The Phantom Tollbooth

A Living Death
Artist: Autovoice
Label: Flaming Fish Music, 1997
Time: 53:01, 13 Tracks

Can you say Gothic Industrial?  I thought you could.  That phrase sums up well Autovoice's second album A Living Death.  Their first album, the self produced 00000011, was good enough to draw the attention of Flaming Fish Records, and here is the bitter-sour fruit of that union. Don't take that phrase the wrong way.  In this case, that is very good!
Who says Christians can't do gothic?  Just thinking about Autovoice's new album A Living Death is depressing.  Fans of Starflier 59 and Spyglass Blu will find plenty here to enjoy, but this is a lot darker and shares more in common with Bauhaus and Joy Division than anything put out by the shoe-gazers.  As if that weren't enough, A Living Death has some heavy industrial flavoring too.  Circle of Dust and Klank fans will find it on the light side, but fans of Way Sect Bloom will find plenty to draw their notice.
Autovoice is composed of Steve Shoe on vocals and electronics, and Johnny Space-Echo on electronics and supporting vocals.  The liner notes also list Morse Code on tape manipulation and sound effects.  They combine to create a flowing and eerily hypnotic sound that at times wanders over edge into electronic overload.
As is typical of both the industrial and gothic genres, the vocals are at times difficult to understand.  Since the lyrics are not included in the liner notes, this becomes more frustrating than usual.  You can find the lyrics on the Autovoice web site, but if you do not have web access, you may be out of luck.  The common themes running through the disk are man's inhumanity towards man, modernization's dehumanizing effects, and the need for God in our lives to overcome these woes.
The production quality of A Living Death is very good if at times a  little over produced.  Kudos to executive producer Carson Pierce.  Flaming Fish Records definitely has a winner here.
Those who are not fans of the Gothic and Industrial genres will not like this in the least; it is dark, morbid, and very depressing.  For those who do, this is almost a must have for your collection.
By Mark J. Aylor (8/21/98)

This can be purchased from Flaming Fish Music.