BlakOpz – As Nations Decay
Released: December 13th, 2013
Label: Deathwatch Asia, Vendetta Music
I’ve been remiss in staying current with the EBM scene of late, but with an upcoming sophomore album and four years under their belt BlakOpz is hardly a newcomer. As the supporting act for groups like FGFC820, Suicide Commando, and Nachtmahr, BlakOpz could fit as comfortably in the hard EBM style as not. This is in part, despite their raw underdeveloped sound they’re not your run-of-the-mill EBM band. Their EBM soundscapes are overlaid with a touch of raw terror. The implied groove of their synthesizers more than hints at their electronic dance experience. They certainly have a unique sound and no one can accuse them of forgery. But, if you don’t like being shouted at, this music isn’t for you.
The first thing I notice about this album is the music doesn’t punch through the track and is overshadowed by the vocals, a criticism that’s been made about no Aggrotech band, ever. I loved the white noise sound effects that gave a military ambiance similar to static over an antique radio. Other than this, ornamentation was minimal and instead focused on a steady beat and strong simple musical relationship.
The first song that really stood out to me was Business As Usual. The combination of a drone/wobble bass and some panning beeps were so hypnotic. When it first came on I said “What is this -“ then the panning and wobbling and next thing I knew I was hypnotized like a simpleton at a Vegas magic show. This song is smart, catchy, and the title is a play on the words of the vocal sample mixed into the track. What more could you ask for?
That’s followed by several more songs of equal energy, if these don’t get you out of your seat then you’re probably paraplegic.
Everyone should know by now that I’m a sucker for synthesizers and if you can make them out through the crowding of the noise effects and overpowering drumbeats you’ll realize they’re quite skilled. While the chord progressions and rhythm of the computer beeps are standard fare for EBM their use of them is not. The drums are the all-too-familiar 4/4, but they never lag or lose energy, actually I’m quite sure they could induce seizures if played for the right epileptic. From beginning to end they carry this album in a well-oiled synthetic march into oblivion.
If you enjoy stomping on the dancefloor in 100 lace military boots then this is the music for you. It’s a no-frills one hour dance-off between you and the kid in Tripp pants and fishnet shirt. If that isn’t what you’re looking for however then keep looking.