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The Fifth Column

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Album Review

Fans of techno-metal poster children like Static-X and the Prodigy will get a solid kick out of Acumen Nation, a band who has actually been around in various guises since 1992. On The 5ifth Column the band flexes its hard-earned chops, delivering a dense and crunchy program of high-tech aggro-punk, complete with strategic screams, machine-like guitar power chords, and an occasional incursion of metallic funk. Sometimes they wear their influences right out on their sleeves, as on the blatantly Ministry-esque "Liquid Hater." But elsewhere their sound is both original and filled with old-fashioned hooks — the charmingly titled " C-Cection" is one example, as is the hip-hop-inflected "Margasuck." The band peaks halfway through the album on the pounding "Demasculator," which draws equally on vintage metal, 1990s techno, and speed rap, then delivers up a surprisingly gorgeous melody in the bridge. "Demasculator" acts as a nice distillation of all the best elements in Acumen Nation's impressive stylistic blend.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Brothers Jason Novak and Ethan Novak started Acumen Nation while they were students at DePaul University in 1988. Between them they had strong talent on vocals, guitar, bass, and drums, and a desire to express their unique musical talent through techno-like, guitar-driven rock. Joining them was Gregory Lope (bass, drums, and backing vocals). Unable to invent a name that reflected their style and didn't sound stupid, they chose the name "Acumen" from a thesaurus: it means understanding. About the...
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