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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Babyflesh - New Wave of Cynicism [Vendlus - 2005]

Babyflesh are a Norwegian power electronics / death industrial act who have previously only released one Cdr via Slaughter productions, although they say they have been in existence since 1996. Their debut is a typically harsh mix of repetitive rhythms and distorted electronics combined with some guitar work and nihilistic vocals. 

The track titles and bleak artwork (something like a cross between Eraserhead and Bosnia Circa 1993) gives you some indication of the tone and atmosphere of the music within.
Bridges are for burning serves as an introduction to the album with distant whirring machinery and high pitched squeals and squeaks. This leads straight into the bludgeoning mass of distortion that is The fight is on. Layers of pounding metallic rhythms are strung together into a never ending cacophony of force. The first minute of the track also has some samples of dialogue in it but itís to distorted to work out whatís going on. Itís difficult to distinguish what instruments or machines are doing what in the sound, but I think their using a bass guitar for the low end upon which are loops of pounding percussion and electronic feedback. Itís all pretty relentless and goes on for well over six minutes with little change before an ear splitting surge of high pitched feedback signals the end of the track.

Suicide song follows in a similar vein with more prominent bass riffs and the addition of the typical power electronics vocals.  All delayed and reverbed diatribes on decay and urban breakdown. This track does have some interesting sub-harmonics that emerge from the thundering bass and machine noise that sets it apart from most of the material on the album.
Overdose of hate is a bit of no brainer in title and composition, just full on guitar and digital distortion with more distortion on top of that for six minutes.  Filler for use of a better description.
Here comes the pain is a Throbbing Gristle like excursion in repetitive machine noise and odd slightly domestic sounding dialogue. Like most of the tracks there is a sense of distance and depth to the sound that is as if we were standing in the centre of a huge factory grinding out maniacal sonic evil while the voices of trapped workers seep from within the steel beast.

You or me is another vocal track but now the lyrics are completely buried under a wall of rhythmic distortion and noise, much like Overdose of hate but with more of the interesting Eraserhead like pitched textures threaded through what little space is left in the mix.  Mantra for the nihilist is more in the Whitehouse or Brighter death now vein, walls of sweeping distortion under which unintelligible chanting brings an even more doomy edge to the already grim mood. Sadly again itís noise by numbers.
The final track Sleeping with knives is the only track presented here with a bit of variation. Here we are spared more bass and digital distortion in favour of a nine minute drone piece constructed of looping pieces of factory hum and low end groans. Not a lot happens and the textural effects becomes a bit dull after five minutes or so. However it is a shift from the other tracks on the album. In all a fairly average noise album. Nothing like the disturbing thought provoking nihilism of Whitehouse or the full on force of Merzbow. Itís a halfway house to something more worthwhile, but as it is it doesnít set itself apart from the countless other noise acts out there.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Duncan Simpson
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