Assemblage 23
Defiance CD - Metropolis

There’s something powerful about Assemblage 23 that sets it apart from the bigger-name electro-industrial/EBM artists like Apoptygma Berzerk, VNV Nation, And One and Covenant. It could be that they’re actually not from Europe (Seattle, to be exact). Or maybe it’s Tom Shear’s deeply personal and detached lyrics, his consistent songwriting or his mesh of synth pop, industrial and electro. The truth is, it’s all of those things. Defiance, Assemblage 23’s third album of electronic gloom, continues in much the same ruptured vein as 2001’s Failure, retaining the same depths and emotions. There’s even some slower moments that never lose sight of Shear’s vision, namely the crawling “Cocoon” and the forsaken “Horizon.” His real talent, of course, lies in the body-moving industrial-dance of tracks like “Opened” and “Document.” “Drive” has the most promise for the dance clubs here, and features some of Shear’s standard notions on solitude, such as “When the walls close in around me, when the ceiling’s caving in, when anxiety surrounds me, when my patience is wearing thin.” In all of his despair, it usually seems that Shear is seeking an acknowledgment of his existence. With Defiance, anyone with a love for EBM will assure that he’s very much alive. (Kenyon Hopkin)



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