Dem boys in Chrome Corpse have never wanted for aggression or confidence. Whether in their energized live shows or on the plethora of singles and EPs they’ve released since their 2017 debut, Chrome Corpse have taken up classic dark electro and EBM sounds with unparalleled rabid passion. This intensity means that when anything other than pure aggression is introduced to their work, as on the new 10-minute Gun Spit EP, it’s all the more noticeable. Don’t get me wrong, Chrome Corpse still sound undeniably mean here, but the bounce in these three tracks and oddball samples point to a new interest in classic EBM’s overlap with Belgian new beat. Check the almost Snowy Red-styled synth lead on “Firing Rate”, framed against a hard rubber bassline, or the cartoon squeals and Run DMC samples in (wonderfully titled) “Non Human Weapons Dealer 2029”. This sort of technicolor fun has always been part and parcel of EBM, of course, but it’s easy to forget about it decades on. That Chrome Corpse are still able to communicate their sardonic fury even in a slightly looser and funkier form speaks to their passion for this sort of material, and their potential to carry forward with it.
EBM act Batch ID occupy a musical space that feels very Swedish; specifically the intersection of rootsy, neo-old school body music and pop sensibility. Like their countrymen Spark! and Sturm Café, the Gothenburg duo are skilled at finding catchy hooks to reinforce their cycling basslines and kick-snare patterns, with a goodly amount of variety in musical presentation to boot. New EP Skaab covers a lot of ground in six tracks, anchoring each track with strident vocals and dry, no frills production that compliments the classic element of their sound. The title track goes all in on some eastern motifs and tweaky leads, as much electropop in execution as it is electronic body music, with “Kuken styr” going even further with light, bouncy leads that recall the mid-eighties. “Ljuga lite” builds itself up around an oompah-band rhythm that works in spite of itself. The song’s jovial tone contrasts with the raspy double-tracked vocals. Closer “Järnrörsdans” presents an even stranger hybridization, with the sardonic crooning of “Be Bop a Lula” over tweaky acid patches and foreboding organ. The union of Gene Vincent and svenska pop-weirdness works far better than you might imagine.