Demoscene, Indie Music, Reviews

The Victims Have Fought, And Hunz Has Won (Review)

August 30, 2008 | | 3 Comments Share thison Facebook The Victims Have Fought, And Hunz Has Won (Review)on Twitter

We previously interviewed Hunz, and now we finally have the album When Victims Fight in our greasy manclaws. And I won’t beat around the bush. It’s honestly every bit as good, and even better than I expected. And I was expecting a fantastic record.

For those that haven’t heard of Hunz, he has been a very respected tracker in the demoscene for many years, and has recently made the transition from tracker to “proper” music artist via Apegenine Recordings, which has a history of working with top electronic artists from the tracker scene. This isn’t an instrumental album like most trackers would make though–this features Hunz’s haunting voice, a beautiful contrast to the stark electronic soundscapes he paints, somewhat reminiscent of Radiohead, but with a sound all his own.

Hit the jump for a play-by-play of the album’s tracks!

Looking at the packaging, a beautiful and somewhat disturbing piece of art greets us, and as we open, it’s simple but effective: a nice sturdy digipak casing with a simple greeting message, some awesome artwork to match the cover, and of course, the CD all housed inside. The quality of it is great, a very attractive package overall. But of course it’s all about the music!

The album opens with “Who Knows.” An arpeggio plays in the background with a percussive bass and the haunting voice of Hunz saying he’ll scream on himself. Immediately the theme of this album is set: this is an introspective album. It’s all about Hunz here, and it’s a good thing. The honesty in the lyrics from “Who Knows” is engaging and interesting, and the song itself is a powerful starter.

“Beg” is a track that Hunz has told us in his interview will be a single, and it really shows. This track might be the most poppy track on the album, with a soaring melodic chorus that really sticks in your head. However, this track also contains some very personal lyrics. Even though this time his aggression seems to be directed outward, towards some lover, it’s just as possible that he’s talking to (or screaming at) his own reflection in the mirror.

“Almost There” is the first somewhat calmer track, with soaring melodies throughout the track. It’s also the longest track on the album–all the tracks have a very direct approach and don’t repeat anything that doesn’t need to be repeated. This chorus clearly means a lot to Hunz as it’s repeated a lot, and it’s also referenced by the album cover art (“I’ll swallow you whole”). The track builds slowly to an epic climax before breaking down suddenly.

After “Almost There,” the next track “Inside My Head” gives us a solid groove and a much more minimalistic production, with hardly any vocal doubling and heavy percussion, while the melody is faster and even has a few rhythmical “sharp turns.”

At the center of the album, “All Falls Down” plays out like a ballad. It’s a pivotal point, and where the previous tracks were still in some way fiesty, struggling, this song for the first time feels like Hunz is giving up to the darkness. The lyrics give us a sketch of a dark future: “we could all fall down”, going on to talk about comets dropping from the skies. This song has a fantastic progression and chorus, it sends shivers down my spine. It’s my favorite from the album, absolutely gorgeous.

Following a song like that is hard, and “Draw The Line” does a good job of it. It’s much milder, but the darkness that struck in the previous track is still present. Gone are the bouncy basslines of the first few tracks, and in comes a droning, haunting bassline. Additionally, the melodic content has all but vanished, making place for something that sounds more like something between chanting and the kind of gibberish a heavily drunk person utters. Somehow, it really works.

“Hearts on Fire” is the slowest song on the album, and etches out the deepest feeling of depression within this album. The first minute of the song has no percussion at all and when it finally comes in, it’s a slow, sloppy beat with lots of fills and off-beat snares. The arps are all but gone, making place for a slow drone somewhat reminiscent of Boards of Canada. The song grips your soul and is very powerful.

A much needed escape from the darkness is delivered with “Tiny Pixels,” a mostly un-melodic techno track with a blasting chorus that almost sounds like a rock song. “Rise” is also put into that tradition, a track that mostly focuses on the chorus: “You reap what you know,” sings a chorus of Hunzes.

The final track, “People,” closes the album in style. It reminds me of a religious chant, repeating the chorus over and over, building over time. It’s a strong closer that focuses on Hunz’s background sounds more than his singing.

Overall, When Victims Fight is fantastic, merging the vocal styles of Radiohead with electronic sounds that sometimes remind me of Depeche Mode, with a hit of various Warp Records acts. It’s a really vibrant mix, and the only thing I can possibly complain about is the length of the album–we want more!

So check out the musical samples on his website, buy the album, and tell us (and him) what you think!

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