Black Comedy
Instigator

With its nighttime cityscape and tech-font title, I was pretty sure this side-project from current Susperia (and former Old Man’s Child) members Tjodalv and Memnock would be some form of industrial metal. Perhaps a futuristic update of the catchy, blackened thunder of those other acts, but replacing gothic pomp with synthesized deathscapes.

Instigator is futuristic alright, but it’s not very forward thinking. After an ambient sci-fi opener, “Favourite Hateobject” starts with a light tinkle of keyboard and synth wash before abruptly jumping back a decade into a time when jumpdafuckup riffs were all the rage, and when death-tinged vocals were first starting to creep onto the radio. Overly simplistic riffs, downtuned and machine-gunned out to create a lunging groove, gives the impression of Meshuggah for Dummies. Vocals are a punctuated snarl that teeters on rap, but then something surprising happens during the chorus – a soaring, confident clean vocal carrying a strong melody.

If it sounds like this album is crap, it’s absolutely not. It’s fine at what it’s doing, and later tracks crank up the intensity more and deliver some more appealing moments. “War Incognito”‘s simple, stuttering riff works into a pummeling chug that ably recreates prime-era Fear Factory, and “Civil Paranoia” and “Lord of Locusts” break down to roiling, murderous Morbid Angel churn. And the clean vocals are consistently solid and powerful throughout. Songs are also well-composed and production is crisp and modern, so there’s nothing terribly wrong here. Problem is, many of us have heard this all before. The dance-club synths that fire through each song like electronic synapses also sound too familiar, so that even the album’s most overtly futuristic element sounds dated.

The liner notes state that Black Comedy finally brings its “modern and futuristic Metal to the masses,” which I suppose is dead-on. If you’ve grown up on a steady diet of Slipknot (nothing wrong with that), but have never bothered to go back and check out classic Fear Factory, Meshuggah or even Old Man’s Child, then you’ll probably think that you’ve upgraded to an even cooler model. For the rest of us though, Black Comedy will probably do little more than tickle your funny bone.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
June 22nd, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: axiom

    “Meshuggah for Dummies” – I love it! All the metalheads at work will be raving about this.


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    raving about the album?


  3. Commented by: axiom

    well, I really meant raving because any new band playing recycled chug-chug metal always is the next greatest thing. ” Man, did you hear so-and-so, they’re fucking awesome.” It gets irritating.


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