Not So Perfect
American electronic music is often represented by the tank top-clad EDM crowd or sickly-pale synth nerds, crouched over machines only New Order knows how to program. Industrial music is only really represented by the cult of Trent Reznor, while the goths and gas-maskers are still going hard in whatever cyber club was featured in Hackers. ‘Til Death is Aesthetic Perfection’s latest release, merging genres like Electronic Body Music (EBM), industrial and synth pop in a more accessible way.
The album starts off with “Happy Ever After,” with a theme-appropriate death bell ringing as Daniel Graves comes in, sounding somewhat like a lower-pitched Davey Havok. From the get go, the goth-y overtones and dramatic singing don’t really add much emotion or mood to the track. Seemingly forced, Graves could have employed a better technique at invoking the macabre.
Songs like “Lights Out (Ready To Go)” and “Death Rattle” feature fun synth programming, but Graves’ lyricism hearkens back to early 2000s mainstream screamo. It’s one thing to sing about childlike wonderment, but “I wanna feel your heart beat next to mine, left alone in a body bag,” could have been penned by a fly-by-night Victory Records band in 2003. “Big Bad Wolf” actually gives a nod to Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control,” with a stiff drum beat. The thick bass line does add to the punchiness of the song, but is quickly sullied by the time Graves starts singing.
‘Til Death isn’t the kind of music that survives by holding on to very specific ideas. Dated pop singing over un-inspiring synth lines really don’t carry much weight, as opposed to hearing Europeans shout over intense sequencers (Nitzer Ebb is an excellent example of this). If industrial music is all Graves knows, then his albums will not fair well outside his core fans. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. He gets to do what he loves to do. Sometimes it’s just fun to share when it’s worth sharing.