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Be My Enemy [reviews]
This Is The New Wave |Bit Riot Records, 2010|

1. The New Wave, 2. Helter Skelter, 3. Break Your Body, 4. Death Drive, 5. Disintegration, 6. Wasted Life, 7. All American Psycho, 8. Start The Revolution, 9. Ghost In The Machine, 10. Haarp

There are many qualities that separate “good” musicians from “great” musicians. One of these qualities is longevity. The ability to stay relevant and creatively engaged is a difficult one to achieve and maintain. Most artists are simply flashes in the pan – not so with producer/guitarist Phil Barry. Most people will recognize Barry for being one half of the industrial pioneers Cubanate, and now Barry has created a new musical outlet with his solo project Be My Enemy. Just as Cubanate pushed the limits of creativity in the 90’s, Barry is continuing to push the limits of industrial metal with his solid debut album, “This Is the New Wave”.

Now don’t get me wrong, you aren’t going to hear experimental sounds that verge on the un-listenable on this record. This collection of songs is a balls to the wall industrial metal album through and through, with all the frills you would expect from the genre. However there are some shining moments on this record that remind me of the days when the genre was young and exciting. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard riffs, beats and production this fresh.

The album begins with the booming track “The New Wave”, which reminds me of a love child conceived during a three-way between Nirvana, Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga. There is a glossy pop undertone to the incredibly hooky guitar riff that builds the backbone of the song. This is a wonderful way to start the album, as it makes a promise to the listener that the rest of the record will be this banging and huge; a promise that a lesser artist wouldn’t be able to keep, but Barry is able to deliver in spades.

Other highlights include “Break Your Body”, which echoes old Cubanate tracks albeit with an increased emphasis on metal guitar riffs. This track has a wonderful intro that can literally get you more pumped up than drinking 4 cups of coffee. The track “Disintegration” is a rocking smack to the face – when the drums kick in and the White Zombie-ish groove comes together, I can’t help but head bang. I also particularly enjoy the intro to “Start The Revolution”, with its use of what sounds like a pitch-shifted loop of feedback from a ¼ inch guitar jack. The hum and buzz is a great example of how Barry is able to think outside the box and make music from noise.

It is also interesting to note the various musical genres that are sprinkled throughout the album. From phat breakbeats, to loud and aggressive techno synth lines, Barry has peppered his creation with the flavors of a variety of different styles. The marriage makes a lot of musical sense; it is incredibly exhilarating to hear a rave synth screaming over a crazy metal riff, and driven by some seriously thick jungle beats. I’ve always liked industrial music because it combines so many different genres, and Barry certainly delivers on this tradition.

After listening to the aggressively harmonic vocals of Cubanate’s Marc Heal for so many years, I was very curious to see what Barry’s vocals would sound like, and I can honestly say I was not disappointed. Most of the songs feature a pitched scream style of singing, however Barry does change it up on plenty of occasions such as the rhythmically spoken lyrics on “Wasted Life” and the flanged, lower register pre-chorus of “Start The Revolution”. I’m quite impressed that Barry has been able to capture the proper feel of industrial metal vocals, while still maintaining a voice that is his own.

I would highly recommend this album to anyone that likes Industrial/Electro-metal. You certainly won’t be disappointed, and more importantly you will have a new “classic” album to add to your collection. I am also happy to say I’m looking forward to the next Be My Enemy album as much as I am the next Cubanate record – which, for me, is saying a lot.

(James Chapple, 04/26/2011. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)

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