Despite being the setting for the rather excellent Nova Rock, Austria isn’t perhaps a huge exporter of its own rock and metal bands. They exist, but aren’t in huge numbers (Harakiri for the Sky and Pungent Stench being the most notable), so it’s always nice to be able to add one to the ranks.
Pulse blend dance beats, samples and traditional metal instrumentation to create a sci-fi soundscape. It’s a bit heavy on the techno/electro side for this particular reviewer, but what it does have is a sound not quite like any other I’ve heard before. There are other bands creating music with these influences, but Pulse definitely have something of their own here. Their cyberpunk appearance certainly isn’t unique, but fits perfectly with the music and I can see them being able to do some great stuff live based off this look – perhaps a look at Italy’s Sick n’ Beautiful would be worthwhile!
Adjusting the Space consists of 12 original tracks and one remix, I assume of an earlier number “AlienAngel”. Opening with a scene-setting bit of dramatisation, “X 31′ 26’43 Ny 109′ 430″W” drops straight into tweaky keyboard sounds and steady beats, samples and synthesisers. This is very much an intro track in every sense, but the music proper begins with “We Won’t Come In Peace”, which has a nice opening build before the drums and guitars kick in.
Frontman Nemesis (also of black metal act Astaroth), throws out guttural vocals which are throaty yet decipherable while his bandmates throw an atmospheric mixture of sounds around. The beats are steady and rhythmic, perhaps as expected with this style of music and there’s nothing too complex. It’s all about the blend of styles rather than excessive showiness.
This second track is actually one of the strongest on the album, with “Black Knight” being the other I quite liked. I’m curious to know if it’s thematically connected to “Black Knight Satellite” by Pain… I have a feeling that it is! Closer “Major Tom” is interesting, too, being sung in German.
What I found lacking in the album, though, was audible punch. There’s so much going on in the songs that interests and grabs you, but audibly it just seems a little… tame. And then the remix of “AlienAngel” gets going about a minute in and, yeah, that’s it. OK, it’s a little too much repetitively “oomph-oomph” musically, but that thumping drumbeat is just what’s needed to kick the rest of the album into a bit more life. I’m not saying that Adjusting the Space needs remixed, it just needs to be that bit heavier in tone. Give the drums a bit more kick, add a bit more bite.
Having said that, this is the second album I’ve reviewed recently where I’d advise against treating it as a collection of songs. This is an encompassing, themed piece of music closer to a soundtrack (or indeed soundscape) than a traditional bits n’ pieces album. I wasn’t too keen on the first listen – it’s just not quite my genre – but a second pass through let me dig into it a bit more and there’s a lot there. Tweaking it to hit a bit harder, perhaps something the band do live, would have sold it for me.
Adjusting The Space is out on November 6th