Reviews Dismantled Standard Issue


Standard Issue

Gary Zon's blurb about the ethic behind Standard Issue reads something like, "a sarcastic take on the simplicity and emptiness of the current musical climate." What this means is, either it sounds exactly like what it says, or it means that Dismantled have disappeared into the chasm of banality that seems the staple of the current popular set of industrial bands.

The answer, it seems, lies somewhere between. The blurb is more than just a quasi-magniloquent admission that popularity is the main focus, but that popularity thing does carry through the whole album. Standard Issue is unmistakably Dismantled, but Dismantled fused with Covenant, or VNV Nation, or Assemblage 23 or any of the other monoliths of the industrial scene. The influences of Front Line Assembly and Nine Inch Nails, as always, float near to the surface. But so does the basic EBM beats, melodies that could belong on any Apoptygma Berzerk album, clean vocals and, of course, the occasional digression into trance-pitch keyboard lines.

Opener and single, "Anthem" is everything you'd expect. Dance floor beats, vocal echoes and simple, repetitive melodies. Unmistakably Dismantled, it moves into "Get it Through", the bastard child of Assemblage 23's "I Am the Rain" and "Survivor" from the eponymous debut. Continuing unabridged, mixing the archetypal Dismantled sound with the future-pop of VNV and Apop, the straight EBM of Assemblage 23 and the influence of just about every popular industrial act of the last five years.

Passing through moods and mid-song tempo changes and ambiances. Passing through "Recall", which carries the Dismantled sound out of the industrial world completely and "Standard Issue", which sounds like the theme to the Exorcist gone goth. Closing with the duo of "Attention," a classic Dismantled song and "Thanks for Everything", a song written with the specific purpose of tying up any loose ends the album may have. Standard Issue is a journey through the best of the worst of the industrial scene. Built upon strata of dark, introspective soundscapes and ersatz-industrial generica, it becomes something unique, a vague attempt at popularity that will always be something a little more… something a little better… no matter how hard it tries not to be.

Ultimately easier to listen to than either Dismantled or PostNuclear, Standard Issue may lack the artistic credibility of its predecessors, yet still finds itself head and shoulders above the rest of the middle-industrial wilderness. More human than anything Gary Zon has managed so far. More palpable and less apocalyptic than the precursors that paved its way. Less sterile and less cold, it is a much more inviting listen than anything Dismantled have touched before. And that's what matters.

Either as a contrived attempt at popularity, a satire of the industrial world, or somewhere between the two, the fact is that Standard Issue works. It doesn't need to do any of the things it set out to do. It doesn't need to lampoon and mock the rest of the industrial world. It doesn't really matter if it does or doesn't. It just works. And after all, that's all that's really important. Forget the bullshit and rhetoric. Dismantled is still the most interesting industrial outfit around these days.

7.9 / 10Neil F.
KFAI - Undead
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7.9 / 10

7.9 / 10

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