:CD Review: Faderhead – Black Friday

Faderhead - Black Friday
Released: October 8, 2010
Label: L-Tracks Recordings
Band Website: faderhead.com

Review By: William Dashiell Hammett

Faderhead is the Electro-industrial project of Sami Mark Yahya begun in 2006 and has since exploded onto the scene to become a necessity on the dance floors in Europe.  Starting with the release of the first single “The Protagonist”, Faderhead has followed with three full-length albums, an EP and a Greatest Hits album.  Now, the producer /DJ from Hamburg, Germany has declared the beginning of a new era for his music with the release of the concept album Black Friday.

The album starts with the overly obvious intro track “Obnoxiated”, with its’ melancholy beat ostensibly representing the monotony of daily life.  The repetitive vocals that pan back and forth with the machine sounds announce something is coming and while showing a talent for creative mixing, failed at making me want to find out what was coming next.

Moving on to the second track we find another song attempting to build a feeling of anticipation.  A much more musical track, the mix between the aggressive vocal style of the verses and softer more traditional singing of the chorus is interesting and does convey a feeling of celebration that the “Escape from the Machine” is nearing.  Although the track conveys the emotions it seems it was meant to, the allusion of escaping from the machine/corporate grind is one that is used much too often and lacks the creative flair you’d expect from the man that brought you the inventive ballad rich “Horizon Born EP”.

After the grittiness of “Escape from the Machine”, the album slows down to a more mellow pace with the next two tracks “Hot Bath And a Cold Razor” and “The Moth And The Fire”.  Both songs project feelings of loneliness and longing before unleashing the upbeat and first truly danceable song on the album, “Baby Firefly”.  The much harsher industrial influenced “Destroy Improve Rebuild” follows and regardless of the fact Faderhead has stated that all the tracks on this album were written from a fictional point of view and not autobiographical, the opening lyric of this track would indicate otherwise.

Returning to a more deliberate pace, the story seems to get back on track with the song “Aim To Misbehave” and then picks up with the dance beat of “Pussy Rules”.  Again, the lyrics would indicate that much more of this album is autobiographical then Faderhead would lead you to believe.  But the real highlight of “Pussy Rules” is the vocals provided by Shaolyn, her voice works very well with the lyrics and adds a dimension of seductiveness to the song.

Over the top, is the only way to describe the next track “The Way To Fuck God”.  Infused with anger, the song screams industrial, but the blaring refrain of “this is the way to fuck God” seems more for shock value then any real artistic reason.  Following on its heels is the dance floor ready track “Beautiful Freak” with its’ standard house voice samples and repetitive beats. The hard industrialized lyrics echoing the sample and harmonizing with the more expressive singing work well, but for a concept album, this song goes on entirely too long.  It would perhaps be useful for dance floor filler.

The next two songs feature guest artists Chris Pohl (Blutengel and Terminal Choice) and Ted Phelps (Imperative Reaction).  I give points to Sami for realizing the need for other voices to project the mood of the songs and of the two, “Do You Know Who I Think I Am?” is the stronger track with a very danceable beat that doesn’t take away from melody of the song.  Unfortunately, Chris Pohl’s vocals on “The Bitch I Love To Hate” are wasted on what amounts to little more then a standard Electro-industrial dance track.

Following the excellent duet of Ted Phelps and Faderhead, the instrumental number “Scumfucker” is a bit of a let down as it too is nothing but your standard dance track.  For a concept album, one wonders why this track was included, it doesn’t progress the story and seems to have little use, except, like the earlier track “Beautiful Freak”, as dance floor filler.  Luckily, following is the nice, heavy and gritty “Corpus Crisis” which brings us back to a more sedate tempo before falling into the upbeat “Crashkid” which is reminiscent of Nitzer Ebb.  Again, Faderhead utilizes the standard house voice samples, which are repeated in a slightly distorted industrial vocal, and repetitive beats introduced earlier in the album.  The album ends with the entirely forgettable instrumental “Regaining Unconsciousness” most likely included to bring the story to a conclusion in the same manner as “Obnoxiated” was meant to start it.

Overall, as is the case with the majority of concept albums, Black Friday in its attempt to transmit the emotions one gets when experiencing a story, in this case the tale of a Friday night gone bad, fails.  I found the story difficult to follow and its conclusion, or where it went “bad”, a complete mystery.  Contrary to the hype announcing a new era of Faderhead, I didn’t really find anything very innovative or new on this album.  In contrast to the Horizon Born EP, it seemed to me to actually take a step backward and continue the musical journey Faderhead began with FH1, FH2 and FH3.  However, the album is exceptionally listen-able and most of the songs could definitely be worked into any daily mix.  Some of these songs, especially “Pussy Rules” and “Beautiful Freak”, are certain to make their way onto the dance floors and stay for some time, or at least until the next Faderhead album. If you enjoyed Faderhead’s previous works, you’ll like this one as well.  On an entirely side note, Sami Mark Yahya needs to lose the “duckface” in photographs.

Download Black Friday on iTunes