Mar 102021

(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the debut album from Autarkh, set for release this Friday via Season of Mist.)

Metal’s relationship with electronic music – in all its various forms – is a long and fractious one.

For every artist who wholeheartedly embraces the fusion between the two genres there are a thousand more simply going through the motions, adding a few half-hearted glitch effects and booming sub-drops in a desperate attempt to be “down with the kids” or because they think (incorrectly) that it will somehow make them sound “futuristic” and otherwise make up their complete lack of vision (I think we all know who I’m talking about).

Still, the number of successful hybrids (from Godflesh to Fear Factory to Author & Punisher) can’t be dismissed, and Black Metal in particular has a remarkable history of combining pulsing electronic beats and pounding industrial rhythms with ear-scraping riffs and throat-scarring shrieks.

Into this tangled tradition steps Autarkh, the new project from former Dodecahedron guitarist/composer Michel Nienhuis, whose debut album aims to build on that group’s short but impressive legacy – with all the untapped potential and weight of expectations that implies – while also further blurring the lines between the organic and the metallic, the animal and the artificial.

And while Form In Motion is neither the direct sequel to Kwintessens that some might have (erroneously) expected, nor the paradigm shift that it perhaps could/should have been, it is certainly one of the most unique and unorthodox albums I’ve heard so far this year, with a distinct voice and vibe all its own.

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