Start of the month, so another quick roundup:
Track of the Month
Front Line Assembly
Shifting Through The Lens EP
Never mind the single Shifting Through The Lens – as good as it is – this single release is worth it alone to hear this track, which will be track two on the forthcoming album Improvised Electronic Device. It starts slowly and quietly, not really suggesting too much, before a hulking great riff rips through the speakers, underpinned by a steady, mid-paced beat, and the anthemic chorus is pretty impressive too. It reminds me a little of Bio-Mechanic or Vigilante, which is no bad thing. My fingers and toes are all crossed that the album is as good as this, and that it’s a worthy follow-up to Artificial Soldier.
For anyone who is in any doubt that Black Metal can still be a vital, modern musical force, I’m going to point them to this. A seething, writhing, brutal beast, this is the first I’ve heard of the forthcoming Watain album that is out next week. Their previous album Sworn To The Dark was astounding enough, and Terrorizer have just given the new one 10/10 in their review. Gulp. But if it’s all of this quality, I can well believe why. Impeccably-produced black metal, with every instrument perfectly audible and balanced, and a vocal that sounds like it’s being summoned from hell. Oh, and the guitar solo in it slays. It’s a damned shame I can’t make the gig next Saturday at the Garage (prior commitments), I can tell you.
I still can’t get over just how brilliant this new Deftones album is – every time I listen to it I’m listening right through, and it gets better every single time. The standout track for me – amongst eleven brilliant tracks, there’s not a duff one – is this one, though, a stomping, two-and-a-half-minute gem of crunching riff after crunching riff, electronic interludes, and a spectacular, soaring vocal delivery from Chino Moreno that probably ranks as among his best performances ever. My only complaint with this song is just that it ends too damned fast.
None More Black
None More Black EP
Fresh from his great breakthrough album last year, four more tracks to keep us going. Intriguingly, it widens his musical styles a little, while keeping the same pitch black atmosphere that was there before. The old-school industrial beat to this really does sound vaguely familiar, but I can’t quite put my finger on where from. Additional points from me for the Spinal Tap sample, too…
The Faithless Congregation
Walking In The Flesh
I have this album to review for Connexion Bizarre at the moment, and from the first couple of listens, it’s an impressive release. So called “Terror EBM” (although it’s certainly not EBM) from the UK is unusual enough, but even more unusual is this band’s impressive commitment to reproducing their material in the live arena by having no less than seven people onstage. And names that won’t be unfamiliar to many people reading this feature – Jamie Blacker from ESA is one of the live vocalists, and Nick from Prot0type is the live keyboardist. I’m beginning to wonder, though, if the live arena might be the best place to experience them – the album is not produced as well as it perhaps should be, and synth lines dominate everything else (beats, vocals and samples, mainly, although the odd guitar riff elbows it’s way in). This track is still pretty impressive, though, a stomping industrial track with a heart of pure black (metal). Not for the first time, a certain band with the words in it’s name beginning P and N spring to mind…
Anything That Gets You Through The Night
In the apparent absence of new Seabound material anytime soon, a second album from Frank Spinath’s other project will do nicely. As I’ve noted before, his lyrics in Edge of Dawn are rather less reserved and drenched in metaphor than in Seabound, and are often somewhat more explicit too. This track, though, isn’t so explicit, but is yet another elegant electro track that proves Spinath is streets ahead of anyone else in the field. Not only are his songs exquisitely produced (and often quite minimalist in construction), they are always intelligently written and have something to say about the human heart and impulsion. Not got the new album yet (this appeared on Septic VIII a good few months ago), but will be picking it up this week: the other track I’ve heard (Siren’s Call, available for free from the Dependent website) is also rather wonderful.
For the billionth time, I’m late to the party once again. This has been out, oh, a year at least, it seems, and somehow it’s passed me by. Anyway, for those of you who haven’t heard it like me, this is a drum’n’bass monster that has an impressively long teasing intro, with added Daft Punk, before it explodes into life. As is always the case with this kind of track – something that will tear a dancefloor to shreds – I need to hear this really, really fucking loud. The video is impressively nuts, too.
The Space In Between
How To Destroy Angels
Trent Reznor’s new project has got a lot of attention, not least as he has been following a similar pattern in releasing material to his latter-day NIN releases. So, it’s a slow drip-feed of new downloads and videos, and indeed the whole EP is available to download for free from today, with the CD following next month. The addition of his wife on vocals to these tracks has for me cast a whole new light on Reznor’s musical compositions, and indeed sounds great. The music is unmistakeably still Trent Reznor, but using all kinds of electronic effects and very little actual instruments, it seems. Some have compared it to Coil – indeed the band title is from one of their albums – but it’s a little more mainstream, perhaps, than them. I’m just hoping the quality of the tracks so far is kept up. This track brings to mind Massive Attack at their darkest, which is no bad thing, and it has the kind of suffocating atmosphere that few bands ever manage. The video, linked above, also has to be seen to be beleved (although some may not see it as worksafe, particularly).
Somebody To Hate (Hate Hegel Remix)
American Porn Songs // Remixed
I think the most frustrating thing about this remix album is that for me, it’s pretty much underlined what was missing from the original release of American Porn Songs last year – that the industrial part of 16Volt’s sound had all but disappeared on many songs. Nowhere is this more clear than on this stellar remix of the so-so closing track from APS – where the riffs are still present and correct, but the beats are pounding as they should be, and the whole track has a dancefloor-bound energy to it…if only I could find a dancefloor that I might be able to tear away from so-called (hard-dance-dominated) industrial…
Underworld’s first new material in some time is something of a shock. A collaboration with High Contrast, it’s an extraordinarily colourful, joyous track that sounds nothing like Underworld have ever done before – and indeed sounds more like High Contrast – but perversely is perhaps the best they have sounded in some time, too (since Darren Emerson left, and took something of the spark with him, to be honest). The precursor to a forthcoming new album, it’ll be intriguing to see what route they take over the course of a whole album.