Kiss Is Kill is the solo project of producer James Chapple (Triptaka). Heavy riffs, phat beats, and searing synths dominate Kiss Is Kill's industrial rock sound, with a layer of aggressive vocals to complete the picture. Their debut Imposter Syndrome album was released in the end of 2014 and includes a few guest appearances as well as a cover of Killing Joke's "Communion" track. You can buy either the CD album (via CD Baby) or a digital download on Bandcamp.
Established in 2010, Los Angeles based Phenagen is a project of Phil Glasses (vocals) mixing rock, metal and industrial. "Phenagen" ends the tracklist of the bands self-titled debut EP released in 2012. For the purpose of Phenagen, Phil completed an all star line-up. The song is supported by experienced guest musicians: Mike Clark (lead guitar, formerly in a famous crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies), Randy Bradbury of punk band Pennywise (bass) and Gary Ferguson (drums) who's better known from Geezer Butler's (GZR) & Gary Moore's bands.
This fruitful collaboration resulted in an excellent track for live performance. "Cannon Fodder" is both powerful and catchy, with groovy arrangements shared between guitar riffs, bass lines, vocals and drum beats. The repeating motifs and war-related lyrics fit perfectly into the linear structure of the song. Knowledgeable listeners will find the track a potential hit from the get-go.
Technically speaking, the composition is smooth and well developed, so it lacks any unexpected flaws. The rhythm is slow enough to make the sound heavy, solid and memorable. Nicely contrasting elements like a low tuned bass and alternatively high pitched and predatory sounding guitar riffs will certainly fill your ears with goodness. Both verses and choruses are unquestionably memorable, so it’s easy to imagine the live audience singing "Mother, I'm on the first line, Remember me forever, they'll turn off the light" along with the vocalist. Finally, Phil's voice is clearly recognizable with angry, dark and passionate tones, befitting hardcore as well as metal music.
Phil openly admits he draws influences from Killing Joke or Einstürzende Neubauten. Industrial samples carefully used in post-production give the song a mechanical, but not too experimental vibe. This sounds in line with the likes of Ministry, Skrew and other authentic industrial rock and industrial metal bands. Overdoing the 'industrial' layer would have killed the rock/metal spirit by limiting the range and impact of organic sounds brought forth by the guitars, bass and drums.
So far, Phenagen has been working on new material. Make sure you don’t miss their next release and live shows. Follow Phenagen on the social networks listed below to receive the newest updates.
1. A Place Of Truth 3:38 2. Blinks 6:04 3. Run Back 5:23 4. Under 4:00 5. Too Deep 5:02 6. Twisted Metal 2:51 7. Kids Hurting Kids 4:06 8. Our Special Way 6:04 9. Open 4:16 10. This Is Not My Fear 6:04 11. Waves 3:32
Their eponymous debut album mastered by Reza Udhin (Inertia, Killing Joke) brings 11 songs - a mix of post-rock, post-punk and industrial. The compositions sound emotional and touching. Extremely well elaborated, lyrical arrangements are built upon harmonious tunes with peaceful moments found throughout the release. The overall mood on UN-reason is based on non-invasive contrasts.
If you study the lyrics a bit closer, you'll also find out that there's a bit of frustration due to disappointment, unwanted changes and unrealized needs usually referring to one's love life. Elio Isaia (voice, guitars) with Jacques Pedretti (a guest song writer) wrote poetical lyrics that match the music very well. Various figurative expressions speak almost as visually as paintings (for instance: "I stole her love and melt it, and buried it on the Moon, I bathed at night in her cool blue room" /"Run Back"/). Elio's voice is instantly recognizable, which is always beneficial for a singer. It's rather high-pitched (between tenor and baritone) and makes a good match with the music. Elio fits within all the songs and never goes out of tune. He also occasionally uses voice effects, adding a rough industrial overlay to songs such as "Blinks", "This Is Not My Fear" and "Kids Hurting Kids".
The musicians express their know-how by tuning in through truly skillful, cooperative play. Jon Griffin (guitar) places accents or puts up noisy walls of sound wherever it's necessary ("A Place of Truth", "Under") while Jan Maio (synths, virtual orchestra, guitar) builds intriguing sonic backgrounds ("A Place Of Truth", "Blinks", "Kids Hurting Kids", "Open"). The rhythm section adds a refined vibe to the compositions. The bass (Giorgio Bormida - guitar, bass, piano) sounds range from murky, quite characteristic for gothic rock ("Blinks", "This Is Not My Fear", "Waves") to warm ("Twisted Metal"). The drums played by Lorenzo Bartolini feel just right and work really well with the bass. The interplay between both instruments really shines in more emotional tunes like "Run Back", "Our Special Way", "Too Deep", or "Waves". As a side note, the drums in "Open" were manned by a renown guest from the scene - Martin Atkins (PiL, Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails, Pigface).
My favorite songs are "Our Special Way", for the gentle "guitar versus bass" arrangements (as known from the 80s Bauhaus or New Model Army songs); "Run Back", which could be the main theme of a movie; and "Blinks", thanks to its edgy industrial rock vibe.
All tracks on UN-reason album are memorable through their verses and choruses, but also little dirty (and a little dreamy) guitar vibes coloured with bits of sampling. Regardless of the typical chorus/verse repetitions there’s little to no boredom to be found on this album.
When it comes to the album concept, it aims in bringing back the interest in true creativity and inspiration, against the global trends, slowly drowning the world in rather nonspiritual ideas and populist consumerism for the last two decades. It's also about the importance of freedom - leaving the system and mass behind and becoming a unique human being integrated with and expressing one’s own soul again. As articulated in "Kids Hurting Kids": "We have been plugged, we've been drugged at home, our life is a box, a prison we pay, only when I close my eyes this distance is gone".
The band’s comprehensive and well designed official website should encourage you to visit often. Make sure you follow the band on their active social profiles. Moreover, if you like visual arts, you should pay attention to Giorgio's personal website presenting his dark designs. And don’t forget that he also remixed a few tracks for known industrial bands such as Pigface and 16volt.
Man.Machine.Industry - Lean Back Relax And Watch The World Burn (GMR, 2012) Rating: 4/4 Genres: metal, industrial metal
01. To A Blood Red Sky [04:07] 02. We Are The Walking Dead [04:24] 03. Vivite Et Sinite Mori (Live & Let Die) [03:41] 04. War God [03:44] 05. Lean Back Relax And Watch The World Burn [03:58] 06. The Cage [04:16] 07. Let Go [04:04] 08. Eighties [03:40] 09. What You See Is What You Get [03:27] 10. The Blind Leading The Blind [03:07] 11. Aim! Hold! Fire! [03:28] 12. Time [03:32] 13. (untitled) [05:07]
Man.Machine.Industry comes from Sweden, a metal paradise where many very heavy bands have received international attention. Yet, it's the same land where a black metal music fan received unemployment money for claiming an inability to work due to his addiction to music. The first and remaining impression is an element of 'straight-forward anger' from the beginning of this album all the way to the end. Although, there are many intriguing melodies to be found as well.
A noisy and perfectly timed industrial intro opens the newest MMI album. It is then followed by 'in your face' rhythms that are based on guitars, bass, drums and angry vocals (performed by Ronnie Nyman and J. Bergman). Fans of guitar driven music will most likely love all the craziness happening in the middle of "To A Blood Red Sky". Darkening atmospheres finish the track, then lead into "We Are The Walking Dead". The song starts innocently with the sound of a music box and kids loudly enjoying their time on a playground. Powerful drums and bass join the tune of the music box which allows it to be flexibly integrated into the composition. Later you'll hear dominant, graduating riffs - a reminiscent aspect most memorable from music by Ministry that is enriched by shouted and repetitive vocals.
A rhythmic melody opens "Vivite Et Sinite Mori (Live & Let Die)" – This Latin to English translation means exactly what is inside the brackets. You'll find a lot of similarities to music from the band Pain as well as Rammstein here. This is the most danceable song on the album due to pulsing beats, but there's also a great set of guitars that begin at 02:14.
"War God" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song sounds raw, heavy and spinning with chunky guitars as well as angry vocals that are truly reminiscent of music by Pantera or Testament. "Lean Back Relax And Watch The World Burn" (see, MMI likes naming their albums with long titles) sounds more epic than other songs, but also includes some industrial sampling. This track fits into the new wave of industrial metal music due to heavy arrangements, but melodic elements are present as well. In addition, a well thought out compositional structure which is the basis of the song makes it a great match for a soundtrack compilation.
You'll relax a bit with "The Cage" since it is kept in the mood of a metal ballad with similar traits that you may know from i.e. Type O' Negative albums (although with higher vocals). There is also a progressive instrumental segment that is based on a solo guitar combined with well crafted bass lines and drums. This track may be a great way to fill an autumn afternoon because it gives the feeling as if things are irreversibly passing by.
"Let Go" starts with blues and classic rock guitars then grows into a modern metal track. High octave guitar riffs as well as radical dynamics are brought in by drums and bass guitar. These aspects may also call for some associations to The Mission or Killing Joke music. Speaking of these bands, MMI did a cover of an "Eighties" song (released by Killing Joke in 1984) which resulted in bringing even more passion than it had in its original recording thanks to stronger bass lines and heavier guitar riffs. Having this opportunity, the band also invited Corroded's vocalist Jens Westin to do vocals. His voice sounds recognizable - utterly rebellious, harsh and sharp as razor. This cover has been followed by a dynamic video that is available on YouTube*.
A collaboration of drums, guitars and vocals are key features on this album. It seems like the long term members of MMI have learned a lot from their past experiences and have improved their musical skills with each new release. If you compare their debut next to their newest album, you'll hear what I'm talking about. Thomas Manell (Drums) played an important role on Lean Back Relax And Watch The World. You could easily vote him to be one of the best metal drummers of 2012. The band also has a second drummer named Bennich who helped the band reach out towards a much more dynamic, rhythmic sound in songs such as "Vivite Et Sinite Mori (Live & Let Die)" as was mentioned above along with "What You See Is What You Get".
This album offers a variety of solid heavy metal flavors that range from thrash to industrial. "What You See Is What You Get" is another heavy, but melodic track that was possibly inspired by the sound of the Swedish band PAIN, who is known for their death metal roots (Hypocrisy) and funny, ironic videos. This wouldn't be a big surprise, however a logical step would be if Peter Tägtgren collaborated with MMI on their next album or at least toured together.
The last three vocalized songs bring an eruption of pure hot lava right onto your face. First of all, there's a short and tight song entitled "The Blind Leading The Blind". It starts quite innocently with melodic verses, but it'll suck you dry with a wall of guitars as they occur in the middle of the song. Secondly, the power of "Aim! Hold! Fire!" may be compared to "The Last Sucker" album by Ministry when held in contrast to riffs played extremely hard and heavy by Car Crash Jim and J. Bergman. You can also hear some references to the music of The Union Underground and Powerman 5000 due to heavy bass lines and J. Bergman's method of singing in some segments of the song. This is an amazing track and should be played during the most meaningful moment of a live performance. Headbanging is guaranteed. Finally, "Time" comes in with the sound of a ticking clock that is combined with industrial effects. This concept has an overall powerful impact on the listener. The song is all about dynamics, so listening to the track feels like sitting on a rocket right before launch. A video would be a good idea for this song.
The ticking of the clock becomes the focus point of the last untitled composition on this album. In fact, it plays the role of a metronome. This is also a big moment for Lady M and her absolutely beautiful accent when she declaims poetry with a cold and sweet Swedish voice. When you hear a woman speaking like this, you can easily imagine a Snow Queen standing on a blinding white field with snow flakes in her hair or a slim cyborg girl telling you a story about the last age on a long lost Earth from a spaceship communication room.
There has been a lot of excitement during the recording process of this album as the band reported on a weekly basis to their social profiles. Thirteen heavy songs have been released with passion on this record, which is always expected when it comes not only from the confines of the metal genres, but from any music at all. There's a trick about this album though. When you think you've already picked a favorite track, the chance is great that you will spot another song just as dynamic to enjoy during subsequent playbacks of the album. This is a very mature release where everything matches quite well – the best Man.Machine.Industry album to date.