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Album Review: PORN The Darkest of Human Desires - Act II

Posted by on May 30, 2019 at 3:06 pm

PORN

Being previously unfamiliar with this band, I admit that my curiosities were piqued at such a blunt and crass name as Porn. What extreme controversies will a group with an R-rated notoriety title be capable of conjuring? Just like the age-old saying tells, I should not have invested so much time in judging a book by its cover—or rather judging a band's music by its name.

It's a bit of a bummer to not be met with female moans and overtly sexual lyricism upon delving in. Nonetheless, Porn is successful in creating dark and steamy songs through their nocturnally gothic and industrial-tinged identity. As for the background of this French project, they have previously released three LPs, the last which serves as the first act in a trilogy of albums. The trilogy continues with this new album The Darkest of Human Desires – Act II, notable for the collaboration with Tom Baker, known for his work on industrial landmarks such as Psalm 69 by Ministry, The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch NailsAntichrist Superstar by Marilyn Manson, etc.

Prior to this record, Porn released The Ogre Inside – Act I, the album that precedes this one thematically. In a nutshell, the nine songs were dirty, melodic, and certainly reminiscent of 90's industrial rock. On this present LP, the aforementioned characteristics carry over, but with an even greater sense of direction. The addition of Tom Baker likely allowed for the music to mature to be more memorable and impactful. The songwriting maturity is best showcased in tracks like "My Rotten Realm" and "Here for Love" that hold a glaring similarity to Manson's Mechanical Animals era surfaces on a few of these tracks.

On the other hand, "Tonight, Forever Bound," "Remorse For What," or "Eternally in Me" reveal the band's powerful ability to build tension and atmosphere through Peter Steele-like vocals and brooding synths. Additionally, "The Radiance of All That Shines" and "Abstinent Killer" stand out for their industrial-meets-doom metal stylistic fusion that undoubtedly brings nostalgia to Type O Negative's October Rust.

As for the themes present on the LP, the serial killer culture is certainly at the forefront here. After the career peak by Marilyn Manson and the countless Netflix documentaries, the sensationalism surrounding serial killers has slowly grown thin. Admittedly, the psychological and sociological aspects of a serial killer are still intriguing to me personally, but there is a point when sampling Charles Manson comes off as low hanging fruit. The sample usage fits the flow of the compositions and expands on the mood created, but felt a bit pandering at points.

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While there is a clear duality present on this record between the more upbeat, industrial rock songs and the experimental subdued pieces, there could've been more effort towards blending these two sides. The industrial rock tracks are enjoyable and definitely sucks the listener into the moody atmospheric compositions, however, it felt like the bridge between these two styles was missing. It was as if I was listening to a split album with two different bands. Overall though, The Darkest of Human Desires – Act II was successful in immersion, songwriting, and experimentation. Although a band with such a provoking name as Porn didn't meet my expectations in terms of sexual controversy, this project nonetheless impressed me with their ability able to coat their industrial roots in an intoxicating and dreary haze that is truly alluring.

Score: 8/10

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