Conflict – Decision Code
Release Date: 01/04/2020
Running Time: 63:54
Review by Beth Jones
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.
03. Art of Resistance
04. D-Evolution (feat. Dave Lowmiller)
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
Anna ‘Hel’ Milyanenko – Vocals
Aleksey Kurpyakov – Bass
Rodion Skityayev – Guitar
Mikhail Conflictov – Drums
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.