The 3rd full length by the Belgian EBM combo Combat Voice is now a fact. The previous full length “Chaotic Universe” revealed a few interesting elements, but was missing a professional production.
Richard G (who played some live keyboards for Vomito Negro) and singer Bernard F now strike back with 10 new songs plus 2 remixes featuring one remix by Patrick Codenys. This is for sure an excellent reason to purchase this album and to discover Combat Voice.
I have to say that globally speaking the production process has been improved, which especially comes through on the vocals. The dark and cavernous vocals of Bernard F gained in volume, which has a real positive impact on the sound. I also have to mention the good-old receipt of the band using backing vocals reminding me of Front 242. Musically, this new work again reveals interesting ideas in cold-EBM. I like most of the frozen electro-sequences while several songs are carried by excellent, dry-sounding bass lines. Combat Voice always has liked the good-old spoken samplings reminding me of the early years of EBM. So this is another element of their work that you’ll hear on several cuts. For so far I could say that this album brings the band into a very positive spotlight.
And yet I’ve been desperately waiting for an essential element that never really came through. There’s less diversity in the song writing. It all feels a bit like a very solid basis, but which is missing a climax. I’m missing some diversity between the verses and the choruses. Most of the choruses don’t really break through and that’s a pity as this way the songs remain a bit too linear. The remix of “Under The Black Sky” by Patrick Codenys is not exactly what I would call a masterpiece, but this song is driven by the simple power of a bass line while the way Codenys used the samplings reminds me of the early 242-years.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this work is not good. It’s just that I get the impression that there’s much more potential hiding inside this band than what came out at the new CD. A song like “Overcoding Reality” reveals a part of the solution and I’m here referring to some subtle bleeps injecting extra diversity, but on the other side and here again there’s no real break-through. “Whispers And Agony” and “Jekyll Island” are similar songs; there’s a real potential, but no apotheosis.
During the 80s and 90s most of the bands were working with a producer who most of the time seriously empowered essential elements of the production. I remember the impact a genius like Sevren Ni-Arb (X Marks The Pedwalk) had on various albums. This is precisely what Combat Voice is missing! It’s a damned essential element most of the bands actually don’t care about while I’m convinced it would give an extra boost to this album.
This album moves on a positive way although I’m missing potential hits and especially a climax in most of the tracks.