I wasn’t going to review this, initially. As it is, it’s an unmastered demo, clearly unfinished. However, the band decided to give out a number of copies of this at a recent gig, and after just one listen the review started to formulate. So here we are.
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The first thing to be said is about what this CD is. It is seven tracks, so not a full album. The ordering of the tracks at this stage is not deemed to be too important, as that will be addressed when the tracks are finished.
And onto the tracks themselves. What strikes you immediately is the gigantic steps forward taken by the band. Rather than being somewhat, well, tinny, the beats crunch and have some real force behind them. The vocals have taken something of a back-seat, being put a little deeper into the mix, while the guitar lines have been brought forward. And then to add to that, the electronics have had a monster of an upgrade, making this sound the product of an entirely different band – and one that sound many times better than before.
The first track, Deception, starts in punishing style with rumbling beats and swirling synths, then add to that a bouncing guitar riff and Hocico-esque vocals. Forget is by some distance the best track here, a menacing synth line introduces it, and as the track progresses it gradually builds layer by layer, before exploding into a furious chorus with beats like jackhammers – in it’s unmastered state it is actually hitting limits it probably shouldn’t!
In My Head is the track I said went on a bit too long in the live setting recently, and at well over six minutes long here it probably does the same. Again taking power electronics as the base for the beats, it has some clever ideas and variety, but cutting the length a little would likely do it good. Let Me In is something of a big change in direction – being, in reality, something of a ballad. It works well, though, as a break from the uptempo nature of the rest of the CD.
Enemy begins in much the same vein, but picks up later into a thumping mid-tempo track, unusually for this CD with the vocals given much more prominence. Killing Me starts with a naggingly familiar synth line, and coupled with the vocal delivery sounds very much like Velvet Acid Christ to me.
Closing track Instincts is the other fantastic track here, probably familiar to many already following it’s appearance on the Sick And Twisted Vol.2 compilation at the end of 2005. Nothing different to that version here – another hard, fast track with a real undercurrent of rage twisting through it.
With the few more tracks that are promised for the full release, and the tweaks to these tracks, there really is something great here. The evolution of the sound has benefited the band in many ways, and the increased confidence too shines through in the sheer variety on offer.