Review Summary: Acumen Nation are back and playing some of the best Industrial that I've heard in recent memory. It's a mix of their old style with the newfound Metal elements of their last album.
Acumen Nation are an Industrial band that have been around since the early 90’s, and in my opinion they’ve released some pretty solid albums with only a few stumbles along the way. Since this is an album review and not a band history I’m not going to explain the few glitches they’ve had in their career, I’ll just focus on the change they made on their last album Anticore
. On that album they dropped a lot of the electronic influences of the past and released an album with songs which were three-quarters Metalcore and one-quarter Industrial. It had some decent riffs, and some memorable parts, but it was bogged down in redundancy and a feeling that they weren’t quite sure how to go about creating the sound they were shooting for. Due to the fact that their last album just wasn’t that great, I wasn’t even aware that Psycho the Rapist
had been released until a few days ago… so is it any good or just an extension of Anticore
The answer is a simple one if you know anything about Acumen Nation’s history. After the last time they released a crap album (Strike 4
) they came back with one of the most solid Industrial releases in their career, and it seems that, to a lesser extent, that is what they’ve done again. Acumen Nation plays a different kind of Industrial then some might be used to. They don’t do the sadness of NIN, or the dark eerie sounds of Skinny Puppy
, or even the Industrialized Metal of Ministry
. What they do is take a solid Electro-base which includes semi-danceable, yet mechanical, beats and add various synths and studio effects and then integrate riffs into the mix, and deliver it in an aggressive and highly sarcastic manner, and that is what they’ve done here except they’ve retained some of the Metalcore elements of the past album; mainly in the riffs and the occasional beat.
The opening track starts off a bit misleading because it seems like it is going to just be a repeat of Anticore
. It starts with the heavy riffs and rolling double bass, but it soon settles into a more comfortable Industrial groove including a rhythmic beat and various synth sound effects. Even the vocals have brought back some of the Industrial influence and dropped the excessive over-the-top hardcore shouts. The following song “Hatchet Harry” is even better in that it is a high energy Industrial song full of speedy Drum&Bass beats, heavy, almost punky, riffs and aggressive distorted vocals, and it’s catchy which was something that was missing on the last album.
The following songs continue the trend of mixing their old style with the Metal of their last album, including danceable beats and highly processed guitars on “Elective Surgical Strike” to the rhythmic Industrial Metal of “Sirvix”. Acumen Nation even go one better then they’ve done on their last few albums and manage to maintain the level of quality from beginning to end. The last few songs on previous Acumen Nation albums were slow boring affairs made up of mostly noise and uninteresting music, but they’ve finally figured out that if they’re going to include it on the album then it might as well be something someone might actually listen to more then once.
This album is definitely a surprise for me because the last few releases just hadn’t been that good. It features a return to the beats, sounds, and attitude of their earlier works and wraps them all up in a more modern Metal feel. What’s even better is that the songs are actually memorable again; featuring sounds, riffs, and even the occasional chorus that will stick in your head after the album is over. If you’re an Acumen Nation fan then I’m sure I’ve already said enough to convince you to check this out, but since the majority probably has no idea who these guys are, I’ll put it in perspective. If you like the Industrial Metal of bands like Nine Inch Nails but wished they were a bit heavier and less emotional, or thought that Skinny Puppy could be a good band if only they added more guitars and dropped some of the eccentricities then this would be a good album for you to check out.