Dague de Marbre
Likeness Of The Offender
Trigger Warming Records
Likeness Of The Offender is the first full length from Dague de Marbre, but sole member Antoine Kerbérénès is approaching the project with the benefit of a slew of experience in other projects which belie his relative youth. Regular readers of this site will no doubt immediately recognize Kerbérénès’ voice as that behind Chrome Corps, but those EBM enfents terrible aren’t his only other hustle: he’s split his time between various metal and electronic projects over the past ten years, including the sneering industrial rock of Null Split. While Likeness Of The Offender certainly sits on the same continuum as that project and Chrome Corps, its left-field instrumentation choices refresh and reframe Kerbérénès’ documented EBM and electro-industrial bona fides.
With the heavily processed violin samples which weave through the thudding programming of opening track “The Towers Of Mankind”, Likeness Of The Offender immediately signals that it’s pulling from influences well outside of common post-industrial terrain. The bombastic horns of “Baptisms” feel like something that might have been attempted in the early days of In Slaughter Natives, juxtaposed here with acidic EBM programming. The shuddering string sections which run beneath the more traditional instrumentation of “Each Ring That Devours Us”, half Beethoven, half classic disco arrangement, perhaps recalls Encephalon’s similarly audacious use of strings, but the overall difference in temperament between that project and Dague de Marbre is marked.
None of this is to suggest that Dague de Marbre ever wanders into general experimentalism for its own sake or abandons the core sounds of Null Split or Chrome Corpse. The expertly paced and snapped synthbass of the minimalist “The Truth That Binds You” obviously comes from a place of deep love for Cleanse Fold And Manipulate, but Kerbérénès’ vocals and the programming tics the record’s shown before that penultimate track means that it never comes across as beholden to Puppy. Indeed, Kerbérénès’ vocal style and the metal-shaded rat-a-tat of his programming feels more of a piece with modern acts like his occasional collaborators in INVA//ID.
Closing with synthesized bagpipes (or possibly Uilleann pipes) which slide in alongside clanging electro-industrial programming on “Eulogy”, Kerbérénès’ flair for creative instrumentation runs throughout the whole record. His work in Chrome Corps would be enough to cement him as one of the current industrial scene’s most energized and exciting performers, but Likeness Of The Offender shows him seeking to be one of its most creative and unpredictable.