Exo-Kult - Knife Wounds
Australia seems to be the new breeding ground for go-to industrial projects. Our brother-in-arms over at Viral Records Australia has a natural talent for picking out some of the finest artists in the scene, one of them being Dirt Factory who I reviewed favorably not too long ago. Much like fission, Dirt Factory grew and Daniel Allen, one-half of the project, has made a side-solo-project called Exo-Kult. Stuck in quarantine in Melbourne with nothing but a creative itch due to cabin fever, Allen wrote and recorded his very own album titled "Knife Wounds". The overall result is an astounding success of menacing industrial beats, pulsing EBM basslines, and a rather grim sound palette that shows just how cold electronics can be.
The introductory piece, 'This is Shit', features a person repeating the title of the song amongst other things. The one-minute and thirty second song got me ready for what's to come, which is a whole array of industrial goodies. I consider the following song, 'Shutting It Down', to be the real introduction to Exo-Kult. There's a great EBM bassline that grounds the song while excellent, quirky textures come out during verses. My only complaint about this song is that the vocals, when clean, sound rather nasally. The whisper screams on the album are much better and fit in with the songs theme. ‘Eliminiate’ has a wonderful build-up consistinc of bass drops, a bit of static, and cinema-worthy synths. This brings me into an extremely bleak electro-industrial piece that’s slow-moving and dreary.
Despite it’s title, ‘Cold’ has a rather warm feeling to it. I found myself digesting chill beats with a wonderful backing synth; its presence, while faint, adds a futuristic atmosphere to the track. ‘Ready To Blow’ goes down a strict EBM study. It is, however, minimalistic and bland in comparison to what Exo-Kult has shown me thus far. This almost sounds like a demo in structure in comparison to the full sound library I experienced with the previous songs. The follow-up song continues the EBM influence. While not as straightforward as ‘Ready to Blow’, I still feel it’s not up to par with what Exo-Kult presented on other tracks on the album.
Thankfully, we get back to the good stuff with ‘Dancing’. The best way I can describe it as if techno-thriller novels and films were captured in a song. Buzzing sounds, like old, cartoonish electricity currents alongside noisy, static-filled screams make up interesting portions of the song. ‘Untitled’ brings an unbridled slow-crawl to the album. The samples of nuclear warfare discussion backed by cult-like choral chants are astounding and hypnotic. It’s almost as if this song is a ground for worshipping such destructive instruments. Grating vocals appear on ‘Bring Out The Dead’. They mix them up with clean chords with the pace beaming between non-stop electro lines and broken down industrial beats.
‘Breath’ brings in elements of drum’n’bass. Paired with the industrial synth lines and noise elements, I found myself having fun with the song. ‘Satisfacation’ heads back into electro-industrial territory with an amalgamation of electronic samples. I wasn’t a huge fan of the vocals on this track; they are monotone. Whether or not this was intentional matters not; if you sound bored and disinterested in your own music, I’m not going to like it either. ‘Predetermined Error’ brings back the gritty slow-paced beats that I am coming to love Exo-Kult for. I could easily imagine this song being used as the soundtrack to a sleazy, futuristic dive bar filled with neon lights, blood stains, and angry and shady denizens. The final song on the album, ‘Crematorium’ sees Exo-Kult revert back into whispers. It’s almost transhuman, having a slightly altered and digitized voice. The slow drops of bass are phenomenal and fit the track all too well.
After listening to “Knife Wounds” more times than I can count, there are so many great things that I can say about it. This thirteen track monster shows what a little time away from the real world can do. Aside from providing mental strain and isolation that is not healthy, it can also cause creative individuals to use that time meaningfully. Some decide to take on a new hobby; others decide to make industrial. And Exo-Kult chose the latter. And they did it well. Sure, there are a couple of bumps in the road that I’ve had, but none of these songs are atrocious enough to be considered abominations. Rather, I highly recommend “Knife Wounds” to anyone who’s looking for a rather ominous and bleak look into the industrial scene. Seven-and-a-half out of ten!
Nov 27 2021
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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