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*

Mechanical Dominion

Fall Of Humanity

Superficial *

Deep Mind Formulates *

Infinite March *

Gone to Shit *

Judgement (Requiem)

* = 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 mechan