Sep 2023 16

Album CoverSlighter
Album: This Futile Engine (Deluxe Edition)
Category: Electro / Industrial
Label: Confusion Inc. / Brutal Resonance Records
Release Date: 2023-07-31
Author: Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)


Colin Cameron Allrich diverts from the narrative cyberpunk of his previous Welcome to Riot City to make his second full-length effort with Brutal Resonance Records a far more introspective extrapolation of his electro/industrial style. As a result, This Futile Engine does tend to bear a greater resemblance to some of Slighter’s earlier efforts, wrought with the sort of impressive sound design and slick, sophisticated production he’s become known for, complete with a few notable collaborations. Tracks like “Nostalgia Hysteria,” “Forcefield Operative,” and “Planet Failure” revel in their displays of electrified techno-inspired EBM adorned with cinematic atmospheres, the latter especially gripping with Christy Hannon’s glitchy and artificially treated voice sounding like a warning beacon as the listener sifts through the detritus of a devastated world. Similarly, Yvette Winkler’s vocals on “Dark Divine” add a harmonious emotion to a vibrant but otherwise sterile electro track, while Anastasia Poirier’s detached performance on “Ūnitās” lends a disturbing atmosphere amid rising swells of pads and repeating arpeggios that hint at a minimalist merger of EBM and synthwave.

The introductory thrust of “Introspection Illusion” and the monolithic and abstract soundscape of “Narcodrone” are both prime examples of Allrich’s prowess in virtually all facets of his style that one wonders why he’s not yet an acclaimed score composer for motion pictures or video games. Steven Seibold’s rasping and furious voice on “Memory Corruptor” does offer an odd contrast to the more reserved performances throughout, especially after the reserved double header of the slithery “Have No Fear” and Craig Joseph Huxtable’s appearance on the despondently melodic “Pulling Me Under,” both of which are given the dub instrumental treatment at the album’s end. However, “Memory Corruptor” is aided by the subtle, almost imperceptible addition of ethereal background vocals from Morgue VVitch, who elevates “Cold Black Waters” with haunting breaths and harmonies amid subsonic pulses evoking a submerged and isolated habitat – it really is the best and most harrowing song on the record.

Overall, This Futile Engine contains some of Slighter’s most foreboding and darkly imagined material. Although it doesn’t necessarily signify a departure for either the artist or the genre, the refinement of technique and the tight, intelligent composition makes the album a viable contender for one of 2023’s finest releases.
Track list:

  1. Introspection Illusion
  2. Pulling Me Under
  3. Have No Fear
  4. Nostalgia Hysteria
  5. Memory Corruptor
  6. Planet Failure
  7. Ūnitās
  8. Forcefield Operative
  9. Dark Divine
  10. Narcodrone
  11. Cold Black Waters
  12. Pulling Me Under [Dark Dub]
  13. Have No Fear [Darb Dub]

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