Controversial is the name of a one-man musical project originated by Bart Coninckx. The aim is to create the music Bart always wanted to hear, but never came across. Controversial would become the vehicle of trying to get to that sound.
Second Genesis is the newest album from Controversial and it is out now.
There’s absolutely no pigeonholing Controversial. Bart Coninckx means exactly what he says when he talks about wanting to create music that he always wanted to hear. The question is if anyone else will want to hear such an unusual and eclectic mix of ideas.
After working through 15 tracks and around 80 minutes of music, the answer can confidently be yes. With one major caveat though and that is the fact that the listener will have to be willing to open their mind to some seriously distant and dark places.
A maddening blend of ambiance that is rooted in wonder and a certain level of horror, The Trauma of Birth is a cold start. It is replaced by some odd electronica effects that suggest something more sci-fi infused is about to burst forth from With a Vision of Death. However, expect the unexpected with this album as instead we drop into thick and sticky sounding industrial metal groove. Kick ass riffs and proper meaty drumming backed up by scratchy vocals and the screams of victims begging for their lives.
Imagination is key and having given some early examples of how different things can be, Controversial continue to stick two fingers up to the rules with Violence, Commercial Breakdown and Take Command. Music that is outspoken, music that is daring in its industrial ways, music that is heavy without relying on the usual metal tricks and music that burns with unexpected passion.
By this stage, most will have made up their mind about the record and if you’re one of the brave ones willing to carry on, there’s so much more to come. More challenging and unique sounds from an artist who might be a genius or utterly insane. The line is well and truly walked as the ungodly emotion of Crying (such a brilliant track) and the weird filth monger that is Let the Monster Out prove.
Keeping things on edge, Suffering Unseen has a nice blend of weird effects, up-tempo synth and punchy rhythm. A track you could have a fast-paced workout too. Before Liar and Forge Ahead and Kill get uber-sinister with some chunky groove and Rammstein-style danceable qualities. Two of the heavier efforts on the album for sure.
Wolf or Sheep keeps things chuggy and dangerous sounding while also taking a stance that many can relate too. Ego Army and its club style beat and layered sounds transitions into a more familiar industrial groove. Familiar if you’ve been listening to the album all the way through so far. It’s one of the only times, that can be said too. As no two tracks sound the same and that’s still the case here for the most part.
The last original track comes in the form of the super sexy and super classy Is This the Best and it’s pretty easy to agree that it really bloody is. The mellower tone, the stripped back tempo and gloomy outlook just sounds so good.
Mind you, it’s not over yet as the final two tracks are remixes of two others found on the album. Violence and Take Command, the former with the Die Krupps Mix and the latter with the Leaether Strip Mix. Nice alternative versions of the kickass tunes heard already. Considering the length of the album, they probably could have been left off and no-one would complain.
Overall though, this is a banger. So much imagination and so many ideas should have resulted in something chaotic and messy. Something nonsensical and frustrating. Second Genesis is all of these things but uses them to its strength to help make it all the more lovable.
Controversial – Second Genesis Full Track Listing:
1. The Trauma of Birth
2. With a Vision of Death
4. Commercial Breakdown
5. Take Command
7. Let the Monster Out
8. Suffering Unseen
10. Forge Ahead and Kill
11. Wolf or Sheep
12. Ego Army
13. Is This the Best
14. Violence (Die Krupps Remix)
15. Take Command (Leaether Strip Remix)
Controversial - Second Genesis (Cleopatra Records)
The Final Score - 9/10