Music Reviews

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Artist: IDIOT STARE (@)
Title: Welcome To Babylon
Format: CD
Label: Bodybag Productions
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
IDIOT STARE, the official follow-up project of the US-Cyberpunk/Industrial legend STG returns after a longer time in hiatus with a completely new album. While the band members of this act have changed several times through the years, the current line-up consists of Chad Bishop, Bruce King , Blayne, Brittain Alexander (both ex-INSIGHT 23) and Alan "Alien8" Premselaar – a fact which caused a "WOW" from me. If I have to intervene to a "name-your-favorite-top-ten-Coldwave-tracks" contest, STG’s "Televandalism" and INSIGHT 23’s "Backwash" would be for sure included. It is still a pity that both acts have brought out only one album each, STG’s "No Longer Human" and INSIGHT 23’s "Obsess" (on Fifth Column Records, produced by Chad Bishop...) are influential works for the genre. Two more band members with Fin (keyboards) and Michael Hamic (bass) will soon join the stable and a West Coast tour will start these days together with THE LAST DANCE – a lot of activities for this Californian act. So this album is the work of long-time and experienced Industrial musicians and the musically direction is pretty clear. Like expected, so it starts with "Welcome To BabyLAon": some synth basses and textures to open the track, until the grinding guitars providing the speed – a bit in that Cyberpunk-like style until Blayne’s decent male timbre cools down the scenario. It’s also worth to check the lyrics which draw a socio-critical view on LA’s/Hollywood’s upper class and famous people. The following piece "Mainframe God" counts together with the already discovered track "Ghost" (released already in 2003 as a remix companion by having works of known acts like SMP, CHRIST ANALOGUE, PENAL COLONY or the UK-based INERTIA on board.) to the rather accessible and catchy works of this band, with a clear composition and a reduced guitar input – maybe that stuff which appeals the club visitors the most. "Dead2U" is a dark growling Industrial-monster which doesn’t take any prisoners, while "Hold Me Down" offers a straight synth bass line, a harsher vocal performance and should be able to convince also the electronic-minded purists. Also worth to mention is the instrumental tune "Mission Improbable" with rotating bass lines and an alternative, rather noisier drum pattern programming. IDIOT STARE can prove once again their great abilities. "After 2 deaths, 3 births, 5 weddings and 2 band reunions" (quotation out of the info sheet), and although that "Welcome To Babylon" is their first real full-length album since 1997, they prove nicely that they’ve nothing forgotten. The creation of this album seems to have been difficult for some reasons – but nevertheless it’s a coherent and mature sounding album. What kind of a top-notch work will they be able to offer, if they can leave out personal issues?

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