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Compass is the brand new record by EBM mastermind Tom Shear, who records under the alias Assemblage 23. The album is being released on the lovely Metropolis – home to many industrial bands like Front Line Assembly, Mentallo & The Fixer, and on the lighter side, Covenant, Apoptygma Bezerk, and VNV Nation.

From this records, it’s quite obvious A23’s learned a lot musically since his previous full length Meta (which has great album art), released in 2007. Production wise, it feels rejuvenated. It’s mixed very well, which is a huge plus.

Lyrically, there is a bit of similarity to his last record in the sense that a lot of the lyrics are associated with introspection (evident with track titles like “Sorry,” “Ghosts,” Damaged,” “Old,” etc, on Meta, and then “How Can You Sleep,” and “Alone Again” on this). However, this album is more low-key in that aspect which in my opinion fits quite neatly with the pulsing synths and class beats that emerge in the background.

“Spark” is the first single, which contains some of the introspective lyrics that are present in much of Tom Shear’s discography as mentioned above. Its release brings us a nice remix by Combichrist.

I used to listen to lot of A23 back in the day. In fact, this is the artist that introduced me to “industrial dance” music, then I went on to discover the majority of the other artists on Metropolis, first working my way through the lighter side of the label a la VNV Nation and Covenant and working my way through Front Line Assembly and especially :wumpscut: (whose material gets released on his own label Beton Kopf Media; Metropolis just licenses his stuff for US distribution). This album is a nice refresher for those who haven’t listened to any of A23’s previous works, though I highly recommend that you lend your ears to the slightly darker Storm released in ’04 … that is, after you’ve listened to this.

It’s calculated. This record feels like it was created with a strong-willed determination, and not aimless like so many albums I’ve listened to from the genre. There’s effort, there’s focus, there’s something that I feel in this that tells me this record goes somewhere. The last half is especially good, and I really dig the remix of “Spark” by “Burikusu!!!,” which is a nice, slightly slower (bpm) rework of the original.

Fifteen fantastic tracks that clock in at 1hr 15 minutes. Truth be told, I could not be more impressed, and evidently, I am not the only one. Tom Shear on his website states that the 2CD deluxe edition of Compass, limited to a mere 1,000 copies, sold out pretty quickly upon arrival on his website. Unfortunately, I missed picking one up, but I’ll be placing an order for the regular edition ($14 USD) at A23’s webshop.

Highly recommended. P.S, if you needed any more proof that you should check out the rest of Tom Shear’s work (as if this post wasn’t enough), listen to this.

For more information, check out:

Last.fm

Discogs

MySpace

And obviously, if you enjoy what you hear, purchase it at:

– A23’s webshop

Download.

How to Enlist in a Robot Uprising is Memmaker’s first full-length album on Hive Records released in 2008. The duo are influenced by an Orwellian society and politics, electro-industrial music, space travel, and more. This upcoming song is track #3 entitled Death Audio Blow Your Brains:

And this is Sneaking Through The Totalitarian Filter, track #4.

The album reminds me of a lot of Grendel’s material in the sense that for the most part, this record is in-your-face, high tempo, upbeat “industrial dance” (aka EBM) music, great for playing at adrenaline-laced shows. If you like this, be sure to check out Grendel as well as :wumpscut:, God Module, and Assemblage 23.

For more information:

Last.fm

Discogs

MySpace

Download.

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