Here’s your winner for Best Use of Theme. Muscially exposing “the machinations of the extremism of all points of view present in our current time,” Purity & Revolution offers a mix of soundbites, martial industrial music and punchy moments of EDM to create an overall work that comes off as cinematic and cautionary. In something like this it would be easy to grossly overload the soundbites, but K. Holewczynski doles them out strategically to move his story along. They’re always secondary to the mood and the music. The disc opens with a tinny anthem reminding us that the “machinations” in question go back across time, then fires into a EDM beat over somber chords. A drop and then the energy rises; this is “W.T.O.”, and listeners who are familiar with Holewczynski’s cited influences, bands like Front Line Assembly, Front 242, and Skinny Puppy will be in familiar territory. The drums pound, the bass pulses, and you get that blend of the adrenaline of an uptempo beat and the potent acid of darker emotions. All of this comes together particularly well on “Architects of the Third World.” Another anthem plays and speeches are delivered before drums and grit-blasted guitar cut in. In places, Holewczynski pulls out a big, symphonic feel that not only carries his underlying theme of bombast and manipulated hyper-patriotism, but also works as a counter to the heavy drumming. The title track is like this, built on string pads with some brass-like accents, placed over a hurrying sequencer line and another pounding beat. Headed toward the end, he drops it out to nothing but the drum and the sequencer, and the sparseness of that last minute works well.
I’ve enjoyed a lot of deep listens to Purity & Revolution. Holewczynski’s sense of creating imagery is very strong and he manages to deliver his message without clubbing the listener with it. You listen, and you get it–you hear the anthemic swells; the words in the speeches blur into so much blah blah; you feel the armies marching; you see the repetition of history. This is dark without being too dark, and weighty without being overly heavy. The beats drill directly into you to evoke a pure, primal response. This is one to listen to with the volume up. If your tastes run toward 80s and 90s industrial or martial industrial, this is right in your ballpark. If not, you still need to dive in.
Available from Carbon 12.