Jun 2018 11

Particle Son - Exit StrategyParticle Son
Category: Industrial / EBM
Album: Exit Strategy
Blurb: Acerbic beats and synth lines, darkly cinematic atmospheres, and lyrics that point the finger at broken social and political systems, Particle Son’s third full-length album is an album of and for its time.


With renewed vigor and purpose, Particle Son returned from an absence of 11 years with 2015’s Amerikan Genocide, a record that immediately signaled a more focused sociopolitical stance in the band’s lyrics. Three years later, the Portland, Oregon band continues to point the proverbial finger at a fractured governmental system with Exit Strategy, with more than a few heated words against the complacency of the populace. Set to the trio’s signature brand of acerbic beats and acidic guitars, Exit Strategy is certainly Particle Son’s most tightly produced effort to date.

This writer has often made note of the band’s foundations in the ‘90s electro/industrial sound, and Exit Strategy would seem to be no exception as the opening track, “Thin the Herd” immediately sets the bar high with an ominous atmosphere that gives rise to powerfully rhythmic beats and guitars. The track steadily builds to a visceral gut punch in the chorus, the ambience evoking a darkly cinematic feel. The same can be said of a track like “Misery Complex” as energetic beats bounce around a slow, insistent tempo, the chorus creating a nice mélange of brightly distorted guitars as the synths take lead. As well, there is the introductory “iHate” single, filled to the brim with beats and pulsating synths, the slowly ethereal ambience of “Virulent” with its excellent swells of pads in the chorus, and the densely layered “Grave Roots,” the eerie synth leads meshing with the guitars and vocals to evoke an almost video game soundtrack; if not for the song’s abrupt ending, it might be the best track on the album.

Of course, while vocalist Vex March has made strides to infuse his aggressively forceful vocal style with a greater clarity to hear his lyrics, they are still reliant on that guttural atonal growl common to the harsh EBM style, albeit without the excess in effects. This coupled with the fact that several tracks adhere to a rather formulaic aggrotech approach, with the sort of scorching synth leads and stop/start progressions that have been hallmarks of the genre, and songs like “Freedom from Religion,” “Nuclear Protocol,” and “Enemy of the State” fall somewhat short despite a few catchy moments. The same could almost be said of “Collateral Damage,” although the heaviness of Jared Scott’s guitars give the song more of an industrial/rock edge as they blend with Sandi Leeper’s synths for a nice scraping feel. Similarly, the interplay of Leeper’s melodic harmonies in tandem with March’s growls on “Liberty Under Fire” make for a rather beautiful dynamic that elevates what would’ve been another formulaic EBM stomper to one of the album’s most notable moments.

There is a sense that Particle Son is experimenting with its style on Exit Strategy, for while it doesn’t deviate too far from past output, the mix of certain elements shows the band confidently working toward a greater refinement of its aesthetic. The band’s sound combines the cinematic sci-fi qualities of Front Line Assembly in the ‘90s with the dark synths and danceable percussive fury of latter day acts like Psyclon Nine or Grendel, all set to a decidedly sociopolitical attitude that has been at the core of the industrial genre’s roots. Though this ultimately means that Exit Strategy doesn’t offer very much in the way of a new sound, it is a strong outing from a band that has a lot to say and deserves to be heard.
Track list:

  1. Thin the Herd
  2. Freedom from Religion
  3. Nuclear Protocol
  4. Enemy of the State
  5. Misery Complex
  6. Grave Roots
  7. Collateral Damage
  8. Virulent
  9. Liberty Under Fire
  10. iHate
  11. Static Nemesis

Particle Son
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Purchase at:
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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