CD, Earthspike, 2006
Concept 7 hail from South London, England and are a new name to me despite their close proximity. This release follows two other self released discs, an EP named “Downwind” and an album named “End Of Time Project” (all on Earthspike). Their press release describes them as an “industrial techno” band but personally I’m hard pressed to find the “techno” influence…
I must admit that I had a hard time reviewing this album as initially I thought it sounded underproduced and lazy in some aspects but the more I persevered with it the more I started to be rewarded. Pros are definitely a crushing bass sound that even Benny Green of Godflesh would be happy with, some very interesting melodies when the electronics and riff work gel together and the ability to manipulate atmosphere easily throughout the course of the album. Bad points for me are the vocals which can often sound weak and disinterested (which is not as much of a problem as you might think, as perhaps the band know their strengths and have kept the vocal work to a minimum) and some of the percussion is a little unimaginative at times.
The obvious highlights on the album are “Functional Concrete” which threatens to break out into a furious drum’n’bass rhythm at any time but never quite does. “Damping Factor” which features some lovely melodies and effects but unfortunately suffers from weak percussion (which is a real shame as this could have been Concept 7 flagship tune). “Tetrode” is an almost industrial funk workout and completely instrumental (it’s no surprise that the lack of vocals mean this is one of their strongest tracks). Also the album closer “Escapement” is a sinister piece that could have been listed straight off a slasher movie score. The album’s weak point is really mid album where there seems to be a good amount of recycling of ideas going on: “Corporation Tank”, “Seven”, “State Of “Panic” and “Art Of War” just sound too similar to me.
After having listened to the three tracks available on their website from their debut full length (“End Of time Project”) I’m under no illusion that this is a band that is getting better with each release. Perhaps the next one will be the one to make the world sit up and take note?
— Michael Hinchliffe