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Stupre – Priceless

Stupre - Priceless

CD, Cortex Records, 2009

For a debut album, this isn’t half bad. Stupre, hailing from the nethers of Alsace, France, create a nostalgic version of dark electro that evinces memories of “Neuralblastoma”-era Velvet Acid Christ, hybridised with vocal treatments that could well pass for some of Trent Reznor’s more textured offerings. The staccato delivery of these tortured lyrics even tends, at times, to the Cleopatra bands of the 90s, like Penal Colony or Digital Poodle. The album itself manages to maintain an atmospheric oppressiveness without slipping into the jaded maelstrom that is terror-EBM (thankfully!), but that is not to say that it is without its own brand of heaviness. It may come across as darker and slower than what the contemporary dancefloor requires, but “Priceless” is still a fine piece of EBM, replete with strangely deformed samples, clean, repetitive drum lines and expressive synthesizer pads.
“Bhéllamadonna”, with its incongruous bell-like melody is my personal favourite on an album filled with surprises. The unexpected twists tracks take is, in the end, what saves this record from being too much of the same thing: although the reminiscent nature of the sound, and the favourable connections it makes to other artists improves its appeal to me, personally, it is easy to take an objective view and see how little experimentation is taken in terms of instrumentation and sequencing – even though the technical aspects may evolve with time.
VX69, from Punish Yourself makes a guest appearance on “Drag King”, and Neon cage Experiment collaborate on “Forlorner”; this sense of community may also assist Stupre in taking their music to another level.


— David vander Merwe

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