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Our tears are solidified in the breath of vanity. - 80%

Diamhea, December 19th, 2015

Russia is frankly bursting at the gills with quality industrial metal bands, and Conflict are right there in the mix as far as I am concerned. These guys play a brazenly Fear Factory-inspired blend of percussive, rhythmic groove metal with a sprinkling of Mechina's esoteric tropes for good evocative measure. The band kills two birds with one stone concerning frontwoman Anna, who is an impressive and multifarious singer with the ability to soar high above the remainder with her silky cleans, or deliver choppy industrial barking more indicative of the overarching style purported on Transform into a Human.

Conflict are certainly no strangers to mature songwriting, and they manage to touch on a bevy of different styles, flying in the face of the ingrained monotony that tends to drag groove metal of this ilk down. Not to dwell on this point unduly, but banality is hardly at a premium for the style, and Conflict does a better job at most in keeping the album progression fresh and moving, while somehow espousing an easy-to-latch-onto narrative. Anna's grunts are fairly intelligible, and she is an evocative and impassioned vocalist, be it singing or screaming. Her harsh vocals are throaty and ragged, while her cleans are auto-tuned and Enya-sounding; so the comparisons with Mechina are quite hard to avoid. The riffs alternate depending on the song, but either diffuse into the background during clean vocal-dominated songs like the title track, or crank up the djenty-ness like on "Low Frequency Addicted" and "Half Man, Half Machine."

To tell the truth, these are the less interesting sections of the record, but Conflict still spit out quality polyrhythm spasticity in high numbers. In this regard, their sound is somewhat redolent of Xerath, but Transform into a Human is far less cinematic and pontifical sounding. The frankly amazing ambient instrumental "Lost Signal" has to take the cake concerning the electronic ensconcing. Totally nails the dystopian aesthetic in less than three minutes, and the remainder of the album rides off of those fumes for good reason. Conversely, the fourteen-minute closer "Transformation" never truly takes off in any conceivable manner. That hogs up a good chunk of the record too. The middle of Transform into a Human on the other hand is a true experience to behold. Starting on "Mechanism of Life" the band is simply firing off winner after winner with the symphonics in lockstep with the belligerently absurd distortion and groove constructions. "Mechanism of Life" itself is probably the album highlight in itself, with a truly uplifting chorus that reminds me of Oblivion Machine - another great Russian industrial band.

And as stated, Conflict are right up there with some of the more intriguing from the region. I'm not the biggest proponent of pseudo-djent with the "cinematic" edge because it often ends up sounding like a cacophony, but the more Sybreed-esque inclinations make these guys a breed somewhat apart (yes that was intended). This is an easy recommendation to at least stream on Bandcamp. I would like to see where Anna goes from here because she is a great vocalist.