Saturday, May 07, 2005

Getting Smaller

When Barcode is on point they express what I haven't been able to put into words. Take a look at some of their recent review of VNV Nation's new album:

Emerging like a rat from the infestation of Industrial music, VNV calculated that to be different from their forever-unevolving contemporaries, they would have to do something distinctive. Hence the creation of their “Futurepop” sound, whereupon industrial aggro is watered down into repetitive melodies and a House beats.

: "Forever-unevolving" is exactly why I didn't look back (too much) when I left my interest in the industrial/ebm scene to the past a little over 10 years ago. What I loved about the music is that it had a vision that was different even apart from the "dark" and "scary" nature of the genre. Industrial was music that was going somewhere; this was a genre that was progressing. In the past decade it's gone almost nowhere. Now groups like VNV and Covenant have tried to add elements from trance and drum 'n' bass to the mix, but it is reliance on the genre's cannon that have left it stagnant for far too long. Of course the blame could be placed on the relative silence and stumbling of the genre's mainstream stars like NIN, Ministry and KMFDM, but the blind leading the blind into repetitive mediocrity should shoulder the weight of the burden.
Speaking of NIN, Trent's got a new record out. I once was a massive fan, but my taste and my perception of "The Fragile"'s quality (all I read were raving reviews, even if it seems to be critically disowned this time around) have tempered my enthusiasm to near nothing. It was something of a shock to me that the new single "The Hand That Feeds" is strong enough to rekindle some of that passion. Having listened to "With Teeth" I'm afraid that I won't be returning to the NIN-fold too soon. There are a few tracks that have spark, but tracks like "You Know Who You Are?" are warmed over echoes of previous efforts without the passion. If the pre-release rumors of this being the final NIN album that might not be such a bad thing. Maybe Trent needs a new avenue to grow his music.

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