Impulse Control Disorder - Retroject
Released off label 2022
Released in November of 2021, Impulse Control Disorder made their return clear with the album “Retroject”. The ten-track album covers a ton of ground from the likes of synthpop, industrial, punk rock, post-punk, and so many other genres in between that it becomes hard to tell if I’m listening to just one project, or multiple. This is not a bad thing, however; having multiple influences in an album can create quite an exciting blend. And while Impulse Control Disorder is able to deliver on a lot of what he brings with “Retroject”, there are also quite a few misses on the album as well.
‘W.H.A.T.’ begins off the album and is an excellent blend of upbeat synthpop melodies and the roughness of industrial influences. It’s not quite a club-stomp worthy beat but a well-mixed production taking highlights from both genres to create an in-between piece. The effects on the vocals, while not quite falling into complete digitalized structure, adds a bit of a chorus or echo. Svornotten’s tone on the song is also filled with exaggeration – so, while he’s not taking himself too seriously, he’s also having a blast, which means I have a blast when listening. It’s a win-win situation.
‘Necessities’ is strictly influenced by EBM for sure with a steady bassline. However, during the verses the bassline is severely lacking; there’s no real emphasis on the beat or vocals, it’s just kind of bland. Svornotten cranks the song up during the chorus which is wonderful, filling out what was an otherwise dull song, but the in between verses simply lack. A bit of drum’n’bass takes over on ‘Icarus Wings’. The dirty underground beat is well structured and well suited; it’s no obnoxious but rather drives itself forward with interesting samples and musicianship. While the vocals do the song justice, I feel as if they can dominate the mix all too often which drowns out the music underneath. A better balance was needed.
I am not a fan of ‘Mysterious Angel’ at all. My curiosity peaked at the beginning of the song as upbeat synthpop elements play out. However, the way the vocals struggle to flow with the beat makes for a very disjointed piece. The random growls within the song uttering the title of the track didn’t fit that much, either; they sound as if they belong in an aggrotech track. ‘Love, hate, and machines’ is a fun and quirky, noisy and industrial-y track. It’s as if a bunch of retro-synthesizers obtained sentience and decided that their only goal in life was to make dance music – and this is the result. ‘Train Song’ kind of comes out of nowhere; the post-punk inspired single sees Svornotten, well, tackle that exact genre. Moody synthesizers come in the background, but the main attraction is the bass guitar and drum pads. If anything, maybe this is the start to a brand-new side-project? Whatever it is, it’s decent.
‘Nothing rattles, nothing shines’ brings us back into Impulse Control Disorder’s darker electronic territory. I believe that this is where Impulse Control Disorder is trying to head altogether; this is some pretty damn clean electro-industrial. Plenty of odd noises and attitude driven electronica keep the song fresh, with even the sound of a drill being used as an instrument. You can’t really get more INDVSTRIAL than that. But, seriously, this is the best song on the album. The final original track on the album, ‘StormWatch’, is a fast-paced dance track. I’m not sure if the raw sound coming from the drums was intentional, but it didn’t sit well with my ears towards the end of the song’s run.
Two additional songs are attached onto the album, a Ticklefist mix of ‘Necessities’ and a remix of ‘Nothing rattles, nothing shines’ done by Leaether Strip. The new mix of ‘Necessities’ is basically a punk rock rendition of the track; that genre has never really been my cup of tea so I can’t really pass judgement on it. But it certainly sounds the part. Leaether Strip does what Leaether Strip does best with ‘Nothing rattles, nothing shines’. Mister Larsen takes the electro-industrial track and turns it into a stompier, dark club track.
Impulse Control Disorder’s “Retroject” is an album that I can praise more than I can scold, but the bumps are there. Songs such as ‘W.H.A.T.’ and ‘Nothing rattles, nothing shines’ show me that ICD can create fascinating electronic works. But, there are also songs such as ‘Mysterious Angel’ that are barely pasted together and fall apart in the end. I can’t help but think that if ICD were to home in on a singular direction or genre to master that he’d do wonders. At the same time, part of the fun of ICD is seeing what crazy endeavor he’s getting into on the very next song. In either case, “Retroject” is what it is, positives and negatives combined. Six-and-a-half out of ten.
This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page.
Jan 29 2022
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.
Share this review
Buy this release