The Chaos Engine – “Escape Ferocity”

The Chaos Engine

Escape Ferocity
(Wasp Factory Recordings)

The greatest flaw in logic regarding music is that every band must be new, fresh, original, and brilliant. This is a fallacy. Clichés in music are almost unavoidable; a good band makes you forget about those clichés while you’re listening to their music.

The Chaos Engine is just such a band. Combining hard (but synth-y) guitar riffs with electro programming and impeccable vocals, “Escape Ferocity” is a perfect example of The Chaos Engine’s body of work. Having existed for some years in Britain, but receiving virtually no notice Stateside, the time is ripe for this band to break out on our shores. If only some American label or distributor were smart enough to pick up The Chaos Engine’s backcatalog from their label Wasp Factory, started by the singer/programmer to showcase The Chaos Engine’s talents. One could take my statements for meaningless hyperbole, but this truly is one of the best CD’s I’ve had the luck to come across in years. It combines some of the minor elements of a band like VNV Nation with the songwriting structures and guitar sound of a band like Gravity Kills and creates a really great synthcore band in the middle, just as good for the rivet-metalhead’s stereo as the DJ’s dance floor.

If you’re scared off by the mention of “corporate” industrial, guitar, or music that might not help your status as an elitist, don’t look into this band. Anyone who can accept an electro-industrial-rock band with a great pop sensibility is urged to search this group out.

Every song is wholly enjoyable on this CD, with the exception of “The Guiting Power Institute For Supreme & Unnecessary Evil” (which comes off to me as a dull “Angel Dust”-era Faith No More song). Songs like “Nerve Opera” and “Naphephilia” show an ability to craft strong melodies and harmonize vocals, while songs like “Jesus Christ v2.0” and “Broken Children” show their ability to write a song that could get any crowd moving. And “Custom Built For Anger” is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a good while.

Of course, the album does have it flaws. Most prominently, the production quality is quite lacking. Sometimes it sounds more like it was recorded in 1992 than 2002. The mixing is weak and causes some elements to stick out in a bothersome way, while burying others amidst the noise. Certain songs sound as if all of the music is trying to fit out of one tiny speaker, the noises overlapping and turning into a dull rumble. The Chaos Engine could seal their status as one of the best acts today if only they’d raise their standard of production value and mix the album to be less… well, chaotic. Though don’t let this deter you from giving them a try. The songs may promise more than they deliver sometimes, but The Chaos Engine proves that they could take all the clichés of industrial-rock and repackage them as the album of the year.

(Wasp Factory Recordings, P.O. Box 270, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 9YE)


from IndustrialnatioN Magazine #18 (2003)