STCLVR  Post Self Abandonment  CASSETTE   (Crucial Blast)   9.00

One of my latest obsessions is the burgeoning field of what I describe as "Death EBM", a loosely-connected cadre of artists and bands from around the world heavily influenced by the classic 1980s "Electronic Body Music" movement spearheaded by the likes of Nitzer Ebb and Front 242. Heavily relying on sequencers, distorted Korg and Roland synthesizers, pummeling drum machines, aggressive vocals, and punk-as-fuck anti-authoritarian lyrics, those pioneers developed a hybrid of industrial music; electronic dance elements and punk rage that absolutely dominated the late 80s underground. That style of industrial dance music went in and out of fashion over the subsequent decades, though, with some artists heading in a more "metal"-centric direction, others polishing their sound to a sleeker, more commercial technoid style. But in recent years, I've been following a serious resurgence in this style that seems to be coming primarily out of the harsh noise / dark industrial / synth-punk underground, with many of these new heavy hitters appearing on the Phage Tapes label. This new breed of EBM retains the violent 4/4 syncopated aggression and searing, distorted synthesizer sounds of the original scene, but bring a virulent strain of violent, grotesque electronics and vocals to the aesthetic, infecting these heavier EBM attacks with death metal-style shrieks, charred and blackened keyboard melodies, jackhammer-powered industrial abrasion, and trace elements of other extreme music forms that turn the whole EBM sound on its head, producing something uglier, heavier, harsher, darker and more ferocious than ever before, often drenched in violent, visceral eroticism. Phage has been mapping this incredible deathscape in recent years, delivering punishing neo-EBM from artists like Choke Chain, Distruster, Plack Blague, Wvalaam Klous, Harsh R, Talk Show, Fox Nova Project, Human Vault, It Spoke In Tongues and a host of other crushers. This shit is amazing, and anyone who's diggin' this heavy new brand of EBM should dive into that label's catalog, STAT.

One of the best of these dancefloor / headroom annihilators is STCLVR. Pronounced "Streetcleaver", this mutant from somewhere in Western NY blew the tail end of 2023 apart with the slammin' electronic body-horror bomb Post Self Abandonment , which came out on 12" vinyl through Phage right around Halloween. This cassette edition features the same material, and it's a beast. Merging caustic noise, power electronics influences, crumbling distortion walls, industrial metal, and monstrous vocals, this album builds upon the bulldozing EBM / synth-metal crush of the tracks from the Talk Show split cassette from 2022 (where I first encountered STCLVR's music, alongside the reissue of the Lovers album) and comes out even heavier (and more danceable) than ever. Ten tracks of brutal Death EBM that unleash a maelstrom of rabid electronic noise, horrifying death metal-esque screams and roars, gigantic rumbling industrial loops, vintage synthesizer arpeggios, and blasts of pummeling rhythmic power that invoke the hardest dance-floor eruptions of classic Belgian EBM. Equal parts harsh psychedelic noise, acid-damaged beast roars, lava-like distortion, and hardened beats that resemble Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, or Twitch -era Ministry filtered through a blackened cloud of rot and repulsion. The bass line that drives "Scumbag Finesse" immediately recalls the main theme from John Carpenter's iconic Assault On Precinct 13 score while adding chaotic, clanging rhythms, bursts of blast beat-level speed, and those ravenous shrieks; the propulsive four-on-the-floor power of "Plowed", underscored by grinding chord structures, erupts into a kind of electro-thrash savagery. The highly infectious beats that burn through the whiteout of "Cocaine Winter" join with melancholic synths, offering a discordian atmosphere that continues through the whole album; likewise, an element of Digital Hardcore seethes through songs like "Sea Hag 2023" and the menacing techno throb of closer "Tarnish", adding to the variety of rhythmic texture on the album. Forged from the black fire of mental and emotional struggle, STCLVR emerges anew, fearsome and unstoppable, and you can hear it through the entire album. Post Self Abandonment is triumphant.

The vinyl version of Post Self Abandonment is available via Phage Tapes.

Track Samples:
Sample : Cocaine Winter
Sample : Scumbag Finesse
Sample : Crows Feet
Sample : Sea Hag 2023