In the year 199X, war was beginning! This here’s a new feature on ID:UD where I wake up hungover as all hell and dig through my crates (well, CD racks and youtube if we’re going full disclosure here) and unearth some songs and videos from my salad days in the Industrial scene. Think of it as a nice companion series to Bruce’s The Unquiet Grave, albeit less exhaustively researched and based on my own nostalgia for the 1990s, those glorious days of 21st Circuitry and Zoth Ommog, when American coldwave bands roamed the land and the Electric Hellfire Club seemed pretty cool for some reason I can’t quite recall. My focus is largely gonna be on inactive bands, although I may toss in the occasional number from a group that’s still pluggin’ away. This is the stuff that soundtracked my mid-nineties community radio shows and I got hella nostalgia for it, warts and all. Some of it lacks polish and relies on the fairly dated-sounding samples and metal guitar tropes, but there are some real gems to be found if you look hard enough. Judging by the recent swell of interest in 80s Electronic Body Music we may well see a revival of these sounds in the next couple of years, do your research now so you can be more ‘leet then the kids who pick it up when the blogosphere at large starts writing about it. Wishful thinking from an embittered crank, or grim prophecy? You decide!
A lot of these jams are way out of print, and many weren’t all that well distributed to begin with, so if any of it strikes your fancy your best bet is to start combing eBay, your local soon-to-be-out-of-business used CD emporium or find a former club DJ who called it quits around 2000 and raid his stacks. Ready? Great! Fire up your newsreader to rec.music.industrial and shave the sides of your head it’s time to visit 199X!
D.H.I. (Death & Horror Inc.), “Pain and Courage” 1994
DHI were a Toronto band formed in the 80s, but mostly active in the 90s releasing a few albums and EPs on Canada’s Fringe records. I recall they were often spoken of in the same breath with FLA and Numb in the press when discussing Canadian Industrial, although I daresay their historical impact is less notable then those groups. Although “Pain and Courage” subscribes to the chugga chugga guitar over electronics blueprint that dominated much of the landscape at the time, the band also dabbled in Die Krupps-esque EBM with metallic percussion (“New Vision”) on occasion. Their official site has made all their old music available for download, and has a pleasantly complete bio if you’re the kind of person interested in reading about the specifics of 90s industrial bands, which I am, and I suspect you might be too if you’ve read this far.
Swamp Terrorists, “Pale Torment” 1993
Ah, the Swampies. These Swiss fellas always sounded like off-brand KMFDM to me, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, I’d sooner take most of their tracks then anything Sasha and whoever he’s conscripted have produced recently. Swamp Terrorists are actually pretty easy to find stuff by, they produced quite a bit and were signed to Metropolis for the latter years of the decade although their early albums on Machinery are more interesting. Founder STR was also behind the project Hellsau, who were similar but amped up the guitars and intensity considerably.
Waiting for God, “Apologies” 1996
Classic 90s Vancouver stuff, Waiting for God were only active a for a few years before breaking up over creative differences between singer Daemon Cadman and co-founder Martin Myers, a lengthy account of which can be read here. Consequently their discography is pretty scant (their “second” album Quarter Inch Thick for Re-Constriction is actually just their self-titled first album with added remixes) but all of it is gold. Daemon had a great voice, and her use of it was what set them apart from a lot of similar guitars n’ electronics acts. This track has always reminded me of Miranda Sex Garden’s “Peep Show”, albeit with a more synthy edge.
Hate Dept. “Release It (Empirion Mix)” 1998
Man, Empirion always came with a fresh remix back in the day. Although they’re actually pretty well known for their techno releases on XL and their legendary remix of “Firestarter” for the Prodigy (Hackers soundtracks stand up!) I never felt like this particular track got as much burn as it deserved. I can generally take or leave Seibold, but you can’t front on the programming on this version, it leaves the somewhat tepid original in the dirt. Empirion have apparently recently reactivated (minus original member Bob Glennie who passed away in 2005), and have uploaded tons of their originals and remixes to Soundcloud for your enjoyment, including a totally unreleased second album.
Hate dept – Release it (empirion mix) by Empirion
Armageddon Dildos, “Every Day is Like Sunday(Orwell Was 10 Years Off)” 1994
German group Armageddon Dildos released the Come Armageddon EP on Sire in ’94, a year after the label re-released their ’92 Zoth Ommog single Homicidal Maniac stateside. The record features several takes on the Moz classic featuring vastly different vocal and instrumental versions, although this one is closest to AD’s most well-known incarnation as EBM stalwarts. The group is currently recording for Alfa-Matrix putting a pretty decent record in 2011, and have also seen the re-release of their classic single East West as part of Infacted’s classics series.
Wow, that Empirion remix is pretty kickin’. Also I’d forgotten about Swamp Terrorists. Time to dig them out of the CD pile – I can’t say I’ve heard another band with that similar style since them.