On A Journey Through Roman’s Empire, Rhode Island duo Athletic Automaton traverse a soundscape scorched by jagged guitar screeches and clattering drumwork. Their poison is industrial indie rock, of the frothing, grimy, and altogether unlistenable variety. Strangely and to the album’s exceeding detriment, the tandem of Stephen Mattos and Pat Crump only wages battle with a guitar and percussion. No vocals to pad against the feral white noise; no bass to crispen the deviant rhythms. This leaves their sound, at once, incomplete and excessive. For fashioning an unholy racket (which tidily sums up Empire), such a formula is advisable. But, for filling up an appealing long player, even one still bereft of pop goodness, Athletic Automaton wouldn’t suffer from a more tuneful and formalist approach.
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