Prey And Obey

Metropolis Records

Rating: 3.5/5




Raymond Watts origins lie way back in the history, he was present at the birth of the alternative and industrial scene, first appearing as a member of KMFDM before emerging with PIG in 1988. Since then he has continued his involvement, not just in the aforementioned outfits but also behind the mixing desk and as a songwriter, and after more than thirty years making the kind of music that influenced a generation you might think that PIG would have mellowed with age, well the Prey And Obey EP makes it clear that he hasn’t.

The title track from the Prey And Obey EP carries the kind of hard edged guitar riff and strident drum beat that lies at the heart of the best stampy industrial dance floor fillers, and title track stands up against the material Raymond Watts has previously released. The tracks that follow, The Revelation and Cult Of Chaos, provide variations along the style of the title track but don’t quite have the same immediate impact, but they complete a fine trio of original songs that make up the core of the Prey And Obey EP, sadly after this we get a slew of remixes, two versions of Prey And Obey and one revision of The Revelation.

Half of the Prey And Obey EP is made up of remixes and for me it’s rare that a remix improves on the original recording, and those contained on this EP don’t do anything to change my opinion on this front. Despite the remixes occupying the latter half of PIG‘s latest release the three original tracks make up a fine EP, they carry the feel of the industrial tracks that were the soundtrack to many dancefloors in the late eighties, but they achieves this without sounding like an anachronism. After more than three decades one of the originators in the industrial and alternative scenes has produced an EP that is a more than worthy addition to his legacy.

Prey And Obey is now available via Metropolis Records here


Gang Of Four

Live... In The Moment

Metropolis Records

Rating: 3/5




Gang Of Four are a legendary British post punk band who formed almost forty years ago, in the current incarnation only guitarist Andy Gill remains from the original line up. The remainder of the band’s members have been accumulated over the last few years, John Sterry has replaced original vocalist Jon King and the current line up is completed by Jonny Finnegan, drums, and Thomas McNiece on bass. The album was recorded at London’s Islington Assembly Hall on the penultimate date of Gang Of Four‘s 2015 tour and it features a set list that touches on most of their extensive back catalogue.

From the opening chords of Where The Nightingale Sings, from last years What Happens Next album, the Gang Of Four‘s sparse funky post punk sound is in full effect, to my ears the spiky guitar riffs sound as good as ever, and the years appear to have been kind to their material. The set is largely split between their early material and their most recent releases, whilst some will only want to hear the classics I usually prefer a band to still be producing material, not just trotting out their greatest hits. Gang Of Four‘s latest material sits happily alongside their classic songs, which of course make an appearance in the set, Damaged Goods is delivered mid set and arguably their best known song, I Found That Essence Rare, makes an obligatory appearance, a pumped up version of this classic early single is almost inevitably the final encore

When a band is reduced to having one original member in place it’s debatable whether it is the band, with only Andy Gill surviving from the original line up it almost sounds like a completely different band, but things change over time and Gang Of Four still sound fresh and relevant, if not like their old selves. The Gang Of Four‘s influence can’t be underestimated and many have acknowledged their debt to the band’s innovative sound, after almost forty years Live… In The Moment is a document of a band that have been ploughing their own furrow without compromise since the early days of the punk scene.

Live… In The Moment can be ordered on CD and vinyl here

Gang Of Four‘s web presence can be found here

moving units

Moving Units

Damage With Care

Metropolis Records

Rating: 2.5/5




California’s Moving Units formed in 2001 and are one of the original bands that pioneered the Dance Punk scene, now 15 years and numerous line up changes later they have bought us their fourth album, Damage With Care via Metropolis Records.

From the outset it is clear that Damage With Care owe a hefty debt to the British post punk bands of the late 70’s and early 80s and boasts a funky sound which wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve, the ghosts of A Certain Ratio, Joy Division and especially Gang of Four seem to resonate deeply within their songs.

The album opens strongly with Hyatt Girls which boasts a guitar riff The Go-Go’s would have killed for and is a great driving opener which nods heavily to the new wave and which should get any crowd moving, for me this is the stand out track from the album. Much of the rest of the album has an angular spiky style which whilst less accessible than the opening track did grow on me over time. Damage With Care washes over you in waves of synth and bass but never actually seems to grab you by the scruff of the neck and shake you. Having said that, this a solid and consistent addition to their catalog and will please established fans of Moving Units and the dance and post punk genres but ultimately it is one which I feel is unlikely to produce any new converts to their cause.

Tours: The Membranes / Therapy

membranesUK post punk legends Membranes have announced that they will be heading on tour with Therapy.  The band is supporting their comeback record, Dark Matter/Dark Energy, released back in May 2015 via Metropolis Records.

Tour dates are below.

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Membranes Announce North American Shows

membranesUK post punk legends Membranes have announced their first North American shows in over 25 years. The last time the Blackpool quartet were on US soil, White Zombie and Afgham Whigs opened for them and they are back supporting their critically acclaimed comeback record, Dark Matter/Dark Energy, released back in May via Metropolis Records.

Check out the full list of dates below.

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Video: Gang Of Four – The Dying Rays

gangoffourLong running punk band Gang Of Four has premiered the new song “The Dying Rays.”  The song and video feature German star Herbert Grönemeyer.

“The Dying Rays” originally appeared on What Happens Next, out now on Metropolis Records.  Watch it below.

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Cocksure Announce New LP

cocksureChicago based industrial punks Cocksure have announced their new LP, Corporate_Sting, will drop on August 21st via Metropolis Records. The date is significant as it is exactly one year ago as their critically acclaimed debut TVMALSV was released.

Cocksure is comprised of Christopher J. Connelly (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Sons of the Silent Age) and Jason C. Novak (Acumen Nation, DJ? Acucrack, Czar) and you can check out the cover art for Corporate_Sting below.

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The Rezillos Announce North American Tour

RezillosFirst wave UK punks The Rezillos have announced a 3 week tour in the US kicking off in July. The band are out in support of Zero, their first new record in over 40 years, which was released back in March via Metropolis Records. 

Check out the full list of tour dates below.

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Membranes Announce First New Full Length Since 1989

MembranesPost-punk pioneers Membranes have announced their first new album since 1989.  The disc will be tiled Dark Matter/Dark Energy and will take the form of a concept album.  Vocalist/bassist John Robb explains

“But it’s not just about the universe, although that is entwined in the songs – it’s the story of everything. It’s also about sex and death.”

The album is due out July 10, 2015 via Metropolis Records.

The Dreaming Announce 2nd Leg of North American Tour

The DreamingThe Dreaming, featuring Christopher Hall and Waler Flakus of Stabbing Westward have announced that the second leg of their North American tour will kick off in June. The band’s latest record Rise Again, dropped back in February via Metropolis Records and is now streaming in full via Revolver.

Check out the full list of tour dates below.

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The Rezillos Announce New Record

RezillosPunk/new wave icons The Rezillos have announced the release of Zero, their first new album since their debut Can’t Stand The Rezillos was released almost 40 years ago!The  Edinburgh, Scotland based band will release the album on March 10th via Metropolis Records and will be hitting the road in the UK and the US with fellow first wave punks The Stranglers in the spring (as dates are announced, we will post them for you!).

Check out the track list and album art for Zero, below.

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Gang of Four Announce New Record, Tour

gangoffourLegendary post punks Gang Of Four have announced that their new record, What Happens Next is due for release on February 25th 2015 via Metropolis Records (Membran Records in Europe). The follow up to 2011’s critically acclaimed Content is also the first without vocalist Jon King, and founding guitarist and songwriter Andy Gill had this to say on the new record:

“The focus is more on universal issues, like how individuals behave in certain ways or how our world is constructed, than local issues or current affairs…Gang of Four is anything but parochial.”

Ahead of the album’s release, the band are streaming the lead single, Broken Talk, check that out, along with the band’s full list of upcoming tour dates, below.

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Veil Veil Vanish - Change in the Neon Light

Veil Veil Vanish

Change in the Neon Light

Metropolis Records

Rating: 3/5




Veil Veil Vanish subscribe to that dark brand of indie rock pioneered by 80’s synth pop staples Depeche Mode, currently carried on today by groups like White Lies and The Killers.  Their debut full length, Change In The Neon Light, fits well along side their peers, adhering to the conventions that have proven themselves resistant to emerging trends over the past thirty years.

For a synth rock act Veil Veil Vanish isn’t particularly unique, but rather remarkably consistent.  The album generally builds itself around a very danceable mid-tempo beat with an almost shoegaze consciousness.   Vocalist Keven Tecon propels the swirling synth beats onward with a somewhat less mechanical inflection and higher pitch than most of his influences.  The basic formula finds the band transitioning back and forth between Tecon’s gloomy voice and a backdrop of pulsating chords and frequent pedal work.  Tracks like “Change In The Neon Light” and “Exile City” exemplify the basic interplay between instrumentation and vocals with sweeping spoken choruses and spacious guitar work.

“Anthem For A Doomed Youth” synthesizes the combination most successfully, standing as a clear album highlight.  The sense of buildup generated by the gradual layering of bassist Amy Rosenoff’s thick crunch with guitarist Cameron Ray’s catchy opening loops makes for the perfect intro before some crisp acoustic work takes hold.  A backdrop of reoccurring “oohs” elevates the track further, achieving a grand sense of scale.

However, what the album gains in scale, it forfeits in individuality.  After the first few highlights, tracks blur together.  Unlike contemporaries White Lies, lyrics aren’t Veil Veil Vanish’s strongest department.  While the content contains similarly dark themes, they lack an essential playfulness – preventing even the high points from planting themselves firmly in memory.

Veil Veil Vanish demonstrates a clear understanding of album continuity essential for their genre, and come away with nine well-constructed, atmospheric tracks.  For their next outing the young upstarts would well be advised at narrowing their focus to the individual level.  But in the mean time Change In The Neon Light’s solid foundation should find a warm welcome in fans of dark synth pop.

KMFDM Reissue Two Albums

Legendary industrial pioneers KMFDM has announced that they will be reissuing two albums from their early discography.  The albums include OPIUM and WWIII and will be available on October 22, 2013 via Metropolis Records.  The band has also announced that they will be touring North American in 2013

Tour dates are  below.

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Birthday Massacre - Pins and Needles

The Birthday Massacre

Pins and Needles

Metropolis Records

Rating: 3.5/5




Over the past ten years The Birthday Massacre has gained momentum in synthrock and gothic circles for their infectious brand of dark electronic pop.  For this they can thank their uncanny ability for combining industrial, synth, pop, and rock, for a sound at once sweeter, harsher, and drearier than the sum of its parts.  But this is a band that gets better with age, and with their latest release, Pins And Needles, everything that worked so well before comes together for The Birthday Massacre’s most seamless take yet, and one of the most inviting gothic releases of the years.

I realize that my own enthusiasm for some inherently “dark” niches – like horror punk and psychobilly – can lead to some glowing recommendations that others might receive less readily.  Pins And Needles is different; niche goer, casual listener, die-hard – there’s something here for everyone.  And to top it off, they achieve such success all the while resisting the urge of succumbing to the sugary coating of pop divas.  Think former labelmates Mindless Self Indulgence, but calm, collected, and, above all, sane.

The key to The Birthday Massacre’s success is their firm grasp of atmosphere.  Even Chibi’s voice, as cutesy and innocent as implied by its Japanese origin, holds strong amidst a sorrow filled backdrop; and even stands to strengthen the sense of inescapable tragedy – like that achieved in the weathered, analogue-inspired intros of “Pale.”  But much like their Tim Burton-esque image, they also inspire a sense of wonder.  In “Shallow Grave” Chibi describes the plight of a girl fading from existence: “her voice cuts through the walls, rings through every thing that’s hollow, the bitter words recall… all she’s got to lose is everything she never has.”  Every word comes tightly bound to a near whisper, cushioning the sad reality, and erasing any sense that the words are anything less than sincere.

Meanwhile, the steadfast thread of shadowy industrial rock weaves a blanket of connection across tracks.  It all fits together so well that it’s very easy to get lost after several tracks.  It’s tough to explain because on face value nothing really stands out, but as is the sign of a good backdrop to a movie – a backdrop strengthens and inspires, it doesn’t steal the show.  Together, an array of never stagnant, always lingering industrial synth swoops and swirls around a rocky centre, balanced by intermittent electronics.  Even when the ensemble draws upon some edgier, heavier riffs (as per “Pins And Needles”) the result is always calming – even during times of heightened malice.

With Pins And Needles The Birthday Massacre achieves a sense of beauty that eludes most gothic music.  Every song feels right at home on the record, and despite that overarching thread of continuity, justifies inclusion.  In other words, Pins And Needles strikes a fine balance between familiarity and newness that should leave listeners attentive even after the final track runs its course.

Too many people dismiss goth music (myself included) as part of a phase adolescents go through, but with Pins And NeedlesThe Birthday Massacre suggests otherwise.

Tours: The Birthday Massacre

Birthday MassacreToronto’s The Birthday Massacre has announced a tour in support of their new album, Pins and Needles. The album is set to release on September 14th on Metropolis Records.

The Birthday Massacre is currently on tour with OtepBeneath the Sky and The River Runs Red and is gearing up for a headlining tour beginning August 20th.

Both current and headlining tour dates can be seen below:

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Veil Veil Vanish Offer Free mp3

Metropolis Records newcomer Veil Veil Vanish have posted a free track from their recently released debut full length, Change In The Neon Light, via digital music retailer  The band’s sound has recently garnered comparisons to dark rockers The Cure.

Those curious for more can preview the album through for the next week here.

The A.K.A.s

The A.K.A.s

Mike Ski

Metropolis Records
By on September 7th, 2008 at The Garrick - Winnipeg, Manitoba



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