Thursday, 9 May 2013

Review: Suicide Commando - 'When Evil Speaks'

'When Evil Speaks' 

Johan Van Roy's legacy speaks for itself. One of the pioneers of harsh ebm and aggrotech, or “helektro” if you will, his style of rasping distorted vocals spitting forth disturbing lyrics over abrasive synths and pounding beats has been often imitated. Perhaps by no-one better than himself. Van Roy has always stuck to his formula and given the fans what they want ever since 2000's breakthrough album 'Mindstrip'. You can be guaranteed then, that the latest album from the Belgian, 'When Evil Speaks', will be crammed full of potential dance floor hits.

Interestingly on this album though, we do see Van Roy casting his eye back a little further than usual. Yes, the album is sounding up to his usual standard, and songs such as 'Cut_Bleed_Eviscerate', 'Attention Whore', 'In Guns We Trust' and 'Unterwelt' tick all the boxes for inclusion in the Suicide Commando pantheon. The hard 4/4 dance beat and sadistic lyrical content maliciously hissed over seething melodies and occasional horror film samples are typically compelling dance tracks that will be standards for both the clubs and the stage.

However there are a few cuts that slip through that hark back to his pre-millennial albums that capture the spirit of those earlier moody blends of dark electro and ebm that just felt a little more playful. The likes of 'Repent Or Perish' and 'Monster', with their slow pace, heavy use of vocoder and relatively stripped-back construction recalls albums such as 'Stored Images' and 'Construct-Destruct'. Though it isn't really a case of going back to his roots. More of a little treat for long-term fans. But either way, it adds a little more depth to the album.

Another recurring factor of recent Suicide Commando albums is that the production feels a little shinier with each outing, and 'When Evil Speaks' is no exception. The mix is fairly well balanced and doesn't suffer from the over-saturation of distortion that plagues many of Van Roy's imitators.

'When Evil Speaks' is another solid and compelling album from Van Roy. It's also a little frustrating as in the forms of 'Repent Or Perish' and 'Monster' there is just a little hint of a more playful and varied side to Suicide Commando that is begging to be explored once more.

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