Review: Conflict – Decision Code

Conflict – Decision Code (Self Release)

Review by Steve Thomas-Green

When I saw the word “Conflict” in the subject line of the email for this promo, I got very excited at the prospect of some English Anarcho-Punk… but no, this is not “THE” Conflict… this Conflict are a Russian band, that dwell somewhere between Industrial and Metal.

So bar me thinking they really need to change their name, this is going to be an overwhelmingly positive review… because I was fearing the worst when the disappointment about the band name kicked in.

So, here we are with the Russian Conflict… They fire down Industrial rhythms, metallic guitars that have a Hardcore bounce to them and vocals that flip between Death Metal and clean. They’ve also roped in a few guests along the way, including Burton C Bell.

Now, I host radio shows for both Industrial Music and Metal… and this release does learn more towards the Metal side of things. Although here are some cool EBM/electronic moments along the way, it’s the bouncy guitars that take centre stage. As well as the vitriolic vocals.

The vocalist is Anna ‘Hel’ Milyanenko and she really does have a mean growl… but I’m not sure if she supplies all of the vocals, on the tracks where a guest isn’t listed… sometimes the vocals sound like they’ve been performed by a male… or maybe she just kills it…

The songs with the guest vocalists are obviously very different. Dave Lowmiller from A Dark Halo, for example, adds soaring vocals that would fit in nicely with someone like Blind Guardian. Whereas Speechless, featuring Karsten ‘Jagger’ Jager (Disbelief) is a mix of darker elements and more commercial clean female vocals mixed in with the guttural male vocals.

And the inclusion of outside vocalists doesn’t change the flow of the album either, thankfully. The album, as a whole, has a (metallic) machine-like dystopian feel to it and the various changes make it feel like an unfolding story.

The biggest surprise about this album is that it’s a self-release. I know the goalposts have shifted and labels aren’t signing as many bands and taking as many risks as they did in the past. But in all honesty, if this album was released by the likes of Century Media or Nuclear Blast, I wouldn’t be giving it a second thought. The quality is the equal of most of the releases from either label.

For those that still buy cds, you can buy a 10 panel digipak version of the album, with 32 page booklet… which also puts a lot of labels to shame.

Note to band: Conflict are an English Anarcho-Punk band who formed in 1981 and caused an immense amount of trouble along the way…

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