Although there are hundreds of newer electronic music acts who wield heaviness and saturated sound as their primary weapons, AnD keeps finding bold new ways to separate themselves from the rank and file. The production duo of Andrew and Dimitri -- conduits for the industrial music legacy of Manchester -- excel at showing that aesthetic extremity does not have to equal monotony. Social Decay is simultaneously one of their most overwhelming and most innovative efforts. This visceral new release comes from the same hazardous, blasted terrain that informs the work of kindred spirits like Kerridge, Oake, and Justin Broadrick's many projects. Whereas AnD's previous album Cosmic Microwave Background (EDLX 038CD/LP) utilized the duo's intensity to pay homage to the enormity of the universe and the incomprehensibly violent processes involved in its creation, Social Decay takes things back to earth and right down to a "street view" more gritty and contentious than what Google Maps often reveals. Beginning with a feedback-drenched, shuddering premonition of things to come ("First Element"), each successive side of the album presents a new level of intensity, itself brought about by increasing levels of tempo and compositional coherence. The first suite of tracks, including "Corrupted Structures" and "Anarchic Rhapsody", is pure industrial music comprised of multi-layered noise collage, venomous and half-comprehensible whisperings, and rhythm structures that compel listeners to maintain an obedient posture rather than to ecstatically hit the dancefloor. Without completely abandoning this atmosphere, the next four or five tracks flirt more heavily with hip-hop inflected beats and an unmistakable sense of hyper-urban vigilance. Window-rattling tracks such as "Pandemonium" come across like urban audio camouflage meant to defend its users against surveillance by shadowy and invasive entities, while "Screaming Voices" adds infectious EBM sequences to the mix. Just as it seems like the duo is settling in to a groove, the mutant drum-and-bass rhythm and cinematic bombast of "Resisting Authority" strikes with explosive high-tempo energy. "Taking Control" and "Kepler" provide the effective aftershocks to this number, while "Disturbed Reality" closes out the album in an unexpected sense. While many would rely on a reflective, ambient "outro" to help fade listeners back into reality, AnD just keep continuing to deliver the crunching beats and looped warning cries, maybe hinting at the fact that reality is not far removed at all from this record's representation of it.