Back for a new year, here are my tracks of the past month.
Track of the Month
OVERLAND (IN MY MIND)
There appears to have been a realisation recently across various publications – and on the ground – that industrial is back in vogue (looking at the British scene, Louder Than War had a great blog post recently about this, and they very kindly mentioned my own blog), but it is clear that this goes way beyond our shores. This week’s roundup includes five fantastic new industrial tracks, from artists in four different countries, and all five have different takes on what industrial is.
First up is this storming dancefloor track – which, not surprisingly, sounded storming on the dancefloor at ENDURANCE on Saturday night – comes from a new Australian act, who have released a suitably post-apocalyptic video to go with it. It is clearly a hark back to the past in style both sonically and visually – the video reminds me of classic Front Line Assembly, while the song itself nods to Nitzer Ebb, 242 and others – but crucially it comes armed with a monstrous hook, a fantastic, clean production and a brutal, powerful rhythm that made it instantly stand out on first listen. More please!
From the new, to the return of an old hand. I thought the last EP a little tired and insipid, as I noted at the release of one-off track Industrie-Mädchen last year (which was a vast improvement, admittedly), but this is something else again. A punchy, snarling industrial track with a rhythm that bounces and is…funky. It is instantly recognisable as Die Krupps, but also sounds like a band exploring new facets of their sound to spectacular effect. It also has a fantastic, slick video, too.
Also accompanied by a slick video is the return of US industrial band I:Scintilla, who I’ve been a fan of since their first release quite a few years back now. This also sees a slight shift in sound, toning down the guitars and going for a pure electro-industrial that (unexpectedly) has resulted in their best track yet. And while the music is great, the star turn here comes from vocalist Brittany Bindrim, whose belting delivery here really does grab the attention.
“Destroy” Said, She.
There has been a massive buzz about this act from LA – demand for their demo cassette eventually saw it uploaded officially to the internet, providing better quality at last – and the buzz is with good reason. Like FORCES, this is a throwback to old-school EBM, but in a different way. This is dirtier, grimier in every way, a grinding bass synth dominates the track, propelled by a pulsing beat, a track where the vocals are something of an unimportant afterthought. Here’s hoping they can keep up the quality now the glare of attention is fixed on them.
Full of Fire
Shaking The Habitual
The epic comeback single (nine-minutes long) from an equally epic forthcoming album (a cool ninety-eight minutes long), I’ve seen it described elsewhere as being “infused with a sense of panic”. And I can see what they mean. The beats are heavy, the rhythms switch and change at will, and the usual pitch-shifted vocals are not exactly prominent. It is pitch-dark in tone, too, as if we expected anything else.
I came to Factory Floor late – having been recommended them by a friend – but I’ve now caught them live, and that confirmed to me that they really are an exciting prospect. Yeah, they’ve been around a while now, but they hardly have an extensive discography yet, something that will change with the release (at long last) of their debut album sometime this year. This is the first taste of it, and is a hypnotic, pounding electro-industrial track with an incessant beat and a wonderful intertwining of electronics and treated vocals that at points is difficult to tell which is which.
This past month has been ridiculous for great new music, with release after release coming my way to the point that a number of tracks (with release dates a little more distant) have been held over for next month. Still, I’d rather that than having nothing to enthuse about. Anyway, this is Porl King’s latest project (yes, him from Rosetta Stone), described by himself as “Post Future/Progressive-Occult-Ghostwave” (uh-huh), but what this really is is oppressive, pitch-dark goth-post-punk from the same ballpark as The Soft Moon, and it is fantastic. A claustrophobic, deeply odd atmosphere pervades, and I’m now sold on buying the album when it arrives at the end of the month.
No Redemption (Official DmC: Devil May Cry Soundtrack)
After all the controversy last year – and apparently when many finally realised what they were listening to (misogny, violence, etc) – I guess many of us were wondering where Andy La Plegua took the project next. The answer is frankly not one that I was expecting: Combichrist have gone metal, to a point. Ok, so this is an album that is a video game soundtrack – something more and more industrial artists are getting involved in – and it also seems to be something that is providing a creative spark for some that has been lacking for too long. This is a short blast, involving Black Metal-esque synths, chugging guitars, roared vocals, and somehow it still sounds recognisably Combichrist. I wasn’t going to bother with this album – this impressive track has changed my mind.
Push The Sky Away
First single We No Who U R was not bad, but the second track to break cover is far better, in my opinion. An elegant, understated track that re-confirms that the new album is a world away from the primal thrills and dark humour of DIG!!! LAZARUS, DIG!!! – instead looking at a dark, bleak underbelly of life, and this song takes a tender and impassive view at the sadness it sees in the world. The video – featuring Ray Winstone – is NSFW, by the way.
Finally? At long bloody last, eh? Twenty two years since Loveless, and Kevin Shields has finally released the follow-up, which has been self-released and needless to say crashed their website. The album takes a while to get going for me, but the second half is jaw-droppingly good as it ups the somnambulant pace of the first half, culminating in the astounding wonder 2, a symphony of phased sounds, multi-tracked guitars and a skittering drum’n’bass rhythm flicking in-and-out of focus, proving perhaps that Kevin Shields is still light years ahead of everyone else, even if his workrate is an awful lot slower than anyone else…