Youth Code – “Commitment To Complications” Review

Youth Code – “Commitment To Complications” Review

Industrial music has lost a great deal of its menace over the years. It became enmeshed in EDM with even the legends of the genre such as Skinny Puppy succumbing to this. It has begun to beg the question do the actual songs matter or is it just easier for a DJ to mix together this kinder gentler version of the genre for the sake of keeping the dance floor moving? Youth Code has come to back the teeth back into industrial. These kids are not just hipsters playing dress up. They are the real deal. The have aggression that doesn’t require sampling riffs from 90s thrash metal either.

They wield synths as tough as any guitar riff a fact that is proven on the title track when the singer from Goatwhore shows up to lend his growl to find he doesn’t have to alter his delivery for his style fit into the hammering synths that carry just as much heft as his bludgeoning band from Lousiana. If you are familiar with Youth Code’s previous work or caught them opening for Skinny Puppy, they have really stepped up both the production value and scope of their song writing. With new dynamic layers adding to songs like the first single “the Dust of Fallen Rome”, where singer Sara Taylor’s vocals benefit from a harmonizer effect to create the illusion of actual singing. Her staccato yell varies in level of anger sometimes taking on a more robotic chant. She lowers her sneer on “Anagnorisis”, riding the dark nasty groove. “Doghead” might be is the first song on this album that you might be able to imagine rattling the floor on goth night, the beats are more thoughtfully orchestrated on this album and the arrangements carry more sonic breadth.

By the third act things begin to really darken “Glass Spitter” has a menacing throb and sets the stage for the mood to ebb down a few degrees for “Lacerate Wildly”. Here Taylor drops to a whispered hiss as the groove coils into more of a slither. This album is packed with dynamic shifts, from the seething serpentine stalking to more militant marches that terrorize the dance floor. This project’s strength is they pay homage to the genre’s root without ignoring today’s technology in order to intentionally recreate some one else’s sound. It’s not until “Shift of Dismay” that the chug of guitar comes in to push them towards the more metal sound that took industrial into the mainstream in the 90s. Her lyrics are not overly obscured by effects and the anguished subject matter consists of demons you believe she is fighting rather than just melodrama, like the resentment of calling out to her personal albatross on “Lost at Sea” where she declares that she’s “moving backwards for you”. Overall if you are into industrial and don’t have this band on your radar it’s time to figure out where the genre is going.

By Wil Cifer