CD, Artoffact, 2008
Blank is Italy’s Maze and der Mate, self-proclaimed “pioneers in the Italian electronic music scene.” “Impact Zone” is the duo’s second full-length album for Canada’s Artoffact Records. The pair has been relatively quiet since 2004’s “Artificial Breathing,” only pushing out a couple remixes and compilation tracks between major releases.
“Impact Zone” is synthpop in as straightforward a package as it gets, potentially reaching a cross section of fans who listen to anything from Imperative Reaction to The Faint. In many regards, an emphasis on trance-like elements prevents the release from fully crossing into electro territory due to predictable bass lines and tried and true dance club transitions. Herein lies the difficulty: “Impact Zone” feels like an album that I’ve not only heard before, but heard a long, long time ago. Some may argue that this makes the release accessible, however I find it to be somewhat dated. While there isn’t anything especially pioneering or intriguing which forges a particular connection between the tracks and listener, the release will probably do the trick for those looking for something a bit more uptempo and danceable.
Raspingly sung lyrics detract even further and leave the impression that the same melody was sung over each track. Also, this reviewer found the endless drone of the vocals tiresome and annoying. Blank missed the mark with this monotone expression; variegated tone could have breathed a bit of additional life into the release which, overall, left me feeling bored and, in a manner of speaking, blank.
— Shannon Malik