Goth Night at the club can be a predictable affair, with black-clad regulars moping about to the standard favorites. But every so often, you'll do a double take at the mohawked girl who just walked in. The local musical projects spawned from this scene evoke a similar response: Too often they're predictable, but unexpected elements can add a nice twist.
The new albums from Killswitch and State of Being are the same. Killswitch takes its somewhat standard, hard-industrial influences and wears them proudly. It's dark and dense, with metal-inspired guitar work conjoined to volleys of pummeling electronics. There are predictable moments, like the B-movie samples and distorted vocals that turn up on some less interesting tracks. Still, Killswitch breaks from the mold on slow-burners like "Bleak" and "You Don't Matter," which show that midtempo doesn't necessarily mean mid-intensity.
State of Being also takes its cues from obvious influences. The band's sound is a retooled extension of seminal Wax Trax! artists, but it's limited by vocalist/lyricist Chris Foldi's ruts of banality. This isn't to say that Implosion is completely conventional: "Red Frontier" is pleasantly reminiscent of My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, sans the kitsch. "Instinct" receives a bonus remix treatment from former Stabbing Westward member Andy Kubiszewski. But Killswitch and State of Being are still an idea or two away from being the musical equivalents of that goth girl with the mohawk. Maybe they should hit a Supercuts.