Darkwave/synthwave band Meat Injection was formed in Athens in 2016. After several concerts and two EPs (Death for Fun in 2016 on Inclub Records and the self-released Hang Me Love Me in 2017), the Athenian trio brings us their first LP, System Anomaly, released in June 2020.
When I first heard their compositions for the first time, I was struck by the striking contrasts that inhabit their universe. As the Greek artists explain, their creations have been nourished by various musical currents such as synthwave, post-punk, dark electro, but also minimal synth. The mix of these influences is particularly effective and well-dosed. The textures of the synthesizers are engaging, dark and organic and the nervous rhythmic parts of the bass and drums breathe energy into the composition. Free and clear above this instrumental stratum of sound, Cleopatra Kaido’s voice is passionate and full of lyricism.
The conception of System Anomaly is based on a persistent need to express the paradoxes that plague our times and our societies. The sound contrasts I have mentioned contribute to reinforcing these contradictions. A voice, natural and expressive, is confronted with a transformed reality, altered by synthetic instruments. In “Chaotic Ride”, this voice also ends up corrupted, but always finds its humanity in a resolutely dark universe.
The style of the album is perfectly coherent. If the homogeneity of the timbres is the main reason, we also notice that the majority of the tracks, whose tempos are rather fast, are opened by the synthesizers. However, some tracks caught my attention on other aspects. This is the case of “Dead Santa” whose catchy drum rhythm on the chorus reminds us of certain post-punk, even rock patterns. I particularly appreciated “Black Out Sentiment” whose synthesizers sounds renew the textures of this instrument on the whole album. The notes are staccato and their fast flow evokes a swarm. And when bass, drums and vocals make their entrance simultaneously, the groove is clean and precise. The groove becomes more and more frenzied as the piece progresses in the incessant and intense crescendo that characterizes it. Ostinato is a compositional process as old as the history of music, but one that never gets tired of when used properly, as in “Chaotic Ride”. The piece opens with a short melodic and rhythmic formula that is present in almost the entire track. “Chemical Romance” has a main theme, simple, but very beautiful, cleverly underlined with the synthesizer by a counterpoint with a grainy texture.
With System Anomaly, Cleopatra Kaido, Dimitris Katsikadis and Alexandros Ginalas sign a rich album that brings together all the conditions to overwhelm the listener in its universe.
Translation: Joanne Gagnon