I have been an avid fan of Noxious Emotion since I discovered them over a year ago. The EBM/industrial sound of NE is precisely what I have been looking for - infectious, riveting, exciting. Since I first spun their Symbols album released by ADSR Musicwerks of Seattle back in 1998, and later went after Count Zero which was released a year previous, I've been searching out as much of this sound as I can, like a junky looking for his next fix. I've caught their tour when they played QXTs, bought all of 'em beers in an effort to ply them into making more music. And it worked in 1999 it was recorded, and just hitting the streets and making waves in 2000, Elements proves to be more of NE's staple EBM grooves rife with samples, stomping bass and drum tracks, Mike's angry vocals that are vox-touched but never voxed too far. And the gang's all here - Michael Wimer, Godboy, Fritter & R. Wilhelm.
One of the greatest examples of marketing and designing genius, Noxious Emotion once again designed a case and jacket sleeve that is themed to the elements, as the name implies. Lining their track listing up in the form of the Periodic Chart of the Elements, they begin with Nobelium [No] and end with Nitrogen [N]. The tracks are laid out so that the element symbols spell out Noxious Emotion, and the songs are named for those elements that had to be listed in order to do that (they had to make up X). Once again, an awesome example of applying a theme to the look of their release to the songs and ideas expressed within.
Noxious Emotion kicks off Elements with samples from the cheeze of recent sci-fi classicdom, The Fifth Element (within which, Bruce Willis wasn't half as dorky as usual). Nobelium is a song of isolation, indifference and scorn. NE's ability to combine scraping rhythms and bright synthesizers with subject matter that's darker and introspective is a boon to their style. Yeah, sure, the song's pretty angry in lyrics, but the normals will never know it!
X is another highlight of Elements with a deeper, guttural bass line. This time NE touch upon disease - "Growing in strength forming mutation, a new era as we learn." The widespread use of non-specific antibiotics is creating a new strand of viruses and disease that have mutated to become nearly immune to these drugs meant to kill them. The only way to keep this growing menace at bay, or if it is too late at least slow it down, is by targeting the infections - stop using wide antibiotic inoculations and instead be specific to the virus. Quit being lazy doc. Otherwise, as NE say, "This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper."
Opening with a keyboard melody similar in sound to Mass from Symbols, Iodine is another winning song from these classic generators. Smooth, flowing, computeresque blips coalesce with the rhythm. Vocals subdued and a bit smoother 'round the edges. They keep this brighter synth-sound going in their short melodic break, Oxygen-I. Later on, track 9, is Oxygen-II. Longer and almost trance style, O-II is another instrumental break of Elements. The keyboards are well arranged and infectious, having some kind of groove to them that's almost happy. Fitted between Titanium and Nitrogen, it is a nice break from the otherwise cruel lyrical discharge penned by NE and opens before Titanium wonderfully.
Titanium will be the last track I mention in detail in the course of this review. Only because Noxious E can't seem to get through an album without churning out a dance floor riff about sex. Symbols had Unknown as one example. "Pulsing and pumping, velvet feel and wetness surround." Smooth sexual imagery to the sound of hard-edged beats and synthetic pulsations.
NE keep up their excellent track record of elektro-body stimulation in the release of Elements. As close to perfection of the EBM dance style as I've found, this is another triumph. While Symbols is still my favorite release from this group of data blips that call themselves Noxious Emotion, Elements still upholds NE's bid for EBM dominance. It's like you can "feel them inside of you."
Post: ADSR Musicwerks, 1106 E. Republican, Seattle, WA, 98102
Phone: (206) 320-TWEEK