The Final Electro Solution
Noitekk/Cop International/Deathwatch Asia
While I gather there was some blowback against Die Sektor when they released their sophomore album Applied Structures in a Void last year, the band’s move away from terror EBM towards a more dark electro-influenced sound was a pleasing evolution, at least to my ears. 2012’s The Final Electro Solution jumps around stylistically again, squeezing a healthy dollop of mid-rangey dubstep onto their palette, committing the majority of the record to exploring the possibilities of fusion.
As concepts go industrial & dubstep is natural enough, if a bit on the nose. While electing to draw from a hot electronic genre seems a bit uninspired, it’s important to remember that plenty of great records have come from folks in our end of the pool doing the same (see: futurepop as a derivative of trance, technoid vs. IDM, etc.). Die Sektor really do seem interested in dubstep’s mechanics without taking on all of its characteristics, sandwiching stuttering drops with arpgeggiated leads and harsh vocals. The distinction between borrowing and copying is important; at no point does the record feel like it’s cynically courting a more mainstream audience. That’s not to say it works with every track on the record, but there’s enough good justify the attempt.
For my money, the title track and the excellent instrumental “Conquest and Liberty” are the highpoints of the album, two very different applications of the formula. The former kicks off fairly straight, establishing itself with hard 4/4 drums and a tight, bouncy bassline before breaking down into halftime with buzzy wubs and cut-up rhythms before kicking back in to bring the song home. The former stays in a more dubstep mode throughout, pairing machine-gunned kicks with an emotive melody and expressive synthwork. I’m less fussy about the tweaky “Archetype” and the uninspired “Nightmare”: in both cases the wobble bass is applied so liberally that it eclipses the other elements of the songs resulting in a meandering and unfocused feel, an exercise in programming before songwriting. “Inverted Structure” fares better by letting the bass take a back seat to a solid kick-snare pattern, allowing a winding sequence to establish itself before reinforcing it with a rapidly triggered synth lead that plays off the rhythm like hard rain bouncing back off a tin roof.
If the reviews I’ve read are accurate, folks seem to quite like The Final Electro Solution and I can understand why; fan though I am of classicism in my dark electro, it’s commendable when a band puts their back into breaking open the boundaries of their sound. I feel like the album could have been a lot tackier than it actually is (the eye-rolling name notwithstanding – seriously guys, a Holocaust reference?), and while I’m not entirely sold on the sound combination it hinges on, the LP does have it’s share of good songs and shows commitment to the premise. It’s a fine example of some new cross-pollination in Our Thing, and may prove to be an interesting document in a few years when we look back on the way industrial was reacting to broader trends in the electronic landscape in the early twenty-teens.