ESA: Themes of Carnal Empowerment Pt.1: LUST CD Tympanik Audio
So, here we have the first chapter of the swansong to Electronic Substance Abuse; I do hope in all sincerity this is all smoke and mirrors as I enjoy the works of Jamie Blacker’s main project immensely.
This is ESA’s fourth studio album and fifth full-length if we include his last remix CD and there has been evident growth since his 2006 debut ‘Devotion, Discipline and Denial’, culminating with the impressive and progressive ‘The Sea & the Silence’, which I felt was true representation of what modern Industrial music should sound like.
The benchmark had been raised somewhat with that last opus and it’s fitting that this latest instalment should have taken so long to surface if he was to better it; it is of no surprise then that ‘Themes…’ is an absolute barnstormer of a release from start to finish.
Clarity and punch are key factors to the clear musical statement that ESA is making; machine gun precision with regards to beat-work, almost mechanical in it’s approach is the necessary ingredient that fluidly gels this release from the opener and marching ‘Red Passage Overture’ right through to track 10, ‘This is Not Love’, upon which the whole release erupts with the finale, ‘Loss (Prurient Symphony)’; a brutal rampage into all out power electronics, reminiscent of some of the finer works of Noise/Girl and such like.
I have to applaud the variation that Jamie has unleashed on us with this latest album, once again exploring the many styles of industrial that reside under its ever-growing umbrella. Take the title track with its drawling vocalisations, immediately bringing comparisons to ‘Dogma’ from KMFDM’s 1996 album ‘Xtort’, or ‘The Relevant Flesh’ which will remind some of the youngsters in the scene vaguely of Combichrist (albeit a hell of a lot better); place these alongside the best distorted beat you are most likely gonna hear on the market right now (or power noise if you must use that ridiculous term), with a flair for cinematic ambience and you have a prime example of industrial at its very best.
The upshot of all this is that I am split with feelings right now; on the one hand we have Pt. 2 to look forward to, but on the flip side of the coin when that day comes, it may just be that last we hear from this project; the genre will be a far emptier place if that truly is the case.