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It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 18
coverpic coverpic Magnus Moriarty™: U R on a Radar
  (2004 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0018.LP)
vs.
Head Control System: Murder Nature
  (2006 Jester Records TRICK-018)

Welcome to round 18 in the label showdown series between Metronomicon Audio and Jester Records! Since we've more or less totally missed out on reviewing the output of these two great labels, we are going through their entire catalogues, matching the releases from each label consecutively against each other. Humorously counting goalsIt's a GOAL! and giving out yellowOooops, a yellow card! and redOooops, a red card! cards, soccer style - but first of all reviewing the music. For more introductory information on this label match, see round 1.

Match preview
U R on a Radar is a 12" vinyl release with a printed inner cover.
coverpic coverpic coverpic

The Head Control System release comes in a jewel case and a folded insert with art and info.
coverpic coverpic

The match

The U R On A Radar 12" EP is Metronomicon Audio's first vinyl releaseIt's a GOAL!, and is only released on this format. Moriarty™ himself plays an array of instruments here, as does Marius Ergo, along with Johnny Utah (drums), Peter Demeter (bass) and Dominic Fate (violin). I'm guessing these last three names are aliases. The two sides of the vinyl are named "U" and "R". The U-side opening "Embarrassed Controller Of Lifts" has a bittersweet melody with themes we recognize from earlier Magnus Moriarty™ releases, adding some downward chromatics for effect. "Knighty Nite" also uses chord progressions similar to those on his earlier releases, and shows that he likes to use many chords in one song (perhaps too many), and take jumps into "unexpected" minor chords. The small organ (etc) breaks works fine, yet the song feels like a long melodic climbOooops, a yellow card!. It is however, a good example of Moriarty™'s songwriting, which often relates to British psychedelia. By "We Blame Bergen Belsen" the feeling of repetition sets in, as I have commented on his earlier releases.

Flippig the vinyl to the R-side, "The 7th Elephant" slows down and starts out as a fine ballad, nakedly arranged, with a mellow, sad, almost vague melody. Unfortunately, midways it makes a shift of character, and is marred by the entering of fast drum machine-like rhythmsOooops, a yellow card!. "Sad Surf No. 3" is a high point in the end, with nice guitar arrangements, which is complemented by equally fine violin solos. I think Moriarty™ should go more often for simpler arrangements like this. "Sad Surf No. 3" is perhaps my favourite Moriarty™ track so farIt's a GOAL!.

Head Control System's Murder Nature is a band/project where Daniel F. Cardoso recorded the music (in Portugal) and Kristoffer Rygg (Ulver) added the vocals (in Oslo). (Curiously, it seems the album was released in 2006, although the Jester catalog number is TRICK-018.) The title, the cover image, the multifolded insert quoting The Seven Deadly Sins: A Convenient Guide to Eternal Damnation and showing a hotel door hanger from "Overlook Hotel"It's a GOAL!, all signs that we're not in for joyride. Sadly, the lyrics are not included, making it harder to read any thematical concepts into the album from that angle.

The opening guitars strummed monotonously like a two-tone emergency vehicle siren, go relentlessly through the first track, "Baby Blue", but that's about as noisy as it gets. Otherwise this is tightly produced melodic metal, the guitars filling almost every frame with riffs, chords and tones, sometimes a little dissonant, but always in a typical US progressive metal style (here meaning technical advanced thrash light). On the other hand some melodies are surprisingly light and "positive", almost hummable, though I wouldn't say upbeat, while others go more than a twist or two in the direction of the melancholy we know from Ulver. Besides Ulver, I hear musical traces of bands like King's XIt's a GOAL! (for instance "Watergate") and Faith No More (for instance "Seven").

Most tracks on the album are sonically saturated and this gives the impression that little distinguishes one track from another. Especially the guitars, but also the bass drums (which feels programmed) attribute to this. Add to this also that the melodies sound kind of similar, and with no lyrics to read, this makes for an undynamic and somewhat tiresome listening experience, like all work and no playOooops, a yellow card! ... That said, I have no problem enjoying the album in smaller doses.

Match result: Metronomicon Audio 2 (It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!) - Jester Records 2 (It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!)

THE LABEL TABLE
# Metronomicon Audio (MA) Jester Records (JR) MA JR
01 C.O.U.: Darklow Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Themes From William ... Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 1 4
02 C.O.U.: Sellout EP It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! Esperanza: Esperanza Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! 2 1
03 C.O.U.: Bestboy Electric Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Arcturus: Disguised Masters It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
04 Cyrano & C.O.U.: s/t It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! When: Psychedelic Wunderbaum Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 2 1
05 Täppas Strepens: Beans, Bacon ... Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Bogus Blimp: Men-Mic It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 2 4
06 Center of the Universe: Curious .. It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! Ulver: Metamorphosis It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 2 1
07 C.O.U.: Taking a Nap With It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Perdition City It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 2 4
08 Täppas Strepens: The Future ... Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Bogus Blimp: cords. wires Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 3
09 Magnus Moriarty™: Drive Fast ... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! When: WriterCakeBox It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 5
10 Various Artists: 1.0 It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL! Star of Ash: iter.viator. It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! 3 1
11 Now We've Got Members: Le Jardin It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Virus: Carheart It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 3
12 C.O.U.: Promotional Copy Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Silences Teaches You ... It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 1
13 Magnus Moriarty™: ...And The Hippos... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! Origami Galaktika: Stjernevandring It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 3 4
14 Cyrano: You Sensualize My Soul Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! When: The Lobster Boys It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 3
15 Koppen: Truckdriving Songs Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! Rotoscope: Great Curves Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
16 Täppas Strepens: Dance, Dance ... It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! Ulver: Silencing the Singing It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 1
17 C.O.U.: Staying Up All Night ... Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card! Kåre João: Captain Trips It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
18 Magnus Moriarty™: U R On A Radar It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Head Control System: Murder Nature It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 2 2
Total 40 41

Next match
Next head-to-head meeting is the Now We've Got Members CD Tiny Disasters On/Off / There Is No Sound In Space, There Is No Wind On The Moon from Metronomicon Audio which is up against the Single Unit release Family Of Forces from Jester Records.

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