REVIEW: Immunology – “Thorn Dive”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

Thorn DriveWax Trax. What do you think of when you when you hear this name? You think of early Ministry. You think of Chris Connelly. You think of Revolting Cocks. Front Line Assembly. KMFDM. Tackhead. Skinny Puppy. Get the picture? Now picture, if you will, Czech quartet, Immunology. SX Distribution is their label, but it might as well be Wax Trax. Thorn Dive is all of the Wax Trax mainstays rolled into one tidy compact disc. It is a straight, by-the-numbers return to old school industrial, even down to the stripped production sound. Those picking up Immunology's disc will either embrace Thorn Dive for what it is, a post-industrial tribute, or they're going to cry foul at its blatant mimicry that has missed its time and place.

With a familiarity that will have seasoned listeners immediately think of Gashed Senses & Crossfire or Rabies, Immunology pulls out all the stops to show their affection towards their elder industrialists. Krystof Peterka, composer and singer, has led his band of revivalists, Radim Brom (grindering master), Martin Sykora (guitar) and Michal Dvorak (drums) to a European audience obviously eager to embrace this reload of industrial mayhem that really hasn't been a factor since the mid nineties, when Front 242 and KMFDM were prominent.

With the scratchy prelude of Intro, one can already sense what will immediately ensue. The title track features a high-pitched synth track and throwback beats with the customary distorted vocals. Despite the obviousness of Thorn Dive, a differentiating factor is the artsy key work. Razor will call to mind Paul Barker with the vocals, but the rocksteady beat is nevertheless undeniable. Sexual Relationship, the first of four instrumentals, features abstract digita as a lead-in to what rounds out to be a quick homage to Kraftwerk. By this time, the listener has pretty much gotten a feel for what is to be expected the rest of the way of Thorn Dive, as evidenced on the eighties-minded Parson, a noticeable take on early industrial somehow made accessible by a sensible dance groove.

Mind Your Eyes has an innocuous beat with near-transparent synths that somehow works; assuming one has a lenient ear and a fondness for revivalism. Last Rites is so Skinny Puppy it's near laughable with its jagged tempo and fuzzy grind while King of Demons has a hyperblitz frontal attack held in check with swaggering keyboards that offset and yet compliment the track. Wasteland is an agreeable dance instrumental not far in ideology, ironically, from a more contemporary group; Krushed Opiates. Dressden and Dusty Sky are practical throwaways with blasts of nothingness, yet Thorn Dive is concluded so satisfactorily with the final three tracks, they're made up for.

Catacomb, the best instrumental on the disc, has a soothing tranquility that is out of place on this very nihilistic recording. A savvy maneuver to lure the listener into the last two songs. Barnstormer, which is industrial on a grander scale with band cymbal clashes that lend an epic quality to the song and Axe, a rapid-fire closer that might as well be called digital thrash.

Thorn Dive is an industrial ala carte that is unabashed about its loyalties. Were Immunology functioning back in the early nineties, their place might've ranked among the legends. In 2003 (the year of release) and beyond, they are the equivalent of Remy Zero to U2...a damned convincing carbon copy that is entertaining, but not earth-shattering.

Contact Information:
Post: Trans Music Booking, Mirko, Sennewald, Loursenstrabe 29, D-01099, Dresden, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) (351) 802-7535

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