The Fair Sex: "The Dark Ages" Reviews

Catchy electronics, electric guitars and inspiring vocals make up this two-disk compilation release of the German band The Fair Sex, released by the American label Van Richter. This most recent release came after a long time of absence and features the most well-known songs of the band, taken from the out-of-print recordings The House of Unkinds, Demented Forms, Oddities and Bite Release Bite. This anthology also features two completely new songs, "Children of the Revolution" and "Beautiful Nightmare: The Number One"; these tracks don't even appear on the track listing, but are still very good, nonetheless. Powerful and aggressive, in the style of The Fair Sex. The first disk commences strong with the Divine Service track from 1987, blowing you away with electronic beats combined with the electric guitar, accompanying the vocals of singer Myk Jung. It is difficult to imagine that even during the eighties, this band was producing this kind of revolutionary music. The first disk never loses the fast pace set by Divine Service. The second disk continues the pace. The Fair Sex doesn't use any samples and hence their music becomes very personal and intense. It is far away from contemporary "industrial" bands, and much better as well. These two disks are an excellent introduction to anyone who has never listened to The Fair Sex, taking the best of the best from their previous albums. Grade 7.8 - Seeker_of_Thule, Gothronic Ezine

Almost on perfect cue, after reviewing the previous release Thin Walls - Part II and lamenting the limited exposure this band gets, I received the announcement of the North American release of this two-disc anthology release on the Van Richter label. So for those in North America that have been frustrated with the limited availability of releases from this group, now is a perfect opportunity to pick up this awesome release.For a review of the music on this two-disc set you can pretty much just drop down and read the review of Thin Walls Part - II.With 17 tracks on that album, it covers most of what this two-disc set covers. However, there are a few tasty extras on this release that you won't find on the other. And for the North American audience, this is an awesome alternative with all the great hits and then some great extras. Minus "Drop of Blood" which is a new favorite of mine from this group, other favorites all appear on the first disc of this release including the wild and fun tracks "Divine Service", "Hanging in Hareyth" and an all-time favorite "The Pain That No One Knows". The second disc is just as loaded with "The House of Unkinds", the popular hit "The Naked And The Dead" and "What The Devil".The fun classic industrial sound of pounding beats, harsh vocals and layered electronics mixed with a variety of guitars round out the sound of this band and this two-disc set explores all of the facets of these genres. The album doesn't really explore any of the modern EBM electronic styles, but maintains a solid 90's mixture that provides a great variety for music lovers of the Goth/Industrial genres. Based on these genres and overall style, the classic tracks presented above are all great and worthy of appearing on both this release and the European "best of" albums. A few extras grace this release where it's a double-disc set, there's definitely room for more music. Many listeners will recognize the unlisted track on disc 2 which is a cover of "Children of the Revolution" by T Rex. Other extras which are average tracks for this band, and not necessarily their best include "Faceless", "Jungle Child" and "Alyens". Overall this is a great album to pick up. With two discs and 25 tracks, it's really hard to beat and with it being The Fair Sex, well what more can one say? Rating: 4.5/5 - Jacob L. Bogedahl, Gothic Paradise
The German band THE FAIR SEX has already many years on their neck and has left a clear trace of releases behind them. Some of these albums are however now out of print, but those who have missed the albums "The House Of Unkinds", "Demented Forms", "Oddities" and "Bite Release Bite" now gets a second chance through the compilation album "The Dark Ages" which contains a collection of songs from these albums. You also find two brand new songs on the album, "Beautiful Nightmare: The Number One" and a cover on the T-REX song "Children Of The Revolution".
THE FAIR SEX was one of the pioneers in the 80's in mixing electronic music with electric guitars and that is really what you can hear on this album. The main focus is clearly on the electronics, but the at times surprisingly heavy guitars and Myk Jung's quite dark voice gives the music somewhat of a gothic feel to it. The sound is however varied, just as on any most other compilation albums, and some of the songs leans more towards pure synth while others lean more towards dark wave. The only thing that is constantly maintained in all of the songs is a raw and a bit unpolished undertone, which works perfectly with the overall sound. All of the songs are of course dance floor friendly with a tempo around mid-tempo or above and has a catchy beat that will surely please many listeners.
Just as every other compilation album, "The Dark Ages" is mainly aimed at those who haven't heard that much by THE FAIR SEX before and then especially their older material. Yet the two new songs also give the already confirmed fans a reason to buy this album, which isn't the best compilation album I've heard, but it definitely completes its task to give the listener a good picture of the band's older material. A good album to put it briefly. - Jan-Erik Nyman, Metal-only Ezine
This is the newest release on Van Richter, and it's a 2 CD set of their greatest hits kinda sorta...these guys are all over the map with this release. Sometimes sounding like a Goth rock band, and then going into an Electro punk sound, then coming back to their roots and sounding like FLA (circa 1988). It's a nice collection of their best songs. I definately like disc 2 has that old Batcave sound here and there with the more experimental songs from their past. Some notable songs on here are "The naked and the dead", "The wild ones fade" and "Machine". So if you're looking for a catalogue of all the songs that you've always wanted from these guys on 2 CD's instead of the entire catalogue, this is for you! 7/10 - Mike Wimer, Musicwerks Magazine
This is a double disc career retrospective for a supposed seminal German industrial band and bonus two track single, hyped to the tenth degree as innovators and pioneers of the electro-industrial movement. The Fair Sex has been around since the mid-eighties, as far as my limited knowledge in music reaches I could find just the slightest hints on to who they are. It is hard, heavy and loud industrial music which all that came across my speakers. it sounds like they wrote one song and remixed it, just adding different vocals for each track The Fair Sex have been going at it for at least twenty years. I would classify their style as Electronica, Industrial, Synth Rock and they are for fans of KMFDM, Testify, and Skinny Puppy. - Samuel Aaron, Allalom Ezine
Double anthology for german The Fair Sex, alive band for over twenty years within an industrial rock with strong electronic features, particularly enforced since 1988 onward, and that is since the moment of the tragic death of the original drummer of the band, then never replaced if not by samples. ?The Dark Ages? lists twenty five tracks which succeed to characterize the style of the band, a martial wedding between cyberpunk rashness and the agitation of the middle-european dark dance, perfect synthesis to stigmatise a sense of imminent catastrophe through a row of mechanical ballets. Always characterized by an evident background songwriting minimalism and a propositive coherent methodology, the collection allows to perceive a linking thread through the whole career of the band, despite the theme differences and the natural expressive solutions of the various years. Divine Service and The Pain that No One Knows, for example, are a triumph of linearity, sour but not little propositive, putting it as conceptual didactic manifest of the work of the german band. As specular musical need they move from the prolixity of a hammering Atrocity to the concision of a flashing The Odour of Rottenness, almost a fanta/horror soundtrack piece, comparable with some written compositions by the director John Carpenter for his movies.Industrial music surfaces in all of its wicked splendour in songs like Atr or Beautiful Nightmare: the Number One, unreleased piece put in the end of the first fraction. The other unreleased song, Children of the Revolution, is a cover of Marc Bolan's T-Rex, actually little effective in this unusual synthetic dress. To close the circle of references here it comes the dark punk of the primal (Southern Death) Cult, as in No Excuse, or prehistorical; anyway they keep the fascination of the relevant historical document, so much that examining the artificial strong percussions, the freezing lyrical hooks, the gelid spectral arrangements, we can portray the image of a band that has not enjoyed a big success of audience but which surely offered his contribution to the cause of the quality industrial rock. - Flavio Ignelzi, Silent Scream Webzine
Listen, Mr. punk n' roll killing machine, I'm sure you think you've endured enough Tap-esque live gig disasters to fill a coffee table book, but I believe that Essen, Germany's digital demons The Fair Sex have you trumped ? in 1988, their drummer, Bang, DIED ON STAGE. Heart attack, reports say. That's some fuckin' tragedy for a band to endure, but in the true spirit of the industrial revolution, they programmed his mighty, meaty beats into a drum machine, and soldiered on. That's the kinda people we're dealing with here, Jack ? they'll replace you too, if you tip over. And the beat goes on, dig? "The Dark Ages" is a sweeping, 2-disc compilation of singles and album tracks from these deathdisco pioneers. Although they've been chart-burning and dancefloor churning in Europe since the 80's, The Fair Sex has remained a cult-at-best act in the U.S., so this expansive collection is the perfect place to dive into their sinister, slithery sound. TFS take the icy, skeletal, beat-heavy synthcore of early Skinny Puppy and the post-goth industrial cool of latter-day Sisters of Mercy and slather it with tyrannical metal riffs and booming pop-sleaze hooks. It's an infectious, wildly futuristic clash of cybersounds, the perfect soundtrack to either an apocalyptic robot war, or a night of kinky, latex-covered sexcapades. Whichever comes first. Highlights are thick and heavy on this megadose of TFS. On disc one, the opening track, "Divine Service" rip-rides along on what sounds like a mutated Zodiac Mindwarp sleaze metal riff. "Bushman 90" and "The Jumping" are like evil Flesh For Lulu doppelgangers. "Nervous Jesus" +is classic thumping, neo-satanic dancegoth, and it all ends with an unlisted new track, "Beautiful Nightmare", that's a swirling monster of beat-heavy cyberdelica. The second disc opens with several bouncy (!) synthpop tracks, and then explodes in a flurry of fuzz and sickabilly riffs for the Alien Sex Fiend-ish cool-ghoul romp "Boredom Kills". Disc two rolls along with big beat murder machine music stompers like "Machine" and the awesome "Jungle Child", and it closes in style with an unlisted 13th track, a new cover of "Children of the Revolution", which turns Marc Bolan's teenage rampage glam anthem into a menacing, fuck-on-the-floor sugar-sleaze slither rock. Don't worry tho, it's still good for yo' mind. Obviously, there's a lot of catching up to do here, and this two hour collection of non-stop ecstatic twitching is the perfect place to do it. If you dig dive-bombing glamdustrial thrill killers like Chem Lab and Electric Hellfire Club, yer in for a long, dark night of digital orgasms with The Fair Sex. - Ken, Sleazegrinder
Ennesima (ma tutt'altro che superflua!) raccolta celebrativa in casa TFS, dopo la recente doppia uscita "Thin Walls Part I & II": un doveroso tributo per uno del piu importanti ma sottovalutati progetti electro-dark teutonici. Questa volta pero la selezione ricopre un lasso di tempo piuttosto breve, quello degli esordi (1984 e dintorni) andando a ripescare alcune perle da lavori ormai fuori catalogo come "The House of Unkinds", "Demented Forms", "Oddities" e "Bite Release bite". Se in principio la band di Myk Jung ha saputo spaziare con estrema intelligenza tra suggestioni elettroniche e retaggi industriali di scuala Skinny Puppy, una successiva evoluzione ha avvicinato i Nostri ad alcune intuizioni old - school EBM di tutto calore, sempre nel rispetto di un sound personale che mai e sceso a compromessi con il lato commerciale del genere. Quasi tutti i brani presenti nella raccoita sono impreziositi dalla grezza chitarra di Blonder, un'a;tra peculiarita che ha permesso ai TFS di raccogliere consensi anche aldila della scena goth tradizionale, che proprio in quegli anni stava cominciando a dettare legge in terra germanica. Episodi scarni ed essenziali come "No Excuse", la splendida "What the devil" o "The Naked and the dead" (brano tra l'altro presente in versione moderna nel recente imperdibile split con gli invincible spirit, edito a nome The Invincible Sex) testimoniano in un sol colpo il grande passato dei TFS, un passato raccontato attraverso 24 antiche composizioni che finalmente hanno ritrovato la luce meritata. Per i seguaci, e non solo. - Paolo Trerotoli, Rock Hard Magazine
Once more Myk Jung has delved into the past with yet another retrospective of The Fair Sex's early years. This release covers the same time span as the previously available "Thin Walls" comps but it expands on them quite a bit. Several tracks from each of their out of print albums "The House of Unkinds", "Demented Forms", "Oddities" and "Bite Release Bite" are presented here. The 1990 version of "Bushman" rears its vicious head on "The Dark Ages". Thank god they finally put this song out again. It's a cracking example of Myk and his boys in perfect form. Some of these works are unique in that their original drummer A. Bang is featured. His untimely death on stage with the band in 1989 was unfortunate. The Fair Sex elected not to ever replace him, soldiering on with a drum machine to this day. What gets me is that by virtue of putting all of these excellent tracks together, Jung has raised the bar on himself. "Fine, We Are Alive" was not exactly what I'd call their finest hour, nor was the Nice Gods Bleed project. Don't even bother asking about Testify. I really do hope that The Fair Sex somehow are able to get back on their feet after releasing so many of their best songs over the course of the last couple of years. Perhaps at some point, the entire albums will be re-released completely as it seems silly to keep doing collections of this era when it's obvious that this group is in possession of some highly sought-after works. - Peter Marks, Release Magazine
This is a two disc collection of tracks from goth/electronic/industrial band The Fair Sex. The material is drawn from the band's early self released and out of print albums circa the late eighties and early nineties, and this is often apparent in the production which is a bit thin by modern standards. The guitars also have that distinctly eighties sound (think Duran Duran). It may not be as skullcrushing as Rammstein, but give 'em credit. They were mixing the six strings with the electronics as early as 1985 when the band first got together. I'm sure those more heavily into the genre are already familiar with The Fair Sex, but this is my first exposure to them.Both sonically and thematically they share a lot with Skinny Puppy, Land of Rape and Honey period Ministry, KMFDM, Alien Sex Fiend, etc., with the Puppy comparisons being the most pronounced. Quality wise, most of this isn't quite on a par with those aforementioned artists, but a few tracks like the gothy Hanging in Kareyth and the dark industrial Faceless are.Sound quality varies a bit from track to track due to these songs coming from different releases, but not distractingly so.Probably not for the casual dabbler in the genre, but if you live for gloomy music with danceable beats you should add this to your collection. - Bob Ignizio, Utter Trash
Possibly better known for their side-projects Rotersand and Testify, these German goth-rockers are a dirty little secret that need to be shared. Formed in the late '80s, the band reinvented their sound from live percussions to more of a synth approach in 1988, after their drummer died live on stage. This two-disc best of collection features out of print recordings from their albums released between 1988 and 1992 and includes two newer tracks. Despite utilising an electronic backdrop, these guys rely little on sampling and their programming accents, rather than overshadows, the rest of the band's efforts. The discs bring forward a mix of brooding vocals and distortions reminiscent of early Skinny Puppy. The result is truly pleasurable; from the catchy beats of No Excuse to the wonderfully sinister Nervous Jesus, this is a raw, chaotic experience in a great post-punk sort of way. Unlike many older goth or industrial bands, the Fair Sex represent a sound that translates well today. Fans of dark music will want to take a chance on this release. - Mike Adair, Exclaim! Magazine
First, I have an admission to make..i was a Fair Sex virgin. The Dark Ages, the Fair Sex's new double-disc release is actually my first exposure. Apparently, it's a compilation of tracks from their earlier releases, and includes two bonus-tracks, but to me, it's all new, and it's all good. The Dark Ages is two discs of music that should have been in my collection already. The second I put it on, it was like home. Ok, I was at home, but the feeling of the dark, smoky, tawdry, grinding, sinister and glamorous dance floor nights of the 90s took me to that special place of growing up a child of the night. Fans of Alien Sex Fiend, Siglo XX, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Sisters-style synths and all those old goth-industrial-elektro-wave club-hits that you love the sound of, are happy to dance to, but don't really know who plays them will find an excellent comfort zone in the Dark Ages. Great for a party at home, a pre-funk to going out, or a night at the club, the Dark Ages is tense, thick and flowing with goodness. It's like comfort food on the couch with your favorite blanket, or an old lover who knows just what you like. It represents the best of classic dark music, and it has a timeless flavor of ages past and to come. Dark Ages is strongly recommended!!! - Dharmageddon, Nadamucho Webzine
After, during the last two months, two compilation of The Fair Sex have been release by the German label Endless Records, there is now also a remarkable one from the American Label Van Richter Records of the Dark Wave Band of older The Fair Sex material.Van Richter Records will publish a Double-CD of The Dark Ages. The two CDs reflect with a great mixture of titles the production of the German band during the last 20 years. There will not only be rare and mostly no longer available songs from the past, but also two so far unpublished titles. This is a conversion of the old T-Rex classic "Children of The Revolution" and "Beautiful Nightmare: The Number One". The two CDs of this compilation offer 25 tracks with a total playtime of about 1.5 hours. They provide good entertainment and conjure the spirit of the good old days. Finally from the viewpoint of the consumer the only thing to complain about is that the material would have almost fit onto a single CD and that given the 2 CD format Van Richter Records could have added additional material - there was enough space. - Ingo, Re-flexion Magazine
German electro industrial band THE FAIR SEX, have sent me their Double CD titled "The Dark Ages". As soon as I put in the cd's, they played back to back non stop. I went home and had a great workout to it as well later that night. I'm not to familiar with the German music scene, but if you familiarize it to sounds that we recieve out this direction, i'd have to say that if you take Rammstein and Marilyn Manson , and shake em up in a bottle, you'll come out with "The Fair Sex". Altough listening to sooo many songs, it was too much for me to pick out any outstanding singles or songs that stood above the rest.. regardless, it's mindless candy.. I didn't need to think when I listened to it, I sat back and enjoyed the rush. - Jake, Alberta Rock Webzine
This is a compilation culled from four previous, and now out of print, releases. It's two full discs of dark euro-wave batcave muttering. Ah, yes, the impossibly fakey synth, the one-speed-fits-all drum machine, the grim growling's the EIGHTIES! It certainly helps that the lyrics display only a rudimentary understanding of English "I got a pain that no one knows! It's so wicked anyway! It's the force you'll never break it! Heaven knows why it comes!" This is gothy, cheesy, almost unbearable brilliance. The later tracks, like "Jungle Child," start to sound like Nitzer Ebb, thereby charting the rise of the genre. An historical necessity! - Sarah Lippek, Caustic Truths and Snaggletooth Magazine
One of Europe's leading industry leaders from Germany - an Electro-Industrial band that I'm not familiar with since the days I was into The Cure, Lords Of The New Church, Depeche Mode and Sisters Of Mercy. This 2-disc compilation is 23 tracks of out-of-print songs, rarities and two new tracks which also spans the band's career. It's a good starting point for people like me who are unfamiliar with the band, and at the same time offers some more stuff for the faithful fans of theirs. There's reference to early Skinny Puppy mentioned in the info and I somewhat agree with that and some of the bands I mentioned earlier. I'm not too keen on the vocals since they are an off-key Billy Idol and can be annoying at times, but the music staying ahead of its time and showing a lot of diversity kept me listening and almost tuning out the vocals anyway. This is as underground as it gets for those into the gothic lifestyle with raves, body art and the likes that surround this genre. Definitely a collector's item as well as a "get-to-know-the-band" type of release. - SavaLegions, Space Junkies Ezine
Attention all 80's bands: you should have released your greatest hits package sooner, but better late than never. Quality stuff in the Skinny Puppy vein but more accessible. Looking for more output from these german darkwave legends soon. - Bryon Borzykowski, Chart Magazine
Industrial goth dance stuff from a genre which is not exactly my cup of tea. However if you are a fan of early Skinny Puppy but with a more radio friendly sound (hooks) then this is a great record for you. "The Dark Ages" is a best of TFS 80's double CD collection but also includes two brand new singles hidden at the end of each disc - " Beautiful Nightmares" and the classic T Rex track "Children of the Revolution". "The Dark Ages" is well worth picking up just for these two new songs. Recommended for old school Wax Trax fans. - Chris, MetalCZine
The Fair Sex exists for almost 20 years; a band from the heart of the Ruhr region. TFS have fundamentally influenced the Goth-scene with their electro-heavy sound. And now on two Continents there is a best-of album, The Dark Ages by Van Richter Records, who re-published the earlier songs on a Double-album. In addition as a little sweet there are two songs, which are claimed to be unpublished, but in reality however have been recorded a couple of years ago. The collection provides a comprehensive overview of the creativity and creations of this exceptional band. The Fair Sex present themselves as enjoying experiments and open to the influences of their time. Clearly you can follow the history of TFS and immerse yourself into their complex sound-world. The Fair Sex have left their unambiguous mark on the Darkwave music-scene. The Dark Ages is a view back to those days when Darkwave and Goth developed as a counterpart to the 80's hard rock bands with their hair dryer hairstyles and spandex trousers. A must have for everyone who today is in their mid-thirties. - Arndt Peltner, Rock City News
After a bunch of singles,full length-albums and a lengthy absence, THE FAIR SEX return with a bag full of long out of print musical pearls and rarities The Dark Agestheir first ever Best-Of (apart from the Oddity-compilation released in 1991 also long out of print). You don't know THE FAIR SEX ? Well, they were one of the first German bands to combine the sequencer-driven electronic music with raw rock guitars and EBM with Gothic-Rock. The 23 (listed) tracks cover everything that happened between their debut record The House of Unkinds(1988) and the Bite Release Bite-LP (1991). Well, of course you can hear when the tracks were recorded even more when they have been produced. The drums don't quite sound that fresh, the sequencer-patterns kind of familiar and the songwriting is straight. So this is for everybody who is still into the early Skinny Puppy or even (very) early Sisters Of Mercy-stuff. The general atmosphere is cold and dark primarily because of the aggressive vocals and the clinical rhythm-section. As mentioned above, there are 23 listed songs but on each CD you can find one hidden track. Special attention should be paid to track 13 of the second disc which is very felicitous: a grim cover version of the old T.Rex-smasher Children of the revolution. Here, the pink rouged grapes of the glam-original turn into kohl-blotted thistles. The hungryscene will devour it! - Django Syntax, Mouvement Nouveau Magazine
What Devo did for L.A. punk rock, The Fair Sex did for European concocted industrial music. Back in the mid-80s, the "Deutsche Maschinen" was prodding around the notion of dark electronic music fathered through the likes of German pioneers Can, Kraftwerk, Einstrzende Neubauten. Banging around on synths weren't enough for Essen based band The Fair Sex, so by adding in guitar compositions, they became one of the earliest purveyors of industrial. In some cases,even "batcave" rockers still hold the band close to heart.
Because of the mixture of rhythmic elements, The Fair Sex for the last 20 years has appealed to such an expansive audience. Recently, Van Richter Records, after limited accessibility to the American forum, released a two-disc anthology, The Dark Ages, culminating "best of" classic tunes covering from the mid-late '80s and onward. The collection is probably the most diversified in its genre, sounding anywhere from the gloomy cellar rock of Alien Sex Fiend to the mechanical beat propaganda of the Young Gods and Killing Joke. Vocalist Myk Jung dips a low vocal range on most tracks and then delivers somber screams of early darkwave on others. Every track featured on both discs is digestible calamities, unique by definition and intense by exploration. The selections were compiled from the out-of-print recordings The House of Unkinds, Demented Forms, Oddities, and Bite Release Bite. Even in the tragedy of losing their live drummer back in the '80s to mechanised beats, The Fair Sex preserved into the '90s linking haunting minimalism with robotic assertion. The Dark Ages is a silver platter set on the table of the dark lords of chaos that makes electronic music released since, grovel for the scraps of the leftovers. STANDOUT TRACKS: "Hanging in Kareyth" "Atrocity" "The House of Unkinds" "The Naked and the Dead" - Kim Riot, Sick Among The Pure
When The Fair Sex saw their drummer drop dead on stage of a heart attack, vocalist Myk Jung and co. replaced him with a drum machine and now claim themselves to be the first German band to cross guitars with electronics way back in the days of Pac - Man (and ironically, Spinal Tap). A two disc best of rarities anthology, The Dark Ages runs the strange range of unmemorable gothic industrial(Faceless) to cooler punk -electro cuts (Helpless Fall, Bordom Kills) with the odd cringe - worthy kick at electro dance (House of Unkinds and a T. Rex cover spring pretty quickly to mind). Cyberspace guitars, repetitive drum loops and awkward vocals from singer Myk Jung of Testify (who actually sounds allot like the old Nivek Ogre here) makes The Dark Ages a scattering of hits. But the misses will bury you. - TD, Rue Morgue Magazine
A compilation of old titles of The Fair Sex?, was my first thought when I read the title of the Double CD from Van Richter Records.Oh well, there actually might be people who do not already possess the titles, I do not believe that one has to introduce the band, they are a foundation stone of the Gothic/Darkwave/Electro Crossover scene. Where as the comment is warranted that the very old titles from the first album do contain more punk and rock elements than electro. But this will be known to the older audience and therefore the target for this new collection is probably more the younger fan bases that wants to know what their favorite band was up to 15-18 years ago. In addition it should be noted that some of the older titles are relatively hard to find, as even the Oddities compilation from Last Chance Records is no longer officially in retail. So there is a good reason for the existence of The Dark Ages. This release contains pretty much everything one needs in the form of two complete CDs and I would claim it is therefore the most complete collection of old TFS songs. However some of the titles like Divine Service or Bushman have now been published for the forth time. I would also say that is enough for now. We also get two brand new unreleased TFS pieces "Children of the Revolution" and "Beautiful Nightmares". Those two tiles at at the end of each CD and do not show up on the tracklist(hidden tracks). They sound pretty cool and have more electro metal influence that usual for TFS, therefore they should be newer, which are also indicated by the better production. Personally I like the fact to have all these titles collected on two CD,so I can preserve my old CDs in the cupboard! And whoever does not know these titles yet, should get them here. - Frank W., Medienkonverter
It is not very often that I will listen to industrial music. So once I received the new two - disk album from Germany's THE FAIR SEX I know that this would be an interesting journey. The album entitled The Dark Ages is a collection of their greatest hits spanning back to their early releases like Oddities and The House of Unkinds that gives North America a chance to hear songs that are now out of print. For being a greatest hits record I was surprised to see the quality of the material. Usually when you are introduced to a band by their best material you would figure there would be something that catches your interest. Well unfortunately I didn't find that with this release. The treated vocals mixed with the stagnant pace of the instrumentation just turned me off right away. The tracks are all very simular and there is not much setting one song apart from another. If you are an open minded fan of industrial music go ahead and give this album a listen and come up with your own conclusion. - Derek Hubbard, Pit Magazine
Wie de Fair Sex niet kent of 'er ooit al eens van gehoord heeft' moet deze dubbele CD minstens eens een beluisterkans geven. Paul Abramson, oprichter en 'big boss'van het Amerikaanse Van Richter Records heeft met medewerking van Myk Jung, zanger van de groep, een selectie gemaakt en zodoende een soort back catalogue op deze twee cd'tjes laten persen. Een zeer geslaagde selectie overigens afkomstig van de ondertussen niet meer te krijgen albums 'The House Of Unkinds' 'Demented Forms' 'Oddities' en het fantastische 'Bite, Release Bite' Naast de respectievelijk 11 en 12 tracks op elke cd blijkt er tevens op elke cd een extra nummer te staan dat zelfs niet in het boekje vermeld wordt. Nader onderzoek leert ons dat het hier zelfs gaat om twee volledige nieuwe opnames, 'Beautifull Nightmare: The Number One' en 'Childeren of the Revolution'u wellicht welbekend van T. Rex, die als bonus aan deze cd's zijn toegevoegd. De sterke opener 'Devine Service' brengt de luisteraar meteen terug naar sfeer die eind jaren tachtig op de donkere dansvloeren heerste en waar hits als 'Push' (The Invincible Spirit) en 'Lack of Sence' (Tribantura) regelmatig door de luidsprekers knalden. Deze tendens wordt eigenlijk op de twee cd's volledig verder gezet. Deze 'The Dark Ages' is geen 'Best Of' en zal dan ook vooral de echte liefhebbers van de donkere '90's dark-electro-crossover-EBM aan spreken. Toch is het met zijn in het totaal 25 tracks ook zeker een aanrader voor elke al dan niet zwartzak met een breder smaak die het vakje 'F' in zijn cd rek nog wat wil aanvullen. - PM, Dark Entries Magazine
Another "best of" collection for German cult act the Fair Sex, The Dark Ages is Van Richter Records' contribution for the American audience. Although this 2-CD collection has little that isn't already available elsewhere, it’s quite good as a low-cost introduction to the band's body of work. Disc 1 showcases some of their earliest material, and it's an interesting blend of industrial and EBM heaviness, screeching gothic rock guitars, and growled vocals. While "Divine Service" and "The Black Anger" are a bit overwrought and "The Pain that No One Knows" seems a little too derivative of old Sisters of Mercy demos, "Hanging in Kareyth" is classic goth, with driving drum machines and synthesized harpsichords. "Bushman 90" sees the band starting to show more of an EBM influence as reverberating breakbeats pound alongside the wailing feedback of electric guitar. The selections on Disc 2 have a more classically industrial feel to them. "Boredom Kills" is heavy and hammering, like Ministry around the time of The Land of Rape and Honey, while the synthesized choirs and processed screams of "The Wild Ones Fade" are brilliantly malevolent. "Helpless Fall" starts out with a fairly straightforward rhythmic stomp before launching into a catchier, more melodic chorus, while "What the Devil" is vintage dance floor candy, with power chords filling out the sound of throbbing drum machines and analog bass sequences. While some of this material sounds dated, such as "Machine," which seems particularly primitive by today's production standards, The Dark Ages should appeal to anyone who appreciates such classic acts as Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb. The bonus tracks, which include a cover of T. Rex's "Children of the Revolution," make this a worthy addition to any EBM fan's collection. - Infinitywaltz, ReGen Magazine
On the heels of releasing The Invincible Sex (which is a collaboration between The Invincible Spirit and The Fair Sex) and the Thin Wall series, a collection of out or print classics, oddities, and rarities all released in Europe. American label Van Richter records steps up to the plate to deliver "The Dark Ages" from The Fair Sex, A two disc retrospective that spans their lucrative career. While I am more familiar with their newer material and floor pounding remixes for bands such as Project-X, this serves as good introduction for those unfamiliar with their older material. On the first disc the material seems to be a power struggle between old fashioned EBM electronics and 80's Goth beats and guitar with growling vocals. The style of the first disc would be the music of Sisters of Mercy with the vocals of The Eternal Afflict (who blend heavy electronics with a Goth overtone as well) the song "Bushman 90" captures this best. On the 2nd disc it carries on where disc one left off with better sound quality and shows a change in style at about track 11 "ATR" with a slower beat. The Dark Ages is a fitting album title since the majority of the material presented sounds as if came from the 80s which was indeed a dark age.For those who are very up to date with The Fair Sex and have most of the material you get treated to two brand new tracks "Beautiful Nightmare: The Number One" And "Children of the Revolution" which appear unlisted and serve as the final song for each disc. - DJ Carrion, Lollipop Magazine
If you wanted a definitive retrospective view of this landmark electro act who have left a remarkable sign on the dark-electronic scene of the late eighties and through the nineties, then you could do a lot worse that getting yourself a copy of this 2-cd set that comprehensively encompasses the true best of their production. This is a North American release and is abundantly overlapping with the recent Thin Walls Part II which we have covered on our latest issue X online review special. Being a double CD set obviously gives some advantages to this release (although, of course one should not forget the Thin Walls Part I disc). But, most importantly, thanks to Van Richter, TFS have come within easy reach of the North American audience who have now the chance of digging through the proficient career of this top German pioneering act. Their formula, an innovative and well balanced mix of dry yet punchy electronics and subdued distorted guitars, melodies to boot, a punky attitude, beats to drag you swiftly to the dancefloor and intriguing vocals, has proved to resist the corrosion of time, space and flimsy trends. The Dark Ages features 25 tracks and, curiously, two previously unpublished numbers are omitted from the tracklist, one being a fitting cover of T-Rex's Childern of the Revolution. If you have missed the TFS phenomenon while it was in full sweep from the 80's through the 90's, you get here a golden opportunity to catch up. But don't forget that one of the tracks featured is a new one! - Gianfri, Darklife Fanzine
The Dark Ages is a retrospective of the German band, The Fair Sex, one of the pioneers of the guitar/synth crossover sound from the 80's era. Both cds deliver non-stop energy, raw angst-ridden vocals and crushing guitar, contrasted with early synth sounds in the styles of the early industrial bands. This 2 cd release spans much of the early works of the band, but also includes two new tracks, "Beautiful Nightmare: The Number One" on disc one and a cover of T-Rex's "Children of the Revolution" on disc two. These tracks show the development of the band's sound and that they are as good today as they were 20 years ago, if not better, infusing distorted guitar and synth in perfect industrial harmony. If you've never heard The Fair Sex and want to see what they're all about or would just like to hear some good old industrial, this is the perfect release to pick up. Legion, This is Corrosion
The Fair Sex: The Dark Ages 2CD set released May 2005 on Van Richter Records (LA/Palm Springs)an industrial label run by Paul Abramson, catalog VR1019, website The band is Myk Jung: vocals, Rascal Nokiv: bass & programming, Blonder: guitar. Moses W: guitar. Formed in 1985 Essen, Germany This is their first 2CD retrospective compilation culled from out-of-print releases on defunct Last Chance Recs from recordings 1987-1991: Divine Service 12" (1987), Bushman 12" (1987), The House of Unkinds (1988), Demented Forms (1989), Oddities (1991), and Bite Release Bite (1991) plus 2 unlisted new songs 'Children of the Revolution' (T-Rex cover) on CD1 & 'Beautiful Nightmare:the number one' on CD2. The band has 3 other CDs and a t shirt available on Van Richter, a video track on the VR video VHS, and 4 other Van Richter CDs under their other side-project named Testify, a harder band that combines guitar & electro like Ministry, NIN, mind in a box. The Dark Ages was compiled by Myk Jung. This album is very good. - Tsanger Banger,
The Fair Sex originated in the mid 80s in Germany, and has over the years grown out to be a cult classic. They got releases on a few labels, such as Last Chance Records (1987-1990), Our Choice (1991-1995), Van Richter (1994-2005) and Endless Records (2002-2004). With "The Dark Ages", one can delve into the earlier music of this band, with tracks taken from "The House Of Unkinds" (1988), "Demented Forms" (1989), "Oddities"(1990) and "Bite Release Bite" (1991). All the tracks are around two decades old, but should still find lots of ears being pleased by listening to them. But wait, there are two new tracks as well, not printed in the tracklist.
You see, EBM is quite an old genre, which was, as with many things, better in the old days. Present day EBM, or it's offsprings (synthpop, aggrotech, etc), are mostly uninspired, simple and repetitive songs for the black mass. Too many are focusing on getting a hit song for the clubs, instead of music that has something to say, music that has depth. This is, sadly, the demise for this genre, but back in the 80's and 90's, it was better.
One can discuss whether The Fair Sex really belongs in the EBM category. The Fair Sex uses typical rock instruments (two guitars, bass, drums), so based on the instruments, this is rock. Not as dark and gloomy as the exceptional Sisters Of Mercy, but definitely based in the dark/goth rock section.
The tracks on the albums vary a lot, which is very pleasing. One track is fast paced and very dancable, while another one other starts with guitar improvisation and changes into a haunting gothic rock song. The key to enjoyment in music is diversity, and The Fair Sex really knows how to realize that. Merging rock with a some electronics causes a lot of possibilities, and the 25 tracks are a perfect introduction for anyone who missed out on this band.
All tracks were selected for this compilation by Myk Jung, the band's vocalist, himself, so you know that this release really represents the band. The release comes with two nicely colored CD's; one in blue and one in red, while the frontcover is purple. The CD's have the very same picture on it, which is a magnified part of the frontcover. Blue plus red makes purple. It all figures. In the booklet is the equipment used as well, and the weirdest equipment used on this album is.... a microwave. ChAwech, Heathen Harvest E Zine

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