Delien - "ALH84001"
By Robert McGarry
Delien, an electro/industrial band from the Detroit
area, have made a novel effort with their release, ALH84001, on the
Carpe Mortem label. This disc contains some solid programming, good musical
hooks, and the random smattering of samples, synthetic noise, and electronic
bleeps and blips that you expect to hear from any reputable electro act. But
Delien fail, on this release, to establish an identity for themselves. They
shudder in the stylistic shadow of Haujobb.
ALH84001 starts out with a strong track called
Don't Look Back. Twisting rhythms, filter sweeps and white noise are the
backdrop for a haunting synth line. The vocals on this track are taken from the
standard Ogre formula - very distorted and rhythmic, as opposed to melodic.
Though it almost sounds like a conscious imitation of the Skinny Puppy voice we
all know and love, it works for them. I almost wish they kept it up for the
whole of the CD. If there is one thing this album lacks, it is a continuity of
vocal stylings. Don't get me wrong, I like variety. But it sounds like Jason
Anderson just hasn't figured out which voice goes best with the music. He goes
from the aforementioned Ogre sound to deep, grumbling, bellowing vocals that
sound like German metal, to rap-like attacks, and even clean, melodic singing
which honestly doesn't mesh well with the rest of the music. And in one case
(Take) just sounds flat out cheesy. My favorite track on the CD,
Yephoe IIpocmpahcmbo (yeah, beats the shit out of me, too), is sung by
another guy not in the band, but it's so well done that maybe they should
recruit him on a permanent basis. And kids, if you're lyrics aren't the
greatest, at least mix them in low.
It's a shame that I am so hung up on the vocals on this CD,
because the music is really quite good. There is a definite purity to it. It
doesn't suffer the ambiguity of the vocals. It is, overall, a very clean, very
dark energetic electro. But you'll find no obnoxious break beats or tired
techno tricks here. Pete Greko gets the praise here, being the half of the band
to manage the sequencing and drum programming, which is what makes Delien
enjoyable to listen to. As I mentioned before, if you know what mid-era Haujobb
sounds like, you have a good idea of what Delien is all about. That, musically,
is their only weak point
they fail to innovate. But hey, for an American
band to sound similar to Haujobb isn't a small feat. And I'd much rather listen
to another Haujobb clone than another FLA clone.
So if you are an electro-junkie and you happen across this
CD, you might as well pick it up. If you are a purist and want originality and
innovation, you might want to wait until their next album, for there is
certainly potential in these guys. But if you are into cross-over industrial or
metal industrial, you'll probably want to stay away from Delien, and just pick
up that new NIN disc.
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