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Noise Gate

Figment of My Intoxication (self-released)

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"Industrial rock" and "lo-fi" do not marry well as concepts -- it takes lotsa cash and lotsa high-tech artillery to grow Nine Inch Nails. So cut the local duo-since-turned-quartet Noise Gate some slack on Figment of My Intoxication, a 10-track DIY affair whipping up atmospheric keyboards, gnarly metal guitars, drum-machine trench warfare, and angst-ridden glam-rock vocals in a sonic kitchen too cramped and ill-equipped to bring the results to fruition. The tunes here alternate between bawdy, broad-chested, Monster Magnet-style dirges and high-concept prog-rock keyboard suites; both require more bombast than two home-recording dudes can possibly muster. The vocals suffer most, as they're tinny and otherworldly and inevitably cringe-worthy, when screaming is required. And screaming is occasionally required.

But imagine a few of these tunes writ large, and they grow on ya, the little buggers. "Road Rage" is a vaguely amusing, quasi-rap assault on bad drivers that recalls DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's "You Saw My Blinker, Bitch." The title track sneaks an eerie piano/synth duet into a standard metal-angst hoedown, and "No One Listening" follows a boppy pop chorus with a bongo breakdown. But any histrionic screaming fit kills the mood, and the bizarre, ill-advised, bluesy swamp rock that sneaks into the record's second half doesn't make any thematic sense.

Still, Noise Gate condenses different styles, moods, and concepts onto one disc, and the band never lingers on anything long enough to totally botch it. Set the boys loose in a fortified, industrial-rock studio compound with a Pearl Harbor-sized bankroll, and we'll let 'em scream all they want.

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