CD Review: Informatik – ‘Arena’

Industrial can be a hard thing to master. With all the sub-genres; future-pop has to be the hardest to perfect. VNV Nation and Apoptygma Berzerk are bands that have really […]

Industrial can be a hard thing to master. With all the sub-genres; future-pop has to be the hardest to perfect. VNV Nation and Apoptygma Berzerk are bands that have really got the sound down perfectly. At the start of the decade, Informatik, created some really ground-breaking material. These days they appear to have lost their edge.

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Their new release ‘Arena’ is quite a strange beast, there are 12 tracks on the album, and seven of them are remixes. So it feels more of an EP or bonus CD rather than a complete album of original material. To make things worse, what it does show is how they are currently not as competent as their peers.

Come Together’ is an almost solid opener, only let down by some bad lyrics. Starting with a deep bassline. Da5id Din‘s vocals come in so deep yet smooth – it sounds like he gargles battery acid before drinking a vodka martini and the result is a larger than life, buzzing chorus.

It’s another four tracks before we reach ‘It Was Like I Was Dreaming’ which is the next non-remix song on the album. It’s a beautiful electro-based, nearly instrumental track. On it, elegant strings and samples of a female voice float gently through a the euphoric drum loops designed to have you dancing with your glow-sticks.

The slow seething synth of ‘Predator’ instantly gives a sense of foreboding. Din’s deep vocals are perfect to drawl slow across the surface of the song. Sounding like it was designed as a soundtrack for a nightmare. This song is very dark, right down to the last whispers of “I’m Right Behind You”.

The appropriately titled final track ‘The End’, is another instrumental. Sounding like a song cut off VNV Nation’s ‘Empires’ album. It’s very slow with plenty of atmosphere. With only vocals coming from random samples played over the top, and a choir performing a backing to the electronic swirls of rhythm and noise. It sounds a million miles away from where the album began.

Arena’ is not a bad album by any standards. It has almost everything it needs to be something potentially good, but what it really lacks is heart. As impressively deep as the vocals are, the lyrics don’t draw you in. The times when this album does show any type of depth and emotion are the remixes. So it feels unfair to comment on them without hearing the originals. What it does show, is that right now, Informatik doesn’t have the passion that they used to. If you have not heard of them before, we suggest you check out some of their past releases before you try this one.

rating-3

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