Wes Borland - Crystal Machete album review

Nu-metal nimrod Wes Borland in decent album stunner.

Wes Borland - Crystal Machete album art

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For all right-thinking people, multi-million selling nu-metal band Limp Bizkit are as much fun as swimming through sewage. That’s a big and ugly obstacle to get past. All the more startling, then, that their guitarist Wes Borland, who’s left and rejoined twice, has made a palatable solo debut, nothing like his Black Light Burns side-project. Belying his usual onstage dress sense, it’s a set of varied, thoughtful instrumentals, with, perhaps, half on eye on landing film-score commissions. The opening overture bears the title Main Titles, the finale, End Credits.

Aside from no vocals, he set himself some restrictions: no distorted guitars, no outside help. He’s described the throbbing title track as “an intergalactic analogue ramrod”. Weirder than that, though, is how much it echoes early Giorgio Moroder. Borland is keen on the sheen of 80s synths, and there are spells throughout where John Carpenter’s soundtracks are clearly – or perhaps that should be foggily – an influence.

As much as the main tractions are cinematic, there are full-on danceable passages, and the marathon Svalbard tries on Trevor Horn and The Art Of Noise, New Order and Tame Impala for size. Good work.

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Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.