Burlington, Vermont is the home of industrial metal act Nechromancer. Since 2014, the quartet has combined industrial dance, EBM, and old-school electronic music for their two studio albums, 2017’s Intersect and 2019’s Monochrome Dystopia. The latter is a dark industrial experience across eleven tracks, two of which are remixes of others on the disc. With hellish guitar tones, pulsing bass lines, and an old-school sensibility, Nechromancer have a winner of an album on their hands.
“Twist of Fate” is the first step into the dystopia, with some lovely synth work from keyboardists Wrethye and Vetica. The main synth line glides along, as the punishing, doom-bringing guitars of Vile Heathen bring a metallic bite to the track. While guitar solos aren’t something one hears much of in industrial metal music, the solo in this track is a nice touch, a bit of flare for a bleak-sounding instrumental affair.
“High Tech No Life” is next, with a simple groove and another synth line that floats on thin air. When the guitars kick in, it is a welcome jolt, a call to order for the impending number. With a growling, snarling vocal delivery, and another apocalyptic performance on guitars, this track is a well-crafted winner.
“Punish Me” sounds positively evil, with a thumping kick drum and a jumping main riff. The guitars take a back seat on the first half of this one, but the heavy EBM sound more than makes up for that fact. “Fear of Sanctuary” dips into the old-school industrial well, with a speedy hi-hat pattern and an urgent pace. Again, the guitars take a smoke break, but there’s so much to love about this song, the absence is excused.
“Unhallows Grieve” appears in two versions; first, the Night Protocol remix, and the original album mix. The remix has an old synthwave feel, a proper homage paid to post-punk complete with piano-like synths and the guitars further back in the mix. The album mix features more metal stylings, with low-tuned guitars and a pounding percussive blast. In either form, it’s a strong offering.
“Vampire Queen” also has two iterations on the album, the first of which is a Night Club version. It’s upbeat, pedal to the medal, with guitars driving the chorus along. The guitar solo is dizzying against the dance hall bass tones, and spills over into the final chorus to close out the track. For the album version of the song, the tone is more post-punk, almost like a blend of Depeche Mode and HIM, with a twinge of Type O Negative tossed in just because.
The drum patterns on “Intersect” are a perfect blend of industrial and metal, with the snare getting love in the verses, and a nice double kick pattern in the post-chorus and before the second chorus. The breakdown brings the heavy distorted guitars back to form, and they help to bring a crushing end to this dancey track. “Blood and Teeth” lets up on the accelerator a touch, at least until the distorted guitars bring the chorus along with a dreary, yet focused feeling. The dynamic of “quiet verse, loud chorus” is tried and true, and sure enough, Nechromancer pull it off well here.
“Horns” closes out the record with a rock-oriented tone and another jumping synth riff. The time change roughly two and a half minutes in is enough to catch one off-guard, but it does take a kickline-emanating rhythm and make it fashion, so points for that. By the end, we go full chugging detuned guitars to the close of fifty minutes of industrial drab.
Monochrome Dystopia is a strong offering, with loads of great guitar work, solid songwriting, and a twist here and there to keep things fresh. With a little punching up in the production department, Nechromancer could be an industrial act to watch in the near future.
Nechromancer's Monochrome Dystopia is now available via the band's official Bandcamp page.