[sic] Magazine

Ballamona – Institutions EP

Bedlam. Arkham. Ballamona. Asylums all, the troubled spaces inside their walls ringing with loss, cries for help, ideas both ingenious and inglorious. Ballamona, the Manchester-based neo-industrial band, take perverse pleasure in exploiting these uneasy spaces, their apt track titles scrawled in bodily fluids on the institutional fabric, massive production from Scott Fair of the upwardly mobile Mandy, Indiana dialling everything up into the red.

Hear the broken, repetitive tapping of enamelware on cold bars and the groaning of an ancient, central gas boiler. Recoil from the ill-regimented clatter of footfall echoing off concrete floors and from the hum of harsh strip lighting. Feel the claustrophobic throb of alienation that everyone within the unforgiving walls endures.

The rhythmic title track leads with EBM pulses and rusty steam vents, darkwave drum-machine compressions hammering like pistons. Muscular sub-bass punches through the oppressive grime during “Open Air Prisons” in order to clear the air for yearning cyber-goth choruses, while the more introverted and lonelier “Four Walls” considers the various mental traumas of everyone within them.

Violence is inevitable and the downright dangerous synth surges of the single, “Alienist”, deliver. Rioting rave rhythms duel with crunching guitar distortion and sharp sheet metal, the excitement building with metronomic ticking and teaser drops. A suspiciously quiet fade-out to pounding heartbeats and sanity questioning vocal-delay then goes full banger complete with pressure sirens. Obviously, it destroys live, and your speaker cones won’t thank you at home either. At this rate, Ballamona may become an institution in their own right.

Best track: “Alienist”

~Institutions is released March 31st 2023 via Ramber Records.~

BALLAMONA · Alienist (Radio Edit)