From the first awed glimpse of Paul McCarroll’s surreal cover art to the initial throbbing anguished moans of “The Box”, this latest album from what are quite possibly one of the most exciting acts in industrial and electro music today leaves the listener with some fairly high expectations. Expectations, I am pleased to report, that are for the most part fulfilled very well.
Musically, “Plague Called HuMANity” carries on where frontwoman Nikki Telladictorian and electronics wizard Greg VanEck last left off with their vinyl-only 2008 release “Retribution” – harsh polyrhythmic percussion and grinding melodic structures overlaid with the unmistakable screeching vocal texture that has become, according to many listeners, the trademark sound of Prometheus Burning. It is therefore likely that if you have experienced this band before, you will be satisfied with the sonic arrays they bring to bear on this album. Their late-80s, early-90s influences are more noticeable on this record than on previous releases: the overall feel of the album, especially from a purely rhythmic point of view, draws startlingly similar parallels to the feelings generated by Skinny Puppy’s “Too Dark Park” album. This is especially noticeable on the slower, groovier “Ourobouros Deathride” – from its call-response vocal structure to the new wave synth stylings in the bridge section. Even their recently-completed tour with Caustic and the Gothsicles was named “It Ain’t Dead Yet”, an obvious nod to the fathers of modern EBM.
Other surprises in store on “Plague Called HuMANity” include a dark, depressing take on Ministry’s old-school floorfiller, “You Know What You Are” and some hauntingly clean vocals on “Elpis (Hope is not enough)”. Enough to send shivers down any spine. While massively complex (and consequently intimidating for many listeners) in terms of content, “Plague Called HuMANity” nevertheless shows great appeal across a range of genres – blending elements of industrial, electro, IDM and breakcore into a cohesive package. An intelligent, hugely creative conceptual album that heralds even greater things to come. My personal favourite aspect of this far-reaching accomplishment is quite simple, because it resonates with my own feelings: the insinuation that all the terrible things that poured into the world upon Pandora’s ill-fated opening of her eponymous box can be summed up, quite succinctly, as a plague called humanity…
– David vander Merwe [9/10], Connexion Bizarre
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