Another month gone already? Time for another ten tracks you should hear, then.
Track of the Month
Author & Punisher
In another of those genre fusions that seems so obvious when someone finally tries it, Tristan Shone can’t possibly be the first person to consider the merging of bass-heavy industrial noise and doom metal – played even slower than you might think, at points – to be a good idea. However he is clearly someone who makes this essential listening, well, at least for people who can deal with levels of bass and distortion that might make them feel seasick. This is distorted, ugly, unbelievably fucking heavy music, with levels of bass that isn’t normally touched on digital releases by most artist. I also suspect that this would absolutely slay live – and finally, make sure you listen to this on decent headphones, as this absolutely demands to be played as loud as you can push it. (Hat-tip to Rhys for this).
My Dear EP
Oh my word. Athan Maroulis is back, and the smooth, deep voice of (the much-missed) Spahn Ranch is present and correct, but the music has perhaps jettisoned just a little of the dance experimentation of SR and headed into more straight-laced synthpop territory. It still sounds utterly terrific, mind, and the mooted album cannot come soon enough. (Hat-tip to I Die: You Die for bringing this to my attention)
(no longer available)
A new band from Sheffield, apparently, who I found out about…thanks to Swedish site Release Magazine and Belgian site Side-Line. Apparently no-one bothers to check their local scene, then? Maybe, maybe not – or maybe it is just that there is no place for music like this in the Sheffield “scene” any more. Either way, this is awesome stuff, putting lie to the suggestion that there isn’t life in actual industrial music now. This is pounding, heavy stuff, with a nod to Ministry in the sampled riff from Burning Inside, and a nod to them and other bands with a contemporary political edge to the theme and samples in the track, too, and played nice and loud this could tear up unsuspecting dancefloors. More of this, please.
After The Third Pin
I’d obviously missed previous pointers toward this, but for me at least the new Sunna album – yes, only two years or so between them this time – took me totally by surprise when it was mentioned on FB recently, and it is actually from last year (with a fourth album in the works, apparently). And third time lucky, too – after two albums that were, overall, so-so with a couple of brilliant songs – this one is a cracking album right through. It is noticeably heavier, too – less mopey ballads, more crunching electronic-infused rock. Pick of the bunch is this muscular, brooding track that screeches and squalls for three minutes under thunderous beats.
Another I’ve apparently missed until recently – Ant-Zen have been synonymous, for years, with thoughtful, intelligent industrial electronics, with frequent trips into brutal industrial noise, so to hear this on their label is something of a shock. Because, to point no finer point on it, this is some distance from what might be expected – this is essentially post-rock, but through the industrial grinder. It shimmers, it glitters, it hits hard when it needs to, but more than anything this ebbs and flows with a quite glorious flourish reminiscent of 65DaysofStatic when they were still more rock than dance.
After a bizarre, totally unexpected – and actually very good – diversion into Cure-esque goth moping, Bryan Erickson has returned to the style that made his name, and going on this single, it could be quite a return to form. This is seething, hissing industrial electro, drenched in string-like synths, bitter vocals and epic, lengthy builds. Yeah! Old school VAC is back, and he could still teach a few of his so-called peers (and copyists) a thing or two about making music sound malevolent and evil, too.
Actually a split EP with M‡яc▲ll▲ (don’t you love these crazy Witch House band names), this EP is a quite wonderful, blissed-out trip through a meeting of minds that works very well. This track is probably my favourite of the eight here, mind – a rolling beat and dense swirls of electronics all-but blow away the vocals into the mist, which only makes them sound even more strange and otherworldly. (Note: I’ve added the rather different R34CH The 5KY on the Youtube playlist).
Torrent of Fury
A bit of an error on my part recently has not been to pick up Dirty K’s new album – on Hands, no less – before their appearance at Infest. Now corrected, this is one heck of a powerful album. It doesn’t break too much ground – this is distortion heavy, uneasy listening industrial noise, that you’ll either love or hate – but when they bring scorching tracks like this, filled with brutal beats, searing white noise and static and little subtlety, it is more than enough for me.
(Don’t Call on Rock’n’Roll) Call on G.D.H. Cole
Singing Down The Government (Or The War of Position and How We’re Winning It)
In political times like these – where those of us of a leftist persuasion look on in despair as most of the things we hold dear in a government, and society, are pulled apart – I am still kinda appalled at how little we are hearing from the musical sphere, as if most bands have decided that they really shouldn’t mix music and politics. In that case, thank fuck for Thee Faction, a band of quite unexpected origins, who bring unbelievably awesome rock’n’R’n’B with a distinctly marxist bent. Think The Commitments with a political fire burning bright, and you are just about there. Ok, so the recorded versions aren’t quite as jaw-dropping as the live show, but this is music well worth hearing and believing in.
X Amount of Stab Wounds In The Back
Jim Semonik is back with his band, after battling cancer, surviving, and curating two epic industrial compilations in the form of the Electronic Saviors series. And you know what? It’s really quite great. This is cold, harsh industrial music, with a dancefloor sensibility (to a point!) and also lyrics that actually purport to mean and stand for something. This track is one of the picks for me – a comparatively sparse arrangement dominated by an awesome synth line that really does hark back to old-school coldwave (in a good way).