CD: Ad Noiseam ADN43 [2004]

Exorcise The Demons
Hymn Of The Siamese
Swarm Of Vicious Insects
How To Kill People And Get Away With It
Reclamation Song
Walking Uphill Into Hell
Predatory Behaviour
A Death Worth Reliving

This CD wasn't what I was expecting... But in a good way. I'd predicted something a little noisier, but while "The Cursed Species" is far from being ambient, it certainly holds more surprises and covers a broader musical range than your typical rhythmic-noise or breakcore outing. The breakcore
influence is there alright, but the overall sound is much more organic. Hell, some of the beats almost sound like they came from real drums. I mean, they didn't, but they could have done, if the drummer had six arms and was animated by means of a complex arrangement of levers and pulleys. The marriage of the biological and the mechanical is reflected in the beautiful packaging, which features collaged anatomical engravings of skeletal machine-creatures, all rendered in earthy parchment tones with a cursive font. Very classy.

Going for upbeat head-candy rather than club-driven monotony, Cdatakill's Zak Roberts gets his kicks weaving gradually-mutating rhythms and synthesiser patterns through dirty scraps of unplaceable sounds and mangled vocals. Quite often he hits a pretty impressive pace, particularly on the warped electro of 'Reclamation Song' and the vaguely jungle-flavoured 'Graceless'. But the notional crowd is too confused to dance; I'm not kidding about unpredictability. I'd listened to the CD several times on my walkman before I realised it was skipping on a couple of the tracks. I thought it was done intentionally for effect. Here and there the chaos does get out of control, with beats slipping out of time with each other in a way that sounds more like a mistake than a bold attempt to explore the limitations of traditional approaches to rhythm.

Credit where credit's due though, there are some interesting experiments with song construction on this album. I get the impression some of it is improvised electronically over a pre-programmed structure, perhaps with the aid of arpeggiators and realtime MIDI controllers. The music progresses in an evolutionary manner, by and large, with several songs sounding quite different by the time they come to an end - an approach skilfully touted by Exclipsect recently. However it has to be said that for my money, the most memorable tracks are 'Reclamation Song', and the closing number 'A Death Worth Reliving', an eerie adventure in sinister ambience, both of which are at the more internally-consistent end of the scale. Comparisons with Black Lung and earlier Download are in order, and it's perhaps telling that both of those bands have always known that chaos begets order, and that a little control goes a long way.


[Cdatakill] / [Ad Noiseam]

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