CD Review

The Strand – “Diatom”

By Marcus Pan

DiatomBubbling up from the depths with a sonar-like opening, Never Fail begins Diatom by exuding underwater darkness from every pore. As always, the musical arrangement is dead on and just about perfect. Dave Strand's singing is as powerful as ever and seems to get deeper and more dangerous with age. Kimberly Brown's soft and sweet vocals contradict against Dave's hard edged growls to create music that will hover back and forth between purgatory and heaven, competitive yet complimentary.

Other members of The Strand include Nilaihah Record's Steve Laskarides, although The Strand have chosen to have Diatom distributed by Trash City Entertainment unlike their last release(1). Also here is Jeremy Reich, Scott Levy and Bryon Anderson for six members in all – large for an industrial electronic outfit. Four keyboards played live and drums – one of the few electronic groups that will actually perform for you when you see them rather than wind up the DATs.

They follow up the slow and brooding Never Fail with one of their rip-roaring metallic-laced dirges. You Bet Right opens with proof that Dave can talk without growling, but for those that prefer the hard-cut rasp of his normal vocals need only wait barely a half minute. And only The Strand can make a schoolyard taunt sound cool. Shut Your Face is a twisted song with a chorus like a pissed off 4th grader (“Shut your fucking face!”), but somehow is one of the strongest here. Populated with strong keyboards of the kind that riff into your head and stay there, catchy and swift.

Onslaught is truth in advertisement, being a track that guts your speakers with hard guitar riffs and siren-like synthesizers. Every time I hear Dave sing I look at the picture included in the jacket and I think to myself that the voice and the man just don’t match. I’m not quite sure how to explain that part, but it’s amusing. Haunted has Dave giving us a Korn-esque yowl that shreds your senses, juxtaposed against Kimberly’s soft lacey lyrics. For more of her track seven, Run or Escape, provides us with a great look at Kimberly’s capabilities as a vocalist at the onset – at least until Dave comes back and tears his teeth into the track at the chorus. The song breakdown at just over two minutes in is killer drum ‘n bass.

In the Trench was one of my favorite releases for that year. I had stated that I was looking forward to more in that review and the band hasn't let me down at all. Still strong and powerful, not losing any steam at all as they barrel ahead. It's damn good to see that not everyone making industrial these days is throwing out anything that comes out of the speakers when they press a button. Diatom is near perfection, solidly putting The Strand among the glorious second coming(2) of industrial dance while most everyone else pales (and hopefully withers and dies) in comparison. If there’s strength in numbers, The Strand surely have the upper hand.

(1) In the Trench, reviewed in Legends #109.
(2) I had listed four categories of today’s industrial in my review of Blank’s Artificial Breathing.
Contact Information:
Trash City Film & Entertainment
Post: PO Box 13653, Scottsdale, AZ, 85267, USA
Phone: (602) 953-2728

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