Release Date: 21/04/23
Running Time: 24:14
Review by Dark Juan

Once more I come to you all in the spirit of peace and friendship, dear readers. I bring you joy of the day and I bring you gifts in the form of my writings. Normally, I’d try and kill you all on sight but I have just come home from a particularly challenging bout of child-wrangling and I am frankly too fucked to do anything but fall asleep next to your welcoming hearth fairly instantly. I’d love a cup of tea and a crumpet though, if you’re making one. I am British after all… I’m that tired my monocle has fallen out and my tie is askew and my stiff upper lip is trembling slightly. I have taken the classic British way out and am currently stuffing my face with biscuits in an effort to fuel my flagging nervous system with shitloads of sugar in a desperate attempt to paper over the cracks of my exhausted and rapidly fragmenting ego… The Other is creeping out of the mental cage he is normally contained within. You wouldn’t like The Other. He thinks Judge Death was a bit too lenient because he had mates.

AVGMNT (my grammar Nazi is threatening to invade literary Poland every time I write that) write music about a fictional city called Hexatropolis 2.0 and to say they have a dystopian, grim outlook on things is like saying Dark Juan is slightly fond of a glass of absinthe or three. I am currently giving their debut album, “SEQVENCES” (Paper Panzer MARSCH!) a spin on the almighty Platter of Splatter™. Let us delve into the unusual musical stylings contained therein.

AVGMNT (I know I am tired and probably grumpy, but by fuck that is annoying me) blend elements of Synthwave, EBM, Industrial, and Trap as they explore the dark and dour Aldous Huxley/William Gibson-esque concepts of mind control, totalitarianism, trans-humanism, and societal collapse; all based in the fictional city of Hexatropolis 2.0. and at the word ‘Trap’ Dark Juan was instantly suspicious, being as Metal and Trap are very uncomfortable bedfellows. 

The album opens with ‘HORIZON SEQVENCE’ which is a swishy swoopy Synthwave intro to the record where there is a metronomic, machinelike repeat of the words “It’s all about the sequence” that sets the tone for the rest of the album nicely being as it is a kind of faceless vocal – if anything, it’s like the vocal equivalent of Brutalism in architecture. ‘COPY <WASTE>’ continues this musical style with a surprisingly sparsely instrumented first proper song for a band that happily admits to genre-bending with a maniacal ferocity. This goes especially for ‘HVMAN SKIN’: imagine the darkness in the lyrics of the likes of Gunship, with Marilyn Manson singing them over Gothic electronic anthems with the serrated edge of heavily distorted guitar (but without the alleged sexual assaults and the fact that he now looks like the kind of granny who used to let you steal her Park Lane fags).

Sweeping Electronic Industrial soundscapes underpin colossal choruses just aching to be sung back at the band by adoring crowds of late-teen Goths, ΩZ having the kind of deep-throated, sonorous baritone that dissolves goth girls’ panties within moments. Bet the boy floods venues when AVGMNT play. ‘SOMATOSE’ needs you to have read “Brave New World” for it to make the tiniest bit of sense to you, otherwise it just sounds like ΩZ and αn have made shit up around a portmanteau word. The Trap element in the sound of AVGMNT really comes to the fore on ‘NVLL’ and ‘SLVMTROPOLIS’, most obviously on the second song, and in some of the vocal structures there is a strong Nivek Ogre and Skinny Puppy vibe in the arrangements and delivery of the singing. This is particularly obvious on ‘NVLL’ and really is not a criticism, more an acknowledgement of the band knowing their Electro-Industrial…

I do have a few negatives I want to address though, my dear friends. The rap in ‘SLVMTROPOLIS’ is absolutely unnecessary and has a real kind of bolted on, aftermarket feel about it and completely spoils the song as it sits pretty much in Industrial territory, but we must remember that this band are in their infancy, recording wise, and Dark Juan would much rather have a band experiment and get it wrong than play safe and just release the same record all over again every few years like AC/DC. Also, the production on the album is curiously lifeless. It’s kind of interior décor white paint blandness. It has no snap or real power and AVGMNT are a band I feel would really be transformed by hammering up all the levels to take their music from bitter to savage. Otherwise, there are not many missteps for music which is obviously complicated to program and play and the compositions are actually really good, and the lyrics tickle Dark Juan’s amygdala rather pleasantly considering they are dystopian as fuck. It is easy to imagine the music of AVGMNT playing in the background of a seedy club in the future Shinjuku, a kino runner looking for a mnemonic courier in the dripping, rubbish-strewn back alleys just off the main, neon-dripping Neo-Tokyo highway and street ninja looking for the pair of them, a razorgirl with mono-molecular steel scalpel blades beneath her immaculately painted nails, and a man with a carbon-fibre, telescopic katana with a diamond edged blade stalking the shadows as desk jockeys surf the cityscapes of the Net…

AVGMENT are the futureworlds of William Gibson turned to music. They are the fusion of meat and micro-electronics. And they are very, very good and this debut record is a bit of a stunner.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splatter Rating System awards AVGMNT 8/10 for an album of considerable promise and a pretty excellent debut to boot, which only has tiny flaws. Dark Juan is a big fan of AVGMNT, even if they do make me write their fucking name in capitals.

02. COPY <WASTE>  
03. HVMAN SKIN    
04. SOMATOSE    
05. NVLL    
06. SLVMTROPOLIS (featuring Jax Ayers and Buzz)    
07. BVRIAL    

Zach Wager (ΩZ) –  Main Vocals, Programming, Synths
Fernando Ruiz (αn) – Backup Vocals, Programming, Synths, Guitars, Engineer


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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