Cynical Existence – Beholder EP

CEx

With the creative dust of last album Come Out And Play still filling the air in the wake of its release in February, industrial/harsh EBM project Cynical Existence has decided it is time to up the ante and unleash new EP Beholder. Usually you would suggest a band should allow an album to drain all of the acclaim and recognition it deserves before tempting the world with the next release but such the fire and immense step forward in the new EP there is no such sense here. The six track release makes a scintillating companion to the excellent album but at the same time shows that the invention and creativity of Fredrik Croona has already found and explored a deeper darker plateau to take his project to new expansive realms.

As most are probably aware now, Cynical Existence began as a solo project for ex- Project Rotten founder/vocalist Croona who also is the former vocalist of dark electro/industrial act Menschdefekt. Initially just an experiment, the project fuelled itself with the aural invention of the man into a real musical proposition. The excellent 2012 EP A Familiar Kind of Pain instantly setting a place for the band at the head table of the industrial/ebm underground reinforced later in the same year by the following EP Ruined Portrait. It was Come Out And Play though which merged earlier tracks and more recent ones to set a benchmark by which we would grade subsequent releases from Croona. Now with the addition of Steve Alton of UK project System:FX in the studio on guitar in the line-up, Cynical Existence has not only met the bar but surpassed it whilst venturing into another striking depth of exploration.

Opening track The Mindless Filth in many ways is a bridge between releases, its contagious rigid beats and compelling electro

Artwork  by OneTwoTree Designs

Artwork by OneTwoTree Designs

weaves a resonating and thumping puppet master for limbs and emotions demanding dancefloor attention. It has a foot in the infectious commanding call of the last album and its wealth of insatiable board treading irresistibility but equally is set in what emerges in the new release as darker more intense shadowed textures. The variety of vocal from Croona hints at depths within song and release yet to be trodden whilst his synths light the way with acidic radiance and rhythmic temptation. It is a mighty start if arguably what you would expect in quality and direction from the man though he soon sets thoughts facing new ventures with its successor.

Mardröm, meaning nightmare in Swedish, lays down a web of sinister ambience and crystalline electro hints to tempt in thoughts and emotions, its atmosphere sinister and under a veil of shadows before sonic shafts of light break through their cover. Opening up its sinews to their fullest length the oppressive dark corners crowd in to accentuate the elegance and potency of the synths whilst the brewing dark forces seemingly at play with the vocals from Croona, sung in his native tongue, add to the black edged mystique and latent venom prowling the scene. The cleaner delivery alongside the regular rasping serpentine tone of his vocals and the caustic sonic winds which slowly embrace the ear bring further uncertainty to the dangerous atmosphere eventually making the persuasion, and add to the riveting intrigue of the excellent track.

The outstanding Hail To The King Baby takes over next and elevates things to yet another level of pleasure and invention. Initialising attention with computer game teasing and atmosphere, which continues throughout with samples from Duke Nukem also employed, the track is an unrelenting ride through corridors of impending walls and hidden intimidation, its ride twisting and turning down avenues of sonic and melodic enterprise. Imagine games where you are on a constant run and are persistently changing direction to face more options and suspected dangers, like life really, this track is the equivalent with its imagination.

The Beginning Of The End continues the striking height of its predecessor, firstly by knocking at the ear with a hollow like voice to its call and then by reaping the seeds of those earlier nightmares to breed a wash of rhythmic provocation and evocative melodic intrusion, the haunting consumption seducing and threatening every pore and thought whilst the beats tease and taunt the whole intimidation. The guitar of Alton equally riles up the situation to reward the listener even further within the thoroughly thrilling and incendiary incitement of emotions and fears.

The release closes with firstly Draining Me featuring Russian project Freaky Mind and lastly Wake Up Call featuring the guest vocals of Sindelle Morte of Scream Machine. The first of the two is like a rumbling storm in the distance, its throaty hunger residing in its electro honed skies but making known its intent through the rhythms and oppressing ambience, whilst the second is a doomy crawl with funereal breath to its mesmerising and enveloping intent. The mix of vocals between Croona and Morte works a treat, her shadow dwelling melodic whispers lighting up the darker tones of the narrative and its realisation.

It is fair to say that Beholder needs more time to make its full and lingering persuasion compared to previous Cynical Existence releases but in return for the intensive focus rewards in ways the others never dreamed of. It is an outstanding encounter which only excites anticipation for one hope what will be a deeper investigation of the dark plains started here.

https://www.facebook.com/cynical.existence.official

9/10

RingMaster 23/05/2013

 

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Cynical Existence: Ruined Portrait

It seems like mere weeks ago that one of the best harsh ebm/ industrial releases to tease and provoke the senses this year arrived in the shape of A Familiar Kind of Pain, the debut EP from Swedish band Cynical Existence. The solo project of Fredrik Croona (Project Rotten) easily enflamed the passions and set a new benchmark for electro imagination. Now he returns with follow up release the Ruined Portrait EP. It continues the impressive blend of old school EBM with abrasive industrial invention found on his first EP whilst offering a rawer even more intensive breath. The teaser for the highly anticipated full length album Come Out And Play scheduled for an early 2013 release, the EP like its predecessor leaves an invigorating and decisive pleasure in its wake.

As soon as Misery stretches out its mesmeric arms, melodic pulses splashing upon the ear, the sense that the song and release is set to leave an imprint on the heart is immediate, the sonic seduction full and strong from the off. The serpentine vocals of Croona wrap around the shafts of aural light with the man again unleashing personal emotions into his compositions. His delivery is not as venomous as many but soaked in unmistakable shadows which add extra depth to the power of tracks and temper the often dazzling sonic radiance. Though arguably not a major departure from the tracks on A Familiar Kind of Pain, it feels darker, carrying a more abusive or abused energy in what is a vibrant and compulsive presence.

If the opener is a darker proposition the following Am I Alive is a definite plunge into sinister shadows, the vocals bordering on insidious and the accompanying whispers intimidating. The track is magnetic, the lure of acidic melodies irresistible whilst the caustic tones of the song just ignite further contagious entrapments. The best track on Ruined Portrait; it is a taunting combative glory to immerse within and succumb to.

Next up My Shining Halo initially weaves predatory sonic hooks before the ear, their attractive beckoning a wanton mischief,  before rampaging with further heavy touches and salty rubs to form a raw surface to the insatiable melodic swagger of the song. Approaching midway the track goes into a ‘stall’, its eager pace shifting into a prowling sizing up of the prey before erupting swiftly back to the hunger and rampant onslaught which started the corruption. It is another sensational seizing of thoughts and emotions whilst simultaneously, along with its predecessors, inspiring an intense impatience for the forthcoming album.

Let’s Play Dead featuring Polish band Reactor7x, wraps blistering tendrils of sound around the ear whilst the alternating vocals expose extremes of shadows within the sonic softening up of the senses. It is less immediate than other tracks but equally as impactful in its individual way. The jabbing beats cage emotions as the song lays its erosive harmonic caresses and caustic malevolence upon their ethereal flesh, their power cutting off any escape from the almost disorientating experience.

The release is completed firstly by a reinterpreted version of Face Of God by Moscow based industrial project Freaky Mind, and then by two remixes of tracks from A Familiar Kind of Pain. What the difference is between a reinterpreted version and a remix we will have to find out, but the first of the trio is an excited swarm of energy and sonic manipulation, the sounds swamping yet igniting the vocals of Croona for a dance track which fires up good reactions. The other two tracks are remixes of the best and our favourite two songs on the debut EP, and as such were on a hiding for nothing.  Both Insecure (IMPLANTed fear mix) and Paradox (Filtered through MIND:STATE), remixed by Implant and Mind:state (fellow Swede Per Holmström) respectively, are impressive reworkings which open up new thoughts and visions within the tracks but both pale against the brilliance of the originals for us. As always we admit the valid purpose of remixes still generally eludes us, especially when the source is almost untouchable, but given some time to make their case both tracks certainly gave food for thought, especially the jazzy exploits of the first of the two.

Released via  Alfa Matrix with  impressive cover artwork from one of teh best emerging artists in OneTwoTree Designs,  Ruined Portrait is excellent, a release which not only cements Croona as one of the essential contributors to the landscape of industrial but ensures next year and the release of his album cannot come soon enough

https://www.facebook.com/cynical.existence.official

RingMaster 30/10/2012

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