IIOIOIOII – Rising Sky

IIOIOIOII

With more than a passing nod to eighties synth pop, the Rising Sky EP from US industrial/electro project IIOIOIOII is a delicious major introduction to an artist which combines evocative atmospherics with seductive melodic embraces and teasing testing invention. Consisting of four magnetic tracks which without stretching boundaries explore fresher pastures than most within a well-worn genre over the years, the Juggernaut Media released Rising Sky is an engaging and captivating proposition from a potently emerging talent in Christopher Gurney.

Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Gurney with his solo project creates an absorbing web of sound and textures around strong vocals and open emotive narratives. IIOIOIOII (pronounced I.O.) takes thoughts at times back to early Mute Records days with its minimalistic breath within a feisty enterprise. The EP also occasionally triggers comparisons to the John Foxx, Modern English, and once or twice the new wave/synth pop beginnings of Ministry, yet despite that it has an individuality and character which brings those flavours into something refreshing and invigorating as well as different to most current bands. It is a mesmeric treat and the instigator to great anticipation to Gurney’s forthcoming debut album.

The AA side of Rising Sky consists of the title track and Stardust , the opener immediately laying down a seduction which breeds IIOIOIOII - Rising Sky - coverattention and hunger for its persuasion. The first track ambles in with electro splinters of encouragement and a more sinew cast industrial predation which though equally inviting is wrapped in shadows and intrigue. The vocals of Gurney make a clean and open provocateur though you sense a snarl on the edge of every syllable waiting for its moment but the song’s restraint holds court throughout. The track has a reflective pace to its narrative and gait which holds both the magnetic elegance of the melodies and preying darker edge of the shadows in an easy union whilst the infection laced chorus has the virulent lure which marked the aforementioned songs of Modern English.

Next up Stardust like the first song, appears on the upcoming album Sun, and equally makes a compelling teaser for the full length. The slower evocative stroll of the track instantly weaves the pop charms of Paul Haig in with the thick ambiences of Nine Inch Nails, though the song ultimately steps mainly through the synth pop scenery of the potent landscape. It is an absorbing flight which bewitches imagination and passions within a celestial mesmerism veined by the melancholic breath of vocals and lyrical expression.

The B-side brings Could Have Been, an exclusive track to the EP, and Good Night a re-mastered version of a track first found on the projects first demo. Both continue the compelling call of the release, the first with a darker shade to its emotional hues and aural colour. It again offers essences of Trent Reznor as well as Gary Numan whilst within its vibrant stroll over the senses its suggesting blacker shadows carry a Frank Tovey touch. May be less impacting than the previous pair of songs it is still an encounter which leaves ears and thought absorbed and appetite greedier for what the release and IIOIOIOII has to offer. The closing track is a starker, darker industrial prowl; its fizzing, corrosive surface accentuated by the acrid lilt to the vocals. It is only half of the story though because like all songs it allows extremes and opposites to embrace and here Gurney weaves an OMD like melodic exploration with excellent vocal suasion to the cloud, menacing evocative heart of the track. It is a sinister thrilling conclusion to a masterful release.

If Rising Sky is any indication of the album it is going to be one of the most highly anticipated and striking synth pop/ electro industrial releases of recent times. Roll on its arrival as it is very easy to be confident that IIOIOIOII has something special in wait for us.

https://www.facebook.com/IioIndustrial

http://juggernautservices.bandcamp.com/album/rising-sky

8.5/10

RingMaster 11/10/2013

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Illustrial: Eloquently Violent

Fuelled by emotional shadows and darkened energy the new album from UK electronic/darkwave project Illustrial brings forth a reflective journey born of its creator whilst being the inspirer of personal involvement and feelings. Eloquently Violent is an album which offers a journey through heartbreak, inner loneliness, and slightly destructive dark essences of life. It is vibrant though bringing as much hope as resignation to evoke thoughts and feelings which all can interpret to their own struggles and blistered highlights.

Formed in 2006, Illustrial is the solo electronic project of Baz Badrock (aka Neformore). Early EP Discipline the Devil’s Country drew good responses to the project though it was with the link up with London-based artist Strobegirl a more concentrated attention came their way through songs Don’t Look Back and a cover of California Dreaming. 2010 saw the Genesis EP to be followed a year later by third EP Darkness Falls and a returning full collaboration with Strobegirl on the enthusiastically received album Glitter and Twisted. The same year also saw Badrock team up with another vocalist on two songs Lost City Ghosts and Dream again to very favourable responses. Eloquently Violent is the first full length solo release from Illustrial and easily marks itself from the outstanding sleeve artwork from OneTwoTree Designs through to the sounds within as the best individual and mature work the artist has produced.

The album opens with Xciter, a pulsating electro pop dazzle upon the ear. It has a definite early Fad Gadget feel to its air without arguably the pop infectiousness but is still a satisfying treat. As with the majority of his songs Badrock brings a minimalistic presence to the track allowing its ambient whispers and atmosphere to give service to the passion and emotive heart. The original intent for the album was for guest vocalists on some of the songs but as the release developed Badrock fell into an ease and rapport with the music and his own style to end up taking on the role himself. The opener shows it was not a bad move and again offers up the Frank Tovey comparison here and at varied times during the album.

Heartbeat follows and is a more reserved manipulation of electronic weaves. It brings splintered pulses and fractured melodic twists and only really finds a full appeal when it raises its temperature through an eager and driven energetic surge. It is still a strong and appealing song though showing the variety to the album as well as a firm yet rippling consistency which never leaves one drifting elsewhere in attention.

The title track has a similar feel and intent as its predecessor though seemingly carries a more personal heart for more intensity which ignites further the searchlights of melodic enterprise. It is quite mesmeric as it envelopes the year and continues the strong start commendably. Coming in its wake though is Tribal Dance which did not failed to inspire similar responses though it is as much down to expectations from the title than the composition itself. Expecting something primitive in energy and raw the track is a quiet and one means quiet, measure of beats and electronic whispers. It feels like an interlude to be honest but with a beefier production would probably have made a bigger impression.

From here on in the album brings a fine mix of ideas, textures, and sounds, from the sultry Gothic Fantasy and wonderfully distressing aural violation of My Distortion on to the likes of the New Order influenced The Silence and the haunting darkness that is Dark Night Of The Soul. The release consistently treats the senses to invention and imagination and though at times this exploration does not always quite come off as well as in other parts but it is never less than intriguing.

The latter half of the album unveils further thoughtful and evocative songs as the sinister Horrorgasm alongside the melodic caress of Breeze which inspire responsive feelings to the aural triggers. Eloquently Violent is an album which graces with expressive and satisfying sonic tapestries for the ear to immerse within. It maybe is lacking a raw edge and anger at times to break up the unerring shadowed smooth fondling of the ear but it is a release which effortlessly leaves one in thought and reflection.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Illustrial/104161896358

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RingMaster 02/07/2012

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Defeat: Outbursts!

Having treated us already this year to the impressive releases from the like of Ghost In The Static and MiXE1, Static Distortion Records now introduce us to electro/industrial duo Defeat through their deeply striking Outbursts! EP. The release offers a quartet of electro/harsh EBM/industrial shaded songs with infectious melodic pop pulsations throughout. The EP mixes all elements into a sometimes crawling, often insatiable, and consistently a welcomingly lingering contagion which leaves its mark long after departure for the fullest satisfaction.

Defeat is Hertfordshire based Anthony Matthews (Voice) and Gary Walker (Synthetics), a pair of school friends who came together to create in the description upon their bio music which is ‘Atmosphere, Angst and Rhythm’ in the mould of Nitzer Ebb, 242, FLA, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and NIN.’ That pretty much sums it up though it only gives some of the full flavour the duo has creates on Outbursts!

Opener and lead song for the release, with a video for it due soon, is Parasite, a track which instinctively accelerates an addiction with electronic hooks which have a beckoning lure and effect like silver to a magpie. The track slowly exhales its musical breath initially with a metallic call before winding up its electro heartbeat with surging pulses of sonic light. Once the almost dour low key vocals of Matthews come in within an almost restrained energy the song immediately reminds of Fad Gadget, Matthews and the shadowed atmosphere created especially reminding of the inspirational work of Frank Tovey. The song gets more excitable with eager energy and catchy electro hooks whilst the enthused surge teasing as it progresses only adds to reinforce the Fad Gadget comparison and ignite a deeper delight, the mesmeric mix of dark and lit shadows irresistible.

The title track makes its presence known next with opening thumping beats and a belligerent bass toned electro spine taunting the ear. Crescendos of frenetic melodic eruptions erupt throughout and fuel the chorus, sparking against the darkened intensity brewing from the core of the song. The track beings a flavouring of Joy Division, NIN, and Depeche Mode to stalk the sound excellently and though not as openly inviting as the opener is equally as irresistible and impressive.

How Pathetic and Bored complete the line-up of what is quite simply an impressively crafted and outstandingly thrilling EP. The first of the pair is a track spilling attitude and contempt from every note, beat, and syllable. Its agitated melodic core energy is niggly and caustically explosive at times especially when speared by the bulging and throbbing intermittent dark surge of sound. Spiteful and twisting gleefully in its own venom the track is anthemic and uncontrollably contagious. The closing track is a more soothing and warm song, well that is the initial impression it gives and though it still retains a discordant beauty and darkened harmonious presence throughout it is just as shadowed and emotionally scarred as those before it. The track soars to great heights of light and heated sonics at times but always there is the distressed undercurrent to bring a hypnotic balance.

Outbursts! is an instant and undeniable proof that electro and industrial music in The UK is on a definite rise with bands like Defeat and others brought by Static Distortion Records as examples, leading the way with quality and inventive imagination. Defeat will become a major player in their genre, Outbursts! the evidence.

http://www.defeatmusic.com

http://staticdistortionrecords.co.uk/album/outbursts

RingMaster 15/06/2012

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