Naxal Protocol - The Guilty Should Get What They Deserve! [Eibon - 2013]Naxal Protocol is the resurrection of Italian Power-Noise act Cazzodio. Power-Noise? Cazzodio? Well, it's the 90's (no it isn't) and we're here to learn thanks to the internet. For those that are unfamiliar with the genre (like I was a few minutes ago), Power-Noise is beat oriented noise. The name sounds like an overstatement, as it's more industrial than noise and not really powerful. However, I've only heard a few acts, so I'm no expert. Noisex seems to be the power-noise legend. Thirteen or fourteen years ago, I was looking for some noise with a beat, and was suggested Noisex. I could only find one song on Napster (oops) and ended up getting into Winterkalte instead. Naxal Protocol doesn't seem to fit the Power-Noise description, but, again, I'm no expert.
The album starts off with a slowed down sample of Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight" (on the appropriately titled "Naxal In The Air Tonight"). This takes a back seat to some heavily distorted, crunchy rumble. There are long decaying synth notes on top and what sounds like a mangled sample in the back. From time to time, the Phil Collins sample becomes audible and reminds us that there is a theme to this song. For the most part, this song is a perfect example of what is on this album. There is a rumbling crunched loop, a looped med/high, and no real direction. Looped sounds just sort of fade in and take hold while the other fades out. There are two or more layers of this, and it feels kinda aimless. From time to time, a beat of sorts shows up. It's generally nothing more than a few distorted and reverbed drum hits that are tossed in haphazardly. Most of the songs rely heavily on audio samples. This a normal move in industrial and should't come as a surprise. However, the samples are generally looped far too much and make already overlong songs even longer.
It's not all that dull, though. It seems that Naxal Protocol sounds their best when not in the "power-noise" vein but when sticking more with death industrial and power electronics. "The Fear of Infection As an Infection of Fear" has a thick, low synth drone that stays constant throughout. Sure, there are samples and sections of a goofy beat, but overall, the track feels complete and is really enjoyable. The next song, "Tied Down" has harsh, screamed vocals that would work well in any PE project. The beat in this one lasts for the whole song and shows some forethought to its construction. The final track, "The Despot Dies Smiling," reminds me of parts of FITH's Confessions of a Narcissist. It's more crunchy and less harsh, but there are elements to it that remind me of "Gag Order." The heavily flanged vocals (sample?) almost sound like Steel Hook Prosthesis. It's a nice end to the album.
The Guilty Should Get What They Deserve! was a challenge for me to write about. I listened to this album a good 15 times, and really had nothing to say about it before I started typing. I like the idea of beats and noise, but it has to be done correctly, and haphazard beats and inconsistency isn't it. Sadly, I know I'm being too critical of this album. The reason is that it sounds so much like the noise I was making when I first started in 2000. When I hear those tracks, I'm very critical of them (naturally), and I guess I just can't separate that from the Naxal record. This album is ok but could definitely benefit from a bit more direction and tightening up.Paul Casey