CD Review

Emergence - “The Science of Suffering” & “Eschaton”

By Marcus Pan

The Science of SufferingEmergence's last two releases showcase a possible powerhouse in the electro-EBM-industrial genre. With The Science of Suffering in 2003 and the follow-up Eschaton, both on the Negative Gain Productions label, the band continues to expand on their progressive rock, electro and even trance-similar styles. With solid electronics and heavy riff work – but only when necessary unlike many outfits that will ramp up the mayhem just because they think it sounds good – Emergence add a lot to the shelf of any industrial fan's collection.

Opening The Science of Suffering with a light electronic melody that immediately reminded me of Tubular Bells, Scarred is a solid five and a half minute song that combines elements of trance, guitar-laced industrial and powerful vocals. Already you can tell that the make-up of the instrumentals here are well layered and well played without losing itself in too-heavy and overdone guitar overtones. All facets of the instruments are given solid scores here to uphold their own workings within the song.

Blue Muse opens with an interesting electronic/EBM and trancelike score. Alternating between dark and dismal and bright and mysterious, it's easily a highlight to The Science of Suffering. Vocals draw out over background heavy-handed rhythms keeping the two sections separate but not getting lost against one another like others might find being a problem. At over five minutes, you'd expect Blue Muse to get boring. But it's fast paced fat-back percussion just keeps it alive.

Good old fashioned background electro bubbles open The Tower as it flows into a heavier guitar-driven format that Ministry lovers will enjoy. As the future-pop style of Human Anthem steps in, you'll easily think a drum 'n bass outfit has joined the fray. This is where Emergence shines with it's progressive creation style – take simple ideas and continue to add more simple ideas to it as it builds. Eventually what you have is a highly complicated and swiftly moving track that has its roots in modern simplicity.

The Arabian influence of Shahada and the well layed drum 'n bass style of Ashes in Winter are excellent. Blackened Earth is somewhat standard fare, but a good dancefloor stomper nonetheless. Vocals of Blackened Earth somehow gets EBM-like, really throw away the monotone you'd expect with industro-stompyness...well done on second thought. The Vigil showcases more fat back percussive elements for Emergence – masters of percussion they prove themselves to be time and again.

A few remixes close the album on tracks 11 and 12. The Blue Muse (RIB Remix) from Razed in Black infuses the original with a rhythmic groove that adds much to the original trance style score. Creating a swirly piece that is very enjoyable, I'm going to replace the original Blue Muse track with this one for the Legends Net.Radio project.

EschatonThe Eschaton album kicked out a year later. The excellent rhythmic tracks continues within their work, but on Slow Burn the outfit lays more electronic overtones and a more melodically subdued style. Turnabout continues this trend, as Emergence seem to have future-popped their earlier sound. Vocal scores are held back a bit as well, touched with a bit of metallic laced winds to further modernize and subtle-ize Emergence's overall sound.

Orouboros has a crunchy bass-laden flavor. Chorus licks are growly and invite guitars back heavy into the mix, creating a highlight of Eschaton. Defenestration is also a good track, sure to get a rise out of old-skool industrial lovers like Laether Strip, Armageddon Dildos and other Zoth Ommog favorites.

The final outburst on Emergence goes like this: they're quite solid and quite good. Interesting music, complicated instrumental work and excellent production. Emergence may not yet be the next Front Line Assembly, but they sure as hell should feel at home sharing a stage with them. I'm hard pressed to recommend The Science of Suffering over Eschaton or vice versa – they're both quite good. I might say that heavier guitar laced industrial fans might like The Science of Suffering moreso than the laid-back EBM work on Eschaton, but that's about the most I could say. I do believe I will hold on to these two CDs at least for a while before passing it along to my DJ friends.

Contact Information:
Negative Gain Productions
Post: 109 N. 3rd St., Apt. B, Geneva, IL, 60134, USA
Phone: (610) 595-9940
E-Mail: cruciform1@aol.com
Web: www.negativegain.com