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April 26, 2011

Alter Red – “Mind-Forged Manacles” – Out May-02 – Viva Music Album Review

On May-02, UK act ALTERRED’s debut album, “Mind-Forged Manacles” is out at Ionium Records.

Download the free promo track “Like April Foolshere.


ALTERRED are: AlterRed – music * Vix Vain – images

ALTERRED live are: AlterRed – vocals * Vix Vain – synths * Mark Red – synths & piano * Jack Hell – bass

One of the most dynamic and original UK debut stage presences is, without doubt, ALTERRED. A cross-germination of niche musical interests that range from indie to darkwave, preserving at the same time a fundamental electro touch, stacked up on a flamboyant, conceptual and theatrical live show, ALTERRED claim their influences from a variety of cultural icons such as Depeche Mode, NIN, IAMX, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, VNV Nation, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Christopher Nolan, Tim Burton, Ridley Scott.

A 2008 product of the London musical scene, what ALTERRED propose is, avant-garde piano mashed up with electro samples and soaring, haunting vocals. To back up, a complete contemporary mythology, coming with surreal characters and surroundings create the universe of ALTERRED. KMFDM, Assemblage23 and Combichrist are just a few of the names who shared the stage with ALTERRED.

Album Review: “Mind-Forged Manacles

Tracklist: Like April Fools * Losing Your Shine * Sex, Death or Money * Amphetamine Chic * Emily * The Patient * Fleshbind * The Drug Named God * Broken Glass * One of My Mornings * Nothing Less than Violence

The fresh sound of ALTERRED strikes from the first track of their debut album “Mind-Forged Manacles”. Setting a 1980’s Depeche Mode/Soft Cell ambient, “Like April Fools” adds on top of it, and what’s more, to go, a splash of emblematic electronica, that charms from the very beginning. There is nothing out of place in this track, it flows mildly and boldly at the same time and in its tableau-like tale of lovers who are entrapped in their game of trust and imagination, it depicts very artfully the recurrent theme of the album, the ensnaring of the mind and their overbearing, full-body impact on the lives of the characters. Trust/mistrust, real-life/cinematic reality, dialogue/clairaudience all are factually present in the song, and the song in itself is overwhelming.

Losing Your Shine” puts another tempo to good work, and in its salon cavorting like atmosphere it resembles a spiritual mating game that is played by the characters, and the same time upon the characters by their own strengths and weaknesses. The debit of the track is simply marvelous, and the delicate symphonic effect further enhances it to the extent to which the cheated upon lover’s words “I gave you my mind, it’s a lot, is that all you got?” are rendered in a very convincing electro lament. “Sex, Death and Money” continues the elegiac undertone of the album and adds bass on synth with great elegance. Probably the ‘harshest’ track of a very delicate album, “Sex, Death and Money” is like a storm that swipes closely your brain.

Amphetamine Chic”, an equally powerful construction, is a track of subtlety and for sure, a track that stays to mind. With abundant musical orchestration and acid and alert voice, “Amphetamine Chic” does not lose ground, but further elaborates on ALTERRED’s artistic genius. “Emily” is also a very prominent track, with its music box tempo and its style that resembles the way spiders weave their web around their prey. A track that easily exchanges the roles between amorous perpetrator and naïve victim, “Emily” is a work of art!

A change of tune and of mood sets in with “The Patient”, a track with very generous features which perfectly illustrates the title of the album; the listener feels, and gives in to the mind-forged manacles that cuff tighter and tighter around their wrists, and with each thrust, the song grows and puts on a different shade of the feeling of being confined in an inimical environment, be it the world or one’s body.

The same strict and stringent connection between elements that we deem inseparable is rendered beautifully in “Fleshbind”, a really classy track that would easily compete against the classical tracks from the scene. Alertness and existential discontent are the keywords of “The Drug Named God”, an adrenaline driven diatribe against the figments of imagination that are upgraded to beliefs and which nurture inner contradictions and mental harnesses, all in a very poetical and musical construction with manifesto quality.

Broken Glass”, the ensuing track on ALTERRED’s “Mind-Forged Manacles” debut album ambushes the listener into a unique and majestic setting. Colored red with lyrics with a message, “Broken Glass” offers the full ALTERRED experience in a nutshell: suspense, mental seduction, true-to-life scenarios. “One of My Mornings” and “Nothing Less than Violence”, the songs that conclude the album come with a similar cachet and with a great rendition of free-floating emotions, of psychosomatic reactions of lovers, such as the frostbites given by feelings, as well as with a truly considerate memento of our conflicting audacity and willingness to be subdued mentally by what we believe in, or what we want to believe in against all odds.

Mind-Forged Manacles” is not your regular debut album. The live experience and experiment driven since 2008 by ALTERRED shows between the lines, so the tracks included in the album are well-wrought and exhibit nonchalantly ripeness and attraction. Nothing is amiss, and nothing threadbare. What is more, the album promises, and does so a lot: in itself an experience for the listener worth repeating, and also in the conceptual frame ALTERRED sets for further releases.

ALTERRED Official Site: http://www.alterred.co.uk/

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