Review Summary: Hell with Wi-Fi.
Throughout my entire life I’ve been a keen follower of Post-Punk tendencies and all of its styles and subsidiary genres. So it is with great shame and disappointment in myself that I have to admit that the subgenre of Industrial Post-Punk was revealed to me only quite recently. Certainly, I’ve heard such music before, but it never did occur to me that it might be a whole other genre and that it has its own representatives. Pop. 1280 and their magnetic, brooding, maniacal style of upfront, utterly negative approach, might just be the best example of that, in spite of their absolutely unique sound.
It doesn’t really feel like music, it feels more like slightly melodically seasoned emotional outbursts. Song after song you’ll be treated to the most horror-like, hellish and surreal sounds. The combination of synths, digitalised drumming and sonic shockwaves do their magic and the music turns into the most ear-piercing tech-age savagery imaginable.
The opener “Pyramids on Mars” is about the most pulsating, engrossing and horrifying Industrial experience this side of Nine Inch Nails. The way the band clashes the long-winded instrumentation, unsound vocals and the subtle piano towards the end of the track is simply haunting. But what begins as a murky, Hadean haunt quickly turns into pure insanity as the following song, “Phantom Freighter” kicks in. Its blasting beats, its technologically rough production and cheeky, yet bitter lyrics, it is just blood pumping.
“In Silicio” might be the most old-fashioned song on here, however odd that might seem. It combines shredding, tangling electronica on the background with a rather typical approach to Post-Punk in any other way, and stretches it out into seven full minutes. “Chromidia” is more like the opener, but somehow not as building or atmospheric, but still feeling like a necessary moment of establishing the utterly mind-twisting world it is set into.
And it seems as though from that point onward the album reuses the same three-track-policy trick: a slow and building song, followed by a banger, followed by a more or less straightforward Firestarter. But the band manages to keep that structure fresh on each turn. The lunacy of “Phantom Freighter” is nothing like the brain melting nature of “USS ISS” or the emotional confusion of “Kingdom Come”, as well as the fogginess of “The Last Undertaker” and the frustrated delivery on “Paradise” don’t sound alike either, in spite of having similar progression and song writing technique.
There isn’t a spot out of place, there isn’t a song out of tune (well, unintentionally so), there isn’t a beat out of touch with the rest of the music. It is reminiscent of a solitary walk through a wired forest, a burnt out city, a solitary night upon a lead mountainside. It’s a technical torture porn, an industrial goliath, a murderous beast and an overall magnificent album, albeit dark and tough as nails.