Come Out And Play (Alfa Matrix)
By Mike Delano
One fundamental aspect of music making that most artists seem to get right is making sure that the sounds they create match up with the words they are singing. Metal has dark, aggressive sounds to go with dark, aggressive lyrics. Pop music has endorphin-coaxing sounds that naturally coexist alongside tales of love and partying. I mean, unless you’re trying to be clever, that’s pretty much the way it goes. Upstart Swedish band Cynical Existence has some serious trouble with this concept on their debut album. Their stone-faced nü metal-style lyrics (misanthropy, questioning religion, heartbreak) and growling Luna Vachon delivery is completely at odds with the dance-happy “dark” beats of their electro sound. The relentless thumping beats on Come Out And Play can at times come close to matching the cathartic vocals of frontman Fredrik Croona, but too often, it just sounds like the generic dance fodder you’d hear at any city club on a Friday night (“A Scar On My Mind”) or like someone accidentally left their Game Boy turned on in the corner while a recording session with a real dark electro act was going on (“Paradox”). The clearest example of this oftentimes-hilarious juxtaposition is on “Deception,” a spitting, bitter breakup song that, no joke, has the death sound effect from Pac-Man prominently featured. If the press release is to be believed, this is “uncompromised hard elekro EBM,” and if that’s the case, let’s maybe think about compromising next time. Let’s go full dark or full dance, not this in-between mush.