Dehumanized by Black Agent

Seattle’s Black Agent follows up last year’s Industrial Ruination with another strong outing in Dehumanized. And, like before, the band shares its views of the world backed by a sonic potpourri of electronics.

Opening with The World Is A Hell, the listener is immediately sucked into a two-and-a-half minute wall of sound, signaling the beginning of a nine-song decent into Black Agent’s grim and gritty view of the world. Shot Down follows this with its declarative statement:

Dollars explain your
Body count

Singer Jason Pit acknowledges that there’s elements of personal loss that went into this album, more so than Industrial Ruination, which was more of a COVID era social indictment. Songs like Shot Down, Frozen Flowers and Broken Mind address the personal demons of mental illness, addiction and self-harm that many of us face. Modern Mannequins continues this examination:

Pushed out
Strung out
Pain throughout
Pray to the chemicals that she finds

So far, I’ve been examining the lyrical content of Dehumanized, and for good reason. Black Agent never pulls punches in the articulate way they paint an easily relatable picture of the ugliness all around us – both inside and out.

However, I don’t want to overlook the music itself, which grinds and pulsates in ways that really fuel the dark tone of Black Agent’s sound. Saying an industrial band has a “classic, old-school” sound seems kind of funny to me. But fans of such industrial legends as Skinny Puppy will find what they’re looking for in these nine songs.

The appropriately-titled Show’s Over closes out Dehumanized the way it went in: unrelenting and unapologetic.

Those of you who are familiar with Black Agent will be very satisfied with Dehumanized and newcomers will hit the ground running while getting up to speed.

Industrial Ruination by Black Agent

If I could describe Black Agent’s ‘Industrial Ruination’ with two words they would be, “HELL YEAH!!”; the beats, the cacophony, the lyrics, I could go on. In a world of Skinny Puppy soundalikes, Black Agent manage to carve out a unique sound within the industrial music world with songs that combine intelligent songcraft with solid production. By the time you get to ‘Dying Time’, the second track, you’ll know you’re in for a sonic treat. But the tone of this album isn’t all fun and games.

The album addresses subjects ranging from poverty to politics to police brutality to COVID to Jeffrey Epstein. However the lyrics on ‘Fallen’ seem to delve into the existential with such verses as:

Through the inside Pain
then nothing more
For the fallen
Break the silence
Don’t close the door

But what remains?
What are we here for?
What are the signs that you were ever here?

Parenthetically, I’ve been very impressed with the output from Re:Mission Entertainment, especially as of late, and this record is another feather in the cap for this noteworthy record label.

‘Feedback’ is an instrumental that smacks of Front 242 with a grating distorted guitar hiding deep in the mix.

Things take a turn for the funky with ‘Strange Like Me’, a danceable jam with moments of lyrical existentialism of its own:

Are you a stranger
Stranger than me
Or are we just the same

Are you strange
Strange like me
Or are we playing a game

Track 9 is ‘Murdering Truth’ (presumably the song about Jeffrey Epstein), a track with EBM-style arpeggios over a relaxed beat and comfortable tempo and the title to ‘Everything’s Wrong’ tells you everything you need to know about the tone of the song.

‘Hindsight’ is a strong closer, going all out with the creepiness and bombast to leave you feeling thoroughly pummelled.

All in all, these 13 songs are very satisfying musically with an appropriately gloomy outlook on life in the COVID years.