Never underestimate the power of unpredictability. All musical genres are crowded places these days and it seems as if you can’t turn to any category of music without hearing any number of bare-faced copycats simply going through the same motions as their illustrious forebears, frequently offering up the technicality but rarely the innovation. On first listen, Balance Interruption are A.N Other black metal band and the first two minutes or so offers up all the familiar tropes – hyper speed drums, discordant guitars and harrowing shrieks – it’s all present and correct. And then something weird happens. From out of the darkness, a saxophone emerges and ambient elements, hitherto vaguely present in the mix, come to the fore to create a dense, swirling cloud that recalls the similarly innovative work of Ulver and Thorns. The effect is devastating and it becomes immediately apparent that Balance Interruption are far more innovative than their peers, dipping their toes into the murky world of blackened jazz and obsidian electronica with deft skill.
Having so impressively opened the album, ‘door 218’, with the jazz-infused ‘last sunset without sun’, Balance Interrupted then offer up the horrifying title track with its eerie samples and screeching strings. Like Emperor, Balance Interrupted’s skill is to make the most unhinged and savage of sonic assaults sound imperial in scope. Jittery electronics add an extra layer of disturbing noise to the overall sound and it’s clear that Balance Interrupted have a wide-eyed ambition that gives their music considerable depth. A rather more straight forward effort, albeit awash with sparking, damaged synth noise, ‘Not survived to the sentencing’ is a maelstrom of noise that plunges the listener into a dark place before ‘D.U.S.T’, with its arcing, industrial backdrop strips flesh from bone in a dystopian future where humanity has been displaced in scenes reminiscent of the Terminator. Yet, even here, nothing is that straight forward and the band side-slip into a jazz-infused breakdown that sees the sax return to centre stage and Lucifer deal in some seriously intricate bass runs. Razor sharp, ‘Suicidealer’ conjures images of the swinging chains and torn flesh of a Clive Barker torture chamber, the band incorporating the most menacing industrial production this side of a Ministry album into a track that makes the flesh crawl only for the sensual sound of the sax to add credence to the principle of finding pleasure in pain.
With the sun blotted out and the listener ensnared ‘incubatum conveyor’ lays down a massive groove in between the sort of unhinged riffing that makes you fear for the band’s sanity. Once again, the band calmly demonstrate their instrumental prowess, but whilst they are technically proficient, their workouts always serve the song and as the smoky sax once again returns, so the music keeps the listener endlessly guessing as to what will come next. Very much in the traditional black metal vein with its dissonant guitars, ‘morbid soul shelter’ adds in ambient noise that sounds like a satanic cult in full flow before the album reaches its conclusion with the aptly titled ‘hypnoitc eye kult terror’ which mixes up hurtling blast beats and barely audible samples, all of which serves to create a deeply sinister atmosphere that will leave the hairs on the back of your neck standing rigidly to attention.
Released via the estimable Satanath records, Balance Interruption is a fantastically dark record that effectively draws on elements of industrial and black metal to deliver a creepy, dystopian nightmare made flesh. Beautifully packaged in a hand drawn digi-pack and with a unique atmosphere that is all its own, the record is a must-listen for fans of experimental black metal. Whilst the album may feature a huge array of ideas, the band never let these get out of hand and the result is a record that’s short and to the point, delivering its lysergic payload and disappearing leaving the listener disorientated, awakening as if from a terrible nightmare at the album’s conclusion. Dark, cerebral and innovative, this is essential listening. 9