For nearly a decade now, SMP, an acronym with an unknown origin (at least to this reviewer), has been putting out riveting cyber-punk-rap style music. With their third release, Terminal, SMP's style is clearly ever more diversified and with Sean Ivy's return to the Jason Bazinet and Matt Sharifi make-up of SMP from the previous release it is very strong and powerful. The gamut of electro is visited on Terminal, moving from heavy dancefloor cyberpunk to near trance-like grooves and spoken word style vocal licks.
I found Terminal to be one of the best electro-industrial releases of the year thus far. As usual, ADSR Musicwerks of Seattle, the latest label to pick up this group (previously of Catastrophe Records with their Ultimatum release and Re-Constriction/Cargo Records with Stalemate), must be commended for finding powerful acts in the EBM/electro genre. From what I've heard SMP puts on quite a stage show as well.
Terminal is a powerful album and has been put together with top-notch production. The music herein is very moving and exciting, with a fresh sound and strong arrangement. Unlike some recent electro I've heard, SMP's arrangements do not become monotonous or boring, always being mixed up and rearranged with rhythm moves, changes and additions to the sound layers and makeup of each song. A very revitalizing collaboration from these three.
SMP excel at rap-industrial fusion with highlights like the barrage of Policy. Taking a near-KMFDM approach with just the right amount of self-promotion within the song, Policy is a fast moving and floor stomping track. The following track in slot four, The Grid, is a cyberpunk's paradise. With strong lyrics (seemingly left out form the liner notes, unfortunately - probably because there's so damn many), Jason Bazinet's lyrical prowess easily overshadows any other MC wannabe in the industrial genre (and I'm going to assume any other genre, though I'm guessing as I'm not a standard rap fan). Drum rhythms are exquisitely complex thanks to the dual rhythms of Ivy and Sharifi. The Grid is a superb, lushly arranged and riveting piece of music.
Jumping to track 16 (there are a total of 17 tracks on this album, over 70 minutes of music), Anthem is an example of Ministry style riffs and mysterious keyboard licks. The type of thing that Jourgensen just can't put out these days, fans of Ministry, KMFDM and like styles will find themselves easily enamored by SMPs heavier tracks. A few back to track 14, Mutate now displays what the trio can do with a trance background. Rhythmic and groovy, Mutate has near spoken word vocals and soothing backbeats and basslines.
Clearly, SMP have matured and grown stronger now that the original trio are back together. Their music is powerful, moving, rhythmic and lushly arranged. The tracks will move along genres easily wooing fans from industrial, cyberpunk, EBM and electronica. It's going to be very hard for SMP to top this piece of work. And harder still for Seattle's ADSR Musicwerks, by far the most favored independent label of this reviewer, to top this year's long line of electronic masterpieces.
Post: SMP, 4505 University Ave. NE, Suite #572, Seattle, WA, 98105
Phone: (206) 364-2252 - (206) 841-3071