Three years after their surprise-reinvention, Aesthetic Perfection’s follow-up to All Beauty Destroyed will continue to cause teeth-grating by those who expected the status quo from Daniel Graves. But how does this envelope pushing stack up?
The first song on ‘Til Death is a ridiculous diddy in which Daniel Graves alternates whispers and screams, the words to a wedding vow. I have no analysis for this, but it exists.
The second song should be well-known to anyone with an internet, it’s Aesthetic Perfection’s first single of the album entitled Antibody. Danceable hooks full of synthesizers and interesting off-beat drum beats, whoever chose this as the first single chose well. While I’m normally not fond of inward screaming, Daniel’s minimal effects contrasted with precisely toned vocoder hooks create a sound that reminds us; if we never hear hard-tuned vocals again it will be too soon.
Songs like Death Rattle show Aesthetic Perfection have an aptitude for pop pre-choruses and synthpop elements that blend so seamlessly into their song compositions. While so many other things may have changed, one thing remains: Daniel Graves’ absolute command of the synthesizer. Synthetic tones oscillate in your ear before melding into mechanical sounds that make you check the windows for spacecraft. The clear shift to melody based music has marked a turn in Aesthetic Perfection’s career. Long gone are the beautiful but static typical, dirge-like Aggrotech chord progressions that chubby girls with cyber dreads used to kick their Demonia boots to. In their place have come an expansive new world of harmonies from musical modes never before attempted by the band.
Song 6 entitled Showtime is the fourth standout track after the already familiar singles. It’s a dark waltz with machinery and a chorus of bell chimes that shows Aesthetic Perfection understands the fanciful dreaminess of synthpop and how it correlates to the darkness of electro industrial. This song will certainly stand the test of time, which isn’t hard in modern music as the average lifespan of a song is how long it takes “Now That’s What I Call Music” to press a new CD.
There’s even a gem for fans of their original style, the synths of The Dark Half sounds like the Aesthetic Perfection of old but grown to maturity. Spooky sounds? Check. Pumping rhythm that makes you want to head shake in someone’s face? Check. EBM synths? Double check. And yet nothing resembling the sounds people had once expected.
As Aesthetic Perfection continues to push increasingly further past the confines of Aggrotech, purist fans of the original style have been quite vocal about their displeasure at what they find to be an ever decreasingly accessible sound, too far deviated for the comfort of their robot ears. But, I can’t disagree more.
Aesthetic Perfection rose to prominence because while part of their chord progressions and sound pallet was made of those sounds so beloved of EBM, they always incorporated ornamentation and hooks that set them apart from the thousand other bands that took the stage in the last decade. This further deviation is simply an exaggerated extension of that creativity.
While they were always known for being unique in the genre ‘Til Death feels like a complete departure from the style they were so synonymous with. Instead it feels like Aesthetic Perfection has truly found their own niche. They no longer sound like any genre and there’s really no band to compare them to. This new style allows them limitless freedom to experiment and expand which is truly the goal of any subgenre of industrial.