Artist: Sonik Foundry
CD title: Explosive
Genre: Industrial, Dance
Reviewer: DJ Kantrip
For the past 5 or so years, the major creators of entertainment have set out to reboot the hell out of a lot of things. Whether the intent is to pull in a new audience or give a well-loved character or story a much more true to life (or fiction) portrayal, there has been a fuckton of rebooting going on. Its easy to do. Strip away everything but the core idea of the creative property, and then let it grow back in a new way. It was a novel way to approach revitalizing the entertainment industry without attempting something new or risky, but its gotten old and completely not shocking to hear about anymore. However there are times when it works very very well and shocks everyone from existing fans to curious newcomers.
Sonik Foundry has effectively rebooted itself with its third full-length album, Explosive. Everything about this album feels new and raw, but still carries a lot of the elements that makes Sonik Foundry a powerhouse on the dancefloor. Project founder, Nikademus stripped away several of the elements and influences of the previous releases and has presented fans with 13 tracks and 3 additional remixes of pure Industrial music. This doesn't sound like any EBM fusion, or Synth-pop driven floorfiller. There is a clean and pure anger that has emerged from the ground zero of Sonik Foundry's creative labs.
The first change that I really enjoyed about this album was the vocals. Nikademus does very little to alter his voice and it balances out very well with the beats and synths. There were only a few moments where I had to strain my ears to listen to the lyrics. There is also a bit of honest to goodness anger and frustration in his words. Yes the lyrics are horribly stereotypical Industrial-Dance fare. Common themes of standing up to oppression or reflective musings on the state of the world and its impact on one's drive to keep pushing on. The usual sounds of dancefloor revolution as we love it in the spooky clubs. But I will give Explosive this. I felt Nikademus' frustration in the lyrics. None of it felt forced. That's not to say that other bands are phoning in the rage, but I honestly felt a bit of tense pressure radiating from my speakers in the same way one would feel that same pressure during an intense discussion with someone face to face.
The next big change was to the overall approach to Sonik Foundry's sound. I loved Parish of Redemption and the Epiphany EP was great. These releases had a lot of the stuff that I love to spin as a DJ. Soaring synths, rocking guitars, four to the floor beats, and a feeling of a neon-powered future. Explosive does not follow in its predecessors footsteps. The soaring synths have become harsh and are fine just hanging out low to the ground with the beat while the Vocals do their thing. Sonik Foundry has always been great stomping music but with all of the EBM and Synthpop elements, there is less of an urge to stomp and more of an urge to just throw yourself into the music and dance. Not so with this album. You will want to stomp. And stomp hard. The beats are hard and simple. There's no really complicated rhythms going on, just oontz oontz oontz stomp.
One thing that has not changed is the versatility of the album from a DJ perspective. I will often speak of versatility in my reviews, and I get questioned on what that means. When I say an album is very versatile, I mean that it is able to be used several different ways in a live DJ set. Not just one or two songs off the album seem to have club-potential. Every single track has the potential to find itself getting some bodies moving to it. It also means that the album can be used to switch tempos or moods, or even be slipped into a "Top 10" set without fear of driving off people because you are playing something new. Albums like these are your lifesaver as a DJ, and Sonik Foundry is perfect for these situations. Of course rather than trying to segue into or out of Razed in Black, or Icon of Coil (like I've used with previous albums), Explosive finds itself being the Mix-Glue that can keep an industrial set going. Perfect if you are looking for something to mix into Combichrist, or Accessory.
The only downside to Explosive is that no single song really stood out. “Detonate” is a personal favorite of mine but when putting the album on random, I couldn't really tell if “Detonate” or “Desolate” was starting up. There are also three bonus remixes at the end of the album done by Assemblage 23, 00tz 0otz, and SINthetik Messiah. The remixes bring back the more complicated and synthpop/EBM sound of the previous albums. While extra remixes are always nice, these felt more tacked on at the end of the album. There wasn't really a smooth close to the album proper before the remixes kicked in. The newer industrial sound stopped and the older Synth/EBM sound started back up.
To be completely frank with you all, I never ever imagined myself using the term reboot in a music review. Its something I see a lot in comic books and movies, but music? No. But reboot is the only way I can describe this album. And it is a successful one. If you are a fan of Sonik Foundry and want something completely new sounding but not an out of the blue evolution, Explosive is the album for you. If you want simple sounding stompy angry industrial time on the dancefloor, ask your local DJ to play some “Detonate” or “Beat It Down” next time you're out at the club. Sonik Foundry has done something amazing that will allow the project to go any number of directions from here and I am really excited to see what Nikademus will come up with next.
Listen to Sonik Foundry - Fuse
Rating 4 out of 5.
Buy Here: http://nilaihah.com/explosive.htm
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