LABEL: Crunch Pod
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
The first impression on hearing Uberbyte's debut is that the UK project is borrowing entirely too much from the techno-inspired hard EBM sound popularized by Combichrist. Opening track "Stand Up (For Uberbyte)" in particular uses a digitized female voice repeating the titular phrase as its chorus, and apart from the words being different, it's nearly indistinguishable from Combichrist's "Shut Up and Swallow." Fortunately, things get a lot more original as the album progresses; yes, some of Uberbyte's material is derivative, but there's more than enough variety to keep things from monotony. "Total War" borrows thematic inspiration from Boyd Rice, rhythms from classic EBM, and samples from both Nazi Germany and George W. Bush, and "SSDM" borders on power noise with its processed loop and gritty rhythm. Uberbyte's best stuff, though, is this album's most deliberately shocking; "Bring the Rain" makes a powerful impact with gravelly anti-religious messages barked over a sharp-edged synth sequence and thumping bass line, and "Broken Spears" is chaotic but still club-heavy, with evocatively gory lyrics delivered over cacophonous industrial rhythms. While project mastermind Uberman (formerly of Killing Miranda) may be branded a bandwagon-jumper for this album's surface similarities to Combichrist, there's definitely something original and worth listening to; if the club-friendly nature of album gets more people to hear it, so much the better.
To hear samples, visit the band on MySpace at www.myspace.com/uberbyte.
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