Mask Visions Poison
This is likely a reductive generalization, but I’ve found that metal folk who vacation in industrial climes from time to time are generally disdainful of any styles or subgenres which contain any dance rhythms. It’s easy to see how someone who worships Neurosis or Electric Wizard could find a lot to love in Lustmord, the Cold Meat catalog, or even Converter, but Leæther Strip, yelworC, or The Klinik might seem a bridge too far. No matter how dark or grinding their aesthetic, the pinning of their compositions to unmistakably uptempo beats has caused many otherwise adventurous metalheads to turn their noses up at “death disco”.
Happily, nothing could be further from the truth in the case of Statiqbloom, the new project from Fade Kainer. Despite having built his rep as an arranger and vocalist with Inswarm, Batillus, and the mighty Theologian, Kainer’s always had at least one foot in industrial, from early releases on Metropolis to Theologian’s more dark ambient moments. More saliently, his new solo project Statiqbloom comes dashing out of the gate fully formed, delivering a tightly wound clutch of songs which aren’t afraid to sit square in the beat-heavy hot zones of electro-industrial and dark electro.
Within the first few measures of “Atrophy of Three” it’s apparent that Kainer’s well-versed in classic releases by The Klinik and FLA, but that he’s also capable of avoiding fannish effusion, instead tracing out choppy, nodding tracks with the same canniness and restrained menace of more recent acts like Run Level Zero. On one hand I feel like it’s doing Statiqbloom a disservice as a project to instantly leap into the ‘comparisons with established masters’ game, but the project feels so conversant with both the traditions and the expectations set forth by acts of that pedigree that it deserves credit for bringing them to mind as a standard-bearer of quality and not just an adherent of an aesthetic. In short, I’m making these comparisons because I don’t feel as though Statiqbloom’s tracks suffer because of them.
Over the course of six tracks and just over thirty minutes, Kainer delivers a master class in terms of both industrial production and composition, leap-frogging across moods and sub-genres with aplomb. “Breathing Shallow” sounds like a mix of M‡яc▲ll▲’s ghastly shudders and Necrotek’s classically-inclined dark electro. There’s something of the big beat influences The Retrosic introduced so well on Nightcrawler on the snakey quiver of “Shivering”, alongside some great whooshing atmospherics that seem entirely the techno-born byproduct of Fade’s own imagination.
The point, then, is that Mask Visions Poison is the product of someone who deeply groks what it is that makes the motifs of classic electro-industrial and dark electro worth returning to again and again, even twenty years on. Whether Kainer is an apt pupil who’s taken to these styles like a fish to water, or whether Statiqbloom is the product of a long-held love for them that’s been held back until now is irrelevant: Mask Visions Poison delivers the goods.