NIN

All posts tagged NIN

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.

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.