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Saturday, January 21, 2012

REVIEW: GARY NUMAN - Dead Son Rising (Redeye 2011)

GARY NUMAN - Dead Son Rising (Redeye 2011)

Electro-industrial epics dominate Numan's 16th album - his best in years.

Reviewing a 2011 release before I start in on the 2012 releases. I didn't even know this one came out until I finished my year end list, but this most likely would have come in around #20 had I heard it in time.

Gary Numan makes great sounding records. Whether it's new wave synth pop or dark industrial dystopian grooves he's always had a gift for making his records sonically exciting, creating just the right soundscapes to compliment the batch of songs he's currently armed with.

Gary Numan's influence on the industrial electro-metal music in undeniable, and it's almost impossible to discuss Dead Son Rising without mentioning how he's incorporated the style of some of his best known followers into his current work. Sure, the Trent Reznor influence is felt on Dead Son Rising (more than on his last few albums), but this is most definitely a Gary Numan record in every sense.

Gary brings elements of Tubeway Army and Replicas into the electro-industrial era with a wall of distorted keyboards, electronically treated guitars, and one of the most distinctive voices in rock. The album is sinister in tone, heavy on menacing, slow chugging keyboard riffs that build into epic choruses. He slows it down a few times, including two sparse piano numbers, but the album is at it's best when he's forging ahead with angular rockers with monster bass lines.

All of the songs come from a batch of unused demos from his last two albums (2000's Pure and 2006's Jagged). but the record sounds like a cohesive piece rather than random songs thrown together. That's something else Gary has always done well - he knows how to sequence an album and pace the songs perfectly. This isn't one of his best albums overall, but it is his best in 20 years and should satisfy fans of any era of his career.

STANDOUT TRACKS: "Big Noise Transmission" (which reminds me of a modern take on Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans") and fuzz-synth filled "Dead Son Rising"

 And if you haven't seen/heard it - here's the fantastic video for "My Machines" by Battles with Gary Numan on vocals - one of my favorite songs and videos of 2011.

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