Bogart Shwadchuck and Jennifer Parkin make their debut on Alfa-Matrix Records with their self-titled release, Epsilon Minus. This cd delivers a varied selection of ebm/darkwave music, backed by female vocals, with a few twists, a couple of untitled tracks, and a link to an on-line remix.
The first track, Introduction (em anthem 2002), is a short intro to set the mood for the album. Freedom, the second track, is a catchy, beat-driven sodng, definitely showcasing the strength of Jennifer's voice. This song is sure to get stuck in your head well after listening to the album. Antigravity and Wasted Years are both good ebm-styled tracks, followed by Through, a hard-driving, heavy beat song - something sure to move any dancefloor. Facless Whispers is a good song, especially after you get over the urge to change the lyrics to 'Life is short, and love is always over in the morning' (Sisters of Mercy, I believe).
Other highlights include Protection, a grungy, gritty tune with nicely layered vocals (sounds like something you'd find lurking in the back of your closet in the dark) and my other favorite track on the album, Power Down, a pounding, dancefloor-oriented tune.
Track 12, listed as Faceless Whispers on the cd, is a misprint and is actually Faceless Whisper (Hallucinate), a variation/remix of the song that adds more of a kick than the original, with slightly computer-distorted vocals. Continuing in the remix category, Freedom (restriction) gets an almost jungle beat added to it that makes this track even more irresistible.
Nothing is Indestructible changes gears 180 degrees and brings out the acoustic guitar and soulful vocals, a song definitely not to listen to when you are depressed.
The first untitled track is a 6+ minute dive into a soundscape set in the vastness of space, reminiscent of Cryotank Expansion on Covenent's Dreams of a Cryotank album. The second untitled track is a short track that sounds like a continuation of Introduction, followed by the third untitled track, to which I have to say, why?
In the liner notes is a link to download a remix: Nothing is Indestructible (Heavy Fog), stripped of the guitar and replaced by piano and thick electronics.. a very aptly named remix.
Overall, this album is an excellent debut and worth a listen. In the past, female vocals and ebm rarely mixed, but more and more, bands like Epsilon Minus show that they can stand up with the rest of the electro-industrial boys.