Injured Ninja vs Skylazer – Injured Ninja (Heartless Robot Productions)

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Cyclic Defrost reviewed the Injured Ninja Golden top mountain journey back in November last year. This time the avant-guard experimental rock group from Perth, have released their debut full-length album Injured Ninja vs Skylazer. It is an eleven track, ear ripping sonic adventure to the apocalypse. Accompanied by gratuitous artwork from long time Injured Ninja collaborator Pete Long, the album delivers what many bands, international and local try to archive but fail.

The albums starts with sirens and gunshots, this is generally a worrying precursor. This is misleading. “Fallopian tube screamer” is the second track of the album, beginning with a distorted bass guitar synced with drum hits. This track has a strong guitar riff, complimented with heavy synth chords. Disembodied vocals form the body of the track, well written instrumental sections form a ‘chorus’-like structure, rather than vocals. The rest of the album is variations on this arrangement. An exceptional track is “Golden Mountain Journey”, it blurs the boundaries between genres exceptionally well. The dubstep like bass line, juxtaposed with live drums and a screaming guitar is a serious accoplishment. Like many of the other track the vocals have divine redemption references. Another outstanding track on the album is “Our bodies”. The track begins with a bit crushed, choppy drum beat and this effect is also used on the vocals. It is very effective and makes the track. “Our bodies” sits in the rock genre, however it pushes boundaries and it works.

Throughout this album, delays and reverbs are used heavily. They are used well. Sometimes groups of Injured Ninja’s nature can over use and more importantly misused these effects. Injured Ninja though, uses delay and reverbs to effectively add to the tracks, creating punctuation and sonic perspective. The compression on the drums is also worth noting.

Injured Ninja includes guitars, drums, vocals and laptop synthesis. In a group of this arrangement the synthesis could be incompetently handled. However the synthesis throughout the album is handled with competence, it could have been a failing for a group of this nature, instead it is a strength. Always adding mood and thickening textural complexity of the tracks with more interesting timbres. The sounds used are original and are nicely sculpted.

This album is a good exploration of sound with and interesting aesthetic that will be rewarded. If you like Battles and At-the-drive-in, this album will be what you are looking for.

James Horsfall

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About Author

Sound designer and composer James Horsfall is currently completing his degree in Music at the Australian Institute of Music. Investigating acousmatic and electro-acoustic works.

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