[Social Phobia sleeve]

"Social Phobia" (Album, 2006)

Noise Terror Productions/Dependent

Hey!, Suicide Commando, there's a new generation on the block. He's called Dioxyde, and you should be worried. Very worried.

Dioxyde is the alter ego of Madrid-based EBM DJ Marco Calvo, and Social Phobia represents the second Dioxyde album but my first exposure. Enthusiasts of hard, dark industrial EBM should love this. It demonstrates just what can be done with a genre that is saturated with one-dimensional entities. :wumpscut:'s extensive back catalogue is proof that there is a whole world of imagination to be explored in this area. Yet why is it that most of Rudy R's imitators are so creatively-challenged? It possibly stems from the mistaken belief that this genre can be easily replicated from a few key ingredients. Sure the aggressive vocals, droning deep bass synths, melodic sequencers, jabbing lead lines and thunderous beats are regularly used. But knowing what is used is nothing like having creativity. This is where Marco Calvo's Dioxyde comes into the frame.

Somewhat embarrasingly, having signed to Noise Terror Productions last year (the label set up by the Suicide Commando himself Johan Van Roy), Dioxyde simultaneously adds a powerful new presence to the flegling label's roster but in doing so rather convincingly steals the limelight away from Van Roy's long-running personal project in the process. Compare Social Phobia with the most recent Suicide Commando album Bind, Torture, Kill, and there is simply no competition. This exhibits more depth, exploration and risk-taking than many others on the scene. Credit to Van Roy though for signing Dioxyde in the first place and having the self-effacing good nature to provide guest vocals on Words of Judas and Invasive Therapy. As a genre it's still relatively low down my listening list but with more acts like Dioxyde around there's clearly still new life in the old genre yet. Includes three bonus remix tracks by Tactical Sekt, Agonize and Feindflug. 7/10

Rob Dyer (March 2007)