[Album Review] Moris Blak's 'The Irregularity Of Being' Makes Bass-Heavy Imprint On Industrial Music
My first taste of Moris Blak was in the trailer for the twentieth anniversary of The iNation (now known as Obsidian), which featured the track “Umbra (Second Phase).” The fact that the powers that be at iNation chose a newer artist for an anniversary event trailer is telling of the faith they and the industrial scene have in the masked producer Blak. The Boston native recently put out his first proper studio LP, The Irregularity of Being, and looks to induct listeners into what he calls “the cult of industrial bass.” Well, as Karen Kilgariff once uttered on My Favorite Murder, “you’re in a cult, call your dad.”
Starting off with the intro track “Every Limb into the Bottomless Pit,” a dark, moody backdrop is cast over the scene, as it bleeds into the backbone of the album, “Druglicker.” It is bass-heavy and heavy-handed, while still striking a sense of pinpoint precision with every nuance, melody, or interlude. It’s the kind of track that, on a first listen, commands your attention and forces your ears to take it all in, Ludovico-style.
“Pain,” which features vocals from dark electronic / witch house artist Angel Metro, is a dream to listen to. It’s hard to top the excellence of the previous track, but here, Angel and Moris come pretty damn close. The distortion of Angel’s vocals make for a haunting aural treat. “Erase Displace” sees Pete Crane (also known as Virul3nt) lend his lyrical vocal style, which never overtakes the song, but compliments the production and the melody to great effect.
Industrial goddess and ex-Angelspit frontwoman Amelia Arsenic lends her voice to the track “Upgrade Me.” The track starts off with a music box-like riff, and when the bass kicks in, the tone changes to a proper stomper of a song. Perhaps it is my soft spot for Miss Arsenic, but this track stands out to me as one of the strongest of the LP’s nine. “Strange Eternal” is a brooding, imposing track, but its droning vocals and stripped-down presentation make for a nice change of pace, given what the previous five tracks have given us.
Portland’s own Slighter, with whom Moris Blak previously collaborated to bring us “The Hunt” on the former’s Automata, joins the track “The Violence,” which adds the more bass-heavy sound to a slightly stripped-down couple of interlude sections. The industrial take on the “quiet verse, loud chorus” trope of music has always been an interesting on in its execution, and in this and in “Erase Displace,” Blak pulls it off perfectly. The ebb and flow of the song guides the listener along for its five-minute runtime. “Velvet Coil,” which features Noire Antidote and Johnny E. Veil, adds in a trap-style hi-hat pattern with some vocal fry to power this penultimate track.
The final and title track is an eleven-minute ride along a sea of industrial bass goodness. If you haven’t subscribed to the aforementioned cult by this point, this track is sure to do it. It caps off one of the strongest industrial offerings I have ever heard, and a rare offering that has been met with almost universal acclaim. If this is the result of Moris Blak being left largely to his own devices, outside of collaboration with other artists and producers, then the future of industrial music isn’t just in good hands, but it wears a mask.