Category: Industrial / Electro
Album: Amerikan Genocide
Blurb: Ending an 11-year-long absence of recorded material, Particle Son returns with an album as politically-minded and as harshly energetic as ever, with better production and a few small surprises to boot.
It has been 11 years since we’ve heard from Portland, Oregon’s Particle Son. 2004’s Re:Version offered up the first traces of the band’s aesthetic, steeped in the foundations of rhythmic electro/industrial akin to the likes of Front Line Assembly, topped off with an acerbic barrage of guitars and seething vocals with a decidedly political bent. After more than a decade in the underground music scene and performing countless shows, all the while honing the style the band set for itself from the start, Particle Son finally offers us a sophomore album release, Amerikan Genocide.
A caustic wall of distorted guitars and synths underscored by a sparse but insistent beat, augmented by crystalline textures make for a dynamic and epic opener with “Defiance.” Then the pulsating EBM beats and bass lines of “Inhuman Condition,” Jared Scott’s powerful guitar chords giving just the right amount of weight to supplement the electronics while Vex March’s scathing vocals bellow with a clarity that was distinctly lacking on Re:Version. From these two songs alone, Amerikan Genocide already shows that Particle Son has not been standing idle for the past 11 years, the band clearly having improved its production as well as compositional skills. A further example of this is “Denial Code,” the pumping breakbeats following a darkly ambient opening, then driven by a strident chorus with shimmering guitar accompaniment, as well as “Cryotherapy,” its chilled synth arpeggio and coldly distorted beats adding to the song’s haunting atmosphere, offset by the aggressive guitars and vocal delivery. As stated, March’s vocals exhibit a greater clarity than had been heard in Particle Son before; though still employing an harshly unmelodic style, he nevertheless shows a willingness to experiment with this tonality, most notably on “Neurogenesis” for the howling gothic baritone in the chorus making for one of the album’s catchier moments, while the subtle incorporation of vocoder on “Revelation” elevates the song just a step above its otherwise standard harsh EBM club fare.
Several remixes are included on Amerikan Genocide, with Mr. Dillinger’s Abnormal Brain remix of “Neurogenesis” being especially notable for its melancholy ambience, focusing more on mood than on the song’s original EBM energy with the vocals and trickling electronic beats taking point. The same can be said of the Solid State remix of “Building 7,” mangling the original version’s straightforward EBM into a dark display of skittering and spastic drum & bass. On the other hand, Exageist’s dubstep remix of “Dead to Rights” plays a nice complement to the original that is no less abrasive, but perhaps more dynamic in its glitchy idiosyncrasies, while react[ion]’s dubstep-meets-witch house Voices in the Fog remix of “Revelation” ends the album on a somber and strangely quiet note as the vocals are manipulated to create a haze of nightmarish distortion amid a twinkling melodic refrain and steady beats that gradually build in intricacy and intrigue.
Amerikan Genocide is no sophomore slump as it demonstrates just how far a band can evolve in a decade’s time. Though still steeped in the harsh EBM aesthetics that pervaded Re:Version, the greater clarity and depth of production has only strengthened Particle Son’s musical resolve, topped off by March’s politically minded lyrics and seething vocals. The remixes certainly add to the album’s vibrancy, as does the orchestral intensity of the opening track. All in all, Amerikan Genocide is a rather good album from a band that certainly possesses no small amount of skill and energy, if only they could be focused into an even more adventurous direction; however, given that this album effectively ends the band’s 11-year-long absence of recorded material, Amerikan Genocide will do more than nicely.