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Hands On Nation - Review

The duo of William Bates and Andrew Davies comprise this band which is a combination of heavily infused trance, EBM and future pop musical styles. This is the debut album for the band released in early 2007 under Sector 9 Studios home to many prominent electronic bands of similar styles.  This debut work is an impressive disc with a dozen tracks which propel the listener through a driving force of great electronics that fans of similar bands like VNV Nation and Negative Format will really enjoy.

As I first sat down and listened to this disc from start to finish, I realized how well their style fit in with the other bands from Sector 9 studios (Negative Format, System Syn, The Parallel Project).  So, if the reader is familiar with the styles from these bands along with the trance-laden tracks from VNV Nation, then it makes explaining this music a lot easier.  I wouldn't really compare them to some of the trancey synthpop bands like Syrian as their style is heavier, with more of an industrial flavor.  This album blends these styles well, using a plethora of swooshing synth loops from track to track, creating a hard-driving dance-friendly beat.

The tracks are quite homogenous though I do have some favorites that stand out a bit with a more melodic style, laying off the hypnotic trance styles a bit, but stil staying true to the styles.  After "Jeremiad" kicks off the album with a ton of building electronic loops and percussion, we're dropped into "Secrets in Motion" which brings out the vocals a little more, making it a more accessible track to future pop lovers.  But fans of this style will really love "'Til Then" which pulls everything together so far into a stellar piece with more emphasis on the EBM styles, while still using trance styles, it sounds a lot more like what you might hear from the classic EBM group Front 242 with their older, more melodic tracks.  There are plenty of pieces along this style waffling between EBM, future pop and trance when the vocals come out more to create something a little more harmonious and fun to listen to on and off the dancefloor.

For those that are fans of the hypnotic trance instrumentals there are a couple of excellent pieces along these lines, and I'm not normally one to get into those types of compositions, preferring the melodic vocal pieces.  However, these come together well and blend well on the album such as "The Memories" and "45th Street Beatdown" show how this style of music can be so fun with one loop building on top of the other, fading in and out, meshed with swooshing synths, pounding drums and so on.

The album becomes pretty much one solid piece after another until we get to "In The End It's Rain" which still uses all of the trancey synths, but breaks down to a minimalistic approach and slows down the pace for a nice ballad-like piece.  This leads to the final piece of the album when the band really comes out and lays it all on the line for one last stellar trance piece "Surrender".  This one is a great way to cap it all off showing the band's roots in melodic trance music.  While it's not something that a hard-core gothic rock fan might get into, if you love the broad range of music that I do, this one fits right in there alongside the other great bands of this style.

Rating: 4/5



Website: www.heliosphere.net

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