Alec Empire The Golden Foretaste of Heaven

With The Golden Foretaste of Heaven, German noisemaker Alec Empire promises to unleash "the new sound of Berlin.” It’s a bold claim, no doubt, especially since Empire’s digital hardcore bubble burst and fizzled a good decade ago. So does he pull it off? Does he deliver some newfangled, ultra-modern future sound? Hardly. If anything, Golden Foretaste is more about the sounds of old than new. For this solo release, the former Atari Teenage Rioter digs up many of his left-field, yet totally familiar, touchstones: the dark and dirty Suicide synths, the drum machine beats and the harsh digital wash of dissonant noise. Add to this Empire’s increasingly gruff Mark E. Smith-meets-Iggy Pop vocal delivery and heavily processed guitar sounds and, really, you have the same guy you remember from way back when. In fact, the only thing new is Empire’s taste for pop-based rock structures but this alone can’t save Golden Foretaste from sounding way past its sell-by date. (Eat Your Heart Out)