Encephalon - The Transhuman Condition
Electro-Industrial, Dark Electro It's time to make it official, and record in the annals of history that 2011 is quite frankly one of the best years in memory for debut albums. It's late December, I have finally made a top 20 albums list, and out of the blue, the whole thing is torpedoed into the nether, and I'm back to square one.

Encephalon, following 2009's self-released 'Drowner' EP are a three piece (or at least credited as such on TTHC) from Ottawa, Canada, recently signed to Dependent - usually enough to pique the interest of most of the alternative electronica collective.

Having heard various snippets, including the astonishing 'The Claw' (from the 'Necromentia' soundtrack), and the 'Rising Sun' remix of 'Daylight' (From Deathwatch Asia's 'Direct World Action for Japan' relief-aid compilation), I already knew that this album was going to be gargantuan and triumphant.

As expected, 'Rise' (from the Das Bunker comp) features on here, and they've made it the opening track, in what will go down as a very, very intelligent move. It sums up Encephalon perfectly. It's progressive Electro-Industrial with a combination of mixed clean, screamy, and altered vocals, and the very closest I can really come to comparing this is by merging Fractured, and label-mates Acretongue. There's a beautiful female choral section flowing through one of the bar changes on this track that imprints itself immediately as a favourite.

Title track 'Transhuman Condition' is the easiest to follow Encephalon blueprint, whereas most bands are easy to compare, visualise, describe and analyze, Encephalon have left me mesmerised, breathless, and uncharacteristically gobsmacked.

As you hear the fade of each track, you become immune to the shock and originality of it, before you're punched in the brain by the next track. There is nothing that falls short with this group, some of the lyrics are making me jealous that I didn't write them, and form a fantastic read if you own the CD version.

The original version of 'Daylight' manifests itself on here, followed by an older but essential track 'Garden' - one of my favourites, introducing the risky combination of deep and emotive lyrics, with a traditional but re-worked style of Dark Electro. Usually, this doesn't pay off unless the act really knows what it's doing, but Encephalon have bought them together in the sweetest caress, and Garden is honestly a modern masterpiece. When I first heard this track, I wrote off the remaining eight tracks, and resigned this to peaking too soon.

Fortunately, 'The Killing Horizon' cleverly lives up to its title and blows previous tracks out of the water, making the importance of track order blatantly obvious. It's a slower number that builds up to an opus, and some of the albums strongest lyrical content :

'So just let it end here, with your claws sunk in tight, to every other black mailed knight in shattered armor, kissed black by a poison tongue' - it's angst, without the awkward and irritating drama and eyeliner-driven tantrums.

This track is followed up by my favourite, 'Mariana's Trench', named after the deepest location on earth, and it sounds almost like it fits in with it nicely. It goes from refrain, to break, to style change, to fast tempo, to aggressive, dark ambient style bass, to clean, hardcore style vocals, and then finally unleashes a backdrop of sombre rumination. I'll cut it short of detailing all of the last 6 tracks, but in particular, 'A Lifetime of Puppetry' is simply addictive, with it's wholly unique and segregated sound, and the hint of vocoder that empassions the chorus - it's a song about people who are 'sheep', and it's one many in this scene seem to quote and relate to.

The other track I must highlight is 'Human Shield', which is just another emphatic boot to the face of anyone who doubted this group.
See, 'Transhuman Condition' has some of the most technical sounding, unheard and completely refined electronic sounds and synth sections I've heard, and unlike almost every positive review I do write, this one sounds like nothing I've heard before, in ANY way.

Top 3 of the year, and at the last goddamn minute. Well Played.
5
Brutal Resonance

Encephalon - The Transhuman Condition

It's time to make it official, and record in the annals of history that 2011 is quite frankly one of the best years in memory for debut albums. It's late December, I have finally made a top 20 albums list, and out of the blue, the whole thing is torpedoed into the nether, and I'm back to square one.

Encephalon, following 2009's self-released 'Drowner' EP are a three piece (or at least credited as such on TTHC) from Ottawa, Canada, recently signed to Dependent - usually enough to pique the interest of most of the alternative electronica collective.

Having heard various snippets, including the astonishing 'The Claw' (from the 'Necromentia' soundtrack), and the 'Rising Sun' remix of 'Daylight' (From Deathwatch Asia's 'Direct World Action for Japan' relief-aid compilation), I already knew that this album was going to be gargantuan and triumphant.

As expected, 'Rise' (from the Das Bunker comp) features on here, and they've made it the opening track, in what will go down as a very, very intelligent move. It sums up Encephalon perfectly. It's progressive Electro-Industrial with a combination of mixed clean, screamy, and altered vocals, and the very closest I can really come to comparing this is by merging Fractured, and label-mates Acretongue. There's a beautiful female choral section flowing through one of the bar changes on this track that imprints itself immediately as a favourite.

Title track 'Transhuman Condition' is the easiest to follow Encephalon blueprint, whereas most bands are easy to compare, visualise, describe and analyze, Encephalon have left me mesmerised, breathless, and uncharacteristically gobsmacked.

As you hear the fade of each track, you become immune to the shock and originality of it, before you're punched in the brain by the next track. There is nothing that falls short with this group, some of the lyrics are making me jealous that I didn't write them, and form a fantastic read if you own the CD version.

The original version of 'Daylight' manifests itself on here, followed by an older but essential track 'Garden' - one of my favourites, introducing the risky combination of deep and emotive lyrics, with a traditional but re-worked style of Dark Electro. Usually, this doesn't pay off unless the act really knows what it's doing, but Encephalon have bought them together in the sweetest caress, and Garden is honestly a modern masterpiece. When I first heard this track, I wrote off the remaining eight tracks, and resigned this to peaking too soon.

Fortunately, 'The Killing Horizon' cleverly lives up to its title and blows previous tracks out of the water, making the importance of track order blatantly obvious. It's a slower number that builds up to an opus, and some of the albums strongest lyrical content :

'So just let it end here, with your claws sunk in tight, to every other black mailed knight in shattered armor, kissed black by a poison tongue' - it's angst, without the awkward and irritating drama and eyeliner-driven tantrums.

This track is followed up by my favourite, 'Mariana's Trench', named after the deepest location on earth, and it sounds almost like it fits in with it nicely. It goes from refrain, to break, to style change, to fast tempo, to aggressive, dark ambient style bass, to clean, hardcore style vocals, and then finally unleashes a backdrop of sombre rumination. I'll cut it short of detailing all of the last 6 tracks, but in particular, 'A Lifetime of Puppetry' is simply addictive, with it's wholly unique and segregated sound, and the hint of vocoder that empassions the chorus - it's a song about people who are 'sheep', and it's one many in this scene seem to quote and relate to.

The other track I must highlight is 'Human Shield', which is just another emphatic boot to the face of anyone who doubted this group.
See, 'Transhuman Condition' has some of the most technical sounding, unheard and completely refined electronic sounds and synth sections I've heard, and unlike almost every positive review I do write, this one sounds like nothing I've heard before, in ANY way.

Top 3 of the year, and at the last goddamn minute. Well Played.
Dec 29 2011

Nick Quarm

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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