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Menace - Impact Velocity

Menace
Impact Velocity
by H.P. Buttcraft at 16 May 2014, 2:57 AM

This band, believe it or not, is an international Super Group of world-class heavy metal musicians. For starters, Mitch Harris and Shane Embury, both from the band NAPALM DEATH and two names (and faces) that should be recognizable to die-hard heavy metal fans by now. You also have DRAGONFORCE’s Frédéric Leclercq appearing on here as well as Derek Roddy of BLOTTED SCIENCE and formerly of AURORA BOREALIS. Italian string master Nikola Manzan provides some really unexpected work here and there on “Impact Velocity” and his inclusion in this project brings musicians together from four different countries and two continents. If that isn’t the layout for a Super Group, I’d like you to show me better.

“Impact Velocity” is a perplexing progressive rock offering from this new project helmed by Mitch Harris a.k.a. Cygnus & Synergus. This androgynous alter ego is who tells the perspective of this album’s narrative. The voice goes from the hypnotic to monotonic and expresses itself as a character torn between the technological and the organic as well as the identities of masculine and feminine. It’s a fitting and comforting voice to hear on such an exploratory journey through futuristic sonic landscapes.

I really can’t compare MENACE to any other hard rock or heavy metal acts I know of at the moment although this album did remind me at times of the JUNIUS EP I reviewed earlier this year. It’s this same sense of post-rock flavored alternative but MENACE certainly brings a lot of 90’s industrial and heavy metal to the mix on ‘Impact Velocity’. Although the album does have songs on this album that are more Pop Art than Prog Rock like “I Live With Your Ghost” and “Painted Rust”, there are heavier moments like the songs “To the Marrow”, “Everything and Nothing” and “Drowning in Density”. Elements of STABBING WESTWARD, FEAR FACTORY, VOIVOD, and V.A.S.T. have been thrown into a blender with one of Satan’s personal fiddlers and out comes this string-laden industrial Progressive rock puzzle that would require me much more time to take apart and examine.

The music of MENACE is spatial but dark and ethereal. It certainly isn’t all that dark; no darker than any CYNIC record. But I would never in a million years imagine members of NAPALM DEATH, BLOTTED SCIENCE and DRAGONFORCE sounding like this. If that fact would have been brought to my attention before this review was written, I would happy to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised beyond my expectations for this super group.

Although the sound has an audibility set at a very easy level, this album doesn’t have all that much diversity or musical technicality. Each song stays within the boundaries and outlines of Mitch Harris’ mind; a creative power that effectively integrates itself into the music but comes off as two-dimensional at times. The album is also pretty lengthy and starts to lumber along on the track “Malicious Code”. On the album’s title track “Impact Velocity”, Harris attempts to collide his history of blast-beating heavy metal and Grindcore with his harmonizing vocal, Post-modern Progressive and Alternative visions and it doesn’t really mix in well and the song comes of as not only along the character of the album but just comes off as a big mess.

I cannot really put my finger on who would be the audience for MENACE. Maybe industrial fans but there are really not enough EDM elements for me to point towards industrial so hastily. Perhaps alternative rock fans would really enjoy this but perhaps they have 90’s industrial alt rock fatigue. The record is good but I really don’t know if it has a classified place to fit into. It’s a minimalistic loner Super Group that will more than likely become overlooked because of its identity crisis.

But I hope this album doesn’t get skipped over so simply. Perhaps it’s a product that could’ve thrived in a different era of time, whether that era has already passed us by or that era has yet to begin. Like the song “Nothing and Everything” reminds us, “We don’t have the answers”.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. I Live with Your Ghost
2. Painted Rust
3. Multiple Clarity
4. To the Marrow
5. I Won’t See the Sun
6. Drowning in Density
7. Positron
8. Everything and Nothing
9. Within Context
10. Malicious Code
11. Impact Velocity
12. Seamless Integration
13. Insult to Injury
Lineup:
Erebus – bass
Serpens – bass
Samorost – drums, Percussion
Radix – Violin, Cello, Viola
Cygnus & Synergus – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Record Label: Season Of Mist
     


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Edited 13 April 2021
 

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