The long-awaited solo debut of Dope Stars Inc co-founder Victor Love is finally here and it’s clear from the get-go that “Technomancy” is a raucous, rebellious slice of guitar-driven Dark Electronic music featuring a different collaborating artist on every track.
I do enjoy an opener that makes a bold statement, providing an instant impact. Well, that’s exactly what “Bitchcraft” delivers!
KMFDM have the honour of being the first guest act of the album and bring with them their EBM-Industrial-Metal crossover sound. It’s an interesting pairing that draws similarities to the likes of Rob Zombie and Ministry.
The second track “Irrationality”, featuring Spiritual Front, delivers a slice of down-tuned, sludgy, gritty Dark Electronics. A deep, droning bassline and slow, pumping rhythm drives this track and with such an infectious groove, it’s slow pace doesn’t detract at all from the power of the song. With the likes of 3 Teeth currently going strong with their own brand of punishing, mid-tempo Industrial, this track shares similar characteristics, making this one of my personal stand-outs on “Technomancy”.
Hip-hop meets Industrial in the vain of Skinny Puppy and Pop Will Eat Itself’s “Ich Bin Ein Auslander” immediately springs to mind during “Cocaine”, with Deflore as guest musicians. It’s simple yet infectious and has all the potential to be a popular floor-filler.
Perhaps the biggest and most well-known guest band to appear on the album, Deathstars lend themselves to “Surrenders” in a what is surprisingly a down-tempo song, considering they’re notorious for a high-octane, cocksure style of Industrial Metal. It’s got a dark, hypnotic vibe and guitar-driven chorus, which works well, though personally I would have preferred something up-tempo for them to collaborate on.
“Machine Gun” featuring Army of the Universe is hook-laden and ever so catchy. There’s a sense of swagger in the rhythm and vocal delivery and it smacks of pure attitude, with gut-punching bass and a speaker-busting kick. The inclusion of a majestic vocal chorus adds an extra dimension, providing a dramatic, somewhat cinematic quality.
Next up is “The New System”, featuring Aborym, which instantly conjures up comparisons to Prodigy, Cubanate and, for the second time, hints of Ministry. Intricate percussive patterns can be heard alongside a distinctly four-to-the-floor signature. A retro synth lead, hard-edged guitar hook and chunky, metallic, oldschool EBM bassline provide the perfect ingredients for a satisfyingly anthemic song.
Zu provide support for another down-tempo yet groove-laden offering on “I Curse You”. What comes as a surprise on this song is the introduction of a dirty sax melody and epic guitar solo 3 minutes in. The saxophone may seem an odd choice but it has such a grimy sound to it, which supports the other instruments incredibly well. It also adds an extra layer of emotion that electronics alone can often lack.
The following track is “Blind or Dead” and I’ve been so excited to hear this song for the sole reason that it features The Enigma TNG, who has been making waves on his YouTube channel and Bandcamp page for some time now. For those unfamiliar with The Enigma, he creates music spanning epic trailer music, genre-crossing hybrid music and ethereal, melodic Dup-Step and Metal-Step tracks, including some impressive remixes of a number of well-known bands. For this track, Victor Love and The Enigma TNG have decided upon a Dark Metal-Step approach featuring trademark epic, choral and piano passages in the chorus. It’s a superbly-crafted melting pot of heavy, expansive and brooding elements that builds to a satisfying crescendo.
With the electronics dominating most of the song, it’s a challenge recognising Hate Inc’s signature styling on “You Can’t Remember” but they provide the goods nonetheless. A minor disappointment is that the same synth lead, which has been heard over the course of five other songs so far, is verging on over-use by this point in the album. Despite this, the song is still memorable and does have a style of its own that sets it apart from the rest.
To round off the album, “Black Dreams” is an instrumental offering, featuring Orax. There is a Futurepop meets New Retro Wave feel to this piece. Imagine VNV Nation have somehow hooked up with Perturbator and you’re half way there. Being the only non-guitar track I must admit I wasn’t sure how I felt about the choice of ending with something comparatively mellow to the other material. If I had a choice I would have liked something intense and explosive to finish off with. A track that will make the final song – and hopefully the entire album – stay with you long after it’s finished. Despite the mellow ending, “Black Dreams” is still enjoyable in its own right and has definitely grown on me the more I listen to it.
Victor Love’s “Technomancy” takes full advantage of the collaborative input of the guest artists and each act brings with them a signature style that sets each song apart from the next. Whilst the same synths and samples can be heard across multiple songs throughout the album, there is a plentiful supply of variety throughout.
Considering the diverse range of styles on offer I would urge anyone interested in Industrial, Metal, Alternative Electronic or those with an open mind in general to give this a listen.
02 – Irrationality (Feat. Spiritual Front)
05 – Machine Gun (Feat. Army of the Universe)
08 – Blind or Dead (Feat. The Enigma TNG)