Youth Code - Commitment to Complications
Ah, Youth Code. At long last we meet. This is one of those extremely controversial bands that I have heard bitching, moaning, and grumbling over in all sorts of ways only to then hear complete praise the next moment. So, I thought it would be nice to listen to the upstart band whose career skyrocketed in 2015 as they toured with the legendary Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, and Haujobb which is a dream come true for almost every single industrial/EBM band involved in the current scene. And so I crawled to Dais Records as they recently released Youth Code's sophomore album Commitment to Complications.
Given the scene's recent transition from EDM/crossover branded music to a huge love for WaxTrax! era music and old school industrial, you would think that the scene is almost going backwards instead of forwards. But I do think this movement is a good one; I love aggrotech and harsh EBM and what have you, but I feel the aggressors behind the movement have grown stale and has become saturated with bedroom producers who cannot take criticism to save their life. However, bands such as Youth Code and 3TEETH have been bringing the industrial movement to the mainstream which is shocking in this day and age.
Anyway, Commitment to Complications follow Ryan George and Sara Taylor on their journey to becoming industrial legends. I will start with the basics: the cover art. Yes, an image on a package usually means nothing when it comes to the music, but sometimes presentation is important. What I like about it is how the art follows no tropes, no industry trends; it tries not to be anything yet it manages to be something. The image of a kid with worried eyes holding a lantern in a jester outfit is quite stilling in the mind, and it's something that won't be forgotten soon.
When it comes down to listening to this album - and I really don't care how you prefer listening to music - you should be listening to it either live or through studio headphones. Thanks to the careful ear of Front Line Assembly's Rhys Fulber who served as producer on the album, every beat, synth, and lead is well in place. I can also just hear his influence on certain songs such as 'The Dust of Fallen Rome' as the immaculately placed synth line in the background of the chorus is just bleeds his name and style. If I'm wrong, well, Youth Code and the legendary producer have a lot of things in common.
Thanks to Sara Taylor's raging vocal performance and George's impeccable manipulations placed on her chords, there is never a song on the album that feels less engaging than the previous. I'd go so far as to say that the album becomes more and more addicting as it leads on. Her absolute rebellious attitude and character is shown off best in heavier synth songs such as 'Glass Spitter' and the title track; this woman is a force to be reckoned with. That said, both her and George's knack of creating old school industrial that slightly mixes with strung out dance synths is grandiose. This should be able to please fans of both the old and newer schools of industrial, though I can still see rivetheads having gripes over Youth Code's choices; I am not one of those people.
I shan't strike down the guests featured on the album either. Frontman Todd Jones of the hardcore/punk outfit Nails lends his gruesome shredding skills on 'Shift of Dismay', allocating it to industrial rock/metal's heyday in the 90s. Metal vocalist for Goatwhore Ben Falgoust offers up his deep and roaring Satanic vocals to the title track, pairing next to Sara Taylor. It would be a fucking show to see these two perform on stage next to one another.
Now that I've had my chance to experience Youth Code for myself, I can set aside everyone else's opinion and only think of my own. Youth Code is a delightful, raw edged powerhouse that is in your face and they know it. They embrace it. They love it. Commitment To Complications' is an endearing showcase of their love for not only industrial and EBM as a whole, but a wide array of rebellious and anti-everything attitudes. For this I praise Youth Code, and you will have to excuse me now as I feel the need to log into my twitter account and hashtag Youth Code Forever.
Apr 15 2016
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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