Electro-industrial veteran act Antigen Shift is now a duo, as Nick Theriault has joined forces with Jairus Khan (Ad·ver·sary). The result is a pumped-up sound that positively bursts from the speakers and should set dance floors on fire this summer. Brotherhood hearkens back to the golden age of industrial dance music: the late 80s to mid 90s, a time in which bands such as Front Line Assembly, Mentallo and the Fixer, Covenant and VNV Nation (all of whom are still active) ruled the roost. During this period, it was often about the remix as well as the original track; bands responded by producing songs that already sounded remixed. This principle holds true throughout Brotherhood as well. Everything is ready for the sweat and grind.
“Legion” is industrial rave in the manner of C.J. Bolland’s “The Prophet”, replete with sampled Savior. “Are you the Son of God?” “I AM.” Boom-boom-boom-boom! Other tracks update the 90s industrial sound for the 21st century. “Forced” sounds like the love child of an FLA remix and a New Order B-side. The partial use of guitar recalls the struggle the former group had with the sound. Splitting the difference, Antigen Shift excises the guitar from some tracks while using it sparingly in others.
The album’s strong point is its programming. Drum patterns vary within each track. Synthesized keyboards surge forth in equal measure, occasionally rising to the top of the mix (as in the second minute of “Angry Pillbox”). This music wants to be blasted, and can be heard clearly in a speeding car, even with the windows open. “Get Off My Lawn” ignores the expected Clint Eastwood sample, but makes a case for itself with rapid synths and deep bass. The only disappointing moment found on the disc: a tempo slowdown on “November”, simply because the same trick is used in “Godkrusher”.
The test of Brotherhood will be to see if there’s still a market for this sort of music. I truly hope there is, because an entire generation has gone without it; and since it never really broke through, it still has a chance. Techno-industrial music has a dual edge over many other types of dance music in that it is instantly percussive and constantly mutating; there’s no waiting for the good bits or getting used to a repeated beat. One either likes it or one doesn’t; but in this case, I hope you do. (Richard Allen)