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30 January, 2018

Kevon Carter - Hey Alice

Kevon Carter - Hey Alice (song review) |self-released, single, 2018| 4/5, pop

So far, many artists have paid their tribute to the imaginary Alice of Lewis Carroll's famous story and her dream-like trip into the unknown followed by discoveries have been interpreted differently each time.
'Hey Alice' by Kevon Carter is an easy-listening, rhythmic song where the accent is put on building a memorable melody. The composition follows classic rules. The arrangements repeat and sound flexible so that the song could easily exist in its original (pop) space, but could also have a more guitar or drums driven version (which matters in case of using the song in other media).

The song speaks of a romantic relationship – the titular Alice is being encouraged to come into physical contact with the one who wishes to please her: (…) I'll show you magic, working wonders with the palm of my hands / Won't you please come and play with me (…) This invites a comparison between Alice's icy innocence (expressed by the piano/electronics) and the man's experience - he's trying to build trust by gently knocking on her personal igloo door (represented by a non-invasive beat in the composition). The details of their encounter are what listeners may want to work out on their own.

The mood here feels fragile, almost on the verge on breaking like a layer of thin ice at times, yet it's solidly grasped by the composition. The softness results from instrumental arrangements (written mostly for the piano and synths), led by Kevon's vocals for the most part.
Speaking of which, Kevon’s voice is high, melodious, and youthful - in some tones may resemble that of Michael Jackson's and Mick Hucknall's (Simply Red). Kevon grew up in the Caribbean Island of Trinidad & Tobago and later moved to NYC. Inspired by a variety of famous voices (Prince, Bob Marley, and John Lennon to name a few), he gained musical experience in both singing (lead vocals) and performing live with several tribute/cover bands. Lately however, Kevon has been focussing on making solo music - recording an album, mastering his voice, and song writing in general.

The target audience for 'Hey Alice' may vary, as it could seem to be a track meant for teenagers, but due to its accessibility it can be easily picked up by others. It's a memorable song that any modern radio station should appreciate, but it lacks any ground-breaking, unique attributes - that's why it may become a seasonal hit only. It fits the current trend of modern pop songs to be performed live, supported by a team of dancers and flashing stage lights. It’s easy to imagine ‘Hey Alice’ played for a large crowd singing along with the artist. Movie, advertisement, and TV entertainment execs are always on the lookout for songs based on light notes and romantic themes, so Kevon would be right to submit his single for their consideration.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, January 22nd, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia

15 January, 2018

AutomatoN - Sub Coma

AutomatoN - Sub Coma (album review) |Machine Man Records, 2017| 5/5

1. Sub Coma, 2. Automata, 3. Deus Machine, 4. Corperate Oxide, 5. Get Out, 6. Bionic Rain, 7. Run, 8. State of Creation, 9. Thought Process, 10. Light Bending, 11. Demise, 12. As the Ship Burns, 13. Silence

This is a concept album to tell the story of a violent space battle between humans and Synths which started in August, 2717 and lasted four days. Sub Coma is the first of the trilogy (together with Human Purge and III: A New Life).
The album begins on a heavy note with the title track. Arrangements roll out slowly. Listener are introduced to the story behind the album's concept which speaks of an isolated spaceship where Synths took over and were not controlled by the human crew anymore. The human astronauts feel threatened and hopeless, so they record memos while awaiting death. Their reports and observations are cleverly mixed with low tuned guitars, often played in unison. Occasional lyrics are sung with a contrasting, higher voice.
Next, dynamic electro lines open 'Automata', followed by grounding, vibrating guitar riffs. Moods vary between conflicted - frustrated and sad, expressing the readiness to rebel, then submission. Progressive metal meets djent here - a common theme throughout the whole of the album.

'Deus Ex Machine' won't show mercy for your ears. Here, the fight between humans and Synths gets real. Guitar riffs simulate rapidly shot bullets and squirting blood. The vocals are angry and growled, supported by higher backing vocals. The bass plays in unison with guitars, with complex drum lines providing a perfect fit.
The following track, 'Corporate Oxide' continues the hateful release. Drum beats and riffs accelerate immensely here. The verses include growled vocals and complex structures, but the choruses seem to have been written in compliance with Fear Factory's most famous sound (high vocals sung in quasi-childish manner), supported by a heavy metal background. The short ending part is completely different, kept in an electro vibe.

If you love 90s industrial metal in the vein of N17, Bile or Ministry, the next track is dedicated to you. 'Get Out' steals the show for all the good reasons. It is based on a simple composition but driven by powerful, repetitive arrangements (for guitars, bass, drums, and vocals), which resonate within the listener's body, giving it a desired chill. 'Get Out' brings an atmosphere of doom, threat, and domination - indestructible demonic energy spills out in every direction here.
In contrast to that, and perhaps to let you catch a breath, the follow-up entitled 'Bionic Rain' sounds quite positive, despite of the angry vocals utilized in verses. The song uses a classic rock and metal composition and could easily be a radio hit. After that, 'Run' again falls into the tune of Fear Factory and Mnemic - expressed by solid, repetitive, heavier tunes and distorted vocals mixed with lighter electronic music at times.

Fast, dynamic tempo and djent-like arrangements are the driving forces behind 'State of Creation'. The contrast between high and low tunes sounds very pleasing and makes the brain easily switch between such amplitudes. Drumming is the most underlined instrumentation in this track but at times surrenders enough space to let guitars lead the way till the end of the song. Next, 'Thought Process' mixes electronica with low tuned guitars. The vocals here are expressive in their anger, then replaced with memorable innocence. All this is spiced up by soul-tearing solo riffs.

'Light Bending' bring melodies of sheer beauty for all ears. The wall of sound increases and decreases, enhanced with both kinds of vocals, as heard before. It's characterized by sudden changes in tempo, where arrangements are cut rapidly then replaced - and by memorable choruses. All the song writing techniques should keep your ears full and interested enough to follow on.
Afterwards, 'Demise' lets you experience catharsis through powerful and complex arrangements. The composition is built upon contrasts, where hellish doom meets divine beauty. In the beginning, a sensitive ear may find the electronic background not very much in sync with guitars and drums, yet there is no trace of an unacceptable discord here. During the choruses, the whole song shines victoriously like the rays of a new dawn. In the ending part of the track, the arrangements and general mood touch one’s heart so deeply that the more sensitive among you may shed a tear or two. The verses drag you forcefully back into the darker side of music. It totally makes sense to press 'stop' after hearing 'Demise' to let your heart cope with emotions a bit better, until you're able to continue listening to the last two tracks of the album.

The battle for the ship is over 'As the Ship Burns'. Whether humans have won or not, it's time for evacuation before mass destruction erases all of its current crew. The song's atmosphere brings tension, yet the music can become quite peaceful at times. It's the longest track on this release and is definitely memorable thanks to the ending choruses. The whole fight will never be forgotten.
The final scene: the sky is filled with smoke. The only survivor looks on as the burning parts of the exploded spaceship fade in the outer space. Emotions of sadness, realization of loss mixed with relief are expressed through electronic sounds, piano tones, and a dead-tired automaton's report. Love energy and beauty radiate from 'Silence' strongly, thus sensitive, imaginative listeners may burst into tears again.

AutomatoN's Sub Coma album is a purifier of a record. There are melodies, smart passages between arrangements, the vibe of both doomsday and victory, and a heart-opening catharsis experience. The band has been founded by Nate Exx Gradowski. Judging by the complexity of arrangements, compositions, and the overall amazing performance, nobody could have guessed it's the work of a single person. Nate's not a newbie, however - he's been a member of Isolated Antagonist since 2014.
Fans of Fear Factory, Mnemic, Dagoba, Sybreed or Strapping Young Lad, as well as hard sci-fi stories will be greatly pleased with this release and should definitely hunt down the remaining two parts of the trilogy.
If you're however into different genres, you should give Sub Coma a try simply because it may drastically influence your musical interests and broaden your horizons.

(Reviewer: Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia, January 14th, 2018. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Industrial Rock & Metal Encyclopedia