Release DetailsLABEL Code666
RELEASED ON 11/29/2004
Thee Maldoror Kollective
A Clockwork Highway
posted on 11/2004 By:
Electro noisesmiths Thee Maldoror Kollective continue to redefine their sound on their latest effort, A Clockwork Highway. The band’s previous album, 2002’s New Era Viral Order was a masterful, genre splitting effort that melded man and machine into a cold and bizarre persona, with songs blending ambient, industrial, and black metal into a cohesive and engaging landscape. Unfortunately, A Clockwork Highway doesn’t continue in that direction. That doesn't mean it's not worthwhile though, rather it is a solid album from this ever changing band, who’ve not only changed their approach, but also the majority of their members.
A Clockwork Highway finds the band abandoning the black metal aspect of their sound, and downplaying much of the heavy industrial approach of their last album. Instead, TMK weave an ambient, entrancing spell of synths, dialogue samples, and tribal drumming. The result is a cohesive and enjoyable album, albeit less engaging and unusual than their last one. I really like the cold and bleak tone of this album, and the band does a good job blending electronic percussion with human tribal patterns. The vocals are nearly always digitized and chaotic sounding, although by far most of the human voices on the album are looped dialogue samples. It feels like the half man, half machine beast of the last album now has pure electricity running through its veins, as much of the humanistic visceral quality of the band’s sound has been replaced with electronica. Code 666 claims this album is more along the lines of bands like Isis and Neurosis, but honestly, as far as “cults” go, some of this material has more in common with My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult than Cult of Luna. In particular, “The Hills Have Eyes” is a clubbish track that is reminiscent of MLwtTKK and early Revolting Cocks.
The best way to enjoy A Clockwork Highway is cranked up through a set of headphones. Otherwise the ambience of the music sometimes causes me to be lulled into a lack of attention. Not only do the headphones and/or volume keep the listener more engaged, but also makes more apparent the frequent subtle audio nuances of the dark futuristic trip. The album is like a soundtrack to a lucid and disturbing dream that is soothing at times and chaotic at others. Standout tracks include the heaviest songs on the album, such as the closer, “Babilonia.” The song has a middle eastern flair and sampled female vocals, as well as crunching heavy riffing and drums. “Who Dares to Kill the Lion” also includes more prominent guitar and industrial hammering.
While it may not have the personality of New Era Viral Order, A Clockwork Highway is a very good effort and worth exploring. The dark journey through a cold and mechanical landscape will please fans of experimental ambient music.
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