Blue Stahli
Blue Stahli


4.0
excellent

Review

by Magnus Altkula STAFF
April 7th, 2011 | 79 replies | 13,826 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Let's hope that the Blue Stahli show has just begun

While it didn’t turn the industrial music world upside down, Blue Stahli's pre-debut compilation Antisleep Vol. 01 did prove to be, at the least, a light-hearted and eclectic mix of electro-rock with a dancey feel bound to forge expectations for the project’s first album. Even if the compilation did lack a certain theme to it, the musical side itself was splendid, with Brent Autrey, the man behind Blue Stahli, effortlessly switching from heavier industrial rock cuts to danceable electro-rock/big beat hybrids to his own experimental electro style, which included dominant break beats, driving tempos, delicate guitar backing, varied loops and quirky, swirling electronic effects. It basically sounded like Autrey decided to throw together as many electronica/industrial styles and effects as possible and somehow made it all work. With that in mind, it might come as a surprise that for his debut album, Autrey has adopted a more conventional industrial metal style. But there is no need to fear, because the man clearly knows how to make a great record.

To be honest, while I did say that this change in direction is a little surprising when looking at the experimental leanings of Antisleep Vol. 01, the circumstances were very favorable, seeing as how Blue Stahli is under Klayton’s (ex-Circle of Dust and Argyle Park, current Celldweller) FiXT label, which prides on pumping out exactly the kind of smooth industrial rock/metal that is featured on Blue Stahli’s self-titled debut. Besides, songs like "OVERklock" and "88 Rounds Per Minute" off Antisleep Vol. 01 demonstrated how well this style suited for Autrey. And while the cool, swirling electronics and tightly formed break beats have given a lot more leeway for brisk guitars, they are still there, important as ever.

The album's first cut, "ULTRAnumb", gives moderate indication what the rest might sound like while simultaneously leaving some loose ends. Sharp guitars attack the listener right away, with fuzzy, laid-back beats and high-octane, ever-swirling electronic effects tightening and thickening the sound. It is energetic as hell and versatile enough because the guitars, while salient, leave enough room for the electronics, not to mention Autrey's vocals that are mixed perfectly, being dominant but never obtrusive. The rest of the album follows suit, more or less, with Autrey playing with the balance between electronics and guitars, so that the more metal tracks hit harder, the in-between ones stay interesting throughout and the ones leaning more on electronics slow down the generally fast-paced tempo to exhibit the more relaxed side of the album, only to let the following cut raise the intensity levels up again. This constant back and forth movement between guitars and electronics gives Blue Stahli a mighty edge and boosts up its replay value as well, since all the songs sound vigorous and different from each other, all the while carrying forward the whole album's distinct feel.

My favorite part about the album though is the way it mixes utterly danceable rhythms with slithering guitars and great energy. Whether it be a guitar-driven track, like "Takedown", or an electronic affair, like "Kill Me Every Time", the album never ceases to offer smooth industrial rock tracks that just dare you to bust a move. It is so cleverly put together that this record should easily appeal to both open minded metalheads and club dwellers alike. You can almost picture this being played in both rock- and nightclubs simultaneously, and that's what makes Blue Stahli so goddamn good.

The beats are turned down, the electronic effects are less crazy, the song structures are a lot more polished and it all sounds more orthodox, but at the end of the day, who cares as long as Blue Stahli still sounds this good? Of course I miss the eccentric approach and out of the blue effects of Antisleep Vol. 01 every now and then, but what Autrey has sacrificed in experimentation, he has gained in maturity. Blue Stahli sounds a lot more cohesive, a lot more substantial than its predecessor, also boasting something Autrey’s previous works lacked - an identifiable theme. Besides, the trademark break beats and swirling electronics are still there, only this time, they share the stage with the guitars and are more restrained. The underline is that a more settled sound hasn't hurt the quality of Blue Stahli's music and his self-titled debut album is one excellent piece of smooth industrial metal. Now, if Bret Autrey could somehow mix the experimental side of Antisleep Vol. 01 with the more guitar-heavy stylings featured on Blue Stahli, all the while retaining an identifiable feel, then he very well has a chance to rattle the industrial world.



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user ratings (91)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyrael
April 7th 2011



20394 Comments


Cool review man, I will check this out.

Digging: Lantlos - Melting Sun

balcaen
April 7th 2011



3183 Comments


aye, a mighty good review, mate. pos'd
too bad this is incredibly cheesy as far as industrial goes

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2011



15990 Comments


As usual a very good review.

Digging: Thergothon - Stream From The Heavens

bloc
April 7th 2011



34499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Awesome review man, this album is really good.

Digging: He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2011



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the comments guys.

too bad this is incredibly cheesy as far as industrial goes
Care to elaborate a little on where the cheese comes from in your opinion? I mean, yeah, it's catchy as hell, it's pretty light-sounding, the guitars are brisk but simple, but I do think that Autrey does have damn good compositional skills and his own flare. Besides, imo the album just flows so effortlessly and I generally like the balance between electronics and guitars, even though a bit more of the former would have been great.

Digging: Metsatoll - Karjajuht

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2011



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks chambered, haven't seen you/talked to you in quite a while now that I think of it.

pizzamachine
April 7th 2011



12568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

What is this, a Metalstyles review? Excellent!

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2011



7162 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review man! I'll have to check this one out.

Digging: Floor - Oblation

Willie
Moderator
April 8th 2011



15774 Comments


Great review. I'll have to look into this.

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2011



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys, all three of you should check it out, although personally I think you would enjoy Antisleep Vol. 01 more, Trey.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2011



7162 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Alternative summary: It's like Celldweller have sex with the members of Crossbreed and they have a
baby...

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2011



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There are definitely a lot of Celldweller comparisons that can be drawn here, but i'm not that sure about Crossbreed. I would say that only the opener "ULTRAnumb" has sections that resemble Crosssbreed but otherwise I'm not hearing it.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2011



7162 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The vocals are very alike in places. Also, there are some Marilyn Manson influences to be found here. In general, it's a solid industrial release. Thanks for reviewing it.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2011



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The vocals are very alike in places
haha, I respectfully have to disagree with you there, as Autrey really doesn't sound much like James Breed in tone, delivery, pitch, or anything really. Autrey has this really smooth singing style (similar to Klayton of Celldweller) which he compliments with his high-pitched shouts, while Breed has a much more powerful in-your-face delivery, uses a ton more screams and is more rugged, but awesome, in general.

But I am very glad that you like this and you're welcome for the review : )

bloc
April 9th 2011



34499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Am I the only one who hears Maynard James Keenan in the vocals at times?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2011



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Actually I did too in some of Autrey's higher notes, so you're not alone my man.

pizzamachine
April 12th 2011



12568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Whoah, I like this a lot. Cool, slick industrial.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2011



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm glad you checked it out and liked it man. There are a few cool industrial releases from this year that I've found, so when I get some time, I'll try to pump out a review or two.

DoubtGin
July 4th 2011



6686 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty cool

musik
October 9th 2011



9 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

got to know this through celldweller. pretty nice, although (in my opinion) not on par with klayton. song struktures are a little to simple for my tastes, hope he can improve on that in future. the tracks also sound a little to similar at times, excluding the two softer tracks. anyway, metamorphosis and antiyou are very catchy, by far my favorite tracks.



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