Wednesday 6 January 2016

Review: Attrition – 'In Dark Dreams 1980 – 2015'

'In Dark Dreams 1980 – 2015'

A 35 year career is hard to sum up for any artist, let alone one as prolific as Attrition mastermind Martin Bowes. He has been the dark cornerstone of the UK gothic industrial music scene for all of that time, garnering international acclaim not only for his own output but also for his extensive production work out of his own The Cage Studios in Coventry. As such any kind of attempt to create a “best of” compilation is only ever going to scratch the surface of a diverse and expansive discography. But with 'In Dark Dreams...' Bowes does just that. A perfect introduction encapsulated on a two-disc set, (which could have easily been a box set) to present Attrition's legacy in a bite-size fashion.

For this compilation Bowes looks back across a range of albums including '3 Arms & A Dead Cert', 'In The Realm Of The Hungry Ghosts', 'Dante's Kitchen', 'Attrition Of Reason', and 'The Unraveller Of Angels', as well as his most recent outing 'Millions Of The Mouthless Dead'.

The compilation follows no chronological framework, but instead lets each track compliment the one that came before it to create a unified expression. This sees older material and newer works rub shoulders comfortably and shows of the truly esoteric nature of Bowes' compositions.

Grooving electronics, dark ambient, grim industrial and gothic atmospheres from the darkest corners of Bowes' discography create a rich sonic journey with songs such as 'Dreamsleep', 'One Horse Rider', 'Beast Of Burden', 'Invocation V', 'Lip Sync', 'The Bone Factory', and 'Silent Night'. As well as rarer gems which give a well-rounded look into Attrition as a whole.

As you would expect from Bowes, 'In Dark Dreams...' is well produced and nicely put together with every track remastered and updated to fit perfectly with one another. The older recordings sound fresh and just as relevant as the more recent ones.

Attrition may have an intimidating discography for those new to them. But with 'In Dark Dreams 1980 – 2015' some of Bowes' finest cuts provide a taster of many of his most memorable albums. This release in itself is a very strong offering, keeping that album unity that Bowes has always fostered on his main releases, and as such for fans old and new this is an essential release.

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