Album: The Repercussions of Shedding Your Skin
Blurb: An auspicious debut album from the duo of Jim Semonik and Lee Lauer, showcasing a throwback style of harsh trance-infused electro/EBM.
From the minds of Electronic Saviors founder and Rein[Forced] front man Jim Semonik and Aslan Faction’s Lee Lauer comes Red Lokust, offering up the pair’s own brand of aggressive dance floor fury. Funded via Kickstarter campaign, the band’s debut album, The Repercussions of Shedding Your Skin offers up a vitriolic mix of scathing electro leads and infectious beats and bass lines that many will expect from Lauer, while Semonik delivers the emotional core of each song with his signature and straightforward brand of distorted rasp and lyrical savvy. With numerous references to death, decay, as well as revitalization and rebirth in songs like “Mistakes Were Made,” “Speechless V2.0,” and “The War to End All Wars,” it’s clear that Semonik is drawing on his own experiences, adding a poignancy to the lyrics that might otherwise seem at the very least quaint and typical of the genre. But he doesn’t end there, as his howls of “I know everything about you” on “The Judgment Chamber” simply and powerfully conveys the sense of paranoia and guilt that pervades the song’s themes, while “Control Your Fear” almost takes the opposite stance with the affirmation that with the focus of one’s mind, negativity can be overcome despite the possibility of failure. From start to finish, The Repercussions of Shedding Your Skin presents a near constant thrust of dance floor energy and trancelike arpeggios and leads, with only the gaps between tracks offering momentary respite; there is an almost nostalgic quality to Lauer’s constructions as they call to mind the earlier modes of harsh electro that eventually gave rise to terror EBM, filled to the brim with samples that play well with Semonik’s vocals. At times, the effects on Semonik’s voice remind this listener of those used on early KMFDM tracks like “The Unrestrained Use of Excessive Force” or “Me I Funk,” but this adds to the album’s wistful charm. Rounding out the album are a pair of remixes, with Leæther Strip’s remix of “Speechless” being quite effective for its bouncy and minimalist atmosphere, the vocals and samples shining above a bubbly bass and shimmering synth lead, while the Interface remix of “When We Knew You” adds a playful bass progression and some warbling synth effects to offset the original’s melancholic pianos. As debut albums go, The Repercussions of Shedding Your Skin is a fine start for this eminent duo, and clearly represents its members’ love for the classic sounds of electro/EBM. It’s a throwback sound, for certain, but finely produced with mastering by Inertia’s Reza Udhin for good measure. Where Lauer and Semonik will take Red Lokust remains to be seen, but with this album, the pair is off to an auspicious start.