PreEmptive Strike 0.1
Through the Astral Cold
Digital World Audio
Greek electro-industrialists PreEmptive Strike 0.1 aren’t a band we associate with playing it safe. Their experiments with including traditional Greek folk instrumentation and melodies into club-oriented dark electro tracks, and their very recent Eternal Masters EP of collaborations with various black metal bands were intriguing to say the least; whether you liked or hated George Klontzas and D. Argyrakis’ stylistic excursions, you couldn’t deny they were trying to do something different.
2017’s Through the Astral Cold finds the band returning to making some fairly straight dancefloor fare, albeit with some of the epic trappings that adorned their last LPs EPOS V and T.A.L.O.S.. Schwarzblut collaboration “Phantom” speaks best to everything PreEmptive Strike 0.1 are capable of, with a massive orchestral-tinged intro and a suite of choral samples to accompany the song’s processed vocals and bouncing melody. It’s a great example of the band’s best trick: the integration of disparate musical elements into journeyman club songs.
Given that, it’s a little disappointing how straightforward most of Through the Astral Cold is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with songs like “Killing Protocols” or “Once They Come”: they are ably programmed and performed in a modern dark electro style, and the speedy interlocked sequences that have always been a part of the project’s sound right at the forefront. And yes, “Harbinger” is about as on point as any song in this style has ever been: the expert use of builds and breakdowns are coupled with extensive sampling from the Mass Effect franchise to give it that classic sci-fi club industrial appeal. But it’s impossible for those familiar with their work not to wonder what these songs would sound like with some more of their more unusual ideas folded into them.
There are two totally valid perspectives you can take on that issue. The first is that having walked the walk for a few releases PreEmptive Strike 0.1 are perfectly entitled to make a snappy nine track dark electro record if that’s where they were at creatively. The opposing position is that once a band has established itself as an act that pushes boundaries and takes risks, it becomes much harder to be satisfied by anything but. Whether a listener falls into the former camp or the latter (or like this writer, somewhere between the two positions depending on which song they are listening to at the time), there’s definitely some worthwhile material on Through the Astral Cold, and enough substance to keep our interest in whatever the project’s next move might be.