The ancient Greeks believed in mythical beings that sang to weary sailors, drawing them to their beautiful voices but in the end only offered death called sirens. ODDKO are an act from Los Angeles and have been around since 2011. 26th of November saw the release of the single “Siren Song“, with the man behind it all, Giovanni Bucci being joined by Francesco Paoli (Fleshgod Apocalypse) and Dave Tavanti (Kpanic) to record the EP, DigitalGods. Bucci is also known for being a filmmaker and specializing in special effects.
“Siren Song” is very much about the commercialism of society, so much so the release date coincided with Black Friday.. An observation about people who feel that life will never complete if they don’t own the latest or the newest product. The producers get rich, those that consume poorer and the environment pays the biggest price in all this greed.
This video is a pretty show of virtual special effects which obviously this is due to Bucci’s prowess in this field but I have to say, he actually writes a mean tune as well. I am trying to put my finger on what I like about this track. Is it the catchy chorus? The orchestration? The huge guitar riffs that thunder through or is it Bucci’s passionate vocals? It is more than likely a combination of this and the theme they are pushing home.
When brothers Eric and Jeremy Hanes of Spankthenun released the albumBunker Tapes Vol I, in the beginning of 2021, they found they had created enough material to record Bunker Tapes Vol II, which hit us on October, the 27th. Spankthenun have been on the scene since 2019 and yet they are already an integral part of the American and world wide industrial scene with feature artists, other bands remixing their music and a huge number of guest remixes for other acts under their belts.
The lads roped in Claus Larsen of Leæther Strip fame, to guest vocal on the single “Off Beatings” which of course had to be a single. This is a slow burn of angst that Larsen pulls off so well. There is something about the beginning of “I Self Me” that invokes goosebumps, it is possibly the scintillating synths mixed with the gritty vocals. Is it just me, or does the little electronic voice sound like the robots aboard the Cylon mother ship of the original Battlestar Galactica in “The Smoking Gun”? Nefarious things are afoot. Itwas never you says Jeremy in his abrasive metalized observation before we are hit with the rather dance-able “Right Father“, a call to keep the bastards in power honest and accountable, because it is true that the more the wealthy will continue to reap the cash and watch the poor fade away.
“Sick Pathos” again has those brilliant beats that propel it along and lead into “Man In The Moon“, who sounds like a rather vicious fellow who spreads descent and mistrust with the music taking on the dark oppressive attitude. “Industrial Beats” definitely have industrial beats that pound on because there is a specific list of things this industrialist likes and needs. Hard to tell if this is tongue in cheek or not but make sure you get your beets (sic) as they are now stuck in my head. We all live in the broken machine,lockdown is “Lockdown” and honestly two years ago, the term lockdown was used for security facilities mostly and not civilians but now it is common vocab in this dystopian feel track.
The nonsensical “I Am The Fire” is a bit of a fun and the last track before the four guest remixes of which the first is the Mirland remix of “Off Beatings” with it’s more crunchy textures that the Europeans do so well. NatureOf Wires polishes “Right Father” and it is given a more sci fi feel while “The Smoking Gun” is given the treatment by Planet Damage and this becomes a different creature. Last of these great remixes is the Psychosomatik and they take “I Self Me” to dance floor heaven
Listening to Spankthenun really is a bit like a timewarp and landing back in the 90s when there was a turn towards a heavier, gritty tone lead by SkinnyPuppy, Ministry et al. There are tell tale signs of the 80s industrial influences that graduate into the 2000s by the end of the album which was done on purpose. The remixes are the modern cream on top so to speak. Social concious mixed with great music never goes wrong and Spankthenun has both.
Nathan Amundson, from Denver, Colorado, has been at the helm of the band Rivulets, since 2000. The latest single to be released on November the 1st, is a song that can be found on the 2006 album, You Are My Home, however this version is a digital master of the track “Can’t I Wonder“, performed solo by Amundson.
This is literally one man and his acoustic guitar. The vocals are soft and Amundson has a very sweet timbre. For me, the song makes me think of snow and frosty mornings, when the day is quiet. You are alone in your thoughts because a new day has broken and it full of possibilities.
This is a very stripped back affair compared to the 2006 version though I feel both deserve their time in the light. The current single has a sense of both lament and hope, brought to the foreground because the bones and soul have been lair bare for all to see. You could describe the music as minimalist indie folk but we will just say that Rivulets do this really well.
Detonic Recordings released on November the 16th, the latest album from mnttaB called This Friction. Okay, it is a bit like this. We get an email with the album and cover plus a cryptic hope you like this message. That’s it. I know they are from Melbourne and possibly one guy. Is his name Richard Payne? Is he also known as Dik Detonic from Australian post-punk band S:Bahn? I bloody don’t know but have an inkling it is this ex Brit.
So we kick off with “Alison” and there is the drum machine diligently doing its thing while the synths take center stage until the vocals chime in, A very English accent tells you that Alison is always in the right place at the right time, The tonal electronics start before the bright synths for “Denominator“. The lightness of the synths is in contrast to the lyrical content which speaks of lost dreams and entrenched sadness of being.
Title track “This Friction” is actually glorious for minimal fare. It has this science fiction feel with the sound building and becoming a near cacophony until the sudden stop. There is a woman speaking… is she speaking English? Is is hard to tell but it may be German. “Ulrike” is like a dream where you think you are awake but cannot grasp anything tangible.
Hmmm what to make of “Burnt To A Crisp“. His dinner may be ruined or all his hopes and aspirations but he’s not happy whatever the case. You mention “Xerox” and I think of Adam And The Ants which was a very catchy tune and this as well will get stuck in your head. This possibly the stand out song and I really like it with the bleating electronics and the way kind of becomes a bit intense and crazed. “Sensurround” is the last track and it feels like it was lifted from Blake 7 or Tron. It is fleeting, for as you get into it, then it is gone.
mnttaB describe this album as moods raging from abrasion to a caress. Contrail or Chem-trail? Kaleidoscope or Rorschach? Its hard to tell until you get up close. They aren’t wrong and it feels like going back in time when synthesizers were more basic, conjuring up the ghosts of Fad Gadget or Cabaret Voltaire and yet there is a fair amount of punk attitude also. Punk, minimal electronica and we are having a good time!
Zac Pliska and Emily Sturm make up the band known as VAZUM. Their music has been described as deathrock with shoegaze or deathgaze but on the latest album, there has been a paradigm shift. They released the new album titled Unrated V on October 22nd and the theme throughout seems to be the creatures and humans that inhabit the inky night and demonic spaces.
From the beginning, you can hear that his is going to be a different VAZUM album, a more industrial electro sound is creeping in and the “Jester” is a genuinely verbose and grandiose example. The nine minute epic will wind you up in it’s synth laden tentacles, enthralling you. The single “Lycanthrope” very much features Sturm’s vocals in this tale of werewolves and the animals men become. The chorus is a beautiful swirling gothic affair and speaking of gothic, vampires come hand in hand with the genre. “Vampyre” is probably a far more truthful examination of the blood suckers world, where everyone is just a food source to them. A nice heavy mood that smothers us in the dank blood-lust.
Everyone needs a woman pieced together from other’s dead flesh so they can have a “Frankenstein Gurl” though she will more than likely kill you in the end and this tune is a stonking representation with it’s scintillating synths and uncompromising rhythm. The tone turns a bit stalkerish as we join the “Vampire Killer” on his quest to remove the parasites that plaque human kind. There is great purpose to the music and Pliska cannot be swayed by Sturm’s sensual words of ownership and death. The synths waver and Latin is invoked for this is the “Wytch Lych“. The track gives the impression of impending doom if you are not found worthy of the witch’s time and it is a fabulously powerful piece.
For the rest of the album, it delves into a more instrumental and experimental vein. “Fantoms” is full of bells tolling, dark bass tone and creeping synths like something you would find in a Hammer Horror movie as Christopher Lee searches for his next victim. The far more electronic “Wytch Tech“, with Sturm’s sighed vocals could be a modern summoning ritual putting you into a techno trance. Following up is “Summon Her” where there are industrial clanks and screeching, near metallic sounds. You can imagine a thick fog where disturbing not quite human voices can be heard.
There has been folklore tied to the Gypsy people that they have unnatural powers and you will have to make up your mind as you listen to the trap like “Romany Way“. I remember a dark, British children’s television show I watched as a child, where there was an old grandfather clock that would strike thirteen at night and everything would go back to a past life. “Thirteenth Hour” reminded me of this with it’s mysterious wending synths. Your final track is “The Abyss“, a place that is unfathomable and permeates the mind with dread at what lays within, the unknown and music gives it a science fiction overdrive.
Some bands go on and they often lose what drew you to them or the quality just cannot be maintained. VAZUM just seems to be going from strength to strength. They remind me of the wonderful Faith And The Muse except they have a dark gritty core mixing industrial into their music which is making them a hybrid beast of much beauty.
David Lawrie is The Royal Ritual and November, 5th was the release date for the second single “Empires“, that will be on the new album, MARTYRS which is being released in the first half of 2022. Lawrie is the live guitarist with London After Midnight but also a composer/producer in his own right as well as sound engineer for television and movies, experience which he brings to his music,
There is something a little epic about the beginning, the pomp and ceremony of a bygone era. It evokes the images of India Raj and colonization in a movie. The vocals are deep and resonant enough to give you shivers up and down your spine. I am going to assume that the lyrics refer to the Victorian age of Empire, where being British came with a lot of privilege to plunder other cultures and yet there were so many rules to abide by in polite society so as not to lose face or standing. There is in the background a sad version of “Land Of Hope AndGlory“, a testament to fall from grace.
There is no empire anymore, as time and world events have wiped it away and only a shadow of a ill remembered memory of something that was glorious. Or was it? Don’t speak of the poor houses, match girls and slums of merry England at the time. Lawrie is looking into the very British psyche of the stiff upper lip and he has found it lacking but more to a point, given us an almost cinematic and thought provoking track.
Plastic Assault Network (PAN) is a new super group to hit the scene. Founded by singer/songwriter Robert Andrew Bowman (Randolph’s Grin) who has pulled talent from across three continents, including fifteen musicians into his cyberpunk collaboration. Their second single was released in November called “Wall Breaker“.
Walls are funny things. They have been built to keep people safe while keeping others out, then others have been built to hold humans in so they cannot escape. Those are the physical walls but even when they crumble the mental ones remain. “Wall Breaker” is about overcoming all barriers that cause conflict, hatred and bias. The vocals are passionate about the fear used to control the masses. This gets nice and bass heavy, with the electronics swirling and filling every space with sound, making the song come crashing down on your senses.
As you would expect from a project with several studios involved, the sound is seamless and crystal clear production. Have to say it is always satisfying hearing a real drummer smashing it in the rhythm section and this is Jörn Schwarzburger (Randolph’s Grin). Co-producer is Per-Anders Kurenbach (ex Psyche, The Eternal Afflict, Shock Therapy, Dark State, reADJUST, Nine Circles) who is well known for his mixing skills and keyboard wizardry, while on backing vocals duty as well as drums and guitar is Reyka Osburn of Death Valley High fame. So what is next for Plastic Assault Network? I guess we watch this space but it is a rather exciting prospect where they take this. Industrial music is the beating heart of resistance, speaking for those who that cannot.
There are some albums that come around and they make you stop in your tracks with the pure musical delight they are. Brisbane based Jerm is Stephanie Ganfield and she released her debut, self titled album on October 22nd. Jerm’s style I would describe as experimental electro-industrial with gothic overtones.
The delicate fluctuating rhythm free flows into the distortion and the gorgeously sensual vocals alight it all and this is just the beginning of the album with “White Lies“. It graduates in power and the synths sprinkle down. The single. “Make Your Mind” is a little creepy with the whispered lyrics asking you to make your mind up and yet there is this glorious chorus that sweeps you skyward. “At Night” has an odd syncopation but it works giving the song an even more languid feel, as though there is a hopelessness in the darkest hours of the night.
Her voice is mesmerizing in “Left Behind“, a single released back in 2018 under the moniker Germ, and the electronics just highlight the sweetness and purity of the singing. It is exciting to hear something that is experimental and so stimulating, which brings us to “Gem” with bursts of noise like mini fireworks erupting in the background. Slow and thought provoking with so much movement within the track. There is the brief interlude with the instrumental “Dissect” just before another single, “Brain Candy” and it is just extrodinary. Musically it is beautiful and expansive, with harsh edges, ready to hook into your skin and the concept if you take away what makes a female look feminine, still the sweetness and colour is all in the brain, that which makes you. Final track is “Beg”, that takes on a heartbeat that will, at any given moment, go into tachycardia. A beautiful way to end.
The production is great and the music has such near visible texture and a vibrancy that is breathtaking. As for Ganfield’s vocals, they are true and clear, combined with the darker lyrical content, you could be forgiven for thinking she is an angel who lost her way in this dirty world and to be fair, lucky for us. Even if you are not into industrial music, do not let this deter you from having a listen to Jerm.
Daniel Allen is one half of Dirt Factory and after releasing their third album, found himself in lockdown in Melbourne for quite a long time. So was born the new solo project Exo-Kult, which spawned three singles and the album, Knife Wounds, that was launched by Viral RecordsAustralia on the 30th of October, 2021.
Apparently this is not music, “This Is Shit“. Welcome to the intro to Knife Wounds but then we are treated to hearing Allen singing in “Shutting It Down” and he has a quite pleasant voice, though we still get the obligatory growled lyrics as well. The slow beats of “Eliminate” is the list of modern life’s disappointments and the want to see it all wiped away with the sweep of a hand. “Cold” is one of the singles off the album with wandering synths over a never shifting rhythm and the anguished vocals about never belonging.
Another single is “Ready To Blow” which is more bass heavy and reminds me of late 70s industrial such as Cabaret Voltaire, which follows into “I Will Not“, a commentary on religious orders. Sludgy and grubby is probably the best description for “Dancing“, which of course is not actually very dance like at all. Voice clips of a bomb run from possibly the 1950s, informing you of how it is done as the instrumental runs in the background for “Untitled“. The last single, “Bring Out The Dead“, is one of those uncomfortable songs about human nature and violence.
The relentless synths and beats combined with Allen’s raw vocals. We bringing down the pace with the near hypnotic “Breath” and then it is straight into the more futuristic “Satisfaction“with it’s drone like quality because the ‘man’ wants you complacent. An apocalyptic future or is the future here in the dark and abrasive “Predetermined Error“?! It feels like Allen left “Crematorium” as our lucky last parting shot at the money hungry religious establishments, honestly the concept is actually is a very interesting one along with this song.
You can still hear glimmers of Dirt Factory but this is a very much stripped down affair that Exo-Kult has given us. More basic and darker in content, written in isolation but plugged into the world via the internet, watching the world drowning in a sea of intolerance, mismanagement, war and death. Wonderfully mastered by Roger Menso of Nyte Shayde Music in Brisbane and Exo-Kult is the second artist to be signed to Viral Records. You will hear from Allen soon again because the new Dirt Factory album is hitting us in December.
Well let me tell a little story of a man named Jed, who lived on the Gold Coast of Queensland and proved he was not dead, who started up a solo project called Chiffon Magnifique and the post-punk was very chic. Jed A.Walters recently laid to rest his previous band, Tesla Cøils which made us a little sad, however since releasing the first single “Abomination” last month, things are looking up!
I should warn you that this will be stuck in your head for a while, though your good fortune is that it’s a brilliant song. There are the bright synth lines and gorgeous jangly guitar, that lead you to Walters’ brooding vocals because baby he wants to be your abomination. He really is a master at creating wonderful catchy tunes that get under your skin.
This small taste has me desperately needing to hear more. For a one man project it is lush and ChiffonMagnifique definitely is as good as other current post-punk acts such as TRAITRS, She Past Away and Twin Tribes. We like this musical “Abomination” and now wait with baited breath for what comes next.