Grendel â€“ Timewave : Zero
Label: Metropolis Records/Infacted Recordings
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Review by: Michael Faries
Last week, Dutch Aggrotechers Grendel released Timewave : Zero, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2009′s EP Chemicals + Circuitry and their first full-length album in five years. JD Tucker (more complexly known as VLRK) has forced his fans to purchase some new dancing shoes/stompers with this one. This new music is so driven by bass and well-placed, dirty synth lines that it really begs to be heard with a decent sound system. But unlike most of Grendel’s previously released material, Timewave : Zero sounds great anywhere you will happen to listen. I’m guessing that we have Kolja Trelle’s mastering to thank for much of that crystal-clarity, based on all of his previous associations (Soman, Hocico, inline.seX.terror, etc.).
The album opens and closes with the instrumental tracks â€œRiseâ€ and â€œFallâ€, respectively. These intro and outro tracks are a bit of deadweight on an LP of this size, seeing as the album only has ten songs on it. I must admit, though, that they are powerful pieces of artwork â€“ thanks to the electronic and orchestral wedding that they take their places in â€“ and they do manage to set a theatrical backdrop of excitement for the album.
VLRK seems only to make use of his vocals on less than half of Timewave : Zero, but where they’re heard, they are remembered. â€œConflict Instigationâ€ starts the album off with a continuation of the intro/protest-news-compilation â€œRiseâ€ with a call for action against your regional authority (political or otherwise), and finally gets back to the distorted and effected, Harsh Generation vocal sound that this reviewer has missed, oh-so-dearly. The title track that follows continues on with those same, powerful vocals backed with neighbor-upsetting bass. The last original song on this album that features VLRKâ€™s vocals (excluding the remix of â€œChemicals + Circuitryâ€, which is a better version of the one released in 2009 because of the big change in vocal sound, but some of those pesky undistorted vocals are still there) is â€œOut of My Mindâ€ an angrily-uplifting track thatâ€™s a big â€˜fuck offâ€™ to something keeping you down â€“ whatever the mental disruption. These three tracks seem strategically placed as they combine to give the album a strong, Harsh bond, but the lack of more VLRK vocals throughout Timewave : Zero really lets my ears and aggressively-pronounced mind down.
While the most wanted vocals may be not-so-plentiful, there is a great female vocalist track to check out. â€œDeep Watersâ€, featuring Lis Van Den Akker (Misery), is unlike any Grendel track youâ€™ve hear before. Akkerâ€™s beautiful voice (of the main vocal track and especially of the background harmony of the chorus) weaves perfectly into Grendelâ€™s nasty synth lines and slower BPM, and itâ€™s very scary in its Pop appeal. This song is brave in male-dominated circles of the music world such as these, and I dare you to not love every minute of it, tough guy.
There are â€“ of course â€“ your entertaining, sound clip-dominated songs on Timewave : Zero, and one in particular is my favorite track from this album: â€œEPR // EDPâ€. This song contains the insane ramblings of Tyree from the movie â€œPeriod Pieceâ€, Electro synth wackiness, and tons of loud bass. In fact, when I first heard this song in my car I wondered which would happen first: my subwoofer exploding or my windows shattering.
I think this album will reinvigorate Grendel fans that were dismayed by the distortion-free vocals that were found on the last EP, but will also grab the attention of the snobbier of audiophiles. Like I stated previously, the only real problem with this release is the reduction of VLRKâ€™s vocals. The only other issue I had was with the seemingly unnecessary, heavy vocoder usage spread throughout; it doesnâ€™t make the songs better, itâ€™s just kind of there. Most of the tracks seem a bit reminiscent of other Grendel songs, but there is so much amazing synth layering and beat tweaking going on in Timewave : Zero that it will endlessly vie for your attention.
- Conflict Instigation
- Timewave : Zero
- EPR // EDP
- Wheels in Motion
- Out of My Mind
- Deep Waters
- Neon City Nights
- Chemicals + Circuitry [v.2012]