Tuesday 20 January 2015

Review: Justin Symbol – 'Voidhead'


Proving that the spirit of 90's electro-rock is alive an well in 2014, New York's Justin Symbol's début album 'Voidhead' channels the likes of Orgy, Deadsy, Deadstar Assembly, Dope Stars Inc. and Skold by blending futuristic dance synths with grimy alternative rock. Throw in a collaboration with Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids co-founder Daisy Berkowitz and you have a sure-fire formula for cult success.

The album has an unmistakable 90s vibe with Symbols snotty punk vocals lightly distorted and mixed into a bass heavy, dance-friendly rock assault that is pretty damn infectious. Songs such as 'Voidhead', 'Control', 'Black Friday', 'Possession', 'Shooting Stars' and 'Grey Snow' are gritty, near psychedelic and most of all memorable in their approach. The style might be a tried and tested one that

Symbol is known for his theatrics, and the songs do reflect this somewhat, however the album feels as though it's holding something back. Like there is something genuinely crazy that's about to be unleashed but unfortunately never comes. The brief instrumental 'The Fear' perhaps comes the closest to doing something a little more left-field, but it again doesn't really come to anything.

The mix is pretty old school throughout the album and recalls the early albums of the afore mentioned Orgy and Skold in particular. It may be a little nostalgic in its sound, but it is by no means less effective for it. It keeps the filthy bass high and the dance synths higher with those ever present vocals cutting through with vitriol. It works, and it works very well.

'Voidhead' might not be tearing up the rule book, but it is a very catchy electro-rock that fans of the late 90s and early 2000s will be able to digest with ease. At ten tracks in total it is a brief but concise introduction to Justin Symbol, but it is one that few will forget in a hurry.  

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