The début album, 'Zu Allen', from Scottish one-man misanthropic industrial project Plastic Noose was a very pleasant surprise. The brainchild of Snow King, the album took industrial metal and stripped it right back to its bare essentials. The result piqued a lot of attention, though the album as a whole was criticised for being a little repetitive. Fast-forward and Snow King's sophomore effort, Fractured Despondency' aims to up the game.
What is immediately noticeable on pressing play is the variety included in this album. Yes, it is essentially still stripped back and bleak, but there are many more ideas at work here. The songs don't rely simply on skeletal rhythms and hanging guitar notes to drive the songs as much as they did, instead favouring more complex arrangements. But best of all there is much more variation in the pace of the songs, which gives the album a much more assertive sense of presence.
Snow King has definitely been honing his ideas with songs like 'Going Down', 'Let All Mankind Burn', and 'Doomladen' building on the dance floor potential of songs on 'Zu Allen', such as 'Road To Perdition' and 'Slutcentric'. But the new results feel a lot more self-assured and complex than their predecessors.
Where Plastic Noose really flourishes though is in more ambitious songs like the hauntingly ambient 'Strontian' and the stunning 'Suicidal Crisis', which channels his Celtic Frost/Triptykon influences into a sixteen-minute-long doomy gem to round off the album.
With a more ambitious approach to his song writing has come the necessity for a more complex production style which has given the songs a nice spit and polish, but without losing its grungy charm. The mix tends to keep the vocals relatively low compared to the guitars and electronics, but with such a sinister style as Snow King's, this happens to work very well. However there are still a couple of points where the songs don't quite get the kick that is anticipated though, and sometimes the guitars sound a little flat, but this doesn't hold them back too much considering the catchy nature of the material.
The repetitiveness of the début has completely disappeared and the true scope of Snow King's ambitions are realised. 'Fractured Despondency' is a big step in the right direction in terms of quality for Plastic Noose that should easily bring a lot more attention.