Oct 2017 03

Black Line

Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities

Format: Album
Label: Black Line
Release date: May 26, 2017

Doctor Image

Black Line is a sort of industrial super group, sprung out of Douglas McCarthy and Cyrus Rex earlier project DJM|REX. This new iteration is based on the idea of collaboration, so they brought in Bon Harris (Nitzer Ebb), Paul Barker (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pigface), Christian Eigner (Depeche Mode live drummer), Mark Walk (Skinny Puppy and Ohgr), Ken HiWatt Marshall (mixer and engineer for Skinny Puppy) as well as Jon Bates, Zack Meyers, Brad Apodaca, Michael Dietel, Anthony Baldino, Maria Lui and Derrick Basek from assorted different projects. That’s quite an exhaustive list!

The result is 13 tracks (and a remix) of surprisingly cohesive electronic music, with Douglas’ characteristic vocals playing a big part and holding the album together. Songs are mostly quite melodic, moody and intricate, so don’t expect loud EBM bangers à la early Nitzer Ebb. But there are some dancey stuff on it like ”Shut It Down” – a sleazy groove fest of a track, by the way, complete with wah wah guitars and massive washes of analogue synths. Other tracks range from electro, instrumental ambient to intense heavier stuff, making the album quite a journey.

Cyrus’ giant modular synth gets a proper workout on this album, but it’s not just knob twiddling for the sake of it, they’ve written some solid tracks as well. “Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities” is a fine album and it stands listening to over and over while you discover new things in the mix.