Randolph & Mortimer

History has gone to show it is infamous for remembering and celebrating the individuals and the cults of personality that have walked among us at one time or another. I’m sure that you really don’t need me to go above and beyond to name a few here, you could all name a handful of people off the bat. Their influence and importance of course relies entirely on you as a person, which is perhaps why I’d say it’s unfair to suggest that one person is of far greater importance than another. It’s all subjective. On the other hand, history has shown that it can be just as good celebrating couples and pairs. You may be a little harder pressed to name some off the bat, but I can give you a few of varying life paths. Bonnie and Clyde, Torville and Dean, Brad and Angelina, Elvis and Costello, Jack and Jill… You get the idea. The point is they’re all remembered for something, no matter their significance to you as a person. You’re aware of them regardless. At first glance of the pairing of Randolph and Mortimer, you could assume they operate as a construction firm, (like Gibbs and Dandy if you hail from the UK) or the surnames of serial killers, or war criminals. The truth kind of combines the two in some capacity. Dependent on how you label bankers and politicians.

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The name actually derives from the film Trading Places, where two stock brokers, going by the names of Randolph and Mortimer switch places with two gentlemen in less fortunate social and financial circumstances, as an experiment to experience life on the other side. Which in today’s political climate we seem to be calling for a lot, to the governments and fat cats who more likely have never struggled in everyday social and financial situations. It certainly makes that name far more poignant. The Sheffield three-piece (yes, despite going under the moniker of a duo) practice a manifesto of condemnation and repulsion, punctuated by a series of electronically driven, industrial rallying movements. Powered by the analogue synths and percussive might of the 80’s, it only makes sense that visuals match the sonics, with wireframe silhouettes and what resembles Thatcherite Britain providing the backdrop for the ire unfolding. Most recent single Citizens isn’t so much a feast for the disenchanted, more a capitalist brainwashing broadcast if such an occurrence were to play out. Brought to a marching pace by booming snare hits and dampened synth arpeggios, the beat very much tribalistic in tempo and timbre, the checklist for what constitutes a valid member of society is rolled out, as well as quasi-motivational slogans in how to do so. A heavily distorted voice calls out in the distance, reaching indecipherable levels but certainly adds a touch of unease and morality to this otherwise calming instructional narrative. Later, a ferocious sawtooth synth wave cuts through the rhythm, near stopping it in its tracks, while a brighter counterpart, still as abrasive as its bass-heavy contemporary, layers atop before bringing the beat back and ushering in a new breed of arpeggios to meld with the originals. In the end, all of the individual synth lines piece together and play out increasingly chaotic percussion, to one last eerie inquisitive dialogue against a wall of noise. This is best experienced as an audio-visual sensation to truly get the best feel for the message Randolph and Mortimer wish to convey, but the music itself is just as an exciting head-trip in its own right. Though the political agenda is unmistakeable, these guys are producing stellar industrial in the veins of the old blood and will most likely not remain an underground sensation for much longer. History has every right to remember the constructs of these gentlemen.

 

 

Citizens has yet to see a release date, but no doubt will have a digital release at some stage in the near future. In the mean time, their $ocial £utures €P and single Enjoy More are available from their Bandcamp page, in addition to other singles and numerous remixes of theirs that can be found on most respectable music retailers.They are also playing the Saturday line-up on the main stage of Resistanz Festival 2016, but look out for a gig near you soon.

Go give them a great big high five:

https://www.facebook.com/randolphandMortimer/?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/RandyandMort

And you’re more than welcome to give me a high five too if you so wish, through a like, follow or subscribing to the site:

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark/
https://twitter.com/The_Soundshark

High-Functioning Flesh

It seems a complete mystery to me over how the phrase high-functioning is always perceived, or used in negative connotations. You would think that you were able to describe so many more items or activities in society as high-functioning in the way they are able to perform or fulfil that purpose to an exceptional degree. That tends not to be the case. While you could say that autism and Asperger’s could be fulfilling their role as a disability with flying colours, in making people’s considerably harder for them in a social and personal capacity, understandably we take that as an unfortunate and often horrific set of circumstances. Sadly, it is still often stigmatised, purely by those who don’t understand or are afraid of things not of the norm. But they are all human beings at the end of the day. They all have the same right to life as you, me or anyone else. They simply have to live life in a different or more difficult manner. Genetics is a strange thing. Which maybe makes the task of decoding what High-Functioning Flesh means all the more trickier. Is it labelling people who are capable of extraordinary prowess? Or is it that our own skin or being within ourselves, is a social disability or disease we all struggle with without realising? This is all speculative of course, but judging by their title of Human Remains, forthcoming from their second album, there’s an inkling or two you can take from it. Amongst the wave of troupes reinstating the old blood of industrial’s heyday, this duo from Los Angeles melds a warm, squelchy sequence of keys against the cold mechanical precision of programmed beats, whilst they dictate through the discourse of harmonised aggression. Defiantly old-school in practice, they take the scathing disenchantment of punk’s youth, piece it together with sheet metal from industrial’s proposed collapse of society, and drop a tab of techno to bring it to life, but not overclocking the construct. Human Remains sounds slightly more refined from a production standpoint compared to their previous works, smoother-sounding audio flowing from the keys at the inset, as a bouncy bass hookline interspersed with brighter stabs of synth create an optimistic tone in the track. The continual looping and manipulation of a voice recording and eventual introduction of tightly compressed percussion through out the first minute carry on this ideal, right up until the vocals break through. Then all projected optimism is stripped clean away, given the ghoulish subject matter of the lyrics. It feels like a battle between the expanding vibrant glow, characteristic to the building layers of analogue synths, and the harsh monotone truth of the spoken word, acting as the shroud of darkness, effectively warped by the phasing and pitch-shifting placed upon it. How this transforms the mood from a beautifully blended, 80’s nuanced discotheque floorfiller into a greyed cold wave manifestation of dread and sociopathy, is astonishing and more than a little uncomfortable. But my presumption is that what makes High-Functioning Flesh all the more of a spectacle. Their music is more than just a renaissance period for electronic musicians. It’s a wake-up call. Rather than seamlessly weaving the timeless ambience of three decades past with a fierce beat, they’re taking paranoia, fear and loathing and turning them into a occasionally understated, brutal sensory attack to shatter the illusion of day-by-day modern life. From what I’ve seen and heard, these guys are one of the most cleverly calculated punk bands in the business right now.

Human Remains will be released as a single on 26th February (also my birthday) and is taken from their yet to be titled second album forthcoming on Dais Records. Whilst you keep a look out for that, you’ll be pleased to know they are prolific, with their previous EP and demo available from their own Bandcamp page and first album Definite Structures is available from Dais Records own store. Most respectable music retailers still apply.

Go tell them how their music makes you feel:

https://www.facebook.com/HxFxFx/?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/VideoMadeFlesh

And if you wish to tell me how this article made you feel, via a like, a follow, a subscription or some nice words, you can do so here:

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The Soundshark’s Top 20 Songs of 2015

Something somebody said recently struck me as it made an awful lot of sense. Exactly when do you stop saying, ‘Happy New Year,’ to one another? Or at least when does it become acceptable at the least. I honestly don’t know, but for now, I’m still considering it an appropriate time to talk about my favourite songs of last year. Seeming I’ve made a habit of it, and I finally have time to sit down and write about them.

2015 was a challenging year as it more or less marked my transition from degree student to having to fend for myself. Sometimes it sucked, sometimes it didn’t. But something that I didn’t previously have was a companion, somebody that I hold very dear to me and somebody I look forward to what the future holds for the both of us. As such, she has had an impact on deciding this list, just as much as the rollercoaster of emotions I’ve gone through in the past year has. Like I’ve said before, I do these lists for biographical reasons, to show where I’ve been and what’s happened in years gone by. Music and memory are powerful things.

So my rules for the list are as follows: I don’t always pick songs from this year to put on the list, it involves literally anything I’ve listened to in the past year that I’ve enjoyed frequently enough (that said, there are a lot of 2015 entries on this list which makes a change), but I try to avoid putting more than one song by the same artist in. Some of my past lists had more than one or two. You can find them on Spotify if you want to.

I would like to make an honourable mentions list, but there were far too many to include on this year’s list, so I’ll skip that formality this time. Just so many good moments or songs to include the entire list. And if you would like to listen to this list uninterrupted, commentary-free, then head on over to the Spotify playlist instead.

Righty then, on with the show…

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L’aléatoire

I have never claimed to be a journalist of any description, even if I am covering new and up-coming bands, or writing music-based reviews and such. But then again, I’ve never considered myself a detective, but I do a lot of research into subject matters I have a large interest in. Like you’re supposed to do for a degree, but you don’t get awarded a degree for being a detective in media studies. I think it’d be a better title personally. I bring this up because for a new and emerging band, I could gather all the necessary information I desire to write an informed piece by asking for a press release, like a journalist would. But instead, I am belaying that in favour of doing my own research and bringing you my findings via this piece I present to you right now, perhaps in the spirit of playing detective. It makes far more sense in the context of L’aléatoire, despite collaborating together for three years, have only starting making music together in the last year or so. Very little information about them is publicly available right now, so this is what I can tell you from research. L’aléatoire, French for random or uncertain depending on conversational use, are a two-man electro-metal project residing in London, whom appear to have an interest in occult imagery, judging by a hooded youth as a centaur I came across, but seem have taken their image in a new direction more towards that of 19th century illustrations of sharp objects and tools, which coupled with their technologically enhanced style of music, actually makes for a far more fearsome identity. Their debut single The Untreated has only been in the public domain over 24 hours at the time of writing, so it retains all the satisfaction of finding literal brand new music. And when I talk about satisfying, it certainly satisfies an itch or two. Our introduction to this song almost feels like it begins in a medical facility, the quickness and tension in those opening synth notes bringing an immediate sense of peril or threat, like being under the knife if it were. The programming brings rapid cymbal taps into the mix and a deep, warm, throbbing synth joins in underneath, starting to piece together a fuller atmosphere as unease starts to set in. Kicks and snares are next to enter, as does the occasional sample of a sitar, which actually fits into the jigsaw incredibly well, adding a slight unique, exotic twist to an otherwise cold overtone. Right up until that saw-sharp guitar tone cuts through the electronics like a… well, you know. The beat starts to form around this guitar interjection, as do the synths and ambience, morphing into a far more dangerous beast than you could have anticipated. The encounter is brief however, falling just under the three minute mark and even though the composition isn’t entirely complex, it remains absolutely gripping, purely through surgically precise production. It certainly sits as an intriguing teaser if anything, and judging by their prowess to produce live industrial mixes, there is a huge amount of promise and possibility to come soon. Illustrations aside, they have all the tools they need to make it happen.

The Untreated is available for a free download here, ahead of a debut EP release, scheduled for sometime in Spring. They’ve just released a video for the track which can be found right here on YouTube, but you can enjoy their industrial live mix right here in the mean time on their Soundcloud if this has tickled your fancy.

They’ve just started making moves with their social media, so go give them your support to get the machine up-and-running:

https://www.facebook.com/laleatoiremusic/?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/LaleatoireMusic

And if you feel like helping my social media machine at all, entirely at your choice, you can like, follow or subscribe to the blog right here:

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark/?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/The_Soundshark

 

Fawnchopper

The spirit of independence is a fickle concept, especially if we’re talking in the music industry or from the perspective of a music discovery blog. The commonplace definition we use for an independent band is a band trying to make a living from the music they create, without major financial backing from a record company or label. Some bands cut steps further than this by producing, mixing and mastering their own content or manufacturing and distributing the albums themselves, sometimes often to reduce the cost or because they have the necessary skills to do it themselves. You could therefore claim that these extra steps could in fact symbolise a greater level of independence, ruling out an extra set of middle men to pay in order to spread their music as far and wide as possible. This philosophy could be stretched into its own debate, but I’m going to keep it at this level of simplicity of the purpose of the article. You see, I share the same level of independence with Canada’s Fawnchopper. I settle on working for myself, having found these guys through my own means, albeit through the medium of Bandcamp. Where Fawnchopper are technically signed to independent imprint Filth Regime Records, in reality, they are essentially on their own to preach the progressive annihilation that their debut album Kind Of Red imbues. Though for dividing such a task between just three individuals, the sheer sonic force from these gentlemen creates an ungodly amount of noise in the best way imaginable. Picture Mastodon and Godflesh starting a riot in the middle of an abandoned factory, nestled in a swampy heartland and you’re pretty close metaphorically. Lead single Kill This Melody is the perfect exposé for this vision, sludgy ripples quickly formulating from heavily distorted guitar and relentless skin bashing at the inset. Not initially dangerous, but you get a glimpse of depravity from a female moan shortly afterwards, right before the hammer comes down on proceedings. A pair of prominent barks narrate a tale of unrequited longing and torment in the eyes of an unseen protagonist, all the while guitar and bass bleeding their own fuzz-sodden dialogue into the volatile mixture. Drums are beaten hard enough to induce blunt force trauma and there’s a sinister-sounding ambient undertow present throughout this primal carnage that pumps far more darkness into the heart of the music. Of which the overdrive kicks in around the two-minute mark, switching to instrumental, pure mechanised brutality, a realm beyond unsettling to say the least and it only gathers strength the further the track progresses. A form of order is briefly restored in the refrain of ‘Kill this melody’ but it increasingly becomes more hostile and violent before exponential static build-up kills the song dead in its tracks, perhaps a somewhat ironic sentiment. With a name like Fawnchopper, you don’t come expecting a picnic in the woods. This is an industrial-strength, sludge nightmare, but if you can sift through the jet-black chasm presented before you, you are rewarded with one hell of a listening experience. Maybe their independence wasn’t so much of a bad thing, especially when you have the freedom to create an admittedly testing album for the faint-hearted, but an album that nonetheless sheds light on a highly skilled, but defiantly darker level of songwriting, among the best released this year.

To truly appreciate this for yourselves, Fawnchopper not only have Kind Of Red in full on their Bandcamp page, but are giving it to you for absolutely nothing, which I implore you to accept with open arms. If you are the giving kind though, you can also pay for a digital download from most respected music retailers, which I would also highly recommend. And if you enjoyed this melody, then there’s a video to accompany it, which is not entirely safe for work.

Go say things to them:

https://www.facebook.com/fawnchopperband/?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/Fawnchopper

And if you would really like to, you can go say things to me too, I won’t be mad if you don’t:

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark/?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/The_Soundshark

Mechanical Vampires

I’m semi-proud of this post, as I feel like I’m near the very front of the line for a group on the cusp of their emergence into the wider world of underground music. This is about as new and exciting as I have possibly ever gotten to a write-up of a group I have had next to zero interaction with previously, bar a chance encounter on Instagram. Like my namesake suggests, I do my homework and have laid in wait ever since. Seriously, the name isn’t just for show ladies and gents. It’s a lifestyle. If you interact with me over social media, even if you work on a follow-for-follow mentality, I do pay attention. Anyway, I digress. New Jersey’s Mechanical Vampires, after a promising ambient-industrial etched teaser known only as The Lynchpin and what seems like months of masterminding since early this year, finally unveiled their first full length song in Gemini and I sit here only 24 hours or so later, telling you why you should be excited by this enthralling new duo in the doorway of electro-industrial. If the minute of freezing cold keys against harsh distortion and air-tight percussion in The Lynchpin didn’t whet your appetite, then Gemini is by far the entrée you should be sinking your teeth into, literally. Obviously it fleshes out the icy atmosphere to a greater dimension, being nearly three minutes longer than The Lynchpin, but there’s a contagious pop undertone that partners so well with the thundering beats and muted abrasion from the guitar too. Sawtooth synth stabs enter like footsteps through that aforementioned doorway before bursting into life from dense percussion, echoing strong enough to hit straight through you, soft arpeggios to give some frostbite to the ambience and bass that rumbles the pit of your stomach. A male voice of reassurance cuts through the soundscape, but suits this colder, darker electronic manifestation perfectly, truly doing the scale of this track justice as gigantic as it becomes. There’s something about his spoken demeanour that is as soothing as it is inspiring, bringing a mesmerising human warmth to a mostly frozen atmosphere. And when it comes to that chorus, it glows brightly enough to bask in. Adding that vocal hook into the mix also, is just one more reason for Gemini to seep deep into your skin. The effect only becomes greater with each listen until it reaches maximum infatuation point. You could make a lazy comparison and claim that Mechanical Vampires are a more industrial-sounding PVRIS, but whilst PVRIS resemble an electronic-tainted Paramore, Mechanical Vampires already breach atmospheric and emotional depths far greater than they realise on the strength on a single song. Gemini is a stunning composition, a beautifully produced electronic master stroke that delicately reaches beyond the barriers of both industrial and pop music and seduces any onlookers with its alluring gaze. When is more on the way?

Despite being developed over the course of the year, Mechanical Vampires is still a project in its infancy, so they need all the support they can get. Gemini can be bought from CDBaby for a hardly change bothering sum, or they are generously giving it away for free from here at the exchange of sharing the song, which you should definitely be doing anyway.

Go send some love in their direction:

https://www.facebook.com/mechanicalvampires?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/MechVamps

And if you are feeling especially generous, why not consider sending some love in my direction too? You don’t have to, entirely optional:

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark
https://twitter.com/The_Soundshark

The .Invalid

Technology always finds a way to astound us as human beings. It seems that however our civilisation conducts ourselves, there is something beyond our imagination that we hadn’t considered or we didn’t believe was possible. That is whether a new mechanical marvel or edging nearer photo-realistic graphics in a video game, just to name two examples of possibilities, constant breakthroughs or refinements, or even building something entirely from the ground upwards keeps us on our toes, wondering what is next to come. I find my relationship with electronic music is very much a similar affair. Only you occasionally have to excavate producers or musicians who dare to innovate or engineer like no one before them. That certainly seemed the case with the one man electro-industrial project The .Invalid, a true beacon of hope in the bland landfill of harsh distorted vocals and overly intense synthesisers. The vision of Edinburgh resident Seamus Bradd, The .Invalid ties together dual vocals leaning on a metal sensibility of clean and screamed, but atop a mountain of utterly breathtaking ambience and jaw-dropping production values, especially for a debut LP. For something titled The Aesthetics Of Failure however, unless in reference to the vast soundscape of emotions and moods linked to such that is explored on the album, the end result is nothing short of triumphant. Ranging from four to the floor soul-charged EBM stompers to atmospheric marvels to downtempo tugs of the heart, even more synth-pop orientated numbers, there seems to be very little the undeniably talented producer can’t do. In an album full of stellar, stand-out tracks, wittling down to a personal favourite seems incredibly unfair for undoubtedly one of the best albums I’ve heard last year. The honour does go to, as also indicated by my favourite songs of last year, Blind Myself for balancing everything that this album accomplishes so well into just over four minutes of EBM magnificence. From the introduction of rhythmic static, it leads in a beat engineered to thump you hard right in the chest, while warm arpeggios bubble beneath it, but never overpoweringly so. If anything is overpowering, it’s the euphoria from the emotional intensity from both sets of vocals, especially against the melody of the bright, airier synth in the chorus, which in its own right, hands down one of the most beautiful moments on the entire album. While lyrics are hard set on settling the score on a heartbreak, they really strengthen the impact of every intricacy and nuance in the sound design, no matter which tone is in use. The entire track is just the total package of what an unforgettable floorfiller should be: a memorable hook, a beat that shakes you to the core, perfectly complimenting layers of instrumentation, an atmosphere that expands any venue tenfold and the added emotional depth of a familiar life situation. Make no bones about it, the talent that this man has is unreal, and for a first LP, the energy and due care shown in his production defies vocabulary. This album is by far the most exciting injection of lifeblood into electro-industrial, in a very, very long time and broadcasts the emergence of an extremely capable producer, destined for greatness down to his extraordinary ability.

Traces of The .Invalid and Seamus Bradd appear to have disappeared from social media (apart from his personal Twitter account which I’m not gonna link to for privacy’s sake), he currently is now providing sound design for a new Halo mod, but please please please go listen to and buy The Aesthetics Of Failure from Bandcamp, it is an investment you will not regret. Also available at most respectable music retailers too, but just go give the man money.

And if you think I’ve done this gentleman justice, maybe you’d like to show me some support too by giving me a digital thumbs up, like, follow or subscription to the blog, all entirely optional of course:

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark
https://twitter.com/The_Soundshark

Formalin

I don’t know if those who are reading this right now are into science much, but if you ever need a go-to name for a band or musical project, chemistry more often than not, will not fail you. Alkaline Trio kinda leaps out at me straight away as the most well-known example of a chemical reference in mainstream music, as well as my personal favourite Bullets And Octane, but lurking deep within the realms of the musical underground, there are many names derived from the periodic table of elements, chemical reactions, biological chemistry and so on and so forth. Sometimes that name can stand out so much, it starts to become educational. In the origin of Formalin’s name however, it’s not only scientifically educational but culturally educational, if you are familiar with the works of a certain Damien Hurst. Formalin, is also known as formaldehyde solution, of which formaldehyde is responsible for Hirst’s notorious shark exhibit being preserved for as long as it has been. Sorry, you came here for music, not A Level Science. But the synthesis of formaldehyde into formalin, shares a common property with the band itself, in their music is obtained through the synthesis of wavelengths and frequencies to create a aesthetically darker electronic pop hybrid. The production duo from Berlin are a growing name on the European electro-industrial scene for their fusion of clean, air-tight percussion and gritty but entrancing synth lines, all drizzled with a little sleaze for dancefloor seduction. There are some nuances from EDM and commercialised dubstep in there too, just to give a little harder edge and sharpness to the electronics, but there’s a whole realm of lavish future-pop melodies to take command of the exquisite rhythms and atmosphere. This year’s Supercluster is a testament to how crisp every note, beat and vocal comes across from these gentlemen, and by far one of this year’s most enchanting synth-driven albums. The empowering Above The Sun is perhaps the strongest case for this argument, its deep, penetrating drum pulse powering the architecture and precision of each synth layer for maximum effect. Some sparkle, some twitch, some scream and shout, and some throb, but all thread together to move your body in ways you had no idea it could. Of course this all plays into the hands of the vocals which speak directly to your aural channel, playing the devil’s advocate if it were, persuasive in tone but with a devious intention. There’s true substance in the Formalin recipe, a dazzling but ocean-deep formula, complete with the marvels and menaces of the marine kingdom to boot. The duo from Berlin are providing a sterling addition to the electro-industrial underground, produced with laser-precision calibre and with an addictive sensibility that deserves to breach forth into the spotlight.

Formalin’s three albums, this year’s Supercluster, 2012’s Wasteland Manifesto and 2010’s Bodyminding are all available from most respectable music retailers. A select few of their tracks are available on Soundcloud for your listening pleasure and they are due to be touring later this year too.

https://www.facebook.com/formalin.music?fref=ts

Fashion Bomb

Fashion and music seem to have gone hand and hand with each other over the years, ushering each other’s development to the forefront of popular culture. There’s all manner of subcultures from punk, to goth, to emo, to skater, that was very much influenced by the music you listened to and vice-versa. It used to be about showing support and appreciation for the band you like (I’m sitting in a Killing Joke shirt at the time of writing this for example), which is still the status symbol it embodies today, but nowadays it’s become far more commercialised. Anybody has readily available access to a Ramones, Rolling Stones or Guns ‘N’ Roses t-shirt without ever having heard of their music. I wrote my dissertation based around this subject for my Media Studies degree, and as somebody who recognises their position as a producer and consumer of media content, the change over the decades has become far more poignant to this argument. Thankfully, Fashion Bomb are the right side of cultural consumption, looking and certainly playing the part of an accomplished industrial metal troupe, looking for the next fix of bodies to bludgeon. This five-piece hailing from Chicago evoke the ire of Manson in his industrial youth, but coursing with the intensity of punk, even stretching as far as hardcore’s brightest stars. Every nuance of their musicianship is packed with jagged-edged riffs and melodic hooks that etch themselves deep within your skin and across both their albums, they’ve proved a fierce presence on the industrial underground. 2008’s Devils To Some Angels To Others may share more common traits with a jackhammer, but it’s 2011’s Visions Of The Lifted Veil that elevated those pandemic levels of infectious melodies to their greatest height and yet The Meek is the perfect balance of musical grace and heavyweight destruction. And those destructive credentials are put on display right away. Almost from the get-go, the first wave of pounding metal might bulldozes all those unsuspecting, before the harmonic chorus reminiscent of the timbre of Orgy’s heyday casts piercing light through the brief but bruising beatdown. Each verse is a methodically paced lesson in creeping danger, sensing that the previous teasing of the show of strength can only develop into a longer headkicking, while the voice of the vindictive pours salt into the wounds. The resolute performance of the drums also takes starring role in keeping the soundscape tense in a tribal fashion, but nonetheless exciting. But that’s Fashion Bomb in a nutshell, another exciting, passionate breed of energised industrial metal, poised to declare war on those not compliant. Their fashion may be to walk in the shadows, but they sure hit with the force of a bomb when in plain sight.

Fashion Bomb’s two albums are only be available via most respectable music retailers it seems, but are in the usual social media circles and can be found on Last.fm too. They do have a website as well if checking that out is your bag, but go support them in the relevant method you see fit.

https://www.facebook.com/xFashionxBombx?fref=ts

Squid Lid

Ah the circus. The frequent realm of a child’s revelry or a child’s nightmare. No matter how you look at it, there’s always been an air of the sinister attached to the big top and its residents. Showmen even capitalise on it, turning their carnivals into horror shows, making the sanguine pantomime of the unconscious a living, breathing reality. It then begs the question: How have so few married the theatrics of the circus with the wealth of music the world has to offer? Beats me, but in the reaches of Toronto’s music underworld, lies a project that not only showcases a performance spectacle, but drags it into a watery grave to electro-industrial, sewn together with as many electronic-tainted genres as tentacles can ensnare. Once referred to by founder James Zirco Fisher as the electro-industrial glow circus, the ideals of Squid Lid created a playful submersion into an ocean of light displays and marine life mutations, sinking deeper and deeper into darkness with every evolution. Third album Tackle Box from May of this year, is the most accomplished genus so far, adding female vocals into the mix where previously unease and uncertainty dominated the instrumental albums before it. The switch feels more natural as the project gains ground in underground circles, and production values clamber higher with it. Every song of Squid Lid has always had its own identity, so it’s always difficult to get a full complete picture of the vast array of sounds that this outfit is capable of creating. Shark Club, from Tackle Box has been honed for dancefloors, percussion and bass exploding with every beat, designed with a tribe in mind and synths twisting and warping into snarling beasts, or into haunting stabs, hovering above the party below. For someone who has followed this group for a few years, the escalation of detail and devotion to realising this new album is jaw-dropping. Squid Lid are truly a cult sensation, an experience that has to be seen to be believed, contained within such a diverse, delectable, darker side of electronic music, that musicians and artists alike have no hope of replicating.

Tackle Box, and its older counterparts 2009’s Steam Powered Submarine and 2012’s Crypto Zoo are all available from Squid Lid’s Bandcamp page, all from a very respectable price.

https://www.facebook.com/SquidLid?fref=ts