UK industrial music in its varying shades and exploits has been a strong force for a long time if still arguably untapped by the media to send it deservedly deeper into the psyche of the world. Right now though there seems to be a pinnacle for the genre, a greater expanse of quality brewing within a wealth of releases over the past year parading talent and sounds that are irresistible. More Than Just An Ape, the new album from Digicore, is another adding its strength and invention to the growing plateau. It is an album which continues the band’s investigation of rock and industrial merged into a distinct confrontation veined with metal, electro, and punk , as well as one delving deeper into the modern world and its reliance on its god, technology, and its persuasion and effect on the human condition now and ahead. It is a brooding collection of songs, ones that inspire and challenge thought and emotion whilst equally inciting instinctive responses through sounds which are like an insatiable call to arms.
Formed in 2005 and consisting of Danny Carnage (vocals, guitars, programming), Matt Bastard (bass), and Cell (drums), the band spent two years crafting and creating More Than Just An Ape, the release stretching and taking the sound of the York band into new yet seamlessly evolved places and invention from previous album Without Freedom of 2011. Again released on Armalyte Industries, the eleven track album forges a sound and presence best described as Nine Inch Nails meets latter Pitchshifter with essences of Ghost In The Static, Gruntruck, and KMFDM placed in the mix. It is just a guide to a sound which at times feels familiar but with no evidence to why within its individual temptation. Fusing a wealth of other flavours into the compelling sonic narratives of the songs, More Than Just An Ape is one of those releases which deviously creep up on you simultaneously to offering an instant addictive persuasion, one which lingers long in the memory and psyche after its departure.
The opening In To Ruin emerges from a peaceful scene, church bells with an edge of discord drifting ambience slowly surrounded by an ominous electro breath. An air of melancholy lays its touch into the brew especially with the introduction of the excellent vocals of Carnage, his tones clean, expressive, and throughout the album with a confrontational snarl. His appearance also sparks a more accelerated intensity bringing its intimidating presence though the track always has its rein gripped between its emotive sinews. It is an excellent starter and beckoning for the following You’re Not Like Me to unleash its thumping heart. Big boned beats frame the start before taking a step back for the caustic but restrained electro caresses to begin their impending scarring against the again strong vocals. Eventually the guitars sculpt their venomous presence whilst rhythms set a cage of menace and impact around the at times aggressive shift of the song. The song continues the impressive start set in motion whilst offering another of its potent aspects.
Both Disconnected and The Great Devourer provoke and expel vigorously imposing shadows, the first a carnivorous sonic expression that sucks air from lungs and hope from thoughts whilst its successor is a metallic predator where guitars and vocals which raised their growl and bite in the previous song now launch an intensive forceful stand against the ear, electro climbs offering underlying temptation to the almost Fear Factory like conspiracy. Both stand tall upon a release of nothing but peaks whilst next up I Will Not Be Afraid wraps warm melodic charm in coarse sonic washes with the vocals similarly composed to create another compelling danger.
Hell On Earth is the best track on the release, a song which lays a dubstep/ebm dance canvas upon the ear for the sinew clad rhythmic juggling and corrosive metallic urgency to dance and rampage all over. Once more the band continually twist and evolve the gait and call of the song, creating a disorientating yet easily accessible intrigue and incitement to devour with rabid greed. It borders on bedlam and chaos but is superbly crafted and controlled to be one of the most forceful and anthemic riots heard this year.
Both the ferociously hearted Not One Of Us with its belligerent driving rhythms and the scintillating aurally toxic Don’t Belong Here leave pleasure and appetite full whilst Flesh is Weakness makes its challenge for best of honours with its emotionally charged and increasingly agitated presence. A climbing rage and sonic stimulus to mind and feelings, the song explores its and the listeners corners physically and emotionally, its challenging terms and riveting enticement just delicious.
Ending with the hellacious dance floor manipulator I Hate What I Have Become, which initially tears up the ease to which limbs can add their contribution evolving into another dramatic contemplation that wraps forcibly but enthrallingly around the body, and the brief epilogue of the title track, More Than Just An Ape is an outstanding album, one which leaves you short of breath and long in satisfaction. Offering an assessable first meeting but becoming much stronger and compelling when ridden over numerous courses, Digicore has reinforced not only their striking presence but that of industrial exploration within the UK. They stand side by side with the very best whilst holding their own distinct portion of the field. A must hear album.
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