Kiss of Fury
is the 1990 continuation of Marc Ickx and Chrismar Chayell's Belgian new wave/EBM project A Split Second, and much like the musical landscape everywhere around them the direction of the pair faced a number of significant changes at the turn of the decade. Up until this point the group was very much entrenched in the 80's aesthetic, new wave and synthpop reigned supreme in the mainstream charts and to this end these boys offered a quirky little alternative. Their oddball take on eclectic, synthesiser based pop tunes that at times edged on post-punk, rock and industrial music helped kickstart the short lived New Beat genre, and left behind a couple of cult releases with some minor chart success in Ballistic Statues
and ...From The Inside
Many a group that faced their heyday in the 80's failed to evolve and adapt to the following decade, and we don't need to dig far to see how staples of the era such as hair metal fell out of fashion. Electronic based music suffered a similar fate, as many producers traded blocky analogue synths and drum machines for digital, modern sounding equipment at risk of sounding dated if they didn't keep on the cutting edge. Kiss of Fury
would appear to be the result of Chrismar Chayell facing such a challenge.
One thing that characterises this album is huge, chunky ass synths, and a couple of attempts at furthering the rock influences present on earlier A Split Second tracks. The growing popularity of industrial rock seems to have rubbed off here, as a focus is pushed towards furthering the use of the distorted guitars which were often key to the groups sound early on. These always played second fiddle in terms of importance, but as evidenced by the first track Backlash
we are in for a slightly different ride as we experience a dominant focus on guitar and a lame chorus. It's an uneasy way to start the album, fortunately the other track here that aims to explicitly marry rock with the group's trademark sound in The Parallax View
makes for a decent listen. Crimewave, Crash Course in Seduction, Into The Burning Hole
and Kiss of Fury
are great, but it is the infectious Firewalker
which steals the show. Cold War in The Brainbox
is a blemish on the album with a repetitive, grating synthline that just does not stop however.
Kiss of Fury
is full of many highs and a couple of significant lows. The production standards have significantly improved over the groups 80's material, but weaknesses are evident in A Split Second's attempt at modernising themselves that wouldn't truly become a problem until the next couple of releases. These are minor complaints though, as this is still a very good album for the most part and worth a listen for anyone who is appreciative of unique synthpop.