Cynical Existence – Erase, Evolve and Rebuild

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It only took a minute of the opening track to Erase, Evolve and Rebuild to hear and feel something has stirred and evolved within Cynical Existence. The band’s second album it is a riveting collection of distinct and diverse soundscapes soaked in a maturity and craft which sees the project at a level only hinted at previously. It is a hypnotic web of invention and exploration which embraces the darkest shadows but also the most acidic and caustic light, the result a release which stalks, rampages through, and dances with senses and thoughts whilst seducing the emotions, though not always in that permutation.

Formed by Fredrik Croona (ex- Project Rotten/ Menschdefekt) as a solo project, Cynical Existence as evolved into a startling and formidable beast which has continued to impress across EPs and earlier this year the project’s debut album Come Out And Play, not long after followed by the Beholder EP. For most bands this frequency of releases leads to the occasional less than endearing or potent encounters but this is definitely not the case with Croona and co, in fact it has to be said that Erase, Evolve and Rebuild leaves much of what came before pale in its company despite their also impressive declarations. The depth and strength unleashed by the new album suggests that maybe the other recent releases have consisted of older written material or simply the striking evolution sculpted by Croona and Steve Alton of UK project System:FX who joined the band late last year, the pair now joined by third member George Klontzas of Pre Emptive Strike 0.1, is that dramatic a sudden leap. Erase, Evolve and Rebuild certainly does nothing to diminish the sizeable impression and quality forged by A Familiar Kind of Pain, Come Out And Play, etc. though instead it just breeds another wave of striking accomplishment by Cynical Existence.

Released via Belgium label Alfa Matrix, Erase, Evolve and Rebuild has little problem in having feet and thoughts in eager frontmovement through opener Something Strange. Synths instantly cast a festivity of sound over the ears, an ambience which is welcoming and almost devilish especially with the darker feisty electro stomp which keenly joys the invitation. The vocals of Croona squall with the caustic breath and malevolent lure which we have come to know and enjoy but the song also shows the appetite to infuse a cleaner darker gothic tone to the narrative which only excites. There is a lighter essence and buoyancy to the track compared to certainly the Beholder EP, but shadows and dark menaces still have room to toy with the listeners thoughts. A track sure to add fire to the dancefloor, it makes a compelling start to the album.

The following Erase Me is equally as potent and effective in rousing up the passions, its electro caress of a dawning soon a bulbous beckoning moving into an electro punk confrontation through the guitar of Alton. A riotous snarl coats the song from vocals through to the causticity breeding an irresistible temptation and wrapped in another waltz of electronic sedition which invites limbs and a voracious hunger to enlist in the track’s insatiable incitement, it is a rivetingly sculpted pinnacle of the album and further evidence of the evolution at work.

    My Decadence, Your Sins which features Rave the Reqviem has an absorbing eighties temptation to its thrilling landscape, a scenery which is like Depeche Mode does industrial at times and at other moments like Celldweller on a distinct mission to taunt the songbook of Fad Gadget. Despite those thoughts the track is still uniquely Cynical Existence in its stance and enterprise with the fact that the three minutes plus are over far too soon the only niggle. The feast of invention continues the scintillating presence of the album with ease, passing its heady presence on to the magnetic searing electro quickstep of Imperfect followed by the evocatively hued The Divine. Elegant classically wrapped keys open up the second of the two songs, its gentle radiant coaxing leading thoughts into the haunting melancholic caresses at the heart of the track. It is a masterful provocation of emotion and shadow cloaked climes, the gravelly vocals as on all songs that rasping texture which tempers and compliments the clean delivery and the melodic rays of sonic beauty.

The album from this point on immerses in even darker wells of malevolent rapture and predacious intent. The imagination consuming Falling with its thumping heartbeat the centre of a tempestuous emotional cloud and the pulsating heavy booted yet still irresistibly charming Deus Ex Complex are both unafraid to stalk the blackest corners within especially in the second of the two, shards of irrepressible electro romping whilst Our Bright Future is a twisted riotous incendiary tango of sound and energy which is prone to long breaths and pleasing unpredictability. This new energised character of a dance also reaps and offers its rewards through Sins Of Your Flesh and though the trio of songs maybe lack the final knock-out punch of their predecessors all leave satisfaction full.

The Endless Stride has a structure and contagion which feels closely akin to the first album without any definition as to why or to which offering whilst the effulgence of An Eternity Stuck On Repeat bewitches from its first glassy elegant touch, seducing with a wantonness which is refined yet brazenly uncompromising. The songs bring more open variation to the album as does the guitar grazing company of No Compromise and the industrialised rapacious crowding of the senses from Transformation (a search for change), both tracks successful conspirators in a slavery of the passions.

Completed by the outstanding smouldering cinematic instrumental of At the end (Outro), Cynical Existence has thrust themselves to the very fore of electro/industrial mastery with the transfixing Erase, Evolve and Rebuild. Arguably top heavy with its first selection of tracks a more vigorous exploit for feet and energy though the latter is no less an accomplished instigator of darker emotions and realms, the album takes the existing successes and sounds of the band into new breath-taking adventures of imagination and craft.

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

9/10

RingMaster 21/11/2013

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System:FX – Twentyfirst Century

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     Twentyfirst Century, the third EP from UK industrial antagonists System:FX, is one of those releases which as it ravages and enthrals the ear feels like it is standing astride the senses with a sledgehammer of sound and wash of melodic animosity. It is a collection of colossal songs which seem to come at the body and those beleaguered senses from every angle and through every pore whilst treating the bruising with invigorating and refreshing radiance. Already used to strong acclaim upon their steady and rapidly ascending rise the London duo have taken their sound and stature to another level with the new EP, giving it a spite and anger that provokes from start to finish whilst unleashing the most potent rewards.

Formed in 2011, System:FX has already set stages alight alongside the likes of Panzer AG, 32Crash, DAF, Client, Implant, Grendel, Assemblage 23, Nitzer Ebb, Combichrist, Leaether Strip, Uberbyte, Inertia, Deviant UK, Cybercide, Crash Symptom and many more, each performance adding to their increasing reputation. Last year saw the band playing Resistanz 2012 as Phil Barry’s (Be My Enemy, Cubanate) live band whilst this year at the same event their new EP felt the hunger of fans as they clamoured for its purchase, something which is going to be emulated one suspects as the release works its way into the passions and psyche of not only the UK industrial scene but the world. Consisting of Steve Alton (vocals/guitar/programming), who recently also linked up with Fredrik Croona in the latter’s project Cynical Existence, and Debs (drums/backing vocals), with the band expanding to a trio for live performances, System:FX go for the jugular with Twentyfirst Century, its sinew driven body of sound and the lyrical/sonic intensity inspired by the disappointment of adult hood and seemingly seeded in the memories of the London Riots, clenching its jaws around the throat of the senses and thoughts never relinquishing the grip until the last note has seared its imprint into place. No mercy is given, or wanted when a release sounds and feels this good.

Surrounded by the dissident calls of the populace opener Vengeance courts the ear with scratchy guitar and equally blister electronic lures before exploding into a storm of thumping hungry rhythms awash with deliciously fiery melodic bait. It is an instantly hypnotic temptation, its touch a barracking intensity on the senses but accompanied by a colour fuelled seduction which ensures any discomfort is a prize worth taking. Just as passions and thoughts have no resistance to the intensity and empowering provocation of the song, limbs are mere pawns to the heavy trodden dance beats and the epidemically compelling sonically sculpted enticement. It is a maniacal puppeteer leaving a breathless and fully satiated victim in its undertow.

The following Fire, skirts around the ear initially with a scattering of sonic steps punctured by muscular strokes before letting the intensity off of its rein to prowl and intimidate. With samples adding further menace and intrigue the track is a rapacious journey through the shadows and blackest corners of society, its Prodigy like urgency and punk toxin aided by the snarling vocals, a belligerent poison to the seemingly warm electronic embrace. Though not as impossibly addictive as its predecessor the track is a thoughtful imagination spiking treat which evokes and narrates its intent superbly.

The title track like the first brings the sound of streets in turmoil to the ear to compliment the rigorously persistent start of worrisome electronics and riffs framed in unbreakable rhythmic caging. Danger and unrest stroll hand in hand with the pulse bursting stomp of the song whilst the sonic heat rinses the air of the song in impacting and emotively inspired imagery, helped by the continuing samples of sirens. An intensive imposition on apathy and assumptions, the track is another weighty tempest to capture the appetite before handing over to the closing red alert of Stay In Your Homes. With samples of martial law declarations punctuating the thrilling start, the track pulls to its loftiest heights on the EP and proceeds to oversee a nation in self-destruct with a rain of sonic mercury and melodic acidity falling upon a web of rhythmic and bass toned predation. It is a stunning finale of corrosive imagination and commentary leaving the body and mind exhausted but fulfilled.

Twentyfirst Century is a devastatingly outstanding release which only gives a ‘complaint’ to its briefness of just four songs, but episodes which confirms System:FX as one of the most exhilarating bands in the UK. Roll on an album is all that is left to say.

https://www.facebook.com/SysFX

10/10

RingMaster 14/08/2013

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Cynical Existence – Beholder EP

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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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