Conflict – Decision Code

Conflict – Decision Code
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/04/2020
Running Time: 63:54
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

I’m on holiday this week! I had planned a week full of doing those niggly little jobs in the house that have been put off for months, however today’s activity, putting up shelf units in the garage, has been cut short by the nemesis of the missing piece! Damn you flatpack! But, it has given me a chance to get stuck into some reviewing! First up on my list, Russia Industrial Death metallers, Conflict, and their 4th studio album, “Decision Code”. This was released back in April, but I’ve only just got round to it! Sorry, my bad!

I’m known to be rather partial to a bit of industrial metal, so my ears pricked up when Rick offered me this one, and it also has two of my favourite industrial artists, Jayce Lewis and Burton C. Bell, guesting! With this latest album, Conflict have delved into the exploration of a concept. Set in a dystopian future, Decision Code explores the conflict between man and machine – a concept that is becoming less unimaginable by the day.

The album starts with ‘2048’, a track that melds futuristic electro synth with rhythmical and mechanical guitars and beats, and Anna ‘Hel’ Milyanenko’s tortured growls. It certainly sets the tone for the album, purveying an image of the torment of the soul in a world run by machines, where the sense of ‘self’ is being lost in automation. The album continues in this vein, with most tracks being in a minor key, adding to the weight of the whole sound. It’s industrial, but it juxtaposes the mechanical monotony with progressive and almost djent style rhythmical sections. It’s certainly apocalyptic. It brings to mind the dirty, oil drenched landscapes of futuristic disaster movies, where only the strongest can survive and must fight to save what is left of the planet. It would make a great soundtrack to a movie or video game of this ilk.

An interesting bit of diversity is added in track 5, ‘Megapolis’, with the use of a melancholy saxophone line, which almost serves as an echo of the past, where free will and free thinking were still a thing. Many of the tracks also use synth strings which add to this melancholic yearning of the whole album.

This isn’t really an album to have a favourite track on, as it is more of a whole concept, and so should be taken as a whole piece. But for me, there are two that stand out. Firstly, track 11, ‘Deadlock’. This is the track that Jayce Lewis guests on. Aside from the fact that his vocals always get me in the feels, the chord progressions within this track are very pleasing, and it brings the heat down a little in the middle section to explore more piano and string sounds. This leads into a section of bass and drums in an irregular time signature, which wet my progressive whistle!

The final track, ‘New Industrial Order’, is also an absolute banger! Fully instrumental, apart from a small section of spoken word towards the end, its creepy introduction brings to mind a battlefield, at the point of ‘calm before the storm’. The warring factions standing motionless to either side, their eyes narrowing, assessing their foe, preparing to engage. Only here I get the feeling the foe are machines, and regardless of who wins the battle, there will be no real victory. As the track builds, it progresses into chugging chords and powerful rhythms. This would be the perfect soundtrack to a battle sequence played out in slow motion. It’s mournful and melancholy, and a brilliant way to finish the album. It almost feels like there should be a ‘To be continued…’ caveat at the end.

My one criticism with Decision Code is, for me, the synth sounds are at times, too far forward in the mix, and the clean vocals a little too far back. However, this doesn’t detract from the overall effect of the album.

Musically, this is an album of tracks that are riff laden and full of steel-like chunkiness, with a combination of tortured growls and clean vocals, neither of which outstay their welcome. It’s also really bass driven, which gives it a grind that’s very pleasing, in a masochistic kind of way! It sticks with the concept and portrays it extremely well. It’s always pleasing when an album fulfils a brief, and this is certainly one of those occasions. If you like the industrial nature of bands such as Meshuggah, Gojira, or Fear Factory, you will really enjoy this album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. 2048
02. Autonomous
03. Art of Resistance
04. D-Evolution (feat. Dave Lowmiller)
05. Megapolis
06. Decision Code (feat. Alex Blake)
07. To Serve and Protect
08. Room 101
09. Speechless (feat. Karsten “Jagger” Jäger)
10. The Architect (feat. Burton C. Bell)
11. Deadlock (feat. Jayce Lewis)
12. New Industrial Order

LINE-UP:
Anna ‘Hel’ Milyanenko – Vocals
Aleksey Kurpyakov – Bass
Rodion Skityayev – Guitar
Mikhail Conflictov – Drums

LINKS:
www.conflict-metal.com/
www.vk.com/conflictmetal
www.facebook.com/Conflictmetal
www.instagram.com/conflictmetalband/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCmnwlgm9GGZHt_pWSgjaFmw
www.conflict-metal.bandcamp.com/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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.

EMQ’s with NUCLEAR WINTER

EMQ’s with NUCLEAR WINTER

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Harare, Zimbabwe based Melodic Industrial Death Metal project, Nuclear Winter. Huge thanks to Gary Stautmeister for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

I’m Gary Stautmeister and I started Nuclear Winter in 2013 – After all the years of playing guitar and having nothing to show for it, I finally decided I needed to start recording my own stuff and work on my own ideas. So Nuclear Winter became my solo project where I could experiment and record my own thing.

How did you come up with your band name?

When I worked on the ideas for my first album, where the lyrics dealt a lot with the extremes from things like love/hate etc and the fine line that separates them, I thought Nuclear Winter worked well with that – as being the extremes of heat and cold but is a devastating thing within itself.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I’m from Harare, Zimbabwe. The rock/metal scene here is almost non-existent. Apart from a few metal heads and Zim’s only other metal band Dividing the Element, are about all we have here.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

My latest release is “Night Shift” which came out end of last year, but I have an EP called “StormScapes” which will be out on 15th July.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Wintersun and Devin Townsend. Although I don’t do anything that really sounds like DT – it’s just what he does in his songs is really impressive to me. There’s a way he manages to pack so many things into a mix and have it all working together well that I find very impressive.

What first got you into music?

As a kid when I first heard Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, I thought wow – I gotta have an electric guitar! I just loved the sound and energy of it. Then came Nirvana and they were a huge influence for me. At least as a young guitarist – their songs were fun and easier to play than most other bands. Down the line someone introduced me to Paradise Lost and I was amazed – they were heavy and melodic, and they are one’s that got me into melodic death metal – with Dark Tranquillity being my next favourite band then.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Either Devin Townsend or Jari Mäenpää- both musical geniuses’ way beyond my level but they would be really interesting to work with and to learn stuff from, I think.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I don’t have a preference really. I think any of the big ones like Download or Bloodstock etc would be cool.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

My fan base is still small, so I haven’t received any gifts.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Just a big thanks to anyone who is supporting the music I make.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Kurt Cobain. Nirvana was my favourite band in high school and the biggest influence for me as a teenager learning the guitar.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

The main thing for me is the creative freedom to do what I like. There’s not anything particular I don’t like. I find I struggle a bit with self-promotion. Also, one thing I find really tedious to record is the bass guitar. I find it very boring. I think I need to get EZBass so the bass can just be automated lol.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

To be honest I don’t know enough about the music industry so I can’t really offer any suggestions.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Strapping Young Lad – “City”. That was an immense album.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I think downloads. Just more convenient. I used to enjoy getting CD’s though years ago but digital is the way forward, I think.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

As a one-man band recording my stuff at home, I’ve not performed any of my music live yet unfortunately.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

My main job is doing 3D design, so music is actually a secondary thing for me. I would prefer to just focus on music though seeing as I’m quite bored of doing graphics work now.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

I think this list would be very interesting Morgan Freeman, Ricky Gervais, Jessica Lang, Kathy Bates, Jordan Peterson.

What’s next for the band?

I’m starting to work on some new songs for a new album. But that will probably only be out mid to end of next year hopefully.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

I just use the usual ones – Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud etc
www.facebook.com/NuclearWinterZim/
www.twitter.com/NWStauty
www.nuclearwinterzim.bandcamp.com/
www.soundcloud.com/nuclearwinterzim

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I was a kid when I last had one of those and to me, they were closer to a pie. But between those two I’d choose a cake.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Sure, and thanks for the interview. Nothing to add really.

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