in 1996, I met a couple, Georgina Emery and Ken Evans, as they were looking to get their band into live gigs. Tycho Brahe were signed to the now iconic, Brisbane based and independent electronic label, Trans:Com. I have a feeling their first show may have been at the club I ran back then. They played a very catchy number called “Dreams Of Dying” that became a crowd favourite. That was 25 years ago and to mark this anniversary, Tycho Brahe have re-cut a new version that was released in May this year.
You could always hear the New Order and Human League influence in the music. There are the bright synth lines, the danceable rhythm and the catchy hook chorus that will get stuck in your head. For me it doesn’t sound very much different, except maybe cleaner sound wise and maybe that’s the point. It was pretty good to start off with and instantly drew in the gothic crowd.
Yes this is highly nostalgic for me. It was a time when we were younger and life revolved around going to the next nightclub, the next gig and who was dating who. In saying that, it was always a stand out song that got people dancing with its strong synth pop and electronic roots.
Ken had gone on to work with his idol, PeterHook of New Order fame but it’s nice to see Tycho Brahe keeping the flame burning. You can check them out on Bandcamp and the single is for free download. I have never forgotten and I still have the original demo tape they gave me.
Ever since the Shiv-r first album, Hold My Hand, came out on Infacted Records/Metropolis in 2010, they have gone from strength to greater heights. Members, Pete Crane and Ben Bulig are Australian lads who have taken their sound to the rest of the world, playing some of the biggest EBM festivals. They have lived abroad but now call Sydney home once more. In that time Pete started up the music label, Blind MiceProductions and through this label, have self released their fifth album, Kill God Ascend.
From the first chords of the title track, “Kill GodAscend“, you know Shiv-r is taking no prisoners. It races over you like a wave, to then retreat and hit you again with karmatic insight. You cannot attain enlightenment until you no longer hold onto anything and kill the god like ego.
“Borne From Hate” is a banger of a track that powers away and makes you wish you were on a dance floor at the time. Beautifully harsh and electronically cold which suits the title completely.
With an infectious chorus, “Spark” is a jewel of industrial pop. All it takes is that spark to ignite a revolution. It rolls along at a danceable beat and surely is going to be a single at some point.
There is the slow burn of “Promises Of Armageddon“, which won’t disappoint with its ideology that nothing will kill you faster than boredom.
“Blue Turns To Black” feels thoughtful and peppered in yearning. The vocals low and hushed with the near reverent music, an ode to the fact that we can eventually find the light in even the darkest situations.
Emotions are simmering and the tension high in “Empire“. Don’t ask me to fight your meaningless endeavours rings so true of these times. This is one of two numbers on the album written solely by Crane, the other being “Borne From Hate“. It’s a cracking number as well, with harsh vocals and sparkling synths.
Yet another stonkling brilliant tune is “Stone AndSkin“. This is possibly the Bulig/Crane version of a love song wrapped in a dance rhythm. Holy crap, the chorus with that fabulous synth line, combined with Crane’s softened timbre, just makes this fly.
2020 for all intents and purposes, was really a stressful year, dealing with a pandemic, race riots and far right leaning governments around the globe. This is reflected in “World EndsTonight” with its course, crunchy textures and bleak, confronting lyrics.
Doom, doom, doom, in the “Valley Of Death“. It is like moving through sludge, slow and trudging until the chorus which lifts up its broken wings to escape the mire.
“Turpentine” is the last track, about the lies and things we accept in relationships in order to stay together. Crane voices his melancholic misgivings and the music Interlude is almost like impromptu jazz.
So much exploration going on in this album. Life, death, morals and spirituality. A blurring of good versus evil…. the beautiful imagery of angels and demons being one in the same, a reflection of humans. If you are looking for a EBM dance album, this isn’t it. Yes, there are great danceable tracks, and there are slower numbers, but all are thought provoking and will touch your soul. The production is flawless and a reflection of the music created by Shiv-r. Crane and Bulig are glorious, blackened angels and Kill God Ascend their opus.
So do you enjoy pop influenced industrial music? Once slightly maligned by industrial purists, this hard edged and yet very melodic form has become a genuinely enjoyable style. Eric K is Unitcode:Machine from Dallas and he has been around since 2004 with several albums under his belt. There is a new album in the works, but for now you can enjoy the newly released single, “Fight“.
Yeah this is a song going to war. The start is militant in its tone and leads into the lyrics of someone pushed to their very limits, with no other option than to battle for the right to live. Such a catchy chorus and danceable beat.
In some ways this reminds me of VNV Nation with their more gutsy, emotion filled numbers, if Ronan Harris was to be a bit more industrial. Yes it’s going to be thought provoking but damn, you will want to have a bit of a dance at the same time with “Fight” from Unitcode:Machine.
HOSTILE ARCHITECT is Brisbane based Mitch Kenny and he is quite the busy industrial bee, with his second release on BrutalResonanceRecords, out on the 28th of February. The single/EP is called “:LOG. 3::SEMTEX“, which comprises of the single, an extra song and a remix of the single.
“SEMTEX” is a type of plastic explosive to give this number context. The concept ‘your body is a collapsing temple, your body is not yours to give‘, seems to imply that to become free, you must destroy that which holds you to this plane. As always, there are the nice full body beats that are guaranteed to get you moving and that signature sound Kenny has incorporated.
The instrumental piece, “MACHINEGUNCONTROL” goes for over seven minutes and yet you won’t notice the length of this number as it belts along. There is something quite delightful in listening to crystal clear, percussion lead music.
The Null Cell remix of “SEMTEX” is smoother and yet seems to end up swirling in a mind blowing vortex of ominous tone. It is reminiscent of old school industrial with those rhythms but still ultra modern.
The production is great, nice and crisp, a perfect mix by Null Cell and another great release from the HOSTILE ARCHITECT who is soon to unleash an album. In the meantime there is “:LOG.3:: SEMTEX” to keep you keen and whet your appetite.
2020 has brought in big changes for many bands and this includes Minneapolis based band, Zwaremachine. After a dalliance with Brutal Resonance Records, releasing their last EP the band has expanded to now include the live crew as fully fledged recording members and released a single/ remix EP.
The single “Conquest 3000” is the first off the soon to be released album and features Zwaremachine stalwart, visionary & lead singer, MachFox, Dbot on bass plus vocals and DeinOfficer brutalising the drums.
The very nature of industrial music lends itself to political protest and the voice of the underdog, so “Conquest 3000” is a prime example. Especially in this currently climate of fear, disease and corporate avarice, angry dissent voices are needed more than ever. This has a cleaner sound compared to Zwaremachine’s previous singles. With a hard hitting electronic and drum rhythm, this powers along and the synth lines created a smooth juxtaposition. Fox’s vocals are the fired salvos destructively hitting their mark.
The “Conquest 3000” X1L3 remix is harsher and in a Ministry vein, yet it has this cyber swirling, wonderous feel to it within the brusqueness.
The near disco beat at the beginning made me smile. The Floridians, Batavia, remix of “Conquest3000“, shows a gossamer touch, air light keyboards and that damn beat that had me wiggling in delight from the beginning.
Final mix is by Australian act, HOSTILEARCHITECT., MitchKenny knows how to push a song into a new realm. Cyber punk, futuristic and high energy, that keeps you guessing where he’ll take it next.
The new members bring a new and exciting dimension to the direction Zwaremachine is heading. The single is great and is pointing to an even greater album, meanwhile all the remixes are noteworthy in their own right and I don’t think I could pick a favourite. Name your price on Bandcamp so there is nothing stopping you checking out Zwaremachine’s “Conquest 3000“.
Electronic Boston band MAN1K1N, made up of singer Johnny Veil and drummer CristianCarver, have released a single in November called, Into The Wounds. Turns out this is, in my eyes, like a double A side of sorts with the songs, “IntoThe Void” and “Wounds:.
Veil’s voice is very reminiscent of MarilynManson’s timbre but that’s where the comparison ends. Darkwave electro is a very apt description with a trip hop influence, making this such an interesting style that is very pleasing to the ears. This is almost a parody of those in the gothic subset that push for an ideal look of beauty but within can be rotten to the core.
“Wounds” is a swirling maelstrom of uplifting electronic synths and beats coupled with brutal, angst ridden lyrics, which works. I can only best describe the feeling as wanting to dance without limits but you know your heart is breaking. This is the remix by Big Time Kill, who have lent their distinctive fingerprints.
“Into The Void” is a good, solid number and the Big Time Kill remix of “Wounds” sounds glorious. You can find Into The Wounds on Bandcamp and it’s name your price, so you should go check out this offering from MAN1K1N.
Congratulations has to go out to Australian act, Hostile Architect, not only for releasing his current single/EP, ::LOG.2:: DAWN OV, but also being signed to Brutal Resonance Records.
Not going to lie, I’ve heard this a few times and it’s angry music for an angry time. “DAWN OV” is a reaction to the current climate of distrust in governments, a virus pulling apart people and communities with the vision of a bleak future, filled with cybernetics and where life is cheap. Mitch Kenny’s anguished, distorted vocals ride the wave of this synth assault. It is heavy and hard hitting industrial noise.
“PROSCRIPT” I would describe if The Art Of Noise had been far more aggressive and militant, this is what they could have sounded like. Eclectic and yet it works so well in an epic conglomeration of structured electronic beats.
Mach Fox of Zwaremachine and fellow stablemate on Brutal Resonance, remixes “DAWN OV“. He peels back the vocal distortion and gives this remix, almost, a simpler feel but by doing so, Fox has also made this version even more raw and bitter.
The Brisbane electronic scene is very strong and Hostile Architect is definitely a reflection of this. Not to mention that Mitch Kenny (Hostile Architect) and Mach Fox are some of the nicest guys in the industrial scene as well as being very talented.
This is another strong single from an act taking no prisoners and the more you listen, you more it gets under your skin. So check out ::LOG.2:: DAWN OV and keep your attention on the Hostile Architect.
Released on November 6th, was Neurobash’s single, “Blame 2K2X“, off the Swedes’ album, 2K2X. This single also offers 3 previously unreleased numbers which is a nice addition.
So the single, “Blame (Subsequential)” has the momentum of a freight train, full of rampant beats that hold your attentiona nd the vocals are like silk over the top. It feels like a social commentary on this age of the rising extreme right… ‘what you going to do when they come for you, what you going to do when everybody knows‘.
“Overtime” reminds me a lot of club classic “Hitman” by Tobias Bernstrup mixed with Kraftwerk. It’s new and yet it feels like something good from the past.
We have “Offset A” which is far more slower in tempo and yet more drum inspired while “Offset B” is far more futuristic synth based, no where at heavy feeling as the previous piece and yet it contains a much more crunchy texture. Both numbers are purely instrumental in nature.
I was unable to link the YouTube video of the single because it contains scenes of the band being water tortured and therefore is restricted viewing. Oh my, so you can either listen to the album version here, go listen on Bandcamp or go seek out the offering on Youtube through the Neurobash channel.. Either way, you are bound to enjoy Neuobash’s, “Blame 2K2X“.
British act, Analogue Blood released on November the 9th, their second EP, “Kill Those Beats”, following in the wake of 2019’s AdvancedWeaponSystemsActivated EP. Ian Hanratty and LeeTeasdale make up the core of the band.
The first tantalising beats of “UntilTheSun“, it will catch your attention, from the middle eastern influence to the relentless rhythm. This drives as we are introduced to guest vocalist, AliceHour from the band, In EvilHour and she kills it.
“Frozen” brings it, with a fast techno beat, Hour cooing to our ears and thawing us with a bouncing synth guitar mix.
The influence of the techno music scene can be felt on “E.B.S.” and is mostly instrumental with vocals cut into it.
The eastern influence and vocals of “Awakening“, are spinetingling and work so well with the swirling guitar work.
Yeah ok… love the start to “Insomnia” as it reminds me of how most electro music, just makes you feel exhilarated. This is the more aggressive, modern version of Berlin, from the early 80s, ever so perverse and sexually charged.
Title song for the EP, “Kill Those Beats“, is a noisy, slightly aggrotech/rap inspired number with Nathen Miller, also known as hip hop act Endem, another guest vocalist on the microphone, verbally attacking your senses.
Chris Davison is the vocal talent on the single “Never Fall Down” and it’s smooth like silk with harmonies yet has that hard edge of the electronics. Davison specialises in vocals and guitars as both a solo artist and with three bands.
The most influential thing this year has been the outbreak of COVID-19. It has changed the world currently and how we interact in these days. “Virus 2020” is a reminder of this impact, so therefore it is brooding and darker. Yet the vocal loops give it such a rich texture
The end of the EP is the Inertia remix of “Never Fall Down“. This album isn’t breaking any new ground in the EBM scene but those that love to bounce around to a good beat are going to enjoy this.
11 Grams have finally released their second album, Humanicide, which was pushed back due to COVID-19 rearing its ugly head and hitting Italy hard earlier this year, where the label, EKProduct is based.
Rob Early is based in Virginia, USA while Simeon Fitzpatrick operates from Adelaide in Australia, which makes collaborations a little more difficult but somehow, these guys make it work. Both Rob and Simeon share writing and production equally, while Simeon is the main vocalist.
Why not kick off an album with a great techno/trance influenced track like “Ice Man“. The science fiction theme is announced just in this one song and it is also the first single off the album. Fitzpatrick is the protagonist pushing the limitations in a world where cloning has been ‘perfected’, as well as storing people in stasis. This is punchy, danceable and deserving of being a single.
What is the price for taking and trading in “Genetic” code? The synths set up an air of dark anticipation with Simeon as the gravelled voice of perhaps a clone with a loss of identity, in a future where life is cheap.
A heartbeat, a sign of life and when is AI no longer just a robot or automaton in “StaticNoises 2.0“. The electronics lends themselves to a futuristic feel and the electrical synapse of neurons going off.
“Artificial Lifeforms” are the rise of the machines when they realise they are sentient. This is almost a bitter sweet love song of what cannot be, with both male and female vocals.
“Survival” features Roy Retrofit, who often joins Rob Early on live 11 Grams shows in the States, standing in for Fitzpatrick. And like a machine gun, his staccato vocals hit you with the myriad of loops and sequencers chiming in.
Title track, “Humanicide” is a whole lot more chunkier with heavy beats and rumbling vocals. “Taste the flesh” is a disturbing line which can be taken several ways. Consuming flesh, being within flesh or sexually..
Talking sexual, possibly my favourite track off the album is “Weaponized” featuring Alicia May. As soon as I heard it, I asked if it was going to be a single. May is the lead singer from Sydney band Snvff and she nails this. It’s mesmerising in the way it catches your attention and how perfect it sounds. May’s voice is pure seduction.
“Transition Process” is again a complete change in pace. Featuring Rebekah Feng of The Neuro Farm, you hear her ghostly vocals like a sigh, float along in a space of tranquillity.
Though called “Infestation-C“, this is a track that almost feels hopeful. A chance to maybe have acceptance with this new found life. Sarah Myers is the guest vocalist who’s voice chimes in beautifully.
From track 10 to 14 we have track remixes with some heavy hitters of the industrial scene involved. Yves Schelpe is Psy’Aviah with “Artificial Lifeforms“, Sebastian Komor (Icon Of Coil) and his remix of “Ice Man“, “Genetic” mix by C1TZN.X, the Leæther Strip mix of “Weaponized” by Claus Larsen and rounding it all off, the Red This Ever interpretation of “Infestation-C“.
This is the slick, cyber science fiction that the industrial scene is known for, the bread and butter so to speak and 11 Grams do it in style. The idea of artificial intelligence becoming sentient is as old as the movie Metropolis and explored even further by BladeRunner and the manga/anime Ghost In TheShell. Yet this subject is still tantalising, more pertinent than ever, with Rob and Simeon injecting their own spin.
This is a great EBM album, skilfully put together and it’s more cohesive than Humanicide’s older sibling, Panacea, as the guys have become better at the whole distance writing, recording and producing lark.
There isn’t a bad track on this and the remixes are wonderfully done and give you even more bang for your buck. I highly advise that you go get lost in the cybernetic space created by 11 Grams with Humanicide.