So how exactly do you go about topping an album as good as Transhuman? Well, it appears Cyanotic are side-stepping that question a little for now, as we have to wait a little longer for the follow-up proper to arrive.
In the meantime, though, this will do nicely. In light of the success of Transhuman, what apparently started out as a remix-album has become a total re-working of the album, with re-recorded and in some cases, radically different versions of the tracks emerging, packaged with a handful of remixes and the entire original album remastered too. Containing 28 tracks, it represents really rather great value!
So what of the re-work? For the first sign of the extent of the radical change, check out the extended intro Frequency [recycled], which takes the original clanking samples and stretches it out into a skittering industrial workout, making you wonder why on earth it wasn’t like this in the first place. The next change is the moving of Sensory Overload up the order, and it’s easy to see why. The vocal treatments are stripped away to reveal a raw, raging vocal, and the guitars and drums are turned up louder, with a dense, pulsating mass of electronics filling the gaps. Wow.
The pounding assault doesn’t stop there. Resurgence gains the assistance of Rabbit Junk to meld it into an even-more-furious political rant than it already was (and as pointed out by a friend, the opening doesn’t half sound like Ministry‘s Thieves now). Out go the vocal treatments, and instead of a studio construction the whole thing sounds live and nearly jumps out of the speakers at you.
Order Out Of Chaos ended up being the crowning moment of Transhuman, and the fact that it isn’t here perhaps helps to explain it’s demotion down the running order somewhat, appearing here as Chaos Incarnate. It isn’t as if it is bad – featuring members of Front Line Assembly – it just simply can’t match the visceral impact that the original had. The structure remains essentially the same – just with additional layers of programming, a simpler beat and perhaps even more guitars. An interesting idea, but I’ll stick with the original…
The first breather on the album (as with the first time around) comes with the title track – possibly the least amended track here. Little has changed other than additional bleeps, which is fine – the original was fine as it was. Deface has morphed into The Glitch Mode Stomper, and they ain’t kidding – emphasis has switched to the stomping beats and this is now a sure-fire dancefloor tune.
Pro-Dissonance truly brings the metal. With guitars turned to 11, this version of Antithesis turns the original on it’s head, again with a much more “live” feel and somehow manages to feel that it is at a slower tempo (when I’m sure that it isn’t, really). (Paranoid) Disbelief starts out with a highly effective and creepy, piano-led intro before what is essentially the original track kicks in – although new samples related to the intro continue to fill the gaps to genius effect.
Another with little change is Axi-Ethereum, although it’s continued mellowed-out atmosphere following on from the previous track results in something of a sag in the momentum of the CD as a whole. The mid-track breakdown is the main noticeable change, though, with the whole thing phasing across the speakers, and again with far more prominence given to the live instrumentation, and as before the gaps all filled by electronics. A fascinating might-have-been is LD 50, which is basically a breakcore remix of Actuator, but it only lasts for a minute – it could, and should, have been expanded into a full track, in my view.
Still, it does bleed into Beta Blocker [detox] brilliantly, another track that was full of rage in the first place – against those who rely on pills for their moods – and doesn’t lose an inch of it here. A subtle shift of emphasis turns it into a black-as-pitch drum’n’bass track to stunning effect, while keeping what made the original so good intact. The same can be said of Altered States of Conciousness, which is turned into an even more blissed-out instrumental than before, floating through on layer after layer of samples and bleeps that form and dissipate like clouds in the sky.
So what of the remixes? drukore turn Transhuman into a drum’n’bass monster, while mindFluxFuneral into a bleepy, EBM-tinged workout (no guitars, either), Deadliner provide yet another dancefloor-aimed version of Deface (with the beat underpinning it bringing to mind This Morn’ Omina, of all people), and finally, in the most interesting remix, perhaps, Perileyes tears Suspension Of Disbelief apart, leaving little other than the vocals intact. The sparse, disconnected feel is incredible, sounding like little else around and works well as a showcase for the talents of an emerging artist who apparently is really rather young!
As a move ahead, this album helps to reinforce just how talented and open to new ideas Cyanotic are. They have not been afraid to rebuild tracks from scratch, in the main being well aware of the fact that some of the album did not really need touching whatsoever. Still, the experimentation is laudable, and bodes very well indeed for the forthcoming second album when it arrives. It is hard to believe that this will prove to be “difficult”, as the cliche goes, to a band with this much potential.