As I have noted before in recent reviews, the industrial noise scene seems to be stretching it’s boundaries ever further, with influences from other scenes creating fascinating new hybrids. And such is the case here, with an album that both strengthens the case for the industrial noise genre as it is, and also tries things that are quite unexpected and, perhaps, welcome.
Let’s get one thing straight now, though – anyone looking for an “easy” listening experience would be best to look elsewhere. The whole album bristles with anger – no, rage – and hatred to an extent that I have heard in few albums recently. Perhaps the only artist in recent years that has come close to this level of intensity is Terrorfakt, but this is far more cerebral than that.
Opener Some Things Are Meant To Stay Broken leaves you in no doubt of how this album will treat you – roughly. Distorted sounds seep from the speakers, followed by twisted vocal samples, then swept away from an edgy, pounding rhythm and a stream of female vocals and metallic samples, that both writhe in and out of focus to astounding effect. When The Past Becomes Present doesn’t let up, with a thumping bass-beat that forces it’s way to the foreground while being twisted into new shapes, particularly the astonishing, climactic mid-section where it switches into a gear never even hinted at previously.
Leave It To Fate, which continuing the pattern of harsh beats and effects, lessens the intensity level somewhat by removing the vocals entirely, but keeps up the interest by the sheer number of layers of differing effects and treatments, almost as if it were Skinny Puppy creating a noise album. This comparison is made even more stark by the retro-industrial beats of title track Beyond Repair, which married with the vocal stylings (for once higher up in the mix) make for a track that has somewhat unexpectedly worked on dancefloors. The whole track threatens to spiral out of control more than once when it arrives at what could be called a chorus, but is expertly reeled back in, before collapsing in on itself and heading straight into the “1…2…3…4” count-in of Significantly Altered, which gives the effect of a jump-start into six minutes-plus of rhythmic attack.
The Needle’s Eye provides a needed respite from the furious attack so far, three-or-so minutes of pitch-black ambience, followed by Deanimate – a measured mix of sweeping, forbidding tones and distorted beats, with hissed vocals somewhere in there too. Squelch opens with the pronouncement of “I did the wrong things right“, before an apparent laser-gun attack and blunted beats carry the momentum on further, coupled with the unleashing of some noises at a really quite unpleasant pitch.
For Every Action There Is A Reaction takes the pace back down initally, but with beats and a labyrinthine set of effects that bring to mind the peak of Converter‘s work, and continue the comparison by the steady movement away into what appears a different track entirely at points. Dance to this if you dare. The most unsettling effect of all, though, is the song sample at the end, which sounds like something really quite familar from the forties or fifties, that eases the listener into the industrial chaos of Deconstructing Scar Tissue. Closing track Quiddity is separated from the remainder of the album by 11 tracks of silence, and it appears that there is a reason for this – after all, thematically it is considerably different to the rest of the album, being a collage of searing noises and sampled voices, possibly from a radio conversation – or at least manipulated to sound like it.
As the final track fades into ten seconds or so of silence, it gives a chance to reflect on the past 56 minutes of aural violence – and the silence following it sounds…different. Perhaps that is because this album manages to fill every available gap with sound – the whole thing is so dense, so suffocating, that it almost overwhelms on first listen, but then repeat listens continue to reveal more and more.
Really, this is an astonishing album. While being quite clear about influences, it simultaneously manages to forge new trails along a now well-worn path, one that others may dare to follow. Quite how anyone else will fare is one question – quite how this band follow a masterpiece such as this is another well worth waiting for an answer.