CD Review

CTRL - “Loaded Weapons and Darkened Days”

By Marcus Pan

Loaded Weapons and Darkened DaysCTRL have been with us for a while now[1] and have steadily increased their talent and abilities at creating good industrial fodder. While I was expecting something a bit darker in soundscape, what with the album being called Loaded Weapons and Darkened Days, I’m instead finding it much poppier and more upbeat than I thought it would be. It’s well made, though it sits beside dozens of like releases of the same style and genre, even if a little more talent laden.

Since the split of vocalist Joel Willard after Is Burning…, CTRL have regrouped with Brad MacAllister taking on those duties. The Lose the Image release took CTRL in a lighter, more laid back direction than their previous and whether this was a sign of the members’ individual maturity or a new vision by MacAllister is up for debate. I said then that CTRL had “polished up just a tad to become not so heavy” and this trend continues here on Loaded Weapons and Darkened Days.

December is a favorite here, with its grooviness infused into the track with its surrounding electro soundage. Some Other Time likewise is nice, with a very trancy atmosphere and loping percussive rhythm. It’s probably one of the better trance & EBM style tracks to hit the shelf in a few years. Such a Shame has a stompier rhythm, but comes across a bit standard fare with expected chord movements and heard-before percussion work.

The Same is another brilliant track, with CTRL excelling on the softer trance-like pieces this time around. Smooth guitars and bass build against a backdrop of smooth chorale movements and softer dreamy vocals sometimes just out of reach or grasp. Dreams picks up the pace but retains the dreamier atmosphere. Reversion is interesting for its almost goth-rock aesthetic found in the center of Loaded Weapons and Darkened Days. Quite good, too.

Loaded Weapons and Darkened Days was certainly a lot lighter than I thought it would be, though I should have expected the continued trend from their previous album since Brad MacAllister has taken over where Joel left off. It’s good music, fine for any club, but it’s going to have some trouble I think fighting all the other “good music for the club.” All the elements of trance-laced EBM are here though, and the talent is apparent, but I just keep waiting for CTRL to do something beyond what everyone else is doing because I’m sure they can.

Contact Information:
Diffusion Records
Post: 3815 Duval St., Austin, TX, 78751, USA
Phone: (512) 413-6002
E-Mail: promo@diffusionrecords.com
Web: www.diffusionrecords.com
[1] Secure the Shadow was reviewed in Legends #87, Is Burning… in #114 and Lose the Image in Legends #147.

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