1. Give Me A Sign, 2. Access Denied, 3. Into This, 4. Is This Real, 5. The Signal In The Noise, 6. Getting Through, 7. Darker Shades Of Black, 8. Everything, 9. Detonate
If you found the last few Nine Inch Nails albums disappointing or think that waiting for the newest release of Gravity Kills takes too long, Detonate by 22Hertz is what will steal your attention whether you dig industrial rock music or not.
22Hertz is a solo project of Ralf Muller, who founded the band in Toronto, Canada in 2011. The debut album released two years later brings a cloud of distorted guitar riffs, gentle piano add-ons, slightly distorted but melodic vocals, brooding yet not depressive moods and tension - all wrapped into a high quality production.
The opening song 'Give Me A Sign' sounds memorable thanks to its hooky choruses and quite simple arrangements, broken up with intriguing sampling and a variety of guitar riffs buzzing in the background. There's surely much more going on here than words could describe, but you'll discover all the gems once you listen to the song.
'Access Denied' is based on a set of noisy guitars, low tuned bass, little exposed drums and almost 90s synths making a good background layer for nihilistic, 'lazy' kind of vocals. The song arrangements may sound basic, but there’s a variety of matching NIN-like samples on top of them, to break through its simplicity.
Now, we're rolling to my favourite track called 'Into This', with its haunting, yet provocative atmosphere. It always sounds better when the song is not overloaded with vocals and the instrumental part is well developed, as it keeps the song safe from falling into the pop genre. Tension, memorable repetitions and a trance-like rhythm are what may make you like the song. There are also gradated rock guitar riffs, pulsing synth effects and great vocals matching the balanced arrangements very well. The riffs, vocals and tempting whispers come in all the right spots. Still, some of the arrangements appear only once, making the song stimulating.
'Is This Real' may be related to what we've heard on both Gravity Kills and Nine Inch Nails albums so far. The song brings edgy and quick guitar riffs along with gentle piano chords. The latter produce brighter accents over heavier themes, while the overall tempo remains moderate. Furthermore, seductive whispers, later replaced with shouts, keep coming back with a catchy (if sinister) line: 'If I can't have you, nobody can'.
The next track is fully instrumental. A cinematic dark atmosphere arranged with synths, a sound of ocean waves and other extended tunes make up for an oneiric mood. The part near the end opens up for two repetitive, collaborating and merging signals, enriched with isolated piano chords. It's a brilliant track that should leave listeners in a state of reverie. 'The Signal in the Noise' should be definitely utilized in an ambitious short movie.
'Getting Through' brings themes which old-school NIN fans should find most attractive. The connection to Pretty Hate Machine is quite recognizable, with the track’s simple arrangements built upon a low tuned synth, distorted vocals, slightly syncopated drums mixed with varying beats and alternating whispers and shouts for vocals. Regardless of the obvious musical heritage, the sampling sounds fresh thanks to a pulsating bass line that bubbles so deep you can imagine its sphericity.
'Darker Shades of Black' sounds haunting with its instrumental intro recalling what Trent Reznor and Adrian Belew did on The Fragile album. The composition is thought out very well. While the tempo remains solid, contrasts occur. They come out from dominating, possessive themes arranged for bass as well as samplers and brighter motifs (thanks to stretched guitar riffs). Both easily grab a listener's attention.
'Everything' begins with a simple, rhythmic drum beat enriched with vocals. References to Nine Inch Nails music are quite clear here, thanks to distorted guitars and repetitive arrangements. Moreover, short moments of silence are mixed with a bit of a piano, enforcing a dark atmosphere.
'Detonate', the last track is divided between moderately melodic verses and aggressive, purely industrial rock choruses. The song may have been inspired by Gravity Kills music, since it involves similarly sounding guitar riffs as well as sampling. Ralf knows how to create and develop tension in music very well. There's an instrumental bridge after a pure guitar fueled drive which puts a new theme into the composition, yet perfectly fits all other arrangements.
To sum up, most of these songs have quite the potential to be genre hits. Not only does Detonate offer high quality production but also catchy and dark themes, edgy guitar riffage and industrial distortions. The vocals, drums and sampling are accented in the majority of compositions, while instruments such as guitars, piano and bass have been used to enrich the arrangements. The album is very memorable and perfectly represents industrial rock.
If you like trying out new things, you can buy Detonate for a few bitcoins - the revolutionary new virtual currency (more standard currencies are accepted as well). A note to the buyers: the CD version contains a bonus track entitled 'White Dove', not present in the digital download.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, October 3rd, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
This review on Fabryka Magazine: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=502
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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine