Label: Alfa Matrix
Reviewer: Matthew J.
On the concluding album in the "H" trilogy, Belgian group Nebula-H continue their themes of classic European EBM rhythms mixed with unexpectedly philosophical lyrics. With third member Noa, also of fellow Belgian act Propulsion, filling out the band and taking on much of the songwriting duties, Nebula-H's sound has moved in somewhat more of an aggressive direction, though there are still plenty of club-ready techno beats in evidence; opening track "69" in particular starts off with a tense marching bass line, and "Head Off" is danceable but angry. Thematically, art -- in both its high and low forms -- predominates. Addressing the question directly is "Art or Pornography," a collaboration with Foochow, while "Masks" concerns itself with the role of art in the historical and political events of the mid-20th century. Even more direct, "H.T-L." is an ode to French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Another collaboration, this time with Noa's Propulsion project, it features a distorted repetition of the artist's name looped over thumping industrialized dance beats. Dealing with art of a different sort is "Freaks," a paean to the cult horror movie of the same name that features as its chorus the chant from that film's legendary sideshow initiation scene: "Gooble gobble! Gooble gobble! One of us! One of us!" A bit campy, it's nonetheless clearly done in the spirit of admiration, and makes for an effective if somewhat creepy EBM number. Similar to the band's love of visual art, the entire album itself feels rather like a love note to EBM itself, full of classic sounds that range from the coldly oscillating synthesizers of "Birds" to the clanking electro beat of "Hitch" that evoke the raw analog aggression of pioneers like Front 242, The Klinik, and Nitzer Ebb. Undoubtedly, club-goers will share that sense of enthusiasm.
Visit Nebula-H on MySpace at www.myspace.com/nebulah for more information.
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