LUGOLA: You Are Not Special
Release year: 2021
Label: Steinklang Industries
“You are not special!” chants Neithan, the sole person behind Lugola on the final track, the title track, of this album. The aggressive, hostile and simple to-the-point mantra is an appropriate one for such an abrasive album as this.
Of course, one could make a joke about how there isn’t anything particularly special about Lugola either: in their chosen field of old school industrial noise – power electronics, death industrial, call it what you want – Lugola’s style and stripped down, black and white morbid visual aesthetic aren’t by any stretch original. If you’ve immersed yourself in the genres at all, most everything on You Are Not Special will feel… well, at least not special!
That’s not to be understood as a dismissal of the album. In fact, this is a very good album – just not very original. Going for a very old school style with loads of low-end bassy synths, crackling distortion and blasts of insane noise cacophony, whilst Lugola aren’t bringing anything new to the genre, they’re doing what they do very well.
Power electronics in itself is of course a pretty extreme genre already by definition. However, within the context of the genre, Lugola aren’t by any means one of the most extreme acts. Instead of blasting the listener with insane amounts of feedback-drenched ear torture or massive layers of annihilating noise, Lugola goes for a slower, more controlled and structured approach. Sometimes the album could even be called minimalist: a track like Better Cancel Yourself is little more than crackling, distorted low-end static with vocals layered on top… but it works.
The overall sound of the album is a frayed, burnt-out husk of crackling, popping distortion, which covers everything like a layer of rust. Everything, from the low bass frequencies to the higher, shriller sounds, to the vocals, is covered and penetrated by this distortion, making the vocals largely unintegillible and the individual layers degrade into a dirty sludge. Again, not saying it’s a bad thing! Because it’s not: this gives the sound a dirty, filthy, ruined and corroded feel, which makes the atmosphere of the album so much stronger.
The end result of all these things is a very well structured, consistent and coherent piece of industrial noise. Whilst not being on the most extreme end of the spectrum, it’s far from soft or toothless; instead of one-sided in-your-face brutality, there is a lot of atmosphere on You Are Not Special, which balances things out well.
I feel confident that people into old school power electronics and death industrial will find You Are Not Special worth their while. In the messed up, chugging and pulsating soundscapes of the album, there’s plenty to dig into for fans of traditional industrial noise.
Summary: Traditional old school power electronics – and good at that.