Imperial Black Unit is the new Berlin-based EBM/techno-industrial project born from the minds of French producers Thomas Chalandon (Templər, boss of Area Z) and Pablo Bozzi (Lapse Of Reason). Their sound is characterized by strong old-school vibes and hard rhythms enveloped by frantic atmospheres and hypnotizing synth mantras. A fusion of the past and the present already familiar for the listeners of this kind of music, and especially for aufnahme+wiedergabe‘s aficionados, but nevertheless enthralling and able to offer massive soundscapes.
Now they offer their debut for the aforementioned German label, a 4-track 12” called State Of Pressure and published in a limited run of 500 copies. A voyage into grim and dystopian worlds made of cutting bass-lines, evocative synths and steady drum machines, updating according to modern alternative club sensibilities the sound of bands like A Split Second, Borghesia, early Noise Unit and Front Line Assembly.
The title track works as a statement of intent: a pounding beat is developed around brooding bass-lines, soon reached by punishing marches and shouted vocals. Grim synth-lines and fast movements complete the militaristic structure reminding us of late 80’s electro-industrial. Alarming effects and grooving electronics keep the tension high, perfectly matching the dooming but strong soundscape. The white rose refers in its name to the non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich. They conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign which called for active opposition to the Nazi regime, sometime paying with their lives. Musically, it is a sci-fi EBM pastiche with sharp synth-sounds and enthralling loops supported by minimal rhythmic strictures. The number grows thanks to well developed crescendos and eerie atmospheres. It mixes evocative elements with obsessive drum-kicks, engulfing the listener with its imposing sonic drama.
Philosophy of a knife recalls 2008 Andrey Iskanov‘s splatter/horror film about Japanese Army’s Unit 731, a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Japanese army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the World War II. It was based at the Pingfang district of Harbin, and accounted as responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Imperial Japan. A throbbing synth starts our journey, and moving lines take their space together with stomping drum machines and industrial-tinged 4/4 rhythms. Once again the militaristic soundscapes is engulfed by melancholic melodies and ferocious vocals, perfectly showcasing the horrors of the themes in the musical output. Now you can pray ends our grim voyage with obsessive rhythmic patterns and layers of synth-sounds, developing a techno/EBM piece with dark vocal deliveries and eerie melodies. We are not so far from 90’s dark-electro territories, and sometime we are reminded of early Yelworc and their mysterious and aggressive style.
State of pressure is a work which updates the anti-establishment and anti-militaristic stance of old-school electro-industrial/EBM with today’s sensibilities. The music is hard, obsessive and pounding, mitigated by well-developed melodies full of eerie qualities, while the rhythmic structures are always hypnotizing and to the point. A return to some aspects of the past, but with a fusion of beat-driven elements, dark atmospheres, and grim shouted vocals recalling the harsher side of European and American electro-industrial. Imperial Black Unit offer more than simple club material, digging deep in the history of the genre and staying true to the roots of a certain sound and aesthetics. A recommended release for any rivethead.
Elektronische Musik, Techno, Electro, EBM, Electro industrial