"Peace Minus One" (E-magine)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

It is said that a rising tide lifts all ships and the growing interest in the post-industrial sound of hard rock and heavy metal should bode well for Rorschach Test. But, let it be known that Rorschach Test have been plying their trade in the hard rock/electronica genre since the early '90s - Rorschach Test are not newcomers to the scene and it shows in the band's confidence and ease with the post-industrial style.  "Peace Minus One" is Rorschach Test's third full-length and the band is poised to turn some heads.

Like the ink blots that the band takes their name from, Rorschach Test leave a lot open for interpretation. Rorschach Test have a lot to draw from as they've suffered through a litany of problems that would destroy most other bands (broken contracts, death, line-up changes, devious managers).

Heavier than Full On The Mouth, not as industrial as NIN, not as furious as later era-Prong, nor as angry as Dope, Rorschach Test find that elusive area where heaviness, melody, raw emotion, and catchy songs all join to make a smashing achievement. There are hooks aplenty on "Peace Minus One"; although the style employed is pretty narrow, there are enough musical variations to please even the most discerning ear. 

The intertwining of heavy metal guitars and post-industrial rhythms makes for an interesting experience. "A Toast" critiques the advertised 'good feelings' promulgated by the beer industry and the title tracks has that head-bobbin', foot stompin' quality few bands achieve. A pulsating and scathing title track seems to be aimed at corrupt police while "Spent" spews forth vehement anger. The re-recorded "Satan" is crisper and the urgency of "Gridlock" is crystal clear. The entire CD is a lesson in industrial rock that has learned the benefits of the burgeoning post-industrial movement. 

The vocals occasionally remind me of Machine Head in terms of tone, but the style has a healthy dose of desperation which I find very appealing in music. 

With all of the disparaging elements going on it's a wonder the disc isn't as erratic as one might expect it to be. The reality is that "Peace Minus One" is solid from beginning to end. 

The band is not afraid of new things either as Rorschach Test will utilize traditional outlets as well as an aggressive on-line campaign to promote the band. This kind of daring sums up the bands approach and should suit the band well in the years to come as success cannot be too far behind. 

Rorschach Test is James Barker on vocals, Troee on keyboards and programming, and Tracy Moody on guitar. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03 Jun 2024 13:03:50 -0400.