The diabolical creation of dark electronic artist Jasyn Bangert, God Module often sits apart from the conventions of horror-themed gothic/industrial music thanks to Bangert's personal approach to songwriting – which taps into the artist's childhood nightmares – coupled with a looser, more freestyle genre blend. With the debut of the band's sixth full-length album False Face, Bangert makes a relatively bold move by incorporating more pop elements and melodic hooks than all of his previous releases combined.
As counter-intuitive as that approach may seem for a band known for its grim, macabre sensibilities, it turns out to be just the shot in the arm needed to take the music to a compelling new level. That's not to say that False Face isn't every bit as dark and ominous in tone as the band's excellent 2011 release Séance; this is seriously spooky and intense stuff, tapping once again into Jasyn's childhood experiences... or in one specific case, stories passed down from his family. The album's title, shared by one of its most intense and chilling tracks, is a noteworthy example.
“My grandmother grew up in the rural Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and told me when she was young that when kids would dress up for Halloween, create and wear masks they called them False Faces,” Bangert explains. “That always stuck with me.” For the title track, that image becomes a metaphor for the false, deceitful and superficial “masks” worn by some of those Jasyn has encountered in his professional career. “You meet a lot of these people in everyday life, but you meet even more in the music industry,” he adds.
As always, Bangert's skill with tight, simple and often overdriven beats and bass lines gives a raw, breathless urgency to memorable cuts like "Black and Blue," and the ghostly synth line that floats through "Hating How We Love" captures just the right balance of aggressive dance beats with the pensive, haunted lyrics, delivered by Jasyn with the kind of gritty texture that characterizes gothic aggro-tech artists like Wumpscut. The synthpop-style vocals of System Syn's Clint Carney glide sensuously over the buzzing, shuddering bass of "Through the Noise," and the jagged rhythms of "The Mark" create one of the most frantic and danceable tracks. Another definite standout is "Destroy the Day," which rolls briskly along a chattering bass pattern, punctuated by vibrating metallic stabs.
While the sonic intensity of False Face is dialed down a bit from that of Séance, it's still an excellent evolutionary step in the God Module sound, proving that accessible melodies can click nicely into place among dark, hyper-aggressive and heavily distorted beats, provided there's a strong emotional core to anchor the material... and Jasyn's lyrical themes rise to the task admirably.
Photo: Schizophrene Photography
False Face is available now as a digital download from Metropolis Records; the CD version (with the same tracklist) is slated for release on March 11th. God Module is also currently touring through May (mostly North American venues, with a couple of European stops), and you can find the updated list of dates and cities on their Facebook page.