Hot on the heels of last year’s really-quite-good greatest hits album 400 Years of Electronic Music, Steril is back with an all-new batch of 12 tracks, seemingly ready to pick up where 2003’s Purification left off—or so one would think. Actually, as could have been inferred by a more astute observer, who would have immediately seen the similarities between the titles of Realism (which kicks off with a metal guitar-inflected dance tune called “Realist”) and Egoism (whose most celebrated track is a metal guitar-inflected dance tune called “Egoist”), this is more like a continuation of the mid-‘90s Steril sound, the one that attracted all the band’s fans in the first place. There’s very little to be found on Realism that Steril wouldn’t have tried in 1995, as the songs are all dance beats, big minor-key synth hooks, and growly vocals. There’s a little bit of flirting with hip-hop (“The Unknown”, “Wired Hate”), a lot of electric guitars (just about everything), and the general sense that Steril might just be pandering to its already-established audience, hoping to retain as much of that audience as possible. It’s all very well-produced, and any one of these tracks would be fine for your most nihilistic mixtapes; still, after the relative adventurousness of Purification, this sort of regression is kind of a bummer.
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