Category: Industrial / Experimental
Album: Greeted as Liberators
Blurb: A masterpiece of an album, full of stylistic exploration, sonic nuance, and lyrical themes that demonstrate a more thoughtful and serious mindset to make this thinking man’s industrial… bravo, v01d!
Having spent the last seven years in relative silence, save for the odd compilation or remix appearance, Toronto’s v01d finally returns to the creative fold with Greeted as Liberators. Eschewing categorical purity in favor of a more experimental approach that blends varying elements of industrial, ambient, and even metal, v01d’s Joe Byer crafts an album that is as intense in its noisiness as it is in its melodic tonality. Set more often than not to odd time signatures that alone warrant a more attentive listen from the audience, but with each track serving as a soundtrack to and commentary on the turmoil of a world ravaged by war, imperialism, sexism, racism, and other forms of social injustice, Greeted as Liberators is a challenging, but most rewarding experience.
“Of the Willing” begins the proceedings with a pensive electro beat and a simple, gritty, almost bluesy guitar, Byer’s vocals restrained but still full of bite as the track gains in tension and momentum to culminate in a barrage of angular synth riffs topped off by vocoder and scrapes of noisy guitar. It’s a track that sets both the thematic and the instrumental tone for Greeted as Liberators, as a song like “Abhor a Vacuum” follows suit with a bouncy beat underscoring resonant guitar riffs as Byer’s ghostly voice drenched in resonant effects gives rise to further layers of vibrant synth arpeggios, waxing and waning to crescendo to keep the listener constantly ill at ease, and the primarily instrumental “Exit Strategy” could very well be the musical equivalent of a Middle Eastern warzone at the height of bloody escalation as cacophonous percussion, guitar, and synths rise and fall in intensity like the progressive waves of a most violent conflict. The same can be said of the appropriately titled “Wave After Wave,” a lush arrangement of smooth bass tones underscoring slithers and scrapes of percolating synths, shrill guitars, and Byer’s sharply robotic vocoder, his impassioned howls in the chorus gradually falling out of tune with each iteration, as if to be the vocal embodiment of fading hope as victims scream to the heavens.
Adding to the experience on the highly limited deluxe edition, which includes a second disc entitled Prototype. True to its title, this disc is v01d’s striking debut release, which had been unreleased until now; also available as a standalone item, its inclusion with Greeted as Liberators provides a sharp stylistic contrast that enriches the listener’s appreciation for v01d’s artistic evolution, showcasing Byer’s less polished but equally strong beginnings. From the militaristic percussive onslaught of opening track “Retrograde,” the fast paced cybernetic mania of “Revolutions” and “Pharmikon,” to the pulsating cinematic grandeur of “Limits,” “Intimidator,” and “The Light,” one wonders why the album had been unreleased for so long. The rhythms are more straightforward, the production not quite as slick, but Prototype still exhibits Byer’s darkly dynamic and accomplished sense of composition, making it a worthwhile addition for v01d fans.
Greeted as Liberators is quite an achievement for v01d, one that has been well worth the wait since 2009’s This Is Not a False Alarm Anymore. From start to finish, the album is consistent in its tonality while still offering some sonic nuances that guarantee plenty of opportunity for rediscovery and repeated listening, with lyrical themes that provide a veritable buffet of provocative and relevant discourse. This is a thinking man’s industrial album, one that by its very title alone forces us to examine the purity of our intentions versus the severity of our actions; Greeted as Liberators may well be one of the best albums of the year, and certainly a masterpiece for v01d. Bravo!
Disc 1: Greeted as Liberators
Disc 2: Prototype
MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp
Website, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
Amazon MP3 (Greeted as Liberators)
Amazon MP3 (Prototype)
Storming the Base CD
Bandcamp (Greeted as Liberators)
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)