False Icons- God Complex

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, November 23, 2008

Now that Ministry’s career has officially ended, it seems that many of the members of its final touring lineups have been involved in solo projects. Earlier this year we saw vocalist/Fear Factory front man Burton Bell unleash his Ascension of the Watchers project, and now keyboardist John Bechdel has released the debut album from his band False Icons. Offering bleak, futuristic industrial music that at time sounds strikingly similar to Ministry, the group’s debut God Complex is solid but does leave room for improvement.

Considering that Ministry’s Al Jourgensen was involved in mixing and producing God Complex, it is not surprising that False Icons occasionally sounds fairly close to Ministry. However, whereas Jourgensen’s band offered very heavy industrial arrangements, Bechdel’s group often goes for slightly more melodic industrial/electronica arrangements while still maintaining a bleak and desolate atmosphere. The results at times sound like a cross between Ministry and Ascension of the Watchers, which is likely due to the fact that Bechdel has been involved in both groups. There are some noteworthy songs on this release and fans of the aforementioned will definitely love God Complex, but False Icons does have a little ways to go before their blend of industrial rock can truly be considered original.

John Bechdel has a very melodic voice that fits the instrumentals extremely well. Although there are some filters and background effects in place to make Bechdel’s voice sound larger than life at times, his singing still sounds as though it would stand on its own without the use of these effects. At times he sounds like a cross between Trent Reznor and Burton Bell, and it is quite likely that fans of either of those two will enjoy what is offered throughout God Complex. The lyrical content is appropriately dark, and in this regard False Icons are definitely ahead of some of the other groups in their genre.

False Icons is a welcome addition to the Thirteenth Planet family, and fans of industrial music as well as Ministry/Ascension of the Watchers will find a good deal to like about God Complex. However, Bechdel’s time spent in these other group shows as some of his ideas don’t come off as entirely original and do lessen the impact that this debut will have. But with a little more time and even further experimentation, we could be looking at a stand out industrial act.


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