Agent Side Grinder – Hardware (Artoffact)
★★★★★

Agent Side Grinder on Selective Memory

Is this 2013 or 1983? Time is not Agent Side Grinder’s concern because to them, time is immaterial in the scope of their electronic alternative prowess.

Wax Trax! changed the landscape of electronic music in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Incorporated within Meat Beat Manifesto, Ministry, Frontline Assembly, they all entangled a web of mystery and dark allure out of the ‘70s krautrock and ambient synth scene. Agent Side Grinder adds subtle nods and quick homages throughout this lofty release, combining the original Hardware album and the remix SFTWR included.

Agent Side Grinder is a bittersweet experience for me. It makes me miss a scene that meant so much to me to leech on Hardware. In the same breath, I have to thank Agent Side Grinder for continuing the spirit so intricately precise.

Hardware is an immense experience. Eight exploratory songs on the front end, the album journeys through cold metal caverns of electronic ecstasy. An intense underworld, you immediately get a taste of their philosophical outlook on “Look Within.” At first glance, you are hypnotized by the bands flawless motives.Vocal grovels turn any post punk prose into an exorcism.

Agent Side Grinder featuring Henric de la Cour – Wolf Hour

The group often wants to sound like Tangerine Dream, but stops quickly before they dive into anything ambient. The Sheffield sound cancels out any warm thoughts. Just the metallic promptness of non-human beats and pulsating synthetic architecture.

The most humanistic I can pluck out is “Wolf Hour,” thanks to Henric de la Cour’s pop-like cries. It’s the extreme opposite to Kristopher Gripp’s menacing howl. However, once you see the video (conveniently placed at the end of this review), his pulsating pseudo-dance throbs make the moment even more uncomfortable. But every word claws at you and pulls you through into their lair.

But enough of the luxury that is the original songs, the following 15 remixes comprise the rest of the album. It is everything you would expect from a remix album. Some songs are more danceable in an EBM context. Some are more revolutionary in an industrial sense, while some just explore further its original intent. “Wolf Hour” is the perfect example.

Agent Side Grinder – Rip Me

Even though the remixes focus on the latest album, these songs are a great way to experience a gamut of Agent Side Grinder’s discography. The highlights are the non-Hardware song “Voice of Your Noise” that sounds like pre-popular Nine Inch Nails while the remix for “Look Within” amps up tempo setting latex afire from the intensity. Pick a song, dig in, and you will practically experience every aspect of electronic Coldwave, Post Punk, and EBM.

Simply put, this album is essential.

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