Non Toxique Lost - VLUS
This review was commissioned. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
My last outing with Non Toxique Lost wasn’t a pleasant one; their release “LA DERNIÈRE SECTION D'UNE LONGUE CHANSON” was a collection of the same song remixed around ten times. At the end of the review, I remember typing out that I wanted to see how they would fair with an album of original material, as there were hints of genius throughout the remix collection. Well, today that question is being answered as Non Toxique Lost have recently released their eleven-track album “VLUS”. Unfortunately, due to repetitious behavior, “VLUS” doesn’t do much more to improve my spirits.
The album starts off with an interesting enough noise piece titled ‘keep out’. It sounds like the texture one would find in a distorted horror movie, amping up tension and generally crafting a sense of uneasiness. The stroking of guitar strings gives a chugging sound like a train, and the other samples throughout only add to the chaos. Unfortunately, it’s a repetitive track that has the base structure repeat itself for its one-and-a-half-minute duration. Though it lasts under two-minutes, hearing the same, redundant sound for that period just had me asking, “Well, what comes next?” And nothing ever did.
The follow up track ‘aschekreuz’ commits to the same issue. Pounding industrial textures take the stage this time around. It’s ear-catching and grabbed my attention immediately. There’s a good sense of tone here, too; unlike other noise bands, Non Toxique Lost isn’t trying to absolutely blow your speakers out just to be edgy. There’s thought behind the noise, and the production is better than most of the bedroom projects you’ll find within the niche genre. But, again, that industrial clash that begins the song repeats throughout; from start to end, aside from a few samples (and even then those are reused over and over), the song hardly changes. While it’s not annoying, it’s boring.
Moving onto ‘nicht bereit’ which taps into the origins of rhythm-based industrial music, I was interested in how the song would develop. Like an early electro-industrial track is a bassline formed in a lo-fi sense, evoking imagery of underground clubs and DIY magazines. The initial momentum is, once again, brought down by the fact that once Non Toxique Lost has a sound that they like, they stick with it and become stagnant. Rather than progressing, experimenting like their idols did, Non Toxique Lost become stuck in their ways and refuse to budge. And I’m not sure if it’s an artistic choice, laziness, or poor sound design. But, either way, it needs to be fixed somehow.
And I suppose that’s the real shame about “VLUS”. There are so many interesting beats, sounds, and general experiments on the album that harken back to industrial’s origins. More often than not, however, is that creativity thwarted due to a lack of experimental behavior – which is a shame considering that Non Toxique Lost has a ton of experimental influences and even tag themselves as such on platforms such as Bandcamp. But when I sit there and listen to a song that has a non-stop bassline that continue from start to end with no break, or a repetitive beat that ceases for three, four-minutes at a time, I’m only wishing that I was doing something else.
The first three tracks that I spoke of and the problems therein stick throughout “VLUS”, and to continue talking about the album would be redundant. For each of the following songs I would write something similar such as, “I was really enjoying this song for XYZ reasons, but then the beat repeated itself and there went that.” And that’s from the first track of ‘keep out’ until the very end with ‘locken sie uns’. While “VLUS” is better than “LA DERNIÈRE SECTION D'UNE LONGUE CHANSON”, it’s still a mediocre effort at best. Five out of ten.Oct 30 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.
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