Shortly after the release of their debut EP “First Blood”, New York-based industrial punk rockers GLDN are back with a new release entitled “Hemophilia”. The record is mostly a remix album in which the band reworked some tracks from the EP that they thought could use some changes, in addition to some original tracks and a cover track. Let’s dissect this new album and see what it’s all about.
This cover of the infamous Anti-Nowhere League track feels like what a collaboration between Type O Negative and The Exploited would have sounded like. The hardcore punk elements are there (with a touch of heavy metal power chords). The production muffles the guitar and vocals in reverb and delay just enough to make them creepy without taking away from their intensity. The bassline of the chorus has to be my favorite part of this track. The crunchy guitar tone introduced here is what most of the album’s guitar sounds like, and the riffing here was a great introduction to it.
2- New Face, Same Lies
This track is the most eerie-sounding piece here. With synths and electronic beats that feel like they came straight from the 80s/90s Post-Punk era to the whispered vocals. The track revolves around that synth line until its second half where the crunchy guitar comes back to take the lead, as well as a piano that harmonizes with this melody and makes it even scarier.
3- #1 Crush
A cover of the cult-classic Garbage song, this version shows how GLDN implement their own musical fingerprint into anything they touch. You can hear the Evanescence influence in this one as the entire guitar riff that the song is based around is a very Nu-Metal sounding riff and the vocals are clean and soar over the verses and chorus. There is a haunting vocal line in the background which adds more of the creepiness GLDN are well-known for at this point. I love how strong and raw the drum fills are here, contrary to other tracks which use electronic beats or different percussion patterns. The song’s last chorus is entirely screamed, which in my opinion was a great way to end the track.
This one is another entirely industrial track. It was not as creepy as New Face, Same Lies but it had some powerful screams that had a ton of reverb over them. It somehow reminds me of the rap group Suicideboys. Highly experimental, but sadly not memorable enough to stand out among the rest of the tracks.
5- Six Feet Under
Another Nu-Metal-inspired track with some balanced elements between guitar riffing and industrial elements. The synths and guitars mimic each other almost playing exactly the same lines, which simulates the feeling of one big wall of sound. The electronic drums do a great job of sounding energetic, along with the bassline that helped the verses have the right groove. The song ends abruptly with the acoustic guitar of the following track beginning right away.
6- Pull It
Channeling horror through simplicity and repetitive trance-inducing guitar lines, this track is mostly composed of an acoustic guitar chord progression over a synth sample that sounds like a time bomb about to explode. Near its end, we can hear some humming and the same melody played with a piano until the following song immediately begins with its dancy Darkwave beat.
7- Dirty, Rotten, Decayed
Who called Trent Reznor? This one feels like a vampire DJ is hosting a rave in a goth club. It’s another industrial piece with only a few vocal lines in between the varied synths and electronic beat. The irregularity of the beat makes it sound interrupted as if it’s slower than its actual tempo. I thought it was a brilliant and creative touch.
8- Suicide Machine
After two tracks that felt like a break from the electric guitars, this one begins with a drum intro followed by a palm-muted and choppy guitar riff. More of the whispered vocals are present here too, but this time they feel a lot more melodic. There are many samples and details in the industrial parts of the songs that will make you repeat this track a few times to digest them all. There is a transition to a breakdown and more powerful screams in the outro section which (literally) end the song on a high note.
9- Self-Mutilation As a Form of Compliance
The track begins with an epic orchestration, followed by a distorted and muffled bassline, and then heads into the industrial samples once again. Another track that feels like a break/breather between its sister tracks.
This one is another industrial and dancy piece that lasts about a minute and a half. Nothing really new happens here.
Clocking in at almost six minutes, this track feels like it came straight out of a horror movie. The synth that plays after the intro sounds like a children’s lullaby but has a super creepy tone to it. This is the kind of melodies you find in the compositions of Danny Elfman for Tim Burton’s movies, with an added touch of the industrial and post-punk heaviness of course. The repeating line “I’m just an insect” with its accompanying bee sounds will bring nightmares to entomophobes for sure.
This album, by and large, has its brilliant moments. The choice of that particular guitar tone with the industrial samples and synth lines that aid it all make for a brilliant fusion between nu-metal, punk, and industrial synth-wave/post-punk. Some tracks felt like unnecessary fillers and failed in comparison to the other tracks. The influences here are varied, and so is the sound, I recommend this album to fans of Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Ghostemane, Suicideboys, and Ministry.