Halo In Reverse - King O EP
Industrial Rock, Electrorock It's a bit of a reviewers cliche to say something "sounds like Nine Inch Nails", but I've generally found what they mean is "synths, guitars and angry man behind the mic". But in this case I can't really avoid it. The early Halo In Reverse material had a competent but somewhat generic industrial rock feel about it, but now Joshua Steffen (where have I heard one man = band before) has nailed the Nails sound.

It's an EP, so we only get two original songs. The title track is the one that best defines the Halo direction of the present. The song is led by an aggressive, in-your-face fuzzy lead line, which I think is a synth but it might as well be a heavily processed guitar line (where have I thought that before?). The anguished snarl that provides the vocal is a decent backbone for the song, a middle-fingered slice of 2010's social commentary that is reminiscent of the latter-day NIN sound heard on "Only" and "Survivalism".

That's surprising, given that Halo In Reverse's official promotional material claims comparisons are more often made with early NIN material. This may just be a populist move... I mean who seriously likes the 00's NIN material more than the early stuff? As in listens to it more often, not just claim the fact in order to sound like they're more of an outlier than the average NIN fan that might have enjoyed 'Pretty Hate Machine' but ends up listening to nu-metal and dubstep because his local HMV doesn't sell any other industrial.

There's a decent haul of remixes on the EP, but being Alfa-Matrix, most of them are drawn from the same limited pool of bands who are seriously starting to delivery diminishing returns on each successive release from the label. One of the best remixes is from Josh himself, who delivers a simple-but-effective dance remix, more melodic and more DJ-friendly but otherwise leaving the original song intact.

Of the hired hands, Helalyn Flowers win the prize for messing around with the original song the least, replacing the original music with a thumping kick drum and throbbing synths, but letting the original vocal through the mix largely unscathed. The other mixes aren't as strong. Aesthetische provide a new musical backdrop that just doesn't fit the vocal neatly, while Crashtv show promise until they utterly screw up switching time signatures midway through.

The Diskonnekted remix is good in parts with a solid dance core, though the breakbeat interludes tend to disrupt the flow rather than add variety. Psy'Aviah take it too far the other way, relying too much on a dull bass pulse that knocks too much life out of the tune. Avi Ghosh's mix might mean something to those of you who actually get bowel-churning basslines and stop-start dynamics, but to me it's just a too-obviously adoption of current dance trends. Sorry, Avi. You got the wrong reviewer for that kind of stuff.

There is one other original song here called "The Tyrant", and it's certainly more akin to the Halo In Reverse recordings of old, a nice combination of riff blasts and a cheesy synth solo, the later being both a personal ear candy of mine and a nifty means of getting me out of having to compare this song with Broken-era NIN, Stabbing Westward, Sulpher, Gravity Kills, et al. Because none of them had the nerve to resort of a hook this tacky AND make it work.

Given the choice, I'd have liked a few more remixes of this one, but for now I'll have to settle for one. Luckily, it another one of Josh's home-brews, replacing the guitar bursts with an electronic pulse that adds a real groove to the original, a good variation. It certainly bodes well for whatever the next Halo In Reverse album is going to be called. But I'm in two minds as to whether I'll treat myself to the deluxe edition with the six billion remixes from the same ten artists. I'm in the bizarre situation of keenly anticipating the main album, yet already knowing exactly what the bonus disc sounds like!
4
Brutal Resonance

Halo In Reverse - King O EP

It's a bit of a reviewers cliche to say something "sounds like Nine Inch Nails", but I've generally found what they mean is "synths, guitars and angry man behind the mic". But in this case I can't really avoid it. The early Halo In Reverse material had a competent but somewhat generic industrial rock feel about it, but now Joshua Steffen (where have I heard one man = band before) has nailed the Nails sound.

It's an EP, so we only get two original songs. The title track is the one that best defines the Halo direction of the present. The song is led by an aggressive, in-your-face fuzzy lead line, which I think is a synth but it might as well be a heavily processed guitar line (where have I thought that before?). The anguished snarl that provides the vocal is a decent backbone for the song, a middle-fingered slice of 2010's social commentary that is reminiscent of the latter-day NIN sound heard on "Only" and "Survivalism".

That's surprising, given that Halo In Reverse's official promotional material claims comparisons are more often made with early NIN material. This may just be a populist move... I mean who seriously likes the 00's NIN material more than the early stuff? As in listens to it more often, not just claim the fact in order to sound like they're more of an outlier than the average NIN fan that might have enjoyed 'Pretty Hate Machine' but ends up listening to nu-metal and dubstep because his local HMV doesn't sell any other industrial.

There's a decent haul of remixes on the EP, but being Alfa-Matrix, most of them are drawn from the same limited pool of bands who are seriously starting to delivery diminishing returns on each successive release from the label. One of the best remixes is from Josh himself, who delivers a simple-but-effective dance remix, more melodic and more DJ-friendly but otherwise leaving the original song intact.

Of the hired hands, Helalyn Flowers win the prize for messing around with the original song the least, replacing the original music with a thumping kick drum and throbbing synths, but letting the original vocal through the mix largely unscathed. The other mixes aren't as strong. Aesthetische provide a new musical backdrop that just doesn't fit the vocal neatly, while Crashtv show promise until they utterly screw up switching time signatures midway through.

The Diskonnekted remix is good in parts with a solid dance core, though the breakbeat interludes tend to disrupt the flow rather than add variety. Psy'Aviah take it too far the other way, relying too much on a dull bass pulse that knocks too much life out of the tune. Avi Ghosh's mix might mean something to those of you who actually get bowel-churning basslines and stop-start dynamics, but to me it's just a too-obviously adoption of current dance trends. Sorry, Avi. You got the wrong reviewer for that kind of stuff.

There is one other original song here called "The Tyrant", and it's certainly more akin to the Halo In Reverse recordings of old, a nice combination of riff blasts and a cheesy synth solo, the later being both a personal ear candy of mine and a nifty means of getting me out of having to compare this song with Broken-era NIN, Stabbing Westward, Sulpher, Gravity Kills, et al. Because none of them had the nerve to resort of a hook this tacky AND make it work.

Given the choice, I'd have liked a few more remixes of this one, but for now I'll have to settle for one. Luckily, it another one of Josh's home-brews, replacing the guitar bursts with an electronic pulse that adds a real groove to the original, a good variation. It certainly bodes well for whatever the next Halo In Reverse album is going to be called. But I'm in two minds as to whether I'll treat myself to the deluxe edition with the six billion remixes from the same ten artists. I'm in the bizarre situation of keenly anticipating the main album, yet already knowing exactly what the bonus disc sounds like! Jun 27 2013

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
19
Shares

Buy this release

Bandcamp

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