| Artist: Nerve Exhibit|
CD Title: The Horror of Amusement
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Nerve Exhibit's The Horror of Amusement is a nice slice of upbeat industrial-tinged synthpop countered by a heavier dose of moody ethereal material, all with an emphasis on atmospheric elements and sonic experimentation. The 5-song EP, which was notably engineered and mixed by experimental ambient artist Emulsion with additional vocal engineering help from musician Ahab Rex, is the work of sole bandmember Johnny NeRo. While it is, perhaps, unclear why he decided to work under a separate bandname with a moniker as intriguing as Johnny NeRo, what is clear is that he is an adept musician with a knack for going from infectious rhythmic industrial synthpop to emotional ethereal dirges without missing a beat.
"Sky Ripped Blue" and "Taste for Futility" sport simple synthpop foundations infused with a retro 80s industrial edge and distorted vocals for something reminiscent of early Skinny Puppy, Twitch-era Ministry, early My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, or perhaps even Pretty Hate Machine-era NIN. The simple, almost early Cure-esque bassline and atmospheric keyboards of "Choke" and the meandering piano and effective (although perhaps unintentional) off key vocal delivery of "The Blue Below", on the other hand, go in the opposite direction, serving as fine examples of Nerve Exhibit's moodier ethereal side. The beautiful instrumental "Warmth" rounds out the set with impressive subtle sampling/looping and simple yet emotive synth work.
Overall, Nerve Exhibit's The Horror of Amusement is an impressive release that combines a retro 80s synthpop/industrial vibe with solid performances, good songwriting, and strong production. In fact, the only real flaw here is that, with only 2 synthpop tracks and 3 more ethereal tracks, this 23+ minute appetizer will leave you hungry for more.
Nerve Exhibit website: nerve-exhibit.com
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