The Damage Manual
Album: Limited Edition
I have to say that I’m not really a tremendous fan of Martin Atkins. I seem to buy all the CD’s he’s involved with, I enjoy several of the bands he works with, but there’s a certain tone to all his music that’s a bit… off.
Pigface has always possessed a certain experimental grit that has left me wanting something more. For every “Asphole” you’ve got 14 “Hagseed”s that fuck up the whole mix. Or at least bore me to tears. When you can narrow down the tracks you really like to a greatest-hits-style format, it tends to leave you a little wary.
The same kind of residue of Pigface seemed to linger on the first 2 Damage Manual CD’s, though they sounded great and the songwriting was pretty good. But none of it grabbed me at all.
I don’t know if it has anything to do with addition of Hate Dept.’s Steven Seibold as Atkins’ production partner or his co-writing of the album with Connelly and Atkins, but this CD is a large step up for the Martin Atkins discography. All those unfinished edges that stuck out in his other numerous projects and all those tracks that bored me have been beaten into submission and are made into a totally new creature. The Damage Manual has involved into some genuinely good industrial-rock tracks. The tracks are fun, catchy, and have a certain pop sensibility that actually allows you to enjoy them as well as appreciate them.
Sure, tracks like “I Am War Again” and “Driven Menace” still manage to throw down that chant-y Pigface gauntlet and then stomp all over it, but everything is handled with great sincerity and simplicity. It just wants to rock you. It’s not trying to be anything but what it is and it’s fun to boot.
So I tip my hat to the Connelly/Atkins/Seibold team for making me a believer on an endeavor that could have easily left me very cold and disinterested. Thank you for writing songs that you can sing along to and feel good about.
from ReGen Magazine (~4/2005)