Category: Electro / Industrial / Rock
Blurb: Fiery, provocative lyrics amid cold and calculating electronics whose aggression and rhythmic thrust could easily stand up to the heaviest guitar-laden industrial/rock, the latest self-titled effort from this rebranded Canadian duo makes for an effective presentation.
Once known as Öhm, the duo of Craig Joseph Huxtable and Chris Peterson both have quite a storied and productive history in electro/industrial music – Huxtable best known for Landscape Body Machine, and Peterson for such bands as Decree, Left Spine Down, Damage Control, and his tenure as a member of Front Line Assembly. With the rebranding of the duo’s name to the less obscure OHMelectronic, the latest self-titled offering from the band now sees the two musicians solidifying their collective creative identity. With an approach that is very stepped in the pair’s roots in experimental electronic music, OHMelectronic presents a singularly aggressive brand of electro/industrial that easily stands toe-to-toe with the most in-your-face guitar-laden machine/rock, while still giving listeners something to stomp their feet to and shake their fists at.
From the onset of the opening single, “Uppercut” presents a deluge of rather funky electronic grooves and strident beats that instant call you to the dance floor, topped off by Huxtable’s acerbic vocal delivery of provocative lyrics that decry the “self-righteous religious right” and warning that “we become everything that we hate.” Other tracks follow suit, with “Disarmed” standing as one of the album’s most virulent moments as sharpened bass lines and arresting beats scream of ‘90s industrial, with the ascending progression in the chorus as Huxtable howls “You can’t stop me! I’ve lost control!” proving to be a high point. Similarly, the thrusting mechanical rhythms and fluid bass lines of “Everything Is Gone” and the scathing, almost strutting throb of synths and subtle yet forceful rhythms in “Undone” make for some notably enjoyable tracks, although the latter does suffer from a rather repetitive coda where the lines of “I become undone” doing little to raise the tension, thus diminishing what would’ve been an otherwise great song. As if to save the best for last, “Endless War” is an immediate standout on the record as martial drumbeats underscore steely synth leads and ambient swells that evoke the sort of industrialized sounds heard in ‘90s video game soundtracks; the rhythmic vocals give way to a howled chorus and percolating synths that, strangely enough, almost evokes the cadence of the classic “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing” chant… it’s a tad bit funny given the subject matter, but a poignant track all the same. On the other hand, Huxtable’s more understated approach on “With” evokes Douglas McCarthy, the sultry, slightly sleazy drumbeat recalling the sounds of Nitzer Ebb’s later, less punklike material. Peterson’s production skills amplify every seething aspect of OHMelectronic’s sound design, which is particularly notable in the interlude of “Godspeed” as its lush displays of distorted ambience and mechanical noise give way to the whiplash beats and ghostly, orchestral synths of “Decline,” reminiscent of his work in FLA, while “Redshift” brings the record to a grim close as the subtle hints of pads add a mournful quality amid a klaxon of pounding, acidic noise.
For all of the benchmarks of a certain period of the genre, OHMelectronic manages to infuse a freshness to the sounds of old, ensuring that the album will not sound like a throwback or overly retro. It’s more accurate to say that with such a rich history in the style, Huxtable and Peterson have managed to cull their individual strengths and push their skills into a musical aesthetic that is as accessible as it is exploratory. Add to that the fiery lyrics and vocals amid cold electronics and polished production, and OHMelectronic strikes an effective balance between the exuberance and brashness of youth and the more calculated and thoughtful hand of experience.
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Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)