This is the third and final installment in a series of articles about the TC Electropunk Vol. 5 compilation released at the tail-end of 2009. Within these articles, I have done a bit of genre deconstruction, and musically placed different songs into three particular genre categories that, admittedly, may make more sense to me than to anyone else. Dissecting TCEP5 Part 1 and TCEP5 Part 2 dealt with “Electropunk as New Wave Punk” and “Electropunk as ElectroPop” respectively. In this final article I present a final genre – one that is perhaps both the most obvious and most accessible to modern memory.
Electropunk as Industrial
How many people out there could raise their hand if asked “were you introduced to industrial music through Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails”? I could. In fact, I remember the first time I heard some Nine Inch Nails in junior high at a friend’s house. Reznor had been doing his thing for at least a few years, but the early nineties had come, and along with it, a new national scene loosely organized around a genre called “alternative,” a sort of catch-all category where previously unpopular kinds of music could be tossed into and hence made – popular? (Hmm… this strangely sounds a lot like a modern movement in rock that people bandy about. Can you name it? Here’s a hint – it starts with a big, fat “I”.) Indeed, it was industria’ls time to emerge from the underground, or industrial metal’s time at least, and it wasn’t long before my friends and I were dipping into Ministry and Helmet; and later on, Filter and Stabbing Westward. You know, the mainstream metal stuff, not the hipper contemporaneous submergent stuff. We weren’t cool enough or aware of enough for that. Cut us some slack, we were 12!
The reason I mention this short story about industrial music’s popularization is because the collection of songs found on TCEP5 seem to blossom directly from that short 6-7 year period in the 90’s where industrial metal bands were packing stadiums and clubs. If you grew up listening to Nine Inch Nails, performing impromptu self-body piercings, and testing the strength of your bedroom drywall with your fist, then you seriously need to check out these tunes.
The TCEP5 compilation begins upbeat with songs by Avenpitch, Thosquanta, and Pop Inc, but track 5, “Rampage When You Die” by OBCT, is where the ten-pound sledge falls. It actually took me a bit by surprise the first time I listened through the record. Sneaky, sneaky stuff; but for those of us who’ve stepped away from industrial metal for several years now, the thickly overdriven guitars produce a familiar beckoning call. The aggressive bellows of OBCT’s vocalists, now singularly and now in tandem, push the music over the edge and into a dark crevice of emotion.
“Control Freak” by MSRP follows on track six with rolling toms and screeching background synth. MSRP recalls fond memories I have of popping in my first Filter album, but this band mixes it up more on “Control Freak” than your typical 4-chord Filter jam. I love you Filter, but MSRP has something special going on.
Synching music in television and film has been going on for quite some time, but now more than ever synching has become a crucial tool in getting music out there in front of the masses. Were I producing a new Crow movie, I think I’d just synch a bunch of TCEP bands. When the Crow needs to Kill! Kill! Kill! I’d play One Two Three Dead’s “My First Communion,” a song with all the necessary edge and aggression called for. Is it time to roll in the tricked out black Cadillac yet? Then let’s play “Dr. Night” by Mach Fox and let the smooth times roll. Oh, and we also mustn’t forget the obligatory prepare and march to the final showdown scene, which could easily be driven by The Eighth’s “Wasted Heartbeats,” and as for the showdown scene itself? I think I’d toss in the maniacal sounding “Tickle Me Panzer” by Gabber Nullification Project.
The only loose string left, as I see it, would be a little tune to play while the movie credits run and folks file out of the theater. It’s a good thing Circa A.M. submitted “The Up Aboves,” because the gradual flow and thumping percussion of this song moves at just the right speed to pace a walk up the isle and out the back doors. What a way to end a flick!
“Control Freak” by: MSRP
Dissecting TC Electropunk Vol. 5 – Part 3