Like a lot of the music he takes cues from, Caprison is unfailingly earnest. His vocals, which are said to explore "the oppressive nature of history" but are often nearly unintelligible, can quaver off-key, like on opener "Rain." The production outpaces the vocals—this is big-budget industrial that borrows more from the pop-inflected style of Nine Inch Nails than, say, Ministry or Skinny Puppy. Caprison eerily resembles Trent Reznor as his voice rises to a scream. The title and sound of "Things Fall Apart" also echoes NIN: its mix of guitars and synths collect into tidal waves that bring to mind 1999's The Fragile.
On A Ruse Of Power, Caprison's melodies and arrangements make a big leap from his past work. The drunken romanticism of "Wintertime" is overwhelming, "Purpleman" approximates the gaudy majesty of bands like Cold Cave, and the fantastic interlude "Carcrash," a hissing ambient piece, makes a big impression in its brief runtime.
The most staggering moment is "Theia Collides With Earth, The Birth Of Apophenia, Nomenclature," a slice of industrial black metal that recalls the experimental Norwegian band Thorns. It's also a moment when Caprison transcends his influences: instead of black metal's straight-ahead chug, Caprison throws in white-hot trap hi-hats. That little touch helps align A Ruse Of Power with the other music on NON. The overdriven trance synths of "Tapestry" are just as impressive, but the vocal, an attempted metal growl that weirdly resembles Yoda, could turn off listeners. (Caprison pulls it off better on "Purpleman.")
Much of A Ruse Of Power feels like it's working towards something bigger. Caprison is a talented artist with a wide purview, but he's still honing his tools. Even if it doesn't succeed at everything it tries, A Ruse Of Power is an exciting record in the sector of political, identity-centric electronic music. Many of the NON affiliates attempt to embed their ideologies into dance music, but Caprison blows that apart, speaking in the extreme but familiar languages of metal and industrial. Like reading someone's diary, it's intensely personal and not always comfortable.