As evidenced by the recent outpouring of music (and more importantly, donations) for Boston Marathon relief, it is clear that musicians from New England and beyond have a big heart and are willing to lend a hand when necessary. One of the artists who contributed to Allston Pudding’s massive 130 song strong benefit compilation, industrial act Downcity Armory, is taking things a step further. ALL proceeds from sales of DCA’s debut EP “Empire Gone” will be donated to Free Geek Providence, an organization that donates computer equipment to the less fortunate. Is there a more fitting charity for an electronic artist? However, once the EP is purchased and the money downloaded, what is left is the music now on your hard drive. And the important question is after good intentions are removed, is the music any good?“Empire Gone” is a solid six tracks of electro-industrial stompersFortunately in this case, the answer is yes. “Empire Gone” is a solid six tracks of electro-industrial stompers that are equally suitable for radio as they are for the soon-to-be-reopened Manray dance floor. Obvious single “Cease the Wheels” is a stuttering and unrelenting reminder that guitars need not be present for music to be truly heavy. With its catchy hooks and dance floor rhythm, “Wheels” is a hit waiting to happen. Opening track “Cthulhu Walks” is a grimy sounding instrumental that evokes images of the War Against The Machines (sticking to the Terminator and Terminator 2 canon, of course) far more strongly than everyone’s favorite cephalapod-headed Old One. “Square WAV Good-Bye” delivers a very effective mix of noise and melody, with neither side ever quite overpowering the other.
This brings me to my primary gripe with this EP. Industrial music is not exactly known for its hooks, but DCA’s sole member, Todd Bowes, is capable of writing them. It’s disheartening to hear a lack of any discernible hook on a track when the one before it had no fewer than three separate hooks. I’d prefer an all or nothing approach; either blanket the EP with hummable melodies, or have none. The record would be fantastic either way, but I’d feel a bit less of a push and pull between songs as I put on my Skinny Puppy fanboy hat only to have to then remember that I also love hearing a great vocal melody.This is an EP wherein I legitimately found being critical toughGiven my love for Industrial music, two things occur when I hear of a new Industrial artist in the area: I get excited, and then I get critical. There’s a lot of mediocrity out there. However, “Empire Gone” is an EP wherein I legitimately found being critical tough. That basically leaves me excited for a promising local Industrial act, and especially excited for one who likes to give back.
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