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An interesting collaboration - 80%

Tomek8754, January 24th, 2023
Written based on this version: 2022, CD, Moans Music (Limited edition)

I got to know the Kontagion band in 2019 when I received for review its third album simply titled "Kontagion." Since the whole thing was released by MOANS Music, which specializes in rather niche sounds, I expected strange, difficult to classify notes. No surprise there. However, this dirty, industrial-juice-laden metal appealed to me and I was curious to see where the guys' musical imagination would lead them next. And it led into unexpected territory: the standard fourth album is absent - instead, there is a full collaboration with another Bydgoszcz-based group. What happens when two bands presenting hardly accessible sounds meet? What will come out of their unholy union?

This child of two fathers isn't ugly, as the physical version of the disc looks encouraging: not only is there a jewel-case, but the whole thing is kept in such dirty, dark atmospheres (to make things more interesting: the groups' logos on the disturbing cover are.... transparent insert!). As it turns out, this all fits well with the music contained on the album. Music that is not only not easy to lock in one music drawer, but equally hard to tell who is more in it. In the case of many collaborations, one band clearly towers over the other, while Fatigue and Kontagion have mixed sounds in such proportions that while elements of the styles of both groups can be heard, at the same time something new has been created, different enough to put the disc somewhere on the side of both bands' discographies.

With Kontagion, the kind of dry, mechanical sound from their last album, for example, is back, as well as broken, non-standard rhythms (it's nice in "Seven Horns," for example). It's also not uncommon to catch interesting motifs or distractions in the background, such as the sounds of thumping in "Double Headed Eagle Onyx God" or conversations in "W." Fatigue add to this cauldron of darkness, heavy depression and a fondness for long, drawn-out, almost post-metal forms. For apart from the disc's opening "Provocated Immaterial" and the noisy, but led by an interesting riff, "W" we get the more substantial tracks themselves. Most of the numbers from "Fatigue & Kontagion" are kept in medium tempos and built around some characteristic motif: sometimes it's the guitar ("Oppresive Creation"), other times the bass part, and in the crowning of it all the core of "Forges" is built around... a quote from "The Dirty Dozen" - a very interesting idea!. A small exception to the rule is "Seven Horns," in which, in turn, riffs and tempos mix, creating a slightly chaotic, but nonetheless fascinating number.

The musical world created by the bands is not a very friendly one, but personally I found myself in it very quickly (perhaps it's due to the fact that I have reviewed almost all MOANS Music releases). I quickly soaked in the depressive, dragging notes, and only one thing bothers me here: some of the vocals. On "Fatigue & Kontagion" basically everyone sings except Piotr Szewczyk (Fatigue's drummer). Szpila, Pieszczynski, Skowronski, Sfenson, Zmarzły - some less, the other more, but nevertheless we have as many as five different voices. And while the low growls are fine, and the high, hysterical screams are downright phenomenal, the clean lines or melorecitations come off as average. If "Fatigue & Kontagion II" ever comes out, this element will need to be worked on more. Or just put only the insane screams.

So there are small shortcomings, but they do not invalidate the material contained on the collaborative disc of the two Bydgoszcz bands. Material that (note: cliché!) will obviously not be to everyone's taste. Already separately, the Fatigue and Kontagion play a rather niche soundse - having joined forces, they have not suddenly switched to writing radio hits. The result of their joint work is eight compositions, combining industrial and post-metal, additionally watered down with depressive juice. Some listeners will be attracted and intrigued by the final result, while others will be completely rejected. Fortunately, I belong to the first group, and would love to listen to part two someday. Or maybe another collaboration, but with another band?

Originally written for www.metalside.pl