Jan 2021 05

Album CoverMachines with Human Skin
Album: Anagnorisis
Category: Industrial / Rock
Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2020-09-04


Anagnorisis is defined as that moment in a work of literature when a character attains a sudden awareness of the reality of a situation; as such, this title perhaps relates to discoveries or realizations Adrian Halo has made about himself and his world, thus informing the lyrical focus of his latest album as Machines with Human Skin. Themes of perseverance and separation from toxic forces in one’s life abound in tracks like “Fix Myself” and “Despair,” while other tracks like “Model Citizen” and “Scourge” seem more influenced by the Halo’s love for the late ‘80s/early ‘90s heyday of the industrial scene as they take a broader, more sociopolitical outlook on control over the populace by the unseen elite. Unfortunately, although the subject matter is poignant, Halo’s exploration of them – both in terms of the lyrical construction and the actual album production – is lacking in finesse, relegating Anagnorisis to the status of a demo. It’s a shame that the album fails to coalesce to more than the sum of its parts, because many of those parts are quite excellent on their own; Halo performs each individual component with a good measure of competence, but they rarely gel into a cohesive whole. For instance, the mechanical bass and beats that adorn “Scourge” are quite ominous, but they are rendered moot by the inconsistent rhythm of the lead synth and especially the vocals. The cadence of the lyrics is such that it feels like words were written before an actual vocal melody, with Halo also revealing the limitations of his voice when he reaches for higher registers that don’t quite work. The drumbeats and roaring guitar riffs of songs like “Multiple Angels at Once” and “Endless Night” are striking, the brassy howls of synths on the latter track making for a nice ambience that somehow feels disconnected from the rest of the instrumental. The same can be said of the scratchy electronics of “Despair” sounding just slightly off the beat, but more egregious is their caustic tone, which stands out so brazenly in the mix that one could almost disregard the layers of bass and guitar frequencies clashing… it’s just messy and is a major disservice to what would actually be a punchy industrial/rock anthem, and this applies to the whole record. Adrian Halo is not without talent, and the strength of his musicianship is palpable on Anagnorisis; perhaps with the aid of a more experienced producer, those talents will be done justice on a future release.
Track list:

  1. Scourge
  2. Fix Myself
  3. Multiple Angles at Once
  4. Despair
  5. Model Citizen
  6. Anagnorisis
  7. Endless Night
  8. Arrival
  9. 17 Years (Magicicada)

Machines with Human Skin
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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