I’d been listening to <Pig> a few days before this dropped into the review lists so this seemed like a sign; same label and all. “Cubanate?!” I thought, “Are they still going?” Well, no, a return to the machine after it seems to be over 20 years which probably means few under 30 will recall the name. Shame.
You should though. The duo who make up Cubanate are Phil Berry and Marc Heal. I guess today some lazy reviewer might call them industrial metal. Which is of course bollocks. They were and, glory be, still are EBM of the hardest order, a drive and an edge so confrontational that the metallic sheen is stainless, bright and guillotine sharp. The kind of electro that you’re not sure if you should dance to or start a pit when it plays.
So this is an EP; five tracks and two of the obligatory remixes of the title track by Rhys Fulber (yup) and DROWND.
Any good? Fuck yes. From the opening quick pulse of notes to when the slow riff hits I am pummelled between past, present and future. ‘Kolossus’. “Fifteen years of decompression, exiled here, here in this machine…” spit the rough, aggressive vocals. Still harrowing, still straining and in your face. Cubanate never hid and plainly they still don’t. Disturbing lyrics, oppressive atmosphere. Cubanate to the meltdown core. ‘Split Second’ strips back the sound initially to voice and rhythm until we hit the full swell of the chorus. Resist. Deny. The split second then we die. This is a harsh world created in 4 measly minutes; a jagged nightclub in a burned out factory. ‘Missing Persons’ seems to ramp up the slow increase in beats and pressure. Kind of Front 242 strung out, losing their cool and smashing you in the face with a rusted iron bar, screaming frustration and bile. ‘Vortex’ goes deeper, resonates through a tunnel where electro brushes past gabba and something bordering on rap. Excessive Force meeting Frontline Assembly for a revolution whisper in my head but with an almighty “yes!” I grasp once more that Cubanate just really sound like Cubanate. It’s not nice, but it was never meant to be. ‘Pattern Recognition’ closes the EP proper; almost brooding for Cubanate it is a strangely unsettling close.
I’ll leave you to discover the remixes yourselves. Because you will get this. You will.
I have to say for me this, this here EP after however many years, is just immense. The style is timeless, the production utterly modern, bristling and sharp. The confrontational attitude, the sheer spitting in your face aggression and the pulsing, melodic metallic sheen to the riot dancing rhythm is everything EBM should be.
This is where the digital riot begins.