What I listen to when I’m burning chrome…
I bought this a few weeks back and it’s possibly one of the most perfect albums Numan has ever made; part of his on-going and relatively recent collaboration with Ade Fenton. Skip back to the Halcyon days of Tubeway Army through to Berserker; this is where most people can be forgiven for only thinking of Numan as being all about “Are Friends Electric” and “Cars” whilst totally missing the staggering wealth and breadth of experimental talent going into the chameleon-like shifts of style and sound. “The Fury” and “Strange Charm” brought in Numan’s fetish for science fiction, particularly cyberpunk concepts and lots of movie-samples – something hinted at with the Mad Max / post-apocalyptic vibe of “Warriors” three years earlier. Then something seemed to go a little wrong – Numan began to experiment with a rocky sound but for whatever reason, it had lost the classic agent provocateur sound of science fiction punk. The album Metal Rhythm jars like a 16-track sequencer caught taking a comfort break.
Ironic when you consider the time-frame of Trent Reznor and his Nine Inch Nails.
Then a new sound and a string of albums with a similar and well-crafted vibe, “Sacrifice”, “Exile” and “Pure”. The science fiction theme was back in full flow, mixed with a healthy dose of anger against God laced with vocals about angels, demons and the pain of tragic loss.
And now, abruptly, after more than a decade out in the media wilderness… people beyond the fan-bunkers are talking about Numan again. In a good way. Basement Jaxx had a huge hit in 2002 with “Where’s Your Head At” courtesy of chunky samples from Numan’s track M.E.
“Jagged” and the mash-up that was “Hybrid” came through the Numan engine… feeding everyone’s hunger for the fix. All good Numan.
But “Dead Son Rising” takes everything to a whole new level. This is a quintessential masterpiece – a conclusion, if you like, of over thirty years in the dystopian science fiction realm of electro music – and the stories told by his lyrics.
It’s not an easy album to like. It doesn’t sing to you with beauty or lift you up in ecstasy, but rather it snarls with grungy overlapping guitar riffs, charges at you with metal shrieks, impales you with meaty bass throbs, lashes you with discordant vocals and the kind of melancholic chords that come from the heart of Numan’s seminal works.
Numan has found his industrial rock groove and its spectacularly awe-inspiring.
The NIN / Trent Reznor and Numanoid “reciprocal influence” has had a massive payoff.
And the album shifts. It evolves within the 11 track** lifespan. What you start with is a wholly different sound to where you end.
This is music for writing Cyberpunk or any gritty science-fiction and dark fantasy. This is music for scenes of violence, haunting dilemma, fast-paced narrative spill and the fury of a writer’s imagination when it’s on fire and in the moment of creation.
**12 tracks on download version
For me, Numan has been an ever-present Argonaut – a creative hero who existed well before his time – whose music has helped to shape just about every piece of science fiction and dark fantasy, cyberpunk and post-apocalyptic Cthulhu Mythos I’ve ever put to paper.
Trailer for Dead Son Rising
Track list for Dead Son Rising:
“Resurrection” – 3:24
“Big Noise Transmission” – 4:20
“Dead Sun Rising” – 4:57
“When the Sky Bleeds, He Will Come” – 4:47
“For the Rest of My Life” – 5:03
“Not the Love We Dream Of” – 5:10
“The Fall” – 4:19
“We Are the Lost” – 5:09
“For the Rest of My Life (Reprise)” – 5:44
“Into Battle” – 5:05
“Not the Love We Dream Of (Piano Version)” – 4:52
“Dead Sun Rising (Early Version)” (Bonus Track – Digital Only) – 5:53
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David J Rodger – DATA