:CD Review: 32CRASH – y2112y

32CRASH – y2112y
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Label: Alfa Matrix
Website: 32crash.com

Review by: William Dashiell Hammett

Formed when Jean-Luc de Meyer heard an Implant track from fellow Belgian musicians Len Lemeire and Jan D’Hooghe. A conceptual sci-fi project reflecting life on Earth in 2112, 32CRASH have returned with their second effort, Y2112Y. Billed as a “project of FRONT 242 lead-singer”, it was with some excitement that I downloaded this promo. And while there are some Front 242ish type tracks on the album, there is more to it then just an attempt to emulate what is arguably one of the best industrial/ebm outfits of all time. In fact it took more than one listen to really develop an appreciation for Y2112Y.

With 20 tracks ranging from straight EBM to almost industrial metal, Y2112Y tells the story of a future Earth that seems very relevant with everything going on in the world today. That mood starts immediately with the first track “100Y”, starting with its’ raspy metallic intro and storytelling lyrics and vocal pattern. The second track “Aliens on Earth” has some incredible melodies, understated guitar and interesting synth lines throughout. While the main vocal seems a little behind the percussion, during the chorus it really comes forward and dominates the track well. “Dawning Sun” is up next and continues the tonal line of the album. Fast paced percussion echoed by an equally fast paced vocal pattern really push this song along until the chorus where de Meyer shows he’s just not a speaking singer, but shows some actual singing. Some simple synth lines figure quite nicely in this track.

Opening with a low, watery sample that almost screams to be the soundtrack for a futuristic, sci-fi movie “What Happened Here”, begins slowly and allows the listener to become comfortable with the bass line before exploding with full percussion and synth melodies. The vocals feel a bit strained as first, but they develop nicely and swarming with emotion, becoming angrier as the song progresses. The next track is one of my favorites. “The Man Who Came From Later” has only one criticism from this writer—it is too short. But for all its’ brevity, it is one of the most powerful songs on the album. Again overflowing with emotion, it moves fast and the simple synth lines are just downright beautiful. Accenting sounds and samples flutter across the soundscape and really make this song one of the best on the release.

“Into The Hole” reduces the tempo, starting with a plodding, simple one note bass line. The extreamly quiet vocals are, again, slightly behind the music, even during the chorus with increases the power of the song immensely. About two thirds of the way through, there is a downright eerie break which takes you through to the end of the track that just…ends the song. This eeriness continues with the opening of instrumental transition track “Impressionist Piece For A Free Planet”. Taking you from the dissonant “Into The Hold” to the more upbeat beginning of “Hyperreal”, the track does its job of changing the mood. The track “Hyperreal” can best be described as hyperactive. The main chorus of “Everything is Hyperreal” sticks without, I found myself singing it several hours after the track has been turned off. It is, as stated, a quick paced song and clocking in at just over three minutes, doesn’t seem short.

A moment of quiet precedes the track “Krptonically Yours” which then comes in and takes a few moments to evolve. Once the bass line comes in the song really fills up the environment and carries this song along—it is downright groovy. The rest of the sounds, including the very well placed hard guitar riffs, really compliment it well. Midway through a nice break comes in giving you a moment to catch your breath before erupting with explosion of percussion taking you into the ending of the track. The next track “Elegy For Himself” starts off with some atmospheric synth sounds that are joined by an interesting percussion track. A large, loud harsh guitar riff announces the song true beginning. This guitar riff dominates the chorus nicely giving an edge to the track. Making an appearance are some very interesting vocal harmonization during the chorus which I found to be excellent. “Human Decomposition” begins with a categorically evil sounding French lyric and creepy synth waves establishing an unnatural atmosphere. The lyrics, all in French, are spoken with no attempt at melody; but this works well with the mood of the track.

“Not Quite Human” continues the creepiness, the discordant synths and percussion contrast against the angry vocals and put the focus the lyrics. A pace is methodical and deliberate. When the percussion drops out for the break, the song takes on some nice atmosphere with the guitar taking center stage. After the break, heavy synths take over the melody with de Meyer’s voice sneaking up on you. The following track “Perpetuum Mobil” starts off with an almost hip-hop percussion before some chaotic synths come in and change things up. The song builds from there with some nice heavy guitar riffs and some excellent vocal work on the part of de Meyer. The story the song tells is compelling and worth listening to.

“xn+1=a*xn*(1-xn)” is probably one of the happiest, upbeat tracks I have ever heard on an EBM/industrial release. The vocals, completely in French, added to this emotion and a total feeling of speed and being hurried are transmitted effortlessly. While odd listening to it on its own, the song works well in the progression between “Perpetuum Mobil” and the following instrumental track “Lasercutter”. “The Attack On ZA4” starts with a droning synth sound before a steady beat joins in. The vocals on this track are reverbed and distorted, but the feeling rapidity continues with this track, especially with the up tempo bass line dominating the pace of the track. “Neighbors” is your more typical harsh EBM track, with the addition of some nice guitar. It is an easy song to move to and the vocals carry you along to the musical accents littered throughout the track. “MelangOhlm’s Hit And Run” starts of with some more atmospheric synth waves with de Meyer intoning some lyrics describing a future event. The song takes a moment to get going, but once it does, it is a shear sonic assault. Lots of evolution to this track taking it from simplicity to the complex seamlessly.

“A Tiny Foil Of Oil” picks up the tempo and introduces us to one of the best percussion tracks I’ve heard in quite some time. The vocals flow really well with this track and all of the synths surrounding the music and interesting and well done. Interesting harmonization is littered throughout the track for a nice effect. “A Tiny Foil Of Oil” takes us back to more traditional EBM, high energy beats, incessant syth lines really do well in this track. During the break, the track devolves into a unruly mass of sound which 32Crash skillfully tames back into the main melody. It is hard to quantify, but this song was easily one of my favorites on the album. The album ends with a “The Ol-Lesar Mass”, an almost ballad like track that teases with being a full on industrial metal track. The vocals are patterned after a catholic mass with constant imploring for the listener to pray for various aspects of the modern world that many have cited as being the bane of human existence.

There is a distinct melding of styles between the music of Implant and the vocals of de Meyer, this isn’t just Implant with a different singer, it is a true, and viable, project. This album is well worth the listen and the price. Those hoping to listen to a new Front 242 album will be disappointed, but then 32Crash isn’t meant to be Front 242 redux and for that we should be grateful. Those looking for something new, and undoubtedly good, should give this album the listening it deserves.

1. 100Y
2. Aliens On Earth
3. Dawning Sun
4. What Happened Here
5. The Man Who Came From Later
6. Into The Hole
7. Impressionist Piece For A Free Planet
8. Hyperreal
9. Kryptonically Yours
10. Elegy For Himself
11. Human Decomposition
12. Not Quite Human
13. Perpetuum Mobile
14. xn+1=a*xn*(1-xn)
15. Lasercutter
16. The Attack On ZA4
17. Neighbours
18. MelangOhlm’s Hit And Run
19. A Tiny Foil Of Oil
20. The Ol-Lesar Mass

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