Cyberia |Dynamica, 1994|
1. Cyberia, 2. Oxyacetylene, 3. Hatesong, 4. Build, 5. Transit, 6. Skeletal, 7. Human Drum, 8. Das Island, 9. Industry, 10. Hatesong (Extended), 11. Oxyacetylene (Extended), 12. Oxyacetylene (Extended Remix), 13. Skeletal (Remix), 14. Body Burn (Julian Beeston Mix Extended)
Since the recent news that Cubanate is re-forming, I thought it would be fitting to go back and take a look at their second full-length album "Cyberia". This album sits perfectly in the creative spectrum of Cubanate's catalogue; the more simplistic techno-style beats and production is there (a la 93's "Antimatter"), but one can also hear the creative risks being taken to move the band into a more progressive direction (a la 98's "Interference"). "Cyberia" has a nearly perfect execution of the various genre influences (metal, techno, industrial, etc), which helps this album appeal to many different listeners. Perhaps this is why the lead single, "Oxyacetylene" was licensed as the theme song to the mega-hit video game "Gran Turismo", as well as on the compilation album to support the film "Mortal Kombat".
Aside from the aforementioned "Oxyacetylene" (which is a bangin' club track with one hell of a hook), "Cyberia" is rife with hooky songs thanks to Marc Heal
's lyrical and melodic talents, as well as Phil Barry
's wizard-like ability for writing killer riffage. The duo have the gift of musical balance; they rise to the challenge of keeping things simple enough that you can remember it and sing it back, while also keeping things complex enough that you are hearing new ear candy with every play through.
Favorite tracks for me would have to be "Build", which has a badass beat accompanied by a really slick reverse drum loop that helps the song slide right into your ear canals and down your spine. "Transit", which contains wicked synth lines, phat beats, delayed vocals, and all the trimmings. "Human Drum" is one of the standout tracks as it takes the usual "four on the floor" techno feel and slows it right down to a laid back pace. This creates a heavier feel, and also changes up the usual techno feel found in other tracks on the record ("Transit", "Skeletal" etc). Also the wicked use of modulating synths, reverse loops and a super tight chorus give this track a slick feel. Lastly, the hit that is "Oxyacetylene" is of course one of the best tracks on the record. This song reminds me of a more enhanced version of Cubanate's previous hit single "Body Burn" (from "Antimatter"); it has a similar structure and sound, but I think it is executed with a bit more understanding of production and has a tighter chorus/hook.
Of course the remix of "Oxyacetylene" by Julian Beeston doesn't hurt at all and, in conjunction with his remixes of "Skeletal" and "Body Burn", wrap the album up with a nice tight bow of kickass. (Note: this remix of "Body Burn" is one of the remixes included at the end of "Antimatter", and though it is redundant, it is also a nice touch to have it included on this album).
All in all this record is certainly a must have for Cubanate fans, and for industrial rock fans in general. Though this isn't Cubanate's best effort (that honor would have to go to "Interference"), it certainly isn't their worst and they didn't pull any punches with the quality of the tracks. In fact what impresses me the most about the entire album is how modern the production sounds, especially in comparison with music that is released today – it has certainly held up very well, and they were obviously ahead of their time. I'm excited to see what the 2011 Cubanate release will sound like, and how current music technology will benefit and sculpt their ever changing, unique sound. (James Chapple, 11/17/2010)