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PerturbatorThe Circus, Helsinki, Finland
12th March 2019

As a big-time Cyberpunk genre fan, it is no wonder that I came across PERTURBATOR’s video ‘Venger’ some time ago. Fierce (perhaps due to the Black Metal past), electronic and danceable music was hard to miss. As a composer, James Kent gets energy and mix of energy and melody in a very good balance and is not capitalizing just rhythm side; perhaps I would call his compositions not only suitable for a dance floor but also for a movie soundtrack.

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On the visual brand side, in my view, there is a room for progress: album covers and other artwork may have been stronger in order to match the quality of PERTURBATOR’s music. In fact, the best image I have seen was on the gig poster - knives forming a pentagram - but sadly, this image is nowhere to be found on CD covers or the merchandise sold onsite. The merch pictures, I dare say, was substandard; just generic imaging with the artist face and not particularly reminding of the music. Let’s hope that the poster image for the gig is actually a hint of the better visual side of the project in the future.

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Music & Performance
When I first looked up PERTURBATOR’s video on YouTube circa 2015, I came across the rather unappealing clip depicting a scene that any Dark Scene festival goer witnessed countless times: onstage, a table with a laptop, an a guy playing some hard tunes from it with some videos projected on a screen behind. Not really exciting. Yet, turns out that in later year scale of the show has increased a lot. In this gig, there was a massive wall of LED panels and interesting square-shaped futuristic lights that were able to emit highly complex, piercing light beams. Of course, the trademark pentagram (just one, though) was crowning the stage set.

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Have to note that pentagrams and cyberpunk are not really well connoted (imaginary mega-city crowds of the dystopian future are fully absorbed by the harsh and very materialistic world, speak some weird mix of Chinese and Russian and hardly any European mysticism is left there - having some Buddhism there could be more canonical). Regardless, the light performance was well orchestrated, not only pulsating “to the beat” but creating the sense of atmosphere and grandeur. The outstanding drum kit was decorated with highly elaborated dystopian/ Steampunk metal parts, lit from inside and looked like an art object on its own.

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Despite James Kent playing just synths, he and his drummer were head-banging very heavily - as the music was rather extreme and its heaviness is comparable to metal. And the gig fully delivered on the expectations. I hardly remember James to say a word - engaging tracks were just starting one after another. The only wish is for the concert to be a bit longer - I believe, the full set was about 1:15.

01. Birth of the New Model
02. Neo Tokyo
03. Future Club
04. She Is Young, She Is Beautiful, She Is Next
05. Corrupted by Design
06. Excess
07. She Moves Like A Knife
08. Diabolus Ex Machina
09. Humans Are Such Easy Prey
10. God Complex
11. Vantablack
12. Tactical Precision Disarray
13. Tainted Empire
14. Welcome Back
15. Perturbator’s Theme
16. The Cult Of 2112

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: 10
Total: 9 / 10

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All Pictures by Askar Ibragimov

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