Music Reviews

Music Review – Alien Angel Super Death by Verena von Horsten Reviewed by Layla Dorine

Alien Angel Super Death is the second solo album by artist Verena von Horsten. It was written, produced and recorded mostly by herself in New York and Zurich.

It is a haunting musical insight into the complex processes she had to go through after her brother Hakon died of suicide.
These ten compositions are in no way light-hearted. Her heavy synth-rock songs as well as her omnipresent voice demand the listener’s full attention. Both musically and lyrically, the album is a passionate cry to the way our society deals with suicide and the causes leading to it, and to the way we make these topics taboo.

Each one of her songs is step out of darkness. Sometimes, through despair; often, empowering. Cries in reaction to the way our society systematically turns away from the psychologically wounded. Verena Von Horsten’s songs are the mapping of a steep fall. And a resurrection. Exactly four years ago, Hakon, Verena von Horsten’s brother, died. Verena von Horsten, his sister, the artist, remained. And in her, a vast amount of questions. How many decisions are made, until a human being only has this very last one left? The decision not to look when someone weeps, not to hear when someone calls for help, not to ask questions when someone disappears into themselves and then from the world. And then the reoccurring and unbearable question of her own guilt. The painful travels back to her own childhood. Paralysis. Self-mortification..

Verena’s journey through dark territories is a long one. She was sexually abused as a child and then abandoned. Instead of finding help, she was faced with silence. That wall of silence was also what she dealt with after her own suicide attempts.Then the death of her brother occurred. This meant much more than the loss of the person she related to most closely. For Verena, it was a complete collapse of all vital functions, and, ultimately, a full surrender to the collective refusal to talk.

As Verena von Horsten’s will to survive after her brother’s death reached it’s breaking point, it was not the end she found, but a beginning. Music was there again, as a language, as her own voice, as an embrace and most of all as a healing.
This experience, to heal, is what brought her back to life. And what gave her a new meaning: to transform its own shadow into light.

This energy is seen when she performs – highly energetic, powerful, emotional and beautifully vulnerable.

Regarding her record Verena von Horsten raises her voice for many. For the silence of all those dead and for all those who are still alive but are not heard. And in the end she raises her voice for each and everyone of us – as we all are wounded.

She does it loudly and with insistence. Quiet and fragile. She sets fire to the walls of silence and sings monsters to sleep. Verena’s voice points out the wounds, small and large, we all have. She gives them names, to make it possible to talk about them. What Verena von Horsten evokes through these ten songs here is, simply put, life. Power. Each one of these ten synth-rock pieces has the grandeur of a hymn.

These songs and her extraordinary life performances form one big anthem to bring light into the dark parts of our souls to gain empathy for each other and to make this society a bit more humane.

Publicity team name: James from I.M.P
Artist: Verena von Horsten
Year of the album: 2017
Genre: Synth Rock

Album Title: Alien Angel Super Death


Edgier, darker and dripping with far more emotion than her previous offering, Verena von Horsten’s newly released full length album «ALIEN ANGEL SUPER DEATH» is a twisting, complex mix of sound and emotions. Where her music, such as her Stadsommer 2011 performance of “Failure” and “Last one Standing,” off of her 2010 release had more of a 70’s Asteroid “Silver Leaf” feel to it, the heavier synth in <<Alien Angel Super Death >> is more closely reminiscent of a synth rock version of the 2010 Space Odyssey Soundtrack than her previous work, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the wild ride.

From fast, uptempo beats like those found in “The Hymm” who’s cool synth and delivery made it easy to envision as a part of a soundtrack during a slightly trippy scene that was more about playing with camera angles and storytelling than anything, to the slow melody and echoing delivery of songs like “Monster,” and “All about” where the focus seemed more on creating atmosphere and mood than storytelling, this new album brought a bit of something for every type of Synth-Rock lover.

There were times when the whispered lyrics, soft keyboard, and echoing synth were slightly chilling, like I wasn’t certain if I was in a horror story or a death vigil, but that was okay, but I felt like it needed to be both of those things, and more, in order to deliver the emotional impact that it did.

Verena von Horsten showed a beautiful range of beats and tempos. Described as her journey to coming to terms with her brother’s suicide, <<Alien Angel Super Death >> sounds like a process, or the act of processing intense emotions in the only way von Horsten knew how. Of all of the songs, the one that leapt out at me and stuck with me long after the final note had faded was “A Healing Moment.” Without words, using only echoing piano playing and soft sounds like the wind was blowing past, it accomplished, for me, a heart wrenching connection that I firmly believe words would have distracted from. Like a storm of winter ice and cold, frigid winds, the notes blew in, chilling and yet cleansing too. What she accomplished with these notes was deep and powerful.

Though not as strong in my opinion, of the final track on the album, “The Believer,” ended on a high note. There were times, especially in the faster songs, where it felt like the lyrics and the stories that they were trying to tell were buries a bit under the synth so that they sort of crashed together, making the lyrics difficult to make out.

Made up for by enthusiastic playing and the fantastic ability to create variety in the moods of each song, the emotion is still present from beginning to end despite the difficulty in picking out what von Horsten is trying to say at time. All in all, this was an exciting musical experience. I rather enjoyed the opportunity to listen to von Horsten’s latest offering.
Rating Tag: Emotional, Innovative, Synth-heavy
Track Specific (0 to 5)

1. The Hymn 3.5
2. All About 4
3. Sweet Lullabye 5
4. Sakrament der Büffelherde 3
5. The Monster 5
6. Fire  4.5
7. What You Say  4
8. The Love We Have Forever 4.5
9. A Healing Moment  5
10.The Believer 3.5
Overall Album (0 to 5) 4.25

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Layla Dorine

LaylaDorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

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