Following 2019’s Warning Signs and 2017’s Foren6, dark electro act Fïx8:Sëd8’s The Inevitable Relapse is the product of Wiesbaden-based Martin Sane. Invoking such industrial acts as Skinny Puppy and Statiqbloom with a well-woven mesh of crisp and snappy percussion wed to flowing synth melodies, The Inevitable Relapse at times even channels classic gaming motifs in its rich aural textures. The dynamics of the album flow remarkably well despite the shortest song clocking in at just under five minutes; the fluctuations in energy are suitably varied to paint spaced-out soundscapes and then pack the dancefloor. In this regard, the opening tracks of “eNIGMa” and “pROGNOSIs” channel classically danceable Skinny Puppy. However, like other names in this vein of electronica, the almost unilateral reliance on vocoder-soaked spoken word vocals limits the versatility of the album as a whole. It’s only with “tREMORs” that the album bucks the trend by featuring mellifluous vocals from Black Nail Cabaret’s Emese Arvai-Illes. The pleasant variances continue with glossier pad/piano melodies atop jungle-esque beats on “hUMAn hARVESt,” and “uKNOWn tO vIRTUe” as its reverberating arpeggios evoke classic New Order before returning to a combination of atmosphere and distorted grooves. The title track broods with more ethereal ambience of flutes atop the typical sampled snippets before breaking into a bass-heavy groove, and like the closing “mETABOLITe,” pivots to a more choral vocoding on Sane’s vocals that also changes up the feel of the album, albeit briefly. With the help of Pyrroline’s Arnte on the mixing, Sane plays to his strengths and produces a well polished album that has varied soundscapes and compelling beats, but the rather rigid adherence to the oft-used vocal garbling relegates it on some level to a mimetic offshoot of bands that have long dominated the genre. That said, fans of Front Line Assembly, Haujobb, and other aforementioned electro/industrial acts will no doubt appreciate the honed audio production and attention to texture on The Inevitable Relapse.