Industrial/Coldwave Demo Reviews
Welcome back… After the harrowing and horrible experiences of last issue, I was delighted to find that I had received some CD’s dated sometime in this century. Let’s try to sift through this massive stack…
First off is Pesdeyet (www.pesdeyet.com), whose self-titled debut has been released on Opcion Sonica Records here in the U.S. Pesdeyet is a very strange beast, indeed, a Spanish-language alternative/rap/industrial-rock hybrid, if such a thing makes any real sense to you. Apparently the band does well in Mexico and I can see that. I wouldn’t doubt that this would get plenty of radio play. The music is well-handled on occasion, mixing some programming and samples with the alternative flavor of most nu-metal bands, and the vocals aren’t awful for a rap-inspired style on most tracks, the others featuring Sugar Ray-like crooning. It’s probably best that I don’t know what they’re saying… That would make it much worse. But it’s very thin to try to justify it as “industrial” or “coldwave” in any capacity, unless you want to consider Sugar Ray or 311 industrial.
Triple Point (www.triple-point.net), on the other hand, writes catchy, hooky industrial-rock songs that would be totally comfortable on a KMFDM album, but with more flair for diverse programming, some upbeat tracks, and possibly even worse vocals than KMFDM has managed. Unfortunately, it also features tracks that would be comfortable in someone’s karaoke version of a Soft Cell song. Slamming back and forth between good industrial-rock songs and bizarre, mediocre, minimalist synthpop ballads, Sleep In Sodom, their latest, is not a bad album to have been self-produced, but is totally hampered by the vocals, which are easily ignored on good tracks like “Stolen” but noticeably horrid throughout many other songs, and the band’s lack of consistent identity. I don’t know whether to rock or to question my own sexuality… Especially when the singer is coming off as a tone-deaf Chris Connelly doing “Rocky Horror” camp vocals. And, even though it’s a bit taboo to mention in regards to industrial music, the lyrics would probably make fine fodder for a 15-year-old girl’s LiveJournal, but wouldn’t really impress anyone who’s ever attempted to rhyme before. This is industrial-rock ruined by mediocrity, marred by bad vocals, diseased with lame remixes, and blighted with a (badly) female-fronted version of a Depeche Mode song (which I would imagine features the girlfriend of someone in the band, because she’s terribly flat and off-key).
Torn Skin is a Christian industrial band, which might be enough for many of you reading this magazine to know everything you want to know about them. Out on Flaming Fish Records, a Christian electro-industrial-EBM label better known for its release of Circle Of Dust’s last album than anything else, is Torn Skin’s latest, Violence & Technology. The album would be some solidly interesting coldwave, well recorded and well constructed, were it not for its flat and uninteresting song structures, the totally standard, almost irrelevant vocals, and its imbecilic “technology is an evil force holding you down (and, consequently, away from God)” anti-cyberpunk lyricism. If these overly zealous lads would use their powers for the good of industrial-kind they might actually be a good band, but unfortunately they’re more interested in Christ than being good songwriters with interesting songs or something pertinent to say.
Cyanotic (www.cyanotic-online.com) offers up coldwave reminiscent of 16 Volt with a touch of Bile, updated for the modern ear on Mutual Bonding Through Violation. Excellent skipping, glitchy electronica-styled drums combine with synth-filtered guitar to produce a short EP of hard, angry beats and heavily distorted vocals. The songs actually manage to grab hold and carry you for their length without boredom or unnecessary repetition. This is an album that brings fresh material to the true fans of the early-to-mid-90’s style of grinding and aggressive coldwave that seems to be almost forgotten.
Porn (www.porn-band.com) probably didn’t choose the best name for their band. First and foremost, you probably won’t have an easy time finding them in a search engine or downloading their music on a file-sharing program, not if you value your time and don’t relish digging through a number of sites/pics/avi’s that require scientific notation to talk about. Nevertheless, they are an enjoyable attempt at old-school industrial-rock as instituted and filtered through such bands as Orgy and Zeromancer and, as such, their sounds and vocal style are exceptionally similar (though much better than Orgy). But what the band has so far managed in their 4-track demo CD is impressive enough to take notice of, especially to have come out of France.
Nimbus offers a promo burn of their upcoming, assumedly self-titled, CD on Chubby Seal Records, as well as an extensive bio and band photo that would make you believe that they must be a band that’s going places. Their bio even names off their various industrial (and other) influences and goes to great lengths regarding their “crossing of boundaries”, their “vision”, and their “unique and compelling” sound. Well, unfortunately for them, there’s nothing really new or revolutionary here. Just some studiously acceptable industrial-coldwave that has no cohesive sense of style but still manages to remind me of more guitar-oriented fare such as Pinchpoint, Tinfed, and other bands that favored minimalist electronics. There’s no tremendous flair to this, though it does well enough at being enjoyable without being impressive in any way. Given a more driving vocal presence or songs that had a stronger hook, Nimbus could make a fine band, but their output so far seems to be only suitably average, nothing to write home about, nothing you want to indoctrinate your friends into, but nothing that will make you put a pen through your eardrum.
I thought I recognized D’hiver Mort’s name (www.mp3.com/dhivermort). I found out from their bio that they’re from Atlanta, my locale, so I would see why. And, upon listening to their CD, I found out why I’ve never heard anything else about them. Constantly shifting between influences and styles, sometimes dreamy though, more often, harsh, Palindrome produces gothic textures along with dark and uninteresting metal, though never the same thing in the same combination more than once. This is probably more of a release for the goth types. Otherwise, it is a dreary, boring, grating, and silly album full of 8-minute-long songs.
Destination : Oblivion (www.destinationoblivion.net) produce atmospheric goth-metal-industrial with gloomy textures, plenty of quiet piano, effected almost Manson-esque vocals, and toned-down guitars that surely make their album, Thirteen Beginnings To The End, a cleaner, more interesting listening experience than they could ever recreate live. This, unfortunately, doesn’t save the album from being nothing more than an unmanageable ball of clichés, tuneless noise, bad vocals, and electronics that occasionally fade out to leave nothing more than a metal band.
On the other hand, ISM (www.mindviolators.com) is direct in their usage of generic wannabe-goth Marilyn-Manson-copycat crap. These Italians offer the tasteless Mind Collapse as proof that you can combine all the clichés of current popular rap-metal trends with black metal to make the worst possible mix of music ever.
Flesh Fair (www.fleshfair.net) also does their best to tap in to every awful industrial-metal stereotype on their demo Where Is Your God Now?, an exceptionally amateurish production that features blessedly short songs (in the range of two minutes) that feature passable keyboard work covered up with lots of filtered guitar and a vocal/lyric combo that would make even Bill Leeb weep tears of blood. Their “press kit” promises a live stage show that is “pure horror” and, if their music can be taken as any indication, I would be prone to believe them.
Kopfdelay by The Ancient Gallery (www.theancientgallery.com) is almost completely in German, being an album by a German band. But, despite this fact, it’s still a very enjoyable album harkening back to a simpler day of industrial-rock and is nice to see out of Europe, who we mainly only ever see imported EBM from. It’s rather impressive and could garner comparison to any number of big names, but none really suit the band well. If this had a large label, I’m sure it would do as well as any mainstream industrial has ever done and it would deserve the credit. This is an intriguing mix of styles and musicianship that will keep me interested for quite some time.
Metanemfrost sent in The Obsolete View, a split CD featuring songs from Metanemfrost, Hollowing, and Aere Aeternus, so I will stick strictly to their material, dark experimental noise that lends itself to the experimental ear. This is more so a series of droning atmospheric tracks than anything else, each track around two to three minutes of the same noise, over and over again. This could possibly be of interest to those who enjoy bleak atmospheres.
As if foreshadowing the music contained within, the CD for 23 Extacy’s Holy Land was sent in with $1.15 postage due. And so it is with the music itself, a series of songs that don’t pay off. The music is best described as a hectic conglomeration of noisy electronics, bad drum programming, grinding thrash guitar riffs, and heavily distorted vocals, all of which bear some similarity to a totally untalented and pointless Bile, Bozo Porno Circus, or Clay People. The songs combine into splashes of noise from which nothing can be really discerned out of the cacophony that the songs become in their eagerness to try to stuff electronics and metal into every second of every song not filled by a clichéd TV sample. This might have been acceptable in 1992, but not in this day and age. All in all, this album is the musical equivalent of being punched in the groin for an hour and thirteen minutes… But in a bad way.
Thanks for joining me yet again on this musical adventure and experiencing with me this tremendous stack of CD’s. I hope we’re all a little wiser and little better informed.
from IndustrialnatioN Magazine #19