And there was me thinking the US-industrial that I know and love was only to be a relic from the past in future.
With bands like Numb long gone, and Front Line Assembly just a shadow of their former selves, and European “industrial” becoming lighter and lighter by the week, I could be forgiven for thinking so. Only Dismantled have really come close of late, but all this has changed with the arrival of Cyanotic. This album has it all. Soundscapes, thumping beats, phased-and-distorted-to-fuck vocals, sheets of guitar noise. The entire album is perfectly paced, with a good mix of monstrous uptempo dancefloor tracks and more cerebral workouts.
And yes, it owes a debt to industrial of the past – most notably in parts FLA. But it is hardly slavish copywork. The website may proclaim “Our role models are machines“, but the band have certainly mastered theirs. Every track is overflowing with ideas, all kinds of tricks hidden in the mix that you find upon repeated listens. (Hint: play this album very loud for best results – it sounds awesome)
Trying to pick highlights from an album this good is really quite hard. But let’s give it a go. Opening track proper Order Out Of Chaos is a mix of drum’n’bass, phased vocals and a stomping breakdown in the chorus. Insurgence is even better, the roaring, mechanized rhythm just adding to the vocal fury, and the sublime pacing of the track (with fleeting seconds of almost silence before the whole thing comes crashing back in) makes you hanker for more after the five minutes are up. Title track Transhuman‘s brooding menace shows the band’s stunning versatility, with it opening as little more than an industrial soundscape, before more processed guitars and beats bring an air-strike on the calm. Deface is probably the most straight-up “dancefloor” track here, and in time will fill them as it is fucking superb.
Speaking of which – Sensory Deprivation is probably the heaviest, fastest track here, and if you ever liked stomping to old-school Ministry, or perhaps FLA stuff like Plasticity on the dancefloor you will love it. And while you are stomping away, the sheer aggression in the vocals is worth a listen too. Aggression is something that fills Beta-Blocker, too. But more in the style of Numb. Closing track Higher States Of Conciousness is a big surprise – a rolling, ambient soundscape that more brings to mind Future Sound of London than any US industrial.
I could enthuse for sometime over this album, as it really is this good. But I won’t, as I am running out of space. This is the first truly essential album of 2005, and I’ll be somewhat surprised to see anyone better this, as it is nigh on perfect.