Sunday, 6 September 2009

ALBUM REVIEW: Gary Numan Sacrifice.

Album: Sacrifice
Released: 1994
Genre: Darkwave/Gothic Rock.

1."Pray" – 3:55
2."Deadliner" – 4:29
3."A Question of Faith" – 4:52
4."Desire" – 3:47
5."Scar" – 3:25
6."Love And Napalm" – 5:08
7."You Walk in My Soul" – 4:39
8."Magic" – 4:42
9."Bleed" – 6:10
10."The Seed of a Lie" – 5:25
Reissue Bonus Tracks:
11."Play Like God" - 7:01
12."Whisper of Truth" - 4:21
13."Metal Beat" - 3:10
14."Absolution" - 4:37

For me this album was the return for Gary Numan, who spent probably the past 10 years trying recapturing his fame and fortune which only led him into a more fractured cult fan base.

After the faux Prince like funk of 1992's Machine + Soul (which Numan described as a piece of dog shit). Numan decided to make music for the sake of making music this led new Numan musically into a new direction along with the personal help of Gary's girlfriend (now wife) Gemma O' Neil. Apparently Numan musically was listeining to well known Goth groups like Sisters Of Mercy, the Cocteau Twins and even Depeche Mode who's album 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' was a big influence on Numan at the time. It is also possible that Numan was listeining to Electronica acts like Massive Attack, Portishead and Bjork as well.

With these musical influences Numan created a style that was far different from the white boy dance funk of his mid 80's and early 90's albums with a more update and back to basics sound that reflected his Early Tubeway Army albums of the late 1970's. Lyrically the album saw Numan going to back reading books and watching movies for inspiration, however instead of SCFI influencing him it was horror works of Clive Barker and Stephen King as well even the Holy Bible. This lryically led Numan to write about all things demonic dark supernatual and anti- Reilgious.

The overall sound of Sacrifice is dark brooding synth sounds, distortion rock guitars, uplifting Choir Pads, minor key Piano melodies, trip hop drum loops (actually Drum and Bass breakbeats from a sample CD slowed down to lower tempos).

Gear wise Sacrifice is very miminal in this respect a far cry from his old Analogue synth days. Numan instead created the album with only three synthesizer workstations, one sampler and his 'Dodgy' Les Paul Guitar that he has had since his teens.

Some of the equipment possibly used on Sacrifice:

  • Midi Keyboard.
  • Akai S1000 Sampler.
  • Gibson Les Paul guitar.
  • Korg M1REX Module.
  • Korg Wavestation SR Module.
  • Roland D550 Module.

Sacrifice starts off with a chilling track called Pray, Numan uses a pitch shifter for the open dialogue and uses clear vocal for chant at the end of the track, brilliant opener that shows you that this album is darker and different from all others before it.

Then next track on Sacrifice is Deadliner a slow piano choir based track about a Nightmare made reality very Jacob's Ladder.

The next track is 'A Question of Faith' an uptempo track with hard 'Vision Thing' Mercy Era stlye Guitar and percussion loops from the Korg Wavestation with a few minor programmed drum parts, a standout track. Lyrically at the end is brilliant "They kneel down, praise God Shout 'Hallelujah' Lift up their eyes while they pray.... When children kill childrenDon't it make them wonder?Don't it make them question their faith?".

The next track is one of my favourites called Desire a slow Trip Hop style track with some brilliant vocals from Numan, great track.

The fith track on the album is one of the most acessible on the album called 'Scar' it features Trip Hop drum loops, female vocals, a guitar solo from Kipper (Worked on the Machine + Soul and toured with Gary in 1993, he was the one who wears tight shorts during the Dream Corrosion tour, he looked like a very bad Axl Rose).

Track Six Love and Napalm (Name of this song was a line taken from the book by The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard, the title of this book was used for a Joy Division song). Love and Napalm is another 'Vision Thing' styled Hard Rock which features the infamous Kipper on synth bass duty.

The next track is a lush ballad called 'You Walk in My Soul' the track is dedicated to Gary's then Girlfirend Gemma O' Neil who he married in 1997 (ironically this track was played at their wedding). Beautiful ballad.

Track eight is Magic an uplifting track about someone who rather believe in magic then the idea of God, this track is brilliant live.

Track Nine Bleed is similar to Deadliner in that it is about a Nightmare that comes real this track has a great chorus.

Track Ten is another ballad called a Seed of a Lie a depressing track probably about an old relationship but written in a way that fits with the rest of the album. Another good melodic ballad similar to an old ballad called 'Whisper'.

Track 11 is 'Play Like God' the first of the bonus tracks off the 1999 English reissue of Sacrifice. Musically its similar to Love and Napalm and A question of Faith only personally not as good or dark. Lryically its a good track but it lacks the style of the latter tracks, a demo left off the orginal album.

Track 12 is ballad left off the album, musically its simiar to an old Ballad called 'Whipser' the track is about wanting to be saved. This track was probably left because Numan didn't want album to be too ballad heavy like his previous two albums. The recording quality of this track isn't as good as the rest of the demos unfortunely as I think its the best out of all demo bonus tracks.

Track 13 is Another "Vision Thing' style hard Rock track, catchy but personally it wouldn't fit with the musical style of Sacrifice, a demo left off the orginal.

The final track number 14 is the 1995 single version of Absolution a lush semi ballad about blind faith. This track is a great song that was put out as a single in 1995 that was slighty redone for Numan's next album Exile. This version is stripped down compared to the Exile version.

Overall I loved this album played it to death at was the first 'real' album I bought next to NIN's 'Things Falling apart'.

If you enjoyed this album I would recommend all three Sisters Of Mercy's albums and Clan of Xymox's Creatures.

I give is album 9.6/10.

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