Blank - Dark Retreat
Futurepop, EBM It took five long years for the Italian duo to give us a successor to their previous album 'Impact Zone', and with just three full-length releases over a period of thirteen years, I guess we can say on good authority that Blank is a band that likes to take its time.

Fully addressing one of the most glaring problems of their previous albums - a polished, but somewhat static production - with 'Dark Retreat' Blank delivers a very solid opus that draws its soul from a (happier?) period of time before aggrotech came in and ruined it with everyone with half a brain, and giving us a mature take on futurepop that doesn't just follow the trance textbook but digs deeper to reclaim the true EBM roots of this genre.

Songs like "Dio/Chemicals" and "Zero Tolerance" are unmissable weapons in the arsenal of every self-respecting DJ, also thanks to the never disappointing production skills of Sebastian R. Komor. Somehow tho, they fall just short of becoming true dancefloor anthems due to the lack of that certain "hook" that will compel people to hit repeat again and again. Hook that you find instead in the vocal performance of Eleanor Rayner of The Crystalline Effect, which lends her skills to "Dead Roads".

The true strength of the album lays in its more slow-paced pieces tho, such as the stunning "Lost Simmetry", featuring Elena Alice Fossi of Kirlian Camera, and "Dreamscape" which reminds me in bits and pieces of a more poppy Gridlock.

There's just a few things that prevent this album to be a real hit in my opinion: first of all, its length. It clocks at almost seventy minutes and lots of songs feel like they start to drag uneasily after the five minutes mark. The second is a purely personal observation, but I really can't seem to get into Davide's scratchy vocal style, which become boring very fast in its lack of depth or change: this is starkly evident in an album that features two amazing vocalists such as Elena or Eleanor.

Lastly, while I absolutely understand, and respect, Blank's decision to "go back to the roots" and find their inspiration in the sound of the 90's, I can't help but note that there's a vault of treasure in contemporary electronica to open and be inspired from - and of course I'm not talking about shitty Suicide Commando clones, but more the likes of Huoratron, Haezer, F.O.O.L. or deadmau5. I simply don't see why in 2013 is still a good idea to go back to the past, as opposed of trying to be the heralds of a better future, especially when the skill is all there.

In retreating from the world and segregating themselves to the role of dark hermits, Blank were perfectly successful. Unfortunately, I'm really not sure it's a winning bet: because when a band with this potential decides to keep its output just for a selected few, we all suffer from it.
4
Brutal Resonance

Blank - Dark Retreat

7.0
"Good"
N/A
Electroracle
Released 2013 by Artoffact Records
It took five long years for the Italian duo to give us a successor to their previous album 'Impact Zone', and with just three full-length releases over a period of thirteen years, I guess we can say on good authority that Blank is a band that likes to take its time.

Fully addressing one of the most glaring problems of their previous albums - a polished, but somewhat static production - with 'Dark Retreat' Blank delivers a very solid opus that draws its soul from a (happier?) period of time before aggrotech came in and ruined it with everyone with half a brain, and giving us a mature take on futurepop that doesn't just follow the trance textbook but digs deeper to reclaim the true EBM roots of this genre.

Songs like "Dio/Chemicals" and "Zero Tolerance" are unmissable weapons in the arsenal of every self-respecting DJ, also thanks to the never disappointing production skills of Sebastian R. Komor. Somehow tho, they fall just short of becoming true dancefloor anthems due to the lack of that certain "hook" that will compel people to hit repeat again and again. Hook that you find instead in the vocal performance of Eleanor Rayner of The Crystalline Effect, which lends her skills to "Dead Roads".

The true strength of the album lays in its more slow-paced pieces tho, such as the stunning "Lost Simmetry", featuring Elena Alice Fossi of Kirlian Camera, and "Dreamscape" which reminds me in bits and pieces of a more poppy Gridlock.

There's just a few things that prevent this album to be a real hit in my opinion: first of all, its length. It clocks at almost seventy minutes and lots of songs feel like they start to drag uneasily after the five minutes mark. The second is a purely personal observation, but I really can't seem to get into Davide's scratchy vocal style, which become boring very fast in its lack of depth or change: this is starkly evident in an album that features two amazing vocalists such as Elena or Eleanor.

Lastly, while I absolutely understand, and respect, Blank's decision to "go back to the roots" and find their inspiration in the sound of the 90's, I can't help but note that there's a vault of treasure in contemporary electronica to open and be inspired from - and of course I'm not talking about shitty Suicide Commando clones, but more the likes of Huoratron, Haezer, F.O.O.L. or deadmau5. I simply don't see why in 2013 is still a good idea to go back to the past, as opposed of trying to be the heralds of a better future, especially when the skill is all there.

In retreating from the world and segregating themselves to the role of dark hermits, Blank were perfectly successful. Unfortunately, I'm really not sure it's a winning bet: because when a band with this potential decides to keep its output just for a selected few, we all suffer from it. May 27 2013

Marco Visconti

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
16
Shares

Related articles

Icon of Coil

Interview, Jan 01 2003

Glis - 'Phoenix'

Review, Mar 15 2013

Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016