ALBUM: Intelligent Demise
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
The full-length debut from this East Coast industrial outfit is, if not perfect, at the very least extremely promising. Augmenting a club-friendly electronic sound with a raw industrial vocal delivery and guitars that bring an edge to the synths and drum sequences without overwhelming them, XUBERX deliver an album that brings a touch of rock flavor to the dance floor without letting go of that club-friendly sound. A large part of what makes XUBERX's sound so memorable is the role of dual vocalists Zomboy and Liebchen. Zomboy's delivery is gruff and unpolished, at times almost too much so. When he's growling or whispering through a vocoder, as on tracks like "Forgive, Forget" and "Solution," it's the standard industrial sound you expect for this kind of music, effective but not particularly exciting on its own. When his vocals are produced more cleanly, though, things get more interesting; though his grunts on "The World Ends Today" just sound unintentionally tortured, he occasionally manages a sharp staccato groove that draws on hip-hop flow as much as industrial belting and brings to mind a grittier version of Stromkern's Ned Kirby. It's female vocalist Liebchen, however, whose contributions really make this album stand out; she's quite a singer on her own, but paired with Zomboy's guttural exhalations, her voice brings an entirely new dynamic to such songs as the trance-flavored "Gone" or the thumping techno/rock hybrid of "Hollow," adding a sense of real melancholy and emotion to what would otherwise be aggressive but one-dimensional industrial rock assaults. Interestingly, two of this album's best offerings are bonus tracks; a "Guitar Redux" mix of "The World Ends Today" better shows off the song's intriguing juxtaposition of male growls and female croons (not to mention a blistering guitar solo from Dan Clark of Stromkern and The Dark Clan fame), while a new version of "Rogue State," the title track from XUBERX's first EP, strips the band's music down to its barest essentials, guitar crunch, slick electronics, and two drastically different voices all coming together in solid harmony. This isn't a flawless album, of course; XUBERX could use more sonic diversity in terms of tempo and arrangements as well as more polish on the vocal production, but there's a distinct sound here that already shows a great deal of potential.
Check the band out online at www.xuberx.com .
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