York-based fivesome A-FX have a wealth of potential and creativity. Their style amalgamates modern EBM, drum and bass and dance influences with varied vocals and a real passion for all things techno.
From the off A-FX strike hard with ‘Beyond The Stars’ which features pulverising dance beats and attractive duel vocals that are shared between male vocalist Hondo, who handles the angsty growls and his female counterpart Nyx who takes care of the neat classically driven harmonies. In short, the first track is six minutes-plus of accessible alternative dance that’d go down a treat at a particularly sweaty Wendy House – tasty.
‘Blood Sport’ swings wildly with some chaotic beats and massive percussion in the opening seconds before Hondo’s vocals interject violently, piercing the electronics with a scream sounding as furious as Psyclon Nine’s Nero Bellum on his most accessible work. This is without doubt one of the standout tracks on the record and it will most likely be infecting a dancefloor near you soon. ‘Extinction’ would be the soundtrack to the perfect cyber-snuff film – not that we’ve ever thought about it, of course. It features some twisted synth elements winding around unforgiving beats and haunting vocals. You seriously don’t want to be on any kind of drug when this plays – we can imagine it really messing with your head…beware club-kids, beware. Follow-up, ‘Fuck With Power’ is an all-out powerhouse that reminds of Alter Der Ruine at their most riveting. It’s absolutely brutal but you’ll definitely be sucked in for the full four minute ride. Meanwhile, ‘Jack Up’ is set to become your new club anthem – it’s a simple dance track that is composed to make you move and sway chaotically in time with some nice synths, big samples and clever drum work.
‘Luna War’ is up next with an Uberbyte-baiting dance-off of epic proportions. It’s all about big beats and the cyber-grind – this one will wine and dine you before shoving a glowstick in your mouth and marching you to the club. ‘Mechanise’ begins on the same line before the dual vocalists fire-off with their spiteful cyberpunk assault that finds itself somewhere in-between Combichrist and Helalyn Flowers. It’s not all rosy though; it’s our opinion that ‘No Control’ is the weakest track on the record and lacks the substance and attitude of previous tracks despite some particularly evocative vocals from Nyx. While the pace is similar on ‘Razor Blade Romance’ the mood really picks up with some sensitive vocals from Nyx and some dark touches from Hondo. This one readily displays the variety that is embedded within A-FX.
‘Synthetic Nations’ kicks things up a gear with a fast-paced and heavy-EBM crossover track mixing metal vocals and skull-crushing acoustic and electro beats – you’re going to enjoy beating the air to this one, baby. ‘Systematic’ keeps things moving with another schizophrenic offering that chucks heart-felt melody in with raw energy for a potent mix geared toward creating a war on the dancefloor. The band saves the best for last with their own anthem. ‘UK Underground’ is a defining effort that sees electronic slice through dirty syths and strong vocals for an addictive drum n’bass-style tune that nods to all of the group’s various influences and to dark culture in general – nice.
In summary, while there is still clear room for growth and development of the Audio-FX sound in the future this is a debut rammed with quality floor-fillers, some seriously emotive tunes and some hard-hitting beasts that will blow your brains out…Industrial’s not dead, it just needs an audio injection.
For fans of: Uberbyte, Combichrist, tasty cyber goodness
For more information visit the official MySpace. Buy the album here.
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