CD, Hydra Records, 2007
France seems to be something of a hotspot for hardcore electro/industrial/punk music lately, with bands such as Muckrackers and the whole Audiotrauma crew. Glaukom Synod takes a more experimental approach, and actually started out back in the mid 90s, trying to make electronic death metal and noise on his computer with Fast Tracker and releasing his stuff on the mod/demo scene.
You can certainly tell where Glaukom Synod’s origins lie, just by looking at the cover of “Uczulony” – the black and white packaging looks very crude and has that certain DIY digipunk aesthetic to it. The CD packs a whopping 18 tracks spread over about 40 minutes of more or less harsh and abrasive, distinctively old school industrial (in the powerdrill-oil-drums-and-jack-hammer sense of the term). It’s danceable, at times even melodic, but these compositions are in almost every song completely torn apart and shattered by what I can only describe as mashing it up with heavily distorted grindcore! A number of the tracks also have vocals, but I couldn’t quite figure out if they were samples (which most of the songs seem to be composed with) or growled and screamed by the artist himself. Either way, it works, and being a sucker for both grindcore and industrial, some of these songs really kept me hooked for a while. A lot of the tracks are very catchy, and well executed (especially “One Step To Heaven” and “The Iron Tongue (Eroded Eyes 226)” are instant classics in my book).
However, the album as a whole faces a number of problems. Firstly, there’s the problem with its length. It only spans 40 minutes, true enough, but 18 songs is a lot. Too much, in fact. “Uczulony” would have been a much stronger release if the number of tracks had been halved. The reason that this poses a problem is simply that it all becomes too formulaic after a while. Truth be told, the music isn’t breaking any barriers as such – deconstructionist/post structuralist grindcore/industrial mashup artists have been around for a very long time. In that way, it is actually just standard fare from the experimental DIY grind/sample/mashup scene: song starts off with melodic and heavy 4/4 passage, is broken down into distorted grindcore fury, is broken down even further to industrial noise and unrecognisable madness (which is always great fun!), only to find its melodic roots again near the middle and/or end of the song. After the ninth track, it starts becoming a bit too predictable, and we’re only just halfway through the album.
The album could also really benefit from better mastering and production, although the poor sound quality does also fit thematically with the whole crude DIY vibe that the album cover gives off. It’s just a little bit too crude, as it stands.
On the other hand, this is still a fair deal better than so many of the other electro/noise/grindcore mashup bands out there, and all in all, despite the inherent problems mentioned, this is still a good release. Some of the songs really just makes you want to get up and rhythmically punch someone in the face! Good aggressive music is always excellent stress relief, and experimental and harsh yet danceable industrial music is always a welcome change from the current, rather stagnant standard in that scene. I’ll be keeping my eye out for more Glaukom Synod in the future, that much is certain.
— Jonas Mansoor