HIVE MIND – ELYSIAN ALARMS (DIFFICULT INTERACTIONS, 2020)

Greh Holger is a busy man. Between the Noisextra podcast that he hosts alongside Mike and Tara Connelly and his label, Chondritic Sound, the guy has his hands full. You could be forgiven for forgetting that he is also the sole force behind the industrial-noise act, Hive Mind.

“Elysian Alarms” is the first release of new Hive Mind material since the 2011 release of “Elemental Disgrace” on Spectrum Spools. This album is a slight departure from past releases, though maintains everything that makes Hive Mind memorable and exceptional. Fried analog synth drones still dominate these soundscapes, but this time around, the compositions are a bit more dynamic. There is still a pervasive sense of mechanical dread, but the compositions are a bit more concise and have more moving parts. The unifying factor between most of the pieces on this album is the presence of buzzing, repetitive pulses of synthesizer, reminiscent of decrepit alarms. At times, the tension breaks and the tracks become almost melodic, like in “House Without A Key”. As soon as the album lures you into a sense of security, “Come Alone” cranks up the tension. Measured metallic scrapes and clanks echo behind an increasingly intense onslaught of layered synthesizer tones that work their way to the forefront. The album finishes with the unsettling “Pawns Put Back Together,” which is composed of gong reverberations, drawn out into death industrial oblivion.

For long-time fans of Hive Mind, there is a lot of material on this album that will be familiar. Raw, dust-covered synthesizer patches are still in the forefront, but it is undoubtedly a departure from past releases. The new explorations are expertly channeled into compositions that are expansive and constantly shifting, yet still feel concise and focused. This immediacy is not to the detriment of the project’s legendary long-form pieces focused on texture, mood and tone. “Elysian Alarms” is an unholy evolution for Hive Mind, no doubt as a result of years waiting in the darkness bombarded by radiation.

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