Systemshock – Cheater (review @ Brutal Resonance)
Back in 2010, Synthematik released the debut album from the Russian electro rockers of Systemshock. Their debut album Virus-Electro was indeed an electrorock album, however, not in the way of Zeromancer with their sound founded in rock and topped with the electro cheery. Instead, Systemshock could more be described as Technorock. Their foundation is based upon the poppier, yet darker and harsher, sounds of electro and the rockier touch is not only found in their guitars, but also the way they carry the music they make.
Three years later and they release the EP ‘Cheater’ and I would not say that they have changed or evolved, rather… matured. It seems like the direct sound and rough edges that comes with youth has been straighten out with, perhaps not maturity, but indeed what three years of learning gives you.
The first thing I react over in the title track “Cheater” is that the vocals have been altered heavily with auto tune, and even if it works quite well, giving it that robotico flavor, I would have to kill someone if they made an entire album using auto tune. Luckily, the B-side “Wake Up” instead proves that the vocals of Nikki Roux has improved greatly, and giving me yet another reason to disapprove with the use of the magic of mixing in “Cheater”.
The second thing that strikes me is that the guitars takes a lot less place here, how the tracks are built up lay heavy upon the structure from ‘Virus-Electro’, however, instead of taking the center stage, the guitars are happy there in the back with the rest of the music.
“Cheater” and “Wake Up” both have their strong point, and they are opposites of each other. The music of “Cheater” is much more alive while the vocals, especially in the chorus, of “Wake up” is far more impressive. A meta-morph of the two would have created an epic result.
There’s two remixes of “Cheater”, I will skip the “RuleBook Mix by Outsight”, it’s not that interesting, and go directly to the “Feat. Juanita” version where they have transformed the title track into some interesting mix of Portishead and radio friendly rock. After delivering the A-side, B-side and the A-side remix, I have no problem with doing something different on the final track to mix things up, here is Code 64’s last track on the Code 64 EP a great example with the metal cover by Greek Sorrowful Angels.
Systemshock is giving another punch deep down from the unknown, kicking and clawing its way into becoming a band known by the black dressed masses.