Evil Dr. Smith : Frantic Bleep: the newest Aphex Twin-meets-Squarepusher sensation on WARP Records? Whatever kind of bleeps and beeps technochaos you may expect from such an odd named band, it's NOT what you think. Despite the name, Frantic Bleep means metal. Very metal. Not in the simplest terms of the word, but that's the no-surprise-part, isn't it? This debut album is released by Elitist, a sub label from Earache, and in-between label mates like Lunaris, Rakoth, Ephel Duath and Farmakon they must feel at home.
The first spins made me think of Madder Mortem, but with male vocals. Dark, moody and slight intricate metal that's somewhere in the middle of doom, progmetal and post-black metal. And what do I see when I take a closer look at the credits? The vocals and guitars are done by an ex-Madder Mortem member, the vocals (mostly clean, sometimes distorted and an occasional blackish scream) are produced by Madder Mortem's singer and guitarist and the artwork is done by the same guy who did the last two Madder Mortem albums. My ears aren't that deaf after all… But to call Frantic Bleep a Madder Mortem clone wouldn't do justice to them.
No justice at all. Frantic Bleep is more adventurous than Madder Mortem. They incorporate more (analogue) synthesisers in their compositions, but don't hesitate to use some pretty intense black metal parts as well (like 'Mandaughter', which contains also a phenomenal riff that makes Opeth jealous and some kind of semi-Gregorian vocals that came straight from the first two Orphanage albums). Rhythmically and technically there are some links with Cynic and the last albums from Death, but atmospherically it's more in the corner of Opeth, Winds, Solefald, …In The Woods and Ved Buens Ende. Yes, it's Norwegian multi-layered metal emotions time! After ten spins there are still new things to discover. Nevertheless, despite the pleasant timbre of the singer's voice, you miss the exceptional power of voices like Mikael Åkerfeldt or Madder Mortem's Agnete Kirkevaag that make this album a classic. But before their new albums appear, this Frantic Bleep made this impressive debut that softens the long wait. However not our impatient wait for a new Aphex Twin album, but that's a totally different story.