Category: Coldwave / Industrial / Rock
Album: Worst Case Scenario Vol.01+02
Blurb: Presenting three new songs along with a cornucopia of remixes, this two volume offering of Cyanotic’s most recent album is a testament to the talent that exists in today’s industrial/electronic scene.
Leading Chicago’s Glitch Mode Squad, Cyanotic is a band that is in no shortage of creativity and energy to offer the underground industrial/rock scene. Over the course of numerous tours and collaborations, Sean Payne and his company of cohorts has cultivated numerous musical relationships, resulting in Glitch Mode being less of a label and more of a communal hub for these artists to exchange ideas. 2014’s Worst Case Scenario Vol.01 was Cyanotic’s third proper full-length album and possibly the band’s most concentrated effort yet to break past the many albeit welcome comparisons to its influences and settle into a unified and cohesive sound that is identifiably Cyanotic. With Vol.02, Payne opens the doors to the group’s peers with a massive remix collection.
Three new tracks are included with Vol.02, with “When People Lose Control” leading the charge – an ominous atmosphere starts things off with a grim sample about the desperation of survival and the loss of control; suddenly, a vicious onslaught of machine gun riffs and beats punches the listener right through the speakers, bursting into an overdriven track as suitable for the dance floor as it is for the mosh pit, topped off by Payne’s monstrous growls. “Stages of Grief” was originally featured on the ColdWaves II compilation, a collaborative effort between Cyanotic and Acumen Nation as a memoriam to Jamie Duffy – with this new version, Jason Novak’s vocals are given a greater clarity and losing none of the acerbic edge that has defined his style for 20 years, while the overall mix demonstrates Cyanotic’s continued pursuit of high quality sound design; cleaner, fuller, and heavier than the original version. Finally, the third new track, “Another Somber Outcome” lives up to its title as it begins quietly and with a chilled atmosphere of twinkling synth arpeggios and reverberating beats, the sparse but effective piano and guitar melodies evoking a myriad of downbeat emotions and thoughts, yet ending with a sense of hope as a distorted voice states, “All of these feelings are temporary. If you know how you work, how your brain works, how fear works, any of it can be overcome.”
However, the bulk of Vol.02 resides in the remixes, presenting a varied range of styles on top of Cyanotic’s usual meld of aggression, melody, and structure. While Slighter’s remix of “Disconnect Me” takes full advantage of the original’s drum & bass rhythms and goes for the jugular with a more straightforward helping of energetic beats and scathing synths, Tranq’s version is a much more atmospheric rendition abundant with well integrated vocoder and a half-time tempo that is all the more menacing for its reserve. Similarly, the Randolph & Mortimer mix of “Signal the Machines” approaches the track with a sense of minimalism, the vocals and samples reversed and glitched atop an insistent beat and monotonous bass line, while the version created by Breath & Decay (with a little help from Cyanotic) is just a tad heavier with more dynamic interplay of synth and bass lines to evoke a more classic EBM feel akin to early Front Line Assembly or some of Skinny Puppy’s more danceable moments. Bryan Black’s remix is certainly recognizable of his minimalist proto-techno style with his Black Asteroid mix of “Pressure,” while the SummerGlau Sexbot mix by Mangadrive is pure industrial dance with distorted samples and mangled bass lines over metallic beats, both versions giving the song a shot of rhythmically-fueled adrenaline. “Reflex Action” is also given quite the treatment from its two remixers, with the Cardinal Noire mix being particularly noteworthy for transforming the original’s rocking cadence into a somber display of ambient noise that leads perfectly into “Another Somber Outcome,” while Benjamin’s Plague hits the dance floor hard with accelerated beats too incendiary and catchy to ignore. Some remixes, like the Bites mix of “Alternating Dilemmas,” the Xenomisia mix of “The Signs of Struggle,” or Textbeak’s mix of “Cause + Effect” are closer in tone to their original counterparts, although this does not diminish them being powerful and engaging remixes in their own rights. But on the other hand, if you expected iVardensphere’s remix of “Borderliner” to be yet another display of tribal/EBM in line with the band’s usual style, you would be mistaken as this mix is much subtler and mysterious with light but intricate beats more in an IDM vein.
A remastered version of Vol.01 is included with Vol.02, totaling 30 tracks and giving listeners a much fuller presentation of the Worst Case Scenario experience. As well, since the album is offered by the band as a “Name Your Price” item, you can be certain you are getting your money’s worth, receiving two albums for the price of one. While the new songs are perhaps too few in number, they do well to tie in conceptually with the material from the previous entry and integrate well with the abundance of different remixes to not only showcase Cyanotic’s continued pursuit of sonic excellence, but also the plethora of emerging and established talent in today’s industrial/electronic music scene. Who says the scene is dead? Cyanotic scoffs at those that do, with Worst Case Scenario Vol.01+02 proving that it is alive and still severely kicking ass!