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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Carbon 9

The Bull

Review by Gary Hill

Carbon 9 have created a disc that does a good job of combining metal and techno with bit of prog rock. I wouldn’t really say that it fits into any of those styles, but the metal and techno are both reflected throughout. It’s a strong release with no weak material. Despite the fact that techno is a limited musical genre, these guys vary it enough to keep it interesting. If there’s a question I have about it, though – it’s why they chose to end the disc with the most uncharacteristic (and strangest) stuff on show. I think a stronger closing blow might have been better.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
What Is It We're Made Of
The techno sound effect stuff that opens this feels a bit like some kind of a war at times. Vocals cover the top of this in a mellower techno meets metal kind of mode. This is a short piece.
Crawling Over Me

The track comes in with a rather techno meets space rock sound and then powers out into something closer to Rush meets Hawkwind. There is a definite metal edge to this, but it’s still got enough proggy elements to keep it from becoming pure metal.

My Friend

Here they scream out with pure techno. It’s tasty and rather catchy. There’s a funky bass line to parts of this and a killer guitar solo. The lyrics are quite angry.

Somebody Like Me

This one’s very much in a pure metal motif, but there are still some techno bits here – and even a little prog. It’s another screamer.

The Bull

There’s some serious metal crunch music on this one, but also a more pure techno approach to much of the track. It’s also got some killer funky bass work.

Mother

A cover of the Danzig hit, this is more techno in nature. It’s less heavy, but still rocks out quite well. It’s a good rendition and I like the fact that there’s more of an emphasis on the lyrics this way, but then again you can’t replace Glenn Danzig’s vocals.

Butterflies In My Head

This is a near perfect merging of techno with metal and even some metallic prog. It’s a great tune and a highlight of the disc.

For You

The opening of this is in a moody, keyboard based goth sound. They power it up to more real metal as the guitar jumps in, but drop it back for the next vocals – this time with a more fully arranged sound. They alternate between this pretty and melodic and sedate verse and the metal chorus.

This Life

This opens with moody sounds and a voice that says, “Life is wonderful.” The delivery and music here tells me that he’s being facetious. They take it out into more hard-edged techno styled music as they continue. There’s a weird (but very cool) interlude with some children singing the lyrics like a nursery rhyme. There’s also a screaming guitar solo. This is one of the best cuts on the disc.

Mary Mannequin

There’s a killer modern metal texture on this – combined with more prog metal sounds. It’s another highlight of the disc – either despite or because of its twisted lyrics. I like the faster paced, Sabbath-like riff later, too.

I'm Not Broken

Here’s a song about a man standing up to a woman’s attempt to change him. “You can’t fix me if I’m not broken.” This has a killer raunch rock riff and is high energy and tasty.

Loving You

Although the main impetus here is a modern metal sound there are some hints of Rush at points on this. I can also make out plenty of prog metal in the mix. The lyrics here, “Loving you has made me crazy,” makes it feel like a lyrical continuation of the previous piece. It closes with the brutal dig of “Loving you has made me hate me.”

I'm On My Own

The lyrics to this one talk about surviving adversity and self-reliance. It’s an empowering piece and the music’s prog metal textures do a nice job of conveying this. There’s a mellower movement on this that reminds me just a bit of Rush.

Lonely In Love

Alternating between a balladic styling and some catchy modern metal there are moments here that make me think of Rush. It’s a good tune, but not really a standout.

Tongues

This is an unusual track and a bit odd way to end the disc. It’s percussion based and quite Native American in style – at least at first. This style holds it for a while before they end it.

Unlisted Track
This is a  poetry reading with effects and other sounds as its backdrop. It’s strange, but quite cool. I’m just not sure it’s the best way to close this.
 
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