Clone Your Lover

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Although Clone Your Lover is the second Zeromancer CD made available in the U.S., it seems to have actually been the band's first full-length album, originally released in 2000. It finds the group working in a style that will be instantly recognizable to fans of Orgy and, to some extent, Prodigy: the band's sound consists of equal parts rock, pop, industrial, and goth, and while purist devotees of any of those genres will probably object to its mongrel nature, the combination is really not bad. At its best, Zeromancer does a great job of balancing crunchy aggression with digital purity, and hoarse anger with melodic hookiness. At its worst, it sacrifices coherence and tunefulness on the altar of louder-harder-scarier. For the former, there's the catchy "Something for the Pain," and the downright lovely "Houses of Cards," which ends the program on a surprisingly delicate note. For the latter, there's the energetic but directionless "Fade to Black," and "God Bless the Models." "Opelwerk" is relatively content-free but manages to get over on texture and forward momentum alone. As always with bands of this stripe, there's a carefully cultivated whiff of cyber-decadence and rough sex throughout the whole proceeding (note the Nine Inch Nails outfits and song titles like "Something for the Pain" and "Flagellation"), but really, these guys aren't as dangerous as they want to seem. The album's highlight track is an Apoptygma Berserk remix of "Something for the Pain." Recommended.

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