CD Review

Backlash – “Heliotrope”

By Marcus Pan

HeliotropeSweden’s Backlash have brought out their promised two-disc Heliotrope album as foreshadowed when I reviewed their Lodestar[1] single. Released officially on February 22 of 2006, Heliotrope has a soothing movement and trance-quality style to its otherwise EBM synths. This is their first LP release in three years to reach America, using WTII as a bridge over the ocean. Their sound is strong, smooth and melodic with New Order style movements and excellent make-up and design.

Opening with Lodestar, which we covered extensively not long ago, we move on to Heliotrope. The namesake of the album has heavy funky bass movements and interesting percussion make up that keeps a low-down sound with visiting synths punctuating the dirge like commas in a well-versed piece of prose. Pin Me Down shows Backlash’s prowess at using trance keyboard movements and anchoring it to vocals in an EBM style without losing any of the meaning from either genre.

I dig The Wrench of Parting’s low-brow movements which combines nicely with the higher tinkling keyboard licks. Purity for a Sinner has synth movements that somehow remind me of video games, at least during higher-lick parts. By Hiatus we start getting a bit futuresque as Heliotrope continues on, also played out in Hunt following. Splinter picks up the pace a bit with a faster BPM and stompier percussion. The first disc of Heliotrope closes with the 17 plus minute Shiver, a trancey, loping-rhythm song with bubbly percussion and harpsichord like synthetics and slow, smooth vocals.

The second bonus CD of the Heliotrope release contains a number of remixes to Lodestar, Hunt, Splinter and others. Quite easy to get lost in these nine tracks as they swirl about. The Splinter (zeb mix) on track 3 is interesting with its use of static scratches as rhythm. The loping weirdness of the Grass Clipper Mix of Lodestar has a nice bass effect that rises and falls surrealistically.

Blind’s Hunter Mix on track 5 is pure goa trance with stompy rhythms and computeresque synthesizers. It’s rave at its finest and slides in some chat effects later just to keep the trance going. Keep Throwing it Away (zeb mix) has a similar trancey vibe but slows it down much. The closing track, Hunt (zeb mix), slows it down nicely, with eyes-closing movements and subtle electronic melodies that hover us slowly out of the Heliotrope mix.

Oskar Lygner, Erik Torstensson and Niklas Lundquist have a good release on their hands. With the support of label WTII they’ll do quite fine, and with a good EBM-trance offering as Heliotrope there’s really nothing more than lack of notoriety that is keeping Backlash down.

Contact Information:
WTII Records
Post: PO Box 13495, Chicago, IL, 60613, USA
Phone: (773) 755-2415
[1] Review in Legends #151.

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