ARTIST: Krystal System
LABEL: Alfa Matrix
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
French act Krystal System is just a duo, but you wouldn't know it from their debut album; you'd think it'd take at least a dozen people to so effortlessly combine so many genres. While a fondness for hard-hitting drum machines, crunchy power chords, and artfully placed sampled crowd shouts suggests a Gallic version of Hanzel und Gretyl on tracks like "Instar" and "Elektrostal," bombastic industrial metal is only the tip of the iceberg. Title track "Underground" opens the album with layers of urgent, overlapping female vocals astride a crescendo of trance-inspired synthesizers, "Something You Hate" shifts into a laid-back techno vibe with mellow guitars and head-nodding breakbeats, and "Idols" brings angst and rage to the forefront with angrily spat vocals and a choir-backed coldwave chorus. It's when the band sing in their native French, though, that things really take off; "Demain N'existe Pas" is an unlikely but near-perfect blend of punk rock guitars, eerie synthesized choirs, and vocals that shift between breathless female intensity and baritone male brooding. A seemingly paradoxical mixture of gothic atmosphere, energizing club rhythms and industrial attitude, it transcends genres while retaining everything that draws fans to those genres in the first place. As the album title suggests, Krystal System are the new stars of the underground, but they show so much promise it's hard to believe that they'll remain there.
Check out Krystal System at www.krystal-system.com.
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