We are nearly at the halfway point of 2018 already, folks. How is this year slipping away so fast? Anyway, amid the heat of the long, Bank Holiday weekend, I’ve pulled together the best tracks of the past month.
Tuesday Ten: 332
Tracks of the Month (May 2018)
2018 in Review
Once again, it is quite a mix of styles, as 2018 continues to prove (at least so far) that variety and individuality is important. We don’t all have to rush down the same alley, that’s for sure, although interestingly I’ve had little so far this year that’s really leapt out at me. There’s still time, mind…
As usual, if you’ve got something you want me to hear, something I should be writing about, or even a gig I should be attending (aside from the nine in my calendar for May already!), e-mail me, or drop me a line on Facebook (details below).
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Track of the Month
While the title track – with Jean-Luc de Meyer on vocals – has perhaps inevitably gained attention, digging deeper into this excellent album is well worth the time. Very much of the current vogue for blurring the lines between EBM, industrial and pummelling techno – although the album is rather more varied than might be expected – this track in particular is a slamming, driving monster of a tune that seems to hit another gear each time that you think it couldn’t possibly peak again, a relentless, joyously brilliant techno assault.
Sometimes recommendations and musical discoveries happen purely by chance, and this was one of those. Recommended by a friend-of-a-friend on a friend’s Facebook post, his glowing description had me immediately intrigued, and I was hooked from the first few seconds. More EBM-leaning industrial from Australia, and a relatively new and young act to boot, this is hard, nasty and long (in effect one track in three parts over fifteen minutes), and just begs to be played in a dark, sweat-drenched club.
It seems to have been promised for ages – but then, with various touring commitments and the death of Jeremy Inkel in the meantime, perhaps any delay can be understood – but the follow-up to the exceptional Airmech is finally coming. The full album is out later in June, but this first track gives us an idea of what to expect, and by the sound of this, it really is continuing where Airmech left off. Not that this is a bad thing – Airmech was the sound of a reinvigorated band, one given a new change to explore different concepts, which in this case was an atmospheric, futuristic soundscape without any need for vocals or to pander to the dancefloor. The result, much as here, was an electronic sound of with – unusually for FLA – a notably human touch, full of wordless emotion and sweeping vistas, but also with the ability to confound with monstrous, mechanical beatdowns where necessary. The future is in safe hands.
This always intriguing industrial rock band return after what feels like an age away – it’s been four years since their last new single, and eight since their last album (although the singles since have been impressive, nonetheless). One thing that has rather defined this band is their apparent determination not to be pigeonholed: while they have long been signed to Alfa-Matrix, they don’t sound anything like any of their labelmates, for starters, and even from release to release they’ve shifted their focus. They’ve gone from full-on industrial rock, to acoustic material, to industrial-dance music, and even a good line ballads. The constant thread, though, is Brittany Bindrim’s acid-edged, soaring vocals, that rightly dominate every song she puts her voice to, and this track (the first taste of the forthcoming new album) continues that. Almost grunge-esque guitars work alongside mid-paced industrial-tinged rhythms, but Bindrim’s vocals are of course centre-stage for a powerful return. The exceptional video is also worth a look, too.
Fed Into The Nihilist Engine
As I noted a couple of months ago, I’ve rather rediscovered my love of metal (at least to a point), with various intriguing new releases piquing my interest. And here’s another – the epic, fourteen minute opener to an album that arrived in my inbox as a prospective promo, and I for one am glad I opened that e-mail and followed the link. Apparently something of a British metal supergroup, this is gloriously doomy, rolling metal that very much owes something to Neurosis, but there is also something of a nod to Iron Monkey, particularly in the ugly, sludgy guitar tones and the throat-shredding vocals. But elsewhere on the album, there is enough of a variety in sound to allow them to create their own identity, which is definitely a good thing. That said, this track is a pretty awesome place to start.
The quite great Italian cold-wave/post-punk act Ash Code returned recently with another new album, and the first track didn’t seem to suggest any deviation from their already fully-formed, powerful sound. But this second single from it – and the title track – does feel like something different. Screaming, squalling synths spiral over soft-touch beats, and the dual, all-German vocals (featuring Luca Gillian from Die Selektion) really make this one stand out, particularly after first single Icy Cold doing little for me.
Truth Is Sin