T_ERROR 404: New Game, Old Rules
Release year: 2022
Label: Steinklang Industries
Apparently this album has an interesting story behind it. Russian T_Error 404 and long-running cult industrial label Steinklang Industries had a mutual interest to co-operate. The only hitch was that T_Error 404’s usual modus operandi, harsh techno and rhythmic noise, wasn’t really a fit for Steinklang’s roster.
So what did T_Error 404 do?
Record an album of grimy, old school power electronics basically tailor made for Steinklang. That’s what T_Error 404 did.
Now, I wouldn’t blame you for being a bit sceptical and prejudiced… “so they just up and went and changed their style totally just to get on a label?” It sounds iffy, sure. But pop this little bastard into your CD player and you’ll soon change your mind.
Because the bottom line is that New Game, Old Rules is a strong album. And it’s strong in some very convincing ways. It’s not just a slab of good industrial noise and power electronics – it’s a very skillfully crafted tribute to that old school, synth-driven nasty sound of Genocide Organ and the likes. The kind of stuff that’s not exceedingly harsh, chaotic or cacophonous in a modern harsh noise kind of way, but laden with grimy, ugly synths under layers and layers of crackling, broken distortion.
Perhaps as a throwback to the typical expression of T_Error 404, the album has a lot of very dominant percussion. Loops of percussion that sounds like clanging metal give the album a somewhat rhythmic nature here and there, but underneath the machine-like rhythmics, there are always sheets of slowly degenerating, static electronic noise.
My only real complaint about the album is that it overstays its welcome a bit. Clocking in at an hour, it’s a lot to take in – and frankly, attention risks sagging during the last two or three tracks. But there’s never a dip in actual quality here: New Game, Old Rules retains a respectable level from start to finish.
With its vicious, murky old school electronics sound, obscure speech samples and occasional more rhythmic elements, New Game, Old Rules is a fine excursion into power electronics territory. So good, in fact, that I find myself hoping this isn’t the last time T_Error 404 wander off into this neighborhood. They clearly understand how to play this game.