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Ghostland Observatory - Robotique Majestique

Released on Trashy Moped Records, 3/4/08

It seems foreboding that dance music would look to Ronny James Dio for guidance, but somehow that's the case. Ghostland Observatory singer Aaron Behrens manages to flat line already suffering beats with his metal pipes and stupid lyrics. To see a photo of Behrens and his producer partner Thomas Ross Turner doesn't help: one wears a cape and the other has braids and aviator glasses. It would be tough to feign surprise if it turned out that Limp Bizkit's Wes Borland mentored these guys.

After an album opening classical number -- a melodramatic trick that's been dead ever since Metallica's 1984 Ride The Lightning Tour -- Ghostland presents "Heavy Heart", which relies on Freddy Mercury-esque stutters and phrases that start with the clause: "this goes out to (fill in the blank)." The next track, "No Place For Me", sounds like Bruce Dickenson party-crashing a Whitesnake rehearsal. Don't bet against these guys covering "Pour Some Sugar On Me".

With vocal this difficult, it's too bad the music isn't redeeming. There are a number of instrumental tracks to ease the journey, but they just make the Robotique Majestique sound less coherent and more avoidable. The beats try to be thick and live sounding, but come off like robot indigestion. "Holy Ghost White Noise" fades in slowly, which seems like an especially pointless trick for a dance band. Also, the band sounds like it's trying to rip out an entry in Daft Punk's diary, but the paper won't tear. Album closer "Club Soda" is (somehow) more egregious, the first of many reminders that we live in a post-Justice world.

Ghostland sounds trapped between unrequited love for both "Eye of the Tiger" and Tainted Love. If it sounds like there's a compliment in there, sorry -- there isn't. This is the worst kind of identity crisis, one where the uncertainty is used as a joke.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars