Cold grey, elegant and stripped back padscapes. Fragmentary images of sorrow and pain, loneliness and despair, arranged in such a way that you can feel an ominous cloud hanging over you, getting closer with every pitched-down baritone and sequenced gloom figure. A bizarrely noir synthesis of Dark Wave, Minimal Synth, original-styled Goth and, to a lesser extent, old-school EBM precepts, taken to a wholly-owned point though. Harsh beat monotony, true, but once immersed in it, what comes out the other side are arpeggiated, scratchy tunes looping around the beating central hook, like animas drawn to light. The kind of record from which a positive obsession is born. So great are the vibes conveyed in "Sable", the debut album of William Maybelline (better known as the sinister half of the Lebanon Hanover duo) with his solo project Qual. Already at the beginning, the title track and "Spit On Me" connect us with an aeons aged despair. Raspy and refulgent like plutonium, the synth monodies join the brooding, maniac vocal delivery to gradually entangle us in downward spiral context, while the electronic thuds and rattles match the listener's pulse causing a dizzying effect. The initiatic rite ends here and, from then on, we're ready to perceive the sounds twisting and convulsing within themselves as if they have own life. Next cut "Flay" adds some decompression through a haunting, resinous melody that creeps into the brain to stay. It's a minimal misfit mounted on piercing bass motifs and a thumping drum beat. With "Benevolent Technologies" the rhythms get more brassy, jumpy and mechanical, recalling the punk-rooted pioneers of EBM, yet a mysterious story is also embedded within vocals ala pre-mainstream Neue Deutsche Welle and the compulsive, glitchy pulses from the computers. Building up on a tensile, tinny cicada pattern, "O' Ornate Spade" makes the temperature drops again and manages to maintain something filmic lurking beyond its funereal fashion. "The Geometry Of Wounds" shifts the album into more contemporary, familiar terrain, specifically a chic, ghosted dancefloor tragedy. It shows an exciting core contrast between gloomy harmonic sprays and throbbing synthed bass grooves, pushed atop the sharp, breakneck pound of the machines. "Luxurious Bleedings" and "Putrid Perfumes" suspend us in a straight-laced goth atmosphere. The beatbox still assaults our nervous system all along, but its cunningly assembled set of melodies, chants and organ lines provide an otherworldly, gliding scenario. In my view, both tracks are majestically sinister. "Desolate Discotheque" keeps the fog in place, and deep-timbered, decadent dandy vocals marry with sweeping keyboard mourners making a velvety dark swing takes root. Engaging like an intense, little dramatic poem. "Rip Doth Thy Scarlet Claws" puts an apocalyptic, suspenseful clasp to the album, by means of detached, robotic inflections, samples screaming like air-raid sirens, random signals from beyond the threshold, and a thrilling action-packed electronic spine.
Review by Billyphobia