"But don't trust this skin,because I'm not a person.I'm a fucking disease."-- Dismantled, "Disease"Having made the scene such a central part of my life of late, I seem to have a rapidly growing set of albums that I'm picking up at live shows or from the internet or even, very occasionally, from a local retailer.And thanks to the life issues that have been keeping me from clubs and shows over the lat few weeks
, I've had a paucity of grist for the blog-mill. Then my friend Draeden
(webmaster of Songs of the Goddess
and a blogger on That Devil Music
) suggested, in his infinite Zen-like wisdom, that I start writing reviews of some of this music that has started to come into my hands.I feel kind of foolish for not having thought of that myself.So
here's the first of my album reviews -Artist(s): Dismantled (a.k.a. Gary Zon)Album: The War Inside MeMy Thoughts:
I was first introduced to Dismantled via Digital Gunfire Radio
(an excellent, and free, online station for industrial, EBM, and futurepop music).
Once I heard that Gary and his tour-band were doing a pair of shows in San Francisco earlier this year, I took advantage of the opportunity to see both performances (one at the Red Devil Lounge opening for Front Line Assembly and the other at DNA Lounge as the headlining band promoting their new album). I was seriously impressed in both cases and on the second occasion was able to pick up Dismantled's newest album: The War Inside Me
.The War Inside Me
is a solid piece of work, with most of the early tracks exhibiting a heavy industrial and aggro-tech sound and more than a little noise, while the later tracks sort of mellow a bit while still maintaining the mood. And speaking of mood: the entire album seems to carry an overarching theme of visceral self-loathing, sensual hedonism, and the urge to do gruesome violence. In many ways, the tone feels very reminiscent of NIN's masterpiece The Downward Spiral
, while still treading new, distinct, and oft-times darker ground.Highlights:
While I am quickly finding myself a fan of this entire album, some pieces do manage to rise out from the rest as even more excellent."Insecthead" moves with a frantic, frenetic, and buzzing beat, with the lyrics sounding like Kafka's Metamorphosis but gone all wrong
- instead of submitting to and accepting his devolution, the insect-headed narrator is going to "fuck my way out of this mess" and wants "your blood on my teeth"."Disease"
sticks with a solid industrial pace and is, perhaps, the piece most suggestive of Trent Reznor's early work - but where Reznor seemed apologetic, Zon comes across much more exalting and, at best, advising caution (as noted in the quote at the top of this post). He winds it up screaming an epithet, throwing any blame for his state on the unknown target of his vitriol.A few songs later, we get "Excess", which is about exactly what it sounds like: an epicurean gluttony of sensations taken to the point of self-destruction and oblivion - while the speaker's partner is forced to watch and deal with the fallout of these episodes to experience the singer's "love".
The fairly direct beat and repetition just reinforces the never-ending cycle of binging and co-dependent nihilism to which the speaker and partner subject themselves.At the end of the album we get "
Black Heart", a soft-spoken piano piece which strikes me as Gary Zon's loving homage to Nick Cave's darkly dreamlike Murder Ballads
.Final Thoughts: I'm not sure how I want to rate albums, given that tastes range so far and wide. A rating seems almost silly. Would I give something 5 Skulls?
I guess I'll figure it out eventually.Anyway - The War Inside Me is a top-notch album. If you like your music dark, aggressive, and very intense, Dismantled has served up a steaming plate of it.
Definitely a part of my regular listening right now as it fits my mood almost perfectly.-- Mr. M.
"Go and breed to death.Go and breed to death."-- Dismantled, Breed To Death
Okay - so double post time! I just got back from watching this show - and then remembered that I still hadn't written anything about New Wave City.
So I had to do that first
.Now my take on the performances of Dismantled et al.Venue: Yes, we know. Meph really likes the DNA Lounge.
It's a great venue. Excellent views everywhere. Hooray.
Only complaint is that DNA doesn't do a good job of promoting their shows. You only see DNA adverts at DNA
- whereas everyone else (like the clubs at the Cat Club) advertise at other clubs whenever they can - sometimes months in advance.
The only reason I knew this show was even happening in time for me to attend was because I was checking the DNA website for info on New Wave City's 19th Anniversary and happened to scroll down a bit before closing the window.And let's be honest here folks - Tuesday shows are already hard enough to get a crowd for. Not advertising widely just makes that worse.Performances: Limnus - First opening band was Limnus.
I feel kind of bad, but they didn't impress me as much as I'd hoped.They came across as very inexperienced on stage - so imagine my surprise when, after a little online research, I learned they've been performing for almost two years now.
They didn't really seem to know what to check during their sound check, and then talked to the tech guys in between the first three songs to fix the sound issues a bit too late. Buzzkill guys.The lead guitarist and the drummer were the ones that most caught my attention. The more metal-sounding songs, in particular, (mostly the last 3 of their set) really highlighted the skills of those two as musicians - with solid, driven beats and heavy, articulated riffs. Everyone else in the band felt a little lost in the soup resulting from
the aforementioned lack of technical savvy.Don't mistake my criticism though - it feels like there's some serious potential in this crew. But right now it just sort of feels like they need another two years of solid performance experience before they can translate that potential to their audience.Everything Goes Cold -
These guys had a very solid
industrial metal sound.
Like a few too many industrial acts, they relied on vocal distortion; BUT
they seem to have chosen a more warble-y distort rather
than the standard "whisper-scream" that has become so common as to be considered (*GASP*) ordinary
. Also, their keyboard/synth-man played a theremin
for at least two of the songs and actually seemed at least passably proficient at it (rather than just using it for "weird noise
"). So, I'm willing to grant them more than a few points for intelligent originality here.
Also, you could clearly hear the key-/synth-man's backup vocals, which often get lost in a lot of the industrial performances that I've seen. So that's another point in their favor.
And, hell, we even got some robot-dancing from the front-man. I'm not sure what kind of trifecta that really
is, but I'm willing to consider it a win, all-around. Got me to buy an album - so clearly they did something
- These are the folks I paid to see. And I'm about to tell you why.
Dismantled and his live crew (in performance, Dismantled - who is actually the "front-man" and sole permanent member of the entity going by that name - is usually accompanied by TZA on keyboards and back-up vocals and Jon Siren on drums. Tonight he also
had Nero Bellum of Psyclon Nine
playing guitar) perform as a HOT. FUCKING. MESS
. And I do mean HOT
Seriously, based on his albums, you'd expect this clean, sharp electro-industrial sound - and instead you get this screaming post-apocalyptic diesel-punk industrio-metal noise... And it's fucking awesome
. Especially with the black-grease radioactive-zombie aesthetic they've got going. Imagine a five-way drunken car accident that is chaotic, intense, and somehow magnificent
to hear and watch. I don't know how
they pull it off, but that's Dismantled live
That's really all I need to say on that matter.Two points of further awesome, anyway:
-- Mr. M.
- I got to pick up Dismantled's new album, The War Inside Me, to listen to on the way home.
- And I got to chat a little bit with Nero Bellum, who is a very excellent gentleman when he's not shredding riffs or throwing guitars about on stage (and, for those who haven't seen him before - he is pretty as fuck - so color me jealous, boy-o). In all seriousness, he seems a very cool guy and I'm hoping for the opportunity to talk to him more in the future.
"My lips may promise, but my heart is a whore."-- Nine Inch Nails, Last
So, I should have written this DAYS ago. Yeah, yeah. Meph's a slack-ass. Get used to it.First off, I went to Love Triangle's Summer Fun event back on 6/10. All in all, a fun little get-together.
Melting Girl and Tomas Diablo were spinning through the night.The Blue Macaw seemed a very... tight venue. But very few people were upstairs, so that was probably quite a bit of that sensation. If you're of a poly persuasion, I hope to see you at the next Love Triangle event. They seem to be a "once a season" event, so... Fall?The next night, 6/11, I went to the Red Devil Lounge to experience Front Line Assembly, 3 opening bands AND a DJ.Venue: The Red Devil Lounge.
All in all, a fairly awesome place. Cozy upstairs. Nice bar (and mini-bar upstairs). The bartenders were awesome folks. Definitely don't miss their "Strong Island" Iced Tea. They aren't fucking around when they say strong. Totally worth the $9+tip in my estimation (it's the City, dude... you're not going to find anyplace selling hard or mixed drinks for less than $8).My only complaint
: Restrooms. See the RDL has 3 bathrooms, each one a unisex single-person room. No big deal, right? Well, the first restroom is by the front door. And it turns out that one gets a line. Why, you ask? Well, because the other two bathrooms are on the opposite side of the bar... Right up next to the stage. You know. Where everyone hangs out during a show. And once you wedge yourself through about 60 people packed liked corpses in a mass grave, you can't really get back out again.
I say this from personal experience, as I made the trek right before FLA started their set.
So I spent the rest of the evening up by the stage... Awesome right? Well, not so much. See, I never planned
on being that close, so I didn't have earplugs like EVERYONE ELSE UP THERE. My ears were still ringing when I went to lunch the next day.The other issue with the restrooms? Well, as a man I probably shouldn't have noticed; but a lot of women were going in and out, so I couldn't help but realize that drunk dudes at bars are even less likely to lift the seat before pissing and, since they're drunk, their aim is infinitely worse.So, ladies? I apologize for the rest of my sex. I'm really sorry that we're so fucking gross.The Show:
The show was awesome. It started late because FLA got stuck in traffic coming over the Bay Bridge into the City (big surprise), so the opening acts got a little cut, unfortunately.
Started with Hardwired
, who I had not heard before. I would describe them, at least in performance, as Pantera if Pantera were a lot more industrial. They kicked the show off right and got about 5 or 6 songs in for their set.Then we got Cyanotic. I'll be honest, Cyanotic got a little shafted. Since the show was running so late, they only got about 3 songs before having to end their set. And since I was at the merchandise booth buying a fuck-ton of CDs for $10 a pop (it's my personal kryptonite... seriously - I don't give a shit about band shirts, but if you have CDs for $10, I'll blow almost every fucking dollar I have to pick up as many CDs as I can), I missed most of the set when I had to run my mass of new purchases back to my car (so I wouldn't have to hold them all damn night).So, I'm really sorry guys. What I heard sounded awesome, and I bought two of your albums for good measure!!Next up was Dismantled, who burned through about 30 minutes before they had to bail due to time constraints. But they were good songs and they had good presence and activity while they were up on the stage. All in all, they were bad-ass and a joy to watch.Then we got a DJ break. DJ Accucrack played for
about 20 minutes. He was okay - he didn't really move me a whole lot and I think I'd have preferred it if the time had been given to another band (like Cyanotic, perhaps?). I mean, he was a DJ in a mostly full house with no real dancing room at a show where people were in attendance to see bands perform. So, nothing personal against him (I mean, he was a pretty good DJ), but meh
. Finally, we got some Front Line Assembly. Last time I saw these guys was 13 years ago at a Halloween show they did with Switchblade Symphony, Spahn Ranch, and Kevorkian Death Cycle. At the time, Switchblade was the only band in attendance I had even heard of... But FLA blew my spats off at that show and I've had a lot of respect for them since.And Saturday's show was certainly no slouch on their behalf. If you're unfamiliar with Front Line Assembly, the best way I can describe their music is Industrial-Punk... and they're positively fucking awesome at it.
As I mentioned earlier, I ended up stuck on that side of the RDL after having to use the restroom - so I got up right on the other side of Inkel's keyboard set. Being stuck never sounded so metal
.My understanding is that FLA doesn't make it out to this side of the country much, so if you get a chance to see them, you should really take it. They put on an amazing show.Just remember to have some earplugs if you value your hearing.-- Mr. M.