The Grey Line (US Edition) - Review
This project has been around now for seven years and is the brainchild of founder Kai Arnold from Germany.
This album marks the fourth full-length work from this hard-hitting electro-industrial artist and shows how a little thought and creativity can make a group stand out amongst the masses. The disc comes packed with fourteen tracks ranging from the heavy, dance-friendly beats to mid-tempo, moody electronic tracks with occasional female vocals taking the lead or added as backing for emotional emphasis. Three of the pieces on this disc are remixes for a different take on these dark electro tracks.
This album was a nice addition to my collection of dark, heavy-hitting electro-industrial artists. It starts off a bit morbid with some spoken samples, but the music quickly picks up and we're swept away with "Mask" as the pounding introductory track for the album. While this piece is fairly standard dark electro, with harsh vocals and layers of pounding beats and pulsating electronics, it is quickly supplanted by others that help to make this project stand out from the others of this copy-cat genre. "Tragic Hero" follows suit closely though it's not quite as overbearing and saturated with synths and distortion. This gives way perfectly to the much more somber piece "The Frozen Point" with it's piano in the introduction and more laid back electronics, though it still maintains plenty of power and dance-friendly beats. The distortion on the vocals is toned back quite a bit as well, making this almost like some good solid, melodic, dark electronic music. This gives way to a downtempo, almost dark ambient piece "Leaving" and after a short high-energy piece "Cutting Down", we're into a favorite piece in the form of the title track. This piece breaks the mold by stepping into a mid-tempo beat and somber electronics while female vocals take the lead for a spectacular piece and mid-point or almost a type of interlude and break from the harsh industrial.
The second half of the album isn't quite as intense as the first few pieces as it kicks off with a somber instrumental piece "In Death A Tale". This is another excellent work and breaks the mold and though I'm not usually a fan of many instrumentals on these albums, this is a great touch and has become a quick favorite. "If There Is No Tomorrow" slowly builds along several minutes of various ambient loops over industrial synths and textures, building up to a harsh climax of industrial proportions midway through. After a couple of intense industrial pieces that are fairly standard for the genres, we finally come to something of a finale to the main part of the album with "Now We Are Alive". This takes much the same form as "The Grey Line" with more of mid-tempo beat and more subtle electronics with female vocals providing a softer touch. Because of these soft touches here and there on the album, it makes the harsh industrial tracks a lot better, allowing the listener to stand to sit and listen through the entire album in settings outside of the dark goth/industrial club.
The final three pieces are remixes of "The Grey Line", "If There Is No Tomorrow" and "The Frozen Point" which are all great tracks originally. The remix of "The Grey Line" puts a little more club-friendly spin on it while maintaining the somber moods that the female vox provide. The other two pieces take a sort of alternative industrial take on each piece, maintaining a fairly homogenous style. Overall it boils down to a really nice album that stands out among the others of it's style.