Industrial metal band Julien-K released its latest album this month. The eight-song record, Harmonic Disruptor is a good introduction to the band for audiences who are unfamiliar with the band’s body of work and an equally positive presentation for the group’s established fan base. That is due to the record’s musical arrangements and its lyrical themes. The album’s opener and title track is one of the songs featured in the album that serves to support the noted statements. It will be addressed shortly. ‘Burn The System’ is another way in which this record proves itself engaging and entertaining for audiences. It will be addressed a little later. ‘Undo Everything,’ the record’s finale, is one more way in which the record proves itself an overall successful new offering from Julien-K. When it is considered alongside the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the album in whole proves itself to be a work that will appeal to any industrial metal and electronic music fan.
Julien-K’s latest full-length studio recording Harmonic Disruptor (the band’s fifth album so far) is a positive return for the band. It will appeal just as much to the band’s established fan base as it will those listeners who might be less familiar with the band’s catalog than the aforementioned audiences. The album’s opener and title track is just one way in which this is proven. ‘Harmonic Disruptor’ instantly lends itself to works from Nine Inch Nails’ 1989 debut album Pretty Hate Machine. The song likens itself to the noted NIN work through the balance of the heavy guitars and keyboards, and the intense vocal delivery. What’s important to note here is that while the comparison is easily made, the arrangement here still holds its own unique identity separate from the work that NIN founder Trent Reznor created for Pretty Hate Machine. In other words, while the comparison is there, the song’s arrangement is not just a copy/paste from that work to Julien-K’s own record, which is good in its own right. It shows the band’s ability to use another artist’s influence to make its own similar yet standout work of its own. The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out. The fiery energy in the song’s arrangement works well to help illustrate the message featured in the song’s lyrical content.
This song seems to make a statement about those people who live to make others’ lives miserable. This is inferred as front man Ryan Shuck sings in the song’s lead verse, “I came looking for a slap in the face/I came looking for a certain disgrace/I came looking for someone to beat on/I came looking for someone to feed on/I wanted something to believe in/I wanna run away/From the games we play/I wanted something to believe in/Take this disease away/I’m the one you can’t deny/The lesion you can’t hide/I’m the past that you despise/The evil in your eyes/Harmonic disruptor/I’m a harmonic disruptor.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Honestly, sometimes I can’t control myself/Some of this has no explanation/If you could hear me try/To explain myself to them/You’d be fried/You’d be sick/You’d be lost.” Overall, this content seems to infer a story of someone dealing with that inner demon, so to speak; that part of himself/herself that he/her tries to escape. It seems to be that classic man/woman v. self story to which any listener can relate. This is, as always, just this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as gospel. Hopefully it is an interpretation that is somewhere close to being correct. Regardless, that the lyrical content’s presentation will engage listeners and get them talking, which is good in its own right. Again noting the song’s musical arrangement, when it is considered alongside this seeming story, the whole becomes its own powerful statement for listeners. It is just one of the record’s most notable works. ‘Burn The System’ is another key addition to the album.
‘Burn The System’ boasts a sound and stylistic approach that shows Julien-K’s links back to Orgy through its keyboards, guitars and electronic drums. The slurring from note to note in the keyboard line is a trademark of Orgy’ sound. It’s something of an 80s new-wave-influenced sound that Orgy made its own in its albums. The use of the specific vocal delivery style adds even more impact to the arrangement, as does the use of the electronics (including the electronic drums, which add their own effects to the arrangement). As with ‘Harmonic Disruptor,’ the influence of the aforementioned band is here, considering all the noted elements, but at the same time, the song still boasts its own unique identity separate from its influence. That makes the song stand out well if only on its musical merits. For all of the positive impact that the song’s musical arrangement has on its whole, that impact is just part of what is notable here. The song’s lyrical content is just as notable as its musical arrangement.
Shuck sings in the song’s lead verse, “From first to last/The art of the abandoned son/When everyone knows your name/When everyone knows your name/Who are you to anyone/I know you lost control/Couldn’t see your face/Tried to save your soul/But you couldn’t remain/You had to throw it away/Didn’t you, didn’t you/You had to spit on our faith/Couldn’t you, couldn’t you/Burn the system down, burn the system down/Throw it away/You had to burn the system down.” Shuck continues in the song’s second verse, “I’m falling apart/I don’t know where I’ve been/Or who I should have told/About lies that we’ve lived/I nearly lost control/As I saw your name/I couldn’t let you go/I couldn’t make you stay/Why did you throw it away/Make my pain decay/You burn the system down.” This is deep in its own right. The mention of “the art of the abandoned son” is unavoidable throughout the rest of the song, as it sure seems to play into the rest of the song’s lyrical content. There is that mention of “throwing it away” and “spitting on your faith.” The mentions in the song’s second verse, of the subject seemingly feeling emotionally lost would seem to infer that the song has to do with perhaps a parent leaving the family when the child(ren) was/were young, and the emotional impact of that departure. Once again, this is this critic’s interpretation and may be incorrect. Hopefully it is close to being correct. If in fact what is discussed here is correct, then together, with the song’s musical arrangement, it makes the song in whole a work that will find appeal among certain audiences. When it is considered along with the musical and lyrical content featured in ‘Harmonic Disruptor,’ the two songs show even more clearly why this LP is a strong return for the band. While ‘Harmonic Disruptor’ and ‘Burn The System’ are important in their own ways to the whole of Harmonic Disruptor, they are just two of the songs that show why the record is such a strong return for the band. ‘Undo Everything,’ the record’s finale, is one more way in which the album shows its strength.
‘Undo Everything’ is notable in part due to its musical arrangement, which lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Orgy, as well. That is shown through the steady 2/4 beat on the drums, the fuzzed vocals and the style in which the keyboards and guitars were used throughout the song. The stylistic approach here is trademark Orgy. Figuring that Shuck and fellow Julien-K member Amir Derakh are both former members of Orgy, that should come as no surprise. The song’s arrangement, in itself is just part of what will generate engagement and entertainment in the song. Its lyrical content adds its own share of interest.
Shuck sings in the song’s lead verse, “Undo everything/Rip it from the seam/The scarlet stains from the teeth/Allows me to breath/Rip a hole in the sky/Closer to my divide/The stars are marble and gold/The future bends at the fold/Undo everything/Free me from this skin/Hold me up to the sun/Make me free from sin/Fill this void in my heart/It rips the night apart/The clouds are darker than grey/My soul washes away.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Allowing me to catch my breath again/Only to suffer at your fingertips/Undo everything that you live for/Undo everything that you die for/Breaking the silence/Creating the violence/Undo everything/Salivate in my dreams/the cost is cleaner than most/When you hide from this ghost/The water flows from the ground/With every waking sound/The ending feels so divine/When I pay for my crimes.” It goes without saying that this is some pretty heavy content. It doesn’t come across nearly as cut and dry as the lyrical content featured in the record’s other songs. It comes across as a person handling some sort of inner turmoil once again. That is inferred through the notes of wanting to be “free from this skin” and held “up to the sun.” It could be inferred here and throughout the song, that maybe, the song’s subject is internally addressing the impact of having the weight of certain things on his/her soul. Right or wrong, the fact that this song can lead to such inference and generate discussion (which it certainly will) among listeners shows the importance of the song’s lyrical content. Keeping all of this in mind, the energy in the song’s musical arrangement makes for a good accompaniment (as well as the accompaniment itself) to this content. All things considered here, this song is yet another example of why this record will appeal to industrial and electronic music fans. When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album becomes a work that the noted audiences will find appealing with each listen.
Julien-K’s latest full-length studio recording Harmonic Disruptor is a work that will engage and entertain industrial and electronic music fans from beginning to end. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content, as is evidenced here. From beginning to end, the album offers something to engage and entertain listeners and get listeners talking long after the album’s final note plays. Keeping all of this in mind, Harmonic Disruptor proves itself a presentation that will appeal to Julien-K’s established fan base as well as those who are less familiar with the band’s catalog. More information on the album is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:
To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.