What do you do when you are handed a release from a project called =^._.^= ? You damn well listen to that sucker!! This is the EP, D3M0N5, from Seattle’s =^._.^= (pronounced catface), which was dropped on May the 5th. Don’t know anything about this project other than they wrote and recorded this between 2018 – 2022 and, I quote… ‘Under the influence of Alec Empire, Richard D. James and Trent Reznor‘.
The first thing you get is “SP!T“, which is the screaming of electronic alarms in a trap stew. The glitching of the languid “Bl4cK P4nth3R“, as it stalks you to your untimely squeaking end with all those lovely fuzzy notes. “y o w l” is a sassy little track with a nice little heavy bass beat and it out on the prowl.
Through all the feedback you can hear the synths lurking and biding their time in “H3llc4T“. The fuzzing tones leasing into a faster rhythm, leaving you wondering if the hellcat might suddenly spring. Swirling electronic glitches bring a little drum’n’bass to the party in the deceptively heavy “TH3 R!S3N“. The zombies are coming to get you and may the heavens help you if they are zombie cats. The asthmatic wheeze of “p u r r” pervades your senses with tortured digital sounds that wind down to dead silence.
=^._.^= are doing some pretty funky, experimental trap and industrial noise. It is fairly easy to listen to and actually rather fun because you are trying to discern if there are cat noises or slinky, shifty hisses. More to the point…..IT’S A KITTY and that was enough to hook me in. The Onyx cats completely agree with me that you need to go check out the Bandcamp page, which is name your price! Meow.
Brisbane’s Disfigured Mistress, has been releasing industrial noise for just over a decade. The man behind the project is retiring in the public eye, though in real life a gregarious hugger, who likes a laugh. With that decade under his belt and a veritable catalogue of industrial noise tracks, it seems to the perfect time to compile some of these gems into a huge 17 track behemoth called Decade Of Destruction (2011-2022), which was unleashed on April, 14th.
Just by the list of track names, you have to realise that most of this was not written to be all happy joy. There is a lot of angst, self doubt and even loathing, that is not even thinly hidden. You can bask in the pounding “SexAnd Violence” as the bass beats fracture in in ever heightened frustration or go from synth perfection into being stuck with pointed electronics in “Bleeding To Feed The Fake“.
The previous single “The Black Depths Of Hatred” is so fucking heavy, you could weight down a body with it, and it just gets better every time your hear it. Yet, it the midst of all this is the slower and ethereal, “Never FadeFrom Me” with acoustic guitar and ghostly accompaniment, that is like a breath inhaling and exhaling over and over until it is no more.. There is also the latest single, “Drown It all Out” that is overbearing and full of abrasive metalized distortion which fills your ears, unrelenting.
“In The Flesh Of Fallen Angels” has the glitching beats and the mind numbing harsh noise trying to crack your head open in “Black Mother Devourer Of All” are tracks I just need to mention because of their stellar execution and how magical they are.
The whirling “The Rage Within” is just epic and just made to murder a industrial/techno dancefloor as it screams in fury, lost in its own world. And it just goes on and the thing is that I am not trying to write about every track, because there are a lot here and yet as you listen, each one is so different in the use of synths, programming and even instrumentation. Occasionally you hear a distorted guitar that just adds to the amazing cacophony that assaults your ears, so brilliantly orchestrated.
Traditionally, it the Europeans that have this affinity with harsh powernoise but I am going to say that Disfigured Mistress could easily be just as good as any of those acts. He has a talent for weaving those electronic threads into powerful rhythms, that will touch your primal animal which lays at your core. So, there is no time like the present to immerse yourself in the Decade Of Destruction of Disfigured Mistress.
Jamie Blacker is ESA, also known as Electronic Substance Abuse, and we are going to talk about the album, Designer Carnage that came out on February 14th of 2022, on Negative Gain Records. But I will digress with a little background information first. ESA is a UK project that was formed in 2002 after Blacker, who had been involved in the black/death metal scene, started to experiment in and became drawn to the sound of harsh, rhythmic industrial noise, which he has in all essence become a relative master of. The first album was released in 2006, Devotion, Discipline and Denial, then releasing albums very regularly ever since.
Straight off the bat, “LaudanumDance” is like electrodes connected straight into the brain, sparking with glorious fuzz and beats. Like a fever dream, Blacker yells his discontent. Yet, hark it that a harpsichord? Classical piano which is a gorgeous oddity, played at a decent pace to be suddenly broken by the female vocal sample of Konstantina Buhalis and break beats, that descend into the stomach wrenching, bellowing tones. Those beautiful harpsichord keys again trill away, as they and the piano are played by Frederic Scarfone. Frustration and anger are swirling in the charged track “One Missed Called” which is about repression and fear stopping one from getting further in life. It is powerful with the female sample, of again, Konstantina Buhalis, screaming how much she fucking hates the person who puts her down. The rhythms circle and pounds down, enforcing the angst.
The use of noise and techno is near perfect in “I Detach“, when out of nowhere…ragtime music. Yes, weird and yes unexpected, but it works. The ticking of a clock, alien like electronic warbles, the ragtime and Blacker’s voice just culminate into this bizarre, dreamlike world of movement. The title track, “Designer Carnage” exudes electronic smut and grime. Fantastic! The music grinds while samples repeat the title. It speeds up towards the climax like there is no getting off this ride, only to drop you and drag you along again. Bara Hari is the guest vocalist for “Disruption Only” and it just pounds away. as a good, well lubricated industrial machine should. The rhythm is a drug that you can’t get enough of while in the static, you can hear angry voices. BaraHari joins in and it becomes something otherworldly while those hammered beats carry on regardless, stuck in a groove.
“Come And Find Me” again utilises that ragtime sound throughout in a myriad of stomping beats and electronics. A hallucination induced nightmare which translates to smashing yourself on a dancefloor. Curiously addictive and no we cannot get enough as it builds apon itself in a downward spiral. Saxaphone is by Matt ‘Chops’ Thompson and female vocals by Hellsea. For the track “Hyena“, all the vocals are credited to Pee Wee Pimpin, as he goes from cajoling to viciously snarling, the synths cackling as they track you down in your last moments, but what a way to go/ “Whom Then Shall I Fear?” features Pee Wee Pimpin, as he raps which works ever so well with the heavy electronics in the background. In fact, it is almost like listening to Public Enemy’s, “Bring On The Noise” but they were all industrialised and updated. It is an amazingly strong track.
There is something wicked and it comes this way in the track, “Vast Accept“. Off kilter and deranged, on a psychopathic mission only it knows. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security as it awaits to pounce while you are off guard with those techno beats. The final track is “Saturnalia“, which is full of blast beats, raging guitar and the deep, growling Blacker vocals, that start to fritz in and out. There are also these wonderful science fiction sounding synths and classic flamenco guitar by Frederic Scarfone, that lend themselves to a western touch, while Matt ‘Chops’ Thompson gives us that sleazy saxaphone. With wailing female vocals, it all crescendos, only to die away.
I knew this new album had come out but a friend, whom is also an industrial DJ, thrust it under my nose and declared that if I was to review anything this year, it has to be this album, Designer Carnage. In all honesty, he was completely correct. If this is not in people’s top 10 industrial releases for the end of the year, then I am going have to say that your taste might be in your arse. Jamie Blacker is able to experiment with so many different styles and mould them into something cohesive, with lashings of wicked heavy rhythms, filthy grinding electronics, inject music of past eras, whilst screaming near bloody murder at you. Really can’t much better than that other than you can dance to all of it. I dare you not to find yourself bouncing to the beats. You definitely need some Designer Carnage in your life, so let ESA be your dealer.
Disfigured Mistress is probably a project I should have talked about sooner but better later than never. Since 2010, Brisbane’s Disfigured Mistress has been releasing his experimental, industrial noise and as of the 8th of April, released the single, “The Depths Of Black Hatred“.
As the title may indicate, this is not a happy go lucky piece. It is an instrumental number full of harsh crackling electronic fury, that lashes your ears, in mounting waves. Primal with a dark brooding undercurrent of unrest which floods through senses without remorse. All until the last tick. You should definitely check this track out on Soundcloud or on Bandcamp where it is name your price and then check out more of the Disfigured Mistress back catalogue, as it is well worth your while.
Industrial music actually covers a lot of scope, from heavy dance music to experimental, ambient noise and this is where we introduce British band, Decommissioned Forests. So far there have only been singles released by the three men behind the project, though the latest single, “Ants Part 1” will be on their debut album Industry.
From the start you can hear the undeniable homage to Coil in their spoken word phase and Rael’s utterances are uncannily like the late John Balance. Ants Part 1 (Our Last Supper) is just over nine minutes long and is like a dissonant journey that seems pleasant, yet the lyrics are the disembodied oddities of strange and disturbing sequences. The one running thread is the ants running riot over the picnic as they transcend the existence of this plane it seems. The band agreed the track “Functional Programming For Humans” was their favourite to play in the studio.The low tones almost could the far off church organ while the quirky sounds could be firing synapses while the commentary is how not feel any emotion like an automaton unless it is turned on. Grand soundscape with cold barren wept vistas. The last song is “Base” and the first bars start like a droning sea shanty though this drone is sinister and full of loathing as the piano enforces it’s disappointment.
Decommissioned Forests (is) the result of friendships going back to the beginnings of this century and a shared love of the darker post-industrial world of Coil, Current 93, Cabaret Voltaire and Nurse With Wound. In this collaboration, Daniel Vincent (of cult space rockers The Resonance Association) handles the music, ably abetted by Howard Gardner (the multi-media artist behind Non-Bio, Pillars of Golden Misery and Down With Freedom), whilst the vocals are channeled by Max Rael (the lynch pin of post-industrial noiseniks History of Guns) – Decommissioned Forests bio says it better than I can. You can hear those influences so clearly in the music these guys create and there is definitely a passion for the genre. There is a timelessness in a way to Decommissioned Forests, not only the themes but expressions of love, loss, life and always the ants.
We are going to go back to December of 2017 to revisit the electronic EP, Wavelets. Released by Secant Prime, a US based artist who’s first release was in 2010 with the Wavelets EP that is made up of 5 tracks ranging in length.
Imagine a sound of impending doom. It could be “Jacobi Elliptic Function“, a sonic dirge of undulating pandemonium of both electronic noise and human. Named after the mathematical equation that describes the swinging of a pendulum and also the design of electronic elliptic filters. There is always this low, one could almost say near feeling of dread and as the piece continues, it develops that crunchy experimental texture before becoming nearly atonal again.
“Dirichlet Convolution” is a mathematical function using binary operation as well as the title of the next track. It is metallic and sharp with no room to be otherwise. The machine in its computations will churn out its screeching answers that it rhythmically hums to itself. You hear a child lost in the noise, maybe a victim of the problem solving.
The next concept is slightly beyond my understanding but ‘Montgomery’s Pair Correlation Conjecture” is about equations that include the possibilities of finding zeros. The music has a sense of being out of touch, much like my understanding of the maths. Echoes, whispers and perhaps the intermittent ticking of a clock, all completely out of sync with a buzzing sonar like beat. At seventeen and a half minutes, this is the EP’s longest track but the lulls and build ups will keep your attention.
“Hankel Transform” is the fourth track and I can’t even describe this therorum but I can tell you the music swirls, as if in a vortex, sucking everything towards it, mixing it all as it flies past. The garbled voices add to the sense of imminent implosion at any moment.
I looked up “Fourier Bessel Series” and saw the words an infinite series expansion on a finite interval…..pursed my lips and exhaled. A slow build up of soundscape and rhythmic nose, more ticking like time is getting away from us and a growing feeling of claustrophobia. Constant, infinite and yet finite
in some ways this is my nightmare music, based on high level maths, however this works for Secant Prime. Maths is clinical and exact, with no grey areas. And many like myself find the idea of working out these therorum terrifying. The music is not comforting, stark and bleak, devoid of human warmth. A clever use of experimental noise to create ambient, nightmarish soundscapes. Wavelet is available on Bandcamp currently for name your price and other forums.
Far Away From All Of This are a Swiss band that released their second album last year in September. Called Outward Bound, this duo comprised of VEGA (guitars, synthesizer, harsh vocals) and IX (vocals, bass, synthesizer, drums), describe their music style as space rock/post rock/metal.
These guys obviously like an epic, as “Haven” goes for over eight minutes and is not even the longest number. The track honestly took me back to the early 90s. Teenage Fanclub and the Lemon Heads, IX even sounds a bit EvanDando. The return to psychedelic swirling, wall of sound guitars and keyboards that take you away on a cloud.
Nice light guitar starts “Reality Check“, a whimsy about not looking too hard at life or it will lose its magic by ‘breaking the spell‘.
They say we are getting older everyday and that this is the “Last Call” to get on life’s roller-coaster. It’s a very positive and uplifting piece with rolling drums and VEGA having momentary cathartic screams.
Break out the synths for a gliding space journey in the “Stellar Stream“. Smooth and relaxing as the engines whisper in the solar slips of this ambient soundscape.
“NGC 4063” is the final and longest of the tracks. It is a gradual build up of electronics, filling the empty places, like a space exploration facing the dark voids to bring knowledge and light, even though this is a very overwhelming prospect.
The first half is all the crazy human emotion of living with hopes, dreams and modern life, with guitars and a more frantic pace. The last two are after they have left Earth with its electronic life-support, going into the unknown. Really enjoyed this album due to my fondness of guitar jangle and wall of soundscapes which Ride were famous for doing beautifully as well. Well worth giving Far Away From All Of This a go with their Outward Bound.
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“.
This May saw the release of Manchester’s, Rhys Bloodjoy‘s album, Human. Pattern. Repeat. In hiatus, ensconced in Spain during the height of COVID-19, Rhys found himself in a position to find inspiration to create.
Bloodjoy’s style is described as shoegaze, sophisticated electro loops with melody. With that in mind, let’s delve into this noise monster.
Instantly you are taken by the electro beat and the almost Joy Division guitar with “Death By Succubus“. The vocals are distorted and the guitar starts to wail as the song picks up speed, becoming more frenetic. And then nothing…….
“Suck” has a middle eastern feel, threading it’s way though this rhythm driven piece. Like a psychedelic trip in a demented hippie van of free love and sexually driven tension.
Single, “Run From The Hunter“, draws on an almost American native rhythm and texture. Feed back upon feed back, as the guitar fuels the claustrophobic feel that you can’t get away from.
An interesting title in “Birth Canal Contemplations Blues” and like a Jim Morrison messiah from under the sheets, Bloodjoy wants to make love with that waggling tongue.
“Celebration” is down and dirty rock and roll that is relentless and pulsating. Not everything is worth celebrating because life can be difficult and painful without being constantly reminded as well that you can do better.
An intense build up to “Infernal Regions” that winds around your senses. Reminiscent of The Cramps‘, Lux Interior, both vocally and suggestively in a lurid wanton manner. This lascivious and dark.
Final number is the title track, “Human. Pattern. Repeat.” It is a short explosion of screaming noise and reverb that rings out, then suddenly fades to nothing.
Death and sex are often thought of as two sides of the same coin, just like genius and madness. Bloodjoy likes to use the references of one for another or double entendre to evoke those feelings and ideas through both the lyrics and the tone of the music.
It is a clever use of off kilter psychedelic with raw guitar mixed with that industrial sensibility, which makes it a tad unusual and extremely interesting.
It’s got a little bit of everything for those that love experimental, noise and shoegaze styles. Check out Rhys Bloodjoy’s album as it is name your price for the download or you can buy the vinyl LP and remember Human.Pattern.Repeat.
The latest single from Italian duo, Kill Your Boyfriend came out the end of 2019, called “Elizabeth” on Depths Records and the label is based in London. This is the appetizer before they release their new album this year.
An anguished, noise filled introduction reminiscent vocally of Kirk Brandon (Theatre Of Tragedy and Spear Of Destiny) with the intensity of Andy McElligott (Sex Gang Children), asking ‘why are you here?‘. This is experimental noise with a shoegaze twist. Heavy beats and grating industrial screeching as “Elizabeth” undulates and graduates until the last prolonged note heralds the end.
Almost three and a half minutes of song and yet it pulls you in and spits you out, like hardly any time had passed at all. Plus there is a remix of “Elizabeth” for your listening pleasure. If you enjoy your industrial noise then there is no doubt you will get into Kill Your Boyfriend and if you haven’t heard of these guys before, then this could be the gateway drug that sucks you in.