A year and a half after the highly acclaimed album "Accomplishments of Leopold
II",the Swedish electro duo Severe Illusion unleash their third hard electronic
assault "Shortcut To Civilization". The new album perfectly blends the purest
elements of old school EBM, dark elektro, noise and flirts with clubby electro
basslines.There's some great stuff for all DJ's in this package. 15 varied
tracks which scope the landscape of S.I.'s influences, and their own original
blending of these styles and sounds.
Despite the fact that this album was created in Spring of 2004 in Sweden by
SEVERE ILLUSION, the real accomplishments of the real Leopold II was committed
in Congo between the years 1885-1908 while collecting ivory and
rubber, building a railroad and teaching the inhabitants the art of
civilization.It has been estimated that between 10-14 million people were
killed to achieve Leo's goals of conquest.
After having heard and enjoyed their previously released stuff I really thought I would know this band and their music very well. Well, I have to revise my judgement on this Swedish duo, because this new full length release surprises me in many ways. First I am wondering how this guys came to the idea to work out a conceptual release with the happenings – better said atrocities - of the Belgium king Leopold II in Africa more than 100 years before. This is thematically far away from all “end time visions” any other current EBM/Electro band would offer. And also musically is this new release of Sweden’s power-hitters No. 1 far away from any trendy SC/HOCICO clone. I get hold of myself often that I think: “Oh-no, this is stupid, it sounds chaotic and/or imperfect – they can not do this and take it seriously.” Well, I’ve missed the target again! Where other bands of this genre wouldn’t waste any further second to use some more experimental and disturbing noises, here comes SEVERE ILLUSION to show and teach us how they can. I would describe SEVERE ILLUSION’s music as a mixture between old-school EBM lines with a rich amount of static and unconventional noises mostly arranged in a chaotic style, combined with some extremely rough distorted vocals. This explosive mixture awakes some real Punk-like feelings in me and has more life and identity than any other current release can offer. I have to admit that this new output of this duo needed a lot of time to grow on me. I still had in mind the long and often heard predecessor “Discipline is Reward Enough” which features more the classic EBM patterns which I enjoyed so much. And so this new and MUCH MORE destroying release needed several rotations before I recognized the whole potential this fantastic disc has to offer. Some memories on classic swedish EBM-tracks like “Keine Zukunft” or “Die Jugend” of the veteran POUPPEE FABRIKK they awake with the opening track “Genau wie Ich” where the try to sing in German. My favorites can be found with the track “Beautiful” which follows much the sound of the predecessor and with fast pieces “Stay Away From Us” and “Open Rebellion” which can cause simply some injuries by hitting your head against a wall! Also the almost Powernoise-like effort “Congo by Force” impresses totally where they give the overall distorted track some nice melodic layers. 17 destroying tracks full of madness far away from any hypes and a playing time of never boring 75 minutes make this release outstanding. This is once again an extremely good release by the DSBP label and I can only congratulate Tommy T to have this great artist under his wing. Bad luck for the European audience that they still have to wait to get this release official. The German label Celtic Circle Production has the rights to release this masterpiece as a limited double CD with a slight different track list and artwork (done by Anders Karlsson of the legendary Powernoise act THE PAIN MACHINERY by the way...), but it is still delayed. This stuff doesn’t take any prisoners and needs some more rotations to get fully enjoyment. Give it the needed time and you will be richly rewarded.
Review by: Marc Tater