Tom Hayes 15-Jul-2006 Exploding Monsters

In the late 1970’s, there was a unique French label called FLVM, which released an array of self-produced, highly interesting progressive and electronic albums (FLVM is an acronym that basically translates to Do It Yourself). In many ways, I can see a group like New Jersey’s Exploding Monsters added on to the FLVM stable if they were still around. This is a side project for a collective called Science Friction, which specialize in dark and alien soundtrack music. While “Sorcerers” era Tangerine Dream might seem an easy comparison, especially on songs like ‘Wonderous Strange’, Exploding Monsters generally lean towards a rougher sound. ‘Necessary Evil’, ‘Epoch of Decay’, ‘Veil of Existence’ and ‘Dali in Delusion’ are good examples of what I would imagine to be their particular soundtrack style. ‘Hallucigenia’ is a high energy romp with a strong in-yer-face sequencer electronics approach (though not Berlin School). The low budget organ sound with hand percussion found on ‘The Truth in Evolution’ and ‘Erotic Vapors’ is another signpost that EM (clever, eh?) are well-schooled with knowledge of another era and sound. The former track is probably my favorite on the album. I know it can be frustrating to read about obscure references, but this track just screams of the immortal Flamen Dialis. ‘Embalmed’ and ‘Neander Thaw’ (great title) reminds the listener that this is indeed 2004, with some metal edged guitar, Crimson leads, real drums and spacey electronics. For those familiar with the Dutch group Kong, then you know to expect that kind of sound here. ‘Le Predateur’ recalls classic period Heldon with foreboding heavy guitar and bass / drum accompaniment. The album ends on a relatively sunny note with ‘When It All Ends in Fire’. Exploding Monsters are at their best, at least in an album setting, when deviating from the soundtrack styled keyboard music and focusing on more diverse instrumentation. Definitely recommended to those who like adventurous electronic music with rock embellishments.

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