20 Buck Spin
Industrial metal is a tough row for us to hoe at I Die: You Die, mainly because so much of the material we get sent tagged with the genre is essentially metal with some vague electronic elements. That’s led to a healthy amount of skepticism when assessing bands and releases that want to lay claim to the legacy of acts like Godflesh, Fear Factory and Pitchshifter: by necessity we go in wondering if there’s going to be enough industrial to make it worth our time.
James Hammontree’s Black Magnet answers that question with a thunderous, abrasive YES on the one-man project’s debut LP Hallucination Scene. While there’s no mistaking the metal provenance of the eight song LP’s riffing and shouted vocals, the mechanical rhythms and atmospherics are deeply industrial. Listen to how the percussion pattern and the clipped and sequenced guitar work on “Neuroprophet” takes on the air of automation even as the riffs and kicks are doubled and subtracted to create a dynamic machine groove. “Punishment Map” takes a similar groove and speeds it up with towering slabs of concrete guitar and snakey riffs trading off in the race to the song’s one and a half minute finish line.
Despite being pretty bellicose in temperament the record has more than a few tracks that speak to some of industrial metal’s crossover moments. “Trustfucker” has works a body-moving mid-tempo electronic rhythm section before big distorted chords crash through on the chorus, making it a number that might fit into some more adventurous DJ sets. “Crush Me” works some upbeat synthlines and wormy leads as the major melodic elements of the track, with guitar acting as rhythmic engine through the inevitable breakdown and finale. Hell, “Anubis” even scans as a distant and more malicious cousin to “Dragula” via its quick-to-grasp riffage and muscly swing.
At a little over 25 minutes total Hallucination Scene avoids industrial metal’s other major pitfall; that of stretching its ideas and wearing out its welcome. For all the piss and vinegar Black Magnet summon on the record, there’s a suprisingly modest and efficient presentation to it all that moves it along quickly and doesn’t waste any time in getting its best and most brutal moments across.