A review by The Buried Herald
🌓 Shape-shifting madness of industrial nature 🌗
Exploring new musical territories is always tricky business. There are foreign sounds, unusual compositions or frequencies capable of awakening emotions you weren’t even aware of possessing. Radar Men from the Moon have just landed with a new release and this time opening a new chapter in their sonic pursuit. Following a major lineup upgrade and an tense recording process, the band shows with The Bestial Light that shifts in scope and consistent progression can yield some unsettling yet fruitful results. Ones that cry for attention while driving a rusty rebar right through your ears…
Those who have been following the band along their 10-year journey know well that the guys are heavily rooted in the hypnotic realms of space rock while at the same time constantly dipping their feet in many other genres. On top of that, Radar Men from the Moon had always been a 4-piece instrumental formation until basically last year when they invited Harm Neidig to sing and play sax and Joep Schmitz to enhance it all with a second drum set. This move prompted the band to take up a new challenge and direct their attention towards all that’s noisy, industrial and punk-laden. It’s going to be a rough ride but how exciting! Hold fast or expire.
Breeding is the album’s opener and swiftly sets the mood to one where tension soaks the air. The initial hysterical ringing of guitar leads to a tuned-down passage where bass rumbles deep and punkish vocals slowly kick in. Suddenly midway through the track Harm’s voice implodes and gives way to massive waves of metallic spree. The song now turns into pure madness where perhaps the most characteristic elements are the wailing, alarm-like guitar tones and the hopelessly frustrated vocalist trying to escape that hell. Soon enough, things cool down only to be resurrected and jacked with yet another dose of paralyzing ecstasy. Piss Christ follows with a fantastic, dual drum work that serves as solid foundation for the oscillating riffs and ever-pretentious vocals. Despite the track being rather short, it does a good job at spiking up the already tense vibe and reeling the listener in to the new order of Radar Men From The Moon.
Sacred Cunt of the Universe on the other hand, takes a slower turn and focuses on the rather ethereal and hypnotic instead of punchy and rabid. The song’s beginning is highly reminiscent of A Sun That Never Sets by Neurosis, especially in terms of the emptiness that resides in between the simple guitar chords and the thudding drumbeats. But instead of developing into a furious incantation, the band keeps the mysteriously mellow flow going on. Then the drums gently fade away in favor of a warm yet distant guitar that this time evokes the sonic landscapes of Dylan Carlson and his signature Earth tone. Eventually, the rather distorted saxophone enters the track’s dimension and gives the whole another anchor point for listeners to emotionally hold onto. What a song, my dear lord!
The alarm-like guitar sound comes back on Eden In Reverse and is constantly ringing until the end of the track. And while all instruments, along with the vocals, are neatly levelled out, this one particular droning noise becomes a bit of a drag as it feels tedious and dominating over the rest. However, the vocals here are again balancing between ruthless screams and a careless punk intonation which is precisely what I find best about this song. The distressing mood is maintained and continues with Bestial Light where the first half of the track slowly builds up tension with the use of quiet guitar chords and a some occasional, punishing drum blasts. As the song enfolds, the volume increases and the drum work becomes even heavier.
For anyone who misses the heavy psychedelic face of Radar Men from the Moon, Self is perhaps THE track to focus on. The thick bass tone sliding underneath the surface just tickles the mind which is already under a lot of stress due to unsettlingly calm vocals that one can already expect to break down into fury at any point. However, there is no particular climax here as the instruments just keep on shredding with Harm helplessly repeating the same words all over again, losing his shit with every passing minute. Lyrically, it seems to be an ode to self-appreciation but also transgression in terms of what one truly wants juxtaposed against the every-day conformism. Whatever hides behind the words, Love Yourself, Be Yourself, Please Yourself are there for you to fantasize about with an extra seductive instrumental kick to help you forget.
Moving towards the end comes Pleasure where we again get a rather gloomy atmosphere but with an extra dose of industrial riffs looming in the darkness. Lasting for a little less than 3min, this song is the album’s shortest cut and feels as sort of a recap of all the various sonic treats we’ve heard on the aforementioned songs. It’s good but doesn’t bring much novelty and substance to the whole of the record. Levelling closes it all with some massive-sounding synths that truly feel as if a serious cataclysm is about to happen. Apart from that, the megaphone-distorted vocals and a range of other industrial noises add to the overall dreary atmosphere and just mercilessly keep on droning. There is no clear groove or any sort of dominating instrumental sequence but instead a series of highly saturated noises that altogether form a wall of impending doom. After a few minutes, all that slowly fades away and one is left with a feeling of void and inexplainable exhaustion.
The Bestial Light by Radar Men from the Moon is a fine example of how plunging into dark waters of the unknown can reveal paths as surprising as they are natural. The addition of a vocalist is always a big step forward for all instrumental bands but nevertheless, it not always feels right. Here on the other hand, Harm’s presence lifts the endeavor to levels previously unattainable. The ruthless, almost teenage-like vocal work amplifies the industrial-oriented tones and forms an inseparable bond with the instruments. The noise rock aesthetic is strong with the album and so are feelings of frustration, tension and restlessness. Listening to The Bestial Light is basically a slap to the face, a pack of strong smokes and a thousand of different devices all droning under one boiling sun.
🌓 🌑 🌗
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