TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME
Dead Animal Sodomy
~reviewed by Edwin Somnambulist
First off, I'd like to make it known as a bit of background information, the radio program that I host is entitled Industrial Strength Nightmares. This being said, it is with nothing but the utmost irony that I am at a point where I am thoroughly sick of the industrial music that is currently being produced.
And honestly, how could I be blamed? With one label running (and ruining) the biggest part of the scene, and countless bands flip-flopping all over each other to capture that similar sound that will give them the biggest market share and the most fame, the genre has become so watered down by mainstream elements that it's painful to listen to. What we see today is not the brainchild of the likes of Genesis P. Orridge, or Blixa Bargeld. When Bill Leeb wrote ten years ago that music was in the doldrums, I doubt he could have imagined it would have become as bad as it is today.
That little diatribe behind me, I set to the task of reviewing this disc. In the words of Mr. Burns, "I know what I hate, and I don't hate this." Seriously though, I like this a lot, which is very refreshing, considering my absolute disgust with most everything I listen to these days. Granted, the disc isn't perfect, but if anything in the genre was, then maybe all the copycat bands would be justified in their regurgitation.
The intro track, "The Gate," is just that -- nothing too hard hitting to start off with, a good intro track to the disc. A slow, quiet beginning that builds into a fast paced and dancy track with a solid beat. Nice samples, with dark synth choir hits.
"Dienstag" was one of the few tracks that I didn't like. To give it a fair shake, though, I should say the only thing about it I didn't like were the lyrics as they seemed a bit forced to me. Other than that, everything's spot on. Nice vocal distortion when it kicks in too: very static-y, though the static gets pulled off a bit later in the track.
"Manipulate" starts off with a great pulsing beat, followed up by a machine gun hi-hat cymbal. A wonderful track through and through. Probably one of the best on the disc in my opinion.
"Trial: Fire" is a track that I find especially interesting. It's a musical anthem of sorts, starting with a new reporter sample, and building into a high crescendo of beautiful synths. I really like tracks that are structured like this, for their sheer beauty an empowerment.
"Reprobate" is another neat dancy track with wonderful samples. The vocals really fit well with the music on this one. Definitely a club hit. The end features a vocal sample that sounds like David Suzuki. Perhaps I'll never know if it is for sure, but as long as I believe it's a Suzuki sample, its one of the coolest things I've ever heard.
"Through the Eyes of a Killer." Bladerunner samples. Cliche, but I don't care. The day I get tired of Bladerunner samples is the day I pack it all in.
One more thing I'd like to point out is the brilliant package design this disc features. Back in the days of vinyl, album cover design was a real art. I've got a lot of vinyl sleeves that I could take and hang on my wall. The era of CD's seems to have given way to more of a "design by committee" feel, especially among the major mainstream labels. The packaging philosophy behind this disc is pure artistic genius, with a general motif, and all parts -- from the covers to the disc itself -- flowing togetherto make a sort of harmony. If only more CD's had such a wonderful layout scheme.
To sum it all up in a neat little package, this is a disc that any industrial fan really shouldn't be without. It's a breath of fresh air in a swamp that has too long been stagnant. So many ideas are represented here that you just don't see from the big name industrial bands of the day who are far more preoccupied with making money it seems. From dance music, to contemplation tracks, its all here.
Toxic Shock Syndrome is John Mortimer