REVIEW: Monoid – "Virtual Violence"

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

Virtual ViolenceIt helps to have some background information before listening to this DTA Records release. Picture a combat-oriented video game created by the underground, not from those Mario-mad loonies at Nintendo. No difference, you say? I beg to differ. Monoid operates under a self-reflective credo: "Music for the Ego Shooter Generation." Virtual Violence is a throwback to the old-school that recalls Front Line Assembly as it does Kraftwerk and even Falco. At times, Monoid's industrial video game score sounds perfectly at home in a John Carpenter flick, creating a rather hip buzzbomb for a still-developing war game concept. Without creating a Wagner-esque into glory ride escapism opus, Monoid has, instead, stripped it down to a basic ambience, focusing on "the fast and brutal nature of modern combat games without wanting to glorify real violence."

As the disc opens with the suspect doom beat of Rost, the music slips into a three-chord digital beat with calm syncopation ala early Depeche Mode in Visualization implying further condemnation into an inevitable war hunt theme realized in Maze. Newbeatrevival2020 is a creepy futuristic anthem that continues a retro eighties' sound, part Yaz and part Herbie Hancock. CAD (Computer Aided Destruction) is unnerving ersatz that heightens the senses, as it would in a climactic part of a video game where the character is slowly moving towards something inescapable and downright ugly.

The chippy soundbyte stringlet of Inkubation whisks the rhythm satisfactorily ushering into the most agreeable song on the disc, Ueberdosis, which jumps, almost unexpectedly, into a bare knuckle, rapid-fire ascent of a potential club jam. The differentiating factor here, however, as with all of Monoid's tracks on Virtual Violence, is the straying from vocals and hard beats. As in a game of war the listener is left to his own designs to interpret what is being given him and react accordingly. The egalitarian Frame Rate Override is a Tack-Head-like super-succession of chaos implying man's need to survive, which is even more demonstrated on the suspenseful title track; haunting of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's ultra spooky Halloween II score, as it does on earlier tracks such as Maze. Like the undead Michael Myers, something dreadful is lurking in the shadows...what's next, and how soon will it strike?

A catharsis from noise to cohesion is that answer in Transformation, and though it dwindles on a bit longer than it should the listener is soon rewarded by the time Broken Toy arrives; an endearing and shattering amalgam of innocence clashing with mayhem and a perfect set-up to the soul-shrieking Cyber Saints which is painfully obvious, while Monofilament String brings wonderful closure with a classical sounding synth underscored by a digital march that is like the ending to a horror-action movie...the danger has been averted, but not fully staved...

By the time Virtual Violence has concluded, one question comes to mind: Is Monoid preparing a sequel? It certainly has that feel to it. Time will tell...

Contact Information:
Post: DTA Records, 106 W. Mountainview Ave., Greenville, SC, 29609, USA
Phone: (864) 979-4101

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