No, this is definitely not a result of power play. Burton C. Bell and co. have undoubtedly released their most powerful, technical and monstrously epic album this year.
The Industrialist more importantly marks their return to concept albums, conveying the story of the eponymous entity “The Industrialist”, which steadily observes and gathers information about the human race and ultimately propagates their demise. Guitarist Dino Cazares and bassist Matt DeVries are at the top of their game here, working together to belt out skull-crushing riffs while Burton C. Bell sings in his signature style of alternating between roars of anger and rich operatic voice. Drummer Mike Heller had some humongous shoes to fill by replacing Gene Hoglan (listen to the song “Power-shifter” to catch my drift), but he shows through his hard-hitting complex drum rhythms that he’s not to be taken lightly. Moreover, all the songs on this album are moderately layered with the most doom-laden atmospheric synths, the finishing touch to Fear Factory’s soundtrack of the near post-apocalyptic future.
Recommended Songs: “Recharger”, “Depraved Mind Murder”
2. Ministry – “Relapse” :
I thank my lucky stars that this isn’t about George W. Bush anymore. Ministry were spiraling into oblivion with the half-baked, uninspired and grossly repetitive anti-Bush trilogy. But now they’re back with the aptly-titled Relapse, and they’re hungry for blood.
The band’s line-up might seem like a constantly revolving food platter with Al Jourgensen as the only center dish, but they come together to make Ministry sound the heaviest it’s ever been. The technicality, speed and ferocity of this album is bewildering, almost as if Skynet has suddenly programmed it’s terminators to play Reign in Blood. It steamrolls through the standard topics of corruption, political apathy, the music industry, and more recently the Occupy Movement, without letting the reins go for even a second. Jourgensen himself is quite an ambiguous factor here; his lyrics, choruses and slogans are notoriously simple here, but they contain more passion than he has ever mustered in years. All in all, this is certainly Ministry’s finest effort since The Land of Rape and Honey.
Recommended Songs: “Git Up Get Out ‘N Vote”, “United Forces”
3. Engel – “Blood of Saints” :
Engel’s innovative mix of melodic death metal and industrial has created waves in the metal scene, and their last album Threnody received rave reviews and great fan reception. Their latest offering Blood of Saints more or less achieves the same spectacle.
It’s not that the album pushes any boundaries in terms of it’s sound, partly because Threnody already broke them all. This time it’s just more melodic both in terms of guitars and synths. Fans who might be expecting Engel to again experiment in their sound might be somewhat disappointed. However, the band hasn’t downslided either, with pile driving tracks such as “Numb” and “Question Your Place”, the latter track being a stark experimentation of heavy metal with considerable traces of dub-step synths.
Engel might have toed the line this time in Blood of Saints, but this is also their most mature album to date. Now lets hope the recent departure of singer Magnus Klavborn doesn’t change things too much, because greater things can surely be expected now from this band.
Recommended Songs: “Numb”, “Question Your Place”
4. Mass Hysteria – “L’Armee Des Ombres” :
A foreign band playing crushing industrial metal with non-english lyrics. Was Rammstein your first answer? Then shift your eyes towards this juggernaut of a band from France.
Continuously hearing stories of Gojira’s much-delayed rise to fame must be galling for Mass Hysteria, especially since they started out 3 years before them.They have gone through all the motions of a typical band – debuting, establishing a signature sound, wildly experimenting with it, and then coming back to basics again – ultimately resulting in the tour de force that is this album. It positively screams industrial thrash, with huge, processed thrash riffs and bombastic drums, all propelled by a vocalist who sounds like a french Tommy Victor (and that’s not a bad thing at all). The gated synths and robotics bleeps add a very nice touch here, and the ultimate end result is industrial metal heaven with french subtitles.
If you can just conquer your language barrier, and I strongly suggest you do, there would be absolutely no reason to miss this album.
Recommended Songs: “L’esprit Du Temps”, “Vertige Des Mondes”
5. Mnemic – “Mnemesis” :
The sonic template of Mnemic has always been quite impressive, with a fusion of genres like metalcore, melodic death metal, industrial metal and many others to form their own “future metal”. This time in Mnemesis, we find the band at their most experimental yet.
The sheer scope of this album is mind-boggling, with heavy guitars riffs and drums played along with lush string synths and basses and screaming as well as operatic vocals. Think Beethoven’s 7th symphony with a space-age update. Mnemic are going all-out here, with the result that Mnemesis gives off a strong progressive metal feel, at times almost to the point of becoming djent. However, within this album’s greatest strength also lies it’s one big flaw. It’s multitude of influences take out the crushing edge that fans have come to love about Mnemic’s sound, and very few tracks here have the ability to stay with you.
This album can take some time to grow on you, but be patient, give it a few spins and you won’t regret it.
Recommended Songs: “Mnemesis”, “Junkies On The Storm”