CD, self-released, 2009
I first came across the Belgian act For Greater Good about two years ago, on the “All My Dead Friends” compilation issued by the great Cold Meat Industry, so it seems unfortunate for them that they have had to release their debut album unaided. The track in question, “Le Jugement Du Roi En Jaune”, appears second on this album, and with its bombastic neo-classical arrangement shows that the band would be quite at home on the famed Swedish label. But over the full album, For Greater Good appear to cover slightly too many bases, sounding like two or three related projects, and at times certain unsuccessful experiments seem to bring quality levels down slightly.
The opening two tracks are strong: “Ossetian Ossuary” is possibly the best track on the album, brooding dark ambient with subtle metallic percussion and the ubiquitous Gregorian chants, and the afore-mentioned “…Roi En Jaune” is generally a powerful vocal led piece, although arguably let down by the cheesy bells melody. “De To Fabula Narratur” offers a spacier style of ambient, with syncopated electronica beats and crunchy computerised tones, effective but not apparently the same For Greater Good who opened the album. “Love Your Terrorist”, a somewhat contentious title, starts promisingly, with haunting synths and sinister cracklings, but is then ruined with an overload of irritating and mostly American samples on the subjects of terrorism and religion.
Another over-used theme is implied on “Dawn Over Dachau”, which has a very uncomfortable watery background, pleasingly interspersed with slow chords and disturbing whistles giving way to a tragic ending of melancholic harmonies and distant screams. An odd title is the following track, “Rush Hour”, which starts slowly with a sombre piano refrain and vague traffic noises, and then becomes something of an acquired taste with some bizarre, melodramatic singing. Things calm down again to the subdued dark ambient on “Dogged”, which is unfortunately another instance where a good mixture of slow synths and mysterious background sounds are spoiled by tacky vocal samples. The more light-hearted approach to song titling is once more encountered on “White Is The New Black”, which takes some time to develop and is a little uneventful, if still rather pleasant to listen to.
A well-placed contrast then is the lively “Distress”, possibly too quirky for many people, and back to the glitchy electronica rhythms, which are quite nicely used here with dramatic orchestral instrumentation to suggest some rapidly impending doom. Finally, “Spring Mechanist” shows off some upbeat piano work, reminiscent of a silent film depicting the troubled citizens of a bleak industrial city rushing about their tedious routines. The mood of the piece generally raises, suggesting better times to come, leaving a good feeling as the album closes, although the choice of lyrics could be questioned. So overall, it is clear a lot of effort has been put into this album, and as a result it contains many accomplished and enjoyable pieces of music. The main need is to focus the style, possibly by taking some material away for use as a side project, and to restrain some of the embarrassing comedy samples, for the greater good of a second album which should turn out to be a considerable success.
— Nathan Clemence