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Saturday, September 6, 2008

yelworC - iColation

Artist: yelworC

Album: iColation
Label: Metropolis
Genre: Industrial/EBM
Website: http://www.yelworc.de/

Industrial music as a whole is admittedly a very niche genre. Dropping the name of one of our more well-known artists will often lead to getting a blank stare from a stranger. But even among these little known heroes, there are a few artists which more well-versed industrial enthusiasts have to admit defeat in knowing who they are. Often these names show up in whispers of their legendary status, and yet only a handful of people have had the opportunity to actually hear them. This is the kind of status that yelworC enjoyed in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Supposedly this was a man whose powerful music even directly influenced the likes of Nine Inch Nails. Flash forward to the modern era: a time of internet and easy access to hard to find songs. In contrast to what was going on at the time, Peter Devin’s project was very much cutting edge and it’s easy to see how many artists had been inspired by his works. In 1994, yelworC fell off the face of the earth, but then they reemerged with a new album in 2004: Trinity. I stumbled on this album in a sale bin at my local record store and took it home because I was intrigued by the cover and the odd misspelling of Aleister Crowley’s name. It’s impossible for me to pin down a favorite album considering how many types of music I listen to, but Trinity easily ends up in my top ten, and probably in my top five. Imagine my excitement when I heard that Peter Devin had created part two of this trilogy based on The Divine Comedy. It took forever for me to get a hold of this album due to some shipping issues and a longer time to get a chance to absorb the album, but I now present my review of this album.

Packaging: 9/10

The packaging on this album is really well thought out, with lots of thematic elements and credit given where credit is due. The only thing I felt was missing was that the artwork wasn’t near as dark or as extensive as was on Trinity. It’s still great to look at, though.

Composition: 8/10

The Trinity album was about Dante’s exploration of Hell. Since iColation is about Purgatory, it does make sense that it wouldn’t be quite as dark as Trinity, then. In the Divine Comedy, after Dante has left Hell, he is introduced to Purgatory where sinners who died a violent death, repented shortly before death, or worked in public service where religious purity was impossible are forced to live until they ascent each step on their way to Heaven. I think Peter Devin did a good job of capturing this in that the overall composition of iColation is dark and bleak, but it’s more rhythmic and danceable in contrast to Trinity, so it’s almost a symbol of hope. Where Trinity was a great soundtrack to an eternity of hopelessness, this album is about movement and change and as such isn’t quite as dark, though still very original and inventive. This does leave one wondering if the next album is going to be forcibly cheery the way that Dante’s vision of Paradise was, though.

Production: 10/10

There is absolutely nothing negative I can say about the production. The mastering is to top notch, the mixing is excellent, and the levels are perfect. This album is a joy to listen to on any system.

Artistic Merit: 9.5/10

Doing a musical tribute to The Divine Comedy isn’t exactly a new concept or original, but undertaking it on this magnitude is definitely a display of artistic integrity. The fact that Peter Devin was an inspiration to many an aspiring industrial musician aside, it is obvious that he is an innovator in the genre and a master at his craft. Even with this new album, yelworC is ahead of many artists in the genre.

Flow: 10/10

It has flow. All the songs work well together.

Overall Rating: 9/10

I had high expectations for this album and for the most part, Peter Devin managed to reach the bar. My only complaint is that this album isn’t quite as dark and brooding as the Trinity album which I fell in love with, but it still works as an excellent industrial/EBM album with enough originality to bring life into the genre.

-Jim Wicked
date 09-06-08

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