LA industrial techno outfit release new album, its business as usual
Usually a band’s name is enough to let you know what they’re about. Naming themselves after controversial euthanasia activist Dr. Jack Kevorkian, let you know that they aren’t going to be writing pop love songs. Then given that their genre of choice is a brand of industrial techno, you start to have a preconceived idea of what they’d sound like. This is a dangerous thing to do as you would miss out on some good music. Kevorkian Death Cycle’s latest offering Dark Skies is a gripping album that challenges the listening to question what is being put forward.
Opening track Intervention starts like a Parliament/Funkadelic track. There is an opening narrative, but the vocal has been altered so that it doesn’t sound human, but not robotic either. This is where the comparison to end though. Kevorkian Death Cycle aren’t talking about a party on a spaceship or about a bunch of funk loving aliens coming to earth for a party. Oh no this is far more interesting. Next up is Static, this is the first full track on the album. There is a repetitive keyboard loop, and the beat sounds like it was achieved by someone banging a enamel cup against a metal pipe. Hey, this is industrial music right? Then the vocals kick in. Sounding like a mixture of Jaz Colemen, Marilyn Manson and Burton C. Bell. The music starts to ramp up and it’s gothic influences start to seep in. At its peak this is a pulsating mix of techno beats, metal guitars, surging bass and snide vocals, but in a good way. The Fall sounds like a sample of Darude-Sandstorm, but slowed down more menacing and with a guitar chorus. Swallow has a more Trip-Hop feel. The beats are slower, but the bass keeps things ticking over nicely.
The downside of this album is that there isn’t enough going on to stop it all sounding the same. Also some of the tracks seem too long. 15 minutes could easily be shaved off this album and it wouldn’t lose any of its appeal. At times the influences are a bit too pronounced and you end up thinking that you’ve heard this before. Fear Factory’s Demanufacture and the remix album Remanufacture are never that far from my thoughts as I listen to Dark Skies. As the industrial genre is more constrictive than others, it’s hard not for it all to sound the same. Ultimately however there is a lot of good going and to engage with and on tracks like Static and The Fall, Kevorkian Death Cycle have created something memorable and interesting. This isn’t a band that needs to be put to sleep anytime soon!