[Album Review] Statiqbloom Travel 'Beneath the Whelm' with Their Calculated Coldwave

Statiqbloom Beneath the Whelm Review
Photo Credit: Katrin Albert

Since 2013, Fade Kainer has brought together harsh industrial beats with gritty EBM tendencies under the handle Statiqbloom. After releasing the compilation Adulterate in 2015, Kainer added Denman C. Anderson to the project. Barely one year after their last album Asphyxia, the duo have unleashed their latest full-length Beneath the Whelm. Whether doing much without doing a lot with a coldwave-informed tone, or aural assault with a mid-tempo beat, the album is a gravelly gateau of a post-industrial nature. It may not be the most musically-accessible thing you will hear all year, but it needs to be a thing you hear, and soon.

The album into “Playing Its Blades” is haunting, sounding not unlike a soundtrack score. After the lead-in, “Alcestis” takes things to a fuzzy, unpolished realm in which we’ll be spending much of our time as we listen to this record. “Restless” adds in low, droning, almost atonal vocals and a simple one-note bass line, and even a key change, which we don’t get enough of in industrial music. “Ghost Deep” has some powerful reverb off the snare, while the percussion mostly goes to the wayside in the sections post-verse.

Attila Csihar joins in for “The Second Coming,” adding gravelly, black metal-style vocals to a minimalist coldwave number. It makes for some uneasy listening, if you will, a truly grimy and gritty track that stands out, even amongst the rest of the drabness on display. “Black Lava” follows up as a mid-tempo murder, just when we thought the previous song caused enough carnage. “Buried” keeps the mid-tempo motif with another strong offering. Looping kicks and old-school static power along the penultimate “Still Here,” another minimal synth affair, while the aptly-titled “Last Song” features a piercing lead synth and much atmosphere without percussion.

Coldwave is not a flashy style, but rather a disturbing, rattling genre that is a precision attack on the senses. With Beneath the Whelm, Statiqbloom have a gruesome little work on their hands, and while it may be uncomfortable to some who are more attuned to danceable, energetic industrial music, I urge you to give this one a go. If it’s your first foray into this minimalist subgenre of electronic music, even better.

Beneath the Whelm is available now via Metropolis Records.