Genre: Electronic Body Music
Released: April 2017
Reviewed by: Benedict Roff-Marsh
Electronic Body Music (EBM) was a feeder genre for Techno as well as of course the Industrial Metal crossover acts like The Ministry & Nine Inch Nails. Sadly as the other genres took over EBM, the real soul of the style was lost in place of the mind-numbing TB-303 Acid Bassline, Super Saw and sampled Metal Guitar Riffs. All cool things in their own right but what was lost was the sense of the little human voice crying out their stories in the midst of the monolithic machine.
Some of the big acts in early EBM to brush up on are Front 242, The Neon Judgement & Nitzer Ebb. One reviewer of the à;GRUMH… record “A Hard Day’s Knight” saw them being the future of Rock. But they weren’t and instead, it was Nirvana, Metallica & NIN because they were far less confronting. EBM essentially disappeared by about 1991.
Thankfully there are a few acts looking at EBM whilst appearing under the Synth Pop banner. Acts like And One, the Cruxshadows & A Frozen Autumn have clearly leaned on EBM to help form their sound.
I encountered FHTH in a music forum where a friend of his was talking up his record for him. It appeared that Slava (who is from Ukraine) wasn’t aware of any of the newer acts whilst struggling to get interest in this genre. Sadly it seems Slava may have lost faith as his personal Facebook shows a Metal act but no further support for FHTH.
A crying shame as “Digital Holocaust” is a cracking album that if EBM fans knew existed would likely have jumped at it. I did. I still play it often and the more I do the more I like it.
The album is 10 tracks of typical song length and structure but with a very strong atmosphere of a dystopian, mechanized world that the singer (with a wonderfully European accent that is perfect for this style) cries out his woes from the midst of.
Musically you have electronic drums, pounding rhythms, ripping guitars, and cold menacing electronic sounds. What counts though is the voice and the lyrics. These songs are personal while expressing big universal themes at the same time.
Where most modern acts write with a pity me tone, FHTH is direct and universal. The singing is prone to being dead-pan but that is part of the style. Thankfully at no time does he slip into that facile nursery rhyme meter so common amongst Rock (and Pop) acts.
The songs gain strength as he never lets go of the sense of music being Pop so he has catchy hooks and choruses.
The real negative I see here is that Slava gave up so quickly on this record that he didn’t play it live or find ways to be in-touch with complimentary modern audiences & acts. His Tags on Bandcamp don’t even mention EBM which almost makes it seem like he didn’t want the most relevant starter-audience (older people like me know exactly what he did here) and was chasing kids who probably won’t get it till someone else tells them to.
If you ever had interest in Industrial music or would simply like to add a record to your collection that explores the darker side of Pop then go visit the FHTH Bandcamp page and slip him a few coins to let him know you care about good music.
UPDATE: Slava has been in contact and while he has indeed been flummoxed on how to promo this material he hasn’t given up as there are new FHTH songs in the works.