We begin with "Heartbeat" and really it's your typical intro track, just under two minutes long it's brooding and somewhat ominous; it sets you up for something bleak, something cold...with it's atmospheric, almost whispered synthetic tones, it's got that whole "machines will take over the world" vibe to it...before we kick into gear with the title track; "Fracture". The drumming is solid and steady but it's the keys provided by Steve Turrell that drive the song forward. Kept simple, they offer depth and a chilling back drop to what is otherwise methodical metal and it's that element that brings this genre to life, that crossover, it works very well. Again on tracks like "Sin", a somewhat slower track for the most part, it's the synth element that keeps things going.
Momentum isn't an issue entirely however, with tracks such as "Freak" (which has been freshly recorded for this album without the vocals of Rachael O'Hara) chugging along with a sense of purpose and passion. Ian Wall's own vocals are ever so slightly husky adding weight to the track, countering the electronic elements quite well and for the most part this would easily please fans of THE CRUXSHADOWS and the like, it's a strong offering, but it's "Hate" where this album comes together. With it's vibrant electronica and simple but hypnotic chorus...it combines subtle influences from artists such as NINE INCH NAILS and GARY NUMAN and really stands out as an anthem for an entire subculture.
With every high there must be a low however and the album does hit one or two bum notes..."Medusa" is already over the five-minute-mark but feels so much longer than it is because it's SLOW...it's her eyes that are meant to turn you to stone, not the song about her...but I guess that's fitting, so it works...technically or at least, thematically, while "Heart Of A Machine" retains this same trait. It's really quite despondent, void of all hope or at least it induces such a feeling in the listener, before we finish up on "13", which is actually track 12 and I personally find that annoying...but that's just me.
So, what have Among The Echoes achieved ultimately? They've pieced together fragments of early British post-punk, that first wave of alternative artists that inspired this entire genre...with the emotionless tones of European industrial, sans pummelling metal and created a very unapologetic, underground album. It's got all the core elements, all the cogs are in the right place...if you oil up "Fracture" and do a bit of fine tuning...I'm sure they can make Britain black again...Whitby can't have ALL the fun...