It’s bizarre how twisted the mind can be, linking words automatically to objects. When I read the artist name ‘Vio\ator’ I couldn’t help myself imagining it being a brand name for some kind of vibrator. The Vio\ator… Sounds like it can give quite the buzz, eh?
But in this case Vio\ator is not a buzzing vibrator, but an industrial post-rock project based in California. There is a strong rumor going around that it will soon release its debut album, but in the time waiting for it to drop, we can already ‘enjoy’ a live album.
“”All tracks are recorded on November 16 2014 at Eli’s Mile High Club, Oakland, CA””
It starts with a song named ‘Please Don’t Look Away’ which is sounding indeed very live. Not sure if the sound man of the venue has the mix completely under control to be honest, what I can hear sounds actually pretty cool, but because of loudness of some parts it gets a bit unbearable in the beginning. But as we live in a pro-noise world, there actually might be a chance that it is intended to actually sound like this.. The voice that we meet in this song is quite unexpected, it sounds like a spoken word session that oddly could be coming out of the mouth of the vocalist of the Pet Shop Boys. For a Californian based project the words sound more English than American, but the music speaks more an international language of indeed an industrial pop setup.
The session goes forward with ‘Post’ , the trouble of sound that had vandalized the beginning of the first track is fixed and it makes it easier to settle down in this track. You can hear the functionality of this being a live track; it really works although I personally would have loved if the part where the electric guitar popped in, would have been a bit longer. It was the moment that it started to be real good and then it uh simply just ended. The Vio\ator vibrator would not go for an anti-climax, it would just have stayed put…
In ‘Overview’ the voice and lyrics are spread like some kind of paranoid poet. ‘She is at the store, where I’m not allowed anymore’ is one of the lines that my ears pick up. It sounds a bit like marmite; you either love it or you hate it, there isn’t really a middle road with this kind of theatrical vocal expressions. The music functions as a dramatic decor that works well in making it more hardcore than a tea party among friends. (some people have hardcore friends that do enjoy tea…)
The Party’ is one track that I’m attracted to the most, here the balls have dropped and the poetic psychopath has finally reached his boiling point. From here the music really starts to sound angry, aggressive, mental and most notably ‘industrial’.. The voice is at its best here, perfectly engaged in the angry mood of the music..
There is a fire burning over here, which loses its flames a bit when going for a song named ‘How?’. The music keeps on fuming the right way, but the voice sounds a bit dry to match it all. I wish the singer would sounded a little bit more on the edge and angry to fit the bombastic music, in ‘The Party’ it was so spot on.. Perhaps it’s just because it’s live and there is no special effects applied, either way it’s a point unavoidable to talk about in this rare form of honesty over here.
‘Alleyways’ presents us with more of where this all is coming from. The music is up and aggressive, the atmosphere slightly demonic; gothic dancers in a cave could pretend to be bats while this track plays. The voice is pushing it and gets back to be believable and seems to put some kind of spell on its unworthy listeners. The music is really great over here, with some great ideas that could rock the house at a live gig. Unfortunately when such a favorite moment comes that everyone would love to go completely mental on (aggression for the alternative dancefloor!) it simply stops before going for a full frontal people pleasing party attack. The end part of this track should have been much longer; blowing minds up, get wings flapping, speakers exploding, etc! Don’t be afraid to let the blood flow on the dancefloor, that’s what a live session is for, right?
Instead for a raving industrial bloodbath the album goes for ‘A Body, I Pray’, which seems music wise made to dance some Wiccan dance moves. Let me elaborate on this; there are some fantastic moments in the music here, rough and noisy, fanatic drums, deep rumble.. It’s like psycho-disco music with the poet-like vocalist doing his marmite (either you love it, or you hate it) thing again.
The last track is ‘Tomorrow’ and yet again the music is awesome, going for sweeping industrial and proofs like the other tracks; that it isn’t afraid to experiment. The vocals are just doing its own thing over and over again, which at some times gives me personally the freaks, but it’s to my taste also a bit too separated from the actual music experimentation; it’s like ‘here we go again’, instead of it being inspired by the awesomeness of the industrial music that lays beneath it. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m right; but in any case I’m tremendously excited to add this live album to the database of Yeah I Know It Sucks!
Go and hear, play and blast it out and see if you enjoy Marmite or not: