The Melbourne duo of Martin Pike & Caitlin Cunningham known collectively as Asylum Sisters blend loud, thick beats, dark lyrics and an overall sense of impending doom into each one of the tracks on their debut album Educate Consciousness. Each of the album’s seven tracks is steeped heavily in Goth sensibility and adds flavors of relative subgenres that include screamo, ambient noise pop, electronica, industrial and witchhouse. Needless to say given the variety of aforementioned influences that the album is gonna be one big loud and angry mess. And it is, though not necessarily in a bad way, unless you are not a fan of having your ears punctured by sharp sounds and lyrics that are less than Christian.
The opening track “Indoctrination” opens with spacey vocals, ghostly synths and samples, and a trippy drumbeat. The subdued sounds are quite a contrast to the quietus of what the lyrics are saying. The song tells the tale of a person with a grenade who is on their way to continue the war that is raging inside themselves as well as the actual wars going on today. As much as it is a song of protest, it is also a song of anger and hatred towards those who start the wars though they are not the ones who are fighting in them.
The dark industrial “Harder, Darker, Louder” has fiery and fierce ear piercing synths, which grapple with hard boot stomping beats of the drum machine. These heavy beats remain intact on “The Path You Crawl From,” which also contains Martin Pikes’ creepy out of breath wispy and snakelike lyrics thatare in turn countered by Caitlin Cunningham’s angry screams.
The bass gets turned up to the maximum on the chilling “No Soul for Peace,” a song that again plays with loud and heavy beats while the lyrics stray from haunting and chilly reverberating whispers to seething and pissed off screams. Though the sounds are not all that are haunting these songs, as the lyrics indicate with “We can offer poison/ To cleanse you from the mould/So you better pray to Satan/Before your soul gets sold.” However dark and hateful sounding many of the songs on Educate Consciousness are, the final track “Safest Space” makes up for with its sheer beauty. The song is a mellow mix of piano and violins, coupled with the sound of an Electrocardiograph Machine that beeps along until the songs end when the assumed patient the machine is monitoring dies and the album ends.
With Educate Consciousness, Asylum Sisters have made an album that is likely going to alienate the majority of the musical world. However where they will find great success is amongst other bands of their own nature, longtime fans of KMFDM, Crystal Castles and early Nine Inch Nails, amongst others. Though I have the sense that the latter is all Asylum Sisters is really looking for. Most experimental bands aren’t necessarily trying to be experimental to get noticed, or to change people’s minds about things, rather they make experimental music because what is out there in largess is not what they want to hear. So Asylum Sisters have gone ahead and created their own musical revolution of sorts with Educate Consciousness. And though this style of music is not really my cup of tea, my hat is off to them for making their way through the darkness by using darkness.
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