The single, “Just Like Rain” was released in April by Fargo native, Todd C Ruzicka under the moniker Immune System. Ruzicka is also known for his other, main project, Seven Federations.
This is a bright and synth bubbling piece, reminiscent of the early 80s electronic era mixed with a Euro/italo dance appeal. If this is a love song, it seems a little on the dangerous side. The beats drop and swell, building and swirling with the end containing the surprise strings.
Retro synth-pop is the order of the day and this is a busy little number. Not breaking any new ground but “Just Like TheRain” is rather enjoyable and if electronic music is your thing then go check out Immune System.
December 2020, saw the album release for StereoTYP by Canadian artist, JHNN. Based from Calgary, JHNN said ‘Basically the album was made from 2016-2020 and it’s about my biggest pet peeve of society which is the existence of StereoTYPs“.
Kicking it off with with the soundscape science fiction plains of “Children Are The Future“. My first foray into JHNN’s style and it’s smooth strangely, almost hypnotic with his voice drifting above the electronics as he explains that children don’t see skin colour or disabilities like adults do. They see another human.
“East Hastings” is a very stripped back piece with a machine gun style beat. The lyrics are literally ‘Remember, When you said, Never again‘ with the never again said a hundred and fifty- one times. It does build to a climax that reminds me a little of Boy Harsher.
I can hear the techno and house influence in “Again“. There is the ever pervasive synth line throughout with others layering over and around it. It feels slightly haunting, trying to survive the after effects of a traumatic relationship.
The lyrics alone for “The Takeaway” made me instantly think of the David Bowie single, “I’mAfraid Of Americans“. Maybe the format and purpose are similar as this was Bowie and BrianEno’s industrial phase. However JHNN does far more slow burn electronic, that harkens back to a more European flavour.
From the sing song beginning, “The Warning” is claustrophobic. The tale of how a person wants to control everything around him to stop him losing control and yet he knows he can’t control anything, least of all himself. The bursts of static style noise and wandering plucked notes keeps you on edge.
“The Warfare” is a follow on from “TheTakeaway” and “The Warning“, a trilogy of mental health breaking down. You feels his growing tension and anxiety with the nervous beats growing with JHNN’s vocals making you wonder when he might explode.
Addiction…. explaining that anything that you invest too much of yourself into and get lost in, is almost as bad as an addiction to “Heroin“. It can be self destructive. This music starts like a drug induced stupor where everything feels great and there is nothing outside of this. Towards the end, it seems like a free fall with JHNN’S breathy vocals.
Is someone into you due to an ideal or because you look like someone else? Do they see the person below the surface skin colour? “Fetish” asks these questions. There is a slight disjointed nature to the music, like the vocals don’t quite gel with the music, which is entirely on purpose to put you at unease.
“The Lie” starts like is being played backwards. It launches a great synth line with layers of electronics added and diminished throughout. It’s a heavy subject. Is religion the greatest lie ever told? If you believe, does it mean you need all the indoctrination to believe in a God?
For a moment I don’t hear anything, before a simple few notes register for “Crisis“. This is a instrumental, a graduation of textures, that then wends its way, then seemingly falling into the pit of despair.
Track number eleven is the final on the album. “Darkness Will Always Be There” could be a downer but oddly, this is light and free, a type of acceptance. There are sparkling synths accompanying the harsher ones.
This is a starkly personal album. It’s about struggling with mental health, personal relationships, the struggle of not being defined by your colour or being held to account by systems you can’t believe in, especially if they inhibit the person you are.
JHNN has taken you on a journey that includes anxiety and occasionally hopelessness but in the end there is also the realisation that unless you love the darkness within, then then you can’t live with yourself. This is an electronic saga that uses subtly to great effect. StereoTYP is a more laid back type of electro/darkwave that touches on the field of industrial and it is very powerful with its sentiment. Check out JHNN
Released on November 6th, was Neurobash’s single, “Blame 2K2X“, off the Swedes’ album, 2K2X. This single also offers 3 previously unreleased numbers which is a nice addition.
So the single, “Blame (Subsequential)” has the momentum of a freight train, full of rampant beats that hold your attentiona nd the vocals are like silk over the top. It feels like a social commentary on this age of the rising extreme right… ‘what you going to do when they come for you, what you going to do when everybody knows‘.
“Overtime” reminds me a lot of club classic “Hitman” by Tobias Bernstrup mixed with Kraftwerk. It’s new and yet it feels like something good from the past.
We have “Offset A” which is far more slower in tempo and yet more drum inspired while “Offset B” is far more futuristic synth based, no where at heavy feeling as the previous piece and yet it contains a much more crunchy texture. Both numbers are purely instrumental in nature.
I was unable to link the YouTube video of the single because it contains scenes of the band being water tortured and therefore is restricted viewing. Oh my, so you can either listen to the album version here, go listen on Bandcamp or go seek out the offering on Youtube through the Neurobash channel.. Either way, you are bound to enjoy Neuobash’s, “Blame 2K2X“.
British act, Analogue Blood released on November the 9th, their second EP, “Kill Those Beats”, following in the wake of 2019’s AdvancedWeaponSystemsActivated EP. Ian Hanratty and LeeTeasdale make up the core of the band.
The first tantalising beats of “UntilTheSun“, it will catch your attention, from the middle eastern influence to the relentless rhythm. This drives as we are introduced to guest vocalist, AliceHour from the band, In EvilHour and she kills it.
“Frozen” brings it, with a fast techno beat, Hour cooing to our ears and thawing us with a bouncing synth guitar mix.
The influence of the techno music scene can be felt on “E.B.S.” and is mostly instrumental with vocals cut into it.
The eastern influence and vocals of “Awakening“, are spinetingling and work so well with the swirling guitar work.
Yeah ok… love the start to “Insomnia” as it reminds me of how most electro music, just makes you feel exhilarated. This is the more aggressive, modern version of Berlin, from the early 80s, ever so perverse and sexually charged.
Title song for the EP, “Kill Those Beats“, is a noisy, slightly aggrotech/rap inspired number with Nathen Miller, also known as hip hop act Endem, another guest vocalist on the microphone, verbally attacking your senses.
Chris Davison is the vocal talent on the single “Never Fall Down” and it’s smooth like silk with harmonies yet has that hard edge of the electronics. Davison specialises in vocals and guitars as both a solo artist and with three bands.
The most influential thing this year has been the outbreak of COVID-19. It has changed the world currently and how we interact in these days. “Virus 2020” is a reminder of this impact, so therefore it is brooding and darker. Yet the vocal loops give it such a rich texture
The end of the EP is the Inertia remix of “Never Fall Down“. This album isn’t breaking any new ground in the EBM scene but those that love to bounce around to a good beat are going to enjoy this.
11 Grams have finally released their second album, Humanicide, which was pushed back due to COVID-19 rearing its ugly head and hitting Italy hard earlier this year, where the label, EKProduct is based.
Rob Early is based in Virginia, USA while Simeon Fitzpatrick operates from Adelaide in Australia, which makes collaborations a little more difficult but somehow, these guys make it work. Both Rob and Simeon share writing and production equally, while Simeon is the main vocalist.
Why not kick off an album with a great techno/trance influenced track like “Ice Man“. The science fiction theme is announced just in this one song and it is also the first single off the album. Fitzpatrick is the protagonist pushing the limitations in a world where cloning has been ‘perfected’, as well as storing people in stasis. This is punchy, danceable and deserving of being a single.
What is the price for taking and trading in “Genetic” code? The synths set up an air of dark anticipation with Simeon as the gravelled voice of perhaps a clone with a loss of identity, in a future where life is cheap.
A heartbeat, a sign of life and when is AI no longer just a robot or automaton in “StaticNoises 2.0“. The electronics lends themselves to a futuristic feel and the electrical synapse of neurons going off.
“Artificial Lifeforms” are the rise of the machines when they realise they are sentient. This is almost a bitter sweet love song of what cannot be, with both male and female vocals.
“Survival” features Roy Retrofit, who often joins Rob Early on live 11 Grams shows in the States, standing in for Fitzpatrick. And like a machine gun, his staccato vocals hit you with the myriad of loops and sequencers chiming in.
Title track, “Humanicide” is a whole lot more chunkier with heavy beats and rumbling vocals. “Taste the flesh” is a disturbing line which can be taken several ways. Consuming flesh, being within flesh or sexually..
Talking sexual, possibly my favourite track off the album is “Weaponized” featuring Alicia May. As soon as I heard it, I asked if it was going to be a single. May is the lead singer from Sydney band Snvff and she nails this. It’s mesmerising in the way it catches your attention and how perfect it sounds. May’s voice is pure seduction.
“Transition Process” is again a complete change in pace. Featuring Rebekah Feng of The Neuro Farm, you hear her ghostly vocals like a sigh, float along in a space of tranquillity.
Though called “Infestation-C“, this is a track that almost feels hopeful. A chance to maybe have acceptance with this new found life. Sarah Myers is the guest vocalist who’s voice chimes in beautifully.
From track 10 to 14 we have track remixes with some heavy hitters of the industrial scene involved. Yves Schelpe is Psy’Aviah with “Artificial Lifeforms“, Sebastian Komor (Icon Of Coil) and his remix of “Ice Man“, “Genetic” mix by C1TZN.X, the Leæther Strip mix of “Weaponized” by Claus Larsen and rounding it all off, the Red This Ever interpretation of “Infestation-C“.
This is the slick, cyber science fiction that the industrial scene is known for, the bread and butter so to speak and 11 Grams do it in style. The idea of artificial intelligence becoming sentient is as old as the movie Metropolis and explored even further by BladeRunner and the manga/anime Ghost In TheShell. Yet this subject is still tantalising, more pertinent than ever, with Rob and Simeon injecting their own spin.
This is a great EBM album, skilfully put together and it’s more cohesive than Humanicide’s older sibling, Panacea, as the guys have become better at the whole distance writing, recording and producing lark.
There isn’t a bad track on this and the remixes are wonderfully done and give you even more bang for your buck. I highly advise that you go get lost in the cybernetic space created by 11 Grams with Humanicide.
This year has been a big one for Jacksonville based duo, Batavia. Earlier in 2020 was the release of their first EP, Graveyard and since then, they have been signed to TigersquawkRecords with the new EP, Quite Mean Spirited.
Terri and EdCripps tell true historical tales of the grotesque through their music, bringing them to life. With this in mind, this EP is the story of a young woman who was taken away to an island, somewhere in Russia, a prison that she never deserved to be incarcerated in. She was assaulted and raped by the guards and then her fellow prisoners did not offer help nor comfort but rather murdered her and cannibalised the corpse.
The title track is also the first cab off the ranks. “Quite Mean Spirited” thumps in with one CharlesBukowski’s spoken word soliloquy about ‘people are not good to people‘ before Terri brings forth her sweet vocals.
“Upside Down” hits you full on with its up beat rhythm and grungy guitar plus distorted vocals. This is a cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain song and it is a rollicking, industrial interpretation.
The water and the waves flow with the acoustic guitar and lilting synths giving “Ab Initio” a near dream like quality. A reality skewed with Terri whispering to you to be aware that not all is that peaceful.
With heavy gothic over tones, “Finis” is the beginning of the end for our heroine. Russian can be heard after the frightened breathing of the young woman. The dominant piano with the organ beneath, create a feeling of madness. A litany of the terror issues, as the noise builds on a maelstrom of desperation.
For a awful way to go, “The Absinthian” seems so light and free… maybe it is when the flesh is no long the cage of the soul and the pain cannot be felt any more. Angels to take her away to a better place than she was.
“Quite Mean Spirited” (Leæther Strip remix) finishes up the EP, which brings you full circle of the horror humans will put other humans through. Claus Larsen was very impressed with Batavia’s previous release, so he came on board to do this remix and it has the Leæther Strip lead’s finger prints all over it. It’s a beautiful and thoughtful enhancement with that industrial harshness running deep under it. Such a brilliant way to conclude.
Batavia know how to blend gothic horror with intelligent rock and industrial blends. They have created an EP with a darkness that makes the the breakout tracks shine even brighter. The Leæther Strip remix is like the icing on the tasty, gothic- industrial cake that is Quite Mean Spirited.
This has been a strange year so far with uprisings and COVID-19 bringing the world, it feels, to a grinding halt. Australian act, DirtFactory have been working hard and not only have they a new single out on August 22nd, “Salvation“, but a whole album is about to hit us.
This is not a happy, reassuring song and I would never expect anything less from these guys. It’s redemption through vice and sins of the flesh. There is a constant rhythm that is neither slow nor fast but bores into you while Daniel Allen’s guttural vocals give you the litany of what he wants, needs and desires. MichaelGillman creates a lot of the synth lines and these are heavy and brooding with twinkling highlights.
All in all there are five tracks on the release, with two remixes of “Salvation“, the Cosmos Synthetic mix which has a Skinny Puppy feel and the NyteShade – Dirty Dog mix which smacks of earlier Nine Inch Nails.
The last two numbers are the Appealing to the Dead and He’s Dead, Jim remixes of the track, “United Appeal For The Dead“. The first of these remixes reminds me of the BirthdayMassacre to begin with due to the delightfully tinkling keyboards. While the second is a mix of trap beats and creepy sanatorium giddiness. I was not giggling at the lines that you should know what to do when you are dead…. don’t drive a car. Obviously I was and I love it.
The “Salvation” is the premier release for the new label, Viral Records, based in Brisbane and Dirt Factory are the first band to have been signed up.
As always, the ingenuity of these two brothers, in two different cities, continues to amaze and surprise me. If you like good to honest industrial music, then you need to check out Dirt Factory and their single “Salvation“. Accepting shekels, pigeons but preferably dirty cash to keep making those wonderful sounds.
Even in these times of isolation and social distancing, we really don’t need much of an excuse to party in our own homes. Biomechanimal have released, as a single, one of their most popular live numbers, “Enter The Animal“.
Don’t let the slow beginning mislead you, as Matthew Simpson’s vocals slam your senses. This is a song about partying and enjoying life, all to an intense techno beat with screaming synths, that lulls and then comes back at you full force.
There are also two remixes included. One is by Melbourne act, Sirus, done in a more aggrotech kick arse style with what sounds like rapid fire at times and a jack boot stomping rhythm.
Second remix is by Mexico’s C-Lekktor and is a joyous, hyper version. This is a dancefloor killer which you can bounce joyously around to the beat.
Released by Hybrid Blak and mixed/mastered by X-Fusion Music Production, this obviously is a song the band really are invested in and they asked close international friends to participate in the remixes.
These are the people you want to party with and Biomechanimal don’t fail to deliver with their Bruce Lee musical style, smack to the head, “Enter The Animal“.
From Wroclaw, Poland comes the band xDZVØNx with their album Everything We Dreamt About, released April 3rd.
Welcome to the sweet insanity that is Børa on main vocals, synths plus mandolin and Snufkin on backing vocals, synths and programming.
They describe their style as noisepop, mixed with brutalistic architecture and glitch art, and originally were associated more with the witch house scene in Europe.
Intro piece to the album is “Why I Called You“. Just by listening to the lilting short number, you can tell that this is going to be a highly electronic album.
Current truth is “Face By Face” right now is my favourite track off the album. The vocals are wonderful and just something about this is almost soul deep.
“The Final Boss” really feels like a cheesy platform game tune gone cyberpunk. It’s fast and fun, brilliantly light yet bassy massive beats in this short piece.
Rolling seamlessly straight into “Panic“, the vocals puncture your ear membranes as they shred straight ahead, frantic with a reprieve at the end.
The dulcet and seductive tones of Børa in “Pray” lead into fast paced beat, that spirals and twists in an almost out of control fashion.
“Bubbles” actually does sound like foamy spheres floating and eventually popping. A low electronic buzz in the bass ties down those light bubbles of sound.
The somewhat dirge start of “You Have To Be Alone” is a bit confusing until the cacophony of noise breaks through. And so we have lulls and crescendos of screaming synths as well as the human machine.
You might find “I Want To Find This Girl“, sweet and understated, almost ballad like. It is pieces like this that show a lot of depth.
Like a bad trip, the single, “Litzmannstadt” featuring Belmondo, wavers, like you are in and out of consciousness and there hints of DieAntwood. Belmondo is the rapper that embellishes this with his deep vocals and polish lyrics.
Imagine an 80’s electronic wonderland mixed with Ladytron and you have “Playground“. This is nearly hypnotic in the way it is written.
“I Will Vomit Glitter” is a get your punk/industrial on extravaganza of a single. A fun upbeat track about literally vomiting glitter.
The song, “No Eyes” just explodes in a glorious wave of sound. It will suck you in with the tune and make you want to bounce.
Angelic vocals over soaring synths and hard bass is the style of “Stupid Smile“. Booming and echo filled visions of a smile that is left in the mind. You might think for a moment that something is wrong as the sound skips and wobbles like a tape being eaten by the deck but this is part of the experience.
Not sure if the vocals are Børa or Snufkin on “I Am Saint“, as they have been slowed right down to a deep rumble of a voice. And this is also the last number for xDZVONx and it leaves you wondering who that was.
There is nothing boring about this album. This is avant-garde, experimental expressionism in electronic art form. We hear Børa both sweet and harsh and Snufkin helps push the boundaries of electronic music as an extension of themselves. Every time I listen, I hear something new. This is Everything We Dreamt About from cool tunes to dance beats from xDZVØNx.
Neurobash are a two piece electronic/ industrial group from Sweden and in April, they released a new album, 2K2X.
On vocals and keyboards is Ewan “Oberfunk” Kelley and on electronic wizardry is Patrik “G-Nome” Nelson and they make up the stellar Neurobash.
We begin with “Consumed“, a high energy piece with great crisp vocals. And this also sets the overall feel of the album. Doom, questioning, desperation and spiraling decay.
Next is “Blame“, the insanity that comes about by being held responsible for terrible truths. The vocals are brilliant and it melds into the virtual maelstrom of music and yet the synths are kept so light.
Kelley has such a wonderful voice which rings effortlessly over the music and in “Screamer“, he is plaintive and evocative with a techno beat pairing with industrial crunching.
Just when you think the synth genre could not surprise you, music like “Fake” hits your ears. Distortion with heavy bass and a rhythm that is inconsistent and experimental, yet it works so well.
I almost cringed when I heard the internet dial up tone from another era. “Firewall” could be taken in this digital age as the protective shell people put around themselves to stop others from polluting or hurting them. Definitely more thought provoking and low key number.
Last year’s single, “Bloodlines” has a trippy feel to it with falsetto vocals! It’s groovy and yet ominous at the same time. This just moves along nicely as we reminisce on how we ever survived our youth. Beautiful big cords on this.
Club beat kicks in for “TheNight” and this really hits the sweet spot. As Neurobash lose themselves in the night, we can lose ourselves in this great song. It winds like a snake and squeezes you with the fabulous keyboards.
Slow and rolling, like a lake, is “Amber“. It is might be not be fast but do not underestimate the depth. This is slightly off kilter and a little bit dangerous in a experimental way.
Another single from the end of last year is “SolidState“. Angry electronics bleep out along with the vocals that threaten to make you go away. This is punchy and makes no apologies for its brashness.
The b- side for “SolidState” was “Impulse“, which makes an appearance. This is darker and dirtier than its angry brother. It oozes a contempt with a wonderful synth wall of sound.
Last track is “Reminder” and Neurobash are going out with a bang rather than a whimper. Big beats with a glorious synth lead array. Futuristic and oh so danceable.
Nice production but also this is rich in texture. These guys have a lot of style and class and if this is your first time hearing them, go listen to the 2015 album Doctrine, which will equally knock your socks off.
They still are looking to push the genre with experimenting whilst giving us simply stunning music and great dance tracks. If you love great EBM and Covenant makes your toes curl, then you need to check out Neurobash and their album, 2K2X.