Gary Numan – Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind)

Gary Numan 4

Little introduction is needed for Gary Numan, a man who has easily been one of the most influential artists to musicians, bands, and a wide range of genres over the thirty five years or so since emerging in 1978. Admittedly the media has not always been in the same place towards him as fans but his inspirational influence is undeniable as the likes of The Prodigy and Nine Inch Nails to Queens Of The Stone Age, Fear Factory and Marilyn Manson to Kanye West, as well as a vast array of other industrial, electronic, and gothic rock bands constantly show and admit. With early and impacting pinnacles coming from Replicas (as Tubeway Army), The Pleasure Principle, and Telekon, Numan’s twenty albums have ebbed and flowed in success and quality, but for the most they have stretched to varying effect his and music’s walls and inventive nature. New and twenty first album Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) is no exception certainly, a thrilling and inventive provocateur definitely, and an album which we would suggest recaptures the strongest influential heights of the man’s unique style of potent imagination.

Produced by long standing collaborator Ade Fenton and featuring guitarist Robin Finck, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) is the follow up to 2006 album Jagged, though there has been the  2011‘straight-to-the-fanbase’ release Dead Son Rising in between. The album is soaked in shadows and suggested demons, the release coming from what the Los Angeles based Numan has admitted has been a dark period for him; equally though it crafts and sculpts a web of infectious and irresistibly magnetic pop bred persuasion which leaves extremes of thought and textures a compelling emotive landscape. Mentioned earlier was the fact that Nine Inch Nails has taken inspirations of Numan into its creative expanses and upon the new album it shows it has been a two-way street as essences of Trent Reznor’s sounds can be heard as an instigator upon Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind). The album is not breaking in new ground or pastures for industrial and electronic rock it is fair to say, but undeniably presents itself as one of the best electronically bred, atmospherically spawned albums for a few years and Gary Numan striding back to his best.

The Mortal Records album opens with the outstanding I Am Dust. Big imposing electro beats and strokes flex their sinews from the splinter-522b6d4638e7aopening seconds, their intimidation wrapped in intrigue and even greater enticement once those uniquely recognisable tones of Numan begin the song’s narrative. Commanding and riveting, the industrial smouldering soon has imagination and passion recruited to its drama whilst the evolving synth dance toys with and ignites a contagion which in turn sparks a predacious hunger for what is to come. The melodic breath of the track has an eighties swagger which recalls the likes of Blancmange whilst that starker shadowed presence taunts senses and thoughts to even greater temptation.

From the outstanding start Here In The Black draws on darker intensive shadows to create another mouthwatering pinnacle to continue the immense beginning. Darkly whispered vocals prey upon the climactic build of the track, its heart inspired by its creators struggle with depression and its sounds a constantly consuming and intensive weave of unsettling provocation and delicious melodic toxicity. The crescendos of energy and fully flighted enterprise comes with a virulent seduction coated in a pop catchiness which lies within the intense presence of the song but makes a sirenesque call which is open and irrepressible addictive.

The following Everything Comes Down also has its seeds in a darker rapacious premise and sound, its slowly breeding atmosphere and intent a continually shifting and engaging provocateur which is matched and developed by the pulsating and emotively driven music. The melodic soaring across the infectious chorus takes thought back to those previously mentioned early albums whilst the chilled almost suffocating creative wash feels NIN cultured. The song equals its predecessor to accelerate the appetite further and deepen already the thrilled pleasure.

Both The Calling and Splinter drift into deeper challenging depths, the first entwining its electro tendrils around a cavernous ambience whilst its cinematic epically honed atmosphere floats across the imagination, both danger and beauty willing instigators to dramatic scenery. It is a track easy to submerge within, to reflect upon and script one’s own testament, a tale which constantly colours the artist’s canvas or its recipient’s own thoughts and captures the imagination fully if failing to ignite all the flames inside which the previous tracks stoked up. Its successor is equally impacting and inventive within its absorbing presence and in its ability to coax out individual visions and saga within the listener. Sultry Eastern textured female vocals and stringed chants lay down initial bait within the exotic climate before Numan works his persuasive alchemy vocally and sonically. The song smoulders and seduces from start to finish and with each listen leaving a stronger and longer lingering influence and enslavement. The sweltering climes of the song are tempered by the melodic grandeur and synth cast beauty but ultimately the song is a wash of heat which again shows that Numan is still a master to be inspired and spurned on by.

Lost is another simmering burn of an encounter which transfixes ears and thoughts, though the ballad is pale against the song before and next Up Love Hurt Bleed. The first single from the album, the track is industrial electro pop which throbs and stays within the ear with unbridled virulence though as always shadows are not far from the surface. There is a familiarity to it which makes it wholly accessible if lacking surprises but as a temptress into the album it is an epidemic of allurement before which voice and body cannot resist adding their support.

Numan pushes his vocals pleasingly in the heavy reflection that is A Shadow Falls On Me and the threatening yet enchanting Where I Can Never Be. It is not a dramatic move but a gentle emotive exploration and expelling of nuances which enriches attention and matches the fiery adventure within the songs. Both tracks take their time in making their declarations, the second of the pair a blend of suffocating intensity and mesmerising melodic mystique, and though neither forge the grip of other tracks both leave a irrefutable passion for album and more.

The album is completed by We’re The Unforgiven, a track crafting an industrial emotional wasteland, the brilliant Who Are You, and the closing ballad My Last Day. The penultimate song is one to exhaust the dance-floor even with its mid paced gait. With more twists and swerves than a bat at night and as dark, it is a magnificent reminder of the different styles Numan can employ into his electronic invention whilst the closing emotional caress basks in potently hued atmospheres and a prowling ambience which reveals more of its writer and inner thoughts.

Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind) is an outstanding album, not one loaded with instant slices of addiction causing contagion but a release superbly and instinctively textured to take the listener on a rich imagination fuelling journey through the craft and emotional ingenuity of Gary Numan as well as levels of intensive enjoyment presumed lost since those early days of his impressive career. An unexpected  triumph in many ways, this is an album destined to be devoured very greedily over coming weeks and beyond.

http://www.numan.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 13/10/2013

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Days Of Our Decay: Electric Twilight

Days Of Our Decay is a Canadian goth/black/industrial metal band which carries many more additional flavours to its music. Theirs is a distinct and imposing sound which is sure to lure a reaction whether in the positive or negative, a band one cannot ignore or easily pass by without their incisive tentacles of inventive sound instilling itself in at least some part of you.

The Ontario band was formed in 2002 by Darvius Noctem and is a keyboard and synthesizer led dark and imposing musical project. Though originally meant as a full band the project remained as a solo entity for Noctem though alongside him there are the hypnotic talents of Demonika Demise who brings backing vocals and choir voices to the compositions. The music Noctem brings forth is a deep and expansive mix which carries the rich spices of the likes of Rammstein, Deathstars, Dimmu Borgir, and Cradle Of Filth as well as the even darker gothic flavours of Type O Negative, Sisters Of Mercy, and Fields Of The Nephilim. With an additional symphonic metal atmosphere the music wraps around the senses to chill and instigate a mesmeric rapture with its darkened poetic intrusions.

Electric Twilight is the latest album from the band and It is fair to say that though it may not find a welcoming canvas to spread out upon with everyone if imaginative and expressive blackened sounds find a place at your table this album is a full and satisfying meal for consumption. Given time and allowed to unveil its musical glory and for the initially slow to warm to vocals of Noctem to state their case as to why they should find room in your ear, the rewards are very strong and pleasing.

The title track opens up the album with a glorious deep rumbling bass sound as the keys swoop and prey upon the ear with grace and instant appeal. The vocals of Noctem stalk in almost at once, his deep resonance bouncing off the walls within the ear to be nicely balance by the warmth of the melodies and the golden backing of Demise. The music is all gothic frills, ruffles and grandeur and with the continuing predatory bass line adding a menace it all easily absorbs attention.

As the equally enjoyable Aristocratic Blood and Let’s Grow Cold Together with another hypnotic bass beckoning, spread their wings and flourishes across the ear the album begins to take a firm grip though it does offer up one element that you can see putting some off. The vocals of Noctem are great, deep and wickedly imposing like an old hypnotic evil waiting to corrupt and consume, they also are relatively singular in their delivery, though rich and dramatic they are often an overpowering distraction to the fine composing and engaging sounds surrounding them. Given time to allow they and the music to show how they combine and it is a working pleasure but one can imagine others with less endeavour to explore his creations looking for an early exit, though it is their loss admittedly. The combination and contrast of the vocals from Noctem and Demise works impressively throughout with songs like Hopeless In This Hopeless World with its emotive key work and Shallow Diving showing their enterprising and successful mix. The vocals of Demise are not just backing sounds but an instrument and essence of the music which is powerful and as expansive as the synth soars alongside her.

The best songs on the album are Only In A Place Like This with its distinct Gary Numan like melodic manipulations which sound like they were inspired by his Tubeway Army album Replicas, and the excellent Anemia. This track is easily the standout one, its vibrant and pulsating heart leading one by the hand into the wealth of inventive and impactful creativity. The song teases and invites thoughts into making their own images and visions, the atmospheric and dark shadows with the song the lead characters.

Electric Twilight is a great album which deserves a slice of attention from all with a dark and expressive heart to their music choices. If you have an emotion for any of the artists mentioned above than take some time and effort to go and introduce yourselves to Days Of Our Decay. They may not become your new favourites but certainly they and the album will become firm friends.

http://daysofourdecay.yolasite.com/

RingMaster 30/04/2012

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