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Kontrust - "Explositive" (CD)

Kontrust - "Explositive" CD cover image

"Explositive" track listing:

1. Dance
2. Why
3. Just Propaganda
4. I Freak On
5. Shut Up
6. Cosmic Girls
7. Vienna
8. Bulldozer
9. Play!
10. This is my Show
11. Bad Time

Reviewed by on January 2, 2015

"To be fair, 'Explositive' still has fun moments, and if you can dig a weird combo like dance pop and metal, you might still want to check it out, but personally I highly recommend earlier material over this one."

2012's “Second Hand Wonderland” was Kontrust's breakout moment in the metal scene, and it saw another entry in the ever-expanding list of heavy metal sub-genres. More than just dance metal, it was “dance dance metal,” the sort of music you'd want to hear while playing Dance Dance Revolution, but still heavy and worth hearing for fans of extreme metal. The follow-up “Explositive” unfortunately fails to live up to that standard in many ways, being less energetic and less unique.

The elements are all there still. They just don't seem to be locked into those perfect correct places this time around. “Explositive” is more overtly repetitive and less inspired than what was found on “Second Hand Wonderland.” Before, there were tracks that perhaps shouldn't have worked, like the bizarre “Hocus Pocus,” but which were so audacious you couldn't help but love 'em anyway. Not so much on this album.

The guitar riffs on “I Freak On” sound limp and tired, as there's no passion or energy to them, which is bizarre considering this is an album that fuses two high-energy styles together. The ditzy vocals on “Why” are also annoying, and makes it a track well worth skipping altogether. “Shut Up,” on the other hand, has more of that manic oddity that made the preceding album so entertaining. Although it drags at the beginning, the advance single “Just Propaganda” is probably the most catchy overall.

Ping ponging into a different style, “Bulldozer” goes for a hard rock sound, and it does a good job throwing in the cigar-chewing, whiskey-downing, motor-revving atmosphere. The lyrics unfortunately leave something to be desired, an issue that continues on with the cringe-inducing “This Is My Show.” That track does bring in an interesting new idea – using whistling as an instrument – but the song has a whole just does not come together well, until recouping at the 2:45 mark with a great guitar and synth melody.

“Play” is an interesting track because it drops a lot of the outlandish dance stuff and instead is a straight-up female-fronted symphonic track, sounding more along the lines of Amaranthe or Within Temptation than standard Kontrust. At only four minutes, ending track “Bad Time” is one of the lengthiest songs on the album, but somehow it still feels overlong, like it should be moving at speed that's half again as fast, and with a lot more energy.

To be fair, “Explositive” still has fun moments, and if you can dig a weird combo like dance pop and metal, you might still want to check it out, but personally I highly recommend earlier material over this one.

Highs: "Just Propaganda" is catchy and there are a few interesting twists here and there across the disc.

Lows: The album lacks energy and passion, the lyrics are nothing to write home about, and it fails to live up to the promise of previous releases.

Bottom line: Kontrust has successfully blended dance pop and metal in the past, but this time the result feels lackluster.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)