Nyodene D from U.S.A. is the brainchild of Aaron Vilk, and delivers heavy, dark and oppressive power electronics and death industrial. The one-man act has made quite a few releases since it's founding in '08, but I've only come to hear the "I Have No Mouth, Yet I Must Scream"-tape prior to this album.
When an album deals with something as massive as the apocalypse and complete annihilation of humankind, one automatically assumes it to sound grand, massive and powerful. As I already knew what kind of a sound to expect from Nyodene D, I could rest at ease; this album will sound like its theme allows one to assume. Even so, the album managed to surprise me with its mass and dark atmosphere. The sheer power over of the scrap metal beat(ing)s and other metallic hisses and screeches, brooding low-tone analogue synths and echoed and distorted shouts took me over, pretty much keeping me from moving or even opening my mouth when listening to the album.
Whereas "Harbinger" slowly builds up to create an atmosphere for the album with heavy reliance on the synths, its follower is a lot more offensive. "Against..." plays with sudden jumps from almost total silence to steadily growing rhythmic loops of metal scrap abuse, with the shouted vocals and one spoken sample bringing a human touch to suffer amidst its sharp-edged metal violence. Even though the song (and if slightly generalized, this applies to the other ones too) has a somewhat predictable build-up and one can follow the loops' rhythms, the vocals push the listener off his balance to be severely beaten. The song is solid. Simple as that.
"Every Knee Shall Bow" takes the album's oppressive violence to a higher level, peaking the album's apocalyptic theme into complete annihilation of humankind. The loops are more offensive, faster, more detailed and plain merciless, and the multiple vocal tracks enhance the feel of chaos and annihilation until the song's calm and minimalistic end. The closer "There..." describes earth after people, and although it isn't as chaotic as its predecessor, it's layers of screeching high-pitch noise and bassier tones are far from calm. The song ends to a minute or two of just synths to give the listener some time to catch his/her breath after the experience, until the album has ended.
If I would have to pick a few single words to describe the album, they would be "solid" and "style." Loops are eventually a predictable weapon, but mr. Vilk has used them to their full power to kick the listener from his/her comfort zone, and utilizes both the higher and lower pitches of sound in a tasteful manner. The album is dead serious, and its progress from apocalyptic visions to actual annihilation and further on to visualization of the earth after people made me listen to it concentrated, in all silence. The lyrics are spot on. The visual side is really minimalistic but stylish, and I don't know what else the covers would need to work better. The music will take care of creating an oppressive atmosphere and painting the landscapes for you to gaze upon. You just need to focus.
I was originally a bit bummed due to the album's heavy reliance on loops and loudness/silence-contrasts, but after a few spins I got to see beyond them and finally noticed the high quality of individual sounds (which is far from lo-fi), as well as the way the songs are built and layered. "Every Knee Shall Bow" holds no fun, joy, or gimmickry, and you would do well to buy it.