Different State - More Than Music/ It Cleans My Wounds [Zoharum - 2018]
Different State began life as an industrial metal bands some 20 years ago, and after numerous lineup changes and various style changes during the intervening years they have become something quite unique that draws influence from a variety of different genres. The two albums in this two disc collection “More than Music” and “It Cleans My Wounds” were originally released separately as limited edition CD-Rs in 2005 and 2006 respectively. In the interest of the preservation of such rare materials Zoharum have stepped in to ensure they are preserved for those who missed these titles first time around. The project’s driving force comes in the form of multi-instrumentalist Marek Marchoff who is not only involved in all of the band’s performances and songwriting, but who recorded, mixed and mastered both discs.
The first disc “More than Music” is the shorter of the two at 44 minutes and owes a debt to the music of Coil and Throbbing Gristle. Mixing a variety of musical styles the album never really settles into one genre, much like the work of those mentioned above who were able to shift effortlessly across the musical spectrum. The album is packed with a whole host of fantastic 80s synth sounds, yet there is something quite hypnotic about much of the music that harks back to the days of the German kosmische bands. Occasionally a brief reminder of the band’s industrial metal past comes blasting through, this is particularly evident on “Paradox of Collections” an otherwise atmospheric piece of industrial that takes on a wholly more metallic flavour in its final moments. This and the final track on the disc “Forces of Light and Those of Darkness” represent the album’s most fully realised musical visions, the latter a glitchy, hypnotic ambient slab of electronic goodness. Overall and interesting and at times fruitful release, but one that does seem to suffer from a lack of focus at times.
Disc two “It Cleans My Wounds” opens with a child singing before descending into a succession of abstract bangs and clanks, which vie with a sound like the motor from pneumatic drill humming away throughout. Voices scream out like the indecipherable vocalisations of men arguing across a building site. Just as you think this fairly Avant Garde piece of industrial madness is setting the tone for the album, it swings back into far more musical territory. The title track “It Cleans My Wounds” is a dubby dance track with a much more mainstream sound, whereas “Shroud” is heavy industrial noise in the vein of some of the earlier Swans releases, although perhaps not quite as harsh. Much like the first disc this one leaps around all over the place and by the time we get to the latter stages of the album it feels like it has found its niche. “Philosophical Scepticism” is probably my favourite here, it features a great 80s electro bassline and has a creepy horror movie score feel to it.
Overall one can definitely hear the influence of those early industrial innovators like Throbbing Gristle, Coil and Swans as they mingle with the German Kosmische bands of the 1970s. The off kilter madness of Faust at their strangest and the hypnotic qualities found in Can and Neu bleed through the 80s keyboard riffs and the pulsing electro beats to create and interesting and sometimes flawed sound. There is great music in here, and when they get it right it’s off the chart, at other times it feels like they are perhaps trying a little too hard to be different and unique. I would rather have a few misfires on an album than a bunch of safe and average sounding tunes that don’t go anywhere or do anything.Darren Charles