Review Summary: Dissonant, varied and catchy; a combination most industrial bands never get right.
I’ve been an industrial fan for a long time, and in that time I’ve learned something very valuable that I’m going to pass on; being an industrial fan sucks. There seems to be more untalented, boring and generic bands coming out of this genre (and more labels willing to release their crap) than any other genre I’ve heard. How many bands do we need releasing the same looped synth line, the same 4/4 redundant beat, and the same interchangeable, no-talent hack to mumble through distortion before people get fed up? I’ve bought so many bad CDs from this genre that it always makes me extra happy when I come across one that doesn’t actually suck. Wasted Sky by Numb is one of those really good industrial CDs that not only doesn’t suck, but should really be one of the “necessary” albums of the genre.
Right from the start I could tell that there was something different about this CD. The song, “Wasted Sky”, begins generically enough with a high-energy techno beat, but then a synth line materializes swirling around the speakers accompanied by distorted guitar and the processed voice of the vocalist. The vocalist sets himself apart from the norm within a few moments of the first track by not only adding some inflection to his vocal delivery but by also changing the sounds used to process his voice. Over the course of the first song he utilizes a number of processing techniques including the typical distortion as well as a compressed growl and a raw yell. In addition to using these techniques separately the vocalist also layers those different vocal styles together to add even more variation. The dynamic vocal styles combined with the music’s intelligent use of white noise, guitar riffs, synths and tempo changes allows it to go through its five-minute duration without ever becoming redundant or boring.
While the opening song was a driving show of force, the songs following it tend to go for a darker, more eerie sound that incorporates more samples and atmosphere-building style and less direct aggression. The instrumental, “Keyak”, is a good example of what this band can do when attempting to create a dark atmosphere. It slowly fades in with a singular, echoing bell and a strange alien sample. As it progresses various other sounds fade in and out of the song such as a morbid cello melody, thunderous crashes, random, jarring bouts of white noise and finally a crescendo where it finally explodes into a fast beat and white noise from all sides. Every song has something that makes it special and sets it apart from others on the album, so to avoid describing each song individually it would be easier to just point out a few more of the cooler elements.
One of the more surprising elements found on this album was on the song, “Ophelia”. “Ophelia” spends the first half of the song making abundant use of random white-noise, swirling synths, and a funky back beat, but in an unexpected move drops everything but the beat and adds a semi-symphonic keyboard melody to close the last few minutes of the song. It was an interesting move that really set this song apart and made it much more memorable. Another interesting element is the band’s skillful use of white noise. Every song on this album features white noise in some form. That noise runs the gambit from disembodied screams, screeching feedback, chaotic beats that come and go in a flash, and a number of other sounds. This use of white noise is sometimes employed as a rhythmic device and at all other times simply creates a constant sense of unease. These elements combined with the ones I haven’t mentioned are what save this CD from falling into the same mediocre hole as most of their contemporaries.
Every once in a while an album will come along that will instantly have to be placed near the top of its genre, and this is one of them. Everything about this album is done as perfectly as it could be. The white noise is used tastefully to create tension and unease, the guitars add the extra “oomph” without dominating the music, the synth is great and never redundant, the beats are dynamic and the vocals are actually varied and even catchy. If you’re a fan of industrial and haven’t listened to this, I can’t see how you could go wrong by giving it a try.
Fuck staff, Willie for prez. Another ace review as for industrial, I like industrial metal but never really got into NIN or any of thsoe bands. However, theirs this band from Austria called Ice Ages who are pretty sweet.
You can't judge industrial based off of NIN or even newer Ministry stuff because that's not really what the genre is. You need to try this album (check the link), Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, Einsturzende Neubauten, Front 242 and Acumen Nation. And then get into more obscure stuff like Project Pitchfork, Kevorkian Death Cycle, Thrill Kill Cult and stuff like that.
There's nothing wrong with you. I love industrial and don't like most NIN stuff.
^^^Probably because you were listening to the wrong albums by them.
I've wanted to check these guys out for a while now and you have pushed me to do so. Excellent review, especially how you talk about the use of white noise on this album. I really, really love how Skinny Puppy incorporates that so well into their music (almost doesn't feel like white noise at all sometimes, rather, more of an atmosphere touch). I will be checking this out in time but it might have to wait a bit. I just bought 10 albums the other day and I still have another 6 to go through next to my computer.
I've wanted to check these guys out for a while now and you have pushed me
to do so. Excellent review, especially how you talk about the use of white noise on
this album. I really, really love how Skinny Puppy incorporates that so well into their
music (almost doesn't feel like white noise at all sometimes, rather, more of an
I think you'll like them if you like Skinny Puppy. I put a
link up with a few songs from this album in the first comment if you have the time.This Message Edited On 08.25.08
Awesome. I look forward to it. Just so you know, Language of Silence is similar to "Blood Meridian" but not so violent and noisy and "Death on the Installment Plan" is a huge enjoyable mess of an album. I wouldn't bother with anything earlier than that album (as Wizard is going to learn).
So basically this album hits all the right buttons for me. However, I feel that they restrain themselves in areas of their songs that Skinny Puppy would fill up with a really neat sound effect or something to that effect. I guess this just needs to grow on me a bit more. Still a thoroughly enjoyable listen. Thanks Willie for kicking my ass to give this a listen. I may review Blood Meridian when I get it in the mail.