Back in the 1990’s, along with the presidency of Bill Clinton, the original airing of “Twin Peaks”, and the mistake that was jnco’s, two bands rose to the forefront of the independent rock and punk scene. One was Nirvana, a band that went on to wildly exceed the popularity of other punk rock peers, but always managed to maintain an essence of “true” punk; balancing their gritty, sludgy attacks with undeniable hooks that constantly kept the listener humming along. The other band, however, were shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine and, while never receiving the same level of public success as Nirvana, managed to receive some of the highest critical praise ever, pushing the newly emerging genre forward and showing just what a band could do with the right amount of guitar pedals and ingenuity. Both bands were influential in their own right, and helped to shape the era that was the 1990’s, helping it to produce some of the best (and worst; Dave Matthew’s Band) rock music ever.
Watching a band develop over the years is a privilege that is hard to describe. But I’ll give it a shot. A few years ago I caught From Sorrow To Serenity on a stacked line up in one of Glasgow’s smaller metal venues. Their showmanship, technical ability and music left me with no doubt that the band were heading places.
Skip forward a couple of years and their first full length has been released. Remnant Of Humanity is a colossal groove train of a record. Snapping up guest appearances from members of Bleed From Within, Betraying The Martyrs and Thy Art Is Murder, the album has been spun on national radio, spread all over the worldwide metal blogisphere and has the band supporting deathcore heavyweights Fit For An Autopsy on their upcoming UK tour. I pestered Steven Jones, the axeman and dial wizard from the band about where the From Sorrow To Serenity took shape. Bonne.
Last week we launched the inaugural Connecting the Dots feature, where we looked at Caligula’s Horse and other bands that have shared members with it. Those with a good memory will know that one of the projects we looked at was Arcane, and in particular 2015’s opus Known/Learned. A little known fact is that the session bassist on Known was none other than Brendan Brown of Ne Obliviscaris, and thus it is with NeO that our second edition will be focused upon.
The demand of a reviewer to come to an album with no preconceived notions is absurd. As humans, there’s no possible way for us to approach an album with a completely clean slate; we’ll always have our prejudices, expectations and ideas about how an album will sound like. The true demand from a good music journalist (and any journalist, if we’re being honest) is mental flexibility. The ability to discard preconceived notions in the face of the facts of the album is where true integrity lies; if you’re too possessive about them, you won’t be able to properly appreciate the works of art that you are faced with. More than that, these preconceived notions are useful tools, enabling us to relate and understand our fans, who have the same ideas and expectations. Thus, we need to learn how to connect and channel them, making sure that the tools don’t become the masters.
What in heaven’s name does this have to do with Perturbator? Well, this is where things get personal. You see, I had always liked Perturbator’s music but felt, at the same time, that there was more potential to be tapped. Dangerous Days is a great album but one which, I feel, could have been a fantastic album if more variation had been added into the breakneck rhythm’s. Lying dormant beneath the furious dedication to darkwave barrages, crouched in wait below the thrumming, never-ending, neon-tinged tracks, I could feel some sort of future flowering waiting for space to breathe. To be sure, there are plenty of ambient tracks on there but they felt tacked on, an afterthought rather than a true, organic part of the album. Sure, “Minuit” and “Hard Wired” existed but they were somehow lacking, not fully realized in their deviance.