Category Archives: Industrial

Street Sects – End Position

(The Flenser, 2016)

Street Sects (from Austin, Texas) was formed in 2013 by vocalist Leo Ashline and producer Shaun Ringsmuth, and released a few singles in 2014, before creating this their first full-length, a masterpiece which appeared unannounced to many from nowhere, sinking its sharpened claws into minds not disgusted by styles such as Electropunk, Industrial, Noise and Power Electronics.

I gotta admit I wasn’t that convinced about the genius of the band after having heard a couple of songs from this album, but couple of days later, after delving deeper into the violent and chaotic alluring world of the album as a whole, I became an adherent of this shit. This stuff is spiritual.

As already mentioned, what you get here is a fierce and quite original mixture of classic Industrial mentality (think of the more aggressive and faster pieces of older Skinny Puppy or Ministry), Punk Rock (or Electro-Punk if you will), and Noise, chemically (psychedelically) combined into an original and fresh end result.

Most of the music consists of samples which could have been gathered from a steel factory of some sorts, put together in an imaginative way. The clanks, thumps, rattles, fizzes, thuds, hisses, bangs, hums and slams are backed up by vicious electronic bass-lines and pounding snares and kicks, rhythms mostly not related to any certain musical style, except Industrial naturally. The grooves of the beats are sometimes childish even, yet working in an extremely convincing way with all the sample-based madness surrounding them.

There are not many clear melodies to be found on this album, as the music relies mostly on the insane cacophony brought by the various sounds and intense beats, but when you do hear them in the form of synth-lines (mostly), they sound beautiful and strong, yet you realize you wasn’t really missing them in the first place. Such is the power of this music.

The vocals are mostly screams through filters of heavy distortion, and they work perfectly with the music. But what gives this stuff a professional feel to it is the vocalists use of clear and melodic singing in the right places, nodding strongly to their influences, but maintaining the aggressive and original feel of the band.

Besides the distorted chaos and aggression, this album is packed with various emotions of sadness, melancholy, hopelessness, self-destruction, hate, disgust and other cool vibes. In fact, without having read the lyrics, I’m betting my head on them being descriptions of resentment, revenge and suicide, making the cover art (artist) a perfect pick for the album.

There are no weak parts on the album, making it a very solid and powerful totality. In this age, after having heard almost everything music has to offer (when it comes to ideas), it is always a pleasure to find someone taking classic pieces from here and some from there and combining them into something that is truly refreshing and moving. That is something we underground music lovers, grown apathetic after years of first being in love with and then disappointed by many powerful styles of music, are always secretly hoping for.

Give this album a chance, and if you get what I’m talking about above, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. This might very well be your favourite album of the year.

The Flenser

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Dieselsex – S/T

(Self-Released, 2016)

The musical visions of Keegan O’Reilly (A. Octo) came to my attention in 2014, in the form of his previous Atmospheric Black Metal project Death Sigh Ritual, which left a very good (twisted) taste into my mouth, when it comes to things like honesty of the music and sheer emotion straight from the depths of the artist.

Now he is back with a new project, this time using the means of classic Industrial Music and Punk Rock, two styles that can be often mixed together in a very cheesy way. Fortunately, this project has turned out surprisingly original and entertaining.

Again the “naked”, honest approach of the musician is very present. In fact, the dedicated and passionate attitude of the man can be clearly seen in one of his hobbies (I know of) outside making music, namely knife throwing. Picture that shit translated into creating music and you know what I mean.

This EP offers four songs and about 12 minutes of very vintage-sounding, unpretentious or ungimmicky Industrial (Punk) Rock with strong nods to the (eighties) origins of styles like EBM and Electropunk, while maintaining the gritty organic feeling of classic Punk. The term Anarcho comes to mind just as often as names like Ministry or Borghesia.

The drum-beats are nicely electronic and pounding but not by any means as massive as one might suspect from modern Industrial, reminding us of the “unimportance” of the drum-sounds (according to many minds) in Punk Rock, executed in a very classic drum-machine-like way while using quite organic sounds in all areas.

The guitars are pretty fat and growling, altho not too heavy on the low frequencies, still basically functioning as both electric bass and electric guitar in the more organic sense. The riffs are half of the nature as an Industrial artist would use his/her synth, and half of the Punk-mentality. Many samples and background synths (such as bass-lines and noises) make the whole spectrum a bit more livelier.

The vocals are shouting coming from quite up high, in an aggressive but not too preaching way. While the accent is quite clearly American, the general style of the performance usually reminds me of the British eighties. The words are also often spit out in cool rhythms and grooves, functioning as an instrument of their own.

As the four songs pass through me quite quickly, and leave me wanting more of the same stuff (or longer songs perhaps), this EP has made a very strong impression on me. It is always cool to find a younger generation finding so much atmosphere in the music of past decades one can create and perform “retro”-stuff in a passionate and generally honest way, but projects like this make me wonder if the music would have turned out pretty much the same anyway, without the artist digging the works of the past.

This is again a very ready package from Keegan, let us hope he continues this extremely positively surprising project. For all fans of hard-hitting vintage electronics and anarchist leather and denim -clad attitudes. A very cool (human) cyber-attack against the programming of modern minds.

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L.O.T.I.O.N. – Digital Control And Man’s Obsolescence

(La Vida Es Un Mus, 2015)

I came across this band via a recommendation of a friend, which was an extremely welcome gesture, since I had been looking for an “Electronic Punk” band with the genuine aggression of a Crust band, and something fresh to offer. In the case of this album, both the classic sleazy and guttural attitude of Punk Rock (and of course Crust Punk) as well as the low-fi hostility of Noise, Industrial and Power Electronics meet in an surprisingly imaginative way.

I have little knowledge of the New York scenes where this band has spawned, but apparently the group consists of members of bands such as Nomad, Dawn Of Humans, Zatsuon and Survival.

The soundscapes of the album are crafted mainly by putting layers of clanky and exploding Industrial beats and percussions (with a vintage groovy nature, so no “Electronic Grind” going on here) and other effects, waving synthetic basses (such as those of classic Hardcore Techno) and other old-school sounds, and phasing flanging distorted guitars (playing Punk riffs, naturally) on top of each other, with enough space and diversity in their individual sounds to give the whole bizarre mix a unique low-fi kinda three-dimensional feeling, which (especially when finished with the very Punk-oriented screaming vocals) seems to be very much alive and breathing.

The true genius of the album lies in the imaginativeness of the people responsible for this stuff, when it comes to creating eleven cool songs with this specific formula. The music sounds indeed unique and original, which is always a positive thing, and maintains it’s fascination all the way through the album. Altho the end result might be a bit low-fi (as mentioned before) to many, it most likely does not matter to the artists (and most fans of the stuff) themselves, since this work of art comes clearly from the feelings brought forth by the classic styles of Anarcho Punk as well as the more extreme forms of Electronic music, which are pretty low-fi by nature.

I heartily recommend this album to anyone into the rebellious feelings and audial aesthetics of Punk, and the harsh aggression summoned forth by means of Noise, Industrial and Power Electronics. You know what I’m talking about, if you are truly interested. A very inspiring and awesome album indeed.

La Vida Es Un Mus (Bandcamp)

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Natascha Schampus – Café Industrie – A Lucid Dream

(Hau Ruck!, 2015)

Natascha Schampus (a pseudonym inspired by the kidnapped Austrian woman Natascha Kampusch) is an Electronic, Industrial and Ambient (among other styles) musician also active for example in the groups Exploding Mind and Naum. This new album by him and William Lee was introduced to me by Albin Julius (of Der Blutharsch in case you are unfamiliar with him), also released by his Hau Ruck! label.

The theme of the album seems to be a Cafeteria kind of dreamlike atmosphere, and keeping all the more avantgarde and artistic sides of the Industrial genre (throughout the years) in mind, the album indeed feels like sitting in a living museum-like surroundings of some Café, occupied by weird characters as in a dream, with paintings alive on the pulsating walls each showing a different side of this musical style working as a basis for all things truly bizarre.

The first song features weird liquid clicks and drips, like a clock ticking next to your bed while you astrally travel, and church-like male vocals / chants by Gábor Szohr, on top of Ambient soundscapes. A very trancelike and ritualistic start for the album. The second song consists of more vintage electronic synths, basses and bleeps/keys, and vocoder-vocals, while being just as trance-inducing as the first song. A comedic spoken sample of Glenn M. Wallis fits the atmosphere of the song perfectly. The third song continues with the analogue synth-feelings of the second song, with more violent Industrial sounds accompanying the very Tom Waits-like speech of Peter Hope.

The fourth song is a more calm, eighties-reminding and spacy piece with the vocoder vox returning, keeping the vintage synth-theme of the album so far intact. The lyrics (and speech) of Eric Random gives the song a COILy feeling as well. The fifth song is originally recorded live, with additional synths and hammond added later by Albin Julius. Again a very eighties and Tangerine kinda song, also with nineties IDM-vibes in the logic of the song, full of atmosphere. The sixth song starts with a nice piano-part, reminding us of the musical Cafeteria-mileau theme of the album, before going again more harsh and noisy realms with the synths, featuring a very improvised and live-like feeling with spoken parts by Barbie B.

The seventh song is a mixture of very classical Industrial “Gothic” feelings and organic tribal percussions, resulting in a very cool outcome indeed. Once more, the drunken vocals of Peter Hope fit the song splendidly, echoing of the beginnings of the genre in their aesthetics and lyrics. The eighth song is also equally harsh and very eighties and nineties-sounding piece with a slow snare-driven beat and the familiar vocoders. Again, a strong nod to the historical development of the genre in general. The album finishes off with a sibling-version of the first song, featuring the same soundscapes and vocals, leaving a fantastic taste in my mouth from all the drinks served in the Café by this album.

If you are into the not-so-recent currents of the Industrial scene by reasons of nostalgia, or a younger person interested in the more vintage aspects of the genre, or just an Electronic music freak in general, I definitely recommend you to spend a night at the Café summoned in a lucid dreamlike existence by this album. It is totally worth your time.

Hau Ruck!

Natascha Schampus feat. Peter Hope – Bates Motel (Video)

Natascha Schampus feat. Eric Random – Friedhof Der Namenlosen (Video)

Ariadne – Tsalal

(Auris Apothecary, 2015)

Ariadne from Brooklyn consists of Christine Lanx and Benjamin Forest, both graduates of Indiana University’s school of music. The name of this album, “Tsalal”, is a Hebrew term meaning “to grow or become dark”, a very Jungian concept indeed.

There is certainly something very dark in the overall atmosphere of this album, in the dreamy unconscious way, but not by any means in a depressive or anxious way. On the contrary, despite its occasional harsh and violent soundscapes (which I like to picture relating in the meeting of ones Jungian “shadow”), this music brings upon a very calm and positive feeling in general.

Most of the musical material of the six songs consists of glitchy electric synthetic currents and samples of noises, hisses, thuds, clanks, spiced with synth strings, breathing effects (reminding me of COIL’s magnificent “Are You Shivering”), and most of all beautiful female Gregorian chants.

Despite (or because of) its quite minimalistic nature, there is a very strong sense of spirituality and even eroticism in the obscure rhythms and trances of the album. I could picture the songs working as a background of an art exhibition, a long ritual of some kind, or as the soundtrack of a short film (or a long music video, which is actually reality, since the physical release includes videos for the songs).

If you can consider yourself liking for example a more minimalistic and stripped down noisy version of something Dead Can Dance might have done during their “Within the Realm Of A Dying Sun” era, or perhaps a more “Gregorian” version of the more Ambient material by the aforementioned COIL, or if you long for the atmospheres of the nineties cult label Cold Meat Industry, I urge you to check this album out.

Released by the very cool label Auris Apothecary as a 4GB black microSD card inside a miniature plastic case (limited to 100 pieces), this album is very special and rare item indeed.

Video teaser for “Tsalal”

Video for the track “I Thirst”

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AUN – Fiat Lux

(Cyclic Law, 2015)

Since 2007, AUN has been the magical work of two Canadians Martin Dumais and Julie Leblanc, whom use various instruments such as electric guitars and theremin besides their vast array of electronic tools to create their audial trips of Industrial and Ambient nature. Although they have an admirable discography, this is the first release I hear from them.

Most of the sounds of “Fiat Lux” are surprisingly clear, well produced, and of high quality, with the various textures of the numerous layers of audio visible and touchable in your mind, making the album a very cool and pleasantly complex trip. Every beat-like click, bleep, thud and thump is tangibly upscale, in a high-quality (kinda nineties) IDM-way, while the more noisy and grainy aspects of Ambience sound nicely thick here or thin there, making them something to really concentrate on as well. Some spoken and sung parts add to the cinematic soundtrack-like feeling of the music.

Just like in the case of Future Sound Of London’s classic “Dead Cities” (in the nineties), many songs of this album drag me into the abandoned streets and buildings of some city of the future, with post-apocalyptic mist and smoke drifting past the still-blinking neon sings with none there to see them except me. The atmospheres of the songs are usually more beautifully melancholic and intriguing in that Blade Runner way, rather than depressive, anxious or scary.

These songs have apparently been worked live as well as in the studio, and refined at a later date, making this a very polished and well-thought collection of feelings. There is definitely a feeling of a live-performance in the music, most likely having to do with the fact these individuals have been performing live over 150 times during the years. This quality release shows once again the awesome power and magic of the Cyclic Law catalogue, appealing mos def to all fans of quality IDM and Ambient. If I would be writing this in the nineties, I couldn’t wait to smoke a joint before bed-time and put this on. Well, why not do it today as well.

AUN (Official)

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Cyclic Law

Mass Hypnosis – Sanctimonious

(Self-Released, 2014)

Mass Hypnosis from Croatia have been doing their groovy and Crusty Industrial Death Metal since 2006, and have released two EPs and two full-lengths, this release being the second full-length.

There is a strong nineties feeling to the music on this album, with drumming, guitars and vocals reminding of bands such as Nailbomb, “Chaos A.D.” and “Roots” era Sepultura, Ministry, Fear Factory, and similar nineties giants.

The beats are mostly quite (but not too) technical, twisting, turning and groovy, and the fact that they sound very organic and slightly off-beat (rather than mechanized and unhuman) gives the cool living Crusty feeling to the music. The guitars are hard, shredding and mostly damping, fitting the beats perfectly. The vocals consist of lower aggressive shouting and higher screaming, creating a cool, fresh, original and dynamic atmosphere. The music is backed up by cool synth-sounds of various Electronic and Orchestral nature (done with great skill), and many samples taken from political speeches and classic movies. To raise this album to an even higher pedestal, (just like the performance on the musicians on all areas) the overall production of the album is very good.

If you’re into Nailbomb or wished that there would be a Crustier version of Fear Factory, seek no further. I personally enjoy the musical, lyrical and visual style, as well as the attitude and agenda of the band very much!

Mass Hypnosis (Official)

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