CD, Vendetta Music, 2009
It’s probably unfair to open a review by complaining how tired and dull a certain musical scene has become of late, but luckily, the Netherlands’ current darlings of technoid industrial music, The People’s Republic Of Europe, have plenty going for them on “Babylon”. The production quality is high, there is an almost overly wide range of styles on display and plenty of interesting sounds and textures are thrown into the mix. Some of the more comedy ideas tend to grate however, and the way they’ve so desperately thrown themselves at the “scene” does mean that numerous clichés slip through the net, both in terms of sound and imagery. But placing myself out of the judgemental confines of my at home head and imagining myself hard at it in an industrial club then I certainly have to concede that I would probably continue dancing if any one of these tracks came on after the likes of Sonar or Imminent.
“Ubermensch” is a strong intro, revealing T.P.R.O.E.’s roots in dark ambient and setting up a good feeling of impending doom and fear. The big dance floor hit “Wolfpack” is then placed second as the rules dictate, probably the most generic and monotonous track on the surface, but with some good screeching and rumbling noises in the background. “New Babylon” then opens the more urban influences, with syncopated beats and vocal samples of angry West Indian chaps, a theme which is explored further on “Dirty Distorted Dancehall” where an MC woman berates an audience member before heavy bottom waving beats bump and grind all over the shop. “Geoengineering” is another four to the floor stompathon, with engaging layers of percussion and a dense atmosphere, followed by “White Wall Of Death”, which combines well breakbeats with slow industrial crashes.
The album is well split in the centre with the moody ambient electronica of “LHC”, before the afore-mentioned dancehall track and then the tribal “Wardance” get the party people leaping once more, the latter seemingly with tribesmen leading a workout drill. “To Prove A Point” might seem to prove something about focus, venturing quite far from other tracks into some decent glitchy IDM, before “Nicolae Carpathia Died For You” continues this almost side-project sound further, almost paying homage to the current dubstep trend. Finally, “Bow For Xenu” brings us back to the technoid industrial sounds and is my clear favourite on the album, with the right balance of interesting bass drum rhythms and harsh, oppressive noises and sinister atmospheres.
— Nathan Clemence