"Without Freedom" (Album, 2011)
Released in the same month as label mates Concrete Lung’s debut album, this first long player (following on from three self-released EPs) from York's Digicore shows that (a bit like the old bus joke) you might wait what seems like ages for an Armalyte Industries release to come along and then two come at once. But whilst the British independent industrial label is not exactly prolific, their output when it does appear can be well worth the wait. As the name implies, Digicore deploy both electronic and guitar firepower, drawing inspiration of such hardcore combinations from the likes of Atari Teenage Riot, the combination creating a potent strategy that simultaneously pummels and intrigues.
First discharging itself into your ears is We Will Protect You – which lulls the listener into a slightly misleading sense of ‘accessibility’. Danny Carnage's untreated vocals in particular sounding remarkably similar to Gary Zorn of Dismantled fame. This less aggressive style is revisited (with similar success) later, on Parasite. Otherwise, although it’s a style I’ve never had much affinity with, the tracks built around furious guitars, super speed drum programming and dystopian vocals are fine examples of the genre. Not least because they’ll sometimes chuck in an unexpected break from leftfield but also because they’ll apply smart use of hard dance electronics that, rather than acting as a red rag to a bull for guitar-only purists, instead is likely to convince most old-schoolers that the combination of the two is an entirely legitimate route - in much the same was as Ministry used to in their heyday. Comes complete with a couple of rather good remixes from cult underground acts ChopChop and 2Bit Hero too. 7/10
Rob Dyer (February 2011)
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