is delivered by the great DJ Delobbo who remains a real genius in the remix realm. He did a remix of “Ever” as well. Interface is one more essential remix here. They transposed “Let Me Tell you Something” in a poppier style with a well-crafted version. The tech-EBM combo of x*8 are more and more excelling in great remixes and their “Deep Mix” of “Let Me Tell You Something” is one more on the list. Conetik opening the album with a remix of “Going Under” is another attention grabber although not the best one on the list. I here like the vague d’n’b approach and especially in the rhythmic. In a different and sweeter style we get the delicate touch of Hungry Lucy with a remix of “Ever”. The remixes of the songs “Going Under” and “Illuminate” are less convincing, but that’s maybe due to the bands that have made the remixes. Cesium 137 did a remix of “Going Under” in somewhat of an EBM approach, but it’s definitely not what I would call a highlight. About the remix of Caustic I would say it must be not that easy to make a good remix of The Azoic and the song “Let Me Tell You Something”. The styles of both bands are too different. The Caustic version is definitely harder and merciless, but the point here is that in comparison to the music, the vocals of Kristy Venrick are too clear and soft. A new album of The Azoic hasn’t been announced at the moment and it seems that since Steve Laskarides has left the band, the band is creative-wise on standby. Kristy Venrick has set up a side-project called Zoica (you for sure noticed the anagram of Azoic) and has an album in the pipeline! ---DP - Side-Line

They Fell
Recommended
Usually remix albums are released with or directly after the release of a full length album. For some reason The Azoic waited 4 years (!) before releasing “Re:Illumate” which contains remixes of stuff from their Illuminate album. To be honest this massive gap is a bit annoying...I really want to know “why now? Why not an album of new material?” Since 2001 The Azoic has released 1 full length album, and 3-4 remix albums (‘forward’, ‘conflict’, then ‘forward+conflict’ being the others)…uh come on guys enough remixes already.

Like all remix albums, this one is hit or miss, but mostly on the hit side. All the mixes are pretty good, albeit standard, ebm/techno tracks. All of the original Azoic tracks were upbeat futuristic mixes of trance & EBM, and just about every remix follows suit. One thing that pleased me greatly is that many remixes venture into techno/house territory, and one that can be described as goth-electro, however they are all ceter around a four to the floor dance beat. It is only when you get to the very end of the album that the listener is given a break from EBM in the form of an IDM-type remix from Invisible Ballet. However I am pleased to say that most of the remixes sound quite different from the originals, yet integrate enough elements from those originals as to qualify as a remix and not simply an entirely new track with the original vocals laid overtop. It would be tedious to go through each, but suffice to say they are all quite listenable, unless I mention otherwise, which I will in a second.

The only problem for many of these remixes is that it seems the remixers were given the fully processed vocal track. Why is this bad? Unfortunately, since every band has their own way of processing and mixing, the fully processed original vocals sound a bit…off…in most of the tracks. Only a few tracks took the liberty to add additional processing to the vocals (there’s not much you can really do if given fully processed vocals either), with the winner going to XP8 for the most well-integrated vocals; on the other hand, some tracks like the DJ Delobbo remix choose to scarcely use the vocals at all. However this is a pretty small ‘problem’ as most of the tracks are quite well crafted and use some excellent synth sounds…there are very few generic trance arps and cheap sounding softsynths which makes me quite happy. Very solid and clean production for the most part as well. I would go through the ‘best’ songs, but honestly all the good ones are equally great and worth listening to.

There are only a couple of remixes to be wary of, and it seems like The Azoic was wise to put these all towards the end of the disc. Rich Ratvasky’s nintendo-house track is almost good at first but quickly becomes tedious and annoying; the (e) a+d remix has absolutely abysmal production and there is ridiculously loud omnipresent fuzz that constantly keeps my attention away from the actual music (well, there is not much in the way of music in this mix anyway); the Distorted Reality mix isn’t terrible, but by the time you get to it everything in the track will sound like a weak version of what you’ve just been listening to for 30 minutes; and finally the worst remix goes to caustic who provides us with nothing more than a kick drum, some cheap & sloppy distortion and a couple clank-y noise. That juxtaposed with The Azoic’s almost angelic vocals…yeah it doesn’t work at all.

Regardless of a few negligible mixes, fans of the original album will surely enjoy the majority of these tracks and would do well to pick this up. Hope the wait won’t be too much longer for some new original material from the band. And please…no more remix albums for a while! --- Dan Barrett - They Fell

Regen Magazine
After several delays, this companion piece to the American futurepop act's landmark 2004 release, Illuminate, finally sees the light of day. For a remix disc, Re:Illumination was fraught with more problems than most; intended as a companion to 2004's Illuminate, the first mentions of its release date back at least a couple of years. However, with the departure of founding member Steve Laskarides in the interim, this disc feels less a delayed appendix and more a final footnote between The Azoic of old and Kristy Venrick's new line-up (which, incidentally, promises a new EP and full-length this year).

Considering the disc could very well contain commissions finalized anywhere from two to three years ago, the material here holds up surprisingly well. Though the source material consists of only four tracks from Illuminate, Re:Illumination runs the gamut from EBM-influenced futurepop to ethereal trip-hop landscapes. A perennial favorite remix artist for this reviewer, DJ Delobbo perfectly deconstructs "Ever" to fit into his trance sensibilities. Here, Kirsty's plaintive croon is stripped down to shimmering refrains and gleaming sound bubbles, allowing Delobbo to carve its soundtrack into a pulsating hi-hat clicking techno ride rife with buzzing staccato synths and fluttering house riffs. Though several mixes take The Azoic on an IDM tangent, Conetik's version of "Going Under" is certainly the best. Outside a few moist twitters, Kristy's soulful presence remains intact, yet in lieu of driving synthpop ennui, it houses a meaty bass thrum and a stuttering off-kilter beat surrounded by slick falsetto synths. Its halfway erratic lounge motif is quite engaging, though XP8's take on "Let Me Tell You Something" gives this disc a much-needed injection of thumping, buzzing EBM. It may be rather Neanderthal in execution, but its sharp lead synth riffs and heavy bass stomp make certain that it's the track DJs will pick up on and spin with zeal.

Oddly, to this reviewer's ears, the two best examples of Re:Illumination's ethereal content are both culled from the track "Ever." Entwining Kristy's voice with the dreamy lilt of their own chanteuse, Christabel, Hungry Lucy' version infuses their mix with an Enya-like new age shimmer, while intermittent cymbal crashes and gentle drum machine hiccups help it retain its electronic core. The other version of "Ever," conjured by Liquid Divine, bisects Kirsty's presence between a breezy lilt and a deep murmur, while surrounding it with flecks of piano, loose wooden breaks, and moist synthetic ripples.

However, not everything has aged like a fine musical wine; for one, Distorted Reality's Recognized mix of "Illuminate" drills a refrain highlighting its title into one's subconscious until the repetition is all that one may remember of their contribution. Also, the unusual emphasis on down-tempo ambience is interesting, though it might have helped if the source material covered more than a scant four songs. Still, Re:Illumination is a nice conclusion to the band's previous incarnation and an interesting companion to one of 2004's better futurepop albums. --Vlad McNealy, Regen Magazine

A Different Drum
The Azoic is one of America's top female-lead synthpop / industrial dance bands. This new release takes songs from their last, popular album and mixes them into a variety of moods with remixes from several other contributing bands. You'll hear mixes by Conetik, GASR, Null Device, Hungry Lucy, Cesium 137, and more!

________________________________________________________________________

ILLUMINATE

Kaleidoscope
Kristy Venrick & Steve Laskarides have producing their brand of dark, reflective EBM as The Azoic for a good few years now & now look set to make their long-overdue mark on the European scene with their first European tour. Furthermore, they're doing it on the back of their best album to date (their third, as it happens) as they've really got on top of their game here with a succession of utterly infectious tracks with a wide club appeal. From start to finish the music is punchier & more infectious than ever while Kristy's vocals show a greater range & depth, an asset that proves especially important in adding a strong emotional touch to the excellent title track, the ambient chorus of which has all the 'hands in the air' euphoria that any Ibiza anthem could wish to attain while maintaining a strong melodic base. The preceeding single "Conflict" is just as infectious, if slightly harder & Kristy again adds a very human feel to the slower "Ever" before they turn in a totally superb cover of Animotion's "Obsession" where Seabound's Frank Spinath shares the vocal duties with Kristy. After getting into this in such a big way I'm looking forward to their Infest gig more than ever so make sure you don't miss 'em!

Carl Jenkinson - Kaleidoscope

Wrapped In Wire
Kristy Venrick and Steve Laskarides are back with what I feel is their best work yet. The songs here are extremely infectious with fast paced futuristic sci-fi electronic programming, manic beats, orchestrated melodies and Kristy's excellent singing.

Some tracks are pure energetic EBM, while others are more upbeat electro-pop. Each song has its own edge, and offer great structure, variety and choruses.

The complaints that I had with The Azoic's previous recording, such as the songs sounding a little too similar to each other and too many remixes, are not concerns on this CD. All of the songs on this album stand apart from each other, and there's only one remix.

If you like modern club EBM with female vocals, this album is a must.

Darklight - Wrapped In Wire

DJ Genesis / Texas Goth Productions
This band grabbed my ear as soon as I put the CD in. The synths on this album are just amazing. I haven't heard group use the channels with their synths like The Azoic do in a long time. The beats will grab you and make you want to get up and move. Some of the tracks are massively ethereal and when I close my eyes I get a sense of being in another realm. That's some damn good mastering there. Let's look at the vocals now. Kristy's voice comes at you like an electronic siren singing a song to lure you into the mists. The layering in the voice projects her vocals across the music to come right out at you as well.

The first track, "Let Me Tell You Something" is a personal favorite. It's a perfect way to start a killer album. It just grabs your ear and say exactly what the title says, Let Me Tell You Something.

The title track to the album, "Illuminate" comes up from the depths in the beginning to create an ethereal dreamscape until the drums kick in and then it grabs you with a very pop-ethereal sound. The synths on it are very nice and easy to stick in your head.

An instant club hit, track 8, "Obsession", a cover of the classic by Animotion, is probably one of the best covers I've heard in awhile. As a DJ I've been playing this in place of the original and I don't think I ever want to hear it any other way now. As the track moves you can easily hear the original style mixed with The Azoic's style and what comes out is a track that screams get up and dance.

Track 11, "Passage", is one of the greatest ethereal sounding tracks I've heard in awhile. I can easily hear this in a major movie productions soundtrack. When closing my eyes, I can envision myself floating through a passage rising upward from the earth to some unknown plane. The effects on the synths and the whisps throughout the track help to add to that feel. Right at halfway, the track dies away for a second and rises slowly up and then explodes with a wave of sound that feels like you've just broken through some unforeseen barrier and are gliding among the clouds looking down on the world. Then the way it ends it almost feels as though you've floated gently down and landed back upon the ground. I had to listen to this track a few times when I got to it just because of the mood it set. It reminded me of some of the music in the soundtrack for "The Neverending Story." In 5.1 this track will just blow you away, I kid you not. I honestly have to say that this track is addicting as is the entire album.

I'd have to say that this is one of the best albums I've gotten in a long time and I look forward to future releases from The Azoic. If you've not gotten this album, go and get it. If you're not satisfied, I'll pay for it and then call you a fool.

DJ Genesis - Texas Goth Productions

Yet Another Electro Webzine
WOW was exactly the reaction we all had here at YAEW when we recently got the album CD ILLUMINATE by american THE AZOIC in.
THE AZOIC makes explosive electropop! And it's a real illumination.
After their successful FORWARD + CONFLICT release (a maximum of 8 weeks at the german alternative charts, peak position 3 (!)), THE AZOIC returns with ILLUMINATE - a further cultivation of "The Azoic's" sound and style that will leave you wanting more! A solid blend of electronic dance (encompassing everything from trance to futurepop, industrial, techno, and synthpop). 11 passionate dance tracks, including a cover of Animotion's 80's hit "Obsession" featuring a guest appearance from Frank Spinath of the german newcomerband SEABOUND! Check out massive club hits such as "Let me tell you something", "Illuminate", "Truth" or "Conflict". This album boasts 12 tracks, including a bonus mix of "Conflict" as well as a cover of Animotion's Obsession. Going Under is a beautiful song in which Kristy's vocals are very emotionally charged, "Carve into You" has fascinating lyrics.


This album ILLUMINATE is certainly the best in it's class.

Yet Another Electro Webzine

Infest UK
The Azoic combine enticing beat heavy dramatic sounds and strong passionate vocals, with an intense edge for the futurepop/dark synthpop market that will definitely electrify.

Infest UK

Chain DLK
This U.S. duo's third and latest CD, Illuminate, is a very strong EBM/darkwave release that is also firmly rooted in Euro-dance. Most of the tracks are hard-hitting anthems with female vocals attractively and subtly woven in. The title track, "Illuminate," stands out the most. The last number is an interesting "medley" remix by cyberDJ of "Conflict," from Azoic's eponymous 2003 release on Nilaihah Records (the original mix is included on this disc as well, for some reason). "Ever" makes for a timely change-up midway through the CD. Its sinuous, sexy drum pattern is a welcome respite from the relentless club tempo of the first five tracks. It's my favorite moment on the disc--you can imagine stepping into a strip club for one song, before returning to the dance club.... For you '80s throwbacks, track number 8 is a nicely done cover of "Obsession" by Animotion, and as far as the overall flow is concerned it is an excellent choice.

Singer Kristy Venrick never strays beyond the bounds of good sense in her delivery, and at times makes tasteful use of the vocorder. Her lyrics display many personal themes--desire, obsession, devotion, loss of love and many emotions in between. Musically, Steve Laskarides's programming is fiercely competent, and the production is appropriately tight and professional.

Illuminate is full of good, solid, no-nonsense dance grooves that would mix well in any club setting (and no doubt already has, by this time). I'd say that if The Azoic can one day transcend the genres that this new CD pays homage to, they could be unstoppable. The otherwise excellent CD insert design could have used a little proofreading in the liner notes and lyric sheet.... Nonetheless, it amounts to a terrific dancefloor wallop to the ears, and is a must-have if you are already a fan. And your iTunes will love it, too.

Perry Bathous @ Chain DLK

Smother.net
[Editor's Pick]
"For those not suffering from attention deficit disorder, you'll remember the heap of praise I dumped on their "Conflict" single previously. Well the applause line continues on their follow-up "Illuminate". Their passion is certainly darkwave in nature but their knack for assembling a veneer of floor-filling club beats is without peer. Kristy's vocals soar throughout each mix and could easily be stand-alone a cappella and deliver the goods. But with the almost mesmerizing blitz of keys and synth stabs peppering the spicy grooves and thunderous beats, you've got yourself a dark collection of insta-club favorites. 'Going Under's bassline will instantly course through your veins and the programming will usher forth a rush of adrenaline. Their cover of the huge '80's hit 'Obsession' by the groovy synth-pop Animotion also features a guest appearance by Seabound's Frank Spinath. Wow, it doesn't get much better than this." -- J-Sin of Smother.net

Collected Sounds
"The Azoic is back, and they once again are illuminating our worlds with addictive, nonstop beats that stick with us for hours after we leave the party.

Following the release of the Conflict single/remix disc, Illuminate will certainly light up any dance floor or environment in which it is heard. The songs and the soundscapes are only getting better!

This album boasts 12 tracks, including a bonus mix of Conflict, as well as a cover of Animotion's Obsession. My favorites include Going Under, a song in which Kristy's vocals are very emotionally charged, and Illuminate is another whirlwind song, containing elements of ethereal trance. Kristy and Frank Spinath (of the German band, Seabound) did an amazing job on Obsession with their "back and forth" vocal arrangement, and it will surely be an "obsession" among fans." --Sarah Bernardi of Collected Sounds

DJ Kantrip
WOW! Amazing. I've been waiting about a year for this release and I am not disappointed in the least. Kristy and Steve again deliver hard pounding dance beats with powerful vocals that seem to ignite in the air.

'Illuminate' opens with "Let Me Tell You Something," which they let everyone get a sneak listen to this past winter.' Illuminate' then drops into a hardcore stompy industrial beat with "Going Under" and "The One", and brings the flowing dance rhythm back with "Illuminate". Tracks like "Eternal" and "Ever" add a somber and atmospheric element to the album and are well placed so the energy that's built just doesn't suddenly drop off. Of course a major floor filler will be the cover of Animotion's "Obsession" with Frank Spinath of Seabound

Lyrically, the album is a lot more direct than 'Forward...' was. Songs like "Not Justified" and "Lost" had a very etheric or cryptic meaning to them, while "Going Under", and "Truth" are very upfront about who they are talking to (in theory) and what they are saying. This is what made "Conflict" stand out so much from the other Azoic tracks that were getting steady play around its release.

One thing about Nilaihah Records I've begun to expect is the inclusion of remixes on the back end of almost everything they release. Right after "Eternal", the Cyber DJ Medley remix of "Conflict" which flows in and out of cuts from 'Forward...'

I knew from the start this would be one of my favorite albums of the year when I heard the samples off of it, and I was not disappointed in the least. I honestly can't wait to hear some of the remixes that come out for the album. --DJ Kantrip

A Different Drum Weekly Update
This is the new, impressive album by one of the leading female-vocal bands in the synthpop / futurepop world. Kristy's singular voice fits right in with the pulsing electronics and clubby beats. The band builds on their previous albums, but seems to add some force, intensity, and slick production to bump it up a notch on "Illuminate". This is a solid futurepop album that adds something new to the growing genre.


WetWorks ezine
The Azoic are back! The brand new album entitled "Illuminate" (the first full-length release since 2001's "Forward...") will soon be invading your local club scene. I suggest you get it now! All the trademark electronic rhythms, building Trance synth lines and pulsing dance floor beats are back on this latest release. Kristy Venrick's vocals are as strong as ever, too. Just listen to tracks like the infectious "Going Under" or the amazing "Illuminate." The band even tossed on a fun, pop filled cover of the Animotion's 80's hit "Obsession" which contains the vocals of Frank Spinath of Seabound. Frank and Kristy's vocals play really well off each other and make "Obsession" one of the highlights of the disc. If you enjoy the music of Assemblage 23 or VNV Nation but always wondered what these acts would sound like with a strong female presence, then look no further than the music of The Azoic. "Illuminate" might just very well be their best album to date. You can decide for yourself though. Out now on Nilaihah Records.

(GunHed) --- WetWorks ezine

MotorCity Goths
The Azoic, which is Kristy Venrick from Columbus, Ohio, USA, and Steve Laskarides from Phoenix, Arizona, USA, have been around for many years. They were making dark experimental music for their first two albums, The Divine Suffering (1996) and Where Broken Angels Lie (1998), but made a sudden change to the elektro/synthpop style in 2001 with their third album Forward. Forward itself was kind of static in its delivery -- every one of the seven original songs sounded quite similar, and all but one had Kristy singing in almost exactly the same way (the one exception had Steve snarling over the music). There were also too many remixes. However, The Azoic are not ones to stand around and wait for things to happen, so they took three years to work on their newest offering. So, did they succeed in making a good follow-up for their fourth full-album effort?

I must resoundingly say, "YES, THEY DID!" From the hard-hitting opening track "Let Me Tell You Something", until the closing track "Passage" (if you don't count the DJ-medley of several remixes of "Conflict" and a few other pieces of earlier Azoic works, at the end of the CD), the listener just stays hooked. Kristy and Steve work together as a well-oiled machine no matter how many miles separate them, it seems. The crème de la crème of this album happens in the form of its title track, "Illuminate", with soaring epic trance leads and a very future-pop styled drum beat and bassline -- and very good lyrics, too. That's one thing The Azoic has been doing right for a while, their lyrics. I am just happy to see them putting those lyrics with some very cool music.

Other tracks of note here are (and you would not believe how hard it is to pick favourites beyond "Illuminate"!) "Conflict", the aforementioned "Let Me Tell You Something", "Eternal" (replete with an interestingly vocoded Kristy), and "Obsession" (cover of the 80's hit from Animotion, with Frank Spinath of Seabound helping out with the vocals). "Ever" and "Passage" serve as the downtempo tracks, to show the audience that yes, The Azoic can do slower songs, too. The tempo generally stays in the high range for the rest of the album, but every track sounds different from one another, so this isn't quite anything to worry about at all. Kristy puts on an exceptional vocal performance throughout the entire CD as well!

The Azoic have finally pulled out all the stops and released the best album of their career, and definitely one of the best of 2004. If this album is excellent by my standards, then I honestly think that the next album they do will, again by my standards, be nothing short of amazing. Hats off to Mr. Laskarides and Ms. Venrick!
Posted By: Pulse State @ Oct 21, 2004 -- MotorCity Goths

Side-Line Magazine (Checkline)
After a successful "Conflict" ep, the Azoic strikes back at full speed with an album that mainly focuses on danceable and fresh ebm nicely punctuated by their characteristic female vocals. If you liked the ep, you'll appreciate Illuminate although no other cut manages to reach the same level of magic and intensity. The whole album tends thus to be a bit boring and repetitive in the long run...
Benoit Blanchart

For some reason I have a soft spot for The Azoic, and especially Kristy's vocals. Her voice is exceptionally sexy but yet extremely strong so that you get this whole effect of dark melodic electro mixed with stark yet subtle female voices. Although not every track succeeds in surprising me all along the way. I must say that she has stolen my heart! Very entertaining release.
Bernard Van Isacker

This is finally the 4th full album of the band that counts some addicts in our editorial office since the publishing of their last ep, "Forward+Conflict". By the way, this last release was indicative of the musical direction of this new record: impressive and wide rhythmics with some trance and electro accents, a clear sound and alluring female vocals. All the ingredients to make an opus to discover in emergency!
Cedric Wattergniaux

The strength of The Azoic is their capacity to manage with efficiency a full of different influences like, trance, techno, ebm, and darkwave to create their own style and sound. If their previous albums contained some club hits, "Illuminate" goes one step further; each track is a potential club hit. Essential!
Patrick Falque

This American duo simply belongs to my favorites in the progressive electronic underground style. Their new full-length simply confirms their knowledge and ability to create fresh and hypnotic electronic structures driven by good danceable beats and the enigmatic, into sensuality female vocals of Kristy Venrick. The "Conflict"-song remains their absolute hit, but there's a lot to taste and enjoy here! An excellent production!
Stephane Froidcoeur
all for Side-Line Magazine

Side-Line Magazine (October/November/December 2004 Top 10 - #2)
After 2 albums and the "Conflict"-maxi on Nilaihah Records, the American duo of The Azoic signed to Infacted Recordings. The "Forward+Conflict" debut release has been an amazing debut on the European market and here already comes the next chapter, which is a new full length. Kristy Venrich and Steve Laskarides go on to explore the wide fields of progressive EBM. The Azoic definitely belongs to the new generation of body music, assembling fresh, techno-body hybrid bleeps driven by beating beating bass drums, carrying choruses and talented vocal parts by K. Venrick. The debut cut entitled "Let Me Tell You Something" perfectly holds on the style of their previous work. It's an elaborated and achieved opening song! The next 2 pieces (cf. "Going Under" and "The one") are holding onto the same ingredients of modern body vibes. The last song is a bit more powerful and accentuated by the harsher male backing vocals. I didn't really expect to find their absolute success song "Conflict" on this album again. As "Conflict" didn't appear on any full-length so far, it's probably quite logic so you don't hear me complain! This song remains an absolute topper, getting all essential substances for a club killer! It's powerful, danceable, catchy and easy reminding while the lyrics are just intriguing. The "Carve into you [edit 2003]" is another familar track, you maybe know the song from the "Forward" album and the "Forward+Conflict" release on Infacted as well. It's one more song towards progression, featuring irresistible refresing bleeps and build up with a sad sounding melody. If you're more into hypnotic acid vibes, "Truth" is another worth to listen. K. Venrick here also explores the capacities of her voice and the less I can say is, she's a real talented singer with a sensual timbre of voice. Another attention grabber is the "Eternal"-song, which sounds a bit more into the style of Apoptygma Berzerk. There's a typical body bass line running through the song, while I still like the kind of vocoder effect on the male vocals. Last, but not least, there's the familiar "Obsession", which has been already covered by Dive and Kirlian Camera. Well, the adaptation of The Azoic sounds definitely cool. It remains a slow cut, but written by giant electronic tones and clear male and female vocals. The Azoic just evolved towards maturity, dealing with the future sound of EBM. They're definitely one of my absolute favorite bands of the moment!
Stephane Froidcoeur
for Side-Line Magazine

ReGen Magazine
The Azoic have been steadily making a name for themselves in the electro scene since 1996. With their enticing blend of genres ranging from darkwave to synthpop to industrial and EBM, combined with the passionate vocals of Kristy Venrick and the pulsating electronics of Steve Laskarides, The Azoic is poising itself to be one of the best bands in the electronic underground. As mainstays on America’s Nilaihah Records, the group recently signed with European label Infacted Recordings, which led to the release of Forward + Conflict, a collection of old and new tracks for the European market. Now, they give listeners their latest album, Illuminate.

Like Forward + Conflict, this album is a collection of old and new, with new songs interspersed with favorites like "Conflict" and an edit of "Carve into You", the latter of which features Steve’s vocals in modern synthpop fashion. While the band is known for blending differing styles of electronic music, they seem to have taken a turn toward the synthpop EBM style that has pervaded much of the electro scene (primarily in the form of futurepop imitators). All the elements of past material are present, but honed and refined to create a sound that is both appealing to first-time listeners, yet still identifiable as The Azoic. There are still the gothic melodies and melancholy atmospheres, effectively offset by a heavier presence of dance beats and distorted synth lines. Heavy layers of synthesizers wash beneath Kristy’s vocals, which show some interesting computerized flourishes on the album opener "Let Me Tell You Something" and the title track. They even follow a common trend in electronic music to cover a song from the ‘80s; in this case, the Animotion song "Obsession", on which Seabound’s Frank Spinath lends some supporting vocals. The soft instrumental "Passage" closes things off with a nice array of dance beats and synthesizer melodies.

All in all, it is the same formula that has gained The Azoic their place in the scene. This proves to be both a strength and a weakness; a strength in its consistency and its ability to hold up to past material as well as to the other electro heavyweights, but a weakness in its lack of freshness. The music is familiar territory, even for The Azoic. The focus has shifted, but the elements are the same, which ultimately leads to a sense of "been there, done that". There is no shortage of entertainment value, for this is a very competent and enjoyable album. However, with much of the electronic scene in danger of falling into stagnation, The Azoic does not seem to be pushing any barriers to give their music the edge to rise above the drivel. However, if that does not bother listeners, then this album is sure to please.
ReGen Magazine

Dark Realms Magazine
The Azoic have released an impressive array of EBM songs guaranteed to propel them to the top of underground dance clubs for quite some time. While this is a beat heavy release to dance the night away, the lyrics delve into heartbreak and angst to really flesh out and purge the emotions with pinpoint precision. As the album title suggests, these are songs to open the eyes of the listener to uncover the truth, regardless of the outcome.

Vocalist Kristy Venrick has a bit of an electronic effect on the vocals that works marvelously. Composer Steve Laskarides also lends his vocals more prominently than fans have heard in the past. Jointly, Venrick and Laskarides take EBM to the next level of sonic development.

Let Me Tell You Something makes you want to dance all over the room, however, the lyrical content is that of one who has simply had enough with the fool in their life. Going Under is destined to slam across dance floors worldwide while lyrically we are exposed to the sentiment of feeling internally torn at a new found realization that makes us numb.

The One is an anthem for everyone who ever had a relationship go wrong due to lies, deceit and betrayal. The title track Illuminate continues in a similar vein with the bittersweet moment when our eyes are fully opened and we are not living in denial.

A special treat here is a cover of the 80's hit Obsession, which The Azoic deliver for the modern underground dance age. Impressive and HIGHLY recommended!
Mike Ventarola -- Dark Realms Magazine

Morbid Outlook
Heavy, synth driven, drum ‘n’ bass loops with sexy female vocals for the most part. There are some male vocals as well, generally malformed by electronic manipulation. Overall it made me feel sweaty and horny, but not in a bad way (is that good?). The vocals, especially the female, have a certain emotional viability that is, for me, often utterly lacking in this sort of music.
There is one instrumental offering of prettiness swathed in huge string pads that put me in mind of Frank Zappa’s 'ointment with little bells' assessment of new-age music, there in case you feel the need to relax in the hot tub in between dancing your ass off at the party I suppose. I found myself enjoying some tracks, while being more or less indifferent to others. In all fairness though, I don’t favor the club/dance genre much to begin with, except for the kinds of things someone like St Eve will do with (or to) it...so take this review with a grain of salt. If this genre is your cup of tea, then this group is probably better than many.
Andrew Fenner -- Morbid Outlook

The Other Paper (Columbus)
Purists may scoff that the biggest band from a town forged on high-revving indie rock doesn't even play guitar, but the Azoic is a leader in the international EBM music scene. What's more, vocalist Kristy Venrick runs Nilaihah Records, possibly the leading local label. The duo, rounded out by Steve Laskarides, in celebrating the release of 'Illuminate,' a disc brimming with processed vocals, synthetic beats and organic melodies. You'll never miss the guitars!
The Other Paper

A Different Drum
This is a totally solid album from a band that's probably the best in it's class-- female vocals with an intense edge for the futurepop / dark synthpop market. Danceable and dramatic.

Todd Durrant @ A Different Drum

Gothtronic
The Azoic makes explosive electropop with influences from EBM, trance and industrial. The music is quite bombastic, with heavy beats, warm synthsounds and accessible hooks. The tracks are catchy. They are also good. Sometimes it all is overwhelmingly slick and polished. Which is not bad at all, only after listening to a cd full of these kind of tracks you want to listen to something else again. This doesn’t mean this is a bad release, on the contrary. ‘Going Under’ has nice industrial sounds. ‘The One’ and ‘Illuminate’ show perfectly well which qualities vocalist Kristy is blessed with. She has a very good voice without any doubt. ‘Conflict’ we already knew of the EP and this is a song suitable for a single. The secret hitsong of this album however is the cover version of this Animotion track ‘Obsession’ that Kristy sung together with Frank Spinath of Seabound. This is a lovely coversong that also invites to go and dance. 'Carve into You' has fascinating lyrics. ‘Eternal’ is also a good song that need to be mentioned. The Azoic is a must have for fans of for instance VNV Nation, Assemblage 23 or XP8.
TekNoir @ Gothtronic The Azoic is very strong in combining great female voices and danceable, well-written, electropop songs. Songs like 'Let Me Tell You Something', the single 'Conflict' (there is also a CyberDJ medley present on this record), ‘Going Under’, ‘The One’ and 'Illuminate’ are piece by piece great dance floor fillers. 'Illuminate' however also has a more intimate character and is therefore also nice to listen to at home when your sitting on your couch or - even better - are driving in your car. 'Ever' proves that they can write songs with a more quieter pace and 'Obsession’ shows that they have the ability to cover a song as well. The best songs are however the ones with the most beats per minute and pitiful enough the CD leaves over all a somewhat one-sided impression. Every electropop fan should however buy this album, because there is enough to listen on ‘Illuminate'. Beautevil @ Gothtronic

Gothic Paradise
It's been three long years since the release of Forward... and a year since the teaser single Conflict came out. Fans of this group will no doubt be extremely excited about this release after such a long wait. This long-hoped-for follow-up to the more EBM/Techno friendly sound of Forward... is a great continuation of the long and promising career of this duo.

The overall tempo and mood of this album is one of pounding, fun music that really keeps you moving. Each time I listen to this album it's hard to stop if I can't listen to it all in one sitting. The music never ceases to keep my body moving too as the pounding beats and catchy rhythms pulsate and penetrate. Listeners that are familiar with this group should hear a lot of similar styles present, yet expanding into a little more techno-friendly music with a heavy edge, definitely plenty of bass and that solid beat. "Let Me Tell You Something" kicks this album off and is the first to really jump into this atmosphere of wonderful experimental trancey elements. Throughout the song, vocals and instruments crossfade across stereo chanels back and forth filling the room with great effects and sound.

This is just the tip of the iceburg as you delve into the other tracks you of course hit the slightly harsher and more industrial track "Conflict" which has proved to a be a fan and club favorite since the release of the single. Along with the album ersion there is also a special bonus track mixing several of the remixed versions into a special mix called the "cyberDJ Medley". This is fun to hear how it all mixes together and is well done, especially if it took place in a live setting.

There are a couple of tracks that slow the tempo down a bit and definitely bring down the overall mood and feeling in the form of "Ever" and the lush instrumental "Passage". Each maintain a solid electronic sound, but slow down the pace and bring out raw emotional power. Steve contributes his vocals on the incredibly melodic piece "Eternal". All of these variable elements and piece provide for great variety and a great overall album.

There are so many more things to relate about this album. It has to be one of the funner discs I've picked up lately that is just plain and simple, fun to listen to. The layered textures of the title-track with Kristy's vocals taking on a beauty that isn't very typical in the electronic dance genres bring out another nice element in the album. Of course I can't leave out the cover of the popular 80's cover "Obsession" orginally written and performed by Animotion. Frank Spinath of Seabound contributes his vocals for a nice duet between he and Kristy. They add a nice modern EBM sound while remaining true to the overall style of the original for a nice cover.

Once again The Azoic has proved the great results that come of hard work and talent. This album is highly commended to those that can really enjoy music and have fun.

Rating: 4.5/5
Gothic Paradise

Gothic Paradise
It's been three long years since the release of Forward... and a year since the teaser single Conflict came out. Fans of this group will no doubt be extremely excited about this release after such a long wait. This long-hoped-for follow-up to the more EBM/Techno friendly sound of Forward... is a great continuation of the long and promising career of this duo.

The overall tempo and mood of this album is one of pounding, fun music that really keeps you moving. Each time I listen to this album it's hard to stop if I can't listen to it all in one sitting. The music never ceases to keep my body moving too as the pounding beats and catchy rhythms pulsate and penetrate. Listeners that are familiar with this group should hear a lot of similar styles present, yet expanding into a little more techno-friendly music with a heavy edge, definitely plenty of bass and that solid beat. "Let Me Tell You Something" kicks this album off and is the first to really jump into this atmosphere of wonderful experimental trancey elements. Throughout the song, vocals and instruments crossfade across stereo chanels back and forth filling the room with great effects and sound.

This is just the tip of the iceburg as you delve into the other tracks you of course hit the slightly harsher and more industrial track "Conflict" which has proved to a be a fan and club favorite since the release of the single. Along with the album ersion there is also a special bonus track mixing several of the remixed versions into a special mix called the "cyberDJ Medley". This is fun to hear how it all mixes together and is well done, especially if it took place in a live setting.

There are a couple of tracks that slow the tempo down a bit and definitely bring down the overall mood and feeling in the form of "Ever" and the lush instrumental "Passage". Each maintain a solid electronic sound, but slow down the pace and bring out raw emotional power. Steve contributes his vocals on the incredibly melodic piece "Eternal". All of these variable elements and piece provide for great variety and a great overall album.

There are so many more things to relate about this album. It has to be one of the funner discs I've picked up lately that is just plain and simple, fun to listen to. The layered textures of the title-track with Kristy's vocals taking on a beauty that isn't very typical in the electronic dance genres bring out another nice element in the album. Of course I can't leave out the cover of the popular 80's cover "Obsession" orginally written and performed by Animotion. Frank Spinath of Seabound contributes his vocals for a nice duet between he and Kristy. They add a nice modern EBM sound while remaining true to the overall style of the original for a nice cover.

Once again The Azoic has proved the great results that come of hard work and talent. This album is highly commended to those that can really enjoy music and have fun.

Rating: 4.5/5
Gothic Paradise

GothicInfo.net
September 2004 saw the release of Illuminate, The Azoic's fourth full length album and their sixth official release. With this record, The Azoic says they 'have taken their sound even further.' Not even questioning whether they have done so, they in fact managed to create an album with over an hour of really danceable music. Even before you have listened to it, the danceability of the music on this album is made clear by stating not only the length of the tracks, but also the beats per minute of each separate track. We are promised a cd with mostly 140 beats per minute.

With this album, Kristy, Steve and Yana do not appear to be challenging the listeners, musically speaking. Instead, their main focus seems to be to create music that is easy to listen to and that people want to hear. But, since that's what people want, it can hardly be called a bad thing. Although some may claim surprising changes in melody give music just that little extra, consistency is what it takes to become a hit in the club scene. And once it did become a hit, there's always the possibility of remixing the whole lot to add some surprising twists, as the cyber DJ medley of Conflict proves on this track, where for instance some slower parts are inserted into the generally fast track.

So, although the album may seem a little dull for those people who have been into the genre for quite a while already, it's certainly a nice record on the dance floor. And especially when listening to the record at home, the American trio built in some resting points with slower tracks in the form of Ever and Passage, where you can catch your breath after being unable to stop moving those feet, head and possibly other body parts whilst sitting in front of your computer screen.

Jurjen @ GothicInfo.net

Synthpop.net
This new 2004 album follows the release of the 2003 single "Conflict", which was a absolutely stunning and magnificent EBM-pop song. At the time of that single's release it was a real wake-up call to the new sound and style of The Azoic, and left me and most anyone else who enjoyed it wanting more. Well, it took a little while, but the accompanying album is finally here, and Illuminate doesn't disappoint.

From the first track "Let Me Tell You Something", it is immediately plain that "Conflict" was not a aberration, but a indication of a new, incredibly high standard that The Azoic have set for themselves. It's insanely catchy, has enough punch to it to easily please the club crowd, and some really neat synth work to boot. The following tracks only serve to reinforce that idea: this album is a extremely impressive dance epic. While not every track is quite the dancefloor packing material of "Conflict" and "Going Under" (case in point with "Ever"), even the slower tracks are highly engaging. Particularly interesting were the tracks "The One" and "Eternal", where Steve, the other member of The Azoic, steps forward to take the lead vocal role. While usually distorted or processed in some way, it's still a neat alternate approach to the vocals.

It's difficult to describe just how impressive this album is. The Azoic have created a album here that will have you dancing, singing along, and wanting to play it again over and over. It's definitely in the top 5 best releases of 2004 in my book, and I heartily recommend you give it a listen!

Jason Baker @ Synthpop.net

Starvox.net
The Azoic are kicking ass and taking names! Here is a collection of songs lyrically delving into the nonsense of relational game playing and overcoming the mind screw and torment left behind. Now take these same lyrics, run them through heavy duty electronic vocal processing and fuse them with the trademark Steve Laskarides beat driven pulsations and one has a sure fire winner in their midst.

Vocalist Kristy Venrick put her heart on her sleeve when composing these tracks in the anticipation that her learning process would help to "illuminate" others. When one thinks of illumination, often we misleading assume that it should inspire us to something that is positive. Sometimes, illumination takes the form of waking up to one's own denial and excuses within the framework of a relationship. Sometimes it means waking up and realizing that something we have been striving for is a wasted effort.

Nevertheless, whatever form illumination may take with listeners, be assured that these tracks will leave dancers breathless on the club floors and home-party people in awe with the sonic potency delivered through their home stereo speakers. In spite of the intensity of the heartbreak of some of these lyrics, the percussive fulmination simply makes you want to move and move a LOT.

Along with these tracks, we are also given a remake of the classic New Wave song, Obsession, done expertly for the modern era. We are also given a bit of a tease with Laskarides' hand at vocals on The One, which is hopefully something that shall continue in the future as both Venrick and Laskarides make the song come fully alive with their harmony. If you are seeking out potent dance music with beats per minute that are pretty much off the charts, do seek out Illuminate.

Mike Ventarola @ Starvox.net

Gothic Beauty Magazine
It is hard to be a critic when you are dancing non-stop. Illuminate grabs up the pounding beats, the glitchy switches, pitch shifts and floor-filling formulas, and clicks them together in a perfect mosaic like an interactive game. It's not all addictive beats and adrenaline, either, for which the critic is grateful; even the heaviest dance trance is a more sublime experience when the lyrics connect with feelings and insight. Kristy Venrick pulls off digitally treated vocals without mechanizing the emotion out of them; she sounds even better without the robotics in the title track. Most of the lyrics, as in "Conflict", fit perfectly like puzzle pieces amid the saturation of programming; "Truth" was irresistible, a straightforward futurepop track delivered with excellent aim.

Carolee @ Gothic Beauty Magazine

Sick Among The Pure
The duo of Kristy Venrick and Steve Laskarides shines in their latest 2004 release, Illuminate. The opening track, "Let Me Tell You Something," sets the powerful mood with Kristy’s seductive, resonating vocals, strong Electronic Dance rhythms and forceful lyrics. As the chorus illustrates: "Let me tell you something / I won’t be pushed around / It’s my life I will not give up that easy / You cannot break me down," she - and the band - stand firm in principle. In honor, in pride: a stoic presence to be reckoned with.

"Going Under" is one of their darker tracks, in my opinion. It sounds edgy, futuristic, with a crunchy, frantic undercurrent that drags you down into the song. I love the intrusive male "It is done," for it carries a tone of danger. "The One" also employs a union of male and female vocals, but in this song, it feels more Dark Rave-influenced.

In the title track, "Illuminate," a smoother style emerges, with her ethereal vocals rising higher and higher in the sky, with the rich bubbly essence of Future Pop. "Conflict" - both the single and CyberDJMedley version - weaves together a complexity of rhythms. Altogether EBM, Future Pop, Synth pop, and Electro Trance. As you dance, you’ll feel as dizzy as the lyrics suggest, and I mean this in the most positive way. "Conflict" sweeps you away.

The tempo slows in "Ever," a beautiful echoic ballad. "Truth" continues the heavenly breadth of their talents, in the range of her voice, the emotive songwriting and the pleasing synthetic beats. For 80’s Animotion fans, Frank Spinath of Seabound makes a guest appearance for the fun cover of "Obsession."

"Carve Into You" is the light-side of Electro-Industrial. If only the song explored the harder drumming a bit more to match the harsher lyrics ("You rape to annihilate"), but the wailing siren, faster synth-riffs and a huskier warbling work well. "Eternal" does embrace the Industrial beats, but I don’t care as much for the computerized male vocals that transcend the song into Future Pop.

"Passage" reigns as the sole instrumental on Illuminate. It evokes melancholy and hope.

All in all, fans of The Azoic will love Illuminate; the sound has evolved, matured; yet Kristy and Steve still approach music-making with a fresh light touch.

Teri A. Jacobs @ Sick Among The Pure

back to The Azoic - Illuminate ________________________________________________________________________

FORWARD + CONFLICT

Pendul
This is the first European release of US female fronted Electro club-friendly band The Azoic. The product reunites their full album Forward… and the maxi-single Conflict collection of some psyche remixes done by other artists from the same musical area. Fifteen tracks that include also previously unreleased material that fit with the rest of the record are to be heard on this CD. What we have here is a mixture of modern sounds and club-flavour tunes, the styles ranging from EBM, Powernoise to dancing Synthy-Pop and Trance vibrations. Their Electro Poppy melodic side is in many moments quite catchy and turns out to have a breaking Subpop interludes or even Industrial Heavy hybrids of electronic basslines. The remixes are signed by Iris, Negative Format, Imperative Reaction, Massiv In Mensch, System Syn, Assemblage 23, Flesh Field, Oneiroid Psychosis and CombiChrist (side project of internationally acclaimed Icon Of Coil), all o f them being reorchestrated and redone in mesmerizing symbiosis. With fiery voice and mature dark influences on filtered male vocals the album is switching between attractive and etherised beat-driven rhythms, pounding phase loops, punchy synthetic assaults and seductive passages of cold repetitive Industrial sequences. In this regards, Not Justified and Lost are two Future Pop electros that will chill out some Techno-freaks out there!

Julius von Sammaël - Pendul

Industrial Nation
The remix album is the sonic equivalent to riding a barrel over Niagara Falls; the odds of success are slim, but if you do succeed, the rewards can be great. A good remix on its own is hard to come by. An album full of them? Near impossible. Darkwave/electro darlings The Azoic decided to test the waters by putting together an album full of remixes by the likes of Assemblage 23, Iris, Flesh Field, and others. The result is an album packed with wall-to-wall club beats. Darkwave is completely off the menu, while the thumping beats of techno and EBM take over. The turmoil mix of "Conflict," constructed by The Azoic’s own Steve Laskarides, sets the bar high as the album’s leadoff, and provides a solid dance mix that easily overpowers the offers that follow. This is notable because the tracks "Carve Into You (2003 Edit)," "Not Justified," and "Redemption," weren’t touched by anyone outside the band. Points go to Iris and CombiChrist for their commendable remixes of "Conflict." Negative points go to Assemblage 23 for electronically manipulating Kristy Venrick’s voice in the exact same way Cher’s was in her dreadful pop chart-topper "Believe." Automatic disqualification. For the most part, the remixes on Forward + Conflict would make a welcome addition to any club set. However, the overuse of the same type of beats quickly becomes repetitive when listening to the album in one sitting. For a remix album it’s a solid effort, although it’s best kept on the dancefloor.

Ryan Hill - Industrial Nation

Side-Line
This is the first European release of the American The Azoic. I’m sure lots of Europeans have already discovered this band on different sampler contributions and maybe put their finger on their American albums “Forward” and “Where broken angels lie” or the amazing Mcd “Conflict.” While I personally remember to have even gotten their demo entitled “The divine suffering”, which was into poorly inspired electro-gothic stuff, this band literally metamorphosed to reinvent their own sound and style! The Azoic became for sure one of the coolest electronic combo’s I’ve heard in years, striving for modernism, combining an EBM basis together with techno-like and future-pop ingredients. There’s an amazing power emerging of their work while the female vocals of Kristy Venrick are adding a particular sensual and charismatic touch! Most of the tracks have been remixed by famous and other promising formations like CombiChrist, Assemblage 23, Massiv In Mensch, Negative Format, Flesh Field, God Module etc… like they say in France, ‘du beau monde’! It’s a long time ago I get that excited by listening to an entire album, but track after track, the power and danceable aspect of the music emerges out of the speakers. Well, it’s also due to the good job of the remixers, but when the original version is already great, the job of any other band working on a remix will become easier! The “Conflict”-song remains probably my favorite and especially the remixes of Massiv In Mensch and Negative Format. Both bands are adding their own progressive and trance sound, resulting in mind-blowing mixes! There’s no doubt about it, this is the EBM sound of tomorrow, but tomorrow starts now with The Azoic! Notice by the way that the other remixes of “Conflict” by The Azoic [Turmoil mix], Combichrist and Iris are more than simply great! Other remarkable contributions are coming from Assemblage 23, making a robotic-dance version of “Progression” and hard-hitting “Dillusional mix” of “Evolution” by Flesh Field. The previously unreleased edition of “Carve into you” is a bit darker, but holding on the same EBM progressive aspect! And once again, I’m falling in love with the cold and sensual vocals of Kristy. Her voice sounds a bit like Patrice of Regenerator, but with much more power and volume. While a new full length is announced during the year, this will be an opportunity to discover a very talented duo that will soon increase the popularity of Infacted Recordings and establish the name of The Azoic on the European card! Thanks for these moments of EBM-reverie! --(DP:9/10 CMF:8)DP, Side-Line

Gothtronic
The Azoic is a electropop / EBM project from Columbus, Ohio and this is her European debut cd on the German Infacted Recordings. The Azoic released records before in the US. 'Forward' and in 2003 the EP 'Conflict'. Tracks of that release with additional remixes are now compiled on 'Forward+Conflict' in order to conquer the European Market. The first track 'Conflict' is a nearly perfect futurepop track that's also energetic and therefore will be perfect for the dancefloor. 'Conflict' is a neat song with heavy punding beats and strong vocals by singer Kristy. Kristy proves to be a gifted vocalist in passages in songs like 'Carve into You', 'Redemption', 'Lost' and especially the splendid 'Progression', on this cd represented by the briljant remix of Assemblage 23. Title track 'Conflict' is represented on this cd in various remixes made by acts like Combichrist, Massive in Mensch, Negative Format and US synth talent Iris. The remixes of Combichrist and Iris are most well done. God Module made a nice remix of 'Progression', but this is still nothing that special compared to the mix done by Assemblage 23. Flesh Field finally, could remix 'Evolution' which turned out to be a dark electro track very much in the vein of their well known style. This is a excellent European debut cd of a band that's able to write really good songs and to enhance them with the perfect dance beats to add some more spice without sounding like just another futurepop band. The Azoic should be very happy with a vocalist like Kristy, one of the best female vocalists in the electro / ebm scene. This cd is a absolute recommendation and makes me very curious for the full length album 'Illuminate' , to be released in 2004. (8/10) -- TekNoir, Gothtronic

When the boxes vibrate, when you open your ears and when the couch isn't comfortably anymore than you have to deal with a good song. The first notes of 'Conflict' put you in a forward direction and when Kristy Venrick prove to have a good fitting (female) voice than there's no holding back. The music is a combination of driven EBM with some synthpop influences (especially in the way the songs are written). The second time you hear 'Conflict' it's taken through a blender by Combichrist. The end result is heavier, but due to the voice of Kristy still recognisable. 'Carve Into You' and 'Progression' got the same elements as 'Conflict'. Well thought of theme's, danceable and with the familiar voice of Kristy. With 'Not Justified' the trick gets a bit too familiar and the remixes of songs like 'Conflict', 'Progression' and 'Evolution' (with the voice of the man behind the machines, Steve Laskarides) don't seem to promise too much as well. Thankfully The Azoic knows to surprise with every other song and every remix seem to add something new to the original and the earlier remixes. "Forward - Conflict" is therefore a successful attempt to get the attention from the European market. (7.5/10) -- Beautevil, Gothtronic

Synthpop.net
I was introduced to The Azoic through the Venusa XX compilation series, and then after hearing them again on the State Of Synthpop 2003 compilation. So, I was finally convinced to give their album a try. "Forward..." is a transitional album for the band, as they state in the liner notes, it's a shift in musical focus for the band. The band previously had a more darkwave oriented sound on the previous two albums, but has taken a more EBM / Industrial Dance slant to their music starting with this release. This album has been re-released in Europe by Infacted Records, with added tracks from the "Conflict" single. Listening to this CD over several times, I found myself thinking that it would really appeal to fans of Assemblage 23's heavier material. This band certainly incorporates the harder, harsher sounds of Industrial Music into their material, with "Redemption" at times sounding like it's morphed into a Noise track. It's a very enjoyable CD, but best suited I think for those days when you feel rotten and want some music to commiserate with. The remixes presented here pretty much are what you'd expect from each remixer. The only one that I knew nothing about was Oneiroid Psychosis, and their mix is a more mid-tempo, slow but still forceful take on the track in question ("Progression") that I quite enjoyed. Basically, if you have heard and enjoyed any of The Azoic's tracks on a compilation before, you're probably going to really like this album as well. If you haven't heard the band's material before, and the idea of a female-fronted Industrial/Electro band sounds appealing, you'll probably enjoy this too. -- Jason Baker for Synthpop.net

ElectroGothic.com
After a two successful albums, "Forward" and "Conflict", finally the new album, "Forward + Conflict" arrives thanks to Infacted-Recordings. This album includes both previous releases merged into one with a couple of unreleased tracks to spice the album up. The album includes mixes by CombiChrist(Icon of Coil side project), Assemblage 23, GOD MODULE, IRIS, Massiv in Mensch and so many others. After poping this one into my CD-player, I had high hopes...after 75 minutes of hard electro/industrial beats, I was absoultely satisfied. Hard beats accompanied by sweet female vox, what a mix! All the remixes are really good and its rather difficult to pick out any favorites, which is a good achievement for all the bands involved! Overall a fine release and a must for fans of Electro/Industrial/EBM. Plenty of club material on this release to satisfy many a dance floor! It should also be noted that Kristy (vocalist) has finished recording vocals for Epsilon Minus, Dekoy(Who was featured on Gothica), Parallel Project(Negative Format S/P) and Neuroactive. All CD release dates are slated for early 2004. With such demand for Kristy's talent, I believe that this release will further stamp The Azoic's Authorotaa! on the underground scene! -- ElectroGothic.com

Music Non Stop
First European release from US electropop act THE AZOIC combines their full length album ( ''Forward'' ) and maxi single ( ''Conflict'' ) with previously unreleased exclusive material at a special price. THE AZOIC offer powerful, club-friendly electropop, multi-facetted, danceable with melodic and catchy choruses. This release is not just a combination of their last two American releases but contains also a number of previously unreleased EXCLUSIVE tracks and remixes ! In total 15 track including collaborations and remixes from COMBICHRIST ( Icon of Coil ), ASSEMBLAGE 2 3, NEGATIVE FORMAT, FLESH FIELD and GOD MODULE. Music Non Stop

Legends Magazine
Since the band’s inception in Columbus, Ohio 1996, The Azoic continue to produce these crisp club sounds that gel inside the Sunday morning mind and truly appear to be an unstoppable band that looks forward to future projects so they can develop their sound even more.  With eight released albums to date, we can firmly admit that this band has evolved into a band that other Gothic industrial dance bands can and should look up to for direction in developing their own sound, or at least try out new techniques for layering virgin tracks.

Conflict is a rather short EP compiled of the song Conflict in all eight various measures including one multi media video.  This is The Azoic’s version of how to change up one lonely song.  You have your album version of course from what the others are spawned from and then you have your other seven-tagged mixes describing how the album version was changed.

For instance, with the Combi Christ mix, your going to hear chanting about vocalist Kristy Venrick’s belief in Christ with lyrics like, “Keep my perspective straight, keep me away from hate, keep my eyes uncovered” while a distorted repetition of Conflict is the pervasive music setting.  The Massiv In Mensch mix is light with sweet vocal tracks laid out where most of the dynamics occur in the song.  Though the other mixes are short renditions to appreciate, you’ll find the original album mix to be the better one since the song is played in its entirety and leaves the body of sound in tact. 

Steve Laskarides is credited for the track mixing and vocal track layout, which is done in a polished manner, found most importantly while mixing Venrick’s vocals.  All the vocal tracks in each mix are smooth with an eerie essence to provide the Gothic nature.  I think the layered electronics mixed with the distorted noise and Venrick’s voice, is beautiful and really an oddity when considering the most new indie techno seems to just lay around with an absence of texture for dancing.  The multi media video contains a music video for Conflict (album version) and a hearty selection of live photos, press photos, lyrics and other entertaining fodder to dig while you’re listening to the album.

Review by May Wiseman for Legends Magazine

back to The Azoic - Forward + Conflict ________________________________________________________________________
CONFLICT

Smother.net
[Editor's Pick]
"Precisely what I`ve been looking for! A dancy darkwave band that is passionate yet heavy on the dancefloors. This single features eight different mixes and showcases the talent of The Azoic. Just listen to how melodic the female voices are! I want to hear more! Now! And so will you. No dancefloor will be complete without this elite EBM/industrial dance single." -- J-Sin of Smother.net

Synthpop.net
This single for "Conflict" followed the release of the "Forward.." album in the US, and was later to have several tracks from it incorporated into the European release of "Forward..". On the MCD, there are 8 total versions of the title track, as well as a CD-Rom video for the track that is very, very slick.. I could easily see this video on MTV2 (since MTV hardly plays videos anymore).

"Conflict" in it's original form was a hard-hitting Industrial Dance-pop track, and the remixes only emphasize that aspect of the song on this MCD. It was a very powerful and passionate song to begin with, but several of these remixes up the ante on even the level of emotion in the song. I really love the turmoil mix by the band, but so many of the remixes are great in their own right. Iris' mix gives a very cool electropop feel to the song, and Massiv In Mensch is a awesome club track. About the only remix I had issues with was the Negative Format remix, and my only note there was that the mix, at 7 &1/2 minutes, was a little overly long. Otherwise, this is a excellent single. The Azoic made great choices in assembling the remixers for this single, and it shows in the quality of the mixes. I can recommend this single without hesitation.. do yourself a favor and snag a copy! -- Jason Baker for Synthpop.net

Industrial Nation
"The Azoic's latest single, 'Conflict,' offers seven remixes of the infectiously catchy title track. Although the idea of 44 minutes of the same song is usually a recipe for utter boredom, that isn't the case here. Kristy's vocals provided the seven remixers a variety of directions to explore while the nature of the songwriting itself had more than enough melody to play with. The Azoic also did a fantastic job in selecting their remixers. They purposely opted out of getting a huge name on the bill in favor of some of the best programmers in the scene. Andy LaPlegua, Andrew Sega and Alex Mathau all live up to their repulations as Icon of Coil, Iris and Negative Format respectively, providing solid mixes.

The disc is also loaded with little extras. The multimedia track comes with a music video and a host of pictures and lyrics. The Azoic even installed a little thank you note to their fans in the CD text. Overall, they did a fantastic job in the execution of the single, which should hold us over until the release of their anticipated full length, 'Illuminate.'" -- pHil.PTI of Industrial Nation

Side-Line
"The Azoic are back with an addictive little sample of what's to come on their new album, "Illuminate." Released in July the new single, "Conflict" is a song about the pain of understanding and dealing with one's inner strife. They advance their sound using the usual juxtaposition of hard beats along with the strong synth melodies and Kristy's beautiful vocals. Plus, not only do they add their own remix but six other artists add their take on this track; Negative Format, Iris, CombiChrist (the new solo project of Andy LaPlegua from Icon of Coil), Imperative Reaction, Massiv in Mensch and System Syn. Though few of them stray very far from the original song, you do get a few variations that include heavier synth-pop, power-noise, and trance influences which should fit most any dance floor mood. While this release will surely be a hit with DJs, it would not be out of place in anyone else's collection either, especially considering it also contains the "Conflict" multimedia video. The single is available worldwide via the Nilaihah Records website, plus keep an eye out for the full length "Illuminate" due out at the end of this year or early in 2004." - DJ Evol Eno of Side-Line

Collected Sounds
As The Azoic's new album has yet to be released, we are given the single for "Conflict", which features 8 stellar remixes, as well as a video track for "Conflict", anyone would agree that this is definitely enough to tie any fan over.

The various remixes are all interesting takes on the original, with the CombiChrist mix being the one that struck me the most.

All of them vary in their arrangements, vocalist Kristy Vernick has a very versatile voice, her emotion definitely comes through on al the mixes.

I encourage you all to check out this single as there are mixes for everyone, ranging from synthpop, dreamy ethereal, to hard techno beats, The Azoic are definitely a group to watch. - Sarah Bernardi of Collected Sounds

Starvox
"It’s not a common practice for me to review a CD single, which consists of eight different versions of one song. Not to mention the fact that the style of the song in question is part of a genre that has basically overshadowed everything I love about dark organic music. As most know, ‘the thud’ drives the bats right out of the belfry. However, what follows will indeed be a favourable review of a highly catchy synth pop single! Simply because an honest music critic can recognize what is good, and when something possesses genuine quality, regardless of their own subjective musical preferences, you gotta give it props. I like to think that I am one of those critics that possess that ability.

The Azoic were once one of the scariest bands in existence. And at that time, it seemed like only a select group of scary individuals relished their first two discs of unsettling doom and gloom. But over the past few years, the band has morphed into a futuristic synth pop project that has received overwhelmingly positive interest in the dark club scene across the globe. And rightfully so. The Azoic is without question following the conventional dance club formulas of heavyweights like VNV Nation, Assemblage 23 and the like, and I don’t think they are at all attempting to disguise that fact. But their music stands out because of its memorable hooks, its consistently hard hitting and upbeat programming, and its melodic sensibility. Not to mention the confident alto vocals of Kristy Venrick. But perhaps the key to the band’s success is that they never entirely abandoned the darker atmospherics of their formative years. However often these bobbing rhythms lure the feet of black clad youths on to their local club’s dance floors, the chilling choir or string samples and vocal melodies still retain the ability to send shivers down the listener’s spine. And that is what sets them apart from most electronic dance acts. The Azoic is just simply good at what they do, and seem to be getting better at their craft as they settle into the current phase of their seven-year existence and prepare for their forthcoming album, Illuminate, due later this year.

"Conflict" serves as a teaser of what is to come with the aforementioned full-length, and also to prevent the momentum initiated by last year’s "Forward" release from slowing down. I can’t honestly pinpoint a single thing that the average fan of this genre would not enjoy about this new single. It’s got all the right ingredients to be a contemporary club smash and the song is already well on its way to anthem status it seems. It’s immediately catchy, moody as well as energetic, with an enveloping pristine production and glossy rhythmic punch. And if the album version isn’t enough to strike your fancy or (for DJs) doesn’t quite fit your style of spinning, there are seven alternatives.

I personally enjoyed the first three mixes the most. The Turmoil version is rougher around the edges when compared to the original, and has a slightly more trance-inducing vibe. The wonderfully dark CombiChrist mix is a more gristled deconstruction and hits much harder both physically and atmospherically. Kristy’s melodic vocals are scrapped and replaced with stark spoken bits and creates a much more sinister and hypnotic effect. The Iris remix left me cold. Though this mix employs a slower more intricate and lite trip hop vibe to the song, it meanders along lazily and totally forsakes the energy of the original track. The raw and relatively dynamic Massiv In Mench mix is a good return to form. The notoriously angst-ridden Germans looped one of Kristy’s breathier vocal lines and slightly pitch shifted the rest a bit higher. Musically, it volleys between a steady thud and more rhythmic break beats for a few of the verses. The Negative Format mix is basically an extended version of the song with additional techno flair. Didn’t quite grab me as much as the other tracks did, but it’s still cool and I am sure DJs will find a use for it. By this point, I think you get the idea. Each of the tracks provides a noticeable reinterpretation of the song, while never straying too far from the original ideas.

In addition to the remixes, a multimedia video clip of the track is included. I am a sucker for videos. I am addicted to MTV2 and VH1 Classic, and I have always felt that music video was an enthralling art form. So I always love it when bands include video tracks on their releases, because where the hell else will we see this stuff? At any rate, the “Conflict” video features live clips of the band performing the track interspersed with footage of speeding trains and dizzying shots of steel beams and the like, and the band miming the song in a concrete tunnel. There is some nice clashing of full-colour shots with blue and sepia tinted passages, which balance cold and warm tones. Not to mention a curvaceous gothy gal (probably a close friend of the band that said “I wanna be in your video, dammit!”) that wanders about seemingly lost and stood up by a foolish boy. At any rate, it’s not a work of sublime cinematic art, but its still quite fly and for those of you that dig the band and haven’t had the privilege to have seen them live, you can see the band in action and see who is behind some of these songs you have been groovin’ to.

At any rate, all I can really say here is I can’t write a short review no matter how hard I try. I mean, this is a single for chrissakes. If you dig electro, EBM, synth pop, or whatever the hell they are calling this stuff nowadays, this is not only one of the next anthems, but it is one of the few with any atmospheric substance. So check it out and be on the lookout for “Illuminate” later this year." --Matthew Heilman of Starvox

Re>gen Magazine
"This latest single from The Azoic should build nicely on the positive feedback created by their well-received Forward album from last year as it continues on the band's light trance/dance song style. It also provices further evidence of just how important Kristy Venrick's vocals have become to the band's style as they suit this track perfectly, allied with a superb hook that makes it's presence felt the more you listen to it, something that the remixes add to. As ever, listening to 8 versions of one track (not including the multi-media video at the end) in one go can be a bit much but, as a rule, the remixers, ranging from the harder hitting styles of Turmoil, Massiv In Mensch & System Syn, the synthpop of Iris or Imperative Reaction's trancey/electronica all add something new & fresh to the material, thus avoiding the 'remixing for remixing sake' that some releases seem to suffer from. Negative Format do the most to take the material into unexpected new realms while one intriguing inclusion is that of CombiChrist, the new act featuring Icon Of Coil's Andy LaPlegua. Don't go expecting some dancey 'future pop' number here as this is quite a different beast, doing away with the vocals (aside from a few repeated spoken riffs) & introducing heavy EBM beats & scorching guitars, just right to get you slamming away with great enthusiasm!!

Just about all of the remixes work well in what thet set out to do & this adds up to a worthwhile release that should see this track becoming a club regular over the forthcoming months." --Carl Jenkinson of Re>gen Magazine

Fiend
Many years ago, The Azoic were a small band on mp3.com and an early version of their now classic 'Not Justified' remains one of my favourite songs even now. Some official releases later, however, and I'd felt The Azoic of yore was long, long gone; the spark of genuine originality had vanished, replaced by material that while solid and professionally executed, lacked that initial zang that made The Azoic such a stand out act. So it was with great hesitancy I approach the Conflict EP, and once I could set my initial cynicism aside I was thrilled to be filled with a sense Ye Olde Azoic, albeit through remix treatments by Negative Imperative, CombiChrist, Iris and Massiv In Mensch. From EBM to what can only be described as electroclash, the variations of "Conflict" all share what can be only called The Azoic sound, and one can only hope this is an indication of future releases. - Alexandra Nicholas, Fiend

Grave Concerns + In Music We Trust + Club Illuminati
"Conflict" is the 2003 EP from the female-fronted EBM/SynthPop band the Azoic, consisting of Kristy Venrick (lyrics, vocals), and Steve Laskarides (programming, engineering). This EP is a multimedia CD consisting of a music video provided in two formats, and eight versions of the club hit "Conflict". Remixes by Iris, Negative Format, Imperative Reaction, Massive in Mensch, System Syn, and CombiChrist (an Icon of Coil side project). "Conflict" is a instant club hit with infectious dance beats, well-layered programming and explosive, mesmerizing vocals from the talented and passionate Kristy Venrick. This EP is superbly polished and well produced, covering a wide variety of styles and sounds from neo-industrial, electro-trip-pop, technotronic, progressive electronic, and to synthpop making this a well-rounded EP with an array of tempos and rhythms in which should provide something for everyone. Recommended for fans of female synth acts like Collide. For also enthusiast of synth pop bands such as Syrian, or the progressive electronic elements of AsciiDisko. 4 out of 5 --DJ Kreepy Krawly of Club Illuminati

A Different Drum
"It's time for some new music by America's top female-vocal futurepop act! There are eight versions of this new, energetic song, plus a bonus CD-Rom video track that's really cool. This song is a really nice dance track for the synthpop and industrial clubs, and the extra versions take the song into all kinds of edgy dance directions. It's a taste of great things to come if the album lives up to 'Conflict'." --Todd of A Different Drum

Gothic Paraidse
As we await the highly anticipated new album to be titled "Illuminate", we are presented with the great single "Conflict". This CD Single is great in that it has 8 great mixes of the single as well as multimedia goodies including a video of "Conflict".

The multimedia contact is a definite plus for this single with a very catchy video that's fun to watch. The video is nice in that it's not a full "performance" video where the group just catches a performance on stage and releases it as their video. But this has some nice simple effects and thematic scenes that really mix well with the song. There are also pictures, links to their website and other little goodies.

This single is regular club-hit just waiting to happen. Like many other The Azoic tracks, this one is very moving and catchy with Kristy's emotional vocals carrying the mood with excellent backing music. The original album version is my favorite version on this single as it builds and fades, pulsates and moves you wherever you are.

Add to this nice album version 7 other remixes and it's an interesting single that shouldn't disappoint. I'm usually not a huge fan of singles because of the "single dilemna" I like to call it where there's a bunch of remixes of the same song, most of which I usually end up not liking anyways as different artists' interpretations detract so much from the original feel of the song. However, I think that the remixers on this disc managed to pull them off in such a way as to maintain much of the original feeling, emotions and energy. The "Turmoil Mix" was remixed by The Azoic so it sticks to the original the most. However, you pull out the driving "CombiChrist Mix" and "Massive In Mensch" mix with the hard-hitting, driving beats and you have energetic club tracks. Iris presents their mix in more of a classic synthpop sound that isn't quite as driving, but still a nice track to listen to.

The remaining remixes are also very good by Negative Format and System Syn adding their own unique styles. The final track is another remix that I think stays more with the original style. This remix by Imperative Reaction really adds a lot more volume and intensity to the original creating a really great song.

As a single, this one is a "must have" to go along with the new album that will soon be out.
Rating: 4.5/5" --Jacob Bogedahl of Gothic Paradise

eye.lyft
"Very well produced and quite catchy besides the obviously danceable! This teaser single has a nice universal quality to it that should appeal to a variety of listeners. Nice vocals dynamics and vocal effects along with some very addictive rhythmic programming." -- Alan McClelland of eye.lyft

Freon Promotions
Absolutely excellent!! --Nicollette of Freon Promotions UK

DJ Copper Top
"Is one of the best produced and rockin' EP singles released this year! Definitely gonna be in my top ten. Every remix is right on track and should be something for everyone here. It's a 'gotta have'!" --DJ Copper Top

Melektro.com
"After making the decision three years ago to revolutionise their identity to the point of definitively entering the land of the electronic dance sound, The Azoic have been following EBM directions with a good touch of originality that carries on relevant potentialities for further progression. The new 'Conflict' single, that anticipates the soon to come second full length, is the proof of what the duo from Columbus, OH and Phoenix, AZ can do if deeply inspired. "Conflict" goes along that Funkerish style that has been chosen by the Azoic as the source for its up dated electronic approach and it's an incredibly catchy song clearly directed to the most intelligent dance floors of the underground. "Conflict" is for sure a decisive development for this American band and it reveals their capacity to manipulate and create electronic beats and interesting female vocals well amalgamated within layers of sound giving credit to the premises for a next full length that will be worth impatiently waiting." -- M  www.melektro.com

Chain D.L.K.
After their "Forward..." release, the female fronted the Azoic duo is back with more danceable techno electronica. This eight track CD features eight different remix versions of the title track by Iris, Negative Format, Imperative Reaction, Massiv in Mensch, System, Syn, CombiChrist (Icon Coil side project). Altough you can definitely hear the EBM influence and there is a lot of synth-pop activity going on, this album is really more on the dancefloor side of things so if you are looking for a mixture of dance-techno and electro-pop to revive your alternative bootie-shakin' weekends you should try this out. I personally am not too big of a fan of the more commercial-friendly dance-club sounds (and this album is filled with those) but other people like them and might find the right balance with this album. By the way, the album also features a video clip in Quick Time and Windows Media formats of the same track with some live footage. -- Marc "the MEMORY Man" Urselli-Schärer of Chain D.L.K

Music Non Stop
Outstanding US electro act The Azoic return with the ( super long ) "Conflict EP" featuring 8 remixes of the title track ( with contributions from COMBICHRIST, IRIS, IMPERATIVE REACTION, NEGATIVE FORMAT, MASSIV IN MENSCH and SYSTEM SYN ) plus an amazing multimedia video of this dance-floor hit and bonus photo-material ! The "Conflict EP" features styles ranging from dance to EBM to trance, power-noise and synth-pop. Music Non Stop

back to The Azoic - Conflict
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FORWARD...

Wrapped In Wire
This once darkwave band has decided to change their sound to more energetic club floor EBM, and I couldn’t be happier with their decision. There is still a dark edge offered here, but it’s blended with much more futuristic sci-fi electronic programming and hard driving beats.

All but one song here feature the vocal talents of Kristy Venrick. She’s an excellent singer with a lot of range to her voice. She delivers emotion and passion along with memorable choruses that really drive these songs. One song, "Evolution", features the angry growling vocals of Steve Laskarides. He does a good job of delivering raw angst, and it would have been nice if his vocals were used more than only once on this album. It just seems a little odd to only have one song here featuring male vocals while all the rest are female only. Also, I would have liked to have seen the band go more in the direction of other similar acts such as Flesh Field and L'ame Immortelle where they combine both male and female vocals into some of the songs. But I can’t deny the fact that these songs work perfectly fine with just the vocals of Kristy Venrick.

Every song here sticks to a similar formula of energy paced electro rhythms and beats playing over dark and dramatic synth melodies while Kristy sings passionately with the music. While each of the songs offer their own little unique elements, they all do tend to blend together without allowing anything to really stand out. Basically, this entire album sounds pretty much the same from beginning to end. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a little more variety wouldn’t have hurt.

One of the biggest problems with this CD is that it only offers seven original songs. The four remaining songs are remixes. Three of the remixes are for the song "Progression", while only one is for the song "Evolution". It would have been nice if each remix was for a different song.

This CD definitely shows The Azoic going in the right direction with their sound, and it’s a solid recording overall. But there is still room for improvement. I would like to see a greater contrast between male and female vocals on their next release along with more original songs and less remixes. But for now, this 'Forward...' CD should not be missed by fans of modern club floor EBM featuring female vocals.

Darklight - Wrapped In Wire

Alternative Zine
As I pressed open in my cd-player I had no idea that 30 seconds later I’ll be in a state of complete shock. The Azoic don’t believe in such thing as high points in their album. Each and every track is a dance-floor hit including 4 remixes by artists such as Assemblage 23 and Oneiroid Psychosis.

The Azoic’s third album is a high BPM, completely electronic darkwave project with a high quality production level. “Forward...” has that flowing dance feeling to it that bands like VNV Nation and Apoptygma Berzerk got in their latest albums only without the scooter like kitch. The Azoic are also much more in the spirit of true Goth.

The first and second song begins with A Gregorian chorus-like voices and Kristy Venrick voice is just something one cannot ignore. Venrick has amazing range…anything from aggressive-sluttish to angelic divine. Steve Laskarides is a master programmer and composer and his vocals on “Evolution” can certainly meet the standards of artists like Wumpscut and Suicide Commando.

Although I enjoyed each and every track on the album I really admired Kristy Venricks solo part on “Not Justified.” One of the best I’ve heard since “Great Gig in the Sky.” Also “Lost” with its trance atmosphere is a master-peace of modern EBM and pure Goth. “forward...” is definitely the direction this band is going. This duo are gonna be superstars! -- Tal Galfsky Alternative Zine's website

The Columbus Alive
The Cowtown club scene seems to be reaching a pinnacle, as new venues are opening at the astounding rate and old standbys like Mekka are reborn into new rooms. While yours truly could care less about dancing, the fact is Columbus-as-suddenly-hot-spot is attracting deejays and other dance music purveyors in unprecedented droves.

The Azoic didn't have far to travel, actually forming here in the late 90s. Even though half of the duo, Steve Laskarides, relocated to Phoenix, Kristy Venrick remains; aside from playing in the Azoic, she also runs the Nilaihah Records label that's released many burgeoning electronica, industrial and dance artists, including the last Azoic release, Forward..., in 2001. The disc is wholly refreshing in genre in which ad-nauseam repetition is an accepted personality flaw. The seven original tracks merge gothic soundscapes with highly melodic industrial (think Reznor, not Ogre) and soul of EBM. The instrumentation and overall effect retrospective of the 80s at times, but the vibe is turn-of-the-millennia and way. --Brian O'Neill (The Columbus Alive)

DJ Duracell/Copper Top
The Azoic's 'forward...' was a huge surprise. It's a dancefloor's cocaine designed with a DJ in mind. It pounds, yet in a sweet melancholy feminine way maintain(ing) the emotion with melody. A+ for 'forward...' and extra credit for the remixes. -- (DJ Duracell/Copper Top) Indianapolis

Darkcell Digital Media
After three years of re-organizing idealism and shifting their previous darkwave sound, Venrick and Laskarides come back with a re-born dark EBM sound that ascends from idealism of such artist as VNV Nation, Funker Vogt, and God Module just to name a few. Pushing heavy, attractive beat-driven rhythms, shadowy phase loops, punchy synthetic assaults and cold seductive vocals that were not present nor polished in previous releases.

DJ MindCage - Bound DC/Exile
After listening to the new CD from Nilaihah Records' The Azoic, properly titled 'forward...', I was completely shocked! Forward is definitely the direction the band took, leaving behind their previous efforts to a more darker, dancefloor grooving sound, very EBM and very dark! Female vocalist, Kristy Venrick, provides an array of vocal styles from angelic to aggressive to sultry. The opening track, "Not Justified" blends similar synth sounds to VNV Nation, yet not as processed, brining a more raw sound into the mix. "Evolution" is a more hard hitting song with Steve Laskartides providing the vocals. "Harsh Reality" has a sort of trance/atmospheric feel to it with vocal processing and effect hooks for the transitions from the chorus. As a bonus, the CD includes four remixes. There is not a song on here that would not be a dancefloor hit! The Azoic will become a familiar name, ... yet again providing Nilaihah Records with another great album... -- (DJ MindCage) Bound DC/Exile

Electroage webzine
Not too long ago, The Azoic were amongst a handful of promising bands mixing industrial and goth into a convincing whole, and their second album, 1998’s 'Where Broken Angels Lie,' was met with widely positive response. Now, three years later Kristy Venrick and Steve Laskardies have released the technofied EBM 'Forward...'
Still present are the edgy electronics and determined vocals, though now supported by a strong dance beat and fast-paced synthesizers rather than gloomy, suffocating electronics.
Nilaihah Records, owned by The Azoic’s Kristy, has quietly been gaining more and more recognition in electro circles, so 'Forward...' is a logical release for that supportive market. Not that anything here is derivative. The programming and sound sculptures are extremely well done, and Kristy’s voice has improved greatly in the past three years, and the band are so much more adept at putting their music together.
"Not Justified" and "Progression" are the real standouts here, as Kristy’s voice is ideally complimented by Laskardies solid programming. The latter track is likely familiar to some from Nilaihah’s 'Resistor' Compilation and from the A23 Dirge Mix from Accession Records recent Volume One (that mix is also included here for the domestic audience). "Progression" also has an incredibly catchy vocal performance and hugely energetic electronics framed by smooth choral synthwork. Vocals on 'Forward...' are predominantly handled by Kristy, though Steve contributes vocals to "Evolution," a song which seems to paraphrase the film The Matrix, and his rough delivery is more suited to the electro sound than the earlier gothic material. Redemption is a great track as well, having a hard throw-down beat and crunchy synths, punctuated by familiar edgy sequences and some excellent distortion effects. Much noisier than usual Azoic material, it shows what 'Where Broken Angels Lie' did, that Laskardies has a great grasp of noisy and harsh constructions, it’s a shame he doesn’t use them more often.
Four remixes round out the album. In addition to A23’s epic hard trance mix, Flesh Field put their signature orchestrated heavy stomp on "Evolution" and label mates Fiction 8 put an electro-pop spin on "Progression", which really doesn’t work, as it only seems to lighten the song. Former Nilaihah band Oneiroid Psychosis provide their take on the same song, filling it with shadowy sequences, haunted atmospherics and slow reverberating beats. Not the best choice of song for this mix, and doesn’t do the either The Azoic or Oneiroid Psychosis much justice.
'Forward...' is The Azoic’s best work so far, and should they choose to maintain the EBM sound, the next full stage of their musical life should be impressive to say the least. --(Noah Patterson) Electroage Webzine

Gothic Beauty Magazine
Catchy electro dance beats keep 'forward...' moving forward. Kristy always does a remarkable job belting the vocals against the dramatic electro rhythms behind her. The first song "Not Justified" explodes from the get go with "Lost" keeping the high energy felt basically throughout the entire album. It's no wonder The Azoic are constantly on DJ playlists and request lists. For all those Azoic fans out there, 'forward...' will not disappoint. It;s eleven tracks which include remixes by Fiction 8 and Assemblage 23. For all the fans of electro looking for well produced and danceable music, check out The Azoic. --Constantine - Gothic Beauty Magazine - Issue #4

Gothic Paradise
Formed in early 1996 by the trio Kristy Venrick, Steve Laskarides and Shawn Lower, The Azoic was born. They combined their talents to form a type of Electro-goth sound. They were originally signed to Worm Records for the re-release of their demo tape titled The Divine Suffering, which was released in 1997. Their second album showed more of a mature sound with eerie elements that combine male and female vocals into what was released as Where Broken Angels Lie. Shortly after the release of this album, Shawn left the band leaving Steve and Kristy to carry on. And now we have their latest album Forward... which was released in 2001 on Nilaihah records, a label run by these same talented individuals. Their sound is often described as Industrial/Gothic/Darkwave, although with the latest album they lean a lot more towards the EBM genre with very danceable tracks. My all time favorite from this group is probably "Intimate Incisions" from their second album and I really enjoy that eerie tone that is present on so many of their older tracks.

We look forward to more releases of the combination of these sounds that has become a signature for The Azoic. You can hear old and new tracks on the various Gothic Paradise radio shows, so be sure to check them out. The album name seems to describe the progression of the style and music from this electro band. Adding more of an EBM beat to their sometimes eerie, always fantastic music, lyrics and vocals, the music progresses more to a dancefloor level. From the minute I heard "Progression" and soon after the Assemblage 23 remix of the same song, I was surprised but still knew I had to have this album and hear what the rest of it was like. So when I put it on and started listening to it over and over, I wasn't really disappointed, but did have mixed feelings about the direction they had taken to an over-all EBM sound. I love their older sound as much as this new direction, so for me it doesn't matter either way, although I feel they've lost a bit of their originality. Don't take my introduction the wrong way, I really enjoy this album and the following is why... From the very beginning their new hard-driving sound is evident in "Not Justified". The powerful synths and driving beat are accentuated by Kristy's vocals and the futurepop sound. "Lost", "Harsh Reality" and "Progression" it seems almost take a step toward their more familiar sound, but then quickly build up to that driving beat and dynamic mix of synths and catchy vocals. "Evolution" is the track that stands out the most with the harsh male vocals taking over. This is a great track that leans more towards the industrial sound. The entire album really stays pretty much in this same vein with their edgy sound punctuated by the driving beats and tainted with Kristy's wonderful vocals throughout. This great album also contains some really great remixes. My favorite track on the album is also the remix of "Progression" by Assemblage 23 with a much more driving sound, more layered synths and various other elements mixed in. Of course we can't leave out the Oneiroid Psychosis remix of "Progression" with their very unique approach with analogue sounding synths and that overall very eerie and edgy sound they portray so well.

Overall I give this album a 4 1/2 out of 5 rating, even though the style changes from what I've been used to with their older stuff, I still love it and as they move "forward" with their sound I realize that styles change and progress. Definitely an album worth checking out if you don't already have it! 4.5/5 Gothic Paradise

Hard Wired Magazine
Genre:electro/synthpop/darkwave
Rating:3/4
review by Carl Jenkinson
While recognisable as electro, only occasionally does this second album from Kristy Venrick (who also runs the Nilaihah label) & Steve Laskarides show any signs of aggression or the infectiousness of future-pop, the duo finding the middle ground between the two. Venrick's laidback vocals compliment the Darkwave-flavoured music while her lyrics to tracks such as the lively "Lost", "Not Justified" & the popular "Progression" deal very directly with feelings, emotions & memories, all signs of the feminine touch that she brings to the band. The one exception to this is Laskarides' solo track "Evolution", which is far harsher with a mood akin to acts such as Funker Vogt & although musical assumptions based on gender are not exactly desirable, they're hard to avoid here! "Evolution" also dips it's toes into such waters & along with "Harsh Reality" & "Carve Into You" should prove themselves dancefloor regulars.
No album is complete without the ubiquitous remixes & this album is no exception. Assemblage 23 does what Assemblage 23 does best with a dancefloor-friendly mix of "Progression" while Flesh Field add some oomph to the already lively "Evolution". The usually dependable Fiction 8's remix of "Progression" only rates as so-so although the Oneroid Psychosis mix of the same track is much better, slowing it right down which suits Kristy's vocals well & giving rise to the thought that is a style The Azoic might do well to explore further in future.
Although not a goth album I can imagine many goths finding the emotional & introspective lyrics appealing (especially females) while the music should appeal to electro & synthpop fans everywhere.

In Music We Trust
Darkwave dance floor queen Kristy Venrick confidently infuses mind-altering vox influences into this 11 track army of riveting dance floor hits. Tune in now: http://www.mp3.com/theazoic You'll also find 3 remixes of "Progression" and one more focused on "Evolution". Fiction 8 lends a hand on the mixing board with the "pinchita" mix of "Progression". Catch Fiction 8 LIVE at GothCon 2002 this March. www.gothcon.com "Progression", the latest dance floor sensation by The Azoic, ranks at the top of my personal favourites list. Move Forward... into your playlist now! -- Jett Black - In Music We Trust

Legends Magazine
Times are changing, and while Nilaihah is still one of the greatest darkwave labels out there, they are certainly growing strong as they begin to provide some great EBM as well. Take the latest release from Kristy Venrick, head of Nilaihah Records, of her own outfit The Azoic. The last time we've seen The Azoic in full force was three years ago in 1998 with their release of 'Where Broken Angels Lie.' Then they were compared to such greats as Mentallo and the Fixer, Wumpscut and others like them, but with a sinister edge.
The Resistor compilation held a treat for those waiting to hear from them again in the form of "Progression," a track from the new Azoic. I say new because The Azoic have stepped into an EBM sound, showing an amazing maturity in their music. The duo say that 'Forward...' is the culmination of a "three year learning process and musical growth." They admit the band has "changed focus," but promise they "are still the unique and passionate band" that we knew from before.
Indeed, I concur. 'Forward...' is modernization of their previous work, but still you can here the deeper, sinister nature of their music that I loved and remember from 'Where Broken Angels Lie;' it winds beneath the rhythmic pulses, melodic overtones and wiggles between the danceable tracks creating a brighter, more danceable, foot stomping sweep of genius that leaves the bright melodies to our senses, but the darkness to our imagination. The rhythms are flawless and truly mastered, with overlaying keyboards, sudden breakdowns and complicated arrangements that keep you moving. The death of some electronic music similar is repetition - or I should say the lack of finesse that makes it seem like there isn't any repetition even though loops may continue through the track. You don't have this with The Azoic because of the constant manipulations provided to the music on all levels, from rhythm to melody to vocals.
A highlight to this release, besides "Progression" of course, is "Evolution." On this track the smooth voice of Kristy is replaced by the sinister rasp of Steve. One of the darker tracks on the album as far as mood goes, contributed to by the thumpier bassline and alto rhythm melodies. "Progression" meanwhile appears on the fourth track here, but we are treated at the end on tracks 8, 10 and 11 to remixes of this piece. Of particular note is the dirge remix, created by Assemblage 23. Assemblage 23 takes the modern track and moves it back a few centuries, opening with brilliantly scored piano. The rhythm is minimal but fascinating. It's excellently crafted.
To sum it up, the long three year wait for another release by The Azoic was well worth it. The duo of Kristy Venrick and Steve Laskarides have improved remarkably. I thought Nilaihah's 'Resistor' was one of the top releases of 2000. They've not disappointed yet again, and I find The Azoic's 'Forward...' to be one of the top releases of 2001. --Marcus Pan - Legends Magazine

Morbid Outlook
A fantastic dance album combining heavy beats with soaring vocals. Really fabulous and rip-roaring ready for the dancefloor! --Mistress McCutcheon - Morbid Oulook

Music Non Stop (MSN)
"after three years of re-organizing idealism and shifting their previous darkwave sound, venrick & laskardies come back with a re-born dark ebm sound that ascends from idealism of such artist as vnv nation, funker vogt, and god module just to name a few. pushing heavy, attractive beat-driven rhythms, shadowy phase loops, punchy synthetic assaults and cold seductive vocals that were not present nor polished in previous releases." - Music Non Stop

Negative Pop
The First album by the Azoic, The Divine Suffering, is considered by many to be a darkwave classic. I found it interesting. Not interesting like the Tear Garden (and the other bastard offspring of Skinny Puppy --- can we play six-degrees of Cevin Key now?) is interesting, in a "Hey!-That's-interesing-and-cool-and-I'll-listen-to-it-until-I-figure-this-experimental-shit-out" kinda way. No, it was definitely more of a "Oh. That's ... interesting". Note the difference in enthusiasm level. I listened to it about three times tops, because it didn't do much for me personally. It was sample-heavy, dissonant, and Kristy Venrick's voice was not used to its full capacity. Five years later Forward seems like a light-speed jump into hyperspace! This was my favorite album of 2001, no other challengers are even in the arena! They've come a long way, baby. Forward is a delightful bit of irresistible electronic ebm dance music. Not to mention being a relative rarity in the underground, a female-fronted ebm band. I handed this to my favorite local DJ, who was also delighted, and various tracks have been getting club play and garnering a positive response from the club-going masses. The dance-floor is always packed. Yay! Applause from me goes out to Kristy Venrick and Steve Laskarides for a wonderful release, and a wonderful label, Nilaihah records (www.nilaihah.com). The theme of progression, development and evolution flows through this album like water and it is clear the band is extremely aware of their own progressive journey musically. In fact, the track getting the most rotation across the country is entitled "Progression". In many of the songs they deal with the difficulties associated with general and personal evolution and the often painful process of letting go and looking forward. For example, from "Progression": "Facing fears, without a tear/ Its complicating, but you are facilitating/the forward progression, of my soul". The Azoic has lightened up on the samples --- using fewer to better effect to highly and complement their melodic beat-laden electronics. Kristy Venrick has emerged as a strong vocal talent, driving these songs nearly as much as the beats do. I was listening to Forward with a friend, and we noted that it's almost as though Kristy's strong, cold monotone vocals acct as the bassline and the rest of the music winds around it. This works well as their baseline sound, with Kristy at times letting loose and emoting wildly in her singing. I love the song "Not Justified" for its stompy dance goodness, but also for the transitions where Kristy sings in a higher register, and the spiraling-up of her ethereal background vocal tracks. The melodic chord progressions weaving around the beat are flawless, catchy and hummable. There's enough beat here even to please the rivet-heads, like my illustrious room-mate Mistah G. (Mistah G likes this album --- "It got beat!" he says --- but I won't tell you some of the other things he things "got beat"). This album make me caper about like a kindergartner and stomp my booted feet! My favorites on this release are the aforementioned "Not Justified", the bittersweet "Lost", "Harsh Reality" and "Progression". In fact, there are three different remixes included for a grand total of FOUR versions of "Progression", Ladies and Gentlemen! They all rock! Assemblage 23 provides "Progression [dirge]", which begins with a lovely quiet piano sequence before thumping it up. Kristy's vocals are remixed to be nearly spoken at the begininng and end. There is a remix by Oneiroid Psychosis, who also have a release on Nilaihah Records. This remix slows the song down and uses more gentle, atmospheric electronics. It's just lovely. I"m being converted into an Oneiroid Psychosis fan, just from hearing their remixes and cover on compilations! Their mix of "Progression" has a ponderous dark texture to it that sets off Kristy's voice nicely. The third mix is by --- you guess it --- another Nilaihah band, Fiction 8. The Pinchita mix just takes you there from beginning to end, it's just that simple. It's quality driving dance music. Anyway, my whole point is this: buy this album, buy it IMMEDIATELY, from the nice folks at Nilaihah. You'll love this music and Kristy will send you stickers. AND you can browse for works by Oneiroid Psychosis, Dissonance, and Fiction 8.

Rating: Intelligent, boot-stompin' electronic music for the masses that also wins Bloodlossgirl's "Evolution of the Year " Award for 2001. --Stars: 5
Recommended if you Like: VNV Nation, L'ame Immortelle, Nine Inch Nails, Apoptygma Berzerk --Bloodlossgirl Negative Pop

The Other Paper
No one will ever accuse the Azoic of being a garage band.
Laden with the drum machines, frigid synths and pulsating beats that characterize the nebulous eletro-goth-industrial genre, the duo's sound is best visualized as spit-shined solid metal-you could see your reflection in it, if your reflection didn't scare you to death.
That's the template of Forward…, Azoic's 12-track new record that struggles between remaining within industrial dance's strict parameters and destroying them altogether. The former eventually wins out, but it's an interesting battle.
Crudely speaking, the foundation of an Azoic tune-the insistent 4/4 beat and plodding bass-essentially sounds like a more menacing/less poppy take on Dead or Alive's cheesy '80s hit You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).
Cut out all the new wave bleeping, douse it with tinny-sounding keyboard riffs, add various sound effect ephemera (excerpts of Bill Clinton speeches, etc.) and finish it off with articulate (but very, very chilly) lead vocals from singer Kristy Venrick.
Venrick isn't excessively morbid or melodramatic, which works tremendously in the Azoic's favor. Sure, she occasionally lapses into Nine Inch Nails cliché mayhem ("Going further down below/the spiral/twisting/inside of me"). But tunes like Progression and Redemption work OK as antagonistic relationship tirades. Even the weird anti-dictatorship tune (Carve Into You) suffices as an industrial Amnesty International testimonial.
The tunes themselves are a trickier matter. Cool stuff sneaks in all over the place: disembodied choral samples, unearthly falsetto backup vocals, "found sound" production tricks galore. But too often the results sound unpleasantly alike-only Harsh Reality buries a skittish hook deep enough to differentiate it from the rest of the pack.
Primary musician Steve Laskardies doesn't help matters by stepping to the microphone for Evolution, a mook-rock sounding screed that borrows its "machines control our reality" concept directly from The Matrix.
Keanu Reeves is in town soon, Steve. Watch your back.
Thing is, the Azoic caters to a pretty specific audience-the people who can pull the warmth and humanity out of a pulsating techno soundtrack that unnerves and alienates everyone else. Seen in these terms, Forward… is a daft, accomplished work with stylistic diversions discernible only to the electro-goth connoisseur.
If you fall into this category, that's great, and so is this record. If you can't relate though, you'll have to work pretty hard to relate to those who do.
Intrigued? Sneak over to Nilaihah.com. ---Rob Harvilla, The Other Paper's website

OUTBURN
Edgy synth dance with strong female vocals: The Azoic's third full-length album, aptly titled Forward . . ., takes the duo's sound and moves it into a more dance oriented direction. Instead of sticking with the darkwave elements of earlier works, The Azoic sheds some of their gothic skin, as they turn the concentration to a more upbeat, EBM friendly sound. The result is a great collection of catchy electro with powerful female vocals creating a sound very reminiscent of Battery. Throughout the album, Kristy Venrick's silky voice smothers the corrosive synths set forth by programmer Steve Laskarides. Songs such as "Lost" and the pulsating "Carve Into You" perfectly capture The Azoic's unique blend of dancefloor friendly electronics and biting female vocals giving their music a feeling that is edgy, while at the same time melodic. On "Evolution," Steve Laskarides actually steps out from behind the programming and supplies some gritty vocals to this irresistible, hard electro number. However, it is Kristy's vocals that shine on Forward . . . as heard in her seamless emotional transitions from her sensual yet detached tone ("Harsh Reality") to an almost commanding expression ("Progression"). The album's best offering, however, is the hard edged "Redemption" as jagged electronics and pounding rhythms mesh together beautifully with Kristy's fluttering vocals making the song riveting and addictive. Also included are remixes of "Progression" and "Evolution" which give the album a more well rounded quality, especially evident in Oneiroid Psychosis' darkwave makeover of "Progression." Forward . . . is The Azoic's best work to date, as they masterfully progress into a more electronic dance style while retaining enough of their trademark sound to still come across as fresh and unique. --- Brian Lumauig, OUTBURN's website

Seventh Circle Webzine
Now admittedly I’ve ranted and raved over the past few months to anyone that will, and sometimes entirely unwillingly, lend an ear to my opinion on how nearly everything I hear nowadays is far too techno. Acts like VNV Nation have created too many carbon copy dance-hall electronic groups for my liking. However, acts like The Azoic, Fiction 8, and Assemblage 23 have proven that there is still vibrancy and individuality within it. Good thing, since all 3 bands are in someway involved with The Azoic’s 3rd CD "Forward".

By far the most amazing quality of this CD, much to the chagrin of my well-known fetish, is Kristy Vendrick’s superb vocals. There is a flow to them between each track that makes "Forward" sound like it has an actual concept, rather than the usual thrown together tracks that many groups put forth. Of course Steve Laskardies ditches his own music creation tools for a moment to lend his dark and gritty vocals to the track "Evolution" which just enhances the feeling that the CD puts forth even further.

The Azoic are seeing some incredible progression since their earlier material, leaving much of the darkwave material behind them, while adapting their sound to a new EBM generation. Usually I would criticize a group for trying to be part of the "in crowd" but Kristy and Steve show that they aim to lead their respective genre, while most others are content to follow. My only complaint is I wish there was more of then 8 original tracks included, not including remixes.

Rating: 6.5/7 Favourite Songs: Lost, Evolution, Progression

P.S. There are 4 remixes on "Forward" performed by Assemblage 23, Flesh Field, Fiction8, and Oneiroid Psychosis. I see these as nice little bonus features, as I tended to skip the tracks back to hear The Azoic’s untouched work more. But each group has performed killer remixes of their material. --Casey "Sparrow" Blakeney Seventh Circle's website

Sordid Magazine
Be warned, if you were a fan of the Azoic in the past and are not a fan of the current wave of techno influenced stuff, then keep well away. The Azoic are not the same as before and for the rest of us, who don't expect EBM bands to sound the same forever (and are just as happy when they go dance) this is a joy. Kristy and Steve have jumped wholeheartedly and completely onto the futurepop bandwagon and in the process have set a new standard as to how it can sound. If you thought 'Progression (dirge)' on the Accession comp was all down to Assemblage 23, then you were very wrong. This is hard-edged dance music of the highest order, with Kristy's vocals providing a melodic lift to six of the seven tracks. The one track featuring Steve's vaguely Skinny Puppy-esque industrial growling, 'Evolution' is less successful, the vocals clashing with the more uplifting electronics. We're also treated to four remixes, including the afore-mentioned A23 mix, a more effective tribal reworking of 'Evolution' by Flesh Field, a rather strange mix of 'Progression' by Fiction8 featuring something that sounds like a spring, well, springing! Oneiroid Psychosis wrap things up with a step backwards - a fairly boring electro mix of 'Progression' that's not a patch on the original or the A23 version. But, that aside, this is high quality stuff and the female vocals, in particular, make it stand out in the scene. Sordid website

Starvox
With two full-length albums, their own record label (pronounced nil-EYE-ah), and over five years experience to their credit, The Azoic rapidly excelled to reign as one of the United States' most treasured darkwave bands. Their debut "The Divine Suffering" is perhaps one of the most disturbing and self-depreciating albums in existence, and the polished follow-up "Where Broken Angels Lie" solidified the band as a force to be reckoned with due to the stark club hits "Intimate Incisions" and "Drown."
And as the title of their third album would hint, this Columbus OH duo seek to move 'forward' and further solidify and expand their sound to be more in league with current EBM and electronic bands rattling the rafters of clubs across the globe. It is extremely impressive to hear how far the band has come, especially being a fan since day one. Though the miserable Gothic tones of their debut release is what originally drew me to the band, they have moved further away from that style over the years much to my dismay, but have won the respect of a much broader fan base and they are obviously creating the kind of music they are more comfortable with. And above all, I cannot stress this enough, they are doing what they do extremely well.
The direction of the new Azoic release is very similar to the young and highly successful act Flesh Field (who provide their own unique remix of The Azoic on this release), due to the hard-hitting electro 'thuds,' whirlwinds of wire synths, and strong female vocals. I hear a lot of VNV Nation and Assemblage 23's influence in the synth arrangements, and the atmospheric elements of the Azoic's past are not completely depleted for there are a great many ghostly choir samples that appear throughout the disc.
The opening track, "Not Justified," features one of those gorgeous choir samples and kicks off the CD wonderfully, providing a perfect balance of atmosphere and unmistakable club potential. I love this track to pieces, it is just completely awesome. The track "Progression" appears on this release as well, a song which has already received extensive club play over the past year due to its prior appearance in a slightly different form on the successful Resistor compilation from last year. Those two tracks are definitely an absolute must for DJs, this I cannot stress enough either. "Progression" has consistently filled the floor in Pittsburgh since its initial release, and in many other cities as well.
"Evolution" stands out, as it is the only track which features Steve Laskarides' lead vocals. Steve has decreased the amount of effects on his vocals, yielding to a more organic yet still raw feel to his voice, somewhat similar to a more sedate Funker Vogt. This track will also probably do well on the dance floor. "Redemption" has some interesting and abrasive electronics, quite noisy in parts, yet consistent nonetheless.
"Carve Into You" has a beautiful, pensive build up, with cinematic, symphonic synths with bits of dialogue strung together and a sample of an eerie military march. Kristy's vocals are more reserved in this song, but the interplay between her voice and the melodies provided by the electronics make for a very moving effect. The more I listen to this song the more I enjoy it.
That leaves us with seven 'new' tracks, the remaining four songs being remixes. In terms of those remixes, the Assemblage 23 was quite nice, starting with a very unexpected classical piano interlude that builds to wonderfully melancholic yet beat heavy arrangement. Very effective and well arranged, with a nice ethereal atmosphere. The Flesh Field mix is pretty cool as well, pumping the aggression of the original song a few degrees higher for a more stomp friendly effect. Nice, and quite mind-altering. Fiction 8's take on "Progression" keeps the feel of the original song, with lengthier build-ups and some neat reverberated effects on the vocals. Basically, the song is a bit more stretched out, which is cool, but it's probably my least favourite of the remixes. The Oneiroid Psychosis interpretation takes the song down a significant amount of BPM's for a more sinister darkwave feel, but the vocals are still the same pace, which kind of throws it off. The first listen, the song sounded a bit awkward , but with each successive listen, it will grow on you. It's definitely quite creative, and way spooky, as you can expect from these guys.
What more can you say about remixes? I was a bit disappointed that there were only seven new tracks on here, giving the album the feel of an extended EP. Nonetheless, the album is just under an hour, so that does indeed qualify as a full length so I can't complain. I just wished for more, and when you hear this CD, you will definitely feel the same. The only shortcoming I can really find with the new direction of the band is that they could stand for a bit more variation. A lot of the songs seem to have the same pace, feel, and synth sounds, etc. I think the next release the band produce (and hopefully it won't be as long of a wait this time!) will be their masterpiece.
Overall, an impressive CD on several levels, which will definitely catapult the band even further upward into 'stardom.' If you are on the East Coast, be sure to check out The Azoic who will be performing with label mates Fiction 8 throughout late June/early July.
(Matthew) --- Starvox website

Sun Machine
The Azoic are a boy – girl combination of an industrial gothic sound and catchy (very catchy) EBM beats. They have managed to combine the sometimes unapproachable darkness that defines a gothic song and fused it together with popular trance dance beats. So this is actually a sound that would be acceptable to all who like to stick to a certain genre to which end means that The Azoic have created something that could potentially have a broad appeal. As always I like to make comparisons and I can’t help thinking of a dancey version of Sister of Mercy (but without Andrew Eldritch’s croaky voice). (Aynz) --- Sun Machine's website

Toronto industrial Kollective
The Azoic have redesigned themselves, discarding their gothic past and jumping right into the great EBM pool, releasing an album of straight forward dance floor appealing tracks. They further this metamorphosis by getting some dance club ruling bands to remix them: Assemblage 23, Flesh Field and Fiction 8, and toss in a wonderful Oneiroid Psychosis track for good measure.

The purpose of Forward, as I see it, is to establish The Azoic as a dance club band. Pushing them beyond their previous concepts. (You will notice how often I use the phrase 'dance club' in this review. I kind of wanted to avoid the repetition, but when this is the core idea behind the album, its kind of hard) Its got everything here to do just that, attaining some difference from the rest of the pack through the use of the only remaining element from the old Azoic, the great female vocals. The Funker-esque track (Evolution (track 3) and the Flesh Field remix of it (track 9) also tosses in a twist, with harsh male vocals.

Of course, this EBM approach produces as a side effect, the only real fault of the album. A full album of club material is not really necessary in my opinion, some tracks to listen to at home, more complex and less dance floor friendly would have been nice, and will be essential in any future releases from The Azoic, if they wish to keep my interest. However, I may be in a minority here, so I understand their reasoning here. (Squid : July 16th, 2001) --- T. i. K. website

WetWorks ezine
The Azoic takes Electro/EBM to a place I wish a lot of bands were capable of. The vocals of Kristy Venrick (head of Nilaihah Records) mesh perfectly with the dancefloor programming of the band's latest release Forward... I read somewhere once that The Azoic are the female version of Assemblage 23 and I think it's a pretty fair description, although not all the vocals on Forward... are female. With heavy influences from Flesh Field and Assemblage 23, one can see why those two bands were picked to do remixes for the end of the album. The easy dancefloor picks here are the beautiful "Lost," the stomping percussive drive of "Redemption" and the very mesmerizing mix of "Progression" from Assemblage 23. Other tracks like "Carve Into You" build slowly with media samples, deep keystrokes and a militant-type percussion (think VNV Nation) before exploding into a dancey EBM assault. The music of The Azoic wouldn't be half as inviting if it wasn't for the beautiful and melodic vocals of Kristy, which in my eyes put the band over the top when it comes to this type of music. If you enjoy music from Assemblage 23, Flesh Field and VNV Nation and don't mind female vocals, The Azoic's Forward... will be one album you'll want to run out and pick up right away. (GunHed) --- WetWorks ezine

DJ Aceldama
-"I had picked up the Conflict single when it came out, but not this full length. There is a Forward+Conflict Euro release, but it is short several mixes provided when you buy these separately." -"The Azoic breaks out of a more traditional female vocal and synth sound with this release. While the most notable of prior Azoic releases has been the strong female vocals and very enchanting rhythms, Forward is decidedly meant for the dancefloor as well as reflection. There are four mixes on the disc, but even without the remixes this album should go into every DJ's collection. First and foremost because it adds to the genre, providing an excellent counterpoint to the VNV-A23-Covenant-APB sound. And it does that while you can still beat match these tracks into your main tracklist."
-"Individual songs still retain a great deal of their human alignment. The Azoic stands as a group that still spends a lot of time exploring human nature, relationships, and growth - even with the dancefloor titles like Progression and Evolution. Frankly, that also provides some depth compared to your average German lyrics (which tend to be very shallow if you know German) and other FuturePop/EBM/SynthPop bands who spend a bit too much time on ideals or just catching one shot phrases (No I wasn't just listening to the Dead Stars' C is for Covenant mix - honest.)"
-"A strong buy - although I recommend you pick up the Conflict disc first for the video and the good remixes. If you like that then you must have this."-- DJ Aceldama

back to The Azoic - Forward

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Friday, January 17, 2003
The Factory, Columbus
from The Dayton Daily News - Impact Weekly
What better way to spend a wintry Friday night in January than in Ohio's capital city? There wasn't anything notable happening in the Gem City that evening, so I braved the sub-freezing temperatures and made the trek to Columbus to check out a rare performance by The Azoic at The Factory. Unlike the Interpol concert I saw at The Factory a week before, the large dance club/concert hall was relatively empty upon our arrival. However, as the evening chugged along, the joint became filled with the requisite black-clad, eyeliner-wearing industrial/Gothic fans, as well as Columbus professionals, students and various stragglers looking for something to do.

The DJ spinning a good mix of EBM and darkwave had the crowd warmed up by the time The Azoic took the stage around midnight. The Azoic is actually Kristy Venrick (vocals) and Steve Laskarides (keyboards and programming), who have been plugging away at their musical endeavors for well over five years. Venrick and Laskarides have garnered quite a bit of attention via several releases on their own Nilaihah Records and numerous compilation appearances. The Azoic has evolved considerably since the band's inception, going from a strictly atmospheric, electro-Goth sound to a style that's hard to pin down in one genre. The group's newer material is intelligent, upbeat, synth-driven techno with a dark undercurrent that remains a common denominator from the members' Goth background. The middle ground that The Azoic achieves plants them in a good position to gain an audience from both their established fans in the darkwave scene, as well as listeners attuned to more conventional electronica or dance club techno.

The Azoic's live performances are always somewhat of an event since Laskarides lives in Arizona and Venrick continues to operate out of Columbus, and this night the duo had the crowd right in the palm of their hands. From the word go, The Azoic had most of the spectators in the room grooving to a succession of sonic wonders, and the floor became a friendly stomping ground for enthusiastic dancers. Venrick's beautiful mid-range voice has a conviction and soul that is blatantly absent from most EBM or darkwave acts, and her vocals highlighted Laskarides' often-complex melodies and insistent drum machine dance beats.

The crowd continued to shout for more, even after the group signed off with a one-song encore. Afterwards the lobby was filled with new fans storming the merch table to buy copies of 'forward ...', The Azoic's most recent CD. Hopefully the word will continue to get out about The Azoic and take this talented duo to new levels of success. (Gary Spencer) --- Impact Weekly (Dayton Daily News)

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Sordid Magazine
V/A Accession Records ~ Volume One
This CD marks the fifth anniversary of the label started by Diary of Dreams' Adrian Hates. Largely based in the EBM scene, it has recently come to prominence with the growth of the techno-EBM scene. This is part label sampler, part genre compilation. The first 12 are drawn from Accession's roster while the five bonus tracks add something extra. Then things get really cool. Cut.Rate.Box kick off the bonus tracks with the upbeat electro-dance 'In Your Eyes' with Beborn Beton's Stefan on vocal duties relating a rather humorous tale of sexual frustration boiling over. That's followed by Assemblage 23's bangin' mix of The Azoic's 'Progression (Dirge)' - a dancefloor winner. Diary of Dreams return to more familiar territory with the chugging electro of 'Forestown' followed by an emotive slice of electro-pop from Diorama feat. Katrin. This kicks ass, tune into Accession before the majors start picking off the bands. ---. Sordid website

Starvox
V/A Accession Records ~ Volume One
The Azoic was featured on Accession Records' 5 year anniversary compilation, with an Assemblage 23 remix, as bonus track #14.
14. The Azoic ~ Progression (Dirge) Remixed my by Assemblage 23 What can I say other than WOW?!! This is one of the best remixes I have heard in awhile. Assemblage 23, really reached down to the heart of this band's sound, fine tuned it, put the mixer on high and wallah, you have this remix. I am fond of both bands so it is no surprise that I would like this remix. This song has a strong, yet still melodic dance beat and really draws out the essence of this artist and their talent. (Catherinna : July 10th 2001) --- Starvox's website

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Corridor of Cells
After the incredibly dark, intense and suffocating debut album "The Divine Suffering" (undoubtedly one of the best goth/industrial releases ever and album #2 on my 1997 Top 20 list), I had incredibly high expectations for this new release from this rising Columbus, OH band. The news from The Azoic camp indicated this new CD is going to be a bit more dance-oriented and true to those words most of the songs have a more upbeat tempo. The trademark interaction of dark, sinister female vocals and apocalyptically processed male vocals is still present here, as is The Azoic's obsession with heavy rhythms and threatening synths (the horror movie samples seem to have been downplayed a bit though). All of this is done very well to say the least, as they are undoubtedly one of the more talented bands in the U.S. goth/industrial scene. However, the more upbeat atmosphere of this release makes me realize even more how much I liked "Divine Suffering", with it suicidal, murderous mood and totally overpowering evil. "Where Broken Angels Lie" still has traces of those kinds of emotions, but most of the changes in The Azoic's style have been more in line with what we usually expect from this sort of genre. Needless to say, this is still quite a high-quality release and there are more than a few fine songs here (including a remix by the likes of Oneiroid Psychosis), but that brilliant edge that made "The Divine Suffering" such a crucial release is slightly missing here. (Jacek) ---Corridor of Cells' website

Da'Core - rating 4/5
The second release from single handedly the most disturbing and frightening Goth/Darkwave act in existence. This band blew me away with their debut CD The Divine Suffering  and their incredibly stark live performances. Hailing from Columbus, this trio weaves the darkest elements of music together to create a web of intensely morose and bone chilling hymns scarred by suffering and emotional torture. As compared to the first release, Where Broken Angels Lie  has a more professional and crisp production; thus enabling every hidden whisper and strange moan to be heard. The keyboards create bleak atmospheres of tormented choirs, twinkling chimes, eerie synths and absolutely awesome drum patterns and looping effects. The CD is full of the most heinous and frightening samples from The X-Files and various horror films which most certainly adds to the unease and claustrophobia encompassing this CD. Fronting the musical chaos is the dual vocals of Kristy Venrick with the voice of a bruised angel and Steve Laskarides, serving as the vengeful devil, his voice tinged with distortion effects a la Skinny Puppy. All in all a theatrical, intense, abysmally dark achievement from one of the best Darkwave bands in the scene today. (Heilman)

Dark Emporium
The Azoic (Where Broken Angels Lie)
The second release from single handedly the most disturbing and frightening Goth/Darkwave act in existence. This band blew me away with their debut CD The Divine Suffering and their incredibly stark live performances. Hailing from Columbus, this trio weaves the darkest elements of music together to create a web of intensely morose and bone chilling hymns scarred by suffering and emotional torture. As compared to the first release, Where Broken Angels Lie has a more professional and crisp production; thus enabling every hidden whisper and strange moan to be heard. The keyboards create bleak atmospheres of tormented choirs, twinkling chimes, eerie synths and absolutely awesome drum patterns and looping effects. The CD is full of the most heinous and frightening samples from The X-Files and various horror films which most certainly adds to the unease and claustrophobia encompassing this CD. Fronting the musical chaos is the dual vocals of Kristy Venrick with the voice of a bruised angel and Steve Laskarides, serving as the vengeful devil, his voice tinged with distortion effects a la Skinny Puppy. All in all a theatrical, intense, abysmally dark achievement from one of the best Darkwave bands in the scene today

DeadWyre
The sophomore release by Ohio darkwave act The Azoic proves to be a vast improvement on their first album, "The Divine Suffering". The sound has matured and evolved drastically. The sound is more upbeat, and more dancable. The sounds used on this album are more diverse than on the first album. This album is still full of movie samples, even underneath vocal tracks at times, which I find to be overkill, but that is the only complaint I have. This album reminds me a bit of Evil's Toy, with female vocals. There are also two remixes by other bands included on this album, including a remix by Oneiroid Psychosis of the track "Terrible Space". The other remix was done by Flesh Field, and Decay Theory of the track "I Tried to Warn You", originally from The Azoic's first album. Favorite tracks from "Where Broken Angel's Lie" include "Drown", "The Sad Word", and "Nilaihah". (Ross) --- DeadWyre's website

DJ Squid
The Azoic is a heavily goth industrial band. I've found them hard to describe. There is something in them that reminds me of Xorcist, but at the same time, their sound is quite different. There is also something to them that sound more goth rock than industrial, although, again, they aren't.
Combining both male and female vocals, long list of great samples, gothic sounding chants, electro synth work, and more, there is a lot to this album. It should appeal, or rather, be a must buy album for anyone who is deeply entrenched in the gothic scene. This album contains all the feel and twisted emotional sense of goth, but with a musical feel of industrial. Pure Darkwave.
This album took me a bit to get into. It was only after I heard it several times did I realize what the reason was. There is an uneasiness, or dare I say it, evil spirit, feel to the music, that worked so well that, until I realized what it was, it made me feel somewhat uncomfortable.
-Squid (28/07/99)

The Azoic fuse the harshness of industrial to the haunted echoes of ethereal goth. What makes some of their work a bit unsettling is how that harshness plays against the gothic textures; often, the urge is felt to just skip tracks to escape the contrast. Of course, this is the very sort of feeling The Azoic seem to be after.
A prime example of this is "Drown - pulsating mix", where chiming synthesizers are backed by a distorted drum machine, and just when Kristy's rather declamatory vocals get going, a typically industrially-distorted male voice comes in, and throws everything out of place. The normal version of the song fairs much better in the vocal department, with her voice echoed by a higher-pitched echo and the chorus is hers alone. Unfortunately, the music is not quite as strong as the Pulsating Mix. There are also dialogue samples running rampant over the entire disc, which is very nice to hear in a goth-oriented band. They are all lifted from various horror movies, which fits The Azoic's music so very well. "Nilaihah" is an instrumental drenched with samples, and proves to be one of the strongest tracks on the disc; most likely that is due to having to compensate for no vocals, so there seems to be more push in the track. "I Tried To Warn You" as remixed by Flesh Field and Decay Theory is also very good; hard percussion clearly the work of Flesh Field and hammering synths drive through chilling atmospheres and more high-end chime sounds. Vocally, the male voice is slightly processed, and recorded a bit too loudly to really become part of the song, instead sitting above it and making the dynamic falter. What really plagues The Azoic's work here is a lack of melody and harmony; the songs just fall flat in the face of power.
Oneiroid Psychosis contribute a very good remix of "Terrible Space", all dark, symphonic and brooding, yet for some reason kept in a very hollow and clumsy percussion track. The atmospheres of the mix are much more intense than other tracks, for which it is noteworthy. Unfortunately, the vocal track prevents it from being a strong piece instead of a good one.
The latter part of the cd is comprised of dispersed instrumental tracks that really highlight what The Azoic are capable of. "Suffocation" is an ideal alone-in-the-dark-with-headphones piece; moving across great spans of mysterious sound and frightening tension, insidiously placed samples hint at a terror that is not seen, and uncomfortably heard. Are you in space? At the bottom of the ocean? In purgatory? In Hell? Where?! After a lull of a few seconds, the short, yet baneful "God Help Us" rises from the abyss to enhance that sense of being lost in Hell. "Only Flesh" finishes things off with a simple beat reminiscent of a dying pulse and is drenched in ominous textures and aural imagery. It is with these pieces that The Azoic thrive. Either they must learn to integrate these sounds with a club-oriented structure, as earlier tracks attempt, or focus on soundscape work and really bring to threatening life the terrors of the dreaded unknown; for it is here that the broken angels truly lie.
-Phosphor (08/04/99) --- DJ Squid's website

Grinding into Emptiness
If I were asked to provide a definitive band for the darkwave scene, The Azoic would be my first choice. Through the intertwining of elements of both electro and gothic music, the combination of both male and female vocals, and the creative sample selection and placement, The Azoic provide a sound all their own.
"Nilaihah" is an impressive first track. A majestic introduction to the song that lasts nearly two minutes features an incredible array of electronic effects, ghost-like female vocals, and samples that are masterpieces by themselves. The song quickly breaks away from this building-up segment and soft, high-pitched female vocals dominate above the music for several seconds. The song regains a musical focus shortly after the vocals, and more incredible samples bring it to a close. This song lacks what one would call a pop song structure, which isn't a bad thing. This just displays The Azoic's creativity, which also shines through on many noise/experimental bands in the exact same way.
The Oneiroid Psychosis remix of "Terrible Space" adds a little more feeling to the already good song. The track picks up an eerie feeling, with flowing, dreamy electronics in the background. This track features extremely distorted male vocals, which inaudibly echo into the beat heavy music. Oneiroid Psychosis definitely ripped this song apart and started all over with it. There were a few elements that I missed from the original, however, such as the sampling and the metallic electronics that melded with the beat. Both versions have their strong points.
"Drown" picks up a more electro-style beat. Kristy's monotone vocals in each verse contrast a great deal with her powerful, emotion-filled vocals in the chorus. As in all the other tracks, a great deal of well-placed samples are present in this one.
The CD is brought to an end with track 22, a mostly insturmental track that lasts nearly ten minutes. This epic is slower paced, and features more electro-symphonics than the rest of the CD. I just can't go on enough about how much I like this band's sampling techniques, but they are very evident here as well.
This, the Azoic's second release, should please most anyone out there. If you are into electro, ethereal, gothic, experimental, etc., then there is a good chance that you will find "Where Broken Angels Lie" to be an incredible piece. (Scott Mallonee) ---Grinding into Emptiness website

Electrozine
The Azoic are not at all what I expected and surprises are always good! I expected the typical ethereal goth girl fronted band, what I got though was more along the lines of that mixed with Android Lust. At times stark and sweet, soft and ethereal, but at others its Jeckel vs. Hyde as The Azoic get downright dark, sinister, harsh and agressive. Using well thought out samples, and instrumentation the Azoic bring something new to the female fronted band genre of goth and industrial following somewhat the line blazed by Shikee of Android Lust but diverging into their own realm and being original about it. If you are a fan of both the gothic and industrial genre's (and aren't we all?) check out this up and coming band and you wont be disappointed! (Scott Boyle) ---Electrozine's website

Elektrik Transfusion
The Azoic is currently comprised of Kristy Venrick (vocals, keys) and Steve Laskarides (keys, samples, drums, vocals). Shawn Lower also appeared on this disc, but has since decided not to work with The Azoic. Their music is a hybrid of dance industrial and very dark gothic soundtrack music. Voice samples from various movies are also used. Kristy's voice ranges from experimental talking to high drawn out notes and is usually processed with some spacey dark effect, as is Steve's voice, which stays down low in a gothic register. Besides regular songs, there are also several remixes by certain folks such as Oneiroid Psychosis, FleshField, and Decay Theory. It's a very well rounded disc and has a lot to offer. If you like dark dance electro with the image to match, give The Azoic a try. (Greg Frisenda) ---ELEKTRIK TRANSFUSION website

The Industrial Bible
After a phenomenal debut release ('The Divine Suffering') and an appearance on the 'Circuit Noir' compilation, The Azoic have reappeared with their second full length, 'Where Broken Angels Lie'. Carrying on with their combo electro / darkwave / goth sound, The Azoic have once again proven that the underground 'industrial' scene is still alive and well. Hailing from Ohio, The Azoic show that they have been keeping an eye (and ear) on what is going on musically in the rest of the world and they have implemented many new and diverse sounds into their compositions. 'Where Broken Angels Lie' begins with Nilaihah, a gloomy and disturbing electronic piece with apocalyptic samples, light sequences, and vocals that sounds as if they were patterned after Attrition. Drown is presented in two forms, the first being the Pulsating Mix. On this version, Kristy's vocals take on the lead as they guide the listener through a mixture of dark keys, docile beats, nightmarish samples, and Steve's ominous vocals. Terrible Space features echoing / distant vocals, ethereal sequences, and calm beats. Oneiroid Psychosis rework this piece, adding more substance to the percussion and allowing the synths to seem even more waft-like. On The Sad Word, The Azoic place the majority of the emphasis on the twisted, dark vocals and the beats, making this sample-ridden piece a bit more dance oriented. Suffocation is a 7 minute experimental track which boasts low drones, distant resonating beats, and an array of drifting sounds that weave themselves into the musical fabric of the entire piece. The final track, Only Flesh, is similar to Suffocation in that it too is an experimental instrumental piece with a near non-existent percussion line and lugubrious synth patterns. I applaud The Azoic for expanding their sound even further to include an even wider variation of musical styles and I think that 'Where Broken Angels Lie' is a fantastic album that holds nearly something for everyone. (Dachar) ---The Industrial Bible's website

Isolation Tank
Eerie electronic dance rhythms infused with captivating male/female vocals and pulsating drum beats. Includes remixes by Oneiroid Psychosis. ---Isolation Tank

j.sin
where broken angels lie continues to induce the audience into a ritualistic trance with strong drumbeats and a dark atmospheric veil. songs continue sampling movie clips, which is great, but we find them layered over lyrics demonstrating the mixing and mastering abilities of steve. kristy's varied vocal styles and effects are capivating and keep the album dynamic.

Last Sigh
Dubbed an "electo-cross" between " Skinny Puppy and Lycia" by some, The Azoic is a worthwhile combination of haunting dark electronics, forboding yet audibly clear vocals by all three members (short of a bit of treatments here and there), blended with samples, harmony, synths, and effects to bring the listener into a realm of post-neo electro-industrial (sans guitars) that pretty much tops most of what has been produced in many years! Where Broken Angels Lie thanks a myriad of some of my favourite bands/artists and labels on their CD sleeve, many of whom seem to have some influence in their music and perhaps their lives in general: Oneiroid Psychosis, UEF (United Endangered Front), Black Dahlia Records, Third Nail, Sonic Boom, Die Forum, DSBP and many more. It's no wonder then why this release is so good.
The CD is filled with textural synth work as in 'Intimate Incisions', which can be found on the United Endangered Front Compilation: Circuit Noir of which is reviewed on Last Sigh. Other great sampling shows up on many tracks, but one I enjoy most is: "Man against man, they kill each other. I have No faith." in 'Nilaihah' a melodic and enticingly rich dark track. 'Terrible Space' is remixed by Oneiroid Psychosis, lyrics by Tondalaya, an errie whirling synth approach to a quietly evil electronic track. 'I Tried To Warn You' is remixed by Flesh Field and Decay Theory... "She bled a great deal." sample begins this slowly evolving piece into power drumming and keyboards -- vocals are excellent (Steve or Shawn or both?) and paints an aural picture the listener doesn't all too soon forget. It is obvious by the quality and content of this CD that the trio and friends took great care in mixing and producing the release, as the overall sound is quite rich, intense with programming and very well executed. I recommend this dark work to everyone involved in listening to newer fresh work in the genres of atmospheric and warm yet steril and brisk electro-industrial darkwave. (Kim Alexander) ---Last Sigh's website

Legends - Michael Ventarola review
As a consumer who has in fact purchased this music, I find the utilization of sampling to be quite subliminal in regards that it is the first thing that stands out after the first listen. These little snippets often replay in the mind so that you have to return for another listen to grasp what is taking place within the context of the song. As for the vocals, the compressed sinister ambience is what makes this disc stand out from a lot of others. Although the female vocals are not something that would be deemed as technically impressive, again the charm and strength lies in the fact of her delivery of the spoken lyric as it stands against the backdrop of the somber tones and dark weaving. Other groups of the genre who are labeled as darkwave usually have a consistent formula which is to put the listener to sleep from my experience thus far. The Azoic doesn't do this. They make one sit up and really listen. There are fleeting sounds that actually creep up your spine to provide a delightful fright that some other groups have not achieved. Of all the darkwave I have purchased and sampled, I could truly imagine The Azoic being carefully placed in a horror movie soundtrack providing the audience with just the right timbre of chills. Also, Halloween would not be complete without this music playing in the background. (Mike Ventarola) ---Legend's website

Legends - Rat Bastard review
The term 'darkwave' has often come under attack as being far too ambiguous. Often when one uses it, one has to also explain whether one is referring to ethereal music (such as the sort that is often pushed by such labels as Projekt), electronic goth, German gothic/industrial, or whatever the hell else has managed to find itself absorbed into the mass of oft-used descriptions for 'darkwave' music. Nilaihah Records openly presents itself as a 'darkwave' label, but the question that immediately comes to my mind is, "Does the music from the label best suit the term, or, for that matter, does the term best suit the music?" (After all, I would more be inclined to call much of what Projekt calls 'darkwave' ambient/ethereal and leave it at that; Black Tape for a Blue Girl just doesn't embody the term very well as far as I'm concerned). After listening to Where Broken Angels Lie, the debut album from The Azoic, one of the first two offerings from Nilaihah (the other of which is Oneiroid Psychosis' Garden of Remembrance) I would have to say that, labels aside, this is certainly music with a dark and sinister edge. I, for one, can refer to it as being 'darkwave' without reservation (not that this truly matters, of course, but this two-syllable description is a hell of a lot more convenient than 'dark ethereal industrial' or 'neoclassical horror electro'). The Azoic and Oneiroid Psychosis, however, are two sides of the same coin. Even though both bands employ the use of layered electronics as their modus operandi for the provision of sufficiently creepy and dark music, The Azoic is a bit more upbeat, drawing more from industrial influences with driving beats and copious use of sampling. Sure, this is still music to brood around and stalk to, just like other exemplars of the genre, but The Azoic's music is meant to facilitate a bit more active movement during said brooding and stalking. Songs like Drown (of which there are two different mixes on the album) and the opener Nilaihah are very dancefloor friendly, while still maintaining a dark and sinister ambience. The vocals come in two flavors: distorted male and not-so-distorted female. The male vocals are spoken/shouted, with the amount and form of distortion varying from song to song which provides a certain amount of range so the male vocals are executed well, even if they aren't particularly unique or original. The female vocalist, while not having the most technically impressive voice (she is certainly no Lisa Gerrard or Monica Richards), still gets the job done. She ranges from spoken word to a light airy timbre (which is showcased in Summoning) and even belts out a nice strong and forceful chorus line or two in the original mix of Drown. So, The Azoic does present a great deal of vocal versatility. Those who listen long enough will also be gifted with three bonus tracks: two ambient soundscapes and an ethereal instrumental piece. Basically, if you like dark electronic music with a beat, then check out The Azoic (particularly if you're a fan of bands like Wumpscut or Mentallo and the Fixer). Where Broken Angels Lie is a solid release just as The Azoic is a solid representation of the darkwave genre. As I have implied there is room for improvement, but it is also obvious to me that the room is actually there and waiting to be occupied. Getting back to my initial darkwave ponderings, I must conclude that Nilaihah, with The Azoic and Oneiroid Psychosis are off to a great start in cornering the market on quality darkwave music. Thus, I am definitely looking forward to the future releases from these bands and whoever else Nilaihah chooses to sign. I would advise any interested parties to do the same. (Rat Bastard)---Legend's website

M.K. Ultra
Broken angels must lie in a place precariously balanced between agony and ecstasy if these eerie soundscapes are any indication. Celestial vocals by Kristy Venrick combine with cold synthesized sound to create a jagged mosaic of spiritual struggle and chaos in this follow-up to "The Divine Suffering." Relying heavily on samples, and ranging from mystical ambient atmosphere to a more driving industrial pulse, "Where Broken Angels Lie" feels vaguely evil yet it fascinates, even corrupts, with a sort of subtle seduction. An intriguing mixture of the decadent and sublime, this CD lies somewhere between a curse and a prayer. (Elaine Thomas) ---M.K. Ultra's website

Middle Pillar
A mix of the dark electronics, gothic / industrial beats and samples galore lead to an ominous album, that stalks you like an erotic horror fest. Comparable in precision to Athamay at points, the album shines when it leaves that stylized ritualism behind and pulls you deeper into a more dense form of twisted melody and rhythm. ---Middle Pillar's website

Music Non Stop (MSN)
The second release from single handedly the most disturbing and frightening Goth/Darkwave act in existence. This band blew me away with their debut CD The Divine Suffering and their incredibly stark live performances. Hailing from Columbus, this trio weaves the darkest elements of music together to create a web of intensely morose and bone chilling hymns scarred by suffering and emotional torture. As compared to the first release, Where Broken Angels Lie has a more professional and crisp production; thus enabling every hidden whisper and strange moan to be heard. The keyboards create bleak atmospheres of tormented choirs, twinkling chimes, eerie synths and absolutely awesome drum patterns and looping effects. The CD is full of the most heinous and frightening samples from The X-Files and various horror films which most certainly adds to the unease and claustrophobia encompassing this CD. Fronting the musical chaos is the dual vocals of Kristy Venrick with the voice of a bruised angel and Steve Laskarides, serving as the vengeful devil, his voice tinged with distortion effects a la Skinny Puppy. All in all a theatrical, intense, abysmally dark achievement from one of the best Darkwave bands in the scene today. - Music Non Stop

Neon Madness
Where Broken Angels Lie (1998) Rating of 8 1/2
Worm Records
If SKINNY PUPPY were fronted by ENYA you might get close to the imaginative and sexual sound of this Columbus, Ohio band. Part Goth part edgy aggressive industrial grind and all seductive allusions this band's sound seduces the listener in and grabs hold of them, refusing to let go. Lead singer KRISTY VENRICK's beautiful floating voice (She is an equally lovely woman that matches her voice perfectly) is the big hook to bring in every type of listener. Yet when STEVE LASKARIDES takes the mike his aggressive and pain-ridden delivery pounds you into submission, giving something for those in search of more threatening vocals. These guys are far too esoteric to find overnight success. But instead will find an ever-growing fanbase. The unique sound will win over those into agressive music and those who prefer to chill to something more melodic. This kind of range is always impressive, but to find it within any particular song is astonishing. All the tracks are solid but DROWN leaps out (at least to me) as a favorite. The themes of self-debasement for release from mental pain resonate strongly with a creative aesthetic I've explored as well. In fact, this dynamic duo (once a trio but a SHAWN LOWER left to pursue solo aspirations) were awesome enough to give 'em a song from their previous album for my film THE MUTILATION MAN (that track is called PURE PLEASURE, from teh also incredible album THE DIVINE SUFFERING). Expect great things from these guys. (AC)--- Neon Madness' website

New Empire
In listening to music on this cd over and over and over again... I feel like an FBI Profiler. Serial Killer and Slasher-horror vid flick saturate musical themes found here. "Nilaihah" opens this 69 minute 48 second collection of 13 tracks which have already become popular adds both to radio program and hyper-dance club formats all across northern America and abroad. Kristy Venrick steps into the pulsating mix, "Drown", with decisive pace and formality. Kristy also makes guest vocalist appearances on several Oneiroid Psychosis song recordings found on Garden of Remembrance. Kristy's vocals find their wings in "the Summoning". Oneiroid Psychosis slip inside "Terrible Space" with an influx of eerie sophistication and haunting disintegration, tradmarks of their style. Throughout this collection, samples from dramatic horror films infuse the original lyrics and programming. hallowed and twisted vocals haunt every track with great variety, and horrific grace and beauty. Try this one. I am certain you will agree that no Dark Dj playlist will ever be complete without featuring at least one track from this album. Avid fans of The Azoic, and club goers everywhere should insist upon it. All 13 tracks work their way into playlists everywhere. I recommend "The Sad Word", "Drown", "Nilaihah", and "Suffocation". (Jett Black) ---New Empire's website

OUTBURN
Issue #7 - September '98
This CD, following up last year's 'the divine suffering', is all its predecessor was and more. The artwork is a cut above the last album and the sound quality is astronomically better. The songs are much tighter and better structured with more of a focus on the female vocals of Kristy Venrick. The samples are still in place on most of the songs, and there are some great remixes on here from the likes of Oneiroid Psychosis (with whom they share a similar sound, and on whose new album you can find a cameo from Kristy!), and a mix by Flesh Field and Decay Theory. The whole CD is miles beyond the previous one, and if you are a fan of dark electro in the vein of Skinny Puppy and Oneiroid, this is a CD for you! (Gary Thrasher) --- OUTBURN's website

The Plague
This is the second CD from this Ohio trio and it follows in the same vein as the first with a slightly works. The first CD was like a grainy low budget horror movie, while this new CD is more like the soundtrack to a creepy horror film with a budget. The programming on this CD is quite well done, except for one small detail. I still think The Azoic uses a few two many spoken samples in their songs and this is truly a shame because they are very capable with their songwriting skills. That being said, this is a really nice CD. It is engaging at the very start and begins to enter more of a realm of general creepy atmosphere by the time the CD reaches "Suffocation" and "Only Flesh." I think both Kristy Venrick's and Shawn Lower's vocals work well, but the alternation between the two of them in "Intimate Incisions" seemed to interrupt the flow of the song. My favorite of the non-ambient tracks was the more gothic "Summoning" and the second version of "Drown" on the CD, which I think displays the true potential of the band. (Victor Mejia) --- The Plague's website


Sonic-Boom
The Azoic have must have read my review of their last album "The Divine Suffering" like a textbook because they corrected all of their problem areas. My first complaint was that the male vocal were too heavily modified, so that a duet with Kristy's natural vocals sounds wrong. On "Where Broken Angels Lie", there are fewer moments where two people sing and Shawn and Steve's vocals are less altered. You can almost hear harmony in their voices at times. My second complaint was that they used far too many vocal samples from various Horror and Science Fiction films. This was corrected when they cut down on the use of these samples and arranged them to better fit the mood of the music. In essence, their placement of these samples is much more efficient. These two changes along with some quality remix work by Oneiroid Psychosis and Flesh Field, make "Where Broken Angels Lie" one of the better written, produced, and executed Darkwave albums of 1998. (Jester) ---Sonic-Boom's website

Storming the Base of the Alien Foe - radio show of Antithesis Online
Beginning with a very atmospheric 'Nilaihah', The Azoic seems to have really refined their sound. Samples weave through the music, fitting the song extremely well, and following with the female vocals lingering about. This is where their strength lies. 'Drown' moves more towards a danceable edge, with brooding synthlines and a driving beat. The lack of melodies to hold to is what's keeping any of The Azoic songs back. The use of contrasting warped male and female vocals is, of course, really neat, but neither ever really become what you want of them. Some haunting melodies in the twisting male vocals, and nice soaring calls from the female vocals would make everything. As it is, the songs are too monotonous, following virtually the same structure for every song, relying on the mood, which remains strong throughout, to keep the songs going. The (Desert) mix of 'The Sad Word' completes what 'Nilaihah' started, followed by 'Suffocation', 'God Help Us' and 'Only Flesh', all powerful soundscapes with myriads of samples throughout. The latter has some vocals, but they are used more as samples, and while not overly effective, they stay sedated and alongside the samples. Their best pieces are by far the instrumentals, embodying the full extent of The Azoic's dim atmospheres. (Jeremy Pfohl) ---Antithesis' website

Wrapped in Wire
This is a dark, cold and haunting gothic band that blend ambient sounds, samples, orchestrated synth melodies, electronic sequencing and drum programming with beautiful female singing and rough distorted growling male snarling. There is a good mix of variety to be found on this album. Some tracks are more instrumental in style, while others are a bit faster paced and could work in clubs. I like this aspect, and it does give the band an edge. The music here is very well composed with a lot happening in it. It's quite emotional and chilling, but at the same time has good rhythms and beats to draw you in. My main complaint here is that the male vocals just aren't that good. They are extremely distorted and basically sound the same on every track. Instead of being sung with harmony, they are spitted out in more of an angry talking fashion. Kristy Venrick, the female singer, has an amazing voice. She sings beautiful with harmony. She mixes it up on different tracks and sings in a spoken word style, chants and carries a tune wonderfully. This is why I don't understand why she isn't used a lot more here. With her quality singing talents I would think that her voice would be the main focus delivered. But instead, most of the tracks have the standard male vocals. I like it when the female vocals are mixed with the male vocals as a combination, but this doesn't happen too often. Another thing that I don't like too much here is some of the more experimental tracks where everything goes off in different directions and have no structure to them. While this adds variety, these tracks just aren't that interesting. The band shows off its musical talents the most on the tracks "Drown" and "Summoning". These two tracks feature well composed structured tight and varied music with the incredible vocal delivery of Kristy Venrick. I have no idea why there aren't more songs like these here. Another disappointing factor here is that there are three remixes that don't sound too much different from the originals. The bottom line is that this band has obvious talent. However, they could be so much better if they stopped with the weird experimental filler and made more structured songs featuring Kristy Venrick's vocals. (Dan "Egoist" MacArthur) ---Wrapped in Wire's website

Zoo TV - Beyond The Mainstream
The Azoic do it again. For the second time in as many CD's THE Columbus band, The Azoic, put together a "horrificly" (and I mean that in a GOOD way) great disc. This CD has A LOT to offer to those that listen to basically any type of "dark" and/or "beautiful" music. From ambient waves, to pulsating dance beats, "growling" male vocals, enchanting female vocals, and wonderful discrete samples, and even some remixes. 4 remixes to be exact. The darkwave bands Oneiroid Psychosis extend their hand to "Terrible Space" giving it what some have called a "trademark" sound by OP. This is a very excellent song, very well done, produced, etc. Two other Columbus bands, FleshField and Decay Theory, tackle "I Tried To Warn You" (taken from the first CD "The Divine Suffering"). This mix gives this song more of an "electro" edge than it previously had makes me wonder what the future holds not just for The Azoic, but for any band coming out of Columbus. Now we are down to the final two remix songs: the (so far what appears to be local club hit) "Drown" and "The Sad Word". Both of these are done by the band themselves. Now some people may not be to into the "remixing of the bands own song" thing-but stop and listen for a moment. It shows even more promise than THIS CD did to The Divine Suffering. The Azoic continue to leap hurdles, knock down musical categories, and demolish any other boundaries with not only every new song done, but every energetic live performance that I have been give the extreme privilage of recording for my show.
This band will continue to grow and become stronger-not stagnant like most bands-with age. Who said the future was going to be boring? (Scott Cambell)

back to The Azoic - Where Broken Angels Lie

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Corridor of Cells
ALBUM OF THE MONTH: 9/10
I've been severely impressed with this band's music ever since the "Divine Suffering" demo fell into my hands. This CD is a re-release of the same material (plus one new song), albeit some of it is remixed. Overall, this is gothic industrial the way it was meant to be: slow, dark, threatening, ominous, apocalyptic, and claustrophobic. Based upon predominantly slow rhythms, with cascading waves of keyboards, screaming processed vocals and occasional clean female vocals, this is the sort of release that has no weak points, no weak songs. Everything here is a winner, both stylistically and songwriting-wise. Undoubtedly, the best gothic industrial band in the US besides Oneiroid Psychosis, The Azoic delivers their message of impending doom with a conviction and determination that are missing in most of the goth-industrial scene. Listening to The Azoic leaves the listener with a haunting feeling that the end is near, the end of everything we love is about to arrive and we are helpless in the face of this wave of death that is at our doorsteps. No commercial elements on this CD: just pure death, sorrow, depression and decay. (Jacek) --- Corrdidor of Cells website

Christian Says...
(Xian) --- Christian Says... website

DeadWyre
This album defines the term "darkwave" to me. I don't think I've ever heard a darker album. The Divine Suffering is a combination of Skinny Puppy-esque programming mixed with emotional melodies and very danceable beats. Most of the songs tend to have a slower BPM, and an extremely ominous feel. Dark and brooding male vocals growl through intense distortion, and are backed up by hauntingly beautiful female vocals. The sound quality for their debut album is quite impressive. There are several tracks that stand out, the foremost being "I Tried to Warn You". I have no doubt that you will be hearing quite a bit more about this young band. (Ian Ross) --- DeadWyre's website

Ephemeral
This is a really solid CD from a new band that isn't afraid to try something original. For many new "Goth" bands, their first efforts sound like Bauhaus or the Sisters, or both. Well, thankfully The Azoic do neither. What they accomplish is one of the most successful blends of "Goth" and Industrial I have heard in some time. Mixing haunting female vocals as well as solid male tones, this album bristles with the urgency of 80's Death-Rock and the electro-industrial sound of Front Line Assembly. The Divine Suffering will knock your gothic socks off! (Andi Lochhead)

Genocide
A quite unknown band creating something astonishing, which makes it a pleasure to get acquainted with them and their music. This is the case with The Azoic and I have never come across a band, like these Americans, which creates such magnificent soundscapes, a blend of gothic, ambient, ritualistic, atmospheric synths and industrial, a mix that gives you a hard time reviewing their debut album "The Divine Suffering". It took me weeks to even get started with this one as I simply didn`t have a clue where to start. This is haunting, sombre, dark and sullen, even enchanting, which makes the music rather obscure. The perfect soundtrack to your horrors, the perfect album to accompany you on dark autumn nights with the only light source being a candle burning in a distant corner. To create these atmospheres or emotions if you like The Azoic has been using dark and gloomy keyboards, obscure samples, machine beats, distorted sounds and voices along with chanting female vocals. There are no direct resemblance to any band, and I haven`t heard such an intense album since I first filled my ears with Laibach`s "Slovenska Akropola" and Akron/Epilepsy`s "Baphomet". Some parts on this album gives some of the same feelings I got when listening to the before mentioned albums. "The Divine Suffering" reflects the beauty of pain, suffering and despair in a very own, yet dark way. I highly recommend this album to everyone into dark and obscure music, be it darkwave, gothic, industrial or ritualistic, this album has it all. (Karsten Harme) --- Genocide's website

Graven Space
Rating: (4 out of 5) The Azoic is one of several dark gothic bands that have arisen from the cross-fertilization of the gothic and industrial genre's. On The Divine Suffering, The Azoic often base their music on a dark ambient background. Keyboard/bell sounds, distorted male and female vocals, and drum machine percussion are then layered all on top. The ambient backbone of the compositions are my favorite aspect of this group. In fact the ten-minute instrumental track "Transitions" is probably my favorite track on the disc. Another aspect that makes The Azoic interesting is that the vocals are performed by all three band members. The band also risks experimenting with the vocals quite a bit, usually in a more evil bent than most gothic bands. Sometimes they work quite well, as in "I Tried to Warn You," and "Inside" but at other times they just seemed to be a little off. Still, the variation in the vocals adds an interesting addition to the whole affair. The only real drawback to The Divine Suffering is the overuse of bell/ringing sounds in the music, as it makes some of the music sound to much alike. Still, there are several good tracks on this CD, making up for the redundancy of the others. Overall, an enjoyable disc that's recommended to anyone into the more electronic, brooding side of goth music. (Roy Miller) --- Graven Space website

The Industrial Bible
In the same nature as some of the European darkwave bands, Ohio's The Azoic present an album with both gothic and industrial dance elements. The Divine Suffering begins with Beginning, a short intro instrumental that would lead you to believe that Azoic are a straight ahead goth outfit. Composed mainly of darker sounds, such as church bell samples, ethereal chords, and somber vocal snippets, Beginning serves as an introductory to what lies ahead. Kristy's sublime vocals overlay the slow, raw sounding percussion and minimal electronic elements on Pure Pleasure. I Tried To Warn You is a dark dance piece in which the distorted male vocals are blended into a web of cabalistic electronics. Samples are used quite frequently on The Divine Suffering to start songs off. I was more than suprised to hear an X-Files sample (which I believe was taken from the Dwayne Barry episode) kick off Violation. This track, again, feature male fronted vocals while the music is a mixture of hard goth and laid back industrial. Thorns is an interesting piece in which Kristy's vocals are mixed in with a deeper, partially distorted male vocal. The music behind this piece is minimal, thus making the vocals the driving force. Leaning more towards electro than gothic, Godaphile is a piece with harsh electronics and equally harsh vocals. This piece is a bit chaotic at times, but at certain places, most of the electronics drop out, leaving the beat and evilly manipulated vocals to carry it on. The final pair of tracks, Alone and Transitions blend into one another, with the later being an atmospheric, 10 minute instrumental. Due to the diversity on The Divine Suffering, The Azoic are an exceptional trio and I'm more than curious to see what they do next. (Dachar) --- The Industrial Bible website

In Thy Name
The Azoic is a experimental project of ambient/goth/industrial/techno. If there was music to describe David Cronenburg's "Naked Lunch", The Azoic would be the defining force. The music is basically composed around the keyboards, and occasionally the female vocals. The first side of this demo begins off strong, with diversity and atmosphere (as shown in songs such as "No Strength To Feel" and "Pure Pleasure" ), but soon falls into a case of repetition. The second side, however, recovers itself and is presented in a much more ambient form. The music is also charged with emotion, and if this is a preview of what we can expect from them in the future, you can be sure that they will make a big splash in the ambient/goth scene. Cold Meat take notice! KEYBOARDS: Simplistic, yet emotional. Sometimes domineering, sometimes soft and trance-inducing. DRUMMING: Mostly techno-influenced drums, computerized, with industrial overtones. It is mid-paced, and is reminiscent of Dead World or The Prodigy. SAMPLES: Now this is a gem! Complete horror-movie madness! It reminds me of White Zombie's La Sexorcisto  album, where you could sit there for hours and try to figure out which movies all the samples are from! The soundpics used here are more musical-orientated, as opposed to intros/outros. VOCALS: The male vocals are distorted through a pedal and after a song or two, begin to get boring. Experimentation with different vocal settings would prove to be more captivating. But the operatic vocals of Kristy are amazing! Her style sticks out as the best aspect of this entire project. Very somber and eerie... VERY eerie. OVERALL: 7 (Thammuz Abaddon)

M.K. Ultra
Pick of the Litter
I cannot easily put into words how moved I've become by this band, The Azoic. I've never heard such an intense combination of Darkwave/Gothic/Industrial music. Take the scariest sounds of Skinny Puppy, add in the despair that is buried deep beneath the core of Lycia, and you may only scrape the surface of what lies inside this trio.

A friend of mine in Columbus, Ohio (home to The Azoic) has told me about this band numerous times. He persisted, "You'll love them." He has described them as sounding like the music you'd hear in a cemetary at midnight on Halloween. Finally, he pushed this tape into my palm at a concert in Cincinnati.

The Azoic is made up by Kristy Venrick (vox, keys), Steve Laskarides (keys, vox, programming) and Shawn Lower (vox, keys, guitars). They credit songwriting to the band and the songwriting reflects pain, suffering, and despair beautifully.

There are thirteen tracks on ~the divine suffering~ with titles like "No Strength to Feel," "Serenity Destroyed," "Thorns," and "Godaphile."

The vocals are buried within the music that whirls around my head like nightmares. Kristy's vocals echo like the crying of a lost soul caught in limbo from a dimension between Heaven and Hell.

The music is sometimes atmospheric, sometimes cold and bleak, and sometimes synthetically surreal. Yet at the same time, it is so industrial that it cannot be labeled ambient. The lyrics reflect pain and cynicism. They defy labels, categories, or definition.

Call it ethereal, gothic, ambient, atmospheric, or industrial. Call it what you like. I call it The Azoic. The most original and intense band I've heard in a very long time. ~the divine suffering~ speaks to me lyrically and musically. It is my key to an out of body experience that sweeps me into another world layered with samples from horror films and sound buried deep in reverb.

Alas, The Azoic proves that there is still new ground to tread in music. (Alex Zander) --- M.K. Ultra's website

Middle Pillar
Ominous, dark slow and threatening make this debut a perfect balance of gothic style mixed with industrial textures. A mix of male and female vocals, and very sample heavy. --- Middle Pillar's website

Outburn
Imagine waking in a sweat from a dreamworld in which you have been ritualistically tortured... spiders hatched in your flesh... tied in the middle of a long abandoned chapel, with only whispering winds and twisted evocations of pain to break the silence; this is The Divine Suffering--the stunningly twisted debut from The Azoic. Featuring the stark instrumentalism of Steve Laskarides, the heavily effected male vocals of Shawn Lower and Steve, and the floaty female vocals of Kristy Venrick, they create atmosphere not unlike that of Oneiroid Psychosis, but still undeniably their own. This album will leave a violent impression upon all who hear it, and will turn many heads. Expect good things from The Azoic. (Gary Thrasher) --- OUTBURN's website

The Plague
The Azoic exemplify what I would have to classify as abysmal music in the positive sense. The Ohio trio (Steve Laskarides, Shawn Lower, and Kristy Venrick) combine industrial along with gothic elements to pull you down into the dark recesses of your mind and your soul. This is gothic music at its most gothic -- a soundtrack from an eerie movie (the track "Beginning" comes to mind) that leaves you shaking in the dark. I like what The Azoic do in the combining of gothic and industrial elements. They don't go for the typical ethereal combination, but keep in the deep recesses of the conscious. My favorite tracks are the ones that place Kristy's vocal over doomsday electronics creating a truly dark atmospheric sound. Songs like "I Tried to Warn You" with Shawn taking over the vocal duties also work, but they sound a lot more typical of enigmatic electronic music. A song like "Inside" is fantastic in that it combines and balances all of the elements, and, I feel, stands out as a signature piece for the band. Later, songs such as "Thorns" and "Godaphile" build more of an evil-sounding atmosphere. The album ends wonderfully with the more serene "Alone" and "Transitions." Kristy's vocals over the swirling atmosphere of sound really works and is a much needed change at this point of the CD. "Transitions" just builds on the atmosphere and is a nice slow trip back from all of the darkness. My main problem I had with this album was the lack of any real tempo changes or any real major change. It is all one long dirge and I think the album could have been editing down to 10 or 11 songs (from 13). Upon really close listening to it for review, I was relieved when it was over. It is really quite exhausting. My only other gripe I have with the album, is that although I believe the band knows how to use samples well, I believe they do it too often and the power or the effect of the samples is diminished as the album goes along. (Victor Mejia) --- The Plague's website

Sideline
After a first demo, released in 1996, this American trio got the opportunity from Worm Records to record all their knowledge on cd format. A well-deserved gift I think, because THE AZOIC compose a surprising combination of gothic and wave influences on one side and industrial atmospheres on the other side. An extreme cold mood flies over this album and very soon you'll be captivated by feelings of horror and fright! The more you walk through this Divine suffering, the more you'll perceive the industrial elements invading the whole structure of THE AZOIC's composition. It finally results in chilling soundscapes. The vocal parts have been sung alternately by male and female vocals. It sounds a bit like a union of the devil and the angels. These Americans stand for quite simplistic structures, covered with penetrating and icy esoteric atmospheres. This is an auditive postcard from hell, delivered with conviction, intensity and maturity! (DP:7/8) DP. --- Sideline's website

Third Nail
Dark and gloomy keyboards, spooky samples, machine beats, and distorted (I mean really distorted) vocals evoke Skinny Puppy
mixed with Sleep Chamber, but wait, there's more! For the same band also throws in tinkling-chime/bell like synthesizers, mellow waves of sound, and chanted/sung female lyrics. The Azoic has combined some really great sounds and emotions into a sound all their own. "The Divine Suffering" is a great combination of sorrow, loss, fear, and somehow through it all, redemption. Best of all, in defiance of the apparently unwritten rule, they combine both male and female vocals, distorted and "clean", archaic mediaeval rhythms with modern goth compositions. These sounds (especially "Pure Pleasure" and "Inside") could play as easily in a club as in your most private moments. If you think that you've heard it all before, pick this up and prepare to be impressed. (Jason Lambert)

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The Aether Sanctum
Based in Columbus, Ohio, The Azoic's demo tape consists of pleasantly dark, ambient material which is gothic in some places, and a little bit industrial in others. Their music is generally slow and atmospheric, but without being boring. The highlights of their music are the strong female and distorted male vocals, and superb timing with samples taken from horror films, both of which are well supported by the subtle tones of the backing instrumentation. They seem to use their voices as extra instruments for creating sounds, rather than simply as a medium for narrating a story. Overall The Azoic's demo tape some well thought out, ethereal, darkwave landscapes. (Stav) --- The Aether Sanctum website

Black Moon
The Azoic is impressive! Their mix of gothic and industrial is fantastic. Not only is their lyrics and music very dark, but they also give a feeling of evil, despair, and hopelessness. Absolutely great! My favorites were Pure Pleasure and Serenity Destroyed. I can't wait for their upcoming CD. (Lou Sorrentino)

Corridor of Cells
Overall: 8/10
Every now and then I get a release from an unknown band I've never heard of and it makes me fall to my knees in awe. That was the case when I first put this demo into my tape-deck. The Azoic are a fresh new gothic-industrial band from Ohio and this is their debut demo. Unlike most other gothic-industrial bands, most of whom are just clones of other better known artists (Skinny Puppy, most of the time...), The Azoic's music is intensely original. It seems to reek with the sort of darkness and evil that is rarely heard. Their style is based around hypnotic, predominantly slow beats, doomy keyboards and drones & screaming threatening mutated vocals. On top of this an occasional dark female voice appears adding another dimension of sorrow to an already dense feeling of despair and impending death & decay. The only band I could vaguely compare them to is G.G.F.H., who seem to share the same infatuation with horror movie samples and death as a topic in itself. The material from this demo has been re-recorded and is about to be released as a CD under the same name and I can't wait to hear it. The sound quality on this demo is pretty good (despite the fact that it was done on a 4-track) and overall this is a release that all fans of extremely dark gothic industrial should not miss. (Jacek) ---Corridor of Cells' website

Da'Core rating 4/5
Both in the studio and on the stage, Columbus Ohio's The Azoic are the most genuinely creepy Gothic band in the local scene today. The Azoic are so deliciously evil that I can't say enough good things about them! This debut demo is absolutely frightening and would send Deicide into a corner to pray. Besides long strains of deep synthesizers, bits of distorted Industrial tinged guitar, and driving dance rhythms, The Azoic's sound is defined by the most disturbing samples I have ever heard collected onto one cassette alone. Keyboardist Steve Lakarides deserves his own throne alongside Hades for his work on this tape. There are dialogues, chants, screams and growls from The Exorcist Trilogy, The X-Files, Pet Semetery, and Prince Of Darkness throughout the entire tape. Believe me when I say that it does not come across as cheesy and it really succeeds in making the skin crawl. Harsh and distorted vocals are very uncommon within the Darkwave/Gothic scene, but The Azoic use flange, phasor, delay and distortion effects on Shawn Lower's vocals, creating a seriously tormented, anguished atmosphere. A contrast is then offered in the form of Kristy Venrick's soaring and smooth voice, perhaps symbolizing the purity and salvation that seems to be lost within the chaotic musical maze The Azoic have created. Other than a rather poor mixing job, (which I believe has been remedied on the CD version which I haven't heard yet) fans of all dark music should appreciate this. (Heilman)

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Corridor of Cells
A slightly uneven, but overall above average compilation, covering a wide array of styles, ranging from harsh industrial to more gothy sounds. The highlights are: The Azoic (goth/industrial at its darkest and most disturbing), Numantre (surprisingly enjoyable band in the vein of old Danielle Dax, especially the female vocals), Oneiroid Psychosis (once again proving themselves to be the most original and darkest goth/industrial band out there), Fockewolf (seductive, melancholic goth/industrial with female vocals), Anti-Music Foundation (harsh industrial akin to a noisier, dronish version of old Swans, truly excellent stuff), Wage Class Slave (more harsh, high-pitched industrial pounding that would make Swans proud). The rest of the bands on this CD are not bad, although there are 2-3 stinkers. However, at the end of the day the better tracks on "Circuit Noir" make it a worthwhile addition to any industrial collection. I especially recommend remembering the names of Anti-Music Foundation & Wage Class Slave, as these two bands have something really interesting and savage to offer: I will be awaiting a full-length release from both of them eagerly. (Jacek) ---Corridor of Cells' website

Fallout (Radio Scorpio)
CD OF MARCH : the Circuit Noir sampler. Excellent dark stuff on this one : from industrial to dark ambient, name it, you'll find it here.

Gaze Into A Gloom - Issue #6 (Latvia)
On the cover, in the same size as the title, you'll read the exact definition of music represented on this CD (15 tracks) - it is Dark Elektroniks (inspired by industrial). Gloom and somehow ritual music spiced with mechanical voices and corresponding lyrics will fill the remnants of your mind with horror. This is a general impression, but there is an exception, too: Numantra and it's song "Les Coeurs Danser" where, surrounded by Elektro, you'll clearly hear Eastern tune and woman voice - alluring like Eastern candy. Almost all material was recorded in 1997 and made in America; Two bands are from Australia.

Grinding into Emptiness
From the amazing United Endangered Front label comes another comp packed with new bands and amazing tracks! The variance in styles is incredible, so I can't give a single description for the CD as a whole. Provided on this comp are samplings from genres ranging from noise to goth and planty of other stuff in between. The first track, by The Azoic, is similar to a more electronic Endraum musically, with chantier (is that a word?) female vocals. As you can see, this compilation offers a little something for everyone, and no tracks featured on it disappoint. Visit the UEF Website and pick this one up. (Scott)

The Industrial Bible
Circuit Noir begins strong with Intimate Incisions by The Azoic, a band whose sound has become darker since the release of their last full length. The vocals are male / female shared with the male portions adding a certain evilness to the piece. The music is light, yet creepy in nature due to the haunting sequences and distant, trotting beats. Comprised of mostly unheard of (or rarely heard of) bands, Circuit Noir does what many other US compilations do & it delivers the music of the underground electronic scene to the world. Considering it's only $10 and over 70 minutes long, there's no reason why you shouldn't pick it up and see what bands other than FLA and Wumpscut are doing. (Dachar) ---The Industrial Bible website

Musik Magazine - Russia
And now on the example of the absolutely fresh sounding CD-collection Circuit Noir we'll try to describe songs of some bands from UEF's compilation. Beforehand we must tell you also, that percent of opening of really bright names, which has appeared here, is marvellously high. THE AZOIC ("Intimate Incisions") On the background of gloomy cold electronics under sounds of large quantity of little bells the frost-bitten dueing singing of some strange love pair is heard...

Outburn
This brand new comp of dark electronics brought to you by the UEF features mostly newer, lesser known bands and a few familiar names such as Oneiroid Psychosis with a great vocoled and trippy track as usual. Society Burning have a very progressed electronic sound and expressive vocals ranging from harsh to mellow. It's great to have these underground compilations around because there are some interesting new bands that really caught my ear. The Azoic start out the comp with a dark elektro jingling piece with male and female vocals combining for a scary tale. Overall this comp has something for everyone interested in dark industrial electronic music! (Tommy T)

The Plague
This compilation comes close to being a CD I'd actually listen to rather than one I'd buy just to hear a few of the bands. There's actually an overall mood here... and better yet, it's not spoiled by industrial/metal crossover bands!!! My personal tastes aside, Circuit Noir leaves growling vocals, big rigid beats, aggro basslines and chunky guitars behind. The focus is mainly dark atmospheres... there are more pianos and synth bells than rock guitars. THE AZOIC kicks off the disc with an excellent track that reminds me of Die Form. I am definitely looking forward to their forthcoming CD at the end of May. (Laird Sheldahl) --- The Plague's website

Radio Free Underground
What a great name! I'm the music director at Radio Free Underground and I wanted to thank you for sending us the promo for Circuit Noir, it's the best CD I've gotten all month, I really like it.

Sonic-Boom
The United Endangered Front have learned quite a bit from the release of their first compilation "CyberPuncture" a few years back. "Circuit Noir" is their latest release and its quality is leaps and bounds above its predecessor both in form and function. The artwork is stunning despite its dark minimalism, and the production quality is stellar. The artists selected are also of a higher caliber, with artists from the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Colorado, and a lone vagrant from the land down under. Standout tracks include The Azoic, who have finally found the perfect mixture between unaltered female vocals and filtered male vocals unlike their debut album, Nefarium, who feature a odd balance of Gothic vocals and upbeat electronic rhythms that seem to work regardless of their oddity, and Oneiroid Psychosis whose mastery of disturbing ambient is rivaled only by Coil. The UEF have finally found the magic formula with "Circuit Noir" and it can only get better from here. (Jester) --- Sonic Boom website

The Velvet Realm with Stefani
CIRCUIT NOIR is the latest compilation put out by the Colorado-based dark electro label, United Endangered Front. (This review will probably be abbreviated and polished up in time for the next Culture Shock.) Anyway, here are my first impressions of this very interesting compilation:
Strong points (overall) - This comp. exposed me to a number of U.S. artists I hadn't heard of, even a couple of Australian artists...and this is always a good thing, as many of the tracks piqued my interest to hear more. Overall, this comp. has a truly underground feel to it. Stand-out artists on this comp. for me: THE AZOIC, NUMANTRE, FOCKEWOLF, NOXIOUS EMOTION. 'Intimate Incisions' by THE AZOIC (Columbus, OH). Very nice mixture of dark electronics, and gothic atmospheres. Like Puppy with female vocals. Actually, it's a mixture of male and female vocals, but his vocals are processed in a garbled way. I like the nightmarish creepiness that subtly shines over this song. (Stefani)

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