Fate of Uncertainty/Null Cycles is not a gentle album. While often elegiac, it waits until its passengers are lulled, then swerves into oncoming traffic. This makes it an unsettling listening experience, an antidote to placidity.
To create this album, Joe Meland (Fate of Uncertainty) welded together two pre-existing EPs. Sonically, the two seem an apt match, although the first contains an ending that may have been more fitting for the end of the album. The track listing as it stands – all of the first EP, followed by all of the second – does highlight one clear fact: over the last year, Fate of Uncertainty got a lot better.
This is not to say that Fate of Uncertainty (the EP) is a slouch, simply that it is a bit rough around the edges, both in emotion (a good thing) and maturity (not so much). The industrial scrapes and grindings of “escape.” and “warning.” are effective when juxtaposed with organ and pounded piano. But when the latter adds distorted voice, one wonders if it has gone a bit over-the-top. Far better is the apocalyptic “result.”, which begins with piano and ends with bombs and multiple screams. It’s the end of the world, and we don’t feel fine at all.
By Null Cycles, the production values, composition and maturity have all improved. “nothing.” is the opposite of its title, and is clearly the standout track. A low rumble and machine beeps give way to bursts of white noise, tea kettle whistles, avid drums and a single bell. This tumbls directly into “majesty.”, which does match its title with clear ivories and symphonic chords. Despite the fact that this is not a gentle album, it is capable of gentleness, which is what Fate of Uncertainty delivers here and on the closing selection. This contrast is the album’s greatest strength. (Richard Allen)