Album: The Age of Discord
Blurb: After six years, :Bahntier// rewards our patience with a heavily rhythmic and scathing album that despite the noise yields a great deal of sonic intensity and nuance.
As the head of Rustblade, Stefano Rossello is a man who has his hands full; however, that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his own musical path, as he has taken :Bahntier// through varying stages of sonic development since its beginnings in 1999 as an experimental ambient project. Now having evolved into a fully fledged band with Filippo Corradin and Justin Bennett, it has been six years since we’ve last heard from the Italian underground act; that silence has now been broken with The Age of Discord, showcasing a heavily rhythmic and noisy style of gritty and electrified industrial that is as darkly mysterious as it is infectiously danceable.
With the distorted chants of “All I make are noises” atop a steady but powerful drumbeat, the cycles of discordant loops and glitchy effects underscoring the wall of punchy chords, “ANMN” is a hard-hitting and in-your-face opener that sets the stage for the album quite wonderfully. Throughout The Age of Discord, there is a tremendous amount of detail in the production; straightforward and heavily percussive and overdriven at first listen, but with each repetition, new sonic details make themselves apparent. This is best showcased in the instrumental title track, a wobbly tonic bass driving metallic rhythms that gradually build in intensity, a symphonic pad progression creating an enticing atmosphere beneath which are some marvelous noises and synthesized manipulations – never do they threaten to steal the show, simply acting as a subtle flavoring that gives the track some well received dimension. Another notable example of this is “I Don’t Know,” its dynamic breakbeats and squelching synth and vocal effects creating a sense of urgency complemented by a thunderous bass tone that seems to gain in acerbic attitude as the song progresses, the intricacy of the vocal glitches creating a subtle tapestry of noisy atmosphere, while the heavy “industrial-as-fuck” shuffling rhythm of “Never Forget,” the raspy vocals atop scathing synth arpeggios and squeals of nightmarish pads lending an almost erotic quality that only makes the track all the more disturbingly alluring. Other tracks like “Final Wall” and “Selfless Toy” seem much more suited for dance floor rotation with their immediacy of beats and bass lines, but this in no way diminishes either song’s power, the subtle vocoders in the latter track giving it a singularly haunting vibe that works well with the stuttering synths. The rapidly paced drum machine and metallic ambience of “This Mind” is somehow reminiscent of The Normal’s “Warm Leatherette,” while the howling synth solo is almost ghostly; the same can be said of the wobbling manipulations of “In Each His Falling,” the synth almost mimicking a human voice amid steady distorted chugs.
The Age of Discord certainly lives up to its title, with Rossello, Corradin, and Bennett showcasing a marvelous interplay of their shared abilities ironic to the album’s title; each song is filled to the brim with :Bahntier//’s sense of experimentation and aptitude, and yet, the album is not as harsh on the ears as such a combination would seem to indicate. On the contrary, each track possesses a bevy of sonic and rhythmic nuance, guaranteeing repeated listens without falling into the conventions of melodic songwriting or the need for accessibility. The Age of Discord almost demands to be heard, but rewards you for acquiescing.
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Storming the Base CD
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)