Tuesday, June 2, 2020
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In Strict Confidence: Holy

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Artist: In Strict Confidence
Title: Holy
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****

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The new In Strict Confidence CD from Metropolis Records is a most unique and intriguing addition to the ISC catalogue. First the music, Great dark EBM with industrial and esoteric flavorings. "Eye of Heaven" begins the disc with harsh dark elements. The second track "Seven Lies" has a bit of an alternative rock feel to it. "Babylon" has a bit more of a FLA industrial feel to it with some standard German EBM overtones while "Closing Eyes" adds some excellent female vocals (Nadine Stelzer) and further impacts the 'cyber' feel of the musical compositions. One of the things I find interesting about the structure of the lyrics here is that each line (thought) is split between male and female vocals with one finishing the other's sentence. This is my favorite track for a possible dancefloor track on the release. "Heal" drops down to a more industrial atmospheric tone, harsh and heavy downtempo. The female vocals on "Emergency" (Antje Schultz) and "Sleepless" remind me a bit of Collide's kaRIN. "Another Night" has a bit of guitar a la KMFDM style while "No Love Will Heal" is a bit of a dancefloor twitch with ISC's signature sound. The most mediocre yet still very good track on the disc is probably "The Darkest Corridor" which also features Nadine on vocals. The only reason I say this is because this is the sound everyone is trying to copy these days it seems but ISC is one of the pioneers of it however they do much quite a bit different on the rest of the release. Lastly, Alpha Centauri is an instrumental piece which is over thirteen minutes long and begins rather ambiently and slowly builds with some aspects that remind me much of FLA at their best while still infusing new and interesting aspects of their own making including some synthetic 'hand drumming'. There is this one fuzzy bass synth sound that sounds much like a breath snort of some large beast. Now, what really struck me about this album aside from the excellent EBM stylings of ISC is the artwork and the overall compositions contained within this release. Oddly enough I received this CD only a couple weeks after beginning a CD project on my own label (Latex Records) using an Ancient Near East theme and hoping to prominently feature EBM and other electronic dancefloor music. The graphic layout on this disc features ancient Coptic script and a topless nun in a corset. The first track is "Eye of Heaven", relating to the Sun/God myths and the last is "Alpha Centauri", one of the most likely regions in our sky, according to astronomers, to sustain life in outer space. There is also a photo in the inlay which shows the 'nun' holding the head of a man wearing a crown of thorns, a crucified man, and other esoteric "clues". The entire lyrics are esoteric in origin as well. I found this all striking because I had thought my idea a bit original combining EBM w/ the esoteric doctrines of ancient origins yet here it was lain out in plain site by In Strict Confidence. An excellent album on all accounts; musically, vocally, lyrically, CD layout, and of course overall theme (which is many layered I might add)!