Razed in Black Damaged

You know when you rewind the first song three times before moving on that you’re in for something good. Such is the case here. "Blush” — a guaranteed dance floor, boogie-woogie party single — couldn’t have been in higher rotation before I knuckled under and let the disc proceed. Sole member Romell Regulacion runs the whole vocal/instrumentation show and wears all the hats well. Don’t be fooled by the uber-goth hair and piercings in the liner pics: Romell’s boots are planted firmly in synth-pop, and from the synth lines to his emotive vocals and sensitive words, a rich beauty envelops his songs. There is an acerbity in place with all the power chord action in "Why?,” and guest vocalists like Spahn Ranch’s Athan Maroulis up the aggressive dial a notch. But the synth and trance beats are the real motivation and keep the whole set threaded with a common cord. Eight remixes and two videos make up the second of two discs, and though I’m often doubtful of a collection of reworkings, there is enough variation to make the songs sound vaguely new. Eve of Destiny’s remix of "I’ll Damage You” throws a spooky veil over it all, upping the all important goth quotient. You could file this one alongside Apoptygma Berzerk in the future-pop section of your stash, but "Damaged” has got too much of all good things to fit too snugly in any pigeonhole. (Cleopatra)