One of the enjoyable aspects of delving into fresh musical terrain is the thrilling plunge into the unknown. It’s a blind rendezvous with the sounds of tomorrow. That is, with no sonic reference point and often little in the way of background information available, all you can do is drop the digital needle on the virtual record and let the music speak for itself. And speak for itself it always does; the music never fails to articulate its own narrative. Sometimes, it whispers in cryptic tongues; at other times, it bellows in exuberant rhyme, and occasionally, as in the case of Foxu, it emerges in a cacophony of resolute, unyielding cadences.
Indeed, Foxu appears to be a polyphonic engine. One voice conversing through metallic riffs and tidal wave rhythms, etched cavernously on a grand scale. Another engages in a dance of heavy grooves, not of the ordinary ilk, but rather hewn from solid granite. Meanwhile, the third voice manifests as the eerie echoes of distorted synths and deviant digital incarnations. Foxu isn’t merely a solitary voice; it’s a symphony in its own right, a chorus, an ensemble cast of sonic reverberations.
Even from a cursory glance at the titles, the overarching theme becomes apparent. This, it seems, is a concept album set against the backdrop of a mechanized war in a dystopian future, a world distant from our own yet one we may unwittingly be hurtling toward, a world conceived from the seeds of our own avarice and recklessness. I may be mistaken, but if ever a filmmaker dares to envisage such a world, they needn’t look far for a ready-made score.
With the opening salvo of Warbots Inc. and it’s successor, The Storm, searing guitar riffs intermingle with frenetic, steadfast beats, weaving in and out of digital interludes and analogue abysses, punctuated by the intermittent hum of robotic, disembodied radio transmissions. Ty Machine intensifies the onslaught, built upon an unrelenting bass pulse and a sturdy backbeat, as cascades of guitar distortion pulverize a desolate soundscape shrouded in sonic razor wire.
Yet, amidst the clamour, there exist moments of serenity, pockets of respite within the tempest. Twilight, akin to the heavy groove reminiscent of the likes of Depeche Mode, serves as an interlude from the metallic universe that precedes it. Ice Tea, on the other hand, seems to embody a fusion of both ends of their sonic spectrum, propelled by the pulsating synths but capable of conjuring vast, ominous landscapes akin to the squalling six-string tumult that dominates the earlier tracks.
It’s a big album, one that builds instrumental music by mixing melody and muscle, energy and anthemics, groove and grit.