One pleasant advantage of being a prematurely old man is my ability to drone on endlessly about the 90s as if they were some kind of golden age for industrial music. I’ve channeled that “charming” trait into this here column, wherein I fuck around on youtube looking for songs I half remember from my old college radio show and try to sell you, the reader, on the genius of Luxt or some shit. I actually do really like Luxt, so if Erie or Anna is reading this, no offense intended dudes, I was listening to one of your records just the other day. At any rate, the idea here is that I tell you about a bunch of bands, most of which aren’t active anymore and you pretend to be interested before going back to listening to Agonoize or something. Sound like a fair deal? Good! Rev up yer engines and set the way back machine to the year 199X!
Penal Colony, “Freemasons Of Enochian Magick” 1995
For some reason I always think of Penal Colony as a Re-Constriction band, but they were Cleopatra in North America and Zoth Ommog in Europe. Their singer Dee was in deathrock band Ex-Voto (who I’m sure Bruce could tell you all about), and Discogs tells me that at one point one of the dudes from Rozz Williams’ Shadow Project played keyboards. It’s weird, because by far the most well known thing they did was their 5 Man Job EP, which was mostly remixed by Front Line Assembly (*cough*Rhysprobably*cough*) and Leaetherstrip. In fact, I think this very video utilizes an FLA remix. I remember seeing a crummy Realplayer stream of this clip back in the day and enjoying the Reservoir Dogs suits and the costumed performance footage. Dee Madden seems to be the only dude with an online presence currently, he’s putting out some nice sounding covers records you can hear bits of on his website.
Circle of Dust, “Chasm” 1998
You know, I like Celldweller well enough, but Klayton is always gonna be one of two things to me: 1) the Christian industrial dude or 2) The Criss Angel Mindfreak industrial dude. This song is from his band Circle of Dust’s posthumous 1998 album Disengage, which while still having some *ahem* “churchy” lyrics is pretty great and I think points the way to where he would end up with his later, very produced industrial rock sound. The bassline on this song is just fuckin’ killer, I’d dance to it if it came on in a club any time.
Iron Lung Corp, “Join in the Murderous Chant” 1996
ALL TIME CLUB BANGER. Iron Lung Corp was a collaboration between Acumen and The Clay People, who according to legend (if their last.fm page counts as a legend, which it kinda does, if you think about it) conceived the project as a one off tour thing to perform this very cover before recording a largely forgettable album for Re-Constriction. Everyone seems to be either covering Nitzer Ebb or making Nitzer Ebb sounding EBM lately, but at the time this served as a nice shout out from a couple of the American coldwave bands to Doug and the boys, especially coming from a scene which emphasized chuggin’ guitars so heavily. I guarantee you this still gets more burn in clubs in some parts of the States than any song from either parent group.
Yeht Mae, “Beater” 1994
Go find some information on Yeht Mae online, I double dare you. Aside from the names of the members (Jeremy Daw and Lynda Sterling) and the fact that they put out some records on Zoth Ommog there ain’t much to be found. I actually mentally lump them in with Porcupine Defense, Terminal Sect and Thinkingman as the lost Metropolis bands of yesteryear, folks that put out one or two albums and then disappeared, not even mentioned on the label’s webpage. What happened to them and who can tell the tale? Surely not me, and I’m willing to sift through old RMI archives to find out stuff for this column. Anyways, I like this song a lot, it makes me think of the less objectionably wanky Mentallo & the Fixer stuff and in my research I also discovered that you can download all their music from the somewhat spartan but apparently official website free of charge.
Diatribe, “Ultracide” 1996
I think I conflated Diatribe with labelmates Killing Floor when I was doing research, because I swear I thought that this song belonged to the latter. Speaking of Killing Floor, if anyone knows where I can scare up a copy of their jam “Come Together” I sure would be grateful. Anyways, Diatribe had a couple EPs (the second of which was produced by Ogre!), one full-length and this single to their name. I don’t know anything else about them, although the one factoid that every single source on them seems to mention is that they had a song in Kathryn Bigelow’s film “Strange Days”, which I love quite a lot, even if setting your futuristic sci-fi thriller like 5 years hence is kind of a ridiculous thing to do. You know, come to think of it these guys were from the last era it was possible for a band to be so anonymous, with ubiquitous web presence for literally every group who so much as passes wind these days it’s not like I’ll ever be able to be like “Gee, I wonder whatever happened to CyberBandX who put out that record in ’03” and not be able to find out their singer’s mother’s maiden name within three seconds of Googling them. In case you can’t tell, this is me spitballing because I haven’t got anything else to say about this song. Fuck it, it’s good, I like it, if you haven’t heard it before you should, it’s quintessential American coldwave. Bam! Column over.