22Hertz is a solo Heavy Alternative Rock project by singer and producer Ralf Muller. The Toronto artist combines abrasive underground sonics with pop elements and hooks into a sound reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails. At their signature performances, 22Hertz is backed by a live band. To have one of the darkest and heaviest albums of the year so far, arrive on your desk by surprise is amazing. That’s what happened with the latest 22Hertz album “Detonate”. The music goes from brutal to quiet, all the while maintaining some type of psychotic aura about it. The bottom line is there are enough good songs here to bash somebody’s head with. This is definitely more aggressive than Nine Inch Nails stuff.
22Hertz obviously don’t want to sound like any other industrial band. They want to convey something different. Too many other reviewers have given polished formative assessments of each track’s meticulous craftsmanship for me to break “Detonate’s” individual cuts down into a thorough summary of what makes them as appealing to listen to on their fiftieth listen as on their first.
The key here seems to be the integration of industrial music’s level of mechanized intensity with just a touch of heavy metal’s aggressive, frequently eruptive edge and the ability to over graft both with the counterpoint of densely-layered melody.
The other key point is that the album sounds phenomenal. The bass is deep, the highs are clear, and the vocals have been brought out to an even level. In true cutting edge fashion, by listening to the album through headphones (or even just at a high volume on your stereo) you will notice so many little nuances, making “Detonate” a fantastic listening experience.
Remember those legendary industrial albums we all grew up on and loved? Well this is that same type of album in essence, except 22Hertz strained off all the stuff we knew were keeping us from fully enjoying them. This is the next step, the higher level, less mechanical and more organic sounding. Remember albums like the ‘Downward Spiral’ and ‘White Teeth’ by NiN? We’ll we’re on that plane of atmospheric genius, except “Detonate” goes in much harder!
The musical arrangements on “Detonate” give a great insight into the meticulous creation of these songs and how 22Hertz albeit Ralf Muller, uses the studio as an instrument instead of a place to go and simply record music. It makes one listen to the album like with a totally different perspective and the music contained within becomes no different than a great painting of many different colors used in various manners and strokes to portray what the artist wants to convey from his mind to yours.
The colors light up right from track one with the percussively insane “Give Me A Sign”. By the time you hit track three, “Into This”, you’ll notice that the color palette is seriously influenced by shades of dark and light. A scheme that 22Hertz uses amply, in the same way that Trent Reznor does.
If you turn up the volume on “In this Real” the overdriven riffs will risk crushing every bone in your body. The drums alone will beat the hell out of your sound system. Luckily for you (and your stereo) “The Signal In The Noise” is up next.
This is a somber cinematic piece that slows everything down to a melancholic pace. But the respite doesn’t last long, as it is back to business on “Getting Through” and the “Darker Shades Of Black”, where you realize that 22Hertz not only excels with all the sounds and effects, but he has a magic ear for rhythmic patterns. The drums and percussion on “Detonate” is simply outstanding. This is one of the best Industrial albums I have heard in a very long time indeed.
For a schedule of live performances and updates on new releases from 22Hertz visit their links below.