Shock Frontier – Tumult

When dark ambient dude Robert Kozletsky teams up with Kyle Carney to do death industrial, the label’s own description says it all when it speaks of a “sound residing somewhere between the ‘new wave’ of American power electronics (The Vomit Arsonist, Steel Hook Prostheses) and the classic sound of Cold Meat Industry (Deutsch Nepal, Megaptera)”. That’s it, go buy it. The rest of this review will be a random rant about Yoga.

All kidding aside, Malignant’s words on Shock Frontier’s Tumult is really very apt for a promotional text. The sound does indeed seem to owe something to the choking, anxiety ridden, dirty-basement style of The Vomit Arsonist, and also has some of the looping, slightly softer qualities of many Cold Meat releases. There are metal clanking, harshly distorted noise and heavy bass lines – there’s the occasional aggressive shouting, joined by plenty of more held-back, melodic and/or ambient passages. I don’t know if it’s coincidental or the product of actual composing, but several songs (like “Duress” and “Once Assured of Salvation”) do seem like just that: songs, rather than the loosely structured, improv-cut/paste collection of assembled sounds that often form the basis of extreme electronic albums. Not that there is anything wrong with loosely structured, improv-cut/paste sound assembly, mind you, but still.

Shock Frontier dabbles in different types of dark, low-oxygen industrial. The fuzz fest “I Am Afraid and Bringing Fire”, co-starring Gnawed, sounds like HNW/ANW with a slight sprinkling of industrial with classic power electronics vocals on top. “Once Assured of Salvation” also has a wall-ish vibe, of the more meditative type, but hides a few melodies and other surprises. My personal favorite would be “Our Vain Illusion”, which brings out the Cold Meat sound in full force with a heavy metallic rhythm and the exact right amount of suggestive sound constructions built around it.

This album has a great production, and an obscure and hateful atmosphere that makes you wonder what on earth is going on in Pennsylvania that makes people turn to doing music like this. Whatever it is, let’s hope it keeps up. Tumult is released on November 3rd on DVD digipak and digital download. It will be available from Malignant records webshop and Bandcamp page.

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