Beta Plus Embryo
Category: Industrial Rock
Album: Time Kills Everything
Blurb: Solid if occasionally too uninspired blend of angst-ridden guitar riffs, precise programming, and emotive sensibilities.
At first glance Beta Plus Embryo could reside comfortably beside the swarm of contemporary punk rock bands riding the post nu-metal wave. Thankfully, the electronic element is potent enough on Time Kills Everything to – to a degree – distinguish this New York based act from the otherwise indistinguishable murmur of countless similar projects that pair the emotional vocals with the loud onslaught of guitars in a display of creative ineptitude. There are moments on Beta Plus Embryo’s first full-length release where the band’s musical identity is clear and absorbing, even if it doesn’t necessarily define the entire album.
The undeniable coherence of the album’s mood manifests early on and is sustained through all nine tracks; a feat that is all the more admirable since this release was patched together from two separate EPs. Nick Baron’s vocal work is melodic and effortlessly grasps the furious highs while the compositions highlight both the gentle and the furious through subtle use of piano and dynamic guitars. However, the opening “Time Kills Everything” is a melancholic overkill even by the standards set by the band. The chorus lacks a hook necessary to sustain interest through repeating sappy parts that seem to dominate the song. It contains a spark of a moderate radio hit but remains too undistinguished, too pedestrian in both structure and writing to make Beta Plus Embryo a love from the first sight kind of deal. Things do pick up, though, with some of the later material. In “Disappear Here,” the electronic ingredient is far more deliberate and while the chorus is again punchy without being too memorable, there is an interesting, haunting undercurrent that appears to be shifted from the work of composers like Simon Boswell. It’s a tiny, negligible detail that proves Beta Plus Embryo’s excellent technical skill. In fact, Time Kills Everything’s greatest strength lies not necessarily in its style but the obvious perfectionism in which it is executed. The sound is crisp, the programming and mastering precise, and the clean-cut presentation of the album is a particular strength of Beta Plus. “Insatiable Desires” is the first truly successful song that explodes into punk rage and resonates in a predictable but energizing way that is picked up again in “Temper the Shape.” Later on, the album embraces sentimental trope with “From Within” and “Dismantle,” but the pace is picked up by the closing “The Swarm,” which plays like an intriguing cross between Celldweller’s reliance on dynamic beat and Ministry’s unforgiving heavy guitar riffs.
Beta Plus Embryo never finds a cue that could help them spice up their material and the songs fizzle between angry heights and melancholic lows. It’s an album too reliant on the vocalist’s mellow delivery, played from start to finish to safely appease the veterans of industrial rock. While it avoids direct comparisons with past MTV approved incarnations of the genre like Gravity Kills or Stabbing Westward, it never really pretends to be anything other than a conventional take on a style that in this moment in its evolution deserves more and deserves better.
Beta Plus Embryo Website http://www.betaplusembryo.com
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Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)