May 2013 14

Attrition - The Unraveller of AngelsAttrition
Category: Darkwave / Industrial / Experimental
Album: The Unraveller of Angels
Stars: 4
Blurb: Weaving a nightmarish audio tale, the latest release from Attrition is as surreal and experimental as it is darkly melodic and hauntingly consistent.


Martin Bowes has maintained a steady flow of output over the three decades that he has been making music under the Attrition moniker. Ever defying strict categorization and incorporating the diverse elements of gothic, classical, and experimental forms of electronic and industrial music, the music of Attrition continues to transport listeners to other realms of audio consciousness, all the while maintaining coherent threads that despite the seemingly disparate sounds are no doubt responsible for the project’s longevity. As each album explores the many facets of Bowes’ personality, each weaving their own stories akin to concept records, The Unraveller of Angels is no different, making it something of the quintessential Attrition album… but as the Coventry act’s sound remains singular and distinguishable from any other, this lends to the album’s strength.

After the dark ambience of “The Unraveller” introduces the album with whispers of piano and faint voices, the throbbing pulses of “Karma Mechanic” kick things off. Stabs of Ian Arkley’s guitar and sweeps of ghostly synthesizer scrape across an energetic breakbeat as Bowes’ graven voice is complemented by the spoken accompaniment of Mona Mur and the operatic flutters of Tylean, creating a track of intensity and tension, topped off by Jyri Glynn’s scathing and noisy electric violin solo. The same can be said of “Histrionic!” as the layers consisting of Matt Howden’s violin, cellos provided by Erica Mulkey and Kitty Thompson, Anni Hogan’s twinkling piano, and Tylean’s passionate vocals over a rhythmic electro beat creates a track as suitable for the dance floor as it would be for the soundtrack to a chiaroscuro dreamlike excursion. At the midway point, the tempo begins to relax, though the gothic suspense remains as “One Horse Rider” and “Snakepit” present somber layers of guttural guitars and somber strings driven by slow yet aggressive beats, the interplay between Bowes’ and Tylean’s voices continuing to weave almost nightmarish melodic dissonance. “Hollow Latitudes” is the crown jewel of the album, a nearly 10 minute gothic suite that after an opening section of darkened classical beauty gives way to a pulse of bass and wisps of haunting synthesized ambience, Bowes’ voice occasionally delivering discordant stanzas as a noisy guitar gradually enters to bring the track to a chilling close. The album concludes with “The Internal Narrator,” an abstract, almost hellish mélange of sounds that culminate in a lush outro of quiet synth sequences.

The flow of The Unraveller of Angels, from the rhythmic and upbeat beginning to the slower surrealism of the later tracks, feels very much like the progression of a dark dream state, creating the semblance of a story told through sound and bizarre lyricism. With his usual assortment of contributors adding their voices to this dark audio tale, Attrition remains a unique musical entity that never fails to intrigue amid its consistency. To many, it may not sound all that different from past releases, but even after more than 30 years, Attrition never fails to induce nuance and atmosphere simply too powerful to dismiss.
Track list:

  1. The Unraveller
  2. Karma Mechanic
  3. Narcissist
  4. Histrionic!
  5. One Horse Rider
  6. Snakepit
  7. Suicide Engineer
  8. The Causal Agent
  9. Hollow Latitudes
  10. The Internal Narrator

Attrition Website
Attrition MySpace
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Attrition Twitter
Attrition Bandcamp
E-Klageto Website
Two Gods
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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