What exactly makes science fiction so alluring? Is it the flashing neon lights of a dystopia’s rainy city, or is it the sprawling expanse of a strange planet? Is it alien creatures with otherworldly features, or is it humans with their flaws we all know so well? Perhaps it’s the soundscapes that musicians craft, their inspiration wrought from the machine to the organic, and the sonorous percussion that is both angelic and unholy beneath its grit.
London-based artist Benjamin Blank is no stranger to such acts of creation, having begun his solo industrial metal project Binary Order in 2008. After releasing five albums in as many years, Blank is set to keep this impressive streak by releasing “Messages From the Deep” on November 29, 2022. Coming just twelve months after 2021’s inspired release “Dunes,” “Messages From the Deep” is a masterful work of storytelling that combines multiple genres for an opus brimming with compelling narrative and tension. It is certainly an industrial canvas on which Blank paints, but there is little question that other sources of inspiration define his sonic identity, namely extreme metal and the cyberpunk-sharp edge of electronic music. These influences meld together to create a sound that offers both scenery and story in one, calling up images from renowned media like Dune, Akira, and Blade Runner.
“Sick” is a strong opening track, offering a few teasing moments of electronic ambiance before tearing apart the false tranquility with Blank’s raw screams. This harshness is mirrored in “Violence,” aptly named for a track intent on a demonstration of rage, but also a show of variety with a demonstration of range in Blank’s cleaner vocals. “Violence” ends with a crunchiness that is reminiscent of classic industrial influences, mirrored in the high-pitched synth riffs of “Towards the End.” For every inch of darkness there is another inch of intensity, highlighted in the mammoth endeavor “My Own Mortality.” “Messages From the Deep” swells with metal’s breadth while carefully tempered by a wistful milieu.
Binary Order excels in the exploration of scale, and proves that the feat of achieving a cinematic track does not necessarily point towards pure grandeur. Sometimes, the most poignant moments are those that are as intimate as one’s own soul, meandering ambience that gives the listener time for their own thoughts to fill the empty space. “A Good Death” is one such track, its isolated guitars and rumbling undertones serving as an ode to solitude. Leaning into both this nuance and the sci-fi brand of existentialism is “The Hands of Time,” which opens with a clean burst of synth before melting into tempestuous drums. Despite Blank’s tormented harsh vocals, there is a tenderness in “The Hands of Time” that feels much like a solitary journey into the unknown, and a cohesion in the instrumental mix that highlights the one-man endeavor that gives Binary Order its life force. These delicate shadows creep forth as one track bleeds into another, swallowing the listener into a maw of aural angst.
And despite those notedly pensive moments, there is little doubt that Binary Order has the fangs required for metal’s unforgiving bite. Serving as the second single as well as the album’s midpoint, “Parasite” is relentlessly brutal, and also reminiscent of gothic-electronic acts like Perturbator. But where the gothic would be intent on drawing upon pure darkness, “Messages From the Deep” displays an excellent command over adrenaline-soaked dread. Much as science fiction of any medium reminds its audience that the true horrors have arrived, so do the deepest parts of “Parasite” and “The Weight” remind us of our present societal trajectory.
There is little doubt that Binary Order’s sole creator is incredibly talented, but despite numerous releases in the past half-decade, there are moments where it feels he is hiding parts of himself. The distortion on clean vocals, particularly in “Still Water,” can easily read as a stylistic choice as much as they can insecurity. Given the unrelenting ferocity in Blank’s harsh vocals, it would be nice to see clean vocals shine through with greater clarity on tracks like “Still Water” and “The Weight.” But given just how much of his soul is borne in both “Messages From the Deep” and Binary Order’s prior releases, it seems there is little more we can ask of this spectacular one-man band. Between the exquisite blend of genres, masterful control over atmosphere, and tracks that span from four-minute bites to near eight-minute-epics, “Messages From the Deep” is a worthy exploration of the shadows.
Release Date: November 29th, 2022
Record Label: Independent
Genre: Industrial Metal
- Banjamin Blank / Everything
“Messages From The Deep” Track List:
- The Weight
- The Hands of Time
- Towards the End
- My Own Mortality
- Still Water
Order “Messages From The Deep” HERE
Soak in the shadows and let electricity ignite your soul with Binary Order’s “Messages From the Deep.” Bright synths contrast against metal’s bite for a sci-fi soundscape that swells with emotion and despair, allowing Binary Order to create a cinematic journey packed with darkness