ALBUM: No Ordinary Man
LABEL: Artoffact Records
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
After a long hiatus, Steve Campbell has brought back the critically acclaimed SVD project with this exclusive digital EP. Moving away from the style that garnered comparisons to fellow Canadian acts Front Line Assembly and Numb, SVD's new material displays a darker, more personal aesthetic that combines ominous, prophetic lyrics with intimate arrangements. Title track "No Ordinary Man" is moody and quiet, closer to head-nodding trip-hop than boot-stomping EBM, and features apocalyptic vocals set off by eerie piano phrases. "Dreaded Afterglow" and "Voyager" are similarly tense and understated, though the latter features staccato vocal belting and a club beat that kicks in on the chorus. Dance fans will be immediately drawn to "I Can't Contradict" with its robotic vocoder and pumping electronic rhythm, but it's the epic "21st Century Mind" that is this EP's real masterpiece. Bringing relatively clean, coldwave-inspired vocals to pounding EBM rhythms, it's human but haunting, especially when the orchestral keyboards join in on the chorus. A remix of the track finishes things up with a less straightforward take that builds from slow thudding beat to string-laced electro. Long an underground favorite, SVD's return is a welcome one, and hopefully a full-length isn't too far off.
For more information about this release, visit the Artoffact Records website at www.artoffact.com.
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