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Icon Of Coil
Machines Are Us
(Metropolis)

To some, the future of EBM (electronic body music, a very danceable and often harsh form of industrial music, for the uninitiated) is in a state of flux. As with many genres, the music will start out fresh and small, lead by a pack of sonic renegades playing by their own rules. Fans emerge and catch on to what the progenitors are attempting to do. These fans then form their respective bands and projects and attract their own fans. Those fans form their bands from what they’ve seen. So then what you get is third or fourth generation of acts influenced by, but unfortunately repeating, what they’ve grown up watching, thus causing stagnation.
Icon of Coil is one of those interesting bands where they are in that third or fourth wave, but add so much energy they can transcend from the crop to their own status. Blending equal doses of industrial, EBM, and techno, Icon of Coil has given us their cybernetic wonder, Machines Are Us. As bands in this style vie for the Front 242 crown, I believe Icon of Coil may be one of the few to actually achieve it. They even have 242’s song structures down to a T. Not all of their songs chug along at the same speed but tempos vary, moods change, and effects become mesmerizing.
The main difference between IOC and many other EBM outfits is the energy that IOC exudes and the vocals of Andy (that’s what he goes by). It tends to be a monotonous drone, but not in that annoying way that most would think. It becomes hypnotic and alluring, much like Jean Luc of 242.
Machines Are Us continues the humans into machines theme from previous efforts. The small intro the lets us know we have been assimilated, Borg-style. Then rips into track two “Remove/Replace” and the energy grabs you, pummels you, into frenzy. “Pursuit” is that specially designed-for-the-dancefloor track. The lyrics are mundanely simple: “Have they found you/Yes they’ve found you/Now they’ve found you”. But the force of the electronics and the beat make you the pursued. You cannot escape nor can you resist. Resistance is futile.
IOC have also developed a bigger sound on this disc as well. Listen to their “Floorkiller” like track “Existence In Progress”. The riff is catchy as hell. The electronics border on, dare I say, the arena rock level. I mean sure you can add an echo for the same effect, but for many that do this the effect, it sounds contrived. Icon Of Coil has that oomph about them that a large sound becomes a natural sound for them.
But, for all their cyber-electro-android themes and musics, a large bit of humanity seeps through. Andy let’s you ponder in “Existence In Progress”, “If I’ve only caused you pain/I’ll give you my skin/So you can feel/How I feel/This is my existence”. In “Sleep: Less”, the narrator succumbs to the delusional madness of a dead love. These elements also help mark Icon Of Coil’s stature in the EBM genre.
In all honesty, Icon Of Coil implements all of the tools that have become standard for their field of choice; the low-key intro, the dance breaks, the world of machines. It’s what they use with the tools that separate them from their peers. I look forward to their expansion and development as force to be reckoned with in the years to come.


-Thom


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Thursday, April 17, 2014 All Contents Copyright © 2014 Stinkweeds Music