Industrial Strength Machine Music (compilation CD review)

And here we have one great oldie but Goldie..yeah, the capital G is proper here, baby! Easy the best introduction to industrial rock-industrial-EBM-electronic out there, with some of the greatest names of the genres present.

Throbbing Gristle

Released in 1999 through Rhino Records, the Alternative Press presents Industrial Strength Machine Music (The Framerowk of Industrial Rock 1978-1995) starts with none other than industrial anti-music pioneers Throbbing Gristle and their haunting and disturbing track „Hamburger Lady“. Slowly building tension through a repeated drone sound and sampled vocal presentation, it‘s interesting how effective it is to evoke feelings of uneasiness and disturbance in the listener. What an opening of this compilation!

Cabaret Voltaire

The second track has allowed me to discover another great band in the form of Cabaret Voltaire. The song in question is „Nag Nag Nag“ and presents a nice semi-hypnotic tune with repetitive bassline and simple, yet fitting drumloop. I haven‘t heard anything about CV when I‘d listened to this compilation for the first time, but that song had prompted me to check this interesting group. Not a fan by any means, I‘ve heard just a few songs they put out, but it‘s on my backburner to check later more properly.

Boyd Rice/NON

NON is a project of Boyd Rice, an interesting persona to explore on its own, not just on a basis of this project. „Out Out Out“ is another simple loop song accompanied with Boyd‘s shouting echoed slogans, forming a hypnotic, trance inducing experience. Though it ends before the actual track ends (if I am not mistaken), I would actually appreciate it to go on for a little longer.

Coil

Coil‘s contribution to this compilation comes in the form of „Panic“, which has first appeared on their debut album „Scatology“ and bring us to the early 1980s electronic stuff and it reminds me of early Depeche Mode (practically the only one I could relate this song to). Nice collage of sounds, rythms and melodies which can‘t be little hard to get into on the first listening, but it grows on a listener (me).

Test Dept

Test Dept (or Test Department) is quite similar to Throbbing Gristle stuff presented here, although it‘s a faster song, obviously, but the use of drone sound, vocal samples and the loops are similar to TG, and in this case Test Dept‘s song „Kick to Kill“ is even more interesting. In a way it reminds me of stuff Laibach did in their early phases and also on their album Kapital – and there is no way I can dislike this one. Instant love!


Einstürzende Neubauten

Einstürzende Neubauten are another classic band from this genre, although I have to admit previous to this experience I have never listened to them. I knew about them from MTV’s 120 minutes, but back than I hadn’t been interested in this kind of music, so I just passed it over. My bad – and my loss. “Yü-Gung (Fütter Meine Ego)“is the longest track in this compilation, consisting of layers and layers of repetitive loops topped up by Blixa’s shouting slogans in German language. And it’s a interesting mixture considering EN don’t play conventional instruments. Honestly, I would never believe something like that could be that catchy and melodic, yet distant and cold in it’s delivery.


Scrapping Foetus Off The Wheel

Scrapping Foetus Off The Wheel presents the song entitled “Anything (Viva!)” and few seconds in, I was kinda led to think it’s not interesting. But wait, wait…the simple sound collage paired with J. G. Thirlwell’s vocal performance is soon changed, speeding up (a little) and bringing a nice synth loops into the game. Contrary to what I’ve thought previously, this one is a pretty cool cat of a song and I particularly like the sense of urgency in singer’s voice. So far, so good…or great!

Skinny Puppy

Skinny Puppy I knew by the name, but as with other stuff, I’ve never encountered them seriously as a listener. There were not people in my social circle listening to this music, so, obviously, I’ve gravitated towards different genres. And I have to say none of the previous tracks on this compilation reviewed so far were as hard to get into as this one. By no means a bad song, the loops are pretty much an audio translation of what “souless” and “cold” electronic/industrial is. Listeners can close their eyes and imagine a clean factory enviroment full of robotic equipment and that would be the first half of SP’s song (minus the vocals, of course). Adding the strings’ sounds into the mix, and especially the Gregorian chants makes this track an interesting, if not difficult one to listen to. I can say I am not sure if I’d choose follow Skinny Puppy’s output based solely on this song. Very probably not. Not at all what I’d expect.

Front 242

Now Front 242 are known to me also from MTV of old, with their song “Headhunter” getting some rotation back then. There they are presented by song “Funkahdafi”, sampling some guy in the beginning introducing Muammar el-Kaddaffi to the audience and also some Middle Eastern vocals, but except the great machine-like loops driving this song, the song as a whole is kinda weak. That’s all I can say, kids. Even repeated listening haven’t changed my initial opinion.

Clock DVA

And, alas, the same goes to Clock DVA and their “The Hacker (video mix)”. Say what you want, this kind of stuff just doesn’t go well with me. Don’t know why, it might be the choice of the song, but it’s boring. And not boring in the good way, it’s just plainly uninteresting. I wouldn’t skip it, as it’s not even that long (some 3:24), but I wonder how it sounds in its original version, as this one has no appeal to me. Now I feel bad to write it off…

Meat Beat Manifesto

Meat Beat Manifesto is next, I knew them from Matrix soundtrack and I didn’t like them there. So I haven’t had high expectations to start with. But “Psyche Out” is not bad at all, on the contrary, it’s weird – and quite interesting, although not my cup of tea, as it’s more to the dance side of industrial stuff and I am not really as “dancey” as I was years ago and I miss in it that feeling of “dehumanization” and “soul-emptiness” as presented in the work of early pioneers of industrial music.

Ministry

And now Ministry and their “Stigmata”. Thankfully, back in the day I had the whole “The Land of Rape and Honey” album on the tape and I could play it day after day, so obviously, “Stigmata” quickly rose up to its status of my favourite track from said album. And listening to it after some long time, it still a fucking great track! No further words needed here.

KMFDM

KMFDM were great on Mortal Kombat soundtrack and their techno/dance/EBM is great here as well, with the song “Godlike-Doglike”. Sampled guitars and characteristic vocals, both male and female, and the kid sample thrown into the mix makes this a very pleasant experience to listen to. Even more in the club than just listening to it at home. But hey, can’t have everything, right?


My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult

If I remember correctly (I’m too lazy to check it online) My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult were also involved with Mortal Kombat soundtrack, so I was at least remotely familiar what they sound like. Presented here is their track “Kooler Than Jesus (Electric Messiah mix)” and it’s a stuff similar to previously mentioned KMFDM. And all said about KMFDM can be repeated here as well. Except the sampled guitars (but this group has cooler bass line, there’s no doubt about it).

Revolting Cocks

Revolting Cocks bring us back to heavier/dark side of EBM and synth electronics with their cover of Olivia Newton-John’s “(Let’s Get) Physical”. Gone is the cheesiness of Olivia’s original, but the song presented reminds me of some less successful attempts in covers by Cradle of Filth – interesting choice of an original song, boring result. Nope, not interested, sorry, kids.

Nine Inch Nails

And the end song belongs to Nine Inch Nails and I was never their fan and I’m unsure if I ever be. Not that I have to be, of course, just can’t make myself to listen to their stuff as a whole. Yes, NIN works on me with individual songs now and then, but as a compact, not really. Shame, “Gave Up (live)” is not bad song at all, on the contrary, is lively, driven, energetic and I like it. And I like it also as a nice final song for this interesting compilation.

So, and that’s it. I liked this compilation when I’ve listened to it for the very first time and now, after a few years, it still sounds great. Recommended wholeheartedly to anyone interesting to explore industrial and EBM stuff.

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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Drowning: Lost City Riders (a 2008 TV movie review)

Lost City Riders, well, its title, has caught my attention almost immediately. I admit, I am a sucker for “lost city” stuff.

I’ve watched the movie once before, but I don’t remember anything of it, which is usually a bad sign, however, with the plethora of movies (and other spare-time-killing activities) available, that’s not really something to go along with – and you probably agree, you remember movies from your childhood, but hardly something you’ve watched a month ago on Netflix.

That might have to do something with the overall quality of the modern cinema, but I guess I am digressing here a bit..so let’s get back to our flick.

The movie was directed by Jean de Segonzac, mostly known for directing episodes of various TV series, and starring James Brolin, Ian Somerhalder, Bettina Zimmermann, Jamie Thomas King, Elodie Frenck, Michael Mendl, Jeremy Crutchley and Benn Cross,

Well, Lost City Riders is not a movie you’re gonna remember. A co-production between German TV channel ProSieben and Sci-fi Channel (before its rebranding to SyFy Channel), you’ve seen the plot rehashed a million times before (and couple hundreds after 🙂 ).

The global warming caused the flooding of the Earth, only 10 % of the surface is habitable, and we’re encountering our – you’ve guessed it – Lost City Riders, a family unit (a guy with two adopted sons), raiding the submerged buildings for profit.

Our family unit planning the entering and escaping.

Unbeknownst to his two adopted sons Jack (Ian Somerhalder) and Thomas (Jamie Thomas King), their stepfather John Kubiak (James Brolin) is on the mission of finding the legendary scepter of Sobek, Egyptian god of Nile, who – according to legend – controlled by it the rising and falling down the waters of the great river.

And as it’s usually the case, he’s not alone! Enters Nicholas Filiminov (Ben Cross) as a nefarious businessman trying to claim the scepter for himself to – well, you’ve guessed it again – make money!

Our villain Nicholas Filiminov (Ben Cross) confronting Giovanna Becker (Bettina Zimmermann)

To complete the picture, we have Bettina Zimmermann as Giovanna Becker, Jack’s old love, and because it would be bad to leave the other boy alone, here comes the rescue in the form of Elodie Frenck (Cara Cahill).

You know how it plays, right? Yes, it’s pretty straightforward, with a bad underwater CGI effects, the story doesn’t allow for any twists or surprises, but the scenes in the Chinese cave (yes, we are all over the world, from Vatican to Dresden to Chinese cave system) with the secret room built in it got me in stitches. The acting there was on the level I’ve expected it turning to a scene from a adult video movie any second! Anyway, don’t shoot at the pianist for the piano not being in tune, as they say.

Putting the rod into the hole…or something like that.

I am not sure if it’s me getting old and more tolerant of everything, but I myself was surprised to actually watch the whole movie without any interruptions. I think I can safely state it was due to the level of watchable silliness on the TV screen, quite certainly unintentional by the creators of the movie.

But it’s about entertainment, right? In that case, they’ve succeeded.

Not that I’m gonna re-watch it any time soon (if ever).

Official trailer:

Fragment Soul – Axiom of Choice (a review)

The link for these Greek doom melancholics arrived to my mailbox a long time ago, and I’ve almost forgotten about it. Yes, I know. Im am irresponsible sometimes.

However, I’ve started my spring cleaning also in my accounts and so I’ve come across Axiom of Choice – and what a beautiful album it is.

4 long compositions in 3 seconds over 42 minutes, that’s the progressive doom dessert from Greece. No feta cheese, though, that’s for sure.

You might know already that my musical tastes are all over the place, and although some might argue it won’t allow me to concentrate fully on a particular genre, I think it gives me an opportunity to enjoy music without too much of a comparison.

And therefore I can enjoy Fragment Soul and their work of art for what it is. And it’s a beautiful, melancholic, gloomy collection – however, not a depressive one, I’d say. It’s something you would play during the rainy day, laying alone in your bed and just floating in space of your thoughts and memories. For the fans of Draconian it might be pointed out, that Heike Langhans collaborated on this album, and there’s also a guest person – Egan O’Rourke from Daylight Dies.

I like it a lot. For a seasoned fans of the doom genre it might not be earth-shattering, and I’m not gonna argue it is. But if you want to spend 42:03 minutes of your life with an aural balsam for your ears and soul, this might be something you might like to check.

Album stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQupuFFlbOo

Malauriu – Malauriu (a 2022 album review)

Recently I’ve lent my ear to some nice black metal releases, so when I’ve got this promo from Italy for a review, it’s been only a matter of time when it will attack both my ears.

…and the day has come.

Malauriu are certainly no new-comers, haling from the Italian underground since 2013. I am not familiar with their previous output, but with the opening track, “Morto Era L’oro”, it is clear what they meant by “a new chapter of experimentation between dark ambient and Mediterranean sound”, which was the description they’ve used in the promo e-mail. Well, they haven’t lied.

The album contains 4 long compositions, the shortest one clocks in 10:52 (“Corpo Tempio), the longest will stay in your aural orifices for almost 12 minutes (11:50 long “Specula”).

A mix between ritualistic darkwave and a poetry reading, lyrics in Italian, along with the music itself, evoke the best moments of watching Italian horror/occult/supernatural movies – minus the video segment, of course.

Not much of a black metal per se, nevertheless, this is right in my comfort zone, as I’ll never say no to the atmosphere inducing soundscape.

The album will be released on April 1st, 2022, in a CD and digital format via the Italian label Nero Corvino, so if that’s your kind of music, you definitely won’t go wrong getting it.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/malauriuofficial

Costectomy/Nyctophagia – “Drone Hunting Missionaries For Sport” (a 2021 split review)

After some time spent checking not so usual music with my other webpage Indokult, dedicated to the Indonesian music , I’ve started craving some more unhinged underground music again. To be precise, good old goregrind and gorenoise. No, I won’t call it a “fix”, haha, but truth is – sometimes it’s just what the doctor has ordered. You know…going full circle and so forth…

Now, with the genre selected, the next important question was – with so much to choose from, what to play? For that, I’ve checked a Olga Lazarus’ new label Strangulation Furrow on Bandcamp. You might remember Olga from the interview I did with her for the Rubber Axe webzine here. Since then she’s relocated to the USA and started a new label, it’s only logical to show her some support! Yes, freaks, some support!!!

Olga is a busy bee and so far she has released some nice releases (mostly tapes, but also a CD and a 7” EP), plus she’s printing the t-shirts herself. Talk about some dedication here!

So, with that being said, I’ve chosen to review a split between Costectomy and Nyctophagia titled “Drone Hunting Missionaries For Sport”. 14 groovy tracks in total.

A tape version from Strangulation Furrow label

First to offer the putrid sonic fruits is Costectomy, which is Chud’s (Ulcerated Offal, Cystoblastosis, ex-Hit-Run Drivers etc.) project based in Eliot (Maine, USA). 6 tracks in total of great sounding goregrind (yes, the aforementioned groovy kind), enriched by the samples from the horror/gore movies, exactly the way I like it. You know, I love intros/outros! Damn, thinking about that, I am pretty much easily pleased, haha! Well, it’s true. However, when you are faced with stuff like this, that’s not so hard. Great stuff here. Oh, not to forget, the last song is a cover of Dysmenorrheic Hemmorage, “Affliction”.

The rest of the release belongs to Nyctophagia, currently an 1-man unstoppable grinding machine from Ohio and if you can count on your rotten fingers, you know that means 8 tracks left to enjoy!

Unlike Costectomy, Nyctophagia plays more of a little faster death/grind, more of a bulldozer than a groove, however I can’t complain here neither and so won’t you. Really, what’s here not to enjoy?

The split is over almost in no time – which is probably the only negative I can say about it. For those collectors of the physical release, this was released in 2021 on a pro CD-R by Costectomy Records (but according the info it’s already sold out) and Olga’s label has released it on in a tape version. Go check and grab it while you can!

Bandcamp: https://strangulationfurrowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/costectomy-nyctophagia-split

VA – Gorenoise megasplit vol. 1

It’s been quite a while since I’d reviewed anything gorenoise related. Gorenoise Megasplit volume 1, the compilation I’m going to write a few words about, was sent to me by our friends in the Italian label Nosevomit Records quite a long time ago, and I am ashamed to have waited for so long before reviewing it. Well, time to wait is over, let’s have a look how ugly this boy turned out to be!

Opening the compilation is Italian gorenoise project Bronchospasm with the track “Pneumoconiosis”, the cool 4:05 track and it’s quite interesting, not the typical blasting sh*t I’d expect, it’s more like an experimental noise track, with drums beats here and there, but straight away, I am impressed and I need to check this project little more closer. And, by the way, they are associated with this little record label: https://www.facebook.com/unauthorizedsurgeonsclub/

The second to dissect is another Italian pathology combo – Conforming To Survive – with the three tracks, “Severed Mutation of the Upper Limbs”, “Gnawing the Intestines” and “Cursed Flesh Grimoire”. Rehearsal recording, with a rather goregrind/noise chaos, and again, I am revelling in this! Building from the shortest track to the longest one (which clocks in 3:39), there’s plenty of filth to like here!

But then…it’s a gorenoise proper! American project Hydroencephalocystocele steals the show with its “13 Traxx Untitled” and for all those looking for a really cool gorenoise, now it’s the time. Bubbles and noise, what can go wrong, right? I’d welcome more variability here, but otherwise, can’t complain.

Mucopurulence’s section opens with a cool intro, which intro-duces (lol) us to to f*ckin awesome goregrind track “Copro Corpse Copulation”. This stuff raises the dead! Mucupurulence hails from Finland and because they kick ass, they offer 5 tracks here – Copro Corpse Mutilation, Putrid Bile of Shit, A Collection of Colons and Entrails, Ceaseless Violent Defecating, Choking on Swollen Tongue and Vomit – all the future classicks, I am sure! Not too long, not too short, they are perfect! I really enjoy these, and the song titles remind me of the times we used to come up with the most insane titles too!!!

This nice compilation closes with 5 gorenoise tracks (Adiction, Another Disease; Ear Atrocities, Head Hole, Inhuman Glass and Taenia Solium) from Saccopharynx. This Mexican project offers an interesting mix of blasting drums, bubbling, gurgling vokills…and probably even a kitchen sink thrown in for a good measure, and it works.

The whole compilation can be heard on the Nosevomit’s Bandcamp, and what’s even better, you can get a CD-R of it too!!! What are you waiting for then?

https://nosevomitrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gorenoise-megasplit-vol-i

Where fire burns eternally: Eternal Kingdom of Fire, volume 5 (digital promo review)

Those of you who read the Rubber Axe regularly, will might recall the review I’ve written for a previous release of this compilation series, namely volume 2.

Well, time flies and a few days ago a new batch has arrived to my mailbox, this time it was the latest invocation, namely the volume 5.

10 bands, 10 songs. However…what songs these are!

Opening this compilation tape is Winter Eternal from Greece (lately of Scotland, according to available information) with the song “Crown of Stars” (also on this project’s 2021 full length “Land of Darkness”). F**king brilliant tune, I can hardly think of a better opening. Interesting, well thought of, well played. And a well received here, that’s no doubt about that. I like the use of instruments and the melodies.

Russian strikeforce Ophidian Malice, on the other hand, take no prisoners and relentlessly bash the listener with their furious black metal vibe. “Saviour” is the song from their debut 2021 full-length “Disgusting Ritual” and it definitely shows the band in the good (un)light.

So far, I am really enjoying the comp.

With Skorbvstr, the raw black metal ferocity from Kentucky (USA) we have first exclusivity here, as I think their song “Diskusjonen er avsluttet” is available here only. I might be wrong though. I am little surprised with the use of, what is it Norwegian language?…but the guy might be from Scandinavia, so there’s that. As for the music, I have to admit I am starting to develop a certain liking for the raw BM (which, as many might know, is not one of my favourite subgenres), and there are some elements I really enjoy here.

“Pain Enshrouded Dirge” from Desecration Rites is our very next song, and the second longest offering from this compilation. I’d say there’s a certain inspiration from old Burzum (which is not a bad thing, what do you think?), and even it delivers the goods (so to speak) even with the simplicity of melody, riffs and hypnotic drumbeat. Well, you know…the old school, the good way.

Alpgeist hails from Bavaria (Germany) and presents to you their hymn “Moor in der Todtenau”. Yes, I can definitely say I like this approach a lot more than the raw BM subgenre. Dark, melancholic and melodic, I really like the guitar riffs here…the whole song is one welcoming energy boost in my current depressive mood. Can a black metal song be viewed as a positive booster? I’d say so, so this applies. I am really loving this one.

Zmyrna can be classed as Alpgeist’s neighbour, as guys come from Czech Republic, and their “Pagus Maledictus” offers yet another fascinating look into the black metal subgenre – guys not only sing about mystical stuff and medieval life, their music also evokes the fires of the dark ages and the suffering through the ages. This song is certainly a weird one, very unexpected, but as I’ve said – fascinating (in a good sense). The song itself comes from their only material to date, the 2021 self-titled EP.

And now, ladies and gentlemen – the longest track of this compilation. Necrodes and “Swept Away”, from its 2021 full-length “Isolation”. Wow, what a vocal! Imagine maniacal, hysterical cries with some gurgling and you might start to have an idea. Although, I guess the best bet is to have a listen. However, I think more of DSBM than atmospheric BM here, but that’s just my opinion. Unfortunately, these days I am rarely fond of long compositions and I’ve got a little bored here, sorry.

Necrocarnation hails from Germany now, but from what I could find, they are from Argentina, and on this nice compilation they bring to your attention their black/death metal sacrifice with their song “Antarctic”, which is also the opener of their 2020 EP “Fragments of Dark Eternity”. And I have to say, I like this stuff! Especially vokills, which sound really killer! Kudos to the compiler, as I really welcome the diversity of the subgenres while still being true to the black metal genre as a whole.

Finnish duo Svartheim play strict black metal, which might sound a little generic nowadays, but I think they are aware of that, so they enrich their song “Vaiettu” (which comes from their 2021 full length debut “Black Metal Finland”) with the interesting dual vocals. And it works. Personally, I don’t really give a damn about similarity between songs or bands – if I like it, I like it, period. And Svartheim would be on my playlist. It’s simple, yet effective.

And the last band to enjoy from this compilation is Necro Forest from Croatia, with the song “Hate Divison”. Raw black metal, with little NSBM leaning, I’d guess. I am little disappointed with the sort of a ripping off Mayhem’s “Freezing Moon” in the beginning of the song , because when it starts properly, it’s not bad at all! But I think Norwegian legends have their impact on many bands…it’s not that big of an issue, but I thought it would be good to mention that. Also, likeable song.

So, that’s all, folks. Good, bad? Well, for me, undoubtedly a great compilation. I think I can safely say – I can play this without skipping a song. And that’s quite a feat.

Get it from Ancient Cult Records, while you can. Get in touch with the label via e-mail: aniquilacionsatanicapro@yahoo.com

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