moving into columbus, ohio several months ago i have not expected to find a flourishing creativity in the industrial genre with almost virtual absence of the scene itself. there are a number of bands that are rather diverse and productive creating the music that will [hopefully] bring american industrial back to the modern scene.
fleshfield comes from columbus where it finds support and recognition from a number of dedicated fans. but as it usually is, the band is more popular outside ohio and release parties for the new cd held in NY, california and germany proved that. unfortunately the atmosphere of intrigue and arrogance in columbus prevents the band from playing in its home city. fleshfield successfully promotes itself via internet and could frequently be spotted in newsgroups and emailing lists.
inception records (canada; home of pax and assemblage) that released the cd does an amazingly good job of promoting the disk that most of the big labels can only dream of.
i recently got my hands on a copy of their release "viral extinction", and i took my time listening to it before writing a review.
clearly, fleshfield enjoys what it's doing (and it should stay this way). to summarize, the best points about the album - fascinating rian's vocals (she _can_ sing - and unlike many other bands with female singers, her wonderful voice matches her appearance); the music that always changes throughout the song keeping you on your toes; amazing usage of "classics" - the best of :w:, leaether strip, klute is taken to the next level - while still recognizable at times, it is blended together masterfully (clean gorgeous synths of claus larsen, twisted percussion of klute, energy and violence of :w:); strangely addictive and captivating twisted voice of ian (all those cigarrettes... really mess you up); the contradiction of male and female voices (as old as the world and yet striking). it is nice that each song goes through several tempo changes making every track very diverse and interesting (making it tough for club play).
the album starts out with "heretic" - fast ebm track with slightly distorted beats. fast sections of the song replace slow vocal-driven pieces; classic driving harsh beats and bombastic percussion trades places with clean synth lines. the abrubt end of the song is quite unexpected.
"inside" - starts out with a distorted, looping beats, followed by emerging fast percussion; the track carries on with its tribal energy and brutal beats with occasional synth lines thrown in.
"overload" - begins as an ebm track that unexpectedly turns in to a catchy dancy song. intense and clean parts of the song transform into a dense danceable pieces.
"the plague" - rian's voice is a not as clean and powerful as on the other tracks and the music seems to be a bit repetitive at times, but again - after a while monumental orchestration and unexpected turns change the track completely. the best parts are the ones filled with clean chimes and pummeling beat on the background - clean and fascinating.
"silicon skies" - gorgeous beginning with slow crushing beats and rian's voice carrying the track to the sky-high beauty. the beats are more prominent and heavier; breaking and harsh, they get replaced by heavyweight slow percussion crushing against your skull, and soaring gorgeous voice; darkness and light fill the track. then it is ian's turn again - crushing and slashing, burning and ripping percussion mayhem that pulsates, reverberates and jumps around transforming and changing, slowing down to be reborn again. by far - one of the most favorite tracks.
"where angels go to die" - slow ambient-like beginning, then the clean and synthy beat trickles in and breakbeats jump in with amazing pulverizing synth. the vocal work on this track is most prominent and memorizable.
"prophecy" - a bit repetitive at times, it completely changes when rian steps in or when it clears out to minimalistic chimes and moments of piece and quiet, during these moments "prophecy" is very delicate and beautiful. something i just noticed - the quiet minimalistic pieces on the album are very rare, but when they occur they fill the room with quiet and delicate atmosphere.
"my saviour" - a much warmer track than the rest of the album. ian's energetic interventions are quite infrequent and rian has the whole track for herself. dreamy synths and floating melody start the song making it lush and beautiful, transparent and clean, soft and melancholic. the emotions are clear and powerful creating an amazing harmony.
"utopia" features a "dirty" and disjointed ebm at the beginning, then it clears up and reaches the moments of sheer beauty caught in the charm and power of rian's voice. at moments rough percussion and drilling beats create the atmosphere almost similar to power electronics, breaking into violent outbursts of raw energy.
"animal" - poweful thick beat switches into deceivingly simple melody. a wonderful blend of classic sound and more danceable or orchestrated approach.
"fallen angel" - mysterious beginning and then troubled vibrating ebm with metallic beats launches on. almost eastern synthline is blending very well with metallic percussion. rian's voice floats high above the marching militant electronics; the track breaks and stops to disappear into the oblivion.
"cyberchrist" is another hit. twisting unfolding sound explodes in your face with danceable high bpm energy. the synthwork is amazing effortlessly blending with rian's voice, and then when you expect it to float away quietly - it's in your face again forcing and pushing you to the extremes just to suddenly stop and suspend you in the moment of clear beauty.
"prophecy" (a23 mix) - this is a more "synthetic" version of the track. the sequencing has a distinct midieval sound. the track has become a bit more solid and gained a distinct feeling due to the sequencing work.
for the ones that have been on the scene for long enough, the influences will be recognizable, but they are transformed through the creative vision of fleshfield. rest assured - this is just the debut, and new material yet to come will not disappoint you. from what i've heard, fleshfield is experimenting with new directions and improving its sound more and more (and getting more gear!).
this is the album that will not leave you unmoved. it will appeal to the old-school rivetheads cherishing the traditions but looking for something new, and to the newcomers that will be amazed at solid force and power rooted in the classics of the genre that creates fresh and modern sound.
there is a remix album coming with tracks from scott sturgis (converter/pain station), gridlock, assemblage 23 and others.