In today’s music scene, uniqueness seems harder and harder to find. Whether good or bad, most new music isn’t very original, and that’s sad. Luckily, industrial/prog/electronic outfit Coeus the Boxing Titan (what a name!) is an exception to the rule. On its debut LP, The Boxing Titan Spawns, the group manages to combine several drastically different styles into a coherent mixture. While the novelty and intent is more commendable than the actual music (which tends to feel shallow, repetitive, and forgettable), the band deserves credit for realizing a truly innovative vision.
Appropriately, in describing themselves, the group asks its listeners to imagine “if Pink Floyd became a Faith No More cover band… pulled a drum machine out of the trash for percussion… let folks punch Roger Waters in the throat before he started singing… and had an acid-induced Robert Fripp mix it all in his basement.” I would also liken The Boxing Titan Spawn to a techno version of NIN that’s fronted by Prince. As you can see, Coeus’ sound is a melting pot, which makes it quite exciting initially. However, the music feels a bit tedious and aimless once the freshness wears off.
Really, much of The Boxing Titan Spawns sounds similar, so I’ll only discuss some standout moments. Opener “Tension in Cloudland” is wonderfully dreamlike, as founder Aron Patterson recites his slightly flamboyant and seductive words over mellow arpeggios and electric synth blankets. “Like Vegas” is a more direct and antagonistic track with superb dynamics and a funky, danceable vibe. “This Time” builds up to a fairly complex and heavy middle section, complete with a jazzy electric piano solo, which is brilliantly juxtaposed with techno-rock elements. On “The Devolver,” dissonant abstraction complements melodic piano, and its segue into “A Hurricane” (which feels slightly influenced by Frank Zappa at times) is subtle yet effective. Finally, closer “February, This is For You” is the album’s best track. An instrumental, it begins with an affective chord progression before adding its rhythms and heavy guitar. It moves through several stages, too, which definitely helps it stay intriguing, and in an intangible way, it really conveys a sense of closure. Basically, it’s what would happen if the newest music of Linkin Park was reworked for rave parties.
As for the downsides, well, there isn’t much specificity needed. The songs feature 99% of the same timbres, and most of them are so distorted and cold that the whole record is quite isolating. Also, Patterson sings with almost the exact same delivery and melody on each track, which makes it difficult to even tell when a new song has begun. Really, it’s kind of sad that the many intriguing moments are buried underneath constant, utter repetitiveness.
The Boxing Titan Spawn is more noteworthy as an artifact of artistic prosperity than as a listenable record. It’s certainly a fresh sound at the start, but after the novelty wears off and all of Coeus’ tricks are on the table, the album becomes quite redundant, and more likely than not, you’ll lose interest in it. Again, there are plenty of lovely bits, but they’re buried under irritating, dissonant production and monotony.