:Retrowerks: People’s Republic of Europe – The Wall of Fire
Review by Jaymie Burzette
The People’s Republic of Europe is an electronic rhythmic noise/progressive doomcore band from the Netherlands who started in 2000. Their newest offering, The Wall of Fire, combines elements of dubstep with harsh rhythmic noise, hard trance, and drum & bass to produce a heavily distorted, grindy, abrasive album that is still quite danceable. This description shouldn’t be taken negatively (although it may sound negative); these are all positive points of a good rhythmic noise album. I have a friend who once told me that a good noise album should sound like it’s being played through blown out speakers.
The album opens up with “Debt Slaves,” a grindy, droney track that in true noise form, makes you wonder if what you’re hearing is the song itself, or if your computer has frozen up and the track is just skipping over and over. “Smell of Sulphur” is next which is more rhythmic than the first track, with thumping bass, industrial sound effects, and a definite dubstep influence. “Labor Day 1.0” follows in a similar vein with heavy bass, but this one is definitely noisier, with more grindy, heavily distorted sounds that made my speakers sound like they were blowing out.
“Scapism” is very rhythmic noise with heavily distorted sounds, more heavy bass, and an almost fuzzy tone. In addition, this track also had elements of hard trance and drum & bass. Next up is “Call Hax,” which starts off with elements of hard trance and moves into distorted drum & bass with electronic sound effects and a dubstep influence. “Powersurge” follows, opening with heavy bass and tinny electronic effects. The effects move into a more melodic range of sequencer effects, with other intertwining melodies, and occasional female vocals. I would say this is probably the least abrasive track on the album.
Up next is “Labor Day 2.0,” which starts out heavy, distorted, and grindy. This song is thick all the way though, with lots of heavy distortion and scraping electronic sounds. It’s absolute, unapologetic noise. “Stainless Steel” follows and opens up with heavy distortion, rhythmic sequencer beats and thick, harsh electronic sounds. This track has elements of hard trance as well, but the overall sound is noise. “Workforce” features droning beats, fuzzy distortion and something that sounds like a distorted buzz saw. The album closes with “Like It Raw,” which has factory-esque sounds, almost realistically industrial with other melodies woven in throughout. There’s actually a soft synth melody that occurs throughout the song as well that seems like it would be out of place, but actually works quite well.
I found this album to be quite enjoyable; it had a lot of different musical styles coming together to make a great rhythmic noise album. The effects ranged from raw to distorted electronic sounds, to unrelenting bass that made the counter my computer was on vibrate heartily with each beat. If you like noise, this album is definitely for you. Listening to it makes one feel like they could be passing through a wall of fire, their ears being burned and singed with each unrelenting track.
01. Debt Slaves
02. Smell Of Sulphur
03. Labor Day 1.0
05. Call Hax
07. Labor Day 2.0
08. Stainless Steel
10. Like It Raw