Industrial

All posts tagged Industrial

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

filter-crazy-eyes

Artist: Filter

Album: Crazy Eyes

Release Date: 4/8/16

Rating: 9/10

Few survivors of the industrial rock scene have remained as consistent as Filter. Since their debut in 1995, the Richard Patrick-led project have pumped out one great record after another. With the industrial scene eventually fading into the background of metal or goth-techno by the late-90s, and genre pioneers like Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails taking long hiatuses, there was little representation of the golden age of industrial rock; save for Filter. Despite waxing and waning mainstream attention, the band have retained a core audience that spans the likes of alternative, industrial and heavy metal listeners.

At the core of Filter is Patrick, the one-time Nine Inch Nails guitarist who exited the band on the eve of their most commercially-successful era. He formed Filter, looking for a less synth-driven and more guitar-driven sound. Their iconic 1995 debut, Short Bus, dropped at the height of the industrial-alternative crossover, when the sound was at it’s peak popularity. The follow-up, 1999’s Title of Record, was a massive success propelled by the crossover hit, “Take A Picture.” But for much of the 00’s, addiction issues and an evolving alternative scene kept Filter out of the limelight, despite releasing the underrated gems The Amalgamut and Anthems For the Damned. In 2011, Filter came back hard with the slamming The Trouble With Angels record, boasting a return to the sound that brought Filter to fruition. 2013’s The Sun Comes Out Tonight further featured the rage and socio-political disdain that was synonymous with industrial rock. Few artists have captured the heaviness of the original industrial scene as well as alternative rock sensibilities quite like Filter.

With their latest release, Crazy Eyes, Filter dive head first into a classic industrial rock sound with pulsating synths, distorted bass lines, mechanized drums and grinding guitars, matched with a primal rage against a failing system. Tracks titles like “Pride Flag,” “The City of Blinding Riots” and “Your Bullets” quickly indicate the social commentary that’s to come, while “Nothing In My Hands” and “Welcome To the Suck (Destiny Not Luck)” tease up the anger and disdain.

Crazy Eyes opens with the classic industrial slammer, “Mother E,” a synth-heavy stomper that finds Patrick screaming the refrain; “I got my reasons and my reasons are sound,” as a wall of swelling synths build to a head-banging groove. “Nothing In My Hands” looks at the Ferguson and Michael Brown case, while capturing all of the socio-political angst the industrial scene had/has to offer. From there, the more accessible, and dare I say, poppy, “Pride Flag,” keeps in tune with the album’s feel, looking through the glass at a society spiraling into chaos.

Filter mastermind Richard Patrick, circa 2016. Photo courtesy of blabbermouth.net.

Filter mastermind Richard Patrick, circa 2016. Photo courtesy of blabbermouth.net.

Tracks such as “The City of Blinding Riots” and “Welcome To the Suck (Destiny Not Luck)” feature a more atmospheric, KMFDM/Combichrist-esque stomp, while “Take Me To Heaven” and “Head of Fire” boast a more groove-heavy bass-driven feel, with sneering hooks in the vein of NIN. “Tremors” is also write with Ministry-style mechanical percussion, circa Land of Rape and Honey.

Most of Side B on Crazy Eyes leans a little more in the rock direction, with tracks like “Kid Blue From the Short Bus, Drunk Bunk” and “Your Bullets” featuring the more classic Filter sound of heavy alt-metal, most prevalent on Title of Record. The album concludes with “Under the Tongue,” a slow-building heavy groove tracks that spirals into a wall of distortion, before descending into the acoustic comedown of “(Can’t She See) Head of Fire, Pt. 2.”

All in all, Crazy Eyes may be Filter’s strongest album since Title of Record. While the last few records clearly showcase Patrick showing his teeth and muscles, it’s few and far between they feature his ability to write really interesting songs. Crazy Eyes ebbs and flows, and although it’s consistently heavy and brooding, both sonically and lyrically, it ties together many small concepts into a central theme. Standout tracks are difficult to pinpoint, but would certainly include “Mother E,” “Welcome To the Suck (Destiny Not Luck)” “Your Bullets” and “Pride Flag.” For fans of the golden age of industrial rock, this will surely spark an interest in a scene long stagnant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRV51e753f8

Marilyn Manson circa 1994.

Marilyn Manson circa 1994.

By Brandon Judeh (Music Editor)

During the summer of 1994, music was in a curious place.

Grunge was on life support, Hip-Hop and R&B were starting to take over the radio waves and Industrial music was just beginning to take the world by storm.

While Nine Inch Nails and Ministry were leading the way, unbeknownst to most, there was a little known band from Florida well on their way to turning the world upside down.

Ironically it was Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor who would turn this musician loose on the unsuspecting public.

The band, Marilyn Manson, the album: Portrait of an American Family.

Twenty years ago this month (July 19) the album hit store shelves all while the band was opening for NIN, Hole and the Jim Rose Circus.

Manson and his band of freaks, Daisy Berkowitz (Guitar), Madonna Wayne “Pogo” Gacy (Keyboards), Twiggy Ramirez (bass) and Sara Lee Lucas (drums), soon became notorious for their live act full of violence and unpredictability.

Whether it was Mr. Manson cutting himself on stage or Pogo’s odd stage behavior the band was considered controversial right out of the gate, as was their names (First name, after an iconic female sex symbol and last name after an iconic serial killer) and first album.

Portrait of an American Family, produced by Trent Reznor at various locations including the infamous Tate house in California, kicked off with a twisted rendition of a classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory line.

POAAF

“Prelude (The Family Trip)” features Manson rambling the famous boat ride lines from Willy Wonka overtop of samples and distortion, but it was the next song that truly introduced us to Marilyn Manson.

The opening lines to “Cake and Sodomy,” much like the rest of the song, were a big fuck you to pretty much everything.

“I am the God of fuck,” Manson, calmly proclaims.

The chorus, “White trash get down on your knees, time for cake and sodomy” though catchy, was an obvious stab at redneck America. Specifically those in the Midwest that Mr. Manson grew up around in Canton, Ohio.

“Lunchbox” was next up, a tale about a child being bullied, then the child turning to violence as a weapon of retaliation.

It was also an acknowledgment to all of the Manson fans, A.K.A. the “Spooky Kids” who would carry lunchboxes to his shows when the band was relatively unknown and still playing in Florida.

The next two tracks, “Organ Grinder” and “Cyclops” are gritty, hard hitting and disturbing.

Upon first listen, “Organ Grinder” is shocking with its lyrical content, dealing with everything from penis envy to self-loathing.

“Cyclops” is a straightforward rocker that is the perfect prelude to perhaps the albums catchiest song, “Dope Hat.”

The songs guitar riff, bass line and drums, along with Manson’s hypnotic vocals, are enough to send you into a trance, as the beat is sure to be stuck in your head for hours.

The music video, the third single off of the album, fits the song perfectly as you follow Manson and his band mates through a twisted, perverted boat ride straight out of Willy Wonka.

Track number seven is a brutal number that features a surreal/nightmarish video.

“Get Your Gunn,” which was the albums first single, takes a stab at pro-lifers and right-wing religious fanatics alike.

Ironic lyrics such as, “The housewife I will beat/the pro-life I will kill, what you won’t do I will” help spearhead Manson’s message of hypocritical, white trash American’s.

During the breakdown of the song, voices are heard in the background and a gunshot is fired, adding more to the shock value is the fact it was real, as it was an excerpt from Budd Dwyer’s ill-fated press conference in 1987. (Don’t know who Budd Dwyer is? Google the video.)

The song “Wrapped in Plastic” (a personal favorite) followed. Manson got the name of the song from the popular TV series “Twin Peaks.”

One of the first scenes from the pilot episode shows a character that finds the shows (dead) star, to which he proclaims, “She’s dead, wrapped in plastic.”

The series was a personal favorite of Manson’s and he uses several samples from the show in this song about how, from the outside, many family’s appear to have the All-American, white picket fence lifestyle, but it’s what happens inside of the home that tells the real story.

“Dogma” and “Sweet Tooth” follow before the three-headed monster of “Snake Eyes and Sissies”, “My Monkey” and “Misery Machine” hits.

“Snake Eyes and Sissies” was originally intended to be the first single, but it was never released.

One can see why it was a strong contender with its undeniably catchy bass line and Berkowitz grungy guitar riff.

One of the oddest tracks is “My Monkey” but it surprisingly works well.

The verse features Manson’s voice being transformed into a child like enigma, before blasting off into his gritty, sarcastic vocals during the chorus.

Lastly the masterpiece ends with “Misery Machine” a song the band regularly closed with during concerts.

The track is pure mayhem as every instrument seems to be in overdrive and ready to explode at any given moment until the song suddenly slows down into a slow, heavy groove toward the end.

That’s when Manson’s voice joins the instruments in becoming slow, but heavy at the same time, before blasting through the intense ending that eventually leads into a sample of a phone call received from an angry parent of a Manson fan.

Though this album was only a prelude to the controversy that was to come with subsequent albums, this may be Mr. Manson’s finest effort, especially lyrically.

Many of the albums references are still relevant today as we live in a world full of hypocrites and self-righteous people.

Little did the world know, in 1994, that this was just the start and that two years later Marilyn Manson would become the most hated person and band in the entire world…

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Godflesh

Artist: Godflesh

Album: Decline and Fall

Release Date: 6/2/14

Rating: 9/10

Many of the down-tuned, guttural vocal bands that dominated the scene of the late 90’s, owe their entire career, and then some, to Godflesh. The pioneering industrial metal act, led by mastermind guitarist and vocalist, Justin Broadrick, burst onto the scene in around 1990, just as the industrial sound as it came to be was reaching it’s creative peak. Whereas acts like Ministry and KMFDM where fusing sampled drum loops with thrash metal guitar riffs, Godflesh choose a similar path, only using slowed down, low-tuned doom and sludge metal style riffs.

Their innovative style, an entire song or a good portion of a song revolving around a repeating heavy riffs and mechanical grove, proved to be a huge influence on nu metal acts like KoRn and Coal Chamber several years later. With successful albums such as Streetcleaner, Pure, and Songs of Love and Hate, Godflesh also helped push future industrial acts like Fear Factory and Static-X in a more metal-dominated direction.

After retiring Godflesh for nearly a decade and striking out with the more indie/shoegaze project Jesu, Broadrick resurrected the band four years ago and now returns with a new EP.

Decline and Fall is the Godflesh fans have been yearning for. It represents a refreshed, mature and even more angry unit, with the energy and passion of a new act on their debut release. The EP kicks off with the single “Ringer,” a slamming industrial-sludge grinder that boldly sets the tone. From there, the ferocious “Dogbite” and the droningly melodic “Playing with Fire” return Godflesh to their heyday, but with an even darker and heavier take. Finally, the closing track, “Decline and Fall,” shows Broadrick and bassist G.C. Green hitting a creative high.

The best thing about Decline and Fall is that it sounds like an industrial metal from the genre’s heyday without feeling dated. Perhaps Godflesh was always a few steps ahead of their time, and only to be imitated, and in some cases ripped off, by acts who would achieve far more mainstream success. Still, if anything, Decline and Fall boldly proves that Godflesh are, and always have been innovators and originators.

The only flaw is that the EP ends abruptly. It rises, nearly climaxes, but drops. However, despite the tease of an EP, a full-length is scheduled for the Fall of this year. In the meantime, fans from back in the day, as well as fans of industrial and the growing sludge and doom scenes will appreciate Decline and Fall, as it is truly a return to their gloomy glory!

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Incentive. Photo courtesy of the official Facebook page.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Magnificent talent lurks from every crack and corner of Northeast Ohio. Many can be seen slugging it out for dominance in local clubs and bars. Yet some fly under the radar, spreading like a disease around you before finally creeping out at the last possible second, and altering your idea entirely of what the scene is, can and should be.

Such is the case for Incentive. Hiding along the shadows of the Canton, Ohio music scene, Incentive is a self-produced, self-released one-man post-industrial act. The music is comprised of distorted and contorted electronic noise, with hints of melody laid throughout. Similar to the likes of Coil and Cabaret Voltaire, Incentive utilizes the blatant noise and atmospherics of classic industrial, with hints of Post-Punk, Goth, IDM, Noise, and Witch house for a classic yet contemporary electro-industrial sound.

The man behind Incentive, James Osborne, said his musical influences’ roots lie across all plains of the electronic spectrum.

“In high school I listened to quite a bit of Japanese Noise, the old stuff from the Boredoms before they turned into more of a Kraut Rock-type group. I was also into industrial music a lot too, stuff like KMFDM and some of the works from Killing Joke,” said Osborne.

However, he said his perspective of the industrial genre is based more in imagery and ideas than a one particular sound.

“I think the best way to describe industrial music is not necessarily trying to categorize it by its sound, but by its mindset as well. When you look at a lot of early-80’s industrial videos and such, they all have very similar imagery. That sort of weird post-dystopian imagery and wastelands. I think it’s about trying to show the reality of industrialization, and now this post-industrialization that we’re living in,” said Osborne.

Incentive began making noise in 2003, experimenting with limitless boundaries of the process of creating machine-based music, with an indication of a broken human soul subtly strung throughout. By 2009, Incentive had compiled enough material for a debut release, No Justice, No Peace. Since then, he has released an album’s worth of music consecutively each year. Three of the more recent albums, Cyberpunk Age, Ascension of Isaiah and Prospect St., are available for purchase at Incentive’s official Bandcamp page.

Currently, Incentive is hard at work on yet another album, which is nearing completion.

“The album I’m working on right now, I’ve been working on since August. And I’d say it’s about 75 percent complete right now,” said Osborne.

Music is not the only trade Osborne has mastered. He has also launched the successful independent record label, Dystopiaq Records. Along with Incentive’s entire discography, Dystopiaq, which operates under and Creative Commons License, has released records from various experimental electronic bedroom artists, as well as a number of compilations featuring bedroom artists from around the globe. The label, which was founded in 2009, was designed to release and promote “products that put wrinkles in your brain.”

The label’s official Facebook indicates:

“Dystopiaq releases consistently unique and interesting cuts from the around the world. We primarily focus on a wide range of electronic music, but we have no issues with other styles.”

Osborne said Dystopiaq will continue to seek out and release distinctive talent, from whatever corner of the world it may lie.

Nine Inch Nails circa 1994. Photo courtesy of www.rollingstone.com.

Nine Inch Nails circa 1994. Photo courtesy of www.rollingstone.com.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

By 1994, a paradigm shift took place in popular music, particularly that of rock and roll. Alternative music went mainstream, and Gen X music was at the forefront. Where acts like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and AC/DC that once reigned supreme had now fallen into parents’ record collections. New acts like Nirvana, R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam were among the crop of new “rock heroes,” all containing the same punk rock ethos and anti-establishment philosophies. And at head of this movement in 1994 was none other that industrial crossover act, Nine Inch Nails.

Lead primarily by the project’s mastermind, Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails had firmly established themselves within the alternative scene by the early 90’s. Taking influence from industrial pioneers Ministry and Skinny Puppy, and infiltrating alt-rock audiences like that of Jane’s Addiction and The Cure, NIN had carved out a very particular niche in the scene. Their debut, 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine, along with show-stopping performances at the inaugural Lollapalooza Festival tour, had landed them a large crossover audience between the industrial and alternative scenes. However, it would only prove to a glimpse of what was to come.

After the release of the Broken EP in 92, NIN clearly proved to be the darkest and heaviest of their peers with still a glimmer of commercial appeal. After breaking from their former label, TVT Records, Reznor and co. landed on the relatively new Interscope Records. Their new found freedom would prove productive, as the music had taken a turn in a much darker, menacing, and ultimately more satisfying direction for Reznor.

Relocating to Los Angeles and renting the infamous house where the Manson family had murder Sharon Tate and her entourage nearly two decades prior as a recording studio, NIN’s follow-up was shrouded in darkness and mystery from the get-go. From these sessions, The Downward Spiral was conceived and birthed. Where Pretty Hate Machine was still minor key yet up tempo and laid with pop hooks, The Downward Spiral was bleaker and far more experimental in sound.

The Downward Spiral is one of the heaviest albums ever made, yet has little to do with metal in a traditional sense. Sure, grinding distorted guitars are present and strung throughout. But the overall sound, the wailing atmospherics and layers of indefinable samples, only add to the noise, creating a mood that is often heavier than metal itself.

Opening with a sample from George Lucas’ THX 1138, the album kicks off with the industrial-metal slammer, “Mr. Self Destruct,” setting the angst-ridden and nihilistic tone of the album. After descending into pure noise, the drum and bass lead “Piggy” creeps a bit slower but equally effectively into the psyche of the listener. Reznor lifts the “God is dead”  mantra of Nietzche as a line in his bleak railing against Christianity and organized religion on “Heresy,” and offers one of the most memorial slamming percussive assults ever recorded on the punk-ish “March of the Pigs.”

The album then takes its first of two dynamic left turns, going into the danceable Goth anthem, “Closer.” One of the only songs on The Downward Spiral to feature a notable hook, “Closer” may have had the naughtiest one of all time: “I want to fuck you like an animal, I want to feel you from the inside.” Despite this, the song became an unexpected hit, and the highest charting single for the band for the next 11 years. A very artistic video was directed by Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) and featured heavy overtones of the juxtaposition of sex and religion in various manners. An edited version became a hit and went into regular rotation on MTV.

The album continues the angst and nihilism, painting the picture of an individual who is strung out, finished with love and religion, and in the throws of madness and addiction. Tracks like “Ruiner” (featuring one of the best guitar solos of the era), “The Becoming” and “I Do Not Want This,” indicate the character’s transformation, slipping further away from who they once were. The controversial “Big Man with a Gun,” pokes fun at male misogynist portrayals in pop-culture while reaching a new extreme of sonic and lyrical torment. The quieter and peaceful instrumental, “A Warm Place,” breaks the wall of noise only briefly before leading into the creeping “Eraser.” The sludgy Godflesh-like “Reptile” best portrays the anguish in Reznor’s voice before leading into the title track, leaving the listener to question whether the album’s character had actually committed suicide or just slipped completely,

Finally, it concludes with the second and final left turn, the relatively quiet and folk-sounding “Hurt.” Somber and gentle, yet painful and confessional, “Hurt” provides a look through the eyes of an addict, who as Reznor had explained is “left with only themselves at the end of the day.” The song would prove to be a popular hit among NIN fans, but would even see a far broader and unexpected audience when it was covered by Johnny Cash in 2003 as one of the last recordings he chose to make before passing away.

Despite its overall intensity and austerity, The Downward Spiral had helped break Nine Inch Nails into the mainstream. A few months following it’s release, the band took part in the 25th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, playing live to an estimated 5 million viewers and 100,000 in attendance. Their popularity soared, and the following Self Destruct tour, as well as the Outside tour with David Bowie only expanded their reach. By the end of the decade, The Downward Spiral would go on to sell over 5 million copies.

The pressure for a follow up proved to be a bit overwhelming for Reznor at the time. As he succumbed to the demons he addressed on The Downward Spiral, Reznor spent the most of the latter half of the 90’s battling depression and addiction. It would be 5 long years before The Fragile was released, and the music scene had drastically changed. The core audience was there, but the mainstream attention had mostly disappeared. By 2005, Reznor had kicked his demons once and for all and released the mega successful With Teeth, bringing the band back as one of the most important acts of the alternative and industrial genres. Their success would continue as the release of three more albums followed through the end of the 00’s. In 2013, Nine Inch Nails released their eighth album, Hesitation Marks, to positive reviews. The band, now 25 years into their career, still remains relevant and powerful despite entering into what’s quickly being considered classic rock.

20 years after its release, The Downward Spiral still holds up, and will still ruin your day if listened to in its entirety, almost like the Dark Side of the Moon for Gen Xers. It’s influence has stood the test of time, and it still remains a key gem of the band’s now massive discography. Tracks like “March of the Pigs” and “Reptile” are still staples at live shows, and it’s hard to find a “Greatest Albums of the 90’s” list without seeing it in a relatively high position. The underground appeal is still in tact as well, with an array of new post-hardcore, post-industrial, metal and Goth acts citing it as a key influence. And at the rate NIN are going these days, more of their records are bound to reach the level of iconography The Downward Spiral has.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Gary-Numan-Splinter

Artist: Gary Numan

Album: Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind)

Release Date: 10/15/13

Rating: 4.8/5

For some, Gary Numan was a mere one-hit wonder amongst a vast crop of early 80’s synth-pop nostalgia. His lone pop hit, “Cars,” has become a staple of 80’s compilations albums, and rightfully so! He kicked the door open for a whole slew of new wave and synth-pop acts in the early days of MTV. However, not as many are aware that he’s been consistently making influential and groundbreaking music for 30 years and counting.

What Numan lacks in chart toppers, he more than makes up for in a strong discography and a prominent presence amongst underground electronic and alternative music. Originally a punk rocker, Numan went solo in the early 80’s and took his love for Kraftwerk and Berlin-era Bowie to the next level, inventing his own brand of electronic, synth-heavy proto-industrial. After the success of “Cars,” Numan continuing making challenging electronic music. His influence has spread far a wide, being covered by the likes of Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and Foo Fighters, as well as acts like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and Fear Factory citing Numan as a key influence.

Over the years, Numan’s music had grown darker and moodier. By the 90’s he was keeping in touch with the industrial scene, as well as making a splash among the Goth and darkwave scenes. In recent years, Numan’s music has grown increasing aggressive, adapting heavily distorted guitars to compliment the equally distorted pulsing synths.

This sound is most notable on his latest release, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind). It kicks off with the heavy riffing “I Am Dust” featuring Nine Inch Nails axeman Robin Finck. The industrial rock powerhouse continues on “Here in the Black” and “Everything Comes Down to This,” creating a wall of noise, laden with driving beats, throbbing synths and mean riffs. The title track “Splinter” stops for a more atmospheric and brooding vibe, while the piano-driven “Lost” provides a dark and moody, heavy NIN-like build. Unsurprisingly, this track also features Finck on guitar.

More head bumping and booty shaking noise takes control from there with the KMFDM-like “Love Hurt Bleed” where Numan growls “everything bleeds” repeatedly. Dance club banger Goth anthems “A Shadow Falls on Me” and “We’re the Unforgiven” continue the assault, finally climaxing with the melancholy closing track, “My Last Day.”

Splinter is, in many ways, the album industrial fans have been waiting for. It’s dark, moody and heavy, but not in the bland and redundant detuned, double-bass metal attack that dominates most so-called industrial. It harks back to golden age of industrial, from 1988-95, before the genre splint into either more metal or techno directions.

Most of the tracks on Splinter are key listens, with hardly a falter throughout the album. Certainly the tracks “I Am Dust,” “Everything Comes Down to This” and “A Shadow Falls on Me” will catch the listener by storm. But it would be foolish to count out the more atmospheric tracks like “Lost,” “Splinter” and “My Last Day,” where although the aggression is more subtle, it’s a slower yet ultimately harder punch.

If Numan continues to make music this hard-hitting and this good, hits or not, he’ll continue to remain relevant for another 30 years.

Ian Curtis of Joy Division.

Ian Curtis of Joy Division.

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)

The often misunderstood (or mystified) Goth genre has roots in the darker and/or unexplored Glam Rock and of the course early modern European historical definition. While many rock journalists have cited Jim Morrison the first Gothic Rock singer with his low, intriguing baritone vocals and previously unexplored lyrical themes which were often disturbing both psychologically and artistically in the 60’s, The Velvet Underground achieved the complete backdrop instrumentally and via arrangement including stylistic contributions.

Lou Reed, singer/songwriter, along with Sterling Morrison, the explorative guitarist and velvet-voiced songstress, Nico probably had more in common with darker art rock of their day but this is in fact why they were astounding as an ensemble to the genre’s infancy.

Into the 70’s, Nick Cave and The Birthday Party continued to travel the uncharted territories with his own brand of improv and perceived madness. And while Ian Curtis of Joy Division did much of the same, he examined personal and rugged emotion, no matter the sort. The depressed Goth myth can begin here unfortunately.

Obvious Jim Morrison influences in lower vocal register were apparent, staggered lyric-focused melodies (like Reed’s) were also highlighted. But instrumentally, The Birthday Party and Joy Division embodied not only the “sound” but also arrangement which as again revamped but with a focus on bottom register as a whole (i.e. bass guitar and other instruments which include a lasher/velvety bottom end or even guitars with deeper timbre). These elements were explored and solidified. The style and name of the genre was being defined.

In September of 1979, Tony Wilson, journalist and host of the British show, So It Goes, used the term Gothic to define Joy Division’s stark and eerie style.

“Dancing music with Gothic overtones.” he explained.

By the time contemporaries such as the longstanding Sisters of Mercy which spanned, and spawned many other subgenres such as Goth-Industrial and Goth Metal. Eventually, contemporaries such as Souxsie and the Banshees and The Cure added their elements and developed their more otherworldly, ethereal take on the genre lyrically and instrumentally. Often sporting an odd mash up of the darker corners of the Glam Rock movement and a sort of Post-Punk irony, the aforementioned acts delivered and stamped Goth Rock into the psyches of any sub or sub sub-genre.

While some sub-genres are often thought of when many people nowadays think of “Goth,” there is no substitute for the root and its purposes; examining universal dark themes (not evil, but dark).

Dark is defined in the Free Dictionary as “Lacking or having very little light: a dark corner. b. Lacking brightness: a dark day. 2. Reflecting only a small fraction of incident light.” Such is the very definition of Goth in ANY medium dating back to Medieval and Renaissance visual art and architecture.

While acts such as Bauhaus are often praised and many worthy modern Goth acts (especially Industrial acts) such as ThouShaltNot are overlooked, modern dark ambient and ethereal examples especially from the Projekt Records label are strongest overall “GOTHS.” Acts such as Black Tape for a Blue Girl, This Ascension and Unto Ashes, as well as the solo projects from Mortiis from the Black Metal band, Emperor, own this era of the genre and have kept it strong and genuine since the 90’s via label owner and musician, Sam Rosenthal.

In addition to my “Picks of the Week” which spanned a proto- Goth to 80’s Goth timeline, I also offer for your consideration the aforementioned classic acts and the following modern often overlooked examples of the best of the genre. Enjoy! And do try and pick up or legally download these independent artists’ records.

Black Tape for a Blue Girl – Across a Thousand Blades

This Ascension – Mysterium

ThouShaltNot – Without Faith

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Ministry

Artist: Ministry

Album: From Beer to Eternity

Rating: 3.7/5

Release Date: 9/10/13

Following the release of 2007’s The Last Sucker and the world tour that followed, Ministry mainman Al Jourgensen claimed he would put the band to rest indefinitely. Retiring on top of a successful career renaissance, Ministry released a trio of albums during the years of the George W. Bush presidency, heavily criticizing the administration. And Ministry and Bush were to live happily ever after in history. However, that plan didn’t exactly follow through.

By 2011, Jorgensen had reunited with long-time Ministry guitarist and collaborator, Mike Scaccia, to work on their country side-project, Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters. Scaccia had left Ministry during The Last Sucker sessions to reunite with Death Metal pioneers Rigor Mortis, his pre-Ministry band. It wasn’t long after getting a taste of the brutal break-neck riffs Scaccia was so well known for that Jourgensen decided to resurrect Ministry, and 2012’s lackluster effort, Relapse, was produced.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck the Ministry camp in December of last year. Scaccia collapsed on stage and died of congestive heart failure while performing in his home state of Texas. His death deeply affected Jourgensen, who had a long close friendship with him. Nevertheless, triumph overcame tragedy as Jourgensen decided to use Scaccia’s leftover tracks and churn out one last final piece of uncompromising, politically-fueled industrial-metal.

From Beer to Eternity, Ministry’s thirteenth and supposedly final studio album, was release on Sept. 10 via Jourgensen’s 13th Planet Records. After the flop that was Relapse, From Beer to Eternity is a crushingly concise piece of music that will leave Ministry fans of all era pleased.

The album kicks off the lengthy intro track, “Hail to His Majesty (Peasants), a mid-tempo slugger that utilizes Ministry’s trademark quip and ranting. From there, “Punch in the Face” slams with the industrial-metal the band has spent a career pioneering. Classic Ministry through and through, the track sees heavy use of (often comical) samples with machine gun-like programmed drums colliding into a wall of thrash guitars.

From there, more trademark Ministry takes hold. A trio of tracks, including the first single, “PermaWar,” “Perfect Storm,” and “Fairly Unbalanced” all use (and abuse) political themes, giving the far right a repeated kick in the balls. “PermaWar,” a track that’s very in tune which today’s political climate involving the issues with Syria, talks of America’s ever-thriving lust for violence and war, and politicians getting their rocks off in the process. “Perfect Storm” continues along similar lines, with Jourgensen screaming, “These politicians stick their heads in the sand, that’s their solution to the problem at hand. A perfect storm is coming our way, but I think this one is gonna stay.” If you can get past the tired growling vocals, these are really good songs, among the best the album has to offer. Finally, “Fairly Unbalanced” takes a jab at the overtly biased Fox News Channel with a riff that sounds like it could have been heard on Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All.

Sample heavy tracks “The Horror” and “Side FX Include Mikey’s Middle Finger (TV 4)” hark back to Ministry’s early and more primitive industrial days, while “Lesson Unlearned” incorporates an infectious groove amidst the chaos. The Album then begins to drag, with the unnecessarily overdrawn tracks “Thanx but No Thanx” and “Change of Luck.” These tracks get their point across well before their respective eight and seven-minute marks. Finally, the album concludes in true Ministry fashion, with a clash of unintelligible noise on “Enjoy the Quiet.”

From Beer to Eternity is a mostly solid album, their most solid in over a decade. Any riff of Scaccia’s is certainly a highlight. Long gone are the days of The Land of Rape and Honey and The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, Ministry’s groundbreaking classics. But the band has naturally evolved into a more thrash metal direction, with the emphasis of classic industrial elements dwindling. The album does have it’s share of moments where it touches back to those days, more than any Ministry album since 1996’s Filth Pig. And, thanks to Scaccia, there are no shortage of well constructed, brutal heavy riffs.

All in all, From Beer to Eternity is a good send off for Ministry, as well as an accurate portrait of Mike Scaccia’s intricate style. Pleasing to fans old and new, an album certainly worth picking up for fans of industrial and extreme metal.

Scar the Martyr. Photo courtesy of roadrunnerrecords.com.

Scar the Martyr. Photo courtesy of roadrunnerrecords.com.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Slipknot drum virtuoso Joey Jordison is no stranger to exploring unfamiliar territory. Aside from the multi-platinum nine-piece unit, Jordison serves as the guitarists and co-songwriter for horror-glam outfit Murderdolls, and has filled in behind the kit for the likes of KoRn, Satyricon, Ministry, and Rob Zombie to name a few. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that during his down time from the Knot he’s getting his hands dirty again.

Earlier this year, Joridson decided to test the waters of the industrial-metal that influenced his formative years, thus forming his new band, Scar the Martyr. Handling the duties of drums, bass and rhythm guitar for the project, Jordison recruited ex-Stapping Young Lad guitarist Jed Simon, ex-Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna for programming and relatively unknown vocalist, Henry Derek Bonner for the studio sessions. The result is Scar the Martyr’s self-titled debut, due Oct. 1 via Roadrunner Records, which fuses metalcore and death metal with elements of industrial metal.

2013 has been a good year for industrial, seeing releases from genre pioneers like Skinny Puppy, Ministry and Nine Inch Nails as well as a successful side-project of Disturbed’s David Dramain called Device. With that being said, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for Jordison to capitalize on. Although Scar the Martyr has it’s share of bleeps and bloops and ambient textures, it certainly has more of a modern metal sound than that of straightforward industrial.

Scar the Martyr begins with an instrumental album opener consisting of frightening samples, setting the tone for the album and project, leading into the track “Dark Ages.” “Dark Ages” is a slamming good time, with grinding guitars and Jordison’s signature machine gun drumming. A good introduction to the band, seeing all of its key elements at full throttle on one track.

From there, the combination of industrial-influenced riffing and slamming percussion continues over the next couple tracks, leading into the lead single, “Blood Host.” “Blood Host,” most likely alluding to some sort of parasitic nature, serves as the perfect single, with a crushing yet dissonant drone similar to Fear Factory. “Anatomy of Erinyes”  and “Prayer for Prey” give off a darker aura, with more descending riffs and tribal drumming. The album closes with the droning and brutal opus, “Last Night on Earth.”

Fans of Slipknot and/or run-of-the-mill industrial metal may be slightly put off by Scar the Martyr, typically because of the abundance of soaring vocals found in more modern styles like metalcore. However, they work in good contrast to the hints of Stapping Young Lad, Fear Factory and Ministry that also ooze throughout the album.

Overall, the album, and band, can see as yet another victory for Jordison. Not only has he futher reached into unknown territory, but he has succeed with an original take on a highly influential genre of extreme and underground metal.

Audiences have agreed, as proven on Scar the Matyr’s initial tour opening for Danzig and strong hype surrounding the album’s release. Die-hard fans of the failing industrial metal can also revel in the fact that new and interesting bands are waving the flag for the genre and taking it to new and interesting places. Without a doubt, it is with great hope that Jordison continues this project between jaunts with Slipknot and that it doesn’t fall into the vast abyss of one-off projects.