Tactical Module – Before Crisis


You can never tire of being impressed by the growth and almost visual evolution of certain artists and one who seems to inspire increasingly potent acclaim is Tactical Module, the one man project of Michael Davis. Across his last trio of incitements alone, the British musician/composer has magnetically enthralled and excited with his fusion of industrial metal, digital hardcore, and EBM. Each encounter has shown new and often dramatic steps in the growth of the band’s sound and songwriting and new EP Before Crisis is no exception. Arguably it is not a big step forward from the last album Into Exile but certainly there is an even greater balance and fluidity between the raw and confrontational side of the vocal and sonic ferocity and the melodic and infectiously vivacious elements which so contagiously mark out songs. Increasing maturity and experience comes with every release of an artist and certainly Before Crisis is embracing an impressing wave of it through Davis.

Forming Tactical Module in 2010 to unleash a creative freedom restrained by being in bands and to explore darker and more aggressive electronic music, the Poole hailing Davis was soon sculpting a handful of digital EPs and remixes to increasing attention. Inspired by bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, KMFDM, Godflesh, Gary Numan, Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke, and Depeche Mode, Davis made a potent breakthrough with the Dead Zone EP in 2012. It swiftly gripped appetites and a more serious spotlight upon release, marking out Tactical Module as an emerging force and talent. Both the feverishly grasped single Where Angels Rise and first album World Through My Sight in 2013 reinforced his growing reputation whilst the Resurrection EP that same year and its successor Into Exile early 2014, found Davis breaching new plateaus with striking experimentation and emotional voracity. Released as 2014 closed its eyes and evolved into the New Year, Before Crisis cements the stature of Tactical Module in Britain’s electronic underground scene whilst as mentioning earlier showing an even more honed and masterful resourcefulness to Davis’ creativity.

The instrumental Awaken sparks the imagination first, its slow dawning of rhythmic enticement an intrigue loaded lure before synths spin their emotive sonic web. There is a portentous air to10261995_786876598003130_5830102883858603546_n the opener and a prowl of dark shadows which bring a stark and threatening edge to the melodic charm of the piece. It is a magnetic lead into the EP and the following equally intimidating presence of Poison Within. Growing within a synth woven cage of gentler persuasion, the song eventually steps forward as an electro punk provocateur but an antagonist unafraid to employ the flavoursome melodies and sonic expression which coaxed in ears and appetite initially. As stormy in its disturbing quieter moments as in its open musical and vocal rages, the track ebbs and flows masterfully, waves of hostility feeding the appetite again and again within the equally imposing charm of the song.

Next the EP’s title track steps forward offering an immediate infectious shuffle of agitated rhythms under another brooding electronic sky. Davis as expected unleashes a cutting narrative with pleasing abrasing tones soon after whilst around him guitars add a caustic spice to the brighter revelry of the keys. It is a light to the song which as across all tracks, is held in check by the thick smog of angst and heavy shadows which fuel vocals and sounds alike. Here though it is given a longer leash which allows a diversity and tempting aural colour to have their just as potent say on the imagination, as repeated in the excellent To the Skies of Oblivion straight after. A song first found on the Resurrection EP, its bounds through ears and into the passions with a devilish tenacity and energy. It has an inescapable infectiousness which even aligned to the almost rabid furies in voice and menacing rewarding lulls which stalk the song never misses a step in its thrilling march.

The raw atmospheric opening of Assemble is an immediate temper to the previous devilry, its great stark and cold opening spreading an oppressive ambience which in turn courts an abrasion of hip hop spiced electro rock. Vocally too Davis briefly toys with a slither of rap enterprise to match the eventful adventure flirting within the invasive climate of the track’s electronic landscape. It is a slow burner in comparison to other tracks upon Before Crisis but emerges just as striking and enjoyable.

The final new song on the release is What Lies Beneath, another coming in from a distant pasture to embrace ears in drama and a blend of creative antagonism and melodic grandeur. Also a slower persuasion, the song is a compelling narrative of sound and emotion but just lacks the indefinable spark of earlier tracks and misses igniting the passions as successfully.

The EP is completed by a trio of remixes, the song Before Crisis being redefined by Ruinizer and Assemble receiving creative treatments from Cease2Xist and Dali, the latter of the three working the psyche with particular deftness and all offering captivating dimensions to the originals.

Tactical Module has again shown itself to be a bright and imposing spark in the UK electronic scene through Before Crisis. It is a release little to find an issue with, though just as an experiment we would like to see Davis being more adventure into his vocals ahead, and a tempest of invention fans will devour greedily.

Before Crisis is available now @ http://tacticalmodule.bandcamp.com/album/before-crisis


RingMaster 07/01/2015

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Tactical Module – Into Exile


Having been seduced by previous album World Through My Sight from UK industrial band Tactical Module, there was a definite anticipation and expectation upon its successor Into Exile. The new release’s predecessor was a slow burner of a persuasion but one which made the securest potent convert of the passions for its aggressive symphony of electro enterprise, punk attitude, and industrial intensity. Into Exile is no different except that it makes a more immediate impact and its core ingredients and invention comes with a greater intensive snarl and uncompromising confrontation. It is an enthralling and challenging release which has reaped the impressive seeds of earlier releases and sounds to hungrily explore their sonic blossoming with greater craft and imagination.

Hailing from Poole, Tactical Module is the solo project of Michael Davis, a musician who since creating the band to unleash his creative imagination within has earned and garnered strong constantly deepening praise and acclaim through his releases. Using inspirations from the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, KMFDM, Godflesh, Gary Numan, Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke, and Depeche Mode in his invention, Davis after numerous EPs and remixes made his first strong wide mark with the Dead Zone EP of 2012. The release triggered greater awareness and appetite for his sounds which were soon feasting greedily upon the single Where Angels Rise and earlier this year the impressive expanse of World Through My Sight and the Resurrection EP. Receiving its first CD release with Into Exile, Tactical Module has sculpted an album which is more diverse and adventurous than the previous releases, and they were no slouches in experimentation, and an encounter which employs decades of industrial/electronic whispers into one invigorating magnetic incitement.

Released via Juggernaut Media, Into Exile takes little time in bringing attention and imagination to bear on opener Awaken, its emergence through a sizzling sonic haze chilling yet thoroughly tempting. Brewing up a greater menace to its climate, the song has complete control of thoughts and senses, especially when the predacious guitar tone unveils its metal spawned restrained yet voracious causticity, matched by the confronting vocals of Davis. A definite Gary Numan spice glazes the invention whilst organic beats cage the fired up passions further, herding them into the fierce electro embrace. It is an excellent gripping start not quite matched by the following title track. The song is certainly alluring; its ebm breath stalked by a great electro twang which spears the evocative ambience but there is a spark missing compared to the first which debatably might be down to the track evading the metal bred antagonism. Nevertheless it is a pleasing continuation of the strong start and evidence of the variety of ideas and sound upon the release.

Outer City Limits soon picks up the earlier baton of strength with its instrumentally stalking flight of coarse textures and electro beauty, both combining for a voracious journey through dramatic and suggestive climes. From providing the imagination with a sinew clad impacting plaything, Into Exile then reveals more of its emotive heart with Breathless. The song is a fizzing electro plaintive with angst drawn vocals cursing agony over the acidic sounds. Like the second song it takes a firm hand on ear and thoughts without challenging other tracks on the album for the passions but all the time deceptively it is working away and though face to face impact is less startling it is a moment which returns at will even away from the release.

Both Cypher 2.0 and Downpour urge limbs and emotions to take part in their electro waltz, the first with a pulsating veining of jabbing rhythms. A real plus for the song and album is the use of live drums which brings an organic pulse and frame to the album setting it apart from most others instantly, and with the crystalline fire spawned electronic pulses and stabs from around the ever satisfying and shifting vocal delivery here an irresistible instigator. Its companion is a rhythmic raptor, beats prowling and stomping with ever switching rabidity whilst the electronic teases and kisses come with their own sense of menace and salaciousness. There is a punk essence too which is a mere hint, as on other songs, but there waiting and probing vocally and musically alongside a Pitchshifter like primal suasion. The thrilling duo are backed up by the more than decent Hellfire, a cantankerous fire which merges moments of slightly underwhelming electronic bait with addictively thrilling aggressive almost corrosive metal and guitar voracity. That punk element is back here, a Spizzenergi nag pleasing thoughts whilst, and not for the first time, the electro calls bring Fad Gadget into the mind, and in even greater potency upon Unbreakable. With a post punk/metal esurience and attitude to its presence, the song is another pinnacle upon what ultimately is one exciting and inventive release.

    Into Exile comes in digital and CD format, both with unique remixes. The former format finds the Back to Hell, Back to Reality Mix of the title track by D.E.P, which gives the track the flame arguably missing in the original, the Destructed mix of Downpour by Detuned Destruction, and Corroded Master’s Harlot Mix of Breathless, both inventive takes without matching the originals. The CD offers the G-Mix look at the title track which certainly takes it into a new adventure, the Knife Fight remix of Breathless, and another by Defeat, with both formats seeing the Ruinizer Remix of Awaken, the track becoming a nastier predation and antagonist to the album version.

     Into Exile is an exciting and richly rewarding provocateur, a release showing the ever evolving and increasing strength of Davis’ songwriting and its striking realisation through Tactical Module.



RingMaster 05/10/2013


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