Industrial/Coldwave Demo Reviews
I have a deep love for music and writing, so I leapt at this assignment when it was offered. I’m not extremely limited in my taste, but this is where most of my favorites lie: industrial/coldwave. Vig gave me the Faith No More shtick: “it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.” But I figured a leap into the muck of the underground to dig for gems would be exciting, if not funny. It’s not quite as funny as you’d think…
My first foray into the demo pile was to draw out The Chaos Engine, which was a fantastic find that totally coincidentally segued into a proper review, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for details, but, from that point on, it was mainly downhill.
Next I pored over db9d9’s self-title demo album. db9d9 was a band that I had been familiar with from an appearance on Re-Constriction’s Nod’s Tacklebox o’ Fun compilation and the fact that they were the only thing mildly enjoyable about the Jacob’s Ladder rip-off, Soul Survivors. I had been interested in hearing more of their music, so was delighted to receive their demo, some of the best electro-rock America has to offer, possibly along the lines of a more aggressive and coldwave Final Cut. This band is deserving of more recognition and the only department I feel they lack in is the vocals, which could really use a polish or a new vocalist. Hopefully there will be more from this band soon.
Curiosity overcame me and I was forced to dig into a demo EP by Estrogenocide, featuring such classics as “Kick That Cunt In The Cunt” and “Your Bloody Anus Makes Me Laugh”. At first, I was fully ready for whatever horror would be unleashed upon me, but it turns out it wasn’t nearly that bad. M. Hymson, a former member of Dystopia One, created this project to vent misogynist rage in the form of grindcore-meets-synthpop songs that could have been constructed on a cheap Casio. At first I thought it was one of the worst things I had ever heard, until I realized that it was actually supposed to be funny and began to revel in it. It’s silly, it’s vulgar, but that’s the point. So, if you don’t think Cannibal Corpse songs performed on a child’s toy keyboard, blending one into another, with monotone vocals ala Bryan Black are funny, well, then you probably shouldn’t bother.
Then, things turned ugly: I inflicted the incompetent demo CD by Iconoclast on myself. If ever you see mention of this band again, avoid them at all costs. There is precious little industrial, coldwave, or enjoyable about anything this band has done. If you hear otherwise, assume that the person purveying this nonsense to you is a pathological liar and they are trying to kill you. The hand-scrawled “© 2000” on the top of the CD-R implies that someone in this world might be crazy enough to try to copy the stylings of this horrid, growling, inept thrash-metal band with a keyboard and drum machine, an assertion that I refuse to believe. Thankfully, I have seen no evidence that they any longer exist. If I believed in justice or a loving and merciful God, I would have much cause to be thankful.
Cut from a similar cloth, Torso’s demo CD synthesis is a mediocre cross-breeding of metal and industrial, occasionally featuring some fairly decent programming backing metal riffs and growling metal vocals that ruin everything they touch, like some kind of deranged King Midas that turns things to raw sewage by direct contact. Most of the material is a whole big bag of ‘suck’. The back of the CD tells half-truths by printing “INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT: KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN.” Don’t believe the first half, but please keep this music away from children and anyone else you would prefer to keep as a friend or associate. Horrifyingly enough, one member of the previously six-man band is still trying to write music and keep the band alive. If evidence of new music from Torso drifts out of Arizona, be sure to immediately report this knowledge to the Department of Homeland Security.
I was accidentally sent a demo earmarked for the techno/EBM reviewer by experimental-goth-avant-garde artists Skuzzy Cable called Deep-raved! Some scars will never heal. It was one long, continuous droning amount of noise, throughout. Not like power noise, like listening to your computer’s cooling fan for an hour. Something about it made me think of Snog. I couldn’t tell you what it was, as Snog is good and this was ambient electronica spiced up with bits of world music, jazz, and house. It really didn’t go anywhere… To call them “songs” would be a blatant lie or exaggeration, as they seemed to follow no particular structure, meandered toward nowhere, and the word “song” seems to imply joy, an emotional release, a communion with the artist, an expression of views… This album induces sleep. And self-hatred. That’s about all I could gather from it. The only thing less enjoyable I could imagine would be their live performance.
I contacted goth-industrial band Suture Seven regarding their release I had been given and they promptly gave me a fresher album to peruse, which is in their benefit. Their latest release a.stitch.to.mark.the.wound is quite a bit more enjoyable, having a few more hooks and a more refined sound than their previous effort Aversion. The music, by a former member of Advent Sleep, is high-quality goth-industrial-rock, dark textures in amongst the programming, sequencing, and grinding guitar lines. The greatest flaw in both of their releases unfortunately lies in the vocalist, whose lyrics are fairly clichéd and uninspired, his voice weak and uninteresting, his style lacking the hooks to make any of the songs particularly catchy in any way. Theirs is an effort that I did not entirely enjoy, but has a lot to offer to those who look for a goth edge to their industrial music. To be constructive, if more of the songs had the drive and energy of “Whores” and “Secrets”, the album would be much more of a success. When they lay down the electro-industrial-rock, they do it right. Just stay away from the spoken word pieces, guys.
Swedish industrial band Lithium delivers a three-song sampler that is actually quite good. The music is solid. The vocals are decent, especially considering the fact that they’re not native English speakers. It comes off like a downbeat version of Idiot Stare with some pop touches. I’ll be glad to finally hear the fully completed album that these songs come from if ever I can find it in America. Keep an eye on these fellows, though. They’re not brilliant, but enjoyable.
Signal To Noise, not to be confused with the former oft-mentioned-in-IndustrialnatioN industrial band or any one of the other half-dozen bands that use that same name, writes songs that are too dumb for me to comment on. I’m not sure if they still exist anyway. It would be a good thing for everyone if they didn’t, with songs like “Drugs and Candy” and “White Horse God”. In fact, most everything on their “We’re Here To Help” EP seems to deal in some childish way with drug usage. For such intellectual fare as this, I recommend taking up skeet shooting. God forbid I ever come across these simpletons again… Anyone who has heard this CD that would like to help start a class-action lawsuit, should feel free to contact me.
The first batch sifted through, I hope I have left you wiser, with a few warnings and a few bands to watch out for. Hopefully, the next batch will be a little fresher (and palatable)…
from IndustrialnatioN Magazine #18