Aug 2012 27

Sektor304 - Subliminal ActionsSektor 304
Category: Industrial / Metal / Noise
Album: Subliminal Actions
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: A dark and ferocious album that, for those brave enough, will herald an endlessly inventive breed of harsh, uncompromising industrial.


Portuguese Sektor 304, with their second long playing offering after the successful Soul Cleansing, emerges as one of those truly inventive bands that continuously strive to challenge their audience. A restless spirit that possesses Subliminal Actions is constantly at work, resulting in an album that will surprise you when you least expect it; in its essence, a noise album, but one of undeniable depth and some strange idiosyncrasies.

While some experimental records have limited means of conveying themes and narratives and often conceptualize themselves simply around an overarching musical stylization (i.e. Merzbow’s Merzbeat with its use of repeating percussion), Subliminal Actions is close to the actual definition of a concept album due to the prominent presence of vocal parts that link all of the tracks through grim, nihilistic texts. It’s an album of unified lyrical and musical structure that becomes instantly rewarding when individual compositions come together to create a thoroughly depressing and haunting whole.

Although the album opens with the very much conventional “A Carving on Metal Skin,” which is made of raw ambient sounds and improperly operated power tools that convey a rough, unpleasant metallic texture, things quickly take a turn to truly remarkable. “A Vessel of Guilt” utilizes several of those elements but the introduction of vocals and percussion (played on what appears to be empty barrels) adds a clear rhythm to the noisy proceedings. Subliminal Actions remains a polyphonic and unpredictable experience but the presence of these musical devices makes the journey with Sektor 304 much more pleasurable than someone unfamiliar with the genre might expect.

There is enough variety here to break the otherwise monotonous pace of disturbing shrieks and noisy distortions. While songs like “Full Circle” or “Friction” are exemplary renditions of classic, slow burning dark ambient, elsewhere Sektor 304 is capable of deploying pseudo-metal sensibilities and even adds a distinctly ethnic flavor that reinforces the album’s hostile, mystical aura. The epic “Terminal Stage” and “Prismatic Sun” will take you from one spectrum of Sektor 304’s style to another and immerse you in rhythmic, tribal drums that degenerate into a chaos of machine produced distortions, giving the listener a chance to witness the scope of the entire album and showcase how well balanced these two ingredients are.

Only those truly devoted to a patient penetration of dense, layered and angst driven music will truly embrace Sektor 304’s recent work, and this, given the overall sound of the album, is hardly a surprise. What might strike you as shocking as an industrial aficionado without a soft spot for noise is that Subliminal Actions is actually structured from several distinctly alien elements that render it remarkably accessible. Metal inspired vocal work, rhythmic drumming, and atmospheric dark ambient stylizations all extend the value of this album past its target audience and help push Sektor 304 to the forefront of experimental industrial bands where they should be able to introduce raw, original sounds to listeners otherwise unreachable.
Track list:

  1. A Carving on Metal Skin
  2. A Vessel of Guilt
  3. By the Throat
  4. Full Circle
  5. Vultures
  6. Friction
  7. Terminal Stage
  8. Concrete Islands
  9. A.A.D.S.
  10. The Prismatic Sun

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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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