Category: Industrial / Metal
Album: Tolerance & Dependency
Blurb: With the electronics taking on a less prominent role than on the band’s past releases, Concrete Lung’s latest outing treads ever closer to more organic and doom-laden metal territories.
The UK duo of William Riever and Ed_Oxime – collectively known as Concrete Lung – has certainly been making strides to take their heavily mechanized brand of metal into darker territories, and with Tolerance & Dependency, the band may be treading precariously close to a point of no return. Though Subtract Nerve leaned more distinguishably toward the organic metal elements of the band’s music more than previous outings, there was still a noticeable electronic presence that kept Concrete Lung’s sound within the parameters established by Versions of Hell and Waste of Flesh. However, as “Engine Vein” enters the fray with hollow feedback, the menacing tempo of crushing riffs and thunderous percussion enter with all of the doom-laden predilections of early Black Sabbath, Ed_Oxime’s growling voice sounding more monstrous than ever. If there are any electronics at work here, they are mixed so subtly as to be nearly imperceptible beyond the metallic precision of the drums. This sparseness of electronics pervades the album, most noticeable in the disparity between “Self-Shriek (Self Murder)” and its earlier counterpart on Subtract Nerve as the drums are given a much more spacious treatment, the added reverb giving it a slightly more organic feel, while the distorted ambience and pulsating bass only add the slightest bit of texture to the punishing riffs and decrepit vocals. On the other hand, “Die Dreaming, Pt. II” is perhaps more straightforward than the previous 7-inch track, with its guttural dirge taking on a less languid approach that meanders less in deathly atmosphere and aims for the jugular with scowling vocals and some mildly paced yet energetic beats and riffs the likes of which would please fans of early Godflesh. “Plastic Mind” is perhaps the most perceptibly industrial track on Tolerance & Dependency with its glitch-laden beats, while the monolithic sustain of guitar and monotone vocals create an especially unsettling effect akin to Celtic Frost’s later work, and while “Chemical Muzzle” is the shortest song on the album, it also contains what might be the catchiest hook throughout with its simple three-chord progression and immediately striking chorus lyric. “Closed Mouth” closes out the proceedings with a nightmarishly overdriven bass progression and vocals that push the limits of dark metal bravado, the noisy solo squealing like a terribly damaged woodwind or brass-reed instrument, the throbs of mild electronics and distorted warbles augmenting the audio punishment before ending in a creepily harrowing display of guitar arpeggios and mournful baritone choirs. As cold and as overcast as the duo’s Manchester roots, Tolerance & Dependency continues Concrete Lung’s morbid and despairing path in fine fashion. As usual, the production is kept at a particularly lo-fi level and with few exceptions, the electronics are less overt to allow for the organic element of the band’s horrific stylings to take prominence, aiding the band’s transition toward a less mechanical, more traditionally doom/metal sound. This may have the unfortunate side effect of alienating those who prefer the malevolent programming of past releases, but thankfully, Concrete Lung hasn’t yet abandoned its evilly mechanistic side… yet.