More than two years after releasing its then latest album Alpha Bionic, independent goth/industrial band Gabriel & The Apocalypse is revisiting that album with a new EP of remixes from the record. Released Feb. 26 through The Label Group, the five-song record is a presentation that will find equal interest among the band’s established audience base and goth/industrial fans alike. That is due in no small part to the featured remixes, which will be addressed shortly. The sequencing of those featured songs adds to the record’s interest. It will be addressed a little later. The songs’ lyrical content rounds out the record’s most important aspects and will also be addressed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this record. All things considered, they make the EP a rare case of the sequel being better than the original. Yes, this is a discussion topic even in the music industry.
Remix records are commonplace presentations for industrial rock and metal acts. From Gravity Kills and Nine Inch Nails, to Fear Factory and Ministry, the practice of remixing songs is nothing new. So when it was announced that independent goth/industrial band Gabriel & The Apocalypse was going to release a collection of remixes from its 2019 album Alpha Bionic, the surprise was limited. While the surprise was limited, the enjoyment is proving anything but. That is due in no small part to the five-song record’s featured remixes. Four of the featured songs are originals featured in the band’s aforementioned record while the fifth is a remix of the band’s cover of Midnight Oil’s hit 1987 single ‘Beds Are Burning. Why these songs in particular were chosen from the original album’s 10 total songs is anyone’s guess. That is beside the point. What is important is that the featured remixes actually build on their source material (two-fold in the case of ‘Beds are Burning’ since that one was a cover to begin with) and improves on each song. The band’s remix of its original song, ‘Systematic Chaos’ gives that song a completely different identity thanks to Mushroomhead founding member and drummer Rick “Stitch” Thomas. Thomas’ “Burn It Down Remix” of the song gives this song more of a full-on industrial feel that is more akin to works from Mushroomhead and Ministry than the heavy, driving, guitar and keyboard-driven approach of the original. What Thomas has done here to improve the song is focus more on the keyboard line in the original and really make it the center of the song. That driving, percussive style approach from the primary keyboard line pairs with an occasional secondary keyboard flourish and steady electronic bass drum beat to make the song just as good as its source material if not better. It is a wholly different work from the original that ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment, and is just one example of how the album’s featured remixes play such an important part to its presentation. The ‘TIMELINES REMIX’ of ‘pointTHREE’ is another example of how these remixes ensure the EP’s engagement and entertainment.
The ‘TIMELINES REMIX’ of ‘pointTHREE’ stands out because while it does tend to stay more to its source material, listeners will note that it doesn’t maintain the ethereal approach of the original arrangement throughout the song. Rather, as the remix progresses, the secondary keyboard line from the original takes center stage this time out. What’s more, that now central keyboard line is more accented in its balance with the elements of the original. The mix honestly gives this updated take something of a Nine Inch Nails style sound and approach that is certain to appeal to audiences of both acts. It is just one more example of what makes the remixes here stand out. The “(Up and Down Remix)” of ‘Electro-Mechanical’ is yet another way in which these remixes serve to make the EP so engaging and entertaining.
The “(Up and Down Remix)” of ‘Electro-Mechanical’ is a stark change from its source material. Where the original work is grounded in its distinct keyboard line and guitar line, the remix relies more on more familiar electronic elements. Front woman Lindey Gabriel’s vocals pair so with the light, bouncy drums and infectious keyboard line here. What’s interesting here is that the keyboard line here actually replaces the guitar line in the original. The rhythm is the same, but the unique effect once again conjures thoughts of Nine Inch Nails. That aesthetic element and the subtle secondary keyboard line that joins the mix late in the song’s run pair with the steady electronic beat and vocals to make the song in general its own unique take on the song’s source material. Keeping in mind the engagement and entertainment that this remix offers along with the record’s other arrangements, the whole of the collection proves without a doubt, the importance of the featured songs here. They are just a portion of what audiences will like about the EP. The songs’ sequencing adds its own appeal to the record.
The sequencing of Alpha Transendence’s songs is important because it plays directly into the record’s energy. Just as in Alpha Bionic, this remix follow-up opens in high-energy fashion in ‘Systematic Chaos.’ Even with the change in the arrangement’s stylistic approach in the remix, the song still exhibits such a powerful, high-energy presentation. It ensures just as much as the original record, that it immediately engages listeners, and succeeds in doing so. The ‘pointTHREE’ remix maintains the EP’s energy, immediately following the remix of ‘Systematic Chaos.’ That is even considering the more reserved chorus sections. The much heavier verses make for an impressive juxtaposition to those chorus sections. The whole makes the song such an engaging work in itself that even with its slightly slower tempo, still boasts its own high energy. That ensures even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment. ‘Electro-Mechanical’ keeps the EP’s energy moving with the swagger in its more up-tempo arrangement. The band’s remixed cover of ‘Beds are Burning’ ups the energy even more with its steady keyboard line and beat. Its arrangement here makes it sound like it came right out of the 1980s new wave movement, which is certain to appeal to a wide range of listeners in itself. Staying on the matter of the song’s energy, it keeps the EP’s energy moving fluidly. In turn, it ensures even more, listeners’ maintained engagement. It is not until the EP’s closer, the “Acoustic Remix” of ‘Bleed Me An Ocean’ that the record’s energy truly noticeably pulls back. The gentle, ballad style arrangement here is powerful in its own right. At the same time, the general reserved nature of the arrangement is a clear stylistic departure from the rest of the record’s arrangements. It shows just as much as at any point, how much time went into the EP’s sequencing. Looking back through the EP’s sequencing, the high-energy start, straight through to its reserved finale shows defined crests and troughs throughout. It shows that the sequencing was deliberate. That deliberate effort paid off just as much as the remixes themselves. Collectively, the remixes and their sequencing makes for even more engagement and entertainment. Even as much as the noted items do for the record, they still are not the last of the EP’s most important aspects. The lyrical themes featured in the songs put the finishing touch to the record.
There are plenty of audiences out there who are already familiar with Gabriel and the Apocalypse, and those audiences have likely already taken in Alpha Bionic. At the same time, there are plenty of audiences who are less familiar with the band and its work. To that end, if this EP is those latter audiences’ introduction to the band and its work, then the record’s lyrical content is just as important to note as anything else. ‘Systematic Chaos’ for instance, comes across as a statement of pure disgust with the state of the world. Given, socio-political commentary is anything but new to the world of rock. The thing is that so many such songs take more of a plaintive approach. In the case of the statement is less plaintive and more of a “screw it all” sense. This is inferred right from the song’s outset (which is also the song’s only actual verse) as Gabriel sings, “I used to want to save the world/Let’s burn it down/I can see for miles, I can see for years.” The chorus adds to that sense as she adds, “Systematic chaos, smoke and mirrors/Manipulated, calculated, hell bound, let’s burn it down/Do you feel what you say?/Do you say what you feel?” Again, this is complete frustration with everything, and while it is a clearly angered view, the fact of the matter is that many of us get to (and likely have gotten to) the point from which this song comes. To that end, that ability to relate to those very real thoughts and emotions will help listeners release their own frustrations. This is just one way in which the record’s lyrical content proves its importance. The lyrical content featured in ‘Electro-Mechanical’ does even more to show the importance of this element.
The lyrical theme that is seemingly featured in ‘Electro-Mechanical’ appears to take on the familiar topic of someone who is done with a toxic relationship. That is just this critic’s interpretation of the content. The inference comes right from the song’s outset as Gabriel sings, “I can’t feel/I can’t breathe/I’ll give you what you need/I can take it/I’ll fake it/You only need skin to bleed/Moving fast but standing still/A dark place turned so beautiful/Detached all my feelings/Now, I’m here for the killing.” That mention of being able to “fake it” even despite the negative thoughts that open the verse points to someone who is putting up with a bad situation. As the verse progresses, things change as the subject states, “A dark placed turned to beautiful/Detached all my feelings/Now, I’m here for the killing.” Obviously the “killing” does not mean murder. Rather it would seem to refer to the end of that bad situation, just in a metaphorical sense. The seeming story continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “A part of me has died/Impressions liquefying/Peeling from these walls/Who will catch you when you fall?/Electro-Mechanical/I had to let you go/This wall I’ve built so tall/I’m not afraid no more to lose it all/Electro-Mechanical.” That attestation that “I’m not afraid no more to lose it all” would seem to solidify the noted inferred statement. It really makes it seem even more that this is, lyrically, a song that centers on someone who has ended a toxic relationship. If in fact that is the case, then the manner in which the story is delivered is unique and powerful. In turn, it would make the EP’s lyrical content that much more pivotal to its presentation.
As much as the lyrics in ‘Electro-Mechanical’ and ‘Systematic Chaos’ do to make the record appealing, they are just a pair of songs that meet that end. The lyrical content featured in ‘Bleed Me an Ocean’ shows even more, the importance of the record’s lyrical content. The song’s lead verse states, “I write at your fingertips/Beautiful insanity taking on me/I don’t mind, it’s only a lie/Just a matter of time before we blur the line.” The second verse continues, “I know what moves the center of you/We crash and burn/Will we ever learn?/Is this all there is? Days into years/What’s done is done, still we run.” This collectively seems to point to a relationship-based topic again. It could very well be the wrong interpretation. Regardless, the ability of these lyrics to generate what will assuredly be plenty of discussion shows its own importance here. When that impact is considered along with the themes and impact of the other themes noted here (and those not noted), the whole leaves no doubt as to the importance of the EP’s lyrical themes to its presentation. When that importance is considered along with that of the record’s featured remixes and their sequencing, the whole makes Alpha Transcendence one more positive new offering from Gabriel and the Apocalypse.
Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s recently released EP Alpha Transcendence is a positive new offering from the independent goth/industrial band. That is due in part to its featured remixes. The remixes take music from the band’s most recent album, Alpha Bionic (2019) and gives each song new life through the unique arrangements. The sequencing of those arrangements adds its own appeal to the EP. That is because the sequencing maintains the balance in the record’s energy. The lyrical content that accompanies the lyrical content rounds out its most important elements. It serves as its own added important element mainly for the band’s new audiences. Its accessibility will ensure listeners’ engagement in its own right, too. When it is considered along with the noted songs and their sequencing, the whole makes the record overall one more of this year’s top new EPs. It is available now. More information on Alpha Transcendence is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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