Reflections of Darkness
The dark electro band XMH was founded in 2005 by Benjamin Samson when he left the band ACTIVE DISORDER. XMH released their debut EP CD 'Life' in 2005 which stayed in the Dutch Underground Charts (DUC) for more than 6 months! The song 'Rape Your God' also stayed in the DUC for a very long time and has become a club favourite in the underground scene. Then, in summer 2007 XMH presented their debut album ‘Time To Play’ which got very good feedback. In short time the CD reached Nr. 2 and the song 'Rape Your God V.2’ went to Nr. one in the Dutch Underground Charts. Many tracks from ‘Time to Play’ are also featured on several compilation samplers.
In a short time XMH have worked up to become one of the best new hot acts from Holland. XMH have already played in Holland, Germany, England, Spain and Belgium with bands like COVENANT, ANGELS & AGONY, GRENDEL and many others which give them the chance to show them that XMH are some tough competition. The XMH CD 'State Of Mind' is produced by Len Lemeire (Implant, 32Crash, Anne Clark) and offers typical underground EBM with harsh electro elements.
They possessed a supercharged attitude that propels their music into unexpected realms of twisted weirdness and aggression. The production is of this dark electro album is well done but the songs aren't really diversified - but quite danceable. They should be a pleasure for club-addicted people. Bombastic rhythms, strong martial accents and melancholic atmospheres combined with melodic loops and techno elements justify this assumption.
Total: 8 / 10
Szakacs, Reflections of Darkness
First of any act that starts out the beginning track with Darth Vader samples is pure win in this writers eyes! Aside from that the track also kicks you straight in the temple and wont stop the assault. Each track is well put together and at times sounds like another band that resides in Holland, Grendel! Not exactly like though, XMH has more trance elements within their tracks while still keeping the songs dark and mean spirited. At one point the ass kicking slows down and we are presented with female vocals for a short change up, which is nice but getting a bit overdone these days, but they don't abuse it. Before the starts of the remixes things change up to a more FLA feel for one track for what could be referred to as a pure old-school cyberpunk track from the title to the vibe. Anything offered here is definitely dance floor worthy. The remixes (by bands like Jesus On Extasy, Implant and Soman) bring us elements the band may have only touched upon for one track or completely tweak out the track being mixed for maximum insanity. A solid offering and must have for any hard dancer or fan of the genre. (DJ23:8)--DJ
TwentyThree, Side-Line Magazine
The official label debut of XMH is titled State of Mind and is released by the Danse Macabre label of Bruno Kramm (Das Ich). The debut in own management, Time to Play, got good criticism so I was quite curious what these young Dutch band would come up with and whether they would manage to still surprise with their dark electro EBM style, based on the influence of Suicide Commando, Grendel and Hocico. ‘Dictate’ immediately makes clear that State of Mind will not feature many surprises, as it is typical dark electro EBM with trance influences that blasts from the speakers in this introductory track. The vocals of Isa Garcia in this track are a good counter weight to the screamed vocals from Benjamin Samson. Next up is the club hit of the album, ‘Wasted’ which will surely appeal to fans of Hocico and X-Fusion and get them to move on a dance floor. A mission accomplished since ‘Wasted’ is a very catchy tune and highly danceable. ‘State of Mind’ and ‘Truth’ contain similar usage of samples we also hear in the music of Grendel and XP8. ‘Komasaufen’ is a track that deals with a topic that not only dominated the German media but also raised quite some concern in The Netherlands. ‘Neon Venus’ sounds nice because of the vocals of Isa Garcia combined with a catchy rhythm and sequence.
After some more club focused tracks that do not sound all that inspiring the actual musical surprise on this album is to be found in the last track, ‘Tears in Rain’, which is a well made track that is slow but at least as dark and ominous as the fast paced dark electro tracks. Hopefully XMH will bring more variation and dynamics into their tracks on coming releases, since in this dying dark electro EBM genre it is creativity what keeps a band alive in the end when the immediate effect of the club tracks is gone. State of Mind sounds production wise better than the debut Time to Play but it also is a less spontaneous release. The diversity and dynamics featured on Time to Play, no matter if it at moments was non professional with its techno influences, on State of Mind has been polished and mixed to a generic dark electro sound with a very dominant trance influence. State of Mind contains three remixes by Soman, Implant and Chai of Jesus on Extasy, plus a video clip of ‘Wasted’. The remix by Soman of 'Cryogenic Fire' is by far the best mix.
---Review by: TekNoir
If you would like to introduce your music project effective to an international based audience, you have to invest more than ever before in promotional efforts to succeed. That means, there has to be more than the usual course of action like the usage of multiple accounts at those important communities like MySpace, Vampirefreaks, or at Facebook.
I like to describe those minor matters, because the release of the second album 'State Of Mind' of the Dutch-based trio XMH is a remarkable example, if multiple possible promotion channels got activated.
First, this album got released by the German label Danse Macabre Records around May 2010. The being of Benjamin Samson (vocals, programming), Isa Garcia (vocals, keyboards), and Pieter Sperling (keyboards, programming) at this renowned label offers the quite important fact, to get European distribution via Alive. To double this feature and to undersign the hope into the abilities of this act, this album got picked up by the newly installed German DJ- promotion agency M2C, which consists of Bruno Kramm (DAS ICH/Danse Macabre Records) and the female Hardbeat promotion-queen Jessica Schellberg. In short: this assures intense club play for XMH in Europe. And to match all of this: the US-label Nilaihah Records has worked out a license deal and takes care to service the North-American market. Asides the expected promotional onslaught to service all relevant North-American-based DJ's, magazines and online resources, this album at least should be available at every retailer like Metropolis, COP International, CDBaby, or Storming The Base for Canada. To sum that up, there are a lot of promotional activities and hopes of the responsible people behind this Dutch music project, which could help them to reach a lot of higher steps. Musically I don't have too much doubts, that this project won't reach a higher step in their career, as they are able to impress with some clever arranged synth loops and some programmed delicacies. They are talented in their kind and offer maybe one of the best works released during the last three months ' but what kind of music are they providing?
It is globally that kind of Harsh EBM/Dark Electro, which falls under that ugly moniker Hellectro. And seriously, I am disappointed in those parts, where XMH try too obviously to copy elements and synth arrangements, which have been discovered by thousands of other band projects during the last 6 years before ('Dictate', or the usage of dumb voice samples like in 'Komasaufen'). Massive DJ inserts may means to walk a relatively compatible path compared to the up and rising projects of the scene like SUICIDE COMMANDO, X-FUSION, or related. But XMH prove with some of their pearls available on here too ('Neon Venus', featuring Isa Garcia providing the lead vocals), that they are capable to offer a wider musically spectrum, than the usual repetitive stuff (check also out the accompanying guitar riffs in 'State Of Mind', or 'Tears In Rain').
A good and quality Harsh Electro album for sure, but with some tendencies to repeat some phrases, but after only a second full-length album, the complete sound dimension and abilities could be normally seldom pointed out. A Dutch band project, which still hasn't reached the end of the rope.
---Marc Tater, Chain D.L.K.