CD Review

Filament 38 – “Unstable”

By Marcus Pan

UnstableI remember only being vaguely impressed with Filament 38's last release(1). It was lacking in that elusive "spark" that separates the best from the good. Unstable is much stronger than their previous release with powerful electronics, complicated but not mish-mashed arrangements and, yes, possibly that missing spark from before.

Right from the start, Contempt opens Unstable with strength and power. Smoothly controlled synthetics and stompy percussion move the track swiftly along with tell-tale bass-box score stylings. Dissect (Infekt) uses similar means but the lighter synthesizer notes hold the track from becoming another dark segue. The combination is subtle, appropriate and well arranged.

Interface is a bit lighter in its make up and appearance, relying on higher octave keyboard movements but keeping the rhythm swift and in the high BPM range. Real Kraftwerk style computeresque bubbles open Uplink (TerraMachine) very appropriately. The chord hits are great additions to the song giving it a more EBM flair to the older skool industrial make-up.

Relapse explores nuclear holocaust and is one of the more powerful songs on the (much visited) subject I've found. Blood has a very strong climactic sound to it with it's powerful heavy synth-chord washes and strong instrumentation. By the end of the album, tracks 11 through 13, we have some remixes of originals previously on Unstable. Imperative Reaction mix up Dissect crunchily. Terrorfakt add some seriously heavy handed rhythm to Uplink on track 12 and mix it into a very stompy static-laden experimental dirge.

In many instances it's hard for me to determine what "spark" is missing (especially in all the industrial/electronic releases of the day) from a band that differentiates it. But I think in a lot of instances this spark comes from maturity, and Filament 38 have reached that point. They've previously, to me anyway, stayed just under the radar.

But this time around – with the release of Unstable – through the right use of subtle arrangements, the complicated rhythms and music and most likely the right amount of wisdom and maturity, Filament 38 have found that spark and I now confidently say that they are one of today's better EBM/industrial acts. The only suggestion I might make is that Ash use his voice more...the vocals of Filament 38 are steady and strong, but I'd like to see what kind of range he has.

Contact Information:
Negative Gain Productions
Post: 109 N. 3rd St., Apt. B, Geneva, IL, 60134, USA
Phone: (610) 595-9940
(1) Fractured was reviewed in Legends #144.

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