Dec 2011 28

Deadliner - Under the Cloak of DaylightDeadliner
Category: Ambient / Industrial
Album: Under the Cloak of Daylight
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: More compositional excellence from Deadliner, full of ambient frills befitting a soundtrack and danceable thrills for any DJ’s set list.


Steve Christie has garnered quite a reputation in the industrial rock underground for his varied and eclectic remixes for some of the most revered names in the scene under his Deadliner moniker. On the other hand, his own music presents a much different aesthetic, closer to the ambient sensibilities better suited for soundtrack production. Having released a string of albums independently, his work has incorporated elements of virtually all forms of electronic music, making for an eclectic yet cohesive sound that one could imagine playing as the background score to a film or video game. With Under the Cloak of Daylight, Christie offers up some more of his musical ingenuity not too far removed from his past output, yet just as diverse and enjoyable.

The title track begins, a swell of synthesized pads recalling the early ambient experiments of Aphex Twin, before a clamorous and grating industrial chorus breaks in. The faux-strings complemented by electric arpeggios come in with distant voices in the background, making for an all-too-brief but appropriately epic intro to the album. Tracks like “The Sniper’s Perspective” with its tense throbbing of beats and bass giving way to sections of atmospheric introspection, “The Oath” and “The Director” with their energetic mix of breakbeat-style rhythms and sequences akin to the current wave of dubstep (only not as derivative), and “The Troops” with its anthemic progression of entrancing pads and danceable beats could easily be staples for any DJs set list alongside the likes of VNV Nation or any other futurepop artist if not for the lack of vocals. Other tracks are much more restrained, with twinkling pianos peppering the slow, heroic melodies of “Camelot” and the somber, sullen grandeur of “Skorpios,” while “The Motorcade” moves with a steady, foreboding tempo and percolating arpeggios akin to early Front 242 if they were collaborating with Jan Hammer on one of his ‘80s soundtracks. The two most extreme tracks would have to be “Interlude” with its guttural, glitch-laden guitars and industrialized beats, and “All the King’s Men,” a purely classically-inspired piece with some lush and lovely string melodies.

No track on Under the Cloak of Daylight presents a single style, each proceeding through varied realms of compositional complexity. Most songs take their time to find their energy, beginning with languid ambience and giving rise to pulsating, harmonious rhythms that subtly shift into altering moods throughout the album. For this, Deadliner’s music is best listened to from beginning to end, which adds to the soundtrack mentality of the whole, but can make it difficult for the listener to discern any individual tracks of note. Still, Under the Cloak of Daylight is a fine collection of music from a fine artist whose work deserves a wider audience.
Track list:

  1. Under the Cloak of Daylight
  2. Camelot
  3. The Troops
  4. The Motorcade
  5. The Sniper’s Perspective
  6. Interlude
  7. The Oath
  8. The Sirhan Cadet
  9. Skorpios
  10. All the King’s Men
  11. The Director

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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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