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Built for the Future - 2084​:​ Heretic CD (album) cover

2084​:​ HERETIC

Built for the Future


Crossover Prog

4.33 | 20 ratings

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5 stars Back in the heady early days of prog, it was common practice for any band to choose a great name as well as some mind-blowing artwork, in order to properly brand the style of music. Outside of the law firm, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, groups went out of their way to be inventive, with monikers like Yes, King Crimson, Vander Graf Generator, Premiata Forneria Marconi, to name only the tip of the iceberg. Hipgnosis, Roger Dean, Paul Whitehead, Hugh Syme, among many others, are legendary icons of the progressive rock genre. US band 'Built for the Future' certainly earned their keep with such a moniker, as it invites the mind to imagine a slogan for a sophisticated but well-made automobile that will actually last beyond the manufacturers warranty! Secondly, the metallic blue steel cover of their latest opus 2084: Heretic is sublimely appropriate as it injects a sense of imminence, with some overt travel wear that proves it was assembled very sturdy. I enjoyed the previous material, the 2015 debut Chasing Light as well as 2020's Brave New World (not exactly retro titles, eh?). This new recording is an explosive upgrade as it may easily vie for top spots on any 2023 list. This San Antonio, Texas (or as some people write it: text us) is led by the dynamic duo of Kenny Bissett on lead vocals, guitars, and keys as well as Patric Farrell, a wizard multi-instrumentalist, who plays pretty much every instrument except drums. David Pena on guitars, Lalo on drums and Pete Fithian completes the line-up on keyboards. The album title will suggest a retooling of the Orwellian mega work known as 1984, a proto-typical prog subject matter, that has been addressed by a few famous names already. Except that 2084: Heretic was ...Built for the Future!

The dystopian adventure kicks off with the obligatory sound effects on the thumping "Memory Machines", before abject control is assumed by an absolutely devastating bass line that will curdle your blood as it penetrates menacingly all your pores, a tectonic drum beat and Kenny grasping the microphone, with trepidation and perhaps even bulging eyes at the mere thought of the Thought Police watching and listening. Icy mellotron orchestrations adorn the menacing memory machine, hurtled along by ominous guitar strokes fizzing electric outrage. High voltage modern prog of the finest caliber. No respite for the sheeple, "Argot" is a cleverly sweeping piece that layers protective coatings in order to maintain the anonymity of beliefs that go counter to the impervious propaganda. Claiming to follow but really wishing only to rebel against the stifling grasp of Big Brother. The vocal work in particular is as athletic as track meet (pun?), Bissett hustling words as if they were going to be imminently deleted. The submissive theme continues on the sweeping "Proletariat", a clear message of servitude that continues to punish the unvanquished, wrapped up in an electronic haze oozing doom, gloom, and fear. The symphonic 1980s feel would make this a perfect companion to the Wall, the imagination can run rampant, the subjugation of the masses being illustrated as a dramatic reality. From this moment on in the set list, the mood gets darker and the rage more tragic, as apathy and desolation kick in, that nasty bass kneeling at the shrine without any recourse. "Supernational" thus pays homage to the 1984 musical timeline, as if the Eurythmics are secretly conspiring with Bauhaus to vent their global angst. In parallel, the relentlessly punkoid guitar behaves as if BFTF channel their Quark, Strangeness and Charm -era Hawkwind memories. Speaking of heavy steamroller action, "Diaspora" threateningly conveys the eternal nomadistic urge for people to flee their culture, their language, and their families, in order to find salvation from one form of danger or another. Sensational track that has immediate sonic appeal, a chorus that is instantly seared in the nodes, repeated ad infinitum, and shoved over the border beyond the no man's lands by that deliriously insistent bass guitar. As perfect a prog 'single' as one could hope for. The word "Zeit" in German means Time, and it has no relationship with the Floyd classic as this piece keeps the trembling foot on the metal pedal, and absolute whirlwind highway escape with the black-shirted police in on the chase, sirens blaring. Rough, metallic, blustery, and pervasive, this is another tour de force with a main melody that is immediately seductive, as 'we all do what we are told' flashes through the ominous mellotron gales. The response is not to follow! A semblance of peaceful harmony appears as a mirage among the dunes "The Collective", a stunning track that veers into a completely ethereal attitude, superb guitar lines and off the charts vocals from Bissett. The story line stands together in calm defiance, a lesson surely learned from Mandela, MLK and Gandhi, as a weapon of sanity and justice. Illuminate. The 80s feel is intelligently presented on the title track, the connection to 1984 clear as crystal. This could have been done by The Cure, Peter Murphy, early Modern English or the Danse Society (a fantastic band back in the day), what with that up-front and devastating bass line asking all the questions and the drum/keyboard/guitars answering. 'Everything is fine', yeah, right! An absolute cracker jack track that begs to be heard by a multitude of crossover fans, as it transcends time and place. The end comes with the dreaded "101", a room that assumes the doom at the mere sight of its barren, sweat drenched walls, stained floors, a solitary light bulb hanging like a noose and rusted metal bucket in the corner. The rat cage sits on the floor, ready to be administered to the rebellious fools who dare to maintain their silence. The track is a sweeping cinematographic depiction of the words above, as the torture of loosening a tongue weighs heavily on the hog-tied subject. Mellotrons convey the emotions of despair, the bass showing defiance and the drums, miserable surrender. Just keep on beating those skins, Lalo (excuse the play on words, but?). What victory is a life without freedom?

This album will certainly be the talk of the community. If not, there will be a knock at your door at 3.00am and you will vanish.

5 apostates

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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