United Front - By All Means II : The Fall of Church and State
Without a doubt, contemporary art exists in a close symbiosis with different social and political processes which happen in modern society. But quite often the art does not only reflects those processes. Having a huge potential in manipulating the mind and behaviour of masses, the art creates a dual communication with society’s institutes to influence the world around. Taking in consideration the current political and economical climate, the creative part of humanity starts to respond to conflicts actively pouring out its frustrations and concerns in various types of self-expression. It goes without saying that extreme genres of music already became an inseparable part of the modern culture and they assume their rightful place on the “cutting edge” of the active resistance. But how important is art as a form of protest? And how effective is it as a conduit of change?
While believing that the message of protest has the most significant role, sometimes even an act of expression itself becomes similarly important; there are enough places in the world where it is a true feat to speak loud and clear to issues that concern not just specific groups but ultimately all of us. The public stage has become a sort of orchestrated video game – a frivolous, ridiculous operetta with a few recited parts that are performed daily before a people overwhelmed by the consequences of the crisis. The audience is immediately proscribed by the mass media and, therefore, defused before its fellow citizens dare ‘boo’ from the stands. This is the criminalization of protest, which leads to the brutalization of audiences implemented by refined political techniques – in short, to audiences that dare practise disobedience to the rules imposed by the institution, such as transgression, insubordination, the creation of new political experiences or the rehearsal of new voices.
Therefore, god bless those who dare to raise the voice and find the strength to express the protest in the form of power electronics, one of the best methods for such kind of an artistic manifestation due to its extreme and uncompromising nature. While United Front, aka U-731, declare themselves as an 'Anti-Political Organization', Mr. Lazarus and Mr. Kutcha chose a really bold theme to discuss with their audience, “The Fall of Church and State”. Already the first blush on the track names provides an idea of the content in this product. “Conflict” , “What is Conflict” , “No Friends, No Enemies”, and other compositions of this record follow the classical canons of the contemporary art and drag the listener from his comfort zone to face the controversial images and uncomfortable questions. “Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?” is the first question which is announced to the sound of an air strike alarm; and this alarm actually turns the question into the statement which doesn’t need any answer. A strong vocal session joins the composition and adds a lot of violence into already hostile atmosphere.
Though all the tracks are united under the banner of the conceptual theme, each of them represents a unique and complete creation. The following track “Conflict” gains momentum patiently and accumulates layers of feedback and vocalization to create a physical field of noise. A constant use of different spoken samples turns the record to be very cinematic; there is some dual sensation that doesn’t leave me, the feeling of watching breaking news reports while the music of United Front is a kind of a soundtrack and a commentary at a time. The patches of tragic melodies and martial orchestrations turn the tracks like “What is Conflict” and “Church and State” to be even more dramatic adding new diversity and complexity to the record as a whole. However cinematic the album is, it doesn’t lose the common denominators of the classical power electronics genre: aggression, strength, uncompromising violence, swirling vitality. The last two compositions, “Out War Alone” and “No Friends, No Enemies”, are the direct proof and the full incarnation of those elements where a storm of energy, a chaotic rattle and a tornado of violence merge in a symbolic requiem for an agonizing political system.
Once again, United Front proves that art must be a sign of resistance to a political model that is increasingly hierarchical, diffuse, global and standardized. Their latest album gives a clear and tangible form to the senselessly cynical nature of American foreign politics and internal relationship between state and religion. Though sometimes I feel the lack of exquisite in this record, but it is fully compensated with energy and honesty. Another great release from the house of Malignant records.
Mar 07 2018
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance
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