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Album review: Matt Hart 'Terra 3808'

Matt Hart has been a regular performer in the industrial scene and earning more and more well deserved success with each performance. Having witnessed some of this debut album played live at Static Darkness festival. It is apparent that Matt has truly started to get the recognition he deserves with the release of this album. Since the release of his first EPs in the three that are 'Chaos Rising,' war against machines has always been the theme behind his music. With Terra 3808, it seems he has finally found his ideal form in regard to that concept and the way in which it is performed.

Set list at Static Darkness festival on the 2nd of November 2019: Terra 3808*

* = From Terra 3803

The album starts with the self titled 'Terra 3808' which has a most out of character and yet refreshingly uplifting opening with hand drums that has an almost iVardensphere like feel and rhythm. Further in, a cybernetic choir puts you in amongst the backdrops of the great cult films of the past, like Lawn Mower Man, and especially the bubblegum crisis anime films where androids and the like would spring in to murderous rampages.

'Superficial' then grabs you by the f**king throat and yanks the primal urge to fight out from deep inside of you. Quite masterfully, the sounds roll noticeably from left to right especially when wearing headphones. A rising, powerful guitar leads the way smoothly for Matt’s growling lyrics to open up. The singing is supported by an artificial voice reminiscent of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica. The addition of synthetic strings gives a real sense of urgency and the epic scape of the concept story Matt is trying to bring to life.

A powerful stage is set in 'Deep mind formulates' as the A.I decides to become the nemesis of mankind. The feel overall is that of a world somewhere between the Terminator film's Skynet and the RTS game Command and Conquer Firestorm’s Cabal intelligence who decides to kill those he was created to serve via a cyborg uprising. Given that the soldier on the cover of the album looks similar to a Command and Conquer GDI soldier, Matt confirmed that is was indeed part of his inspiration. There is a lot of nostalgia already prevalent in beginning of this album but in such a way as cannot be placed. The backdrop and the theme are familiar for sure but the music itself and the way Matt has gone about writing these pieces strikes a whole new depth entirely. This seems to confuse the mind in to wondering why it feels nostalgic over an album so fresh and pure towards re-inventing industrial music that contains 'metal' guitar riffs.

'Outlaws'.. Now this is where the album truly starts with the words "Welcome to 3808" that drops the heavy riffs and the pounding industrial drum beats that we have come to know and expect. The message of the outlaws fighting their guerilla war against the machine overlords is clear through Matt’s growling vocals and lyrics. The track is reminiscent of the rise of punk, only set in the future where anarchy is once again the focus point, as is often the case with post apocalyptic concepts in one way or another. A track that is stomp heavy and sounds brilliant with rhythm and the aggressive energy thrown out from this aural assault.

Synthwave and industrial goth music constantly seems to have blurring grey lines between the two as the rhythms and futuristic passions play almost parallel. So it is again with 'More alive.' The sample of the commentary on life is relatable not only in the scheme of the concept the album is trying to tell but also as a current day observation on some of the underlying resentments brewing in society; perhaps that even lead to futures like 3808, the rise of the regime in V for vendetta, Big brother in 1984, and the current political hell hole that let more and more people suffer as we march blindly to a similarly worrying future. This is an ideal break as it were after the aggression of the previous tracks and a great change of pace that sets the album up for its second half.

Photo: Bonnie Baker

'Edge of life' is a bit more of a classic return to industrial with the slower, grittier tempo and lyrics. Skinny Puppy and Ministry comes to mind with a slight Egyptian twist underlying the keyboard notes which further adds to the nostalgia and contrast of a futuristic story album. It's an angrily spat out song with some deep and heavy lyrics that dig deep in to the core of human emotion if you allow yourself to go in that direction, and yet supported by a rather energetic and motivational sound.

In Matt's words 'Infinite march'.. "Is set in the year 3808 but draws parallels from the days of the trenches of WW1 where humanity was expendable; infinitely marching over the top to certain death, as it will be against the mechanical threat in 3808.” An overwhelming crucible of sound with a horrific sense of dread and hopelessness pour out of this offering. Matt electronically metronomes out the lyrics in stark contrast to the fury of the meatgrinder that is the war of 3808. In true 'Hart' style though, the growling screams rise up again even as the beats are steady and the industrial metal flows like blood. Yet another song performed wonderfully live.

Erin of Witch of the Vale lends her angelic voice to the powerhouse of a track that is 'We burned the sky.' This song would have been ideal for a cult film such as The Crow or Bladerunner. Matt’s parts drag your body through the gravel, only for Erin to pick you back up and wash the gravel away repeatedly that makes for quite an experience on the senses. It’s strange to feel relaxed as a guitar riff rips in to your chest cavity and demands that you feel the bass vibrations. The emotional content and connection with the song creates a very finely balanced track that would appeal to anyone. Matt also remixed ‘The way this will end’ On the Witch of the Vale EP 'Changeling' and it's nice to see both artists having songs on the latest Beat:Cancer CD.

'Gone to shit'.. "There’s nothing we’re doing right" This is one for the dancers. It’s lighter than most of the album, and once again pays homage to the classic greats of music, this time I am reminded of Public image limited. The style is wildy different to the rest of the album but works well, undeniably one to fill the dance floor. Here's the real beauty of this track though, I absolutely love samples in tracks from films, TV, games etc and this has Dylan Moran's wonderful speech half way through making this an absolute gem for me, especially as the track is upbeat and electric.

'This is the future' is a much more stable track in it’s rhythm and continuity, the looping guitars and melody lull you in to a deep trance as you listen to the robotic voice and industrial rhythms. For those who know Kraftwerk's 'We are the Robots,' Imagine a modern version of that but heavily influenced by Richard Kruspe of Rammstein.

'Seeing through the grey (digital noise analogue)' is a calm and relaxed acid trip flirting with the lines between industrial and synthwave once again, embracing in their influences and styles in a rather peaceful way. There are no vocals, just a lamentful outro to an album that has a damning outcome for mankind.

'Superficial – Ruinizer Remix.' A great remix to end the album with; the remix is smoother and more faithful to the industrial dance and dark wave scene, rounding off the harsher tones and smoothing out the instrumental loops in to a great piece to dance to and smash yourself around a dance floor. Top 3 tracks: Gone to Shit We Burned the sky Infinite March Matt Hart has outdone himself with an album that, whilst can be described as pure in its approach to industrial music, can also be seen as an experimental amalgamation of all forms of industrial music from heavy industrial metal to synthwave, and aggrotech to synthpop. Some vocal parts seem out of place in their style of their delivery, as well as some parts being overwhelming in the amount of sounds going on at once. However, truly a dark and well thought out album with a great focus on production and story that will have something to appeal to everyone. Get you copy of Terra 3808 on Bandcamp (Click the album image)

Also catch Matt Hart play at EVM fest..

Elektro vox presents a celebration of it's first successful year of industrial journalism with E.V.M Fest in aid of the Beat:Cancer charity, now that Beat:Cancer festival has played it's last.

Join us in our first music event as a perfect warm up before Resistanz festival. Tickets:


Also in aid of Beat:Cancer is the Hardstyle Cosmic hard dance festival.


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