Christopher Owens 🎵 “We burned out. I was left for dead/At six o’clock I was so alone. I crawled inside/Nowhere else to go/I could be dead for all you know/Every day I died for you. Valium boys with painted eyes/Young men need love special. I don’t think I want it at all.” - Tubeway Army

As we prepare to bid farewell to a year that could be described as, at best, transitional and, at worse, apocalyptic, shield yourself from the annual row over ‘Fairytale of New York’ with these records of extremities, dirt and various repressed emotions.

New Horizons


Savage Republic – Meteora


On the go in some shape or form since 1980, this eighth record from the Californian industrial/post punk stalwarts is immediately familiar and exhiliarating. The blend of dub influenced basslines, palate filling guitar and pulsating rhythms never fail to deliver the goods. ‘God and Guns’ sees them rail at Trump, while ‘Bizerte Rolls’ brings some Dick Daleesque surf rock into the mix and ‘Newport 86’ is the sound that U2 wish they could conjure up.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Sunn O))) - Metta, Benevolence. BBC 6 Music: Live on the invitation of Mary Anne Hobbs

Recorded in October 2019 while on tour, this three-song session from the men who brought drone into the mainstream may not do anything out of the ordinary for the converted, but the additions of Anna Von Hausswolff’s vocals on the two tracks from ‘Pyroclasts’ (as well as added synths) give the overall proceedings a much more haunting and tribal feel than the original recordings. Plus, the thought of Sunn being broadcast on the BBC warms the cockles of my heart.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Special Duties – 7 Days a Week

Fondly remembered for their ‘Bullshit Crass’ single, Colchester’s Special Duties’ first album in nearly 25 years is another anthemic 77 styled punk rock/Oi album. Opener ‘Time Bomb’ has the right mix of lairy aggro and melodic hooks to get people pogoing, ‘Billy Jones’ an anthemic tribute to an old mate, and the title track a heartfelt plea to be kind to the homeless. Still not afraid to question accepted thinking, ‘Mary Whitehouse’ sees the band pondering if she had a point.

The album can be streamed here.

Marissa Nadler – The Path of the Clouds

Continuing her astonishing run (which began with 2014’s ‘July), this record sees her explore the terrain of the murder ballad but blurring the boundaries between murder and mystery (the title track opens with the line “Do you want to pay the ransom”), all in the ethereal, dreamlike fashion that we’ve come to expect. Her fascination with female vocals is also evident in the gorgeous, hymnlike track ‘Elegy’. She cannot do any wrong at this point.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Todeskino – Debutante

Taking inspiration from a near 35-year-old photo of a young woman looking like she’s going to a formal proves that Todeskino can be inspired by the most mundane of items. A potent combination of hauntology, Angelo Badalamenti, Vangelis and Conrad Schnitzler, this invokes all your old teenage melodrama and a sadness at how you have lost your youthful naivety. One to stick on when looking at your ex’s holiday photos on Instagram at 2am.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Mitternacht - The Snake

Described as “…a soundtrack to driving along the Snake Pass” which “…connects…Liverpool with…Sheffield…” this mix of techno and ambience does quite a job evoking an image of a orange Ford Focus ST driving along this old road blaring out cheap sounding garage music. It could be the setting for a folk horror movie. On that basis, this imaginary soundtrack hits all the right marks and offers enough nuance to induce differing moods within the listener.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Cavesnake – S/T

Mixing drone, noise and black metal (surprisingly) isn’t the easiest task in the world: get it wrong and the results are stagnant dross. Cavesnake, however understand the need for mood and atmosphere first and foremost. Creating a genuinely unsettling sound, tracks like ‘Bloodless Weapon’ make you think there’s someone outside your window, while ‘Posture in Defeat’ gives you the sensation of falling to the bottom of the ocean and ‘Fleshware’ combines those two images. Visceral listening.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Golden Oldies


Nitzer Ebb – That Total Age

Straddling the line between EBM and industrial, Nitzer Ebb’s debut for Mute Records is a masterclass in controlled mayhem. While everyone knows ‘Join in the Chant’ is still a dancefloor favourite, tracks like ‘Murderous’ bring out an amphetamine induced frenzy in the listener while lighter numbers like “Smear Body” betray their Front 242 and D.A.F influences, which are obviously no bad thing. Arguably, they never bettered this record.



D.A.F – Für immer

Once dubbed the grandfathers of techno by John Peel, this release from October 1982 may not be their greatest achievement but it is a record that consolidates the importance of the band. With their star power diminished in Germany and with nothing left to prove, they threw caution to the wind and wrote some of their most sinister sounding numbers (‘Ein Bisschen Krieg’) as well as expanding on their interest in exotica (‘Geheimnis’).



The Macc Lads – Beer & Sex & Chips n Gravy

Released in 1985, the debut release from Macclesfield’s finest exports (besides Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris) who once proclaimed themselves the ‘rudest, crudest, lewdest, drunkest band in Christendom’ is still a blast to listen to. Musically, songs like ‘Sweaty Betty’ and ‘Miss Macclesfield’ have melodies that most bands would kill for and how can you not love lines like “We are all just simple lads, never asked for much/Just twenty pints of a Friday night and a wife at home to fuck.”



Napalm Death – Harmony Corruption

A bit of a dividing point among the early, anarcho punk fans and the more recent death metal converts, this 1990 release saw the grindcore pioneers go to Morrisound Studios in Tampa, Florida to embrace death metal. While the hardcore is less prominent than normal, you can’t argue with the likes of ‘Suffer the Children’, ‘Extremely Retained’, ‘Unfit Earth’ and ‘If The Truth Be Known’. A one off experiment, but one that works well and stands out in the ND catalogue.

 


⏩ Christopher Owens was a reviewer for Metal Ireland and finds time to study the history and inherent contradictions of Ireland. He is currently the TPQ Friday columnist. 

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Predominance 11

Christopher Owens 🎵 “We burned out. I was left for dead/At six o’clock I was so alone. I crawled inside/Nowhere else to go/I could be dead for all you know/Every day I died for you. Valium boys with painted eyes/Young men need love special. I don’t think I want it at all.” - Tubeway Army

As we prepare to bid farewell to a year that could be described as, at best, transitional and, at worse, apocalyptic, shield yourself from the annual row over ‘Fairytale of New York’ with these records of extremities, dirt and various repressed emotions.

New Horizons


Savage Republic – Meteora


On the go in some shape or form since 1980, this eighth record from the Californian industrial/post punk stalwarts is immediately familiar and exhiliarating. The blend of dub influenced basslines, palate filling guitar and pulsating rhythms never fail to deliver the goods. ‘God and Guns’ sees them rail at Trump, while ‘Bizerte Rolls’ brings some Dick Daleesque surf rock into the mix and ‘Newport 86’ is the sound that U2 wish they could conjure up.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Sunn O))) - Metta, Benevolence. BBC 6 Music: Live on the invitation of Mary Anne Hobbs

Recorded in October 2019 while on tour, this three-song session from the men who brought drone into the mainstream may not do anything out of the ordinary for the converted, but the additions of Anna Von Hausswolff’s vocals on the two tracks from ‘Pyroclasts’ (as well as added synths) give the overall proceedings a much more haunting and tribal feel than the original recordings. Plus, the thought of Sunn being broadcast on the BBC warms the cockles of my heart.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Special Duties – 7 Days a Week

Fondly remembered for their ‘Bullshit Crass’ single, Colchester’s Special Duties’ first album in nearly 25 years is another anthemic 77 styled punk rock/Oi album. Opener ‘Time Bomb’ has the right mix of lairy aggro and melodic hooks to get people pogoing, ‘Billy Jones’ an anthemic tribute to an old mate, and the title track a heartfelt plea to be kind to the homeless. Still not afraid to question accepted thinking, ‘Mary Whitehouse’ sees the band pondering if she had a point.

The album can be streamed here.

Marissa Nadler – The Path of the Clouds

Continuing her astonishing run (which began with 2014’s ‘July), this record sees her explore the terrain of the murder ballad but blurring the boundaries between murder and mystery (the title track opens with the line “Do you want to pay the ransom”), all in the ethereal, dreamlike fashion that we’ve come to expect. Her fascination with female vocals is also evident in the gorgeous, hymnlike track ‘Elegy’. She cannot do any wrong at this point.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Todeskino – Debutante

Taking inspiration from a near 35-year-old photo of a young woman looking like she’s going to a formal proves that Todeskino can be inspired by the most mundane of items. A potent combination of hauntology, Angelo Badalamenti, Vangelis and Conrad Schnitzler, this invokes all your old teenage melodrama and a sadness at how you have lost your youthful naivety. One to stick on when looking at your ex’s holiday photos on Instagram at 2am.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Mitternacht - The Snake

Described as “…a soundtrack to driving along the Snake Pass” which “…connects…Liverpool with…Sheffield…” this mix of techno and ambience does quite a job evoking an image of a orange Ford Focus ST driving along this old road blaring out cheap sounding garage music. It could be the setting for a folk horror movie. On that basis, this imaginary soundtrack hits all the right marks and offers enough nuance to induce differing moods within the listener.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Cavesnake – S/T

Mixing drone, noise and black metal (surprisingly) isn’t the easiest task in the world: get it wrong and the results are stagnant dross. Cavesnake, however understand the need for mood and atmosphere first and foremost. Creating a genuinely unsettling sound, tracks like ‘Bloodless Weapon’ make you think there’s someone outside your window, while ‘Posture in Defeat’ gives you the sensation of falling to the bottom of the ocean and ‘Fleshware’ combines those two images. Visceral listening.

The album can be streamed and purchased here.

Golden Oldies


Nitzer Ebb – That Total Age

Straddling the line between EBM and industrial, Nitzer Ebb’s debut for Mute Records is a masterclass in controlled mayhem. While everyone knows ‘Join in the Chant’ is still a dancefloor favourite, tracks like ‘Murderous’ bring out an amphetamine induced frenzy in the listener while lighter numbers like “Smear Body” betray their Front 242 and D.A.F influences, which are obviously no bad thing. Arguably, they never bettered this record.



D.A.F – Für immer

Once dubbed the grandfathers of techno by John Peel, this release from October 1982 may not be their greatest achievement but it is a record that consolidates the importance of the band. With their star power diminished in Germany and with nothing left to prove, they threw caution to the wind and wrote some of their most sinister sounding numbers (‘Ein Bisschen Krieg’) as well as expanding on their interest in exotica (‘Geheimnis’).



The Macc Lads – Beer & Sex & Chips n Gravy

Released in 1985, the debut release from Macclesfield’s finest exports (besides Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris) who once proclaimed themselves the ‘rudest, crudest, lewdest, drunkest band in Christendom’ is still a blast to listen to. Musically, songs like ‘Sweaty Betty’ and ‘Miss Macclesfield’ have melodies that most bands would kill for and how can you not love lines like “We are all just simple lads, never asked for much/Just twenty pints of a Friday night and a wife at home to fuck.”



Napalm Death – Harmony Corruption

A bit of a dividing point among the early, anarcho punk fans and the more recent death metal converts, this 1990 release saw the grindcore pioneers go to Morrisound Studios in Tampa, Florida to embrace death metal. While the hardcore is less prominent than normal, you can’t argue with the likes of ‘Suffer the Children’, ‘Extremely Retained’, ‘Unfit Earth’ and ‘If The Truth Be Known’. A one off experiment, but one that works well and stands out in the ND catalogue.

 


⏩ Christopher Owens was a reviewer for Metal Ireland and finds time to study the history and inherent contradictions of Ireland. He is currently the TPQ Friday columnist. 

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