After releasing one of the best albums of 2009 the Pittsburgh-based act Prometheus Burning were poised to be the darlings of the current Industrial scene. They had a great home amongst the impressive Crunchpod roster and were garnering a massive amount of praise for their musical prowess and diverse palate. Then came news that Crunchpod was switching to a digital-only formula, forsaking the era of physical CD copies. ProBurn is the sort of act that not only prides itself on the music but the visual aspects of their efforts including the artwork contained within a hard copy fans can cherish. They decided to self-release their latest effort, which is a gamble in and of itself. Beyond that they've opted to put forth their most diverse work to date, encompassing a wide variety of styles while still maintaining an essence that is unmistakably Prometheus Burning. Even so, it threatens to alienate those who found their last release, plague against huMANity, cohesive and satisfying.
Every act has its influences and many showcase them in an all too obvious manner. The duo of Greg VanEck and Nikki Telladictorian certainly celebrate the music that has inspired them while maintaining a voice that is clearly their own. As such, it becomes increasingly difficult to pigeonhole the sound of ProBurn in one of those easily digestible buzzwords we've come to rely upon such as "Industrial" or "Powernoise" or "Glitch." Suffice it to say this is an act whose aural assault is akin to waking up in the middle of the embalming process and wondering where you left your heartburn medication. Even when there are elements of traditional Synth contained within a particular song structure it cannot be underscored that the ProBurn experience is nothing short of uneasy listening, particularly given Nikki's harsh, altered vocal style which some might consider an acquired taste.
"Violator [v2]" picks up where plague left off, adding an even more layered density to their sonic assailment as well as quite an aggressive stance with which to open an album. The momentum carries through to "Suffering In Silence," which is perhaps a bit too similar to its predecessor. It almost seems like a remix of the first track. "Mindbenders" is the sort of crunchy club track DJs salivate over when they're looking to inject something with a little more corrosive punch into the mix. The track has no vocals but it does incorporate an X-Fusionesque, simplistic yet reverberatingly hard rhythm along with some cryptic voice samples and plenty of infectious ephemera along with a great breakdown toward the end.
Things really begin to pick up beginning with the fourth track, "Anonymous Death Threats," which features lyrics culled from actual threats posted on Telladictorian's blog last year. The song oozes plenty of menacing bass and heavily distorted vocals that seethe with vitriol during the "Welcome to the Industry..." chorus chant. This is probably one of the best pieces ProBurn has yet assembled and they follow that up with a droning noise number a la the Los Angeles act W.A.S.T.E. "Unpleasant Presence" is just that; a spacious, nightmare soundscape with plenty of banging, clanging and moody atmosphere. "Flesh Addict" has an Eighties feel to it, though it's far more virulent than most anything you can remember from that decade.
The first half carries sufficient weight to keep you enthralled through the second, even as the material offered isn't quite as strong. "Victim Complex" is a spacey, cyber-instrumental while "Left Hand Down" carries a lot more ambiance with a hushed vocal delivery and plenty of glitch. A two and a half minute foray into noise territory marks "The Ultimate Evil" and the set is rounded out by an overly long cut-and-paste remix of "Violater" by Belgium's Imminent. A bonus track is included, simply titled "October." It's a remnant from 2003, rediscovered on an old hard drive that the act decided to share. Essentially it's about eight minutes of drawn out, unsettling feedback that long time admirers will certainly find of interest.
Displacement Disorder is packaged in a plastic DVD case and comes with a bonus CD featuring thirteen tracks from an alternate project called Four Pi Movement that focuses primarily on ambient noise made with modular and hardware devices. Prometheus Burning is the sort of act that can attract people who prefer their electronic music less abrasive but are willing to go there if the work is impressive. And the crowd that likes a solid, stomping wall of distortion also find plenty of appeal in this outfit's range of static, slithering sounds. While not quite as strong as its predecessor what ProBurn have put forth is an involving and ultimately satisfying collection of songs that has been packaged up in an affordable and accessible way for fans to digest slowly over time. Once the initial run of 500 copies sells out, which it seems guaranteed to quickly accomplish, the music will still be available as a download on Bandcamp and FiXT.
See also: See also: Review: plague called huMANity