Here is my usual run-down of ten tracks that I think are worthy of mention from the past month. Some might note a lack of “metal” in this list: mainly because there is little new stuff that I have heard that has inspired me to write about in any way. So, here goes.
Track of the Month
We Carry On
Really, who’d have thought that a comeback over ten years in the making could be this good? Somehow standing out alone, sounding almost totally unique in their approach, it’s nice to have them back. After the shock of the retro-electronics of single Machine Gun, there are number of other treasures on the album, and the album centrepiece We Carry On is most certainly one of them. Built around a simple, driving, drum beat, and odd, almost alien-sounding electronics, Beth’ voice floats ghostlike through it all. And bizarrely, the guitar effects remind me of recent NIN tracks…
It really has taken a while for me to get into this band, but at long last I’ve had the chance to listen to their latest album in detail, and it’s staggeringly good. The detail of weaving a coherent theme (and story) through all the songs on the album (creating a long story-arc) really works well, especially as all of the tracks flow so well into each other. For some reason I utterly love this mid-paced track, which in some respects reminds me of Stromkern in the use of near hip-hop vocal rhythms, particularly in the chorus.
I’m Pretty Much Fucked
Medication For The Misinformed
Another I’m amazed I missed previously, this US industrial band are probably the closest I have heard any band come to the ideas that Cubanate were exploring a decade or more back. Heavy beats and heavily treated guitars, but perhaps with less of the brutal aggression that fuelled much of the older band. Still, with tracks as good as this one, I’m happy for now…
Here Are The Roses
I’ve already posted here about my radar missing this lot previously, and getting hold of the album has revealed that it wasn’t just the singles that were worth a listen. This – the second track – is brilliant, building and building until it explodes into the chorus, and then takes it up another notch or two when it comes back around again. A track driven, seemingly, on pure adrenaline, this is wonderful gothic rock: and a band that might just make me interested in a Spa ticket at Whitby in October if they were to be added to the bill (unless they play somewhere more local first).
Live By The Knife, Die By The Knife
We’re Set Silently on Fire
Quite how I’ve managed not to pick up on this artist previously is something I’ve been asking myself a lot since I picked up this album a couple of weeks ago. I’ve heard a number of people saying many good things about them (him) for a while now, and happily this album has not disappointed. A mix of unsettling atmospheric pieces and some seriously savage industrial noise, the entire album is really, really good. For me this track – a mix of both approaches – is six minutes of pure hate and spite. Manufactura sits somewhere in between Terrorfakt and Converter, if you are looking for reference points…
At least for now the entire new album is up for listening on their myspace page, and this opening track (and the first track publically aired) is not as much a red herring as I had thought it might be. The new album is more of the icy electronics and shimmering pop that they do so well, but the quasi-industrial textures of this track don’t seem out of place at all, as 80s-industrial and electronics sounds abound elsewhere too (particularly on the fabulous Runaway). I’d love to know what they are on about on Black Cat (it is sung in Bulgarian by Mira), though…
Bomb This Track
While the new album is not half as good as previous albums, seemingly playing it rather safe in many cases, there are still moments where the old lunacy shines through: and perhaps none more so than with this track. An almost hip-hop intro, before it suddenly picks up pace – and good luck keeping up with Jimmy’s lyrics, which as usual appear to be ripping the piss out of just about any target going. It’s still not quite reaching the heights of the last album, though, and as they edge closer to the mainstream, will they ever?
This is unexpectedly great stuff from a band I have always thought were only so-so: a pulsing dancefloor track that has everything (the beats, the hooks, the cheesy synth lines) to keep everyone moving. More than likely kinda disposable EBM-pop, too, but it’s great fun while it lasts.
Skinny Little Bitch
Blood Death Ivory
If you liked the previous Angelspit album Krankhaus, there is nothing to suggest from this teaser for the forthcoming album that you will be disappointed by it. Musically and stylistically, there is nothing that has been really changed – still thumping beats and sneering vocals, but done in such a way that it still sounds fresh. And I love the “la la la” in the chorus…
This Life Is Where You Get Fucked
One of those wierd things about the age of internet promotion for music is that when you follow band’s moves closely (say on their blog), when something gets announced and pushed back, as happened here, it makes the wait for it feel even longer. Still, the happy news is that This Life Is Where You Get Fucked is fantastic, and even it’s concept and split into three distinct sections works. The most fascinating tracks – and probably those that were ones we thought were the biggest risks – are those from the middle section Ghetto Blasphemer, where the stated aim was to bring together the genres of hip-hop and black metal. And boy, does it work. Pick of the tracks is the opening track from this section, Black – that seamlessly switches from lolloping beats to blastbeats in a flash, building on the idea of Demons from REframe and turning it all up to eleven. A full review of this album will follow once I’ve given it a good few more listens…