"Alternative Press Presents Industrial Strength Machine Music: The Framework of Industrial Rock 1978 - 1995 (Rhino Records)
Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton
Aside from being a contender in the longest CD title of the year contest, "Industrial Strength" is a serviceable gathering of industrial music for fans of the genre or music fans who may not be familiar with the industrial sound and its pioneers.
That being said, those who know they do not care for the industrial sound should stay away from the CD like the plague.
As its title implies, "Industrial Strength" runs the gamut from the early days of industrial sound (THROBBING GRISTLE's "Hamburger Lady") to modern industrial noise ("Out Out Out" by NON from 1997 and a previously unreleased live track from NINE INCH NAILS, "Gave Up."
What's most interesting about this CD, perhaps, is its ability to show us how little the industrial sound has really changed over the years. If you weren't a fan of the industrial genre, it would probably be virtually impossible for you to discern which songs were from earlier and which were from later recordings. The main differences in the sound, as might be expected, is the bands performing the music and what their definition of "industrial" is.
For example, the aforementioned "Out Out Out" by NON (1997) is an annoying little collection of squawks and whistles that sounds like maybe there's something wrong with your CD player. However, "Anything (VIVA!)" from SCRAPING FOETUS OFF THE WHEEL (1985) is a tight song that uses the industrial noise to enhance the music.
The point being that, despite the fact that "Out Out Out" is twelve years newer than "Anything (VIVA!)," a casual listener would probably assume that the first tune is from the early days of the industrial genre because of its raw emptiness.
Without critiquing every song on the collection (however, we did list them below), there are many highlights: the opening cut by THROBBING GRISTLE, "Hamburger Lady," is eerily atmospheric; "Funkahdael" by FRONT 242 is a, appropriately, funky number; CLOCK DVA's "The Hacker" (Video Mix" could be the background score for an upcoming James Bond movie; "Stigmata" by MINISTRY rocks hard; KMFDM's "Godlike:Doglike" combines guitars with samples with surprisingly effectiveness and the cover of OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN's "Physical (Let's Get)" by REVOLTING COCKS deserves to be mentioned just because of its inventiveness.
The bottom line? This isn't a bad CD for those interested in exploring the industrial genre. The simple fact of its variety makes it valuable in that instance. But it's not the definitive industrial sampler either.
Included on the CD are:
THROBBING GRISTLE "Hamburger Lady"
CABARET VOLTAIRE "Nag Nag Nag"
NON "Out Out Out"
TEST DEPARTMENT "Kick To Kill"
EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN "Yu Gung (Eutter Mein Ego)"
SCRAPING FOETUS OFF THE WHEEL "Anything (Viva!)"
SKINNY PUPPY "Dig It"
FRONT 242 "Funkahdael"
CLOCK DVA "The Hacker (Video Mix)"
MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO "Psyche-Out"
MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT "Kooler Than Jesus" (Electric Messiah Mix)
REVOLTING COCKS "Physical (Let's Get)"
NINE INCH NAILS "Gave Up" (Live)
A classic. This record will kick your ass.
Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.
So-so. You've heard better.
Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.
Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.
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Copyright © 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights
Revised: 27 Aug 2002 18:54:15 -0500.