Writing about and reviewing different releases and bands offers up many treats but it is always special when something unexpected and startlingly different comes into view. Such is the case with Phantasm from Destroy The Evidence, a release that offers something new, slightly unexpected and is just wonderfully different from the bulk of things that grace and at times accost the ear.
Destroy the Evidence is the solo project of US experimental electronic gothic rock band Dimension Zero frontman Monty Singleton. The band found success and acclaim with singles ‘Live In Excess (Excess Is Best)’ and ‘RePLiCa’, their 2007 album Scythe, plus remixes of artists such as Public Enemy and Nine Inch Nails. Singleton started up Destroy The Evidence as a project to focus on writing music for film, TV, and video games or as the official website states music that is “Industrial rock dressed in tuxedos attending the symphony while the world is being invaded by Martians. Somewhere between Nine Inch Nails, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, and mid-1900s SciFi.” That just about sums it up; it just forgets to say how vibrant and refreshing it is.
Phantasm is the follow up to Genesis from 2009 and is a dazzling array of striking sounds. Whether staying around for mere seconds or multiple minutes each track leaves a mark and inspires images and emotions which is one of the impressive things about the album. Opening track ‘Elite’ strikes for eighteen seconds whilst its successor ‘Wildcat’ a scant seven but both grab attention to announce the album’s intent, to trigger a sense of drama, and lead into the brilliant hustling theatre of ‘Renegade’. Like a rampant beast rampaging along scorched paths it is a predatory impending force that even with its moments of quiet beauty has full control and intimidating strength. To bring in a film reference it bristles with the independent thought and determination of a Mad Max or Logan’s Run
The pieces are clear and definite compositions that would work cinematically or within games but also as distinct tracks as the album shows. They are wonderfully varied, well crafted and without exception the inspiration for emotions and provoked visual thoughts. Many instrumental albums weave soundscapes and aural worlds from their creations but Singleton’s compositions work with emotions and feelings, touching upon and provoking responses and ideas individual to the listener but within his intended theme.
The dazzling and unsteadying ‘ACiD’ with crystalline melodies and sinister menace, the edgy and intense fusion of beauty and dark energy of ‘Oblivion2’, plus the complexities and senses stretching provocative flow of ‘Vision-X’, and the cold and over bearing walled stark mystery of ‘Citadel’, all impress deeply and engage the senses long after they depart the ear. It is the stunning ‘USSR’ that takes top acclaim though on the album. It’s incessant repetition of keys, bass, rhythms and vox is a completely hypnotic and irresistible manipulation and pleasuring of the listener. The song offers siren like melodies and an insistent charge that is fuelled by a combative and militant might.
Phantasm is an excellent release that offers siren like sounds, delicious ideas and inspiring imagery that makes frequent returns a different experience each time, though always a thoroughly pleasurable one. Whether Destroy The Evidence’s creations will find their way onto soundtracks time will tell but as an addition to anyone’s personal soundtrack they are a definite success and joy.
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