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I came across this name recently and triggered the memory that I have heard of them previously. So I decided to revisit them via the great Encyclopaedia Metallum. Hmm..Industrial Death Metal. Somewhat of a sketchy arena. Let's see what else is here. Swedish. Check. Anti-Christian. Check. Alright, we're off to a seemingly decent start. Currently unsigned...that doesn't really lean more towards one way or the other. Continue to scroll down. Members or ex-members of Entombed, Dark Funeral, Death Breath, Vomitory. Okay, the personnel is pretty good. Onward to the releases and reviews part of the band page. Couple of demos. Eight full lengths in a matter of 11 years (not all that shocking). However the ratings are rather high at 80% or greater even with two or three reviews per album.
By this time, I'm thinking "Did I pass by something that was really good?" So, I got a hold of their most recent album, The Lustrate Process. Now, in the archives, this has an average rating of 96% on the basis of two reviews. When you read this type of statistic before reading the actual review, it usually piques your imagination into thinking that this is a (black) shining (leather) example of the chosen genre of the band. You know, industrial death metal: Possibly pulsing but definitely fast, mechanical drums with a thunderous presence. Guitars that shred your face as if thrown into a giant blender set to Liquefy. Bass lines that move the Earth along with your bowels, involuntarily, of course. Possibly filtered vocals. Keyboards. All things I could deal with if they are well done.
As a side note, this thing is full of guest musicians. Some you may know like Martin Van Drunen and Johan Hegg. You might know them by name. But on this record, you can't tell them apart from just another guy with a gruff voice. They're not piercing, unlike Nemtheagna of Primordial fame (find a drummer fast, boys!). A few guest six-stringers for solos...oh, and multi-headed, multi-limbed Dan Swano lends production duties. Alas...
...For any one whom also looks for these things in this sub-categorized sub-genre, they are scarce. Very scarce indeed. From what I've read, they switched to real drums on the album prior to this one and continue to use them here. Maybe this is part of the problem. If I had heard some of their earlier stuff I could make a better determination, but as it stands the drums on display here are very unmoving. Very basic, not mechanical whatsoever, and I don't know what Swano was swamoking at the time but they lack any conceivable notion of 'thunderous presence.' There are sections where a more 'industrial' (read: Techno) beat is established but without any interesting textures (only boring piano) to detract from that unnatural sound and it is merely book-ended by vocals (more on that later). Can somebody please show Lord K. exactly what a bass does? Thank you.
The guitars, on the blender, are set at Fold where the riffs sorta droop over one another having no sharp edges or throat-grabbing aesthetic. There are a number of solos, provided by members of Torchbearer among others, but it's like they were planned out well in advance rather than having them erupt from the black nothingness to the forefront with sickening agility. And even though the drums are not world-swallowing, the high notes are still somewhat buried and not at all prominent in the mix. And, maybe I'm biased, but everything seems dumbed down in order to spotlight another boring female soprano singer in metal. Rejoice! Bitches can sing.
At the end of this listening experience, I don't think this deserves anything close to 100, 90 or even 80%. There is nothing of substance here. Certainly nothing new or groundbreaking. Nothing that even upholds the idea of 'industrial' death metal. It is a very clean, very safe, basic death record that is destroyed even further with boring drums (human vs. non-human element is still up for debate), lackluster guitar work, guest vocalists overshadowed and undermined by a championed female vocalist, and a generally non-existent bass guitar. The keyboards are too subtle and, if they were louder, would be nothing worth mentioning. Perhaps, the tank is empty for the Project Hate. Perhaps they need to get reacquainted with the speed and precision of machinery. Perhaps they need to take a long hard look at their latest output and make some changes.