29 July 2011

The Black Dog - Liber Temple

The Black Dog - Liber Temple (Dust Science Records, 05/09)

The link between Sheffield's heavy industry and its avant-garde electronic ouptut has long been acknowledged by the likes of Cabaret Voltaire, Warp and The Black Dog. The latter's second 'book' in the Liber series (leading into the album Liber Dogma to be released on Soma) sees them laying down some crunching industrial, channeling Sheffield's technological heritage into powerful dancefloor material reminiscent of Dettman or Ancient Methods. Heavy Industry draws it's kickdrums from drop forges and it's hi-hats from steel cutlery production, which in other hands could easily become worthy explorations of samples and little else, but in the right hands becomes utterly devastating. Opening with a deceptively mellow analogue bleep, The Black Dog then proceed to bludgeon the listener with a rapid-fire distorted bassline that shakes cones and devastates speakers, and then that kick drum comes in.

Holy shit.

Mechanistic and brutal, without ever losing any of it's dancefloor credibility or subtle melodies, Heavy Industry manages to at once convey images of industrial Britain and all its character and power, whilst still giving us the kind of late night floor filler that Surgeon or Monolake would consider devastating.
It's a shame then that Greedy Gutter Guru fails to provide the same kind of powerful fix, contentedly chugging along where Heavy Industry hit a hard gallop. There's the same power to the samples - the hi-hats allowing even more of the original clatter to permeate through - but the Detroit-inflected synths detract slightly from the percussive fist-fuckery, and there's less of the emotive dynamics that make the A-side such a beast. Still, there's fun to be had with it, and if this is the mid-trilogy placeholder that paves the way for a devastating finale, the third one ought to be an absolute monster.