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Autarkh – Form In Motion Award winner

Autarkh
Form In Motion
by Santiago Puyol at 02 June 2021, 10:16 PM

Coming from Tilburg, Netherlands and rising from the ashes of Avant-Metallers DODECAHEDRON, AUTARKH released their debut record "Form In Motion" past March 12th 2021. "Form In Motion" mixes elements of several Extreme Metal styles as well as Mathcore with IDM, Glitch, Ambient and Experimental Electronica, drawing as much from DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN or STRAPPING YOUNG LAD as they do from APHEX TWIN or AUTECHRE.

The album opens with the Ambient intro of "Primitive Constructs". Rattling sounds, atmospheric synths and what sounds like effect-heavy field recordings, paired together with guitar and noise soundscapes too. Chaotic and explosive outbursts give way to "Turbulence's" heavy mayhem.

Living up to its title, "Turbulence" features extremely distorted guitar riffs and a potent, mechanic mix of drums and electronic beats. Very Industrial and very Experimental at the same time. Its nasty chorus makes great use of a strong mix of harsh and clean vocals, even reaching for a nostalgic feel beneath the surface. The heavier sections carry a strong Blackened sound. Something about the chorus reminds me of THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE. The synths provide nice texture work. The song features a gorgeous, groovy break that taps into their influences, and even adds a bit of a Post-Rock sound in the mix. The music starts breaking, literally, towards the end.

"Cyclic Terror" comes next, bursting in manic, off-beat rhythmic patterns. It is so heavily syncopated that the track sounds almost broken. The use of dissonance surely makes for a dazzling experience. Very deep and very distorted bass, a brutal yet exhausting listen. The almost rapped growls are a nice touch. It ends up fading into pure ambience. "Impasse" follows, another interlude, this one filled with mechanical sounding, syncopated beats, sinister pounding bass and Gothic-tingled synth work. A necessary respite from the previous two tracks. Flows perfectly into the next track.

On "Introspectrum" the band channels NINE INCH NAILS and turn the heaviness up a notch, going for a purely menacing feel. Great guitar riffing and bass runs from Michel Nienhuis and David Luiten Another track that mixes elements of heavy IDM, Industrial and Glitch. The guitar/synth bends add a peculiar confusing effect to the whole thing. The vocalist seems to conjure Trent Reznor at times, especially on the middle range of his vocals. Quite a powerful chorus.

Another flawless transition goes into "Lost To Sight". Very proggy and complex guitar/synth lines. The track retains the manic, confusing feel of previous song but slows things down considerably to powerful effect. It is clearly the centerpiece of the album, a climax to everything that came before. It disolves into static before giving way to the ambient interlude that follows, the at times beautiful, at times deeply unsettling "Metacognition". Another respite in this punishing album.

"Clouded Aura" is the heaviest track on the record. Pure noise in some bits, evoking manic DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. When the synths and electronic elements become more prominent in the chorus the contrast is outstanding. Another song that gives me some subtle, "Phanerozoic II" vibes. The psychedelic, bass-driven, atmospheric break is simply otherwordly, it builds towards a massive crescendo.

Extremely glitchy and abrasive beats opens "Alignment". More half-rapped growls. Massive climax two thirds in, with amazing synth layering. Sadly, the production works against it a little bit. Gorgeous outro, filled with hypnotic and disorienting guitar bends. The sound ends up breaking for the outro track, "Zeit Ist Nur Eine Illusion", building from layers of noise. A deconstruction of sorts. A nice, ambient finale that hints at an endless cycle. A cycle of terror, quite possibly.

"Form In Motion" is a solid album that makes the most of its perfect tracklisting. The pacing of the album is one of its greatest strengths, as the band carefully constructs a set of songs that flow together with clear purpose. AUTARKH manages to build tension and release it in orderly fashion. The reckless spirit of the band, willing to experiment is another asset, even if AUTARKH becomes pray of its ambitions at times. The production is certainly the main offender here, and even in that regard, they do a more than decent job. If you are looking for an album that punishes your ears with pure sound at a moment and gives you a nice groove to move your head to at the next, then "Form In Motion" is exactly what you need!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Primitive Constructs
2. Turbulence
3. Cyclic Terror
4. Impasse
5. Introspectrum
6. Lost To Sight
7. Metacognition
8. Clouded Aura
9. Alignment
10. Zeit Ist Nur Eine Illusion
Lineup:
Michel Nienhuis – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Programming
David Luiten – Vocals, Guitars
Tijnn Verbruggen – Synthesis, Beat Design
Joris Bonis – Synthesis, Sound Design
Record Label: Season Of Mist
     


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