The last 199X post was almost two years ago, and the one before that was a year ealier, so you’re forgiven for not remembering the format. In brief, this column was generally used to conversationally go over various industrial bands of the 90s in a kind of “hey remember these guys”, or a “where are they now”, and occasionally a “hey, check out this particular obscurity from noted artist X”. Thing is that our plate gets kind of full with writing about new stuff and the Senior Staff don’t have much time to go traipsing down that particular road much these days, hence these articles falling by the wayside. Of course when we approached friend of the site Sharon Kyronfive about doing some work for us, it was the first thing we thought of: Sharon knows more about industrial, and specifically 90s industrial than just anybody we know. So strap yourself in and get ready to have some science dropped on you by one of Our Thing’s bonafide scholars. 199X is back!
A while back the perennially genius ID:UD gentlemen suggested I might start contributing to their 199X column. My response was to tell them, politely, that whilst I still loved them, they should probably consider discontinuing the use of crack. However, they insisted. So here we are.
You may be asking yourselves, who the fuck am I? After trading Depeche Mode for Nitzer Ebb in my late ‘80s pre-teen years, I discovered the wonderful world of industrial music at a time when—in my opinion—it was coming beautifully of age. I celebrated my 18th birthday in the early ‘90s at a goth/industrial club in the Inland Empire. (For those of you who live in SoCal, a young Amanda Jones was one of the DJs. True story.) In 1995 I joined the editorial staff of Industrial Nation. In 1996 I became the office manager of 21st Circuitry Records. My dating choices were often based on my potential mate’s appreciation of The Klinik. You’d think this would make dating very easy for me. (It didn’t.) For some reason industrial music was—and remains—my first honest, true love. Also, it was the ‘90s. They say if you remember the ‘90s you weren’t really there. Well, kids, I never did drugs, so I do remember the ‘90s. And I was there. So, fuck it, let’s talk about it.
Last Delay “Jail”
If you’ve never heard of Last Delay, don’t feel bad. Almost no one else has either. The entire Celtic Circle Productions saga sometimes feels to me like an obscure blip in the history of industrial. Many of the bands on its roster were relatively unknown in North America. In fact, Last Delay produced just one (non-cassette) release in their entire career—and an EP at that! In contrast to their contemporaries—especially on Celtic Circle—they seemed to focus almost entirely on textured, soundscape-rich pieces with whispered vocals. (In fact, their last released track, “Youth”, on Vertigo magazine’s 1996 compilation might be the most straightforward dancefloor number they ever released.) But this track stands out, not just because its lush and eerie overtones, but also because of this surprisingly professional-looking video (a rarity for the ‘90s). Last Delay were, unfortunately, perhaps a little bit too ahead of their time. Ex-member Lui Krüger went on to do the outstanding technoesque project Xyphax on Off Beat in the late ‘90s—which also never got the love it deserved. And all we have, otherwise, to show for Last Delay is this little EP. Pity, because it’s great.
From the very opening samples from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer to the percolating synths that follow there’s something very special about Paracont’s “D-Ranged”. It’s one of those tracks that, despite having almost zero exposure, was so beloved by those that crossed its path that it has a way of popping up out of nowhere. For example, Plastic Noise Experience covered the track on their 1997 release Rauschen (which is entertaining because Paracont’s version had only came out in 1994). Why did Plastic Noise Experience cover “D-ranged”? Fuck if I know. Maybe because it’s awesome? But Paracont never really broke out of the obscurities category. There was a split CD with (post-Dirk Ivens) The Klinik, there was Zoom (on which “D-Ranged” appears) and a lackluster follow-up, Xtra1…and that was it for Paracont. Even as far back as 1999 I remember it being near-to-impossible to find this CD. I searched for months online—this being in the days before Paypal—until I finally found a guy in Germany who was willing to trade me for it for a signed copy of a Sister Machine Gun CD. (Sorry Chris Randall. I still love you.) I know it’s hard to imagine in these days of YouTube, Spotify, and other forms of instant sonic gratification, but in the ‘90s, to find the CDs we loved, we had to get pretty scrappy.
Splatter Squall “Gore”
The influence of horror movies has a long and rich history in industrial music. After all, where would early Skinny Puppy be without its battery of samples from cult classics like The Legend of Hell House or Texas Chainsaw Massacre? But Splatter Squall seemed to take this influence to its logical extreme. There’s the name, of course, which one presumes is a reference to splatter punk. Then there’s their 1997 EP Suspiria, which is a tribute to the Dario Argento classic. On the EP are two edits of the title track—which is, unsurprisingly, a cover of Goblin’s epic theme to Argento’s film, a track called “Army of Darkness” (showing off their thematic ability to jump shockingly from Dario Argento to Sam Raimi) and this little gem. “Gore” is one of those songs that takes the Skinny Puppy influence omnipresent with European industrial acts in the ‘90s out into the stratosphere. The samples, the repetitive chanting of the word “gore”, and the strange, periodically arrhythmic drum sequencing make a sort of mélange of atrocity. This is the type of song that, despite being inherently danceable, is so rhythmically peculiar that it would never get any sort of dancefloor play anywhere. (I say that having spun it myself on dancefloors, so I lie, but you get my point.) After two records and one LP Splatter Squall presumably disbanded and faded into obscurity. One ex-member, Hagen Vetter, popped up most recently with a project, Negri Bodies, whose 2011 release Projective Vomiting on Shit Noise Records includes tracks titled “Sick Fuck” and “Anal Obsession”. I’ll let you form your own conclusions on that one.
Thanks Sharon! If you enjoyed this little session under the learning tree, than let us know in the comments: we might just have to make it a regular occurrence!