Thursday 24 April 2014

Review: Terminatryx – 'Shadow'

Twelve years after their formation, and six years since the release of their self-titled début album, South African industrial metallers Terminatryx return with second studio album. 'Shadow'. The band's fusion of metal goth and industrial is a hard and heavy to the typical female-fronted gothic metal formula that favours pompous symphonic strains and operatic vocals.

The album kicks off in uncompromising form with the furious instrumental 'Metropolis', which immediately highlights the band's industrial ambitions. However the first song propper, 'Holy' doesn't quite live up to the intro with some rather flat vocals and a rather derivative deathrock delivery. 'Scars' fares a little better with a more compelling vocal performance and a far more solid song underneath it. 'Masjien' is a bit more animated and frantic, playing up the industrial elements again, but it doesn't really deliver, sounding somewhat lacklustre and contrived. In stark comparison the title tracks slithers out of nowhere with near psychedelic vocals and a strong riff combining for an incredibly catchy track.

'Gone' follows this up well with it's bombastic riff and heavy electronics powering through the song. 'Purifire' however begins to veer back towards that disappointing deathrock style, however the punk vocals give the song enough attitude to get it by. Thankfully 'Nothing' drags things back towards the formula laid down in 'Shadow' for a more well-rounded and effortless performance. The near instrumental 'Outcast' though unexpectedly gets a bit symphonic, which admittedly makes a little change from the rest of the album, but it does fall short. 'Medusa' thankfully rounds things off in a more pleasing way with a purer industrial metal formula really showing off Sonja's vocal abilities. The bonus remix of 'Shadow' makes for interesting listening as well, as it dispenses with the guitars and reforms the original into a brilliant pure industrial track.

The production is for the most part solid, however there are several points where the vocals sound flat and lack energy. There is also a habit of over processing the vocals with, at times is really effective, but on more stripped down tracks instead mires them in the mix.

'Shadow' is a mixed bag. When Terminatryx get things right they sound like an international quality band, but there are too many songs that really just come off as half-baked fillers. Which is a damn shame because the likes of 'Metropolis', 'Shadow', 'Nothing' and 'Medusa' in particular are great songs. What is slightly unnerving though, is how effortlessly brilliant the pure industrial remix of 'Shadow' is. Perhaps the band are missing a trick here?

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