Microwaved - Jesse
Released off label 2014
A bit ago I remember being slightly impressed by Microwaved's "At The Heart of Death", a remix album featuring a Heart cover and a lot of different remixes from various artists based on past releases. Within that review, I stated that I would like to see more from Gabe Wilkinson, solo member of the band, rather than seeing what other artists can do with his material. As the music world goes, I got my wishes when Microwaved released "Jesse".
These are eleven tracks that deal with Wilkinson's personal issues; like many other musicians, he used his passion to help deal with the loss of his brother, a divorce, and his own demons of addiction. As he put, "This album is my catharsis, two years worth of tears, anger, loss and fear in 11 tracks."
The main theme of the album revolved around industrial rock and metal, but I even noted just some standard rock'n'roll elements peer out of the corner, as such is with the starting song 'Ascension'. Featuring Sean "Satyr" Tracy of PRODUKT, the album's guitar work beckons to classic rock in a sense, but the electronic elements keep it far away from that territory.
Inquisitor Izumaqi of dreDDup steps in the next more industrial metal inspired song "My Personal Judas'. While I could take his voice when things were quiet and played with ambient effects, his voice wasn't so delightful when the music cranked up and became more harsh. His deeper pitched voice was well fitting in the song, but I think the digital effects attached ruined it.
'World Destruction' hits off as the first song on the album that's completely done by WIlkinson himself. Definitely more on the industrial rock side of the spectrum, a gritty tone is formed and sticks throughout. His voice could use work, as he does sound a bit nasally, but thanks to some effects on his chords, it's not that notable.
Sean "Satyr" Tracy makes an appearance again alongside Daveoramma Seven of Society Burning in 'Dirty Politics'. If you have any sort of moral conscience, avoid playing this loudly around family, as the intro of the song features sounds from a porno. Or something of the sort. Anyway, riveting clashes of drums and guitars and vocals that sound emotional, but not the most emotional, take over in a fantastic way. Also, the synth work was pretty on spot here.
Darrin C. Huss of Psyche comes in on the next song, 'Broken on the Floor', and more dirty industrial rock with a sort of dark, poppy underlying beat takes over. I think the mix was odd, but worked, but also wasn't my favorite.
I absolutely adored 'Monster & The Girl''s introduction, as it reminded me of the opening to a very well done horror film, one that perhaps hasn't been written yet. The synths within provide a sort of drone undertone to the song, disappearing during verse but reappearing during chorus. This was another well done song.
'Escape' had some decent guitar riffs within it, and came off much more hard than previous songs. Not technically brilliant, but it was definitely pleasing to the ears. Again, Wilkinson's vocals in this song, kind of spoken word, need work. They try to find rhythm but ultimately fail, and only when the guitar work and drums throttle up and over the vocals do they really find place within the mix.
'Breathe' I found to be a decent outing, perhaps one of the lesser tracks on the song and not so inspired as the others, I couldn't find much to say about it. 'Waste' featured Violette Syn on vocals. I do not doubt the prowess of her voice at all, but I think better balance was needed; her chords are audible, but sound weak in comparison to the instrumentation. And, if you're going to work with a talented singer, you probably want that person's voice to be heard and more prominent, if not, at least just as worthy of attention as the music. The last two songs kind of fall into already explored territory, so talking of them would be a bit of a waste of time.
Now, if you couldn't tell, I've had my fair share of bitching when it comes to 'Jesse'. This album is not perfect by far, but what it does is show off what Wilkinson can potentially become. There were a lot of moments of genius on this album, and then there were some moments that made me question motive. A lot of the collaborations worked off wonderfully, and Wilkinson's personal work was good, but he needs to find a good range for his vocals to fit. Either that, or he needs a new way of presenting his voice.
Other than that, however, I found a few favorites on this album, such as the first song 'Ascension' which was able to drag me right into the album. I'm sure that as time goes on Wilkinson's talent will expand and he'll be able to find an even sweeter spot for Microwaved's music, and I'll be looking forward to watching that growth.May 01 2015
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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