As the parameters between genres has eroded to allow for new definitions to apply, Dread Risks seems determined to adhere to its own particular variant of electro/industrial. Automated Disappointment marks the Austin duo’s sophomore album, fulfilling the expectations one might have for such a release – improved production, better performance, more refined songwriting. Through the album’s 10 tracks, the band offers up sophisticated arrangements that although strongly anchored to a purely electronic palette, tend to eschew linearity in favor of the more exploratory sounds of industrial/metal. For example, “Comadose” shifts between the straightforward thrust of the verses and the shuffling syncopation of the chorus, the distortion effects on the vocals and synths creating a dissonance usually relegated to heavy guitars and belying the subtle melodies. Similarly, “Obliteration Complex” comes across like an automaton in the throes of a systemwide malfunction, the static warbles and subsonic bass set to caustic layered beats as if the machine is desperately clinging to a corrupted program. Tracks like “Machine Identity” and “Nothing in the Static” are sure to recall memories of the late ‘90s/early ‘00s with their post-techno EBM rhythms and complex progressions, the latter especially standing out for its deep bass breakdowns similar to modern dubstep, while “Trace Amounts” presents an ominous progression of fluid bass, darkly harmonized vocals, and percolating synths atop a strident beat, the chorus falling just short of catchy; it’s as if Dread Risks were trapped in some aurally stylistic limbo between Front Line Assembly and Psyclon Nine, making Automated Disappointment an ironic and contrarian title – the lyrical themes may deal with the manufactured failings of modern society, but the album itself is a fiercely polished effort that proves why Dread Risks should be considered at the forefront of the current waves of industrialized metal and dark electro.