Category: EBM / Futurepop
Album: Blood Spills Not Far from the Wound
Blurb: Daniel Graves tries to close the book on Necessary Response, but loses something along the way.
Let us go back to the year 2007. After a couple of years of releasing a few tracks on Out of Line label compilations, Daniel Graves releases Blood Spills Not Far from the Wound under the moniker of Necessary Response. The album consists of tracks that Graves made that he felt did not fit in with his main project Aesthetic Perfection. Interest in the project had been growing since its first single release in 2005, and the album was met with a strongly positive reaction from both critics and fans. He would take the project on tour as the opening at for De/Vision in 2008. A little over a year later, with fans asking when the next Necessary Response would begin recording, Graves took to the internet and declared the project over so he could focus on Aesthetic Perfection. But as time passed, and new fans discovered the album, they continued, much to his dismay, to ask when, if ever, would he go back to Necessary Response? By the beginning of the next decade, the record had gained a cult like status and secondhand copies of the CD went for high prices on websites like eBay. Now, after almost 10 years, Blood Spills Not Far from the Wound is available for purchase under Graves’ main moniker of Aesthetic Perfection, with refreshed and remixed backing tracks and newly recorded vocals. The perfect mix of his two projects made into one whole; a wonderful gift to fans, right? Wrong.
First we have to have some context. When Blood Spills Not Far from the Wound was released in 2007, futurepop was on its last legs. VNV Nation, Covenant, and Apoptygma Berzerk had moved on to expanding their sound. Staple bands like Icon of Coil were gone and acts like Imperative Reaction were seen as B-list. In fact, the name Necessary Response was done as a joke on Imperative Reaction. Necessary Response was for fans of EBM and futurepop, a relief from all of the bands doing VNV Nation impressions and putting out the same tired records. The album was hands down five stars – simple, straightforward composition, with well written, meaningful lyrics, and Graves’ vocals were also straightforward and clean. For many used to the modulated and gravelly vocals of Aesthetic Perfection, Necessary Response showed that he could sound good without all of the distortion. It was a fixed point in the ever evolving history of EBM, the last hurrah of futurepop. It was a great album in an era when great EBM albums were becoming harder and harder to come by. But it was a onetime thing, and you cannot blame Graves for wanting to move on and focus his energy on Aesthetic Perfection, a project that itself was evolving. But likely due to constant pressure from the fans or a desire to bring all of his art under one umbrella, Graves has remade Blood Spills Not Far from the Wound.
Ever hear the phrase you can never go home again? This album is the living embodiment of that. The adjustments to the backing tracks on the songs are for the most part subtle, sometimes sounding like the BPM has been increased slightly. On “Forever,” the beats have been rearranged a touch. Quite frankly, not to make a pun here, the changes are unnecessary. They do nothing to improve the songs and other than making the song more four-on-the-floor dance friendly, they contribute nothing to make the record better. But thankfully, they don’t do anything to make the album any worse. Where the real problems lie are in Graves’ vocals. Anyone who has been listening to Aesthetic Perfection over the past 10 years has heard the change in Graves’ vocals from a heavily modulated growl to more clean vocals with a slight nasal twinge reminiscent of a lot of punk singers. Those vocals work with the new Aesthetic Perfection because he wrote that work with those vocals in use. With these songs, they do not work. When putting on the album, the vocals feel… wrong; there is no other way to put it. The music and the vocals do not sound right together, and it is simply off-putting. For the aforementioned song “Forever,” arguably the most popular song from the album, the new vocals almost ruin what is a great song. It almost sounds like someone recorded a Necessary Response karaoke night with Mr. Graves.
Much like the special editions of the original Star Wars trilogy, this record really didn’t need to happen. If you have never listened to Necessary Response, it is all over YouTube and Spotify – you will not been disappointed as that version of the record is a top 10 scene album from the 2000s. This record is… fine. If you are an Aesthetic Perfection completionist or you loved the original and want to get super mad for some reason, or you just feel the need to spend money, then by all means buy this record. Otherwise, listen to the original and remember what made it so great to begin with.
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Storming the Base CD
John Galope (SilentBKS)