By Dr. Abner Mality
This is a work that leaves me speechless and fumbling for the right words. It seems to me that it marks the end of organic flesh and blood man in music and the rise of the machine. If Skynet ever cut an album, this would be it. Metal literally performed by robots...
There is a story behind it. ELECTROMANCY is...or rather,was...a guy named Satyra, who was struck by such an acute case of Lyme Disease that he found it impossible to play instruments anymore. So he simply constructed robots to play the music he created. The "real" members of ELECTROMANCY are three voluptuous looking cyber-mannequins in female form with glowing LED faces. With the exception of vocals, they play all the music on "Technopagan".
This has the makings of an uplifting tale, of a musician who refused to let illness defeat him. And I guess it is. Unfortunately, what these robots create is some of the most appalling inhuman cacophony that my ears have heard in over 50 years of processing music. The press calls it "black metal", but it certainly sounds like no black metal I've ever heard. If somebody took a jackhammer to a giant PVC pipe, it would sound a lot like this...a brain-crushing clatter, utterly inhuman, with machine gun programmed beats and racket that makes nails on chalkboard sound like Mozart. Is this the future of music? If it is, give me a shotgun so I can shoot my head off.
I tried hard to find something to latch onto here. Just couldn't do it. The one song that seemed to have a riff I could half way listen to, "Soot and Sulphur", was ruined by saccharine, diabetes inducing female vocals. The nadir is reached with "My Body Is Failing Me", which was such an agonizing racket that I did something I almost never do...I quit listening before it was over. Like the worst dubstep mixed with "gabber" electronica at its most grating. Not a lick of black metal in it. None.
Satyra has done something very admirable with ELECTROMANCY...life-affirming, even. He is to be commended for the determination that went into this project. But on the actual sonic end, it is unlistenable. I say it now and I'll say it forever...machines will never replace men when it comes to art and music.