'In Your Face'
Taking a step back from their tried and tested aggrotech, Dutch trio XMH explore their dark electro, futurepop, ebm and psy-trance leanings in more detail on their fourth album 'In Your Face'. It's dance-friendly and melodic, but still maintains that signature high-energy intensity the band are known for.
Hard beats, throbbing bass, searingly infectious leads and an overt hardstyle leaning, and pop sensibility on tracks such as 'Product', 'Forever', 'System Collapse' and 'Stiere Und Schwule' in particular show off the band's prowess in crafting memorable club hits. While the likes of 'Failing Technology' and 'The One That Ends It All' with their darker and more down-tempo approach add real depth of character to the album drawing on a real knack for cinematic leads and imposing atmospheres over pure dance appeal. It would be nice to hear the band explore this further on future releases to balance out their sound.
In terms of production, 'In Your Face' sounds the most polished XMH have ever been. The mixing is spot on to really play to all the different elements of the band's sound. It just sounds very clean and futuristic. The only one criticism is that occasionally the vocals don't hit the ear right, for instance the repetition effect on 'The Business' seems unnecessary, and on 'Snakes' the vocals get swamped by the rest of the mix easily. However with such song tracks, as those already mentioned, these are small sticking points.
'In Your Face' is a strong album that is sure to bring the Dutch trio a lot of club play around the globe. It's an album that seems very at home with the Alfa Matrix brand attached to it, and certainly the band have embraced the new association. Hopefully it will be a partnership that will continue to see XMH flourish as a band.