reviews for scree:transmissions

“An album journalists with a love to put things into a drawer will have some problems with as this menu juggles with a remarkable variety of styles and sounds. “Scree:Transmissions” is not an album for fast food consumption. It needs time, and a few listening sessions to discover all the different colors that are brought in. And I can disclose upfront – it’s totally worth it. Thematically dealing with sociocritical issues, f.e. inter-personal relationships in the digital age, the record sends you off to an area where you’ll see electro-industrial, dark wave, cold wave, triphop, rock elements, and others go hand in hand. You’ll meet – brilliantly produced – diversity, but not with the common deficit of creating an “the band’s not sure where to go” impression. After kinda intro we’re confronted with the first highlight of this disc, “The Pure Design Of Light”. An elegantly pulsating piece that could be a joint venture between, Underworld and older Moby. The slower “Rend (sutured)” seduces with a very deep atmosphere, Cathereine’s vocs and trippy, relaxed rhythms. Similar with regard to this trippy character is for example also “Reunion” with it’s notable piano splinters. Dressed with a mega groovy suit, night atmosphere, guitar addition and arcane vocal work, the midtempo cookie “Force On Moving Charges” easily grabs you. Same for the ally “Reduce.Distill.Purify.Teach” with its spacy sounds and sci fi fragrance. “Magnets Coil (wasting)” and “Hymn_01” with its siren sound spots and voice samples appear with galloping techno-like beats, and also the guitar inked “Erase (rub/out)” with its break – attack interaction knows to heap coals of fire on our heads. The infectious midtempo cold wave creation “Transmit” spreads a chorus to die for, some drum’n’bass elements are served within “(a)=arcsin”, an orchestral soundtrack morsel is given with “All Martyrs’ day”, and even some melancholic, wavy neofolk tunes (“Requiem”). Certainly one of 2005?s CD treasures and recommendable at any rate.”
– virus magazine [Germany]

“For his first U.S. release, The Mercy Cage’s Josh Wood has released a project no less ambitious than a 23-track concept album. Separated into four acts, Scree: Transmissions is the New Zealand project’s exploration of modern societal issues ranging from psychiatric drugs to digital information overload. In the promotional material, record label DSBP goes so far as to call the album “the Electro-Industrial answer to Pink Floyd: The Wall.” While this seems a bit much, there’s no denying Wood’s talent as a musician and composer. Scree: Transmissions manages to incorporate an array of styles without seeming scattered. “Prozac, God & The Atomic God” is radio-friendly alternative rock with an industrial twist, while “Magnets Coil” is coldwave aggression with the drum machine pounding like a jackhammer. The instrumental “A Book of the Dead” works in everything from trip-hop scratching to mellow piano chords, while the guitar solos on “An Incision” are so progressive and psychedelic that the Pink Floyd comparison starts to make sense. Unlike many industrial musicians, Wood has at least as much of a grasp on melody as he does on rhythm, and he puts it to good use on such tracks as “The Pure Design of Light” and the energetic “Hymn_01.” The latter’s catchy chorus is the exception that proves the industrial music rule about a song’s movie samples being more memorable than its actual lyrics. The Mercy Cage’s other member, vocalist Catherine A.K., also proves herself indispensable. No easily-replaced back-up vocalist, she adds a unique sound to the down-tempo “Rend” and drum ‘n’ bass atmospheres of “(a)=arcsin.” While the high concept artiness of Scree: Transmissions might be a turn-off to some, this is a collection of inarguably fine songs. Whether or not The Mercy Cage has accomplished its intellectual goals with this album, it is an unmitigated success from a boot-stomping, head-banging, fist-pumping perspective.”
– regen mag [USA]

“…Each act bites with political, spiritual and social criticism, all infused with a range of musical styles from EBM to industrial to electro to more experimental and ambient interludes. A high point for me was Catherine A.K. doing vocals on tracks like “Rend [sutured]”. She has an amazing voice, & splits up an often male-dominated view of industrial bands. Overall this album is nothing short of amazing: all tracks are masterfully done and, considering the wide range of styles and sounds present, flows very well throughout. In many ways this is a slap back to reality that industrial music still has its champions, and The Mercy Cage can justly take its place on that list.”
– plagued by rhythm [USA]

“Scree:Transmissions is the third release from the New Zealand band “The Mercy Cage”, out on DSBP. Labeled as a concept album, I have to admit I found this album rather daunting with 23 tracks. As with many albums, repeated listens revealed the album’s true creativeness, easily overlooked upon a casual first listen. The album starts out with the instrumental track, “[ActI] Satellites [Radio-9:48a]”. This track, like many to follow on this album, is transitional in nature; not necessarily a song by itself. Some may consider these types of tracks as mood setting, others as filler. “The Pure Design of Light” is truly a delight to the senses. We get a touch of old-school sampling, good vocals, not overdone with effects, and a nice layering of sounds often missing – complex enough to appreciate without muddling the song. “Prozac, God & the Atomic Bomb” follows and demands the listener get up and move. A catchy song with a nice interplay of male and female vocals, with a touch of piano thrown in. “Erase [Rub/Out]” starts out a bit slow, but ends up as an energetic song, though a bit short on time (2:16). Almost halfway through, “Reunion”, the 11th track, turns the tempo down a bit with a simple piano melody and slightly whispered vocals, backed by subtle female vocals. Reminds me of a caged animal, full of power, but tempered. You know that below the surface is a force to be reckoned with. “(A)=Arcsin”, a very short track (1:45) – seems to be a foray into drum’n’bass territory. The next track, “Hymn_01″, is one of my favorite tracks on this album, though I’ll admit I have a propensity for fast, energetic tracks, worthy of the dancefloor. This should definitely find its way to your local club – if not, demand it. Scree:Transmissions takes you on a journey through many vocal and musical styles, which may be difficult to sift through at first, but is well worth the effort in the end. Scree:Transmissions is definitely worth a listen and has many great songs on it, but as with many complex works, it may take a while to grow on you. ”
this is corrosion [USA]

“The Mercy Cage is the solo project of New Zealander Josh Wood. “Scree: Transmissions” is the first North American release for this outstanding project that mixes elements of old school Coldwave with Darkwave and EBM but in a very modern way. The programming is outstanding, everything sounds well mixed, with no one element ever overpowering the songs. The whole album is very diverse as well. Not only are the sounds and styles diverse but also the vocals, changing from dark and raspy, to clear and melodic from track to track. They even mix in some female vocals on a few tracks! Over the course of 23 tracks you will hear harder edged Industrial tracks like “Prozac, God & The Atomic Bomb” (superb drum programming on this one), the guitar driven sounds of “Force On Moving Charges” or the more mellow Trip Hop sound of “Rend (Sutured).” The awesome “(God/in) The Mechanism” even throws in some slick Drum ‘N’ Bass, nice melodic synths and tribal-like percussion. “Reunion” explores a perfect Darkwave sound which incorporates great original lyrics and sweet drum programming and piano passages. My favorite track by far though is dance floor killer “Transmit” which would be my pick for standout single for sure, the weird demonic sounding chorus break around the 2:38 mark reminds of something you would have heard released by Xorcist in the 90s. If you’re tired of the whole “Hellelektro” sound and want something different, but still aggressive as hell, check out “Scree: Transmissions”
wetworks [USA]

“I must say that I was unfamiliar with The Mercy Cage until recently DSBP send over a promo. New Zealander Josh Wood left more than a good impression, with his label debut “Scree:transmissions” he offers 23 tracks, divided over 4 acts, that go from catchy tracks to dance floor stompers and more subtle works al between dance floor ebm, electropop to cold wave. This eclectic approach of course makes it very difficult to unilabel the material, but I honestly don’t think that Wood bothers too much about this. Active since the late nineties he has never let his work be influenced by leading trends, perhaps that’s why I only discovered his work just now. A good point goes to DSBP for having fished up this act. An extra that is part of the appeall of this act is without any doubt the presence of singer Catherine A.K. Her lyrics on “Rend [sutured]” are extremely well done and make you long for more. A band and release to check out if you have an intelligent taste.”
sideline [belgium]

reviews for rust: a fiction

“This the second full-length release from New Zealand darkwave act The Mercy Cage. The songs here contain the same mixture of excellent drum programming, deep, emotive vocals, & haunted instrumentation that has served TMC well so far, but add a certain depth that was missing in earlier work. Although there’s a wide range of variety in the songs, the album flows smoothly, pulling you along with it from one song to the next… There is a tangible ‘feel’ to the whole thing that just makes it that much better. A few highlights: “The Valium Whip”… It has all the necessary requirements of a great song – catchy synth lines, great vox, & an all around intense feel. “Needle Marks (& Scars)” is another great track, with some of the best programming on the whole album. The intro leads you in with semi-spooky bells & pads, then breaks into the verse with a hard, distorted beat & a cool call/response vocal effect. “Raining Over Vegas” is chock full of cool electro-sounds & vocal effects, with a slightly mellower feel than the previous two. Though I’m usually not a big fan of female vocals, their presence in this song (and others on the album) feels ‘right’… I could go on & on about this disc, it really is an impressive piece of work. Fans of any form of dark electronic music should check this one out- I’m willing to bet you won’t be disappointed.”
– System Interrupted [U.S.A]

“A 17 track CD which follows a conceptually written story. The tracks are very original dark atmospheres, elektro-industrial, powered by machines programmed to keep the dance floors of the apocalypse churning coldwave, electronica, ambience and industrial into a nice mix.”
– [Greece]

“These guys have done a great job of compiling dark dance beats, dark electronic sounds and a great touch of doom. The vocals on the CD are understandable and clear however they take the backseat to some good well programmed electronic sounds. There is a wide range of variety across the tracks on this CD which definitely makes for a more attractive package. Stand out tracks on the CD for me were “Needle Marks [& Scars]” and “The Valium Whip”, both containing well developed synth lines combined with good beats and, in parts, hard distorted sounds… Most darkwave fans that like a slightly harder edge will really enjoy this CD; while these guys aren’t hitting it big just yet, they will grow a strong following in time. Overall it’s a great mix of goth/darkwave/EBM and I am glad I had the pleasure to review it. I look forward to new releases.
– FIEND Magazine [Australia]

“Hailing from New Zealand, The Mercy Cage is one of the most stunning electro-industrial artists on the stage of this growing genre, finding a home in every corner of the known world with their distinctly dark and acidly mesmerizing style. Their current CD release, “Rust: A Fiction” exhibits a sweeping, entrancing and incendiary movement that is unlike any music anywhere on the market, irrespective of genre.”
– BLC Music [U.S.A]

“The Mercy Cage have succeeded at producing danceable electro-darkwave tracks. The music roots itself into an electronic foundation, but manages to bring in hints of classic gothic sound and industrial elements. The results are tracks with high energy, dark sound and infectious grooves. Electronically manipulated voices, warped in a variety of ways… steady, march-like beats move effortlessly along with an assortment of waves to build a space of its own… Strange piano melodies are dropped in places and sometimes intense organ storms through with menacing urgency. Fatter sounds take part in many tracks, giving the music a bigger sound that can be quite reminiscent of trance – even more perfect for dance floors. It would be quite easy to become lost in the music while dancing away the night.”
– [U.S.A]

review for interbreeding IV

“Let me first thank The Mercy Cage for their track called Reunion, one of these aforementioned gems from the end of the second disc. They wrap fantastic piano composition with a style tinted with Skinny Puppy influence. They have competent programming and lyrical stanzas which show off the vocalist’s ability to, drum roll please….sing! The vocals are well done and are a breath of fresh air.”
– hard-wired [UK]

reviews for wire

“Gothic atmospherics envelop you while rumbling basslines and shivering melodies stalk your every move. If you haven’t heard the Mercy Cage yet – what are you afraid of?”
– Digital Blade [U.S.A]

“The group’s song “Misercordia,” a thrillingly gloomy swatch of danceable despair, hit the top spot on mp3.coms industrial charts early this month and seems primed to hold the spot for a while. The popularity of the track is well-deserved; it possesses everything a solid darkwave tune ought to: danceable beats, cascades of dark electronics and just a hint of self-centered despair. Finding the song (and the band) thrilled me and reminded me how rewarding it is to uncover a gem like “Misercordia” amidst an unfiltered pile of potential rubbish… meticulously programmed electronics…”Wire,” the title track from its CD plays at march tempo… I’m racking my brain for another march-tempo darkwave song, and can’t come up with anything, so I’ll just say that this is a real stylistic coup. “Trauma/Skin Chamber” manages to stay dark and unsettling despite its inclusion of soothing female vocals… and the song’s rhythmic foundation — restrained hip-hop beats underlying a soul-music vocal sample. I can stomp to it; I can appreciate stormy weather to it; I can picture myself wearing black leather and drinking alcoholic beverages with names like “snakebite” to it. In short, this is grade A independent dark-electronic music… As the Mercy Cage proves, the system can work. In a marketplace devoid of advertising and public relations, sometimes the cream really does rise to the top.”
– [U.S.A]