After Youth Code surfaced in 2013 with their debut self-titled album, the heavens just fucking shook. It was impossible to believe that a band of similar stature as Skinny Puppy had finally broken onto the EMB scene to finally fill a gap in the electro-industrial realm that had remained vacant for decades. Many more or less important EBM-industrial projects have come and gone since Skinny Puppy set the bar, but I feel that none were really able to rival the Canadian legends and blow a breath of fresh air into this particular style of music – one of the most hermetic (stagnant?) and immutable heavy genres of heavy music to have ever existed.
Today, Youth Code give us Commitment To Complications, a masterpiece of hardcore-infested EBM/electro-industral that not only blows its predecessor from 2013 out of the water by miles, but which has also irreversibly blown open a massive and gaping wound in the underground with its unbelievable vision and execution, its overbearing barrage of sonic wrath, and its unrelenting storm of punishing and scathing beats. Still firmly rooted in the most toxic and degenerate forms of dance music, Ryan George’s beats and sound sculptures have something of the demonic. They are a feeding frenzy on the listener’s synapses. A bludgeoning of the ear drums that never relents. The beauty never wanes, the glorious ramifications of incredible sound design are more magnificent than ever, but holy fuck, these are also songs that are also as rabid as a pack of wolverines as they literally punish your senses with unbelievable force and surgical precision. The loud as fuck mastering and crisp production have further enhanced the beating, bringing you and incessant, punishing and flesh-reaping aural beating that you will never forget. And of course, all of this sonic mayhem would not sound as glorious as it does without the spiteful and tormented vocals of Sara Taylor, the other half of Youth Code, who with her incendiary hardcore-derived vocal assault has established the Youth Code as a real force to behold, as a fierce, fearless and unstoppable beast of the underground.
After the sinister and liquefied intro “(Armed)” comes to its closing seconds, you can literally hear the record detonate as the incendiary assault of beats contained in “Transitions” immediately breaks free, explodes in your face like a pipe bomb, and then just plows through your skull like a bulldozer from hell. This song just might be the sonic equivalent of a full blown riot, there is no other way to explain the vicious force and lawless tension contained within this track. The chaos just builds, unrelenting as the songs progress and butcher the listener’s synapses into a formless pile of smoldering flesh. The same merciless fury is what you get with the title track, while with “The Dust of Fallen Rome” Youth Code really start to up the dosage of musical narcotics and start fucking with your head, sounding more and more like “The Perpetual Intercourse”-era Puppy, hallucinating you with truly spellbinding and unsettling soundscapes. Things get dilated, vast and extremely bleak in this tune as George and Taylor erect an incredible wall of dystopian images in aural form, unravelling in front of the listener an incinerated sonic landscape of breath taking beauty and of completely imponderable wretchedness. This track even has a central “hook” that is impossible to resist and is my personal favorite of the record. But things don’t get better in the world of Youth Code. They never get better…
“Anagnorisis,” with its pitch-black and charred atmospheres and spine-bending mid tempo grooves sounds like Combichrist on morphine and suicide thoughts, while “Doghead,” with its truly amazing synth lines, makes the band sound like a robotic and cybernetic disfigurement of British synth/dark-wave in the vein of Depeche Mode or Sisters of Mercy getting eaten up by a black hole. When “Glasssplitter” and “Avengementm” come around, you will immediately notice that things are crawling out of darkness and getting punishing and just fucking carnal again. In this track, I can almost hear “…Mind…”-era Ministry being run through a meat grinder, resuscitating in hellish form, and then rising into a scathing ascension of escalating sonic violence. “Lacerate Wildly” and “Shift of Dismay” represent some of the most grim and hypnotic moments of the record, with both songs making the listener descend into a howling abyss of sparse but punishing beats and surreal and liquefied synth waves that give the impression of suffocating and drowning within Youth Codes’ highly engineered cybernetic hell.
All in all, Commitment To Complications is an album that is seemingly unstoppable and devoid of any flaw. It’s all muscle and all brain and its fucking packed with steroids and mean intentions and on a fucking mission to kill anything that dares to cross its path. The songwriting is mind-numbing, the intensity is unbelievable, the atmospheres and sound-quality are blood-chilling and absolutely magnificent, and overall, the execution and attitude of this album are absolutely inhuman and devastating beyond words. This fucking album will fucking trample you over and carve craters in your flesh like the hooves of a senseless and uncontrolled robotic behemoth that can not be stopped. Out now on Dais Records.