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Album review

Xykogen

This is a real mixed bag of an album! Swaying dramatically from the ‘on’ to ‘off’ buttons it is for the most part an interesting fusion of Industrial and Dance music, some of which works and some which misses the mark completely.

The opening track, ‘Metallaxis’ for example is a brilliant start to an album. From its dark, atmospheric and eerie beginning it soon builds with layers of pounding industrial-drum beats and muted screams / shouts way back in the distance. For a bit it sounds like a soundtrack to a ‘Terminator’ type film as it develops into a full-on heavy dance track, sounding like the fusion of The Prodigy with Underworld.

However, as the track fades, the smoke from the imaginary desolate, android battlefield clears and ‘Metallaxis’ mixes seamlessly into ‘No Heaven.’ And this is where I went walkabout! The backing turns more Depeche Mode, but to be honest it is completely usurped by the vocals – a high pitched female vocal that would be better placed on a ‘Now That’s What I Call Ibiza Dance Party – Volume 130 But Sounds The Same As Volume 2: Pete Wrong Remix.’ Well… you know what I mean.

And I’m afraid this vocal carries on through the title track, ‘Terminology’ and just as I was starting to enjoy ‘My Unquiet Mind’ it resurfaces again. I’m sorry, but it just grates, big time. It doesn’t seem to fit the backing. It’s like two magnets being forced together. Both are strong and on their own would attract. But try forcing them together and they just repel. Enough said…

‘As If By Magick,’ however returns to better form. More Prodigy-like and thoroughly danceable, with a sort of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ‘Two Tribes,’ intro that builds and uses what sounds like revolutionary South American, Spanish chants to great effect as a hugely catchy chorus.

‘Evolve,’ is a pretty bog-standard industrial techno track. It’s nice enough, but doesn’t really offer any great direction. ‘Hashishin,’ on the other hand is really interesting with lots going on the background that is overlaid with understated almost spoken lyrics. However, half way through there is what sounds like the ‘call to prayer’ from a mullah in his minaret. It lasts only a few seconds really but perhaps it could have been utilised more ad to greater effect? Good track though.

‘An Die Freude’ is the longest track on the album at just over five and a half minutes. Although it starts out well with its mix of haunting industrial / gothic sounds and hip – Hop lyrics, it does again for some reason insist on the Evanescence / Enya styled female vocals that are by now really getting on my tits! I just think they clutter up what could have been a really proactive fusion of styles. But, hey-ho – what do I know?

Final track is a reprise of the title track ‘Terminology.’ It is slower than the original version and not what you’d expect from an ‘Industrial’ album. There is the rush of wind in the background creating a cold, stark feel and the piano is slow and soulful. And this time the female vocals work! They are far better suited to this slow-paced and haunting track than any other song on the album.

It almost feels as if this album should be split in two – with a ‘Jeckyl’ side and a ‘Hyde’ side. Without the mis-matched vocals, this would receive a respectable 8 / 10. The tracks with the dreaded vocals merit only 4 / 10.
However, it comes as one and must be marked as such.