Who is ‘Black Line’?
The album ‘Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities’ by the band project ‘Black Line’ is voiced by none other than ‘Douglas J. McCarthy‘. The list of participating artists aren’t unknown in the scene.
Partly responsible for the sound on ‘Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities’ are Bon Harris (Nitzer Ebb), Christian Eigner (Depeche Mode), Paul Barker (Ministry), Jon Bates (Big Black Delta), Mark Walk (Skinny Puppy) and many more. So ‘Black Line’ is a collaboration that is second to none. It’s always exciting when great artists from the scene work together, creating a fusion of different genres. In this review you will find out whether the genetic children of these collaborations can successfully fight the musical survival.
An awesome start
The opener ‘Sedition’ is an acoustic handgranate. The track is crammed with genius electronic samples. With the beginning of ‘Douglas J. McCarthy’ voice, the song sounds warm and comfortable. The chorus stands out strongly from the rest of the song and reaches almost the state of weightlessness.
The second number ‘Losing You’ has a lot of potential. Here, great samples are used and the electric guitar at the end sounds exciting. However, I can not free myself from the impression that the song sounds somehow unfinished. Especially in the middle part, I tend to skip the song, because there is some monotony.
A patchwork album that harmonizes
‘Keep Digging’ is a great mid-tempo Electrorock song. Ideally, the track is suitable for the first listen, because the song is very catchy and almost radio-compatible. Also the instrumentation proves the courage to the creative, sound change, which should be mentioned in this album project praiseworthy. Here you can very nicely hear the influences of the artists involved.
In the direction of classic Synth Pop, with almost ‘Kraftwerk‘ like samples, the song ‘No Crime’ flies on a wave accompanied by black clouds. Here the tempo is also attracted, so that we move almost in the up-tempo range. ‘No Crime’ also has the driving force to ensure movement on the dance floor.
Soundscapes from the future
The song ‘Snap’ is very experimental. Unusually sounding beats and noises meet an almost irregular song composition. At least the boundaries between verse, chorus and bridge are blurred. Despite the strangeness, the song sounds super exciting and captivates the listener to the sound waves.
At ‘Shut It Down’, we are back in the classic gloomy music genre. Here is a hard and cold sounding track between Synth Pop and Darkwave. Furthermore other dark music genres have transplanted their genes as well. Parts of the song remind me of typical passages of ‘Duran Duran‘ songs from the 80s.
An acoustic doomsday atmosphere
The song ‘Can’t Breathe’ begins mechanically cold, which also captures a rather oppressive atmosphere. Melancholic, the song drags itself with difficulty towards the end, but without being trivial. The opposite is the case, you cling to the words of ‘Douglas J. McCarthy’ like that of a armageddon prophet. From the basic mood, the song comes very close to the last ‘Depeche Mode‘ album ‘Spirit‘.
‘Layers’ sounds acoustically relatively lightly, but the mood is rather gloomy. The changes in the tempo, as well as the volume level, produce a great dynamic. The song is another unique piece of the puzzle that makes the album sound so fantastically varied.
A collaboration that is worth to buy?
The album ‘Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities’ is a mountain and valley ride. And even if the overall result doesn’t look exactly successful, there are real treasures on it. So it’s worth to give this album a chance.
We had our joy with ‘Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities’, which you can see from the fact that we rated the half of the album with 4 stars. For fans of ‘Douglas J. McCarthy’ the album is certainly a must-have, everyone else should at least listen to before.