Just Gimme That Ol' Time Industrial Music

Discipline of Anarchy vocalist Discipline of Anarchy
with Landscape Body Machine and User
The Brickyard
Vancouver, B.C.
Friday, November 14, 1997

Review by Darren Gawle
Photography by Chuck 'Foto' Feces

User bassist Vancouver is loath to give up on its past -- musically speaking, that is (although there are enough old-timers around who act like Queen Victoria is still regent). People from other scenes may deride us openly for it, but at least it proves that we have the common sense to realize that if something sounds good, there's no point in abandoning it just because it's passé. Yeah, it means that your average industrial band is about as likely to get signed today as is a live felching Richard Gere tribute act, but eventually the Wheel comes full circle and what's old will always, eventually, be new again.

User guitarist Not that User are content with waiting for heavy music to make a full recovery -- for a two-piece guitar and jackboot-stompin' drum machine unit, they're surprisingly tuneful and original. Not original in the sense that they don't sound like anyone else, mind, but original in that they do on occasion rise above the clichés of the genre. Creatively, User take proper (even catchy) tunes, then get 'em ripped on Mescal and crank the volume to eleven. Something of the spirit of early Jesus & Mary Chain comes through without sounding derivative, and User have the presence of mind to keep their songs brief enough not to outstay their welcome -- cause enough to be grateful, as they do on occasion come up with something that makes you cringe. They're not the greatest band there ever was, but you'll have heard enough worse bands in your life to get into what User's doing.

Landscape Body Machine Landscape Body Machine are a band that definitely found their muse in the electronic acts of the mid-eighties. Another two-piece, L.B.M. re-create the sound of 808 State and early Ministry with such ease that you could be forgiven for failing to consider the difficulty of doing it. That L.B.M.'s sound doesn't fall into the trap of automatic songwriting that plagues so many other keyboard-and-sampler acts is testament to their attention to detail; that most of their material measures up to professional standards is the icing on Landscape Body Machine the cake. Take "No Cable," for example, in which that tape of the irate cable subscriber that made the rounds about five years ago (sample: "You motherfuckin' cocksuckin' whore-slut goddam sonofabitch motherfucker etc...") seems purely incidental to the instrumental track to which it's attached. So the popularity of industrial music has managed to outlast the heyday of club Twilight Zone -- Landscape Body Machine doesn't appear concerned. They're just watching the Wheel turn, waiting and plotting...

Heavy industrial music, in the time that this thing called rock 'n roll has been around, is a comparative newcomer. But unfortunately it has been around long enough to allow more than a few clichés to evolve -- and one of these is called Discipline of Anarchy. DofA (as opposed to calling them D.O.A.) manage to dig up most of these clichés (the PVC outfits, the distortion-to-the-point-of-no-redemption guitars, the shouty nihilist lyrics) to the extent that they're almost an industrial-strength parody. With the worst offender being the Discipline of Anarchy guitarist manager of DofA's lyrical department, we're treated to Dr.-Seuss-in-Auschwitz fare such as "I don't care how... kill me NOW!!!" What Discipline of Anarchy needs is a wealthy patron to treat them to a week in Cabo just so they can lighten up, for Christ's sakes. That or a week above the Arctic Circle in Norway during the dead of winter so they'd get depressed enough to actually top themselves and spare us this melodramatic prima donna of pain shit.

In the end, though, tonight's show does serve to illustrate the diversity that can exist in a genre of music that can be so easily pigeonholed. So industrial music isn't the worldwide flavour of the month anymore -- so what? As AdRock observed, "be true to yourself and you will never fall." And, in the meantime, the Wheel keeps turning...

First published in Drop-D Magazine on November 28, 1997

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