“A blend of old-school industrial and dark cyber-tek electronics” …so says the blurb, which gave me a little more confidence in what I was about to hear when I was first passed this release. The band’s name suggested to me yet another “harsh” industrial act who were as ‘evil’ as they could be. But maybe, just maybe, cartoon evil is going out of fashion and taking its place is a strain of new industrial where a dark, malevolent evil is core to the sound. As proven here.
Note: First posted on Connexion Bizarre
Not that you’d know it from the somewhat nondescript opening track, “Drugsick”, but “Back To The Grave” makes it plainly clear. Heavily treated, distorted vocals with the music looming like a gigantic shadow behind it. In fact, another shadow looms over this album, and that is its influences. You don’t need to read the act’s website to pick out the clear Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly influence: the former in the sample-heavy, dense construction, and in the unsettling atmospheres created, and the latter in the clean, pulsing electronics and resolutely old school rhythms.
It’s not all about the influences, though – Necrotek’s personal stamp is laid over the music by lyrics that are frequently of an astonishingly nihilistic intensity, occasionally heading toward social commentary, but little more than a comment upon how humankind is doing a good job of destroying itself. Not that this is a bad thing, by any stretch – the lyrics fit the mood of the music perfectly, and generally play second fiddle to the music anyway. There are particular moments where all this comes together spectacularly, too – like the vitriolic, murderous hatred of “Human Waste”, the sneering stream of accusations that comprise “Beat Yourself Dead”, and I’m a particular fan of the spiraling vortex of darkness at the heart of “Sense of Decay” as well.
The album proper is a short-ish forty-eight minutes, padded out by seven remixes. I’m not normally a fan of bands doing this, but I’m going to make a happy exception here for the high quality – and variation – shown by the different remixers. In particular, however, for the staggering Terror Punk Syndicate remix of “Back To The Grave”, which basically turns the track into a new Skinny Puppy classic complete with hulking beats and savage guitar samples. But if only Skinny Puppy could still write stuff like this.
It must also be said that this album is perhaps something of an anomaly – one that wears its influences so obviously has no business twisting new and interesting sounds from such familiar raw materials in such style as this. As a result – particularly if you hanker for the days of industrial of the old school – this is an intriguing and essential purchase.