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Pro JektPro-jekt
Defiance (Pure Power)

 

They look like a long-lost band from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, and they sound like Rammstein having a dust-up with VNV Nation. Pro-jekt, I'm sure, would give record company marketing executives nightmares - how, exactly, do you sell a band which cheerfully mashes up two musical styes which ordinarily would never get closer than wary stares from opposite sides of the room? Perhaps it's just as well they're on their own label.

Pro-jekt's big idea, if you haven't cottoned on already, is to combine a big, dirty heavy metal guitar sound with a powerhouse four-on-the-floor EBM beat, and if that seems like the kind of thing that should never work in a million years - well, yes, it might certainly seem that way. But Pro-jekt construct an effective racket from their disparate materials. Over the eleven tracks here, the rampaging riffin' and the slammin' beats just don't stop coming, to the point where, after a while, you stop marvelling at the ingredients and just go with the flow. The lyrics are cinematic and melodramatic: wide-screen themes of tears and betrayal. With song titles like 'Drowning In Someone Else's Soul' and 'Dragged To The Altar Of Overkill' you can tell these chaps have no aversion to a certain dramatic hyperbole. The words are delivered in clear and accessible style by vocalist Mick Witham - I'm relieved to note that Pro-jekt haven't gone down that tiresome route chosen by so many metal bands these days of soaking everything in a 'Huuuurrrgggh!' effect. On the contrary, it's all very accessible. 'Morbid Interactive' almost sounds like one of those hurtling cyber-rockers the Dream Disciples used to do; 'Bloodstream' nudges into that stadium-ballad territory Depeche Mode have made their own.

Pro-jektOddly, given their big bad rocker stance, Pro-jekt get downright poppy at times - to the point where at times I found myself wishing they'd mess it up a bit, put some effects on the guitar, stick a bit of dirt on those clean, polished, drums. The guitar sound never changes throughout the album (it's as if Pro-Jekt don't hold with those new-fangled devices called effects pedals) and the rhythms are always so regular, so gleaming with a sleek sheen, that you'd think every beat had been individually polished with Windolene. I like Pro-Jekt's big idea - this collision between rampant rock and glowsticks-a-go-go dance does actually work - but, having had the big idea, I think they need a few more little ideas in there too, to keep things interesting once the main concept has established itself.

Did I say there were eleven tracks here? Make that twelve. There's an unbilled extra: a version of Abba's 'SOS', which is a touch more wistful and downbeat than you'd expect, given the foot-to-the-floor style on show elsewhere on this album. That's an interesting choice for a cover, and perhaps bears out my observations that Pro-jekt aren't averse to getting a touch poppy here and there. You'd think they'd cover a Sabbath song, or something suitably extreme by Throbbing Gristle - right? But nope, they choose a classic chart smasheroonie from yesteryear. That reveals an intriguing aspect to Pro-jekt: these cyber-metal industrial rockers are a bit more of a pop group than they'd like to let on.

 

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Pro Jekt: Website

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