Friday, February 10, 2017

Adoration Destroyed - Ritual Damage (2016)

Despite the unexpected and unfortunate passing of the band's bassist John Gilyeat shortly after, this latest album from this Texas based Industrial rock act is certainly worth checking out, especially for fans of acts like Celldweller, The Dreaming, Mortiis, Deathstars, Nine Inch Nails, The Cruxshadows or Marilyn Manson. Now the cover looks like something you might expect for an etheral/darkwave act like Dead Can Dance, Unto Ashes or Inkubus Sukubus, but this record is definitely not that kind of experience. Which was perfectly fine for me, it was an unexpected and surprisingly intriguing. The most interesting part about this album for me was how close frontman Eric Gustafson actually hits Marilyn Manson territory, even covering classic “Coma White” to near-perfection. I'm extremely anal-retentive regarding covers of this classic because of my connection to the lyrics, (I'd been pushed through the pharmaceutical system for many years as a child – so I know what “a pill to make you numb, a pill to make you dumb” and “a pill to make you anybody else” actually means. As a matter of fact, it was just a few months ago that my current doctor told me that what I had been going through was indeed a “pill doctor” trying to exploit me for the benefit of the system, and apparently it is common in the industry. I suffered numerous side effects from the drugs, far beyond what Manson discussed in the song of course.) and I've heard several so/so renditions having tracked down numerous covers of it myself.

Though other than making a tribute to what I believe is one of the best-eras of the long running shock rock act (Mechanical Animals is my favorite album from the band, after all), Adoration Destroyed manage to pump out several great numbers in their own right, like the Black Tape For A Blue Girl meets Depeche Mode with a touch of The Cure influence in “Voices Carry” the thumping “Never Mine” which takes us on a bit of space travel, and the unexpectedly harsh vocal backed electronic flair of “Nothing Left” which also features Cynical Existence on said abrasiveness. Normally the music here tends to vocally lean towards an emotionally depressive (but certainly not whiny) nature, but with the inclusion of Cynical Existence, it almost makes me think of early Grendel. I also need to mention “In Elegant Decay” and closer “Both Of Me” because they definitely capture the very best of what this genre has to offer, along with the kind of catchy choruses that will surely make Adoration Destroyed an act to remember. I find it odd that the band would choose to put one of their catchier numbers (worthy of being a single in it's own right) towards the very back of the album, but at least it allows the disc to go out with a bang, considering the tracks that follow are a short instrumental outro alongside some fair remix numbers by 16 Volt and Mr. Kitty, respectively. They come with the album at no extra cost, which is always a wise idea in my book. I never liked the idea of making a customer pay extra for a disc of remixes that may very well be hit or miss, as several (not naming names here – but you're aware of them) other industrial/electronic acts have done in the past.

Breaking the band down on an instrumental level, Adoration Destroyed utilize everything from slow electronic dirges to bouncy europop, but never with even so much of a tinge of happiness. The Cruxshadows are actually more light-hearted than anything you'll hear here, which just goes to show you the amount of emotional depravity you're walking into. There is very little rock influence, but Gilyeat's bass is still a rather notable part of the band and brings in the heavier sections when necessary. Eirik Ashe performs the live drums that you'll hear on some sections of the album as well, which again brings a sort of heavier rock tone to some of the cuts here. There's nothing on the record that emulates acts like NIN or Marilyn Manson at their heaviest, but Adoration Destroyed are not interested in that kind of sound so much as they are a more deep-spirited and fragile series of moments; which will definitely meld with listeners looking for something more genuine than furious bouts of hard rock. Adoration Destroyed were not in any way the kind of band I thought they were judging on the extremely pagan-influenced and occult cover. Nor do their lyrics seem to mention anything in those realms. These lyrics seem to come with a much more personal effect, which might relate more to those struggling with relationships or identity than those looking to summon something. Even so, it's a great listen and I hope you'll find something in it. I do feel again, that the album cover is a bit misleading for the music, but maybe those expecting a dark/etheral experience might find that they really dig the cold and bouncy electronic atmospheres found here anyway.

(13 Tracks, 52:00)


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