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The Young Gods

Swiss sampledelic outfit the Young Gods has survived for more than 15 years in an industry that treats innovators like lepers. But it hasn't been easy. Led by composer- vocalist Franz Treichler, the Young Gods take qualities that typically torpedo bands -- bombast, camp, and long-windedness -- and turn them into virtues. Before anyone else, the Gods were building tracks around lifted heavy-metal guitar blasts on their self-titled debut album. Fusing said metallic thunder to pummeling industrial-rock beats and Treichler's stentorian bellows resulted in uniquely aggressive music that has aged better than a fine cliché. As they moved through the '90s with panther-like grace, the Gods expanded their palette and opened up loads of space into their claustrophobic sound.

Second Nature ought to make Trent Reznor envious: The otherworldly dread and futuristic miasma NIN strenuously tries to attain, the Young Gods achieve as naturally as a yogi assuming the lotus position. While the Gods' trademark scalding guitar samples and irrepressible propulsion still leave bruises, the trio also brings a throbbing, cavernous approach to techno. But even when they drop ballads, the Gods blacken your heart more than they comfort it.

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