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(45:00, ‘Artificial Light Attraction’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Experience 5:29 2. Down Again 6:14 3. Indifferent Behaviour 5:53 4. Truth 4:51 5. Inside 5:35 6. Fragile Skin 4:36 7. Consuming Me 6:31 8. Deceived 5:26 LINEUP: Yves Schaub – vocals; guitars, bass Jan Stucki – sampling, looping With: Tobias Roth – drums
Prolusion. This outfit, ARTIFICIAL LIGHT ATTRACTION (ALA from now on, by your permission), was formed in Switzerland in 2002, “Fragile Skin” being its first release. It’s obvious from its lineup configuration that this is a studio project, though its participants themselves don’t hide their credo, saying they have no plans to ever play live.
Analysis. I see no reason to enlarge upon this particular release, having a feeling it was destined for a zine of a conventional rock and metal orientation, but has arrived at the wrong door. The “Fragile Skin” album is hardly evocative of even modern-day mainstream ‘Progressive’ and is barely prog-tinged even at its best. All being vocal heavy, indulging in lots of repetitions, with usually only one short instrumental break along the way, the eight tracks here are as if offering themselves to be divided into three categories. Alternating traditional modern new metal hooks with so-called Alternative (add “grooves” here), Experience and Inside each comes across as an emasculated version of 2000s Porcupine Tree. Heavy almost throughout, basically dark, filled with a typically doom-like atmosphere (though the vocals are usually too romantic to suit this kind of music), Down Again, Truth and the title track all represent nothing other than quite a primitive, adapted to new metal, take on early Black Sabbath. Finally, Indifferent Behaviour, Consuming Me and Deceived all manifest a modified (at times heavier, at times a kind of electronically-driven, yet in all cases simplified: a-la is the word) approach to Pink Floyd, and if the last of these echoes some instantly recognizable songs by that band (What Do You Want from Me and Learning to Fly) only here and there, the first two for the most part barefacedly imitate Another Brick in the Wall. One of the two men who are officially behind the project, Jan Stucki, is above all the recording’s engineer. However, he is also heralded as the provider of samples and loops, but the traces of his activity in this field can only be found on half of the tracks, and only then either as synthesizer pads or effects. The sole side participant, drummer Tobias Roth, left the scene after the sixth track, so the last two pieces enjoy the rhythm machine instead of him. In the end, since singer/ bassist/ guitarist Yves Schaub carries most of this effort on his shoulders, ALA appears to a much greater degree as a one-man band than as how it is officially presented. I’m most of all impressed with Yves’s bass playing, while what I see as his weakest spot is his guitar soloing.
Conclusion. “Fragile Skin” isn’t a bad album in a general sense. It’s just too plain and repetitive from a progressive perspective, and so has almost nothing to offer us, fans of that genre. But then it might bring a lot of pleasure to those whose musical horizon is framed by the likes of AOR, melodic Hard Rock and Metal.
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