Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Review: Stereo Juggernaut – 'Shutdown!'


London electro-rockers Stereo Juggernaut hit back with their latest EP, and first release on new label Armalyte Industries, 'Shutdown!'. Full of piss and vinegar as well as some pretty sweet tunes the band channel acts like Orgy, Dope, Combichrist, and Cubanate through their frenetic and dance-friendly sound. Part alternative rock, part hard dance the band go out of their way to tick a lot of boxes.

The EP starts as it means to go on with the riotous 'Devoid' on point as it schizophrenically shifts between hard guitar riffs and hard synth leads framing dance rhythms and punctuated by snarling punk vocals. The likes of 'Empty Eyes', 'Boats & Ladders', and 'Shutdown!' in particular carry this formula on with ease, and the EP progresses at breakneck speed as a result. The sound may be quite fresh and modern with the balance favouring catchy hooks to a degree. But there is enough attitude and rawness to the band's sound to give the band an appeal that will find approval with long-time hardened industrial rock fans.

Production-wise the band keeps the dance synths high in the mix for a big melodic injection they can push hard in the choruses. But surrounding that is a very organic and raw alternative rock core that remains forceful and really is the driving force behind the tracks. They keep the dirty, gritty edge but it doesn't simply become background noise but nicely juxtaposes with the strong melodies for a well-rounded sound.

They may still be a relatively new name, but Stereo Juggernaut have been working hard, paying their dues and honing their sound. And the result is pretty impressive. 'Shutdown!' is a slick anthemic release befitting these dark dystopian days. It has fire and it has substance. It is safe to say that this will be a band to keep an eye on.  

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