Armour Group / Isomer – Desire To Fight MC Trapdoor Tapes 2017
By way of background this split tape was released to coincide with the London UK festival United Forces of Industrial IV which both Australia project played at in April, 2017. Obviously this tape is now benefiting from a wider distribution, and is welcomed on the basis of the quality of material from both.
Noting that Armour Group’s debut mini album Purge (reviewed here) dates from 2015, and having seeing the group perform numerous times since then, it is pleasing their side of the tape contains a number of tracks recognised from live shows. With the cover image featuring an image of Julian Knight (the infamous Hoddle Street, Melbourne mass shooter), the opening track Kill In Combat picks up this theme with a lengthy intro of radio and TV soundbites and wailing sirens to set the scenes, but the real action kicks in with an mid paced roughly grinding loop and echoed and distortion spat vocals. (easily the standout track of their side). Although also containing a large volume of crime reporting samples, the following instrumental cut Desire To Fight is more mellow in comparison, and aligns more with a slow menacing death industrial throb. And although relatively simple in construction the fast paced pulsing throb of Slaughter (another instrumental piece) is straight forward and effective, with crumbling distortion adding to variation. The final of four tracks is Punishment does not buck the prevailing trend of rough stilted synth loops and a murky bed of grey toned distortion, yet the vocal barrage absolutely elevates it in strength and intensity. To my ear this is a step up from the Purge material, particularly as is demonstrated on the first track Armour Group are absolutely nailing their chosen concept and sound.
David Tonkin aka Isomer handles Side B and the first of three tracks Firebrand is a standout industrial/ power electronics oriented track of intertwined (mechanised) loops, junk metal clatter, layered panning noise, maudlin synth line and distinctive agonised vocals (…and is equal to the best tracks off the last album Three Kestrels reviewed here). Hard Signal is then quite a bit more atmospheric and soundscape oriented in its post-industrial approach – spoke vocals and sparse layered noise textures framed around a constant throbbing and unchanging loop. Snakes In The Grass rounds out Isomer’s varied side and opts for atmospheric industrial noise with post-mortem leanings (which translates to lots of raw junk metal derived sounds, controlled feedback and queasy ascending/ descending tones).
Desire To Fight is an excellent release from the perspective that it is pairing of two of Australia best underground power electronics/ industrial acts, but is even better that it features top notch material from both which showcases their individual strengths and approaches. Recommended.