(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Youth Code from L.A.)
After the Alaric review, you might have guessed I am more drawn to heavy in all of its forms than being limited only to ingesting it as metal. You might be familiar with my work at Cvlt Nation; if so, my weird taste will make perfect sense.
This album has a great deal of metal influence lurking beneath the electronic beats. Youth Code is aggressive in a way that industrial music has not been in some time. Industrial music has lost a great deal of its menace over the years. It became enmeshed in EDM, with even the legends of the genre such as Skinny Puppy succumbing to coating their songs in a plastic sheen after The Greater Wrong of the Right. Youth Code has come to put the teeth back into industrial.
These kids are not just hipsters playing dress-up. They are the real deal. This aggression doesn’t require sampling riffs from ’90s thrash metal either; it is fueled into the buzz of their synths.
Don’t let the fact this album is forged from synths detour you from checking it out.
Their synth tones are as tough as any guitar riff, a fact that is proven on the title track when the singer from Goatwhore shows up to lend his growl and finds that he doesn’t have to alter his delivery for his style to fit into the hammering synths, which carry just as much heft as his bludgeoning band from Lousiana.
They have really stepped up both the production value and scope of their song-writing, with new dynamic layers adding to songs like the first single, “The Dust of Fallen Rome”, where singer Sara Taylor’s vocals benefit from a harmonizer effect to create the illusion of actual singing, though this album lives up to the motto of this site as there is no actual clean singing and Sara puts some balls into her throaty banter. Her staccato yell varies in the level of anger, sometimes taking on a more robotic chant. She lowers her sneer on “Anagnorisis”, riding the dark nasty groove.
By the third act things really darken with the menacing throb of “Glass Spitter”. The intensity is dialed back a notch to set the stage for “Lacerate Wildly”. Here Taylor drops to a whispered hiss as the groove coils into more of a slither.
This album is packed with dynamic shifts, from the seething serpentine stalking to more militant marches that terrorize the dance floor. This project’s strength is paying homage to the genre’s roots without ignoring today’s technology to intentionally recreate some one else’s sound. It’s not until “Shift of Dismay” that the chug of guitar pushes them towards the more metal sound that took industrial into the mainstream in the ’90s.
Taylor’s lyrics are not overly obscured by effects, and the anguished subject matter consists of demons you believe she is fighting rather than just melodrama, like the resentment of calling out to her personal albatross on “Lost at Sea” where she declares that she’s “moving backwards for you”.
Listen if you miss industrial music or just want something different to beat your ear drums with. This album will more than likely stick around with me for the rest of 2016 to make a top ten list of some kind.
Commitment To Complications was released last month by Dais Records.