Wednesday, February 23, 2011

PRODUKT - Revolt . Conquer . Consume (2010)

"Revolt . Conquer . Consume" is the debut album of Sean "Satyr" Tracy's PRODUKT - a New York based machine rock/electro-goth hybrid. While it might be a debut, don't mistake Sean for a rookie or PRODUKT for an entirely new band - prior to starting up PRODUKT in 2004 Sean put in time as guitarist for, among others, Florida based industrial rock act Grim Fairies (with Curse Mackey of Evil Mothers fame on vocals) as well as doing remix work for the likes of Society Burning (see review here), Cyanotic and How To Destroy Angels. So what of "Revolt . Conquer . Consume"?

Well, I've had the album on my "to review" shortlist for a couple of months now, and while part of the delay is down to me just not getting my thumb out, part of it is due to me not being quite able to pin the album down.

Don't get me wrong. This is a good disc, great in fact, but it took me a while to adjust to and I wanted to really do it justice. Perhaps the mixture of machine rock and electro-goth doesn't sound too strange, but what Sean has done here comes across as original - at least to me. There are several ways of breaking the album down, and I think that might be what threw me at first. This might lead to a disjointed album, but what keeps it together is how all the different influences still blend together. I'll try to explain.

What struck me first was the division in what might be called machine rock, rhythmic and guitar-based ("I Am Destruktion", "Cyanide + Candy", "Decay", "Machine", "Binary Incendiary" and "Choke") and electro-goth, more melodic and often piano-based ("Perpetual Bliss", "The Abstract", "Embers", "Secret Manipulation", "Black Ashes" and "Absolute"). Another division can be found between aggressive ("I Am Destruktion", "Machine", "Binary Incendiary"), angry or even bitter ("Cyanide + Candy", "Choke" and to some extent "Decay"), melancholy ("Embers", "Black Ashes") and even soothing ("The Abstract", "Secret Manipulation", "Absolute"). Also some tracks, such as "I Am Destruktion", "Decay" and "Binary Incendiary" shift between pounding machine rock and the more atmospheric electro-goth, and there's some trip hop influences - most notably on "The Abstract" as well as some glitchy drum 'n bass vibes, particularly on "I Am Destruktion" and "Machine".

While the music and lyrics range from aggressive to melancholy and soothing, the underlying mood is dark and dystopian throughout - so we're left with an album at the same time diverse and coherent. The diversity makes it difficult to pick favourite tracks - it varies a lot with what kind of mood I find myself in - but I'm quite partial to the mechanical (both musically and lyrically) "Machine" and "Binary Incendiary", the groovy almost funky "Cyanidy + Candy" and "Decay" as well as the hauntingly beautiful "Embers" and "Secret Manipulation".

If I have any complaint, it would be that the production could have packed more of a punch. On the other hand, this album has a very DIY feel (Sean has written and played everything himself, except for "Secret Manipulation" where DJ Cybo did the lyrics and vocals) and that is part of the charm - giving the album a raw, underground feel.

I'd really recommend this to any fan of machine rock/electro-goth - and even if you're only a fan of just one of the styles, you're sure to find at least half an album suited to your particular taste and another half which will grow on you and introduce you to new things.

You can get the album on CD from here, and digitally from here. Both sites offer full previews as well. So... what are you waiting for?

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