Music Reviews

Nov 06 2002
Artist: Symbiont
Title: ology
Format: CD
Label: DSBP

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This Salt Lake City project, Symbiont, offers one powerful debut release with "ology". This is hard elektro, heavy aggression, dark venting without real violence. As many have said who have heard this CD so far they are a welcome refreshment of a dying breed in todays underground Goth/Industrial scene dominated by Future/Synth-pop and EBM. This is a harsh return to the dark agression of early goth/industrial and brooding violent moods. However, Symbiont is not one of those copycat sound-alike bands. EVERYTHING on this disc is highly original, well thought out, and masterfully produced. Every layer of every track and every sample is masterfully contrived. From the very first track, "ology" the title cut, this release lets you know what you're in for with some hard EBM styled beats, unique sampling, and very harsh/dark vocals. Symbiont is in my mind the culmination of what the DSBP Records sound has always been about in the first place. Symbiont just does it better than all the rest with a much more modern texture to it. Heavy club beats, harsh distorted vocals, and dark brooding moods. This is a must hear! I haven't been this excited about a hard/dark industrial project in quite awhile. The second track "Evilation" adds a tiny bit of techno influence that is subtly utilized amidst hard metallic beats and clean cyber sound structures. Symbiont mixes quite a few styles and lots of their own experimentation in this one release. The third track "Consummate Saturnine" for instance begins on a more somber and melodramatic tone of dark ambient. This moves gradually into a more classical sounding piece composed in an industrial style with vocal samples and screams for overall effect. "Step Child" goes back into a nearly Hocico styled harsh industrial-EBM with some hard driving quicker paced Noise rhythms that drop into a very harsh industrial body rock. What follows is one of my favorite tracks that will be of high interest to vampire fans and Anne Rice afficianados as well. "Aggro Culture" begins with a female vocal sample, a whimpering individual fearing death. This is followed by a male speaking about Death being no respector of age, etc.... Vampire fans will recognize this as the Theatre of the Vampyre scene from "Interview With A Vampire" in which the woman is killed on stage by hungry vampires. The samples used mix perfectly with the heavy EBM-Industrial styles and heavily distorted lead vocals. The overall track gives these samples the forefront of the attention. My favorite part of this is the attention to detail that the band uses in the second sample segment where the woman's voice is looped saying "I don't want to die" with various sighs, screams, and gasps in between. This is done is such a way that it avoids repetition of a single sample looped but instead creates a structure of it's own which matches the rhythm of the music in perfect sync as well. I was wondering when somebody was going to finally sample that part of that movie. After this is a hard Noisey ballad called "Rancor" with some more interesting samples in which we discuss the contemplation of death. Following this is "I Blame You" which begins with lots of noise and builds into another hard club hit. "Skinned" comes next and drops the pace considerably. This is where the album takes a unique dark turn. With an almost trance-like feel to it while maintaining the heavy rhythms the vocals are highly synthesized here. This later builds into another danceable track. "Fear IN Justice" follows this overall mood with a few quieter interludes while "Tri-polar" begins with a few ambient industrial textures and a sound which constantly pans left and right in a trancelike manner. Also, soft ambient synth is also used, like something you'd expect of Robert Rich or Steve Roach except that there is a certain brokeness to it that gives you an 'altered-state' perspective. This is followed by piano and vocal samples (I won't give away all the details here) but then the track builds into a driving EBM rhythm. Now this gets real interesting! The percussion beats used are all stomps like a drill team doing a routine to some kick-ass EBM-Industrial. This is a technique that many thought of doing in the 90's when Ministy, FLA, and Skinny Puppy were still the rage and militant dark industrial was the key to many new local industrial bands. Symbiont have actually achieved it! They have reached the state of harsh darkness akin to Electric Hellfire Club, Velvet Acid Christ, and Skinny Puppy with the harshness of bands like Hocico, Marilyn Manson, but all the wonderful EBM club beats we love that fits the modern age. The samples used are very selectly picked and oftentimes drive the track's theme and are an integral part of the track like the way TKK use to do it. At the same time other samples like screams, grunts, moans, etc.. are used like the 'impact' samples used by Front Line Assembly. Still yet others are used for sheer ambience, texture, or sound techniques like the marching rhythms and others. Symbiont not only have mastered creating an extremely dark album but also one that is both moody and very club oriented at the same time while utilizing practically all industrial sampling techniques in unique and masterful form. If this is a debut I can't wait to hear more! The entire album is lovable and each track for it's own reasons.

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