OPPONENTS – Psychosexual Spiritual (C38, Out-Of-Body Records)

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OPPONENTS is primarily a group focused on darkwave synth and rhythms, looping patterns that use drum machine-style beats to produce a gothic industrial tone at times reminiscent of Swans, at others a dark, swelling mass at a rave. Their tracks utilize the momentum of loops to add layers to the tunes, giving five tracks of dense but strangely catchy noise dirges.

The first side features three tracks. “Psychosexual Spiritual” opens the cassette with the pattern that I explained above, with lots of percussive elements and a heady bass beat driving the track, with the occasional inclusion of vocals. The second track expands on this idea – “Strip Off Your Skin” is a compelling, echoing track with stuttering drum beats and various synth additions throughout; the title phrase is repeated and refrained, but additional vocals meet with the monotonous, bored tones of A. Feinstein’s voice to add surprising depth to the lyrics. Finally, “The Centipede Elixir” ends the side with a rather simple drum line, but with the warblings of celestial synth and a vocal delivery akin to early Wolf Eyes.

The second side features only two tracks. A looping repetitive synth line leads “D4,” a track that pulsates and writhes with bass punctuation. Most hypnotic is the humming and pitched vocals that blend into the track’s layers; it’s my favorite out of this release because it utilizes all of its parts to greatest effect, and the loop is mesmerizing enough to carry on indefinitely. This is not so with the longest track on the tape, “Death to All.” At over ten minutes, this lofty cut overstays its welcome as it drones on. It’s a catchy tune but the single notes that keep the track on keel don’t have enough pull to warrant such a lengthy tune.

OPPONENTS have released a tape full of sweet synth sounds, and if you’re into the sort of gothic industrial vibe they have going on, Psychosexual Spiritual is a strong tape with layered sounds and a great vocal delivery. But some of the tracks stretch on for too long, making this C38 longer than it needs to be.

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