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numb mortalgeometry
Artist: Numb
Title: Mortal Geometry
Genre: EBM / Industrial
Release Date: 23rd August 2019
Label: Metropolis Records

Album Review

It’s been 21 long years since the last NUMB album ‘Language of Silence’. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Don Gordon’s brainchild was a ground-breaking act with a cult following and together with SKINNY PUPPY and FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY part of the great Industrial triad hailing from Vancouver, Canada. NUMB’s 1993 album ‘Death On The Installment Plan’ was particularly influential, and successful, with its combination of pretty rough-sounding and noisy Industrial dance tracks such as ‘Hole’ or ‘Headcrash’ and, on the other hand, atmospheric and dark soundscapes full of samples and tape loops. And then there was of course the epic song ‘Shithammer’ which was a floor filler at Goth and Industrial clubs throughout the 1990s and beyond! The follow-up ‘Wasted Sky’ from 1994 was in a similar vein but sounded somewhat cleaner and spawned the club hit ‘Blood’. A few albums and EPs followed until NUMB mastermind Don Gordon retired from the music biz entirely in 1998 to move to Vietnam together with his wife.

So it was a bit of surprise when it was announced that Don Gordon is working on new NUMB material. The result, ten tracks on the new long-player named ‘Mortal Geometry’, is now being released via Metropolis Records and available on CD, vinyl (with seven tracks only) and of course as download or stream on your favourite platform.

The album kicks off with ‘Redact’, which was already released online as a teaser for the album. A classic mid-tempo NUMB dance track, it nicely sets the tone for the rest of the album but it even isn’t the strongest song on the new album. Song number two, ‘Hush’, has all the NUMB virtues the fans still remember from the old recordings: A slow build-up, gnarling synths, hinted melodies and a great arrangement with various changes of tempo. Surely ‘Hush’ doesn’t have to behind vintage NUMB anthems like ‘Blood’, and on CD it is also available in another version which is even darker and more ambient. No. 3 on the album is ‘Complicit Silence’, probably the most danceable track on the album together with the thumping ‘When Gravity Fails’, and which features some wobbly slap bass and guitars, although the crispy synths remain dominant. All in all ‘Mortal Geometry’ sounds cleaner than previous NUMB efforts, the days of harsh noise, multi-layered samples and buzz saw distortion are pretty much gone. In this regard, the album rather refers back to the very old NUMB stuff such as ‘Christmeister’ from 1989 than to the cluttered, roaring blistered noise of ‘Death On The Installment Plan’.

Another essential part of NUMB were always the more filmic and atmospheric moments. There’s a lot of it on ‘Mortal Geometry’, too, most prominently in form of the lush and over nine minutes long ‘Shadow Play’. And then there’s the title track which is less dreamy than ‘Shadow Play’, more like a dystopian mindscape and featuring some Asian influences. ‘Summer Lawns’ could be from a horror movie soundtrack before it erupts into a fast beat for 60 seconds

In the past Don Gordon most of the time used guest singers so that Gordon could focus on production, songwriting and sound design. Most prominent NUMB vocalists were of course Conan Hunter, who left his mark with his abrasive voice on ‘Death On The Installment Plan’, and his successor David Collings who was NUMB’s vocalist/ shouter from 1994 until the split-up of NUMB in the late 1990s. However, on ‘Mortal Geometry’ it is in fact Don Gordon himself who does almost all vocals, additionally to all instruments and all of the production, and he actually delivers a good job! He sounds less aggressive and shouty than some of the former NUMB vocalists but his style suits the cleaner and more structured approach of ‘Mortal Geometry’.

The only exception - that is, the only time we hear someone else other than Don Gordon on the album - is the track ‘The Waiting Room’ where we can hear some ethereal female vocals with an Oriental / Asian touch to it. The liner notes credit a certain Khuyết Danh but khuyết danh actually just means “anonymous” in Vietnamese! We can only speculate if we actually hear Don Gordon’s wife on ‘The Waiting Room’ but one thing is for sure: ‘Mortal Geometry’ is the first Industrial album recorded and produced in Ho Chi Minh City!


01. Redact
02. Hush
03. Complicit Silence
04. The Waiting Room
05. How It Ends
06. Summer Lawns
07. When Gravity Fails
08. Shadow Play
09. Mortal Geometry
10. Hush (Creation to Negation)


Don Gordon


Cover Picture

numb mortalgeometry


Music: 8.5
Sound: 9
Total: 8.8 / 10

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