Rusty Pacemaker comes from Austria, and comprises of drummer Franz Löchinger and the main-man Rusty who's handled everything else regarding the album; the rest of the instruments and vocals (aside of a couple of quest appearances and female vocals), composing, recording, mixing, mastering, cover artwork, and even the label is his own. Total DIY. Rusty begun composing songs for the album in '03, and the final product saw the light of day in late 2010. Currently (10/2011) he's composing material for a second album, and has made a recording contract with the label "7hard."

The album offers an hour's worth of mellow and metallic melancholy with an '80s goth rock feel. The calm songs switch between slow and mid-paces, and from distorted metal-riffing to acoustic interludes and shoegaze-influeced parts with a lot of echo. There are some synths to deepen the atmospheres, but they're used in a supportive role aside of a couple of piano-melodies and the minimalistic electro-based piece "Blackness and White Light." Most of the songs have a deeply melancholic feel but there are some more brisk moments in there too, such as "The Human Race" and "Revolution." The tempos stay low for the most part, but there's still a lot of variation.

One of the main elements that I haven't yet mentioned is the vocal section. Rusty has a mid-pitch and somewhat nasal voice. The vocals are decent, although bleak and rather emotionless, but such an approach fits the music. The lyrics are the real problem; they have amateurish rhymes, and when they're emphasized they sound rather embarrassing. The themes and subjects themselves are fitting, but the delivery needs to be refined. Rusty gives a few shouts, shrieks and whispers here and there, and I commend him for having such boldness with using his voice. If the lyrics were better and the singing had more emotion and a feel of presence, they might really make an impact.

The album has style, but too little dedication and true, honest emotion. It's bleak down to the minimalistic cover arts and contemplating lyrics, but the delivery and slightly flat soundscape makes them unable to manifest all their potential. The occasional bold and progressive guitar solos and melodies deserve credit, as does the skillful drum work.

The album is carefully thought-out all the way, but the strong DIY-aspect shows negatively through the lyrics, vocals and overall soundscape. With some outside help and better recording equipment (that the artist has acquired after recording and publishing this album), Rusty Pacemaker has a lot of potential to become a big name. The album has a lot of attitude and character, so all Rusty has to do now is to refine his skills and vision further. It might be a good idea to make the next album shorter, too.

8- / 10