CD Review

Asmodeus X – “Morningstar”

By Marcus Pan

MorningstarBased out of Houstan, Texas, Asmodeus X are made up of Paul Fredric and Marshal. Stepping into the mix to handle percussion and sampling is Joel 313. They've won the Houston Press Critics Choice for Best Industrial/Noise act in 2000. Their previous full length, Wolf Age, added a bit of a heavier flair to it, and now with Morningstar they've backed it up to a closer pure electronic format and are telling a story. An epic "fall from grace," drawing parallels to the age-old story of Satan, the "morningstar" created by God who turned against him. This by no means should scare you off – it's just a story they're telling. Then again, the rest of that book is too – but I digress.

A few singles off of Morningstar show off their flair for instrumentation. All of the tracks are solid, but some of them stand out as interesting enough to merit special attention and highlight. Voices of the Fallen, for example, utilizes very subtle synthetic melodies that trickle about during chorus areas, adding a very computeresque feel to the work that harkens back to Kraftwerk era electronics. A good breather from the old days.

Asmodeus X keep their arrangements simple for the most part, but the danger of this sort of arranging is that the music can coalesce together and become indistinguishable. And some songs can drag, quickly becoming monotonous such as the standard-fare and up front rhythm of Sons of Midnight which, even long before the three minute mark, was already becoming droning and blase. The song itself lasts beyond six minutes – which makes the whole thing nearly a chore.

Against the Moon notches up the interesting bar somewhat with its computerlike metalesque vox. And I really dig the following Kreislauf. Funky percussion and bass combine into a great rhythm that carries the song. Vocals are spoken solidly, at a bass level with a little bit of echo, and actually becomes part of the rhythm. Kreislauf is easily one of the best songs off of Morningstar.

S.E.T.I. is expectantly spacey and moves swiftly. Interesting samples of female spoken word and telephones are interspersed throughout. Mostly an instrumental piece. Roman P keeps this feeling, and once again laces the vocals with Kraftwerk era vox. Catchy and upbeat. The following Crucified Serpent gets right up front with who the story is about – just in case you may not know who the "morningstar" is that gives the album it's name. It's also similar to Sons of Midnight, in that before two minutes has arrived you're bored.

What we have here is another synthpop low-key electronic industrial thing. Again, it's synthpop month here in the underground music scene, and again this was probably not a great time for me to get Morningstar because I'm more inclined to dismiss it as "another synthpop/electro album." This is regardless of the fact that it is pretty good all things considered. This is a common revisited dilemma.

Contact Information:
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