Since I already covered what Cyberaktif is in my review of the “Temper” EP, I won't bore you with that again.
As you can see by what this is, “Nothing Stays” is another of the only two remix EPs Cyberaktif released. Again, the boys in Cyberaktif create some really cool stuff with this EP, and even better, this one contains two original songs not included in the “Temper” EP or the “Tenebrae Vision” album.
There's only one song that's been remixed off “Tenebrae Vision” that was included in this EP. That song would be “Nothing Stays.” There's two versions of “Nothing Stays” on this EP, an extended version that's almost like if Bill Leeb and the others put the instrumental portion of the album version through a sound filter to make it sound more fitting for a cyberpunk Sega Genesis game (though this still retains a sonic richness that the Genesis couldn't handle), while the other version of “Nothing Stays” sounds merely like a shorter version of the former.
Again, all the musicians in this EP are at the top of their game.
Bill Leeb's vocals on all the tracks on this EP are quite different from his usual harsh vocal style. They all retain a degree of harshness to them, but are cleaner than what he normally does, and this is a good thing since it shows Leeb's versatility as a vocalist. To enhance the gritty electronic tone of the EP, there's some tasteful use of distortion on Leeb's vocals.
Again, cEvin Key and Dwayne Goettel are in top form with their electronic compositions. They establish a catchy, menacing rhythm on most of the songs and create other electronic sounds for the rest of the music. Their keyboard/synthesizer riffs and use of sound samples helps to create an extremely menacing atmosphere that can feel more like a nightmare (“Nothing Stays”) or a dance-inducing tune perfect for a nightclub scene in an old cyberpunk movie (“Black+White”).
Since there's only four songs on here, I think I can review all of them individually.
The extended, remixed version of “Nothing Stays” is a really neat track. Like I said earlier, this version of “Nothing Stays” is almost like if Bill Leeb and the others took the original version of this song, made it a little longer, and passed it through a filter to make it sound more fitting for a Sega Genesis game. I think doing this makes the song a cool tune for the fact that it sounds “simpler” from a technological point of view, making it sound older and to a degree, more menacing. The song itself is more laid back in terms of tempo, but still has a pretty steady beat to make it a bit more energetic than more conventional electronic tunes with an ambient backbone. It almost feels like something you'd hear in an old sci-fi movie during a love scene between the protagonist and his love interest, though of course, with a touch of darkness taken out a Nyquil nightmare.
There's also a shorter version of the “Nothing Stays” remix I mentioned above, but I honestly feel like this is filler because it doesn't add anything that the extended version did. This is the only blemish on this EP. Some may like this more since it's shorter, but I think the longer version gives you more bang for your buck.
“Black+White” is one of the original tracks on this EP, and it's pretty awesome. This has a faster tempo and will get any serious industrial/EBM fan dancing instantly. Like Cyberaktif's other songs, “Black+White” is also dripping with darkness that helps enhance the song's atmosphere. The song's electronic composition makes it feel really close to a gritty nightclub scene in an old cyberpunk movie. Between the forces of Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly influences, the influences from the latter are more prevalent here.
“On the Reign” is the other original track on this EP, and I'd say it's the best track on here. The song starts off with a fairly bizarre mixture of film and TV sound samples that I think are in French, and another sample of a woman saying “Be sure to use your wipers because it's snowing cookies” followed by more French speech samples and an ambient keyboard layer. Things change into a steady electronic beat filled with creepy vocals and really dark keyboard/synthesizer riffs that when all of these are put together, create dark, fairly up-temp music perfect for a nighttime chase scene down an alleyway in a cyberpunk action-thriller with a touch of atmosphere from a surreal nightmare. This is one of the best industrial/EBM tracks I've heard in a long time.
Again, the production on this EP is ace. All of the music elements come in clearly, but at the same time, has a layer of grittiness to the sound quality that creates a perfect sound quality for such dark, grimy electronic music.
Like Cyberaktif's “Temper” EP, their “Nothing Stays” EP is mandatory listening for people who love industrial and electronic body music. You won't be disappointed.
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About the reviewer
David Kozak (RabidChihuahua)
I'm a morbid cynic who thinks very, very differently from most other people. Chances are, if the majority says X is the greatest in its category, I'll disagree with that notion, because I tend … more