Style: Industrial Metal
Release Date: 22 Mar 2019
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As I traipse virtually around Europe, enjoying the wild diversity that's on offer in the worlds of rock and metal in 2019, I realise that I haven't had as many stops in Spain as I perhaps should have, so let's remedy that today with a couple of very different bands.
First up are Mind Driller, from Alicante, who play industrial metal with an overt NDH flavour, not least because some of the vocals are sung in German. I'm a big fan of the versatility of the English language but there are some things that can only be done in German and NDH is one. This album underlines that because the rest of the album is sung in English, as well as in different styles, and it definitely pulls that abrasive NDH punch.
Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Just listen to a song like The Last Drop to see how that style can blend and battle with other styles, weaving in and out of them in a fascinating way. Half of it is hard punching NDH, sung in German, but the other half veers into groove, gothic, nu, even prog. It's a heady mix but I have to say that I really dig it. It's like a stage duel between Rammstein and a wild variety of competitors, each darting in when they see an opportunity.
These different styles often come from the fact that Mind Driller have three dedicated vocalists in a band that only numbers six. That's an odd band line up. I believe that Dani N.Q. is responsible for the harsh vocals, including those in German, while V handles the clean male vocals. Certainly Estefania Aledo produces the female vocals, which are also clean but often powerful as she isn't there just to provide a sweet contrast to harsh.
With Pharaoh on bass and Reimon on drums, that leaves Javix to control a lot of the band's sound, not just through his guitar work but all the electronic components too, because he handles the programming, which is deceptive as to its importance. Songs like Zero impressed me with how much electronica there was but how little there seemed to be. In other words, he's able to do a lot without it seeming like he's taking over everything.
This is Mind Driller's third album and it feels accomplished, aided by some very crisp production. However, I have a feeling that this band's element is the stage, not least because they have a very distinctive image. To be part of the album's concepts about duality, as emphasised by the utopia/dystopia album cover and the intriguing video for Rotten, they've adopted a sort of post-apocalyptic new wave look with make-up that cuts each of them in twain.
Industrial is often seen in love it or hate it terms, but I sometimes think that's less to do with its pounding approach to music and more to do with a lack of variety in each band's sound. If you like one song, you're going to like the rest. If you don't, you're gone and you won't be back. Here, I was impressed by just how much Mind Driller manage to put into their industrial core sound. Kianda may be the best example of that, not merely contrasting hard and soft or English and German but also pop, rap and alternative with that industrial punch.
Listen to this once and you'll hear a lot. Listen to it again and more will emerge. Did I really blink and miss the carnival barker in Ritual the first time through or did it just not stand out for notice until I'd listened to everything else first? It really doesn't matter, but it helps to highlight just how much there is worthy of note here.