Aug 2020 01

Album CoverBlue Eyed Christ
Album: World On Fire
Category: Electro/ Industrial / Rock
Label: Distortion Productions
Release Date: 2020-05-22


Six years after A Rush and a Thrill, John D. Norten returns to Blue Eyed Christ to tackle the social and political zeitgeist with his own searing blend of electro and industrial/rock. Produced, mixed, and mastered entirely by Norten, World On Fire is appropriately titled as it presents a decidedly grim indictment of ineffective nationalist policies and social upheaval; all the while, the sound of the album is steeped in the old school sounds of the early-to-mid-‘90s WaxTrax! era, and in some cases, even further back. For instance, the sultry beat and slithering bass grooves of “Massive React,” complete with infectious “whoa-whoa” refrains, guttural chugging guitars, and bouncy synths are sure to remind some of Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine period, while the slow grooves, hollow bass, and funky guitar accompaniment of “America H” sounds almost reminiscent of the dub-infused sounds of KMFDM’s UAIOE, the harmonious chorus vocals of Karlina Covington making the track one of the best on the album. Similarly, the icy choral synths and trickling pianos of “Take It to the Street” are especially noteworthy, while Swindy’s Randall Swindell brings a melodic pop element to “The Wait Is Over,” the mesh of tribal organic and stomping electronic percussion giving way to a striking dance beat that should surely find its way on many a DJ set. However, it’s the title track with ex-Lords of Acid vocalist Mea Fisher adding a sardonic and mocking accompaniment to Norten’s rhythmic atonal leads, the familiar growls of EN ESCH giving the song an irresistible resonance and catchiness amid electronic sirens and simple but caustic riffs. Of course, World On Fire is not without a few duds, with the two-part “The System” sadly falling somewhat short with its mechanical beats and unremarkable arrangements, while “Manic Adderall” could have been one of the album’s greats if not for its oversimplicity and all-too-short length not allowing for it to grow beyond its otherwise classic heavy industrial/rock style. As well, the electro/trip-hop ambience of “The Slow Reverse” would make for a great closer if not for the drum patches sounding perhaps too much like a throwback to the late ‘80s. Along with the adornment of thematically relevant samples throughout the album, as well as Norten’s off-kilter and occasionally awkward vocal style, World On Fire comes across as a lost jewel from a bygone era of industrial/rock; given Norten’s history in the scene, this is not surprising, and it is indeed refreshing and appropriate in an age of both nostalgia and sociopolitical dissent.
Track list:

  1. Start the Show
  2. Stop the Show!
  3. America H
  4. Manic Adderall (Nation of the Damned)
  5. Massive React
  6. Take It to the Streets
  7. World On Fire (feat. EN ESCH & Mea Fisher)
  8. The System Pt. 1
  9. The System Pt. 2
  10. The Wait Is Over (fear. Swindy)
  11. The Slow Reverse

Blue Eyed Christ
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Distortion Productions
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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