AEC - Hate Life
Electro-Industrial, Dark Electro This album is a much-delayed release by Tyler Newman, better known for his work as Battery Cage and Informatik. It's worth noting from the outset that these recordings, whilst only just seeing the light of day, are between ten and fifteen years old. And this recording certainly has the feel of a late-90's electro-industrial/dark electro project, the era after the brief flirtation with industrial metal guitars was largely done with, but before the invasion of six billion cookie-cutter Hocico wannabes. This is equal parts Bill Leeb-school cybernetic rhythm throb and Velvet Acid Christ-style dark electronic loathing of everything and everyone.

So, my kind of thing, then. In principle. How does it stand up with the benefit of more than a decade of hindsight? It certainly starts in promising fashion, the creeping synth pulse, slow beat pulse and gravel vocals of the title track transporting us immediately back a decade or so. Only for a massive 'HATE LIFE!' chorus to burst out of nowhere. The songs continues to fluctuate between it's various phases, each of them featuring detailed programming and a competent sense of purpose, but somehow the finished song amounts to less than the sum of it's parts.

"Obsession/Compulsion" breaks out the jackhammering drum machine bursts that were once commonly in this genre, but not been heard since the turn of the millennium. The track is a ponderous affair, once again with an explosive chorus providing the highlight. It's on "Burned Alive" that the dancefloor beats really kick in, a straightforward but well-executed combination of aggressive beats and pulsating synths, vocaled snarled out over the mix. This is the kind of thing I build DJ sets out of. It's a pity there's so much competition!

"Drug Fix" is slower but no less effective, a glorious hateful account of the lives of those reliant on drugs. Things get schizophrenic again on "Jealous Much", an urgent, rough synth lead dominating the opening phase of the song before switching to a slower chorus, and then proceed to switch between various other phases, re-visiting and moving on from each seemingly at will. Someone is going to tell me that this is a masterpiece of songcraft, but it all just seems a bit haphazard to my eardrums.

"Echolalia" sees a move to female vocals and a darkwave sound, mournful keyboard melodies layered over an equally funereal stomp. The vocal performance is actually quite strong and the atmosphere generated quite effective, but once again structural flaws result in a composition that outstays it's welcome by a minute or so. "Evil Inside" takes the pace up once more, scattershot drumming providing a lively backdrop to the usual synthetic machinations and vocal drone.

"Freezing To Death" is another slow crawler (with the male vocals this time) that I'm running out of fresh ways to describe. The album proper finishes with "Afterlife", all echoed keyboard stabs, with some deeply reverbed percussion thumping away in the background. Certainly it sets the mood as an album closer, but I wouldn't listen to it on it's own.

There are three remixes to finish things off. Pneumatic Detach's mix unfortunately swamps or simply removes too much of the original song's best parts to win any support from me. Grenadier takes "Echolalia" in a minimal techno direction, and hence will probably every stiff barring those few people that really 'got' Haujobb's late 90s output when Herr Myer himself went in a similar direction. Infrastructure adds a teeth-clinchingly harsh drum loop to "Jealous Much?" and again, it's a case of 'if you like that kind of thing'. And I didn't.

I have to say I found this a very frustrating album to listen to. Conceptually, the essential 'sound' of AEC is one I like. At it's best moments, it brings back memories of some of my favourite industrial bands at their peak. But somehow the composition of the songs just didn't click with me. Whatever elaborate structural concept was at work here, I just didn't get it. Too often, the tracks would just cut to another line of attack just when I was enjoying myself. But this review is the voice of one man. If this is your style of choice, by all means give it a go. You might get what I didn't.
3
Brutal Resonance

AEC - Hate Life

This album is a much-delayed release by Tyler Newman, better known for his work as Battery Cage and Informatik. It's worth noting from the outset that these recordings, whilst only just seeing the light of day, are between ten and fifteen years old. And this recording certainly has the feel of a late-90's electro-industrial/dark electro project, the era after the brief flirtation with industrial metal guitars was largely done with, but before the invasion of six billion cookie-cutter Hocico wannabes. This is equal parts Bill Leeb-school cybernetic rhythm throb and Velvet Acid Christ-style dark electronic loathing of everything and everyone.

So, my kind of thing, then. In principle. How does it stand up with the benefit of more than a decade of hindsight? It certainly starts in promising fashion, the creeping synth pulse, slow beat pulse and gravel vocals of the title track transporting us immediately back a decade or so. Only for a massive 'HATE LIFE!' chorus to burst out of nowhere. The songs continues to fluctuate between it's various phases, each of them featuring detailed programming and a competent sense of purpose, but somehow the finished song amounts to less than the sum of it's parts.

"Obsession/Compulsion" breaks out the jackhammering drum machine bursts that were once commonly in this genre, but not been heard since the turn of the millennium. The track is a ponderous affair, once again with an explosive chorus providing the highlight. It's on "Burned Alive" that the dancefloor beats really kick in, a straightforward but well-executed combination of aggressive beats and pulsating synths, vocaled snarled out over the mix. This is the kind of thing I build DJ sets out of. It's a pity there's so much competition!

"Drug Fix" is slower but no less effective, a glorious hateful account of the lives of those reliant on drugs. Things get schizophrenic again on "Jealous Much", an urgent, rough synth lead dominating the opening phase of the song before switching to a slower chorus, and then proceed to switch between various other phases, re-visiting and moving on from each seemingly at will. Someone is going to tell me that this is a masterpiece of songcraft, but it all just seems a bit haphazard to my eardrums.

"Echolalia" sees a move to female vocals and a darkwave sound, mournful keyboard melodies layered over an equally funereal stomp. The vocal performance is actually quite strong and the atmosphere generated quite effective, but once again structural flaws result in a composition that outstays it's welcome by a minute or so. "Evil Inside" takes the pace up once more, scattershot drumming providing a lively backdrop to the usual synthetic machinations and vocal drone.

"Freezing To Death" is another slow crawler (with the male vocals this time) that I'm running out of fresh ways to describe. The album proper finishes with "Afterlife", all echoed keyboard stabs, with some deeply reverbed percussion thumping away in the background. Certainly it sets the mood as an album closer, but I wouldn't listen to it on it's own.

There are three remixes to finish things off. Pneumatic Detach's mix unfortunately swamps or simply removes too much of the original song's best parts to win any support from me. Grenadier takes "Echolalia" in a minimal techno direction, and hence will probably every stiff barring those few people that really 'got' Haujobb's late 90s output when Herr Myer himself went in a similar direction. Infrastructure adds a teeth-clinchingly harsh drum loop to "Jealous Much?" and again, it's a case of 'if you like that kind of thing'. And I didn't.

I have to say I found this a very frustrating album to listen to. Conceptually, the essential 'sound' of AEC is one I like. At it's best moments, it brings back memories of some of my favourite industrial bands at their peak. But somehow the composition of the songs just didn't click with me. Whatever elaborate structural concept was at work here, I just didn't get it. Too often, the tracks would just cut to another line of attack just when I was enjoying myself. But this review is the voice of one man. If this is your style of choice, by all means give it a go. You might get what I didn't. Sep 27 2012

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
19
Shares

Buy this release

Bandcamp

Related articles

AEC - 'Sex.Drug.Sequence'

Review, Sep 06 2014

Shortly about us

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

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016