Genre/Influences: Industrial, experimental, tribal.
Background/Info: If you like industrial music you can only, but agree that Test Department (Test Dept.) has been one of the absolute pioneers of this music genre. They had the truly industrial spirit composing ‘music’ with their own ‘instruments’ constructed with scrap metal and other recyclable rarities. Back in the 80s they were young, unemployed and politically engaged (The Thatcher years you know…). They released a few cult albums, but especially “The Unacceptable Face Of Freedom” (1986) entered into history. Later on they experienced with elements of techno music (released on KK Records) and finally got lost from the music radars. “Disturbance” is the first Test Dept. album since “Tactics For Evolution” (1998) seeing core members Graham Cunnington and Paul Jamrozy joining hands again.
Content: “Disturbance” features 8 songs. The songs are taken from the band’s archives, but have been seriously reworked to obtain a ‘retro-modern’ industrial sound. The opening cut “Speak Truth To Power” brings us back to the midst of the 80s; it reminds me to “The Unacceptable Face Of Freedom” while accomplished with ‘modern’ electro sequences. The album sounds like a fusion between early Test Dept. and their late technoid KK Records influences. This is a fusion between different genres, getting us back to the essence of industrial music. The vocals are more mature than in the past, but the lyrics remain engaged and sometimes performed like slogans.
+ + + : Test Department has been ‘the’ band that made me love industrial music and this original spirit has been lost by contemporary so-called industrial artists behaving behind laptops. “Disturbance” brings this original sound back to life and that feels like a relief. The songs feature great industrial percussion, which sometimes becomes tribal-like. Several layers of percussion are coming together into a real transcendental apotheosis. “Landord” and “Information Scare” both are impressive cuts illustrating this sensation. The songs are elaborate and I also like the slow progression running through a few pieces. Test Dept. composes a sonic web that is progressively taken you under control. The electronic sequences are adding a pretty accessible and danceable touch to the work.
– – – : I don’t see real minus points although I’m less fascinated by the more experimental “Debris”.
Conclusion: Test Dept. remains a true cult band to me so I was a bit afraid when starting the listening of “Disturbance”, but it simply is a genius opus showing the magic of early industrial music mixed with a more contemporary electro approach. Respect guys, this album will be for sure one of my personal favorites from the year! It’s artistic and intelligent music with a humanistic message!
Best songs: “Information Scare”, “Speak Truth To Power”, “Two Flames Burn”, “Landlord”, “GBH84”, “Full Spectrum Dominance”.