Absenth- Erotica 69

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Russian industrial metal band Absenth have been around since 2001, and started off playing melodic doom and death metal before transitioning into the sound they have now. While “industrial metal” can mean a lot of different things, on the group’s latest full length Erotica 69 they skew more towards a Rammstein/Combichrist type of sound that has more of a rock sound than metal. It’s a release that has some potential but there are far too many moments that blur together and as a result it’s a disc that listeners may not remember that much of once they’ve turned it off.

Let me start off by saying that there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with Erotica 69. Like many of the other industrial metal/rock bands out there, the band builds pulsing electronic beats as the base of their sound and then layers heavier, distorted guitars over top of them. The album has the type of highly polished production that gives both of these elements prominent airtime, but the biggest problem is that everything comes off sounding a little too similar. Absenth does try some different things with their riffs and beats throughout the album, and while there were some darker tinged passages that grabbed my attention they never seemed to last long enough before the band transitioned back into the overly familiar chugging riffs. The gothic tinged moments of songs like “Motorfest” are arguably the moments that stand out the most, but overall I just didn’t quite feel that spark that I have felt from some of the more engaging industrial metal.

Absenth’s lead singer Oleg Govorov goes for a cleaner pitch rather than the harsh screaming you hear in some industrial material, but his entire performance is run through a number of electronic filters to give them a different sound. Despite the fact that he’s not screaming, Govorov utilizes such a low clean pitch throughout the album that it gives off an aggressive vibe on almost every single track. I could see it being an acquired taste for some listeners, but I felt that the combination of the gruff vocals and electronic manipulations worked quite well and was one of the areas where the group did stand out. All of the tracks on Erotica 69 are sung in English with the exception of the final track “Absenth” which takes the first song on the album and gives it a Russian mix. I understand this was probably done to give the band some broader appeal, but think it would interesting if they further mixed the two languages on future releases.

Although I didn’t dislike the time I spent listening to Erotica 69, there weren’t quite enough songs that truly had riffs or electronic sections that truly grabbed me and encouraged repeat listens. Absenth’s gothic overtones and occasional exploration into other styles works well, but they seem a little too quick to head back to the tried and true industrial metal ideas. The group does deserve credit for the strong production values though, and it’s possible some of you out there might find this a bit more engaging than I did.


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