The Phantom Tollbooth

Terra Firma vs. The Atmosphere [Part 3 of the Cataclysm Singles]
Artist: Various Artists
Label: Blacklight Records
Length: 16 tracks/64:08 minutes

The third and final CD in the Cataclysm Singles series released on Blacklight records may be the finest of the bunch. The compilation series has featured the best in International, independent Industrial, electronic dance, EBM, hardcore Industrial and dark metal artists gathered under one jewel box. I throughly enjoyed all three CDs, and can highly recommend picking up the box set, but this latest record seems to have cohesion where the other two were fragmented.

There are almost no real noise tracks or ambient tracks this time out. The first half of the CD is moved by dance beats and synth pulses starting with dark dance tunes from Fatal Blast Whip, which mixes a pinch of all kids of electronic music in their "Invasion [X-Files Remix]." Get out under the dance lights with Temple of the Times, A Different Kind of Cop, and Evonica, who make it a hat trick with songs on all three comps, then a light industrial-synth track called "Denial's Hypodermic."

Skindot comes in at the number 6 spot as a bridge to the harder more guitar driven music with an intriguing vocal number that contains some industrial elements. The more distorted, rock/industrial side of the record carries on through the rest of the CD. Incorporated starts this part off with "F#9mm," which you may recognize from the Escape From the Furnace CD, also on the Blacklight label. Jagged Doctrine's "So Inspired" is also from that other CD but here, has been remixed, and improved. New Society 's distorted whisper/vocal on "Altered Self" is hauntingly skillful.

globalwavesystem puts a pulsing masterpiece on here, one you can scream to, "Take Me to the Fountain!" followed by the pure power of Seek in the thrash-electro-noise of "Revelation." There's even a beautiful new song from horror-goth band Rackets and Drapes called "Lullaby." The keyboards, bells, and guitars ring, while Kandy Kane's dramatic, emotive vocals are dark and distorted as he sings over the cradle side to put his little one to sleep. Noise band Shuriken, the latest project of artist Matt Franz (who did a very fine job on CD covers for the Cataclysmic Singles series), finishes the record with "Scorched," a spoken word lyric over some intriguing industrial
cacophony.

Thanks go out to Blacklight records for doing such a great job on this box set, by bringing together some outstanding, extraordinary artists and getting the music out to the fans in an accessible, professional package. Really, a comprehensive must buy for the fans of sub-culture music.

Terra Firma vs. The Atmosphere Track List:

Fatal Blast Whip- Invasion (X-Files Remix)
Joshua Bourke- Seven (Remix)
Temple of the Times- Bloodstained
A Different Kind of Cop- Concession
Evonica- Denial's Hypodermic
Skindot- Distrought
Incorporated- F#9mm
The Way Sect Bloom- Subsidized
Jagged Doctrine- So Inspired
New Society- Altered Self
globalwavesysytem- Fountain
Seek- Revelation
Toxic Church- Turn Around
Culture Whore- Conflict
Rackets & Drapes- Lullaby
Shuriken- Scorched

By Tony LaFianza (3/9/99)