REVIEW: ThouShaltNot - Self-Titled

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

ThouShaltNotNew and fresh from ADSR, masters of the EBM/electro realm from their towers of sound in Seattle, WA, ThouShaltNot's self-titled is a mixture of ambient grooves and synth-laden rhythms. Not as hard or bouncing as ADSR staples Noxious Emotion, TSN are instead smoother, more flowing and attempt to hybridize trance with the more well-known EBM/synth-pop styles. Alexx Reed and Aaron Fuleki are the forces behind TSN. Recording with the help of Ohio's Robot God Labs (http://www.robotgodlabs.com), TSN's self-titled debut is an excellent release.

ThouShaltNotI've been a synth-pop fan for over a decade now, ever since I first set foot on a dance floor to the tune of the Flock's I Ran. And if I was a passive fan of EBM for years, the amazing releases of another ADSR outfit, Noxious Emotion, has converted me into a true listener of the genre. And now, recently, I've been raving again - swaying weirdly to the ambient keys of AFX, Schpongle, and European DJs that have had the courtesy to show up and spread their aural natures over the underground of NYC. ThouShaltNot takes all three of these and combines them into a palatable hybrid. Subdued vocals and subdued but still-pumping rhythms, electronic flair and all that come together in TSN's self-titled release.

Highlight tracks of this album include Adem on track 3. I adore the vocal harmonies during the chorus. The rap-like "Take A Breath" section is superb. Track 5, Sand and Wax, opens with a female vocal sample. "I know I can change you. Because I love you." It repeats itself over and over, then starts to get cut up, until the same sample ends sounding like "Love chains you…love chains you..." Excellent further samples throughout the song include "Love is a disease that is always fatal. No one has been cured." Great rhythm and a machine-gun like beat track.

Other songs I enjoy here are Cracked, a faster, more upbeat tune with speedy vocals and a moving rhythm. The lyrics end on a definite downer - "Pull more and more till winter comes and I have been erased. And so am I - so here am I." All the lyrics are similar in tone, but the instrumentals of the song aren't as dark and brooding - instead they almost convey a warped, bent sound of frustration with no end. The sped up classical piano score in the end of Cracked closes on a note of weirdness. Pesticide on track 8, opposites Cracked. The rhythm, bass and low-squeal keyboard backgrounds do provide the morose background you would expect against the lyrics. Choral melodies converge on top creating a subliminal morbidity in the listener's mind. This is an instrumental break in the album.

Only one more track discussion. The Child is an interesting rhythmic piece of vocal samples, whistling keys and deep bass. It breaks into a fast-paced rhythm against choir-like samples. You can clearly see the trance-inducing style of ThouShaltNot showing through on this track. The goa rhythm and floating keyboards, vocal whisperings and subdued bass creates an excellent instrumental piece. Vocals aren't needed here - nor are they used.

I'm going to stop here, as it is my style to always leave a good portion of the album in obscurity. Rhythms and ambient-style synthetic sounds throughout the entire CD are well-laid out and wonderfully arranged. ThouShaltNot open their recording days with a nice piece. Is it trance? Goa? EBM? Synth-pop? It's all of these, combined in an almost warped yet classical home. Like attending a church underwater. What's next for these two is hard to say - but clearly there is more than one avenue upon which Alexx and Aaron can travel from here.

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Contact Information:
Post: ADSR Musicwerks, 1106 E. Republican, Seattle, WA, 98102
Phone: (206) 320-TWEEK
E-Mail: ThouShaltNot@robotgodlabs.com
Web: http://www.robotgodlabs.com/tsn/

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