Whatever your feelings were upon the arrival of Dismantled’s The War Inside Me, whether you wept for Gary Zon’s flair for dense but melodic writing and catchy electro or embraced his fully flourished noisy angst, this new EP delivers some of the band’s most memorable material that will appeal to those who followed his career for years and newcomers alike. Whole Wide World’s track list makes for a balanced and absorbing listen in the way that remix efforts rarely manage to.
Opening with the titular “Whole Wide World,” the album finds Zon once again embracing the mode that made Post Nuclear his early masterpiece. The song is rich in melancholic elements and the soft spoken chorus emphasizes the departure from the aggression that filled his last long playing release. That is not to say that the undercurrent of the track is made up of equally slow burning elements; the beat sets a consistent rhythm and there’s a fair amount of distortion that provide equilibrium between the dual nature of Dismantled – an act that at its best effortlessly merges melody and noise. While certainly lacking the depth granted by the vocal, the instrumental version of the track flashes out some of the nuances of the composition that at your second listen will be firmly integrated with your musical subconscious and a part of a rich and resonant new track. Between the three remixes of “Disease,” there is very little repetition, each associated act bringing to the table a unique and fully realized stylization. Sleepless breaks the track’s pace with affirmative crescendos reminiscent of Assemblage23 that successfully unload the overtly dark mood. Noonatac, no holds barred, turns “Disease” into club friendly, light hearted electro with a simple but engrossing hook. Most distinguished by their own habits are the evil masterminds of God Module that propel the original forward with recognizable breakneck pace. It is here where the lyrical content suffers most, sitting uncomfortably and often out of place on top of the bouncing structure but God Module’s effort definitely helps shift the mood of the whole EP.
Two undeniable highlights of Whole Wide World materialize in the form of “Kill or be Killed” and “The Whore Inside Me.” Feed’s work on the track that was often criticized for its repetitive nature renders it a menacing and nightmarish composition that with each subsequent invocation of “How many of you do I have to kill?” grows increasingly unsettling. It is only through a simple combination of glitches and beeps that this new rendition of “Kill or be Killed” achieves so much and its new potential makes it a dangerous and incendiary offering. Even more accomplished is the following “The Whore Inside Me” by Clicks that, in its opening 20 seconds, introduces so much character and flair as to make it, arguably, the most memorable part of the Whole Wide World. What on the original album was a threatening but somewhat monotonous composition is enriched by hints of electro, glitches accented by the piercing sounds of piano, and escalating drama that for those invested in Dismantled’s style will sound uniquely theirs. With this much needed injection of substance, “The Whore Inside Me” is riveting and downplays the material that it derived from in favor of moods that Zon exercised so well on his early releases and returned to in the opening of this newest one. Quite unexpectedly, his collaboration with Nero Bellum of Psyclon Nine on “Deal” doesn’t resonate as strongly, although it seems to bridge the gap between this and the previous album with a gritty texture to which both artists can easily relate to. Although they both share similar genes on “Deal,” expressed by the same growling vocals, it might be perhaps this exact shared chemistry that leaves their mutual effort without a spark that ignited the previous tracks and provided an alien, contrasting element.
On the whole, it’s a thoroughly accomplished release that works not only as a variation on preexistent material but, in its own right, as an entertaining and absorbing entry. Whatever the future holds for Dismantled, here stands a proof that they are here for a reason and whichever direction the band chooses to follow, audiences should tune in and listen carefully.
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Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)