The Fair Sex: Labyrinth Reviews

The electronics reign, but rock guitars shimmer across the landscape. No coldwave power chords, this is pure rawk, and thus infinitely more creative and daring than the typical industrial crossover fodder. Powerful and at times, even anthematic, this is the rock 'n' roll of the future. - Jo Ann Greene, Pandimonium Magazine

Thick & juicy bass synth riffing sets the stage for the E-bow guitars & driving beats that announce the arrival of another winner from The Fair Sex. "Doesn't it sound like a better way?" Yep! Billed as a "cyberopera" LABYRINTH is a concept album of sorts, about the lad Tancer & his various adventures & observations. I've got to say tho, this cd stands on its own track for track, with little or no filler. "You Know How" is the Euro dance single & true to this album's bill for it almost sounds like an electro "Tommy" (the Who-silly) with vox remeniscent of the Arm Dildoes, to boot. This is an interesting mix!!!! - Shred, DAMN Magazine
Though this CD is marketed as the first ever cyberopera,don't expect it to matchthe orchestral strength of Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel's Nail or Pig's Praise the Lard CD. While Labyrinth might have a thematic link,the traditional symphonic instrumentation such as strings and timpanis only surfaces on a couple songs. Instead The Fair Sex relies on their talent for making strong Euro - influencedsynthpop with a harsh edge. This abrasive element might push them closer to the industrial-dance camp and away from more commercial contemporaries, but the strong sense of melody keeps them snared in the middle. - Rowan-Morrison, Huh Magazine
I'd definately categorize this as industrial, but it has a strong techno feel/sound to it. Elements of early Front 242 and Front Line Assembly blatantly stick out, but where these bands seem fueled by urgency and panic The Fair Sex isn't. The production concentrates largely on dance loops and upbeat sounds. Not a bad album by any means. - Ink19 Magazine
A trio of new CDs have emerged from California's Van Richter Records. Foremost among them is the Fair Sex's second release, "Labyrinth". "Labyrinth" is a set of sixteen electronic dance-oriented pieces. Like much of the bands in this genre, the center of their sound is derived from the early pioneering done by Kraftwerk, mixed with the heavier electropop of the eighties and the harsh electro sound of the nineties. Many of their songs feature live and sampled guitars, thus giving them a much fuller sound than that often provided by sequential electronics alone. Fair Sex's music works in flow motion. This is accomplished in two ways. The flow of songs such as "Electronic New Self" and "Cyberbite" comes from the multiple layering of their staccato rhythms. The bass line is fluid, inextricably linked to the beat, that pushes the piece along smoothly rather than aggressively. The second method is to use guitars. Guitars can punctuate certain aspects of the sound, but even more so, they can create a steady chord river that smooths out the rough edges left by the had percolative rhythms. Recommended tracks include "Get Lost", "Miss Dissatisfied", and especially "Madadonia", with its synthetic string quartet weaving its way behind the flowing buzz guitars and rolling tempo. - Michael Mahan, Alternative Press
The Fair Sex formed in Essen, Germany, a decade ago. Members are also involved in the project Testify. Where Testify uses a harder hitting approach, The Fair Sex are much more club friendly. Labyrinth is an industrial, electro body musical journey into the cyberfantasy of Tancer. In April of 2038, Tancer, a 28 year old lethargic guy, meets Joy Noyse and is taken into a cyberspacial dream land. Labyrinth is a cyberopera centered around the theme, Tancer's Quest. The Fair Sex incorporate a wide range of musical genres, including classical and opera, but never too much of one thing. The lyrics are included, to keep you in sync, should you lose track of the plot, but the songs are strong enough to stand on their own. Of the 16 tracks, all but two are worthy of club hit stature and two are remixes. So, if you add it up, 12 out of 16 is an amazing record. And Labyrinth is an amazing CD. One might say that this is the future of industrial music. For more information contact- You will be able to access the whole story of "Tancer's Quest". - Linda Tish, Valley Scene
Once again the Fair Sex has proven themselves to be one of the better up and coming bands in the European electro scene. This time around with a Cyberopera that rivets between Post-Industrial Rock and more mellow soundtrack like work. Very similar in scope and style to Front 242, falling somewhere between Tyranny for you and Up Evil, in terms of complexity and strength of song writing. Good stuff. - Andy Waggoner, Interface Magazine

This self dubbed "Cyberopera" is the most ambitious and gripping industrial record of 1995/96. 16 Songs with a connected lyrical vision move from classical & operaic influences through top notch Euro dance club hits. A real mindfucker, edge fans! - Dean Seven, FAD Magazine
Well, this new release from The Fair Sex was quite the little gem! Hard to believe that this is the band's tenth release and being not that familiar with their previous output, I didn't know quite what to expect, but was most surprised! Formed in Germany about ten years ago, they have been labeled as the successors to Skinny Puppy, though I feel the comparision is unjust. If truth be told, as good as Skinny Puppy are, they are quite different in approach to The Fair Sex. If anything based on this album, I find them to be a lot more textured and willing to go into areas that many bands of industrial ilk would be afraid to go into. Given that I share a simular attitude to my own band, I can only respect The Fair Sex for the risks that they take... There are certainly many influences at work here, but I feel that always remain true to their core self. Some noteworthy tracks are: "Electronic New Self", "Cyberbite", "Run and Hide" and "Get Lost". Even though they had a club hit with "Not Now, Not Here" a while back, I'm surprised that they are not a bigger band than they are, especially given the huge rise of "Industrial" acceptance into the quais - mainstream via N.I.N. So perhaps good things are in store for this band. A genuine winner all the way... - Tony Lestat, Dark Angel Magazine
The year is 2038 and Tancer is a young man who has been living for too long under the oppressive rule of Cyberbite, a global company that, by providing artifical lifeforms for human pleasure, has managed to subjugate mankind. This aggressive, industrial 6 song collection chronicles Tancer's quest to escape that life . Among the best cuts are "Madadonia", a surprisingly kinetic composition that relates his meeting with a traitorous ex - revolutionary, and the guitar/synthesizer duel of "Get Lost", which recounts Tancer's race through a massive underground labyrinth. The story itself (included in a separate seven - page document and also available on the internet). The music is dynamic,driving and dancable. The songs tend to advance the action rather than the written words, and although the overall results are mixed, sonically this "cyberoperatic" idea represents an interesting concept that deserves to be furtherexplored by both the listener and band. - JB, Asterism
My friends told me that this was Van Richter=92s strongest release and that I would not be disappointed. This is a concept CD about Tancer's Quest. Pop some times, heavy at others, this CD is big with the keyboard oriented industrial fans with a painted dark cold ambient world that is only their own. I like it because there is actually melodies and different changes that add some musical depth. Cool panning effects on many of the songs. Over seventy minutes worth of music that is danceable to the extreme. - Tom Brignall, Urban Warfare #6
German electro industrial band The Fair Sex will please those of a love for electro slaughter coupled with guitars. The vocals are surprisingly undaunted by typical industrial groups and sound a little gothic at time. Music you can dance to time and time again. The Fair Sex also blend classical and opera elements. A band I would like to see touring here soon. Bring it on Babee!! - V, Delirium Magazine
Labyrinth Germany's Fair Sex have made their scond US release into more than just good electronic body music, but a "cyberopera". By successfully incorporating both elements of industrial and opera music, the band tells of a futuristic world set thirty years into the millenium where earth inhabitants survive in controlled environments and are helpless to their emotional defenses. They give a fair improvement to last years highly acclaimed Machine Bites CD release and already had hits in Europe for the singles "Cyberbite" and "You Know How". TERRA INDUSTRIA Magazine
The Fair Sex has kept their lineup consistant since their formation a decade ago in Essen, Germany - except for the tragic death of their drummer on stage in 1988. He was replaced only with machines. The Fair Sex was one of the first bands to crossover electronics with guitars back in the mid-'80s, and it amuses them that the current electro-industrial genre is stressing the mix of electronics and guitars, as if a contradiction. As a pioneer of this trend, The Fair Sex's past decade of work demonstrates how inspiring it has been to work on both sides of the spectrum. Touted as the kings of electro body music and a successor to Skinny Puppy, The Fair Sex's Labyrinth has been three years in the making and is the first rock "Cyberopera" - complete with a seven page press kit to guide you through the cyberaction adventure that incorporates numerous genres such as classical and opera. Ahh, but operatically speaking, "Labyrinth" still emerges as good, fast, smooth industrial. The current European dance club hit "Cyberbite" incorporates operatic voices in a pleasingly ethereal way - chillingly crisp and tight. But it's the mechanized electronic elements that plunge one track into the next - classic electro-industrial style. Recommended. - L.C., Eye Magazine
The latest work by The Fair Sex, Labyrinth is just another product of what they have been doing since the mid - 1980's making great electronic music. Labyrinth, coined as the first ever cyberopera is a combination of creative energetic electronic music and guitars with well written lyrics. Those who prefer the purely electronic music however will not be disappointed with this album. Even when present the guitars have a subtle role and fit nicely. Labyrinth combines unique sounds with well written songs that possess the sounds of Recoil with the intensity and sonwriting creativity of Rush. Sounds range from the pulsing and hissing beat of the electro - operatic Madadonia to the abrasive synth line of Cyberbite to the electronic body music EBM of Electronic New Self. Labyrinth is a unique sounding collection of well written songs and belongs in any electronic music collection. - Pat Dandenault, Permission Magazine
Aside from all the hype about the first cyberopera Germany's long time pioneers The Fair Sex have released a masterpiece. Intense EBM with very well used guitar and angry yet melodic vocals comprise the smashers of this album like "White Noise", "Electronic New self", "Cyberbite", and "Run and Hide", while very powerful slow pieces provide excellent interludes. At least half the tracks on here could be single. Labyrinth is great on the dance floor and a must for the car. Brilliant. Culture Shock Magazine
Another cyberopera?! Ultraviolence did something simular. Hopefully this is not becoming a trend. Labyrinth is an adventure realized through electro among other styles. Operatic singing and classical strings are occassionally heard, and the oddity (this can often be perverted) from their side project Testify seeps in frequently. For example the duet "Sister Anger" is not common. The refrain is a hilarious, "Shake,shake,shake yer whiny ass!" They compose some of the best and catchiest melodies especially with their bass progressions and selections from their sound banks. Known for their combination of electronics and guitars they chose to increase the beat and put the guitars through considerable amounts of fuzz. The Fair Sex established themselves as pioneers in electronic body music long ago. With three years behind the making of this CD ,they'll remain upon their pedestal. - Chris Jagasits, New Industrial Sounds
The Fair Sex are a german band who formed a decade ago and who have been one of the first bands to crossover electronics and metal back in the middle of the eighties. They released three albums on their first label Roof Music and five more ones after having signed to Rough Trade Records. Labyrinth is dated 1995 and presents sixteen tracks jam packed with various influences ranging from industrial music, to electronic mixtures, to more slightly synthpop dance oriented stuff. One of their main influences seems to be Skinny Puppy and so if you are a fan of the past S.P. era and you like hard electronic dance music then contact this label to know which is their latest release. - Marc Urselli-Scharer, Chain D.L.K.
A re-release of a 1995 concept album "Labyrinth" from German electro purveyors The Fair Sex comes our way sporting a sound somewhat dated but not without some charm (that unfortunately wears off about a fifth into the album's massive tracklisting). More hook heavy and radio friendly than pure industrial, too electronic and eccentric to be alternative, The Fair Sex occupies the sort of grey area of industrial rock inhabited by bands like Chemlab or Sister Machine Gun. A step up from Nine Inch Nails wannabes like Gravity Kills or Filter but without the grit and gutso to appeal to the average Ministry or KMFDM fan. The songs rely on catchy choruses that occasionally come off as dull and safe rather than engaging and chant-inducing, a lethal mistake when the refrains are repeated this much. I'm without the lyrics but it seems strange for something touted as a concept album to repeat itself so much. Song from song not much variety is introduced, bubbly harmless synths and clean vocals defining the melodies. Speaking of the vocal work I must give some credit to the band for not relying on overprocessed singing/talking or gimmicky effects. The vocals are mostly presented naked and generally well-done, if somewhat disjointed in certain sections. Occasionally the cheese factor of the synth lines passes an acceptable level but I'd welcome cornball antics on a Thrill Kill Kult level if it meant for a more engaging and exciting listen. Anything that would show The Fair Sex working outside of the box they seem stuck in.
Not suited for the greasy haired, leather jacketed end of the industrial spectrum and too dated to compete with today's new-fangled EBM sounds, it seems that by playing it safe The Fair Sex is without any kind of edge over the original stylings they've watered down. Most of the first tier bands of this genre manage to incorporate both harder hitting guitar work while simultaneously creating more lush and interesting electronic soundscapes. The Fair Sex occupy a small amount of this space, not stretching out in any particular direction. Once again, I'm puzzled that this is a concept album (and without the lyrics I'm unsure how the music guides this concept) considering it's lacking any kind of drama. Concept records great and terrible generally feature ups and downs, an attempt or two at theatricality, ambitious songwriting, etc. The album features a couple interludes between the formulaic songs but do little to distinguish themselves from the blur that is "Labyrinth." A handful of these tracks go a long way, the album's playing time becoming somewhat of a marathon without surprise or much interest being evoked from this listener. Decent hooks are dropped here and there, but are usually repeated until they crumble. A catchy chorus should never outstay its welcome. Refrains are an important tool in this kind of songwriting, but when a song just becomes a chorus with filler in between each repeat, the whole affair becomes painfully predictable and rather shallow - Sokaris, Heathen Harvest.
Even though this is touted as the first cyber-opera, following the quest of a man named Tancer, the whole album does not sound cohesive enough and does not seem to present a concrete story line. However, this is an excellent Electro album, with many of the songs sticking in your head over time. A fair amount of guitar has been added to some of the tracks, possibly an influence from the Testify side-project, but it is intelligently used and never over-blown. 'Run & Hide' is a very catchy track with its simple, bouncy keyboards, some good use of samples and a combination of an other worldly/Japanese-sounding background. The ending of the track 'Mother Restless' had some simple piano harmonies and vocals that sounded eerily like the Beatles. 'Madadonia' sounds has a very classical orchestra sound to it, in which spoken word is layered on top and includes some simple electronic beats in the background. The song 'In the Desert' is an interesting song with its Gothic-styled vocals, oceanic soundscapes, and its music box notes throughout. - Kevin Congdon, Sonic Boom

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