Thursday 11 December 2014

Review: Velvet Acid Christ – 'Subconscious Landscapes'

'Subconscious Landscapes'

Two years on from his last outing on 'Maldire', Bryan Erickson returns with his 16th studio album as Velvet Acid Christ in 'Subconscious Landscapes'. This time around we are presented with a record of two halves – side a features hypnotic trip-hop grooves influenced by Enigma, Juno Reactor, Delerium and Massive Attack. While side b returns to the tried and tested VAC dark electro sound.

It is a focussed and methodical attack that brings out the strongest elements in the VAC arsenal. Factor in in some excellent vocal contributions from the likes of Sabine Theroni (Psykkle), and Malgorzata Wacht and 'Subconscious Landscapes' shapes up as a very promising album.

It is fair to say Erickson is still playing around with the core of the VAC sound even after all of this time rather than just resting on his laurels and pumping out more of the same. 'Subconscious Landscapes' sees his experimentation take a more minimal and esoteric turn in keeping with past tracks such as 'Slut', 'Dilauded', and 'Ghost In The Circuit'.

'Barbed Wire Garden', 'Taste The Sin', 'Grey' and 'The Last Goodbye' open the album with their heavily trip-hop inspired flavours drawing the listener in with their 90s tinged melodies. Before the likes of 'Dire', 'Strychnine', 'Zalflex' and 'Empusa' take things back through the darker parts of the VAC sound. But no matter in which direction the sound goes it preserves Erickson's strong melodic style and downbeat but dance-friendly pace.

It doesn't all quite work though, with 'Eye H8 U' and 'Evil Toxin' feeling more like filler tracks when compared to other songs on the album. But nonetheless it is a solid track list on the whole.

The minimalistic construction of the album gives the songs the impression they are being performed as you listen. And in a world where it seems every song is richly layered, the fact that 'Subconscious Landscapes' opts for a simpler and more uncluttered approach is actually quite refreshing.

'Subconscious Landscapes' is a good album, and is a strong feature in an already large discography. The minimalistic style is very effective and there are some very strong and catchy songs present that those who have yet to discover Velvet Acid Christ will find easy to digest, and long time fans will find easy to link back to past glories. It shows that there is still a lot of life in VAC and that Erickson can still surprise us.  

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