Hellektro is the second release from Virtual Embrace, one of several music projekts that Mike Johnson has involved himself in. His other projects include Agonoize, Sero Overdose and Infekktion (he's got a thing with those k's doesn't he). Well you can't fault him for keeping busy.
For those familiar with the first Virtual Embrace release, Escape To Insane, the Suicide Commando influence was apparent. On Hellektro another influence is quite evident, Wumpscut. But Johnson doesn't stoop to slavish devotion with this influence as his own take on the aggrotech/industrial/EBM genre is always at the forefront of the tracks. The songs do suffer lyrically; Johnson's certainly not chanelling the spirit of Rimbaud with lines such as "Drugs. Drugs. You are blind. No more to see. I feel the pain deep inside of me. You can't speak the word no longer, without therapy." from the song, "Drugs, Drugs".
Immaturity and lack of poetic grace aside, the beats and synth sequences are where it's at with this album. Johnson's programming acuity is a sharp razor cutting the white flesh of a death disco darling's forearm. The opening track, "Welcome To My World" and the eponymous track, "Virtual Embrace", fit snuggly within any hard industrial setlist played by a club DJ hosting a party for vinyl clad patrons. In fact, the next time I find myself at one of these clubs in NYC, I just may have a mind (if I even have a veritable mind at that point) to hit the DJ up with a Virtual Embrace request. Also notable on this album is the march-stomp of "She-Speed" as it harkens to those beat tempos that were quite common with a lot of late 90's industrial acts.
On the MAO-Music website, Michael Johnson was bitching and moaning about being forced to abandon this project because Hellektro only sold 1000 copies during the year that it was released. I feel your pain Michael. Gearheadz! Help save the music industry! Stop the downloading madness and run to the music store this instant and buy this dude's fucking CD's!!!
RATING FOR HELLEKTRO: 3+1/2 COFFINS
THE JIMMY MORBID RATING SYSTEM
One Coffin: Leave it dead and buried.
Two Coffins: Visit the grave once but never return.
Three Coffins: Worthy of embalming.
Four Coffins: Raise the dead!
Five Coffins: Necrophilic ecstasy!