'I was pleasantly surprised when Ex.Order's latest industrial opus "Corporate Control" arrived at Heathen Harvest headquarters as a review submission.Having first heard Ex.Order on last years "(Juke)" compilation which featured a collection of renowned power electronics acts performing songs inspired by N. Koroea. At the time of my first listening I had not yet heard of Ex.Order though the bands contribution stood solid alongside such eminent acts as The Grey Wolves, Con-Dom and Genocide Organ leaving me eager to discover more from this act.
Upon conducting research online I was stunned to discover that Ex.Order has been active since 1992 and has been steadily producing albums on Loki Foundation's sister label Power & Steel. I was further impressed and inspired upon finding the band are no other than René Lehmann & Knut Enderlein who many Heathen Harvest readers may know from the widely known dark ambient / industrial act Inade. Finding Ex.Order has been much like finding a lost relative severed from my personal industrial family tree. I remain uncertain wether my ignorance is a result of listening to mostly Heathen Harvest review submissions and not striking out enough to explore more of the existing scene or if the rather modest promotion of the band has missed reaching me over the past 16 years I have been reviewing and listening to post industrial music.
Upon listening to Corporate Control I was instantly gratified that the bands sound remained familiar from "Juke" to "Corporate Control" confirming for me that the band has an established identity and style of music that is indeed accessible and engaging. Ex.Order begins with the a strong opening track titled "We Want No One To Escape." The song begins with a muffled cinematic melody juxtaposed against heavily distorted vocals that crackle and squeal as they wrestle through a wall of rising industrial noise. An overbearing drone builds to a crescendo before somber militant percussion enters driving the song steadily forward. The music is layered and expertly crafted as elements decay and emerge in a constant organic cycle. The contributing sounds create a thick stew in which differing elements twine and merge creating a complex industrial tapestry of sound. The music remains complex, heavy and hypnotic as it progresses only changing character near the end as it retreats to a less crowded palate of sound. The music is now driven by militant percussion and long industrial drones that lay stage to a moderately distorted spoken word passage before ending.
The noisy yet hypnotic journey continues until song three tiled "Sacred Violence" when Ex.Order turns up the noise in favor of a noticeably harsher assault on the listener. "Sacred Violence" launches with heavily distorted mechanical percussion which acts as an anchor for the listener throughout the song. What follows is one is one very good application of power electronics. "Sacred Violence" unleashes a mind boggling assault of noise, sound and distorted vocals without ever leading the listener into unintelligible terrain. There is a great sense of discipline and patience that pervades the music. You feel as if you are not only listening to music but also feel as if you are witness to a radical political rally and some violent modernized arcane act of worship all at once. This is indeed what many other acts strive for but fail to achieve. Sporadic attacks of noise are underlined by dark drones and dark industrial atmospheres that give birth to squealing radio broadcasts and menacing vocals bearing teeth. Its a delicately created cacophony performed with control and brutality.
Other songs such as "Opus Operandi" give acknowledgment to old school power electronics and utilize sounds and affects that some old time power electronics fans will enjoy as well as showing a more cold and sterile side of Ex.Order. Here the band sticks to the basics allowing the listener a cathartic moment to catch a breather from the complexity of previous tacks. The direction shifts for a moment from the mega structured song architecture to a more simpler form of power electronics. The seventh track on the album titled "Hidden Power" is the most subdued song and it leans heavily upon the musician duo's skills developed under the guise of Inade. Much of the animosity and determination of previous songs is abandoned for a more drone centered song that balances between dark ambient and industrial domains illustrating the diversity Ex.Order as they strive for a multifaceted musical offering.
Rediscovering Ex.Order has been an amazing experience. I recall years ago when I first came upon the French musician Propergol and how my ideas of music changed and deepened at that time and I feel the same with Ex.Order. "Corporate Control" demonstrates the very best of post industrial music today. Ex.Order has intelligently fused elements of dark ambient and industrial music to power electronics creating their own unique musical statement that is both engaging and distinguishable from the other leading acts in the scene. I often feel a lack of interest in power electronics whose only aim is blind brutality. Which in my opinion is why acts such as Ex.Order, Con-Dom, The Grey Wolves, Porpergol, Sutcliffe Jügend etc. rise to the top as they offer a more disciplined approach to the genre. If you are an avid fan of the aforementioned acts then you are a likely candidate for "Corporate Control." Be sure to listen to Ex.Order on quality stereo headphones or else a component stereo system if possible. The complexity and discipline of the performance will be best appreciated this way.
I would give this album my highest personal recommendation and I foresee some long days of album hunting on Discogs Market and Ebay as I try to find more music from these amazing musicians.Get your copy of Ex.Order's "Corporate Control" directly from Loki Foundation or else miss out on one of the best albums of the year.'