The sophomore release from this industrial metal super group was somewhat of a surprise, given the rather drastic progression, which might have had something to do with the changing of members. Trevor and Donald (of Obituary fame) were out and Shane (from Napalm Death who joined his cohort Mitch Harris) was permanently in along with new vocalist Christopher Lamouret (ex-Out). While the first album was a raw industrial death psychosis, with its simplistic yet technologically savvy extreme metal pounding (a marriage of Ministry to Obituary) , the second one pushed the envelope far enough to cross the “metal” tag completely in places.
The most immediately felt difference was the distinctly metal-dance / post-metal tone and ambiance of the guitars in the intro track. The atmosphere was somewhere between Red Harvest and haunting instrumental death tech rock with a splashing of industrial styling . Then the first song proper kicked in (“Elemental”) and jaws dropped all around. Christopher could sing (as opposed to growl, screech, grunt, scream, howl etc) and what a great tune it was. This one song is pure genius and has stood the test of time as one of the tunes that make the cut on any kind of rock or metal compilation or play list. There is a sense of deja vu to this tune, but you cannot quite place it. Equal parts Killing Joke, NIN and a touch of metal, the song drills into the head. The album continues on a similar note and sonic palette, managing to be eerie, melodic and catchy at the same time. It is disturbing and danceable in equal measures. Mitch’s guitars create strangely alluring walls of sound that reference all the best bits of 80’s and 90’s alternative rock and metal. The bass and drum follow the tradition of tribal / dance punk with a side helping of metal to great effect. While Lamouret’s vocals may take some getting used to, they are filled with passion and personality. Other notable cuts include the hypnotizing “Push Away”. But it definitely works best as an album.
There are synthesizers present but in a more atmospheric context, and samples as well as loops are utilized to great effect for a claustrophobic yet danceable sound. Despite the many alternative and industrial elements, the end result is definitely metal. Even the relatively pedestrian industro-groove metal bits of tracks like “Beautiful” or “Dumb Show” are saved from mediocrity by some well placed haunting chord progressions and melodic vocal refrains. It is stuff like “The Die is Cast…” that shows the band’s ability to craft great forward thinking metal songs. The harshest bits sound another understated industrial metal behemoth , Peace Love and Pitbulls, though slightly less manic / noise prone. In turn, they nicely contrast with the shackle raising moments like on “And Silence…”. You can safely add the closer “Lost in a Box” to the same category, with its symphonic strains and dark yet heartfelt feel.
The weirdest bit for me has been that like its different (but equally groundbreaking) predecessor this flew under the radar almost completely, with the only recognition coming from people who follow Napalm Death side projects, most of who were alienated almost completely by this CD’s digestible sound. Nevertheless, this comes highly recommended to connoisseurs of odd metal.
1.Civilize The World
4.I Think You Lie
9.The Die Is Cast & Cries Will Last
10.And Silence/Build A Rhythm