9th Evolution - Retro Americana
Industrial Rock, Electro 9th Evolution describe themselves as a revisionist noir, pop culture meld of rock/industrial/post punk pulp. They are a trio led by Nicholas Whitfield, and based in St Petersburg, Florida. 'Retro Americana' is a 17 track album which was released in April 2012.

Our opener is "The Extinction" which has a very retro sound from the very start. A fusion of noise, industrial and earlier rock music, its The Doors meets Foetus. Features some good guitar work, excellent menacing vocals, and synth lines which combine so well with the guitar, against a background of noise. "The Valves" is a more electro track in which the synths achieve a good valve sounding effect, guitars and vocals taking a less prominent role. But again the combination and overall effect is good, which to me is more noise rock than industrial.

"The Retro Americana" has a more industrial metal sound, with screaming guitars and vocals. Reminiscent of the early days of the crossover from Industrial to Industrial metal and rock, and bands like Killing Joke and leading on to Godflesh. "The Great Divider " continues in much the same but good way, an excellent fusion of rock instrumentation and electronic music gear. This one is also more melodic in places and has some great screaming and haunting synth lines working the guitars. Nicholas' vocals are as penetrating and menacing as ever.

We slow things down a little with an an eerie start in "The Attempt At Life", but some good drums and screaming vocals soon begin to build up into more aggressive and abrasive music. Contains some great guitar riffs once again, 9th Evolution are to Industrial Rock what Black Flag are to Hardcore Punk. "The Dirty Flag" continues in what is verging on the hardcore punk style, the previous track had hinted at, more punk than post-punk, although still much more complex and experimental in its entirety. Almost a contradiction in terms.

"The Shock" has a big synth and guitar sound, in parts reminiscent of the sound of the 70s rock bands like Focus. A much bigger sound than the post-punk perpetrators of Industrial Rock, but its kept grounded by a Fugazi like post-hardcore element. It sounds dark but so alive and like its meant to be heard live too. I just feel that no way this could ever be fully appreciated on a mp3. "The Great Pretender" has a kind of Lou Reed like start, building into some more big guitar sounds. It has very much an industrial/theatrical rock sound and quality to it, achieved mostly by the metal guitars and vocal combination.

"The Braided" has a melodic piano intro and vocals to suit in contrast to all that has gone before. Although the theatrical like element of the sound still remains, it shows more of what 9th Evolution are capable of. This one reminds me of Lou Reed singing "Vicious". "The Independent Dependency" reverts us back to the big rock sound. With the guitars driving throughout behind the aggressive vocals, which is really the key to most of this album.

"The Great Depression" is more post-hardcore sounding, less complex than much of the other album tracks yet far too complex to ever be described as punk, and reminiscent of Foetus. The slower piano intro returns in "The Trigger" and again a contrasting track in many ways. Similar in some ways to "The Braided", but much of the concentration on melody has been lost and the screaming vocals of the more industrial rock tracks remain.

"The Dripping Honey" brings a more ambient and experimental sound and really doesn't add anything for me. If I make any criticism of this album I know its going to be maybe that it goes on too long. This track creates a lot of atmosphere to me, but does little else. The guitar riff at the start of "The Wasted" at least picks up my interest, but soon I start to struggle again.

"The Fears Of The Dark" brings more of the post-hardcore/punk sound but again contains too many contrasts to retain my complete attention. In fact in places it completely loses me. "The Identity Crisis" once again seems to drift in too many directions from glam rock to thrash metal. The final track is the "The Great Successor" which at least is a little more redeeming. It has more the feel of an industrial ballad to it. The theatrical element returns and it sounds like some kind of industrial opera in nature. It works as we have been listening to a story all along and this is the end.


Conclusion:
Although 9th Evolution must have many influences and Big Black springs first to mind, in my opinion they have a quite unique industrial rock sound. Much of the album also seems to have a background of Whitehouse type power electronics. No doubt in my mind also that 9th Evolution are a great talent, and I hear their live shows more than match the good album. It is dark and full of hard synths and screaming guitars and vocals, yet is very polished. Their music has a kind of No Wave quality to it, as its not clearly definable and emphasizes musical texture over melody. Also apart from the other influences I have mentioned previously I am sure I can hear Suicide in there somewhere. Some will also make comparisons to NIN and Marilyn Manson.

My main criticism is that for me it goes on to long, and from track 12 to 16 it was as if I was suddenly switched off. My highlights are "The Extinction", and "The Braiding", two contrasting tracks. Most tracks stand on their own for me, and together they tell the story of 'Retro Americana' and I recommend it.
4
Brutal Resonance

9th Evolution - Retro Americana

9th Evolution describe themselves as a revisionist noir, pop culture meld of rock/industrial/post punk pulp. They are a trio led by Nicholas Whitfield, and based in St Petersburg, Florida. 'Retro Americana' is a 17 track album which was released in April 2012.

Our opener is "The Extinction" which has a very retro sound from the very start. A fusion of noise, industrial and earlier rock music, its The Doors meets Foetus. Features some good guitar work, excellent menacing vocals, and synth lines which combine so well with the guitar, against a background of noise. "The Valves" is a more electro track in which the synths achieve a good valve sounding effect, guitars and vocals taking a less prominent role. But again the combination and overall effect is good, which to me is more noise rock than industrial.

"The Retro Americana" has a more industrial metal sound, with screaming guitars and vocals. Reminiscent of the early days of the crossover from Industrial to Industrial metal and rock, and bands like Killing Joke and leading on to Godflesh. "The Great Divider " continues in much the same but good way, an excellent fusion of rock instrumentation and electronic music gear. This one is also more melodic in places and has some great screaming and haunting synth lines working the guitars. Nicholas' vocals are as penetrating and menacing as ever.

We slow things down a little with an an eerie start in "The Attempt At Life", but some good drums and screaming vocals soon begin to build up into more aggressive and abrasive music. Contains some great guitar riffs once again, 9th Evolution are to Industrial Rock what Black Flag are to Hardcore Punk. "The Dirty Flag" continues in what is verging on the hardcore punk style, the previous track had hinted at, more punk than post-punk, although still much more complex and experimental in its entirety. Almost a contradiction in terms.

"The Shock" has a big synth and guitar sound, in parts reminiscent of the sound of the 70s rock bands like Focus. A much bigger sound than the post-punk perpetrators of Industrial Rock, but its kept grounded by a Fugazi like post-hardcore element. It sounds dark but so alive and like its meant to be heard live too. I just feel that no way this could ever be fully appreciated on a mp3. "The Great Pretender" has a kind of Lou Reed like start, building into some more big guitar sounds. It has very much an industrial/theatrical rock sound and quality to it, achieved mostly by the metal guitars and vocal combination.

"The Braided" has a melodic piano intro and vocals to suit in contrast to all that has gone before. Although the theatrical like element of the sound still remains, it shows more of what 9th Evolution are capable of. This one reminds me of Lou Reed singing "Vicious". "The Independent Dependency" reverts us back to the big rock sound. With the guitars driving throughout behind the aggressive vocals, which is really the key to most of this album.

"The Great Depression" is more post-hardcore sounding, less complex than much of the other album tracks yet far too complex to ever be described as punk, and reminiscent of Foetus. The slower piano intro returns in "The Trigger" and again a contrasting track in many ways. Similar in some ways to "The Braided", but much of the concentration on melody has been lost and the screaming vocals of the more industrial rock tracks remain.

"The Dripping Honey" brings a more ambient and experimental sound and really doesn't add anything for me. If I make any criticism of this album I know its going to be maybe that it goes on too long. This track creates a lot of atmosphere to me, but does little else. The guitar riff at the start of "The Wasted" at least picks up my interest, but soon I start to struggle again.

"The Fears Of The Dark" brings more of the post-hardcore/punk sound but again contains too many contrasts to retain my complete attention. In fact in places it completely loses me. "The Identity Crisis" once again seems to drift in too many directions from glam rock to thrash metal. The final track is the "The Great Successor" which at least is a little more redeeming. It has more the feel of an industrial ballad to it. The theatrical element returns and it sounds like some kind of industrial opera in nature. It works as we have been listening to a story all along and this is the end.


Conclusion:
Although 9th Evolution must have many influences and Big Black springs first to mind, in my opinion they have a quite unique industrial rock sound. Much of the album also seems to have a background of Whitehouse type power electronics. No doubt in my mind also that 9th Evolution are a great talent, and I hear their live shows more than match the good album. It is dark and full of hard synths and screaming guitars and vocals, yet is very polished. Their music has a kind of No Wave quality to it, as its not clearly definable and emphasizes musical texture over melody. Also apart from the other influences I have mentioned previously I am sure I can hear Suicide in there somewhere. Some will also make comparisons to NIN and Marilyn Manson.

My main criticism is that for me it goes on to long, and from track 12 to 16 it was as if I was suddenly switched off. My highlights are "The Extinction", and "The Braiding", two contrasting tracks. Most tracks stand on their own for me, and together they tell the story of 'Retro Americana' and I recommend it. Aug 29 2012

Danya Malashenkov

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

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