Review: LAWA ‘Instrumentalisation’

To recap, LAWA is Alex Wank (formerly of Austrian death metal legends Pungent Stench) and Alain Leonard and the band’s name derives from the member’s initials. I reviewed Manipulation for The Shaman back in October last year and Instrumentalisation is its sister album. If the Saul Bass influenced artwork looks familiar, you’d be right because it’s been put together once again by the talented Thomas Zackl.

LAWA 'Instrumentalisation'

It should also be pointed out, while there are separate vinyl editions available for Manipulation and Instrumentalisation, both albums will feature on the CD version with combined artwork. The promo notes also state that the CD Version will have a different track order, mix and with longer interludes that will help make for a continuous listening experience. This review is of the vinyl Instrumentalisation album, but you should check out all formats nevertheless.

Opening with Plugout it recalls bands like The Crystal Method & Propellerheads who featured on a number of early 2000s slick sci-fi action movies ala The Matrix. There is a funkiness present that starts the album in a cool fashion. Blood has a creepier gothic low-key vibe going on that is suited to old-school horror flicks, especially with the use of an organ at moments that help give it a more ominous feel.

Complot reminds one of early Gary Numan during his chart topping late ‘70s heyday, or even the type of thing that new romantics would have danced along to at the legendary Blitz Club in London in the early ’80s. It has a detached icy new wave/coldwave appeal that makes myself, who is a fan of that style, very happy indeed. Guns follows a similar pattern to its predecessor but with a more contemporary and sinister twist, in fact, it’s not a million miles removed from the kind of sounds that could be found on Michael Mann’s Manhunter; I could envisage it fitting in comfortably on there alongside the likes of Shriekback.

it’s not a million miles removed from the kind of sounds that could be found on Michael Mann’s Manhunter…

RND takes a far more immersive futuristic approach in a Tangerine Dream vein while Replug displays a distinctly harder EBM edge that fans of early Ministry and Frontline Assembly will appreciate. Proggy Goblin influences are definitely detectable on Devil Sweet and would fit perfectly on the Dawn of the Dead soundtrack while Soft Girl is a gorgeously brief slice of ambient dream pop.

Vault is up next that once again taps into Goblin with the sense of drama and tension it evokes but with some synth-pop Kraftwerk elements injected along the way while So Soft is incredibly effective at combining the kind of oriental tint that Yellow Magic Orchestra would have utilised in their brand of electro music, except LAWA do it far darker and moodier. Fruity seems similar to Rammstein but without the ridiculous outlandish elements, throw in a bit of ‘rock’ era Depeche Mode and a nod to Die Krupps and you should get the picture.

Triballs feels psychedelic, the kind of awesome trippiness that conjures up The Orb and Straight echoes opener Plugout with its chill big beat jams. Reload infuses John Carpenter with Nine Inch Nails, meanwhile, TV Pulse feels like the kind of downtempo track one would encounter at a dance music festival, pure sonic heaven. St Ivan concludes the album on a proto-industrial note ala Cabaret Voltaire and one which feels entirely appropriate somehow.

The album is lengthy at sixteen tracks, yet my attention never wavered as I was too busy marvelling at the breadth and diversity of the music offered on Instrumentalisation, which serves as an essential companion piece to Manipulation.

Label: Cineploit Recordings
Band Links: Facebook | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills