In trying to comment on the electro scene around him, Gary Zon has created a masterful work. Standard Issue surpasses any and all of the expectations from their previous album, Postnuclear.
Standard Issue starts with "Anthem", a very good first track as it reels you in with an up tempo, danceable beat. The standard Dismantled vocals are there as well as the layering of the sounds; this is present throughout the album. Even though there are multiple layers of sound, it does not get overwhelming. Each layer perfectly adds to the sound or mood Zon is creating for the given track. "Get it Through" is the second track and is the most adventurous song on the album. It thoroughly works, blending a poppy EBM sound with melancholic vocals and lyrics; this one is a gem. "No Effect" follows and is the most similar to Postnuclear. Again, it is up tempo and danceable, but the distortion of the vocals and the start stop sound of Postnuclear is prevalent. One the best tracks of the album is next in "Breed to Death". This one stays true to the Dismantled sound and is executed perfectly. "Preset", the fifth track, is the biggest departure from the rest of the album; it is stripped down with little variance in the types of sounds used. It is not bad, but is the weakest track on the album. Two similar tracks follow in "Fields" and "Recall". Both are reminiscent of Postnuclear and are rather well done, being up tempo like most of the album. The only ballad on Standard Issue is the title track, which is made up from the lyrics of "Anthem" and "Breed to Death". Zon's vocals are accompanied by only a bit of distortion and a piano. Standard Issue is one of the standout tracks of the album. "Attention" comes next and picks up the pace considerably well. The closing track is another standout in "Thanks for Everything". There are so many musical layers that it could have easily regressed into a cacophony of noise. There is absolutely no risk of this as every layer and sound seems to have been fully thought out and done to perfection.
Standard Issue starts and ends very well. They are an accurate depiction of what lies between the two: a solid industrial album with very few weak links.