Black Magnet – Body Prophesy Review

Industrial metal is an extremely difficult genre in which to stand out. Part of this challenge lies in the relatively limiting set of attributes that defines the style. A lot of industrial music relies on robotic, crushing synth tones, backed by throbbing beats with gritty distortion slathered over almost everything from drums to vocals. The specific niche that industrial music fills in turn creates an incredibly crowded and competitive field for new artists intending to make their mark. To stand out, you have to deliver something that breaks new ground in either sound or songwriting quality. Oklahoma City-based one-man-band Black Magnet aim to do just that with their new album, Body Prophesy, releasing as part of 20 Buck Spin’s roster.

Black Magnet isn’t challenging the standards of industrial metal from a sonic perspective. Right off the bat, I hear strong influences from Static-X and Nine Inch Nails (and pretty much any other musical endeavor Trent Reznor undertook in his storied career), along with touches of earlier Deftones and notes of heavier fare like Author and Punisher. There’s also a faint hint of drum and bass running through some of Black Magnet’s material, which helps Body Prophesy stand out a smidgeon next to mastermind James Hammontree’s colleagues. Almost every track on this tight thirty-five minute record chugs along a mid-paced tempo, sometimes a touch quicker. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the stomping pace combined with the greasy atmosphere evokes a suitably ample buildup of tension.

Unfortunately, Body Prophesy never allows any release of that tension, resulting in a monotonous and dull experience. An overly strict application of specific sounds and structures destroys whatever personality these compositions might’ve had under a more relaxed hand. Without the tracklist sitting in front of me, not only did I have immense difficulty discerning any one track from any other (for example, I often mixed up “Floating in Nothing” with “A History of Drowning” and “Body World”), but I also struggled to determine how far along Body Prophecy I was based on the currently playing track. There are too many shared ideas between too many of these songs, and not enough distinguishing factors or compelling storylines to make up the slack. In fact, many of the criticisms I levied against Autarkh’s Form in Motion apply to Body Prophecy. There’s a dearth of memorable material here to set this album apart from the countless other forgettable ones we pull from the bin.

On the other hand, Body Prophecy offers a few nuggets that hint at Black Magnet’s potential. This is particularly prevalent in the album’s three strongest cuts, “Incubate,” “Hermetix,” and “Wolverine Dreams.” The former duo are a perfect couple, complementing each other quite well in theme and execution without sounding like carbon copies of each other. James’ effective use of low-frequency synth effects here creates a delightfully creepy vibe, recreating the same thrilling tension that made the first Alien movie an instant classic. Then, “Wolverine Dreams” injects a much-needed shot of adrenaline to motivate my body just in time to escape whatever the hell was chasing me in the previous two songs. While not strong enough to make up for the lack of interesting content afterwards, this triplet of menacing industrial metal proves that Black Magnet’s formula can work, given the right conditions.

Body Prophecy lacks the compositional excellence of Author and Punisher’s work, nor does it live up to the standards set by Trent Reznor’s various projects. It’s not without merit, but ten minutes of solid industrial metal simply can’t carry twenty-five more minutes of forgettable material that failed to make a lasting impression with this critic. Better luck next time!

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: 20 Buck Spin
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: July 29th, 2022

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