Gary Numan – Intruder (Album Review)

Gary Numan – Intruder (Album Review)

Inevitably, Gary Numan has become synonymous to or one and the same with his classic ’80s hit “Cars,” from his debut album, 1979’s Pleasure Principle. However, there is so much more to the Shaman of Synthpop than his debit single. Numan has a 18-album studio discography in his belt, spread out prolifically from the 1970s through the previous decade; and his newest one is set to emerge. Released on Friday, May 21, 2021, via BMG Rights Management, Numan’s 19th record is titled Intruder. Definitely a far cry from his classic Synthpop sound, the new offering is nevertheless a natural continuation of his Industrial dalliance since the turn of the current millennium.

Intruder is more like a companion to the dark and oily disposition of 2017’s Savage: Songs from a Broken World. It opens with the ominous, chilling, cinematic buildup of “Betrayed,” then melts into the spatial bleeps and pulses of the ensuing “The Gift.” An even more dramatic yet slower grind comes next with the confessional “I Am Screaming.” Numan then delivers the title-track–still in the same apocalyptic mood but more assured and less dimly. Following next in a seamless transition is, “Is This World Not Enough?,” which emits similar cold dominance as “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode, “Obsession” by Clan of Xymox, and “Cicciolina” by Machines of Loving Grace.
Although remaining in the same plane of claustrophobic melancholy, the slow, piano-led “A Black Sun” is a bit bright and hopeful; it will fit onto a playlist that includes Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” Alice in Chains’ “No Excuses,” and The Cure’s “Closedown.” Then, with the hypnotic and mind-numbing “The Chosen,” Numan then reverts to the overall filmic theme of Intruder–exuding blinding neon lights and slashing synthesizer washes. The piano takes centerstage again with “And It Breaks Me Again,” but which evolves into a full-blown Cold Wave composition. Thereafter “Saints and Liars” is a subtle change of style and approach–a mix of mild Industrial and liquid Nu Metal.
After the electrifying attack of the preceding track, “Now and Forever” pulsates and cascades like a frozen stream of subconsciousness. The second-to-the-last song–also the standout–“The End of Dragons” trots in imposingly, emanating melodies and rhythm that are both cunning and alluring, dangerous but compelling. Finally, Numan wraps up his latest oeuvre with “When You Fall,” which effectively exhibits the modern stylistic excursion of the pioneering and prolific purveyor of synthesizer-based music.
Seemingly following the footsteps of David Bowie in terms of experimentation and prolificacy, the 63-year-old Numan is not really lagging behind. In fact, he is doing quite well. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Intruder 4 out of 5 stars.
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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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