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Electromancy – Technopagan

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 09 January 2022, 4:08 AM

All instruments are played by a series of hardware electronics and robotics custom designed by Satyra. Satyra began designing these robots when they fell sick with Lyme disease in 2018, significantly limiting their hand use due to nerve issues, among other symptoms. Their ‘bandmates’ are a series of manikins with their faces carved out and bodies filled with LEDs to create a light show synchronized with the music during video and live performances. The album contains twelve tracks.

“Mechanical Chatter (YCLF)” opens the album…a very short introductory piece with a steady pulse of metal clattering. “The Spark” begins with more metal sounds, machine gun drumming, and harsh spoken words. The pulsing of metal continues throughout, and more instruments join in. The sound is interesting, and when you think of the fact that the composer had to program electronics to make what you are listening to, it makes you smile, because Metal has always been an inclusive community.

From the point forward, it is noteworthy to mention that the “Mechanical Chatter” tracks (five in total) that precede the longer tracks are just brief, intro pieces that give you an idea of what is to come. “Disabled” might speak to the anger or frustration that Satyra felt along the journey of creating an album, or maybe he didn’t. The sterile quality of the music is somewhat expanded by snippets of melody among the deadly harsh vocals. “Soot and Sulfur” opens with simulated guitars and clean, harmonized vocals. The mood is tense and you feel something lurking in the background.

“Glasshole” is close to nine minutes in length. Drums roll forward with a machine gun quality, while a simple riff is repeated over and over again. As it moves forward, layering begins. The metallic sounds can get stuck in your head if you don’t read between them and look deeper. This song is almost a free jam, building off the main riff throughout. “Warpaint Makeup” begins with a heavy and assertive riff, and deep, disturbing harsh vocals. It reminds me of the beginning of “Cygnus X-1” by RUSH. From there, the electronica ventures out a bit into uncharted territory. Towards the end, the sound drops to just light drumming and some eerie background ambiance, before finishing strong on a gathering of all instruments.

“You Cannot Live Forever” is a shorter song that opens with just drumming and spoken words…”you cannot stay forever” the voice beguiles. From there, the sound expands to brutal, deadly tones of spoken words and a steady pulse of electronics. “My Body is Failing Me” closes the album, with perhaps the most punishing sound yet. Dissonant electronics attack and then retreat several times. The creation here is harrowing and impossibly loud at the same time. Imagine how intensely you might feel the loss of feeling in your hands, and in your body. You would want to reach out and scream to the heavens above…why? But instead, Satyra decided to get down to business, and create a landscape of music that reflective of how he was feeling.

Overall, this was at the very least something that every Metalhead should experience. A musician becomes stricken with a disease that limits his hand usage, so what does he do? He creates electronic markers to get his message across. The plethora of different sounds he extracts from the robotics is impressive. I found the album walked me through more emotions that what I had initially expected, and the deeper I got into it, the deeper the sound became. This is an excellent release, and imagine with his guy could do if he had the full use of his hands? Fascinating, and provocative, and his pain, but also his triumph, deeply felt.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Mechanical Chatter (YCLF)
2. The Spark
3. Mechanical Chatter (tS)
4. Disabled
5. Mechanical Chatter (tS II)
6. Soot and Sulfur
7. Glasshole
8. Mechanical Chatter (AF)
9. Warpaint Makeup
10. Mechanical Chatter (MBiFM)
11. You Cannot Live Forever
12. My Body is Failing Me
Record Label: Metal Assault Records


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Edited 06 February 2023

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