ONMENS - Witruimte

Onmens - Witruimte

11 songs
37:27 minutes
***** **


Ten days prior to the Brussels terror attacks, Belgian electro rock band Onmensí Facebook status line declared "Brussels is burning", a message that unfortunately turned out to be quite prophetic. The Ghent based band meant that slogan as an advertisement to a show they played in their capital city, and when listening to their music, itís obvious that they meant something completely different.

The duo consisting of programmer Sigfried Burroughs and guitarist Kasper Van Esbroeck play quite the kind of electrock bridging the gap between hardcore electro music and searing noise rock that must really destroy in a live setting. One year after their debut Misdracht, they are back with the follow-up Witruimte which through the course of ten and a half songs offers an apocalyptic brew of abrasive noise anthems that come with cranky synth leads, pounding acid drums and a freewheeling guitar that lay the backdrop for angry and anguished vocals that have quite an incantatory quality.

Onmens sound way freakier and more garagy than for instance The Prodigy, but donít use the same amount of relentless speed as Atari Teenage Riot, which are two of their numerous influences. At times I also felt reminded of Front 242, but that may just be the Belgian connection. And donít forget a certain no wave atmosphere reminiscent of Suicide and early Sonic Youth. The duo is smart enough to find the right balance between anarchic noise mayhem and more melodic industrial components ŗ la Nine Inch Nails to never feel like they are doing it all only for noiseís sake, but you canít either blame them of being too intent on catchy songwriting.

On stage, it seems as if Burrough concentrates on his fierce vocal performance. On CD you get a nearly forty minute long work of electro industrial noise rock where the bass notes come from thundering synth waves and mean electronic beats, with the synth leads eventually sounding more disharmonic than the not that gently played guitar. For sure, Witruimte is an acquired taste, and may not be as visionary as the more brainy sounds of an Aphex Twin or a Squarepusher, but in the canon of underground electro brute force electro, it definitely has its well-deserved place. As I am typing this review, the aforementioned terror attacks have happened only half a day ago, and that makes this write-up quite an emotional task. So with all my thoughts to the people in Belgium and every other victims of worldwide terror, I leave you with the recommendation to enjoy this noisy onslaught of electrock on record and hopefully live somewhere near you someday soon.

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