Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kryoburn's readymades

Three Years Eclipsed
Candlelight Records
(Originally appeared at

The dis on the ‘net is that Kryoburn are Fear Factory clones and so much for them. Well, I just want to say this is really unfair. Kryoburn are Fear Factory clones that clone a whole mess of other bands as well, okay?

Now that that’s cleared up, what separates this New Mexico band’s brand of industrialized metal from the Factory is the pleasing swing and openness in their Terminator grooves. We all like to claim that while we might claim to lust after the aural equivalent of having our heads relentlessly beaten with an ultra-loud battering ram sample powered by a Commodore 64, the truth is, a little air and swing between attacks is a pleasure and a relief.

Everyone—okay, Metal Hammer, UK-- is predicting that the band that seamlessly combines electronics and extreme metal will be a Next Big Thing. I think this is kind of a meh sort of ambition, but on “Introspective”, Kryoburn certainly pull it off.

There’s a wall of techno pads and digital chimes as a Strapping Young Lads-y groove head-slams and and the whole enterprise gains texture and catchiness when the growl-sung lead vox are neatly juxtaposed against a pretty chorus of what sound like male madrigals. (Have you been noticing how many bands are getting all madrigal on our asses lately? Is ‘choir metal’ the Next Big Thing?).

Anyway, “Three Years Eclipsed” is produced by Tue Madsen (Dark Tranquility, Moonspell, Suicide Silence) and he gives every track a glistening, 2011 surface. Things pop, punch and slide just so and Hey, remember Curve?

“Reinvention” has a distressed voice sample thingee that the 90s pop-goth-metal combo would proudly call its own lacing a Korn-y riff (in a good way!) And again, out of nowhere, we get a clean vocal singing a line out of Bach or some such shit. It’s like a formula, but only “like”.

“Burning the Doubt” adds Five Finger Death Punch-y macho for immediate ass-kick appeal while “Broken Hero” and its staggering/lockstep riff and slithery-pretty synth legato suggest Rammstein minus the punishing Teutonics. Less endearingly, “Event Horizon” is all generic Sturm und Drang riffing; when that lonely ‘classical’ vocal shows up it just proves that one idea can’t save every song, alas.

But that’s one failure. When Kryoburn are on their game, it’s the shock of the old that makes them special. Unlike Fear Factory’s now-retro,, post-apocalypse digitalism, Kryoburn are doing something that’s essentially modern, in the old, art school sense.

They’re approaching all of metal and looting it for spare parts, for what Duchamp, back in the beginning of the 20th century, called “readymades”--things not usually thought of as art—I think nu metal counts here—and by pasting them to other things, hoping to eventually create something paradoxically newish. They sometimes fail, but the process is a thrill.

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