Victims Of A Clown

With a little over twenty six hours before they take to the stage in Manchester I’m still debating on a short trip north to see Ministry.

I’ve been a fan of theirs since the years before Jesus Built My Hotrod propelled them to the mainstream, but it wasn’t all that long after that release when I stated drifting away from them.

I brought Filth Pig, the follow up to Psalm 69, but couldn’t seem to get into it. All the albums after that have passed me by. I made no real effort with any of them until I had a slight revisit of the newer albums around the time of the C-U-LaTour in 2008, which was the first (and currently only) time I’ve seen Al Jourgensen perform indoors and it is up there as one of my biggest gigging low points.

The set list was predominantly made up of songs post Psalm 69 and only four from a seventeen song set list were from their golden era. The whole thing seemed very subdued and from what I recall sounded awful, everything turned up to 12 and sounding overly distorted. It just felt like a band going through the motions, indeed this tour was supposedly their last jaunt to promote their latest at the time The Last Sucker. Roll on a decade, four tours and a trio of albums later in contemplating shelling out to see the Cuban native take to the stage again.

I’ve seen the recent set lists and yet again they are skewed heavily in favour of current release AmeriKKKant and still too much material post 1992, but this time I’ve listened to the newest offering and thoroughly like it’s venomous lyrical tirade and rhythmic electronic power. In places it takes me back to the days of Twitch, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and The Land of Rape and Honey.

I’ll see what kind of mood I am in when I get home from work and see if I can drag myself to a train station and add a new venue to my ever expanding list. That’s all assuming it hasn’t had the sold up sign posted up.

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A Drug Against War

I’ve been listening to KMFDM on and off since I started to discover the industrial metal scene via Nine Inch Nails, GGFH, Swamp Terrorists, Laibach and Ministry in the mid 90’s. Tonight the German band play the Ruby Lounge in Manchester and the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton tomorrow whilst I’m otherwise engaged elsewhere. I’ve never seen them live, then again I don’t own any of their twenty albums, so I doubt I’d be changing my plans for the next two nights, but I’ve enjoyed relistening to them lately. 

I first stumbled upon the band through one of two industrial styles compilation discs. It was either their track Godlike on the Hot Wired Monstertrux album or the Terror – An Industrial Metal Compilation where a remixed version of Money was featured. They’ve also been on the soundtrack albums to several films including Hellraiser III, Mortal Kombat and Johnny Mnemonic. 

Formed in Hamburg in 1984 as a performance project by Sascha Konietzko, Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid (no pity for the majority) has gone through a lot of band members in their 33 year career. I initially liked their earlier output with a more angry metal edge to it. Listening to some of the more recent tracks with American singer Lucia Cifarelli it doesn’t sound quite a metallic as I recall, maybe be a bit more watered down. No doubt I’ll have a binge listen on Spotify over the weekend and regret not going to see them.  

For a long time I was under the impression KMFDM was as acronym for Kill Mother F*****g Depeche Mode. I didn’t find out until recently that was just something the band did with American journalists who weren’t well versed with the German language. Even though the band are considered German now there is only one German native in the band, whilst the rest of the line up is completed by an American singer and a trio of British musicians. 

A Drug Against War was released on the Angst album in 1993 and still keeps all of those elements from the Chicago industrial scene that originally caught my attention. 

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 24/31

Day 24 – A cover tune. 

Prong – Doomsday

Again another hard choice because there are so many fantastic cover versions within the heavy metal genre. I could have picked a cover tune from virtually every one of the 30 bands I’ve featured. 

I’ve got to miss out Metallica paying homage to Misfits, Queen, Bob Seger, Discharge and the Anti-Nowhere League. Anthrax covering Joe Jackson, Thin Lizzzy, AC/DC or Trust. Slayer and Steppenwolf. Laaz Rockit thrashing up the Dead Kennedy’s. Nightwish turning Gary Moore symphonic. Queensryche covering  Dalbello (which for a long time I didn’t realise was a cover). W.A.S.P. paying tribute to Deep Purple or The Who. The list is endless.  

If I haven’t changed my mind in the next few days I’ve gone for Prong so I can sneak local legends Discharge onto this list. And it’s a mighty fine rendition of the song that graced the B side of Discharge’s State Violence State Control 7″ from 1983. It was originally on the release as Dooms’ Day, but over time changed to Doomsday. 

Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck 

  

Prong were formed in the New York City area in 1986 by two employees from the famous CBGB’s club – sound guy Tommy Victor and doorman Mike Kirkland. Originally more of a hardcore band they eventually evolved into a much more industrial metal outfit. Three decades and a hiatus later Victor is the only remaining member and has shared the stage and studio with a plethora of musicians. 

I got into the band at the start of the 90’s when Force Fed and Beg to Differ were both college lunch times, second hand purchases from Lotus records. I stuck with the band until 1994’s Cleansing and I didn’t really listen to much else by them until the release of their covers album Songs From the Blackhole and latest studio release X from 2015 and 2016 respectively. 

For a band I’ve liked on and off for so long I’ve only seen them live once when they were on the main stage at Bloodstock 2014. Surprisingly this appears to be Prong’s only appearance at a UK festival. If they have performed elsewhere I have no recollections of it. I have no idea either how I’ve managed to miss them so may times over the years, but that tally gets improved upon this weekend. 

Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck is taken from the bands 1994 album Cleaning – their most successful release, if only on a modest scale. 

Prong are a great addition to this tour and will give a bit of calm before the storm brought hence by the brutality of Exodus and Obituary. 
  

 

The Great Pretender

  

The last time I saw PAIN (as they like it stylised) on stage was back in 2008 at the then Manchester Carling Apollo when I caught the back end of their set when they were support to Nightwish on their Dark Passion Play tour. 

The Swedes have been back a handful of times since but mainly they’ve been confined to London. They’re not a band I follow too closely but as I was supposed to be off work and trains to and from Wolverhampton are pretty easy to negotiate I might have a jaunt into the Black Country, even though I’m now due back into work at 5am the following morning. 

PAIN is the industrial metal project and hobby from the mind of Peter Tägtgren who is also the sole member of the outfit, it’s just fleshed out with hired hands for the live arena. He is probably better known as front man of death metal band Hypocrisy and producer extraordinaire at Abyss Studios which he handily owns. Abyss, much like Swedish studio Sunlight in the late 80’s, has also been involved with a veritable who’s who of post 1995 Scandinavian metal. 

Latest album Coming Home was released in September a little over five years since their last release You Only Live Twice – where you can find The Great Pretender (which isn’t a cover of the Freddie Mercury song!). The gaps between PAIN releases are a bit random, but I’m guessing he’s a busy man. 


  

Stigmata

   

My original plan was to write a few words about Californian industrial duo G.G.F.H. but I’ve not been able to find a video for them, just some audio rips. Expect something by them later in the year, let’s pencil in October 31st? 

I can’t really do a run of industrial metal and skip over Ministry. They’ve been featured once already in this blog, but with something from their new wave synth-pop era. In 1992 they hit the mainstream with their breakthrough album Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs to give the record its full title. 

They reinvented themselves between the new wave era and hitting the limelight and there were three previous albums that – in a gloating kind of way – I was listening to well before Psalm 69 hit the stores. They’re one of those bands though where I can’t really recall how I got into them. I’m thinking it was probably a recommendation from local industrial band Hatemonger who’s frontman I knew. 

It wasn’t until the 2000’s until I got to see the band live, from what I recall a pretty inebriated Al Jourgensen was on stage in blazing afternoon sunlight at the 2003 Download Festival. My next, and currently last, time seeing them was in 2008 on the Wolverhampton stop on their C U LaTour – touted as their final tour. I was one of many people who came away pretty disappointed from the show as the main bulk of the set was made up from more recent releases and we had to wait for the encore to get a pair of songs from Psalm 69 and The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste. 

I’ve had the live video In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up for more than a quarter of a century now, but it’s been such a long time since I last viewed it, mainly because it’s a VHS cassette and we have no video player in the house and I’m not sure if it surfaced on DVD at any point in the intervening years. I would have loved to have seen the band in their most dangerous heyday, ensconced behind the chain mail barrier between the band and their rabid audiences. My only two experiences have been rather lacklustre affairs, which is why I declined to see them a few weeks ago. 
  

Stigmata is taken from the band’s third album The Land of Rape and Honey their first with a more metal edge. The album title is lifted from the motto on a coffee mug seen in Canadian town Tisdale, Saskatchewan, who’s local agricultural heritage is based in rapeseed and honey.  

Triad

  

Today is a bank holiday in England – the last one for almost four months. No work, even though a high percentage of my customers are working today so it would have suited me to be in work, and it’ll prevent the chaos that I will be greeted with on Tuesday. 

So as my alarms usually go off from 3:40am that means today I can have a long lie in right? It’s just gone 7am and I’ve been up nearly an hour already, so a lie in of sorts. I haven’t got a great deal of things to do at this time of the day, I might take Ozymandias for a short walk – but first a little bit of me time. 

Carrying on with the industrial metal theme for a few more posts say hello to Nottingham oiks Pitchshifter. Formed in 1989 the original trio and their drum machine found a home on Peaceville Records for their debut album Industrial. 

Their next three releases were handled by Earache Records the label that Birmingham duo and their drum machine, better known as Godflesh, also called home. Both bands are considered to be innovators of this genre of music. 

Originally their dirge of down tuned guitars and programmed drum beats was a pretty bleak affair. In later years with the addition of a real breathing drummer and mainstream  attention they got much more melodic and eventually a lot of the metal influences dissipated and they were almost a drum and bass outfit. 

They’re a band I saw nowhere near enough over the years. My first encounter was at the Wheatsheaf here in Stoke in 1993. I remember them still having the drum machine when they played, but I can’t recall if anything from Desensitized – especially this track – was played live. The album surfaced in December of that year and I saw them in April, so maybe not. 

The last time I saw them was in Leeds during the annual Damnation Festival in 2008, their penultimate on stage performance. This was as part of a brief comeback, but they have been on hiatus for the last seven years. 

I did have a ticket to see them when they played second fiddle to Bad Religion in Manchester, but for various reasons I never made it. Hopefully there will be a chance in the future to see them as there are rumours of live shows early in 2018 which could mark the twentieth anniversary of Pitchshifter.com. Watch this space in 18 months time then.  

Desenstitized was still a harsh and dissonant affair and especially with tracks like Triad and (A Higher Form of) Killing they are still very menacing, but unlike its predecessor this album is much easier to listen to. A much improved and polished production helped with that though. 

This video looks remarkably similar to March of the Pigs by Nine Inch Nails, the band playing in a minimalistic white room and trashing their gear, but Mr. Reznor’s video was issued the following year.