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Afflicted By Design: #nameless

What with Afflicted By Design hailing from Texas, should there really be any surprise that this debut EP is crammed with gritty, dirty guitars? Probably not and keeping in mind that this is the State which also delivered the likes of Ministry, then the fact that ABD stray strongly into Industrial territory is hardly a shock either.

In effect Afflicted By Design are a one man entity, Sebastian Gnolfo putting his experience in countless Industrial and Goth bands to good use as he gathers ex-bandmates and musical acquaintances together to augment his songs. "Jesus Christ Machine" opens #nameless in a too close for comfort to early Nine Inch Nails and Ministry style but it does a decent job of introducing this fledgling outfit. The beats rattle along and yet it is the guitars which growl their way through most convincingly. "South Side Of Sickness" takes a more atmospheric slide at Industrial and yet it lacks impact, coming across as a little bit simplistic and unrefined. "Dreaming Mona" however backs off a further on the guitars and oddly begins as the highlight of this release, interesting string-samples bringing a quality not as obvious elsewhere, although the guitars do eventually grind in to remove this individuality.

A "Thump Remix" of "Jesus Christ Machine" brings the official track list to a close, harder, more dance oriented drums merely removing the charisma of the original mix. However oddly, it is the hidden instrumental take on "Dreaming Mona" which highlights the main problem on #nameless; namely the vocals. For stripped of Gnolfo's simplistic, talking in tune voice, the music itself suddenly gains a vibrancy not heard elsewhere. It's not that Gnolfo is an awful singer, but a general lack of character to his delivery sucks much of the intended passion from his (overly simplistic) lyrics - and having them suddenly removed from "Dreaming Mona" brings it all into sharp focus.

That all said, #nameless is enjoyable in a toothless kind of way, the expected Industrial bite severely lacking. However if Afflicted By Design can take this framework and give it a hefty boot up the jacksy, then they might, just might, be on to something. In the meantime this EP is worthy of investigation if you're yearning for some old school Ministry meets NIN. However for those looking for a little more depth, possibly check back after a few more releases.

Track Listing
1. Jesus Christ Machine
2. South Side Of Sickness
3. Dreaming Mona
4. Jesus Christ Machine (S.A. Sebastian Thump Remix)

Added: October 3rd 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Afflicted By Design online
Hits: 1863
Language: english

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