CHMCL STR8JCKT – DRK PRGRSSN

DRK PRGRSSN Album Cover Art

CHMCL STR8JCKT – DRK PRGRSSN
Cleopatra Records
Release Date: 12/02/2021
Running Time: 67:48
Review By Beth Jones
8/10

So, here’s one for you. What do you get if you cross Kraftwerk, Rammstein, Judas Priest, and Clint Eastwood? That might sound like the start of some sort of terrible joke, but actually it’s a pretty good mental image of today’s subject band, CHMCL STR8JCKT, who sit comfortably in the niche genre of Outlaw Industrial Rock! Fusing old-school metal guitar sounds with ‘Wax Trax! era’ Industrial music, “DRK PRGRSSN” is the latest instalment of craziness from this New Jersey based quartet.

Now, according to their press release, they have ‘become known for a powerful, engaging live show with dark imagery and select theatrics to enhance the disturbing themes of their songs’. Listening to the album, I can totally imagine what their stage show would look like, and I would so be there if I got the chance!

At 17 tracks long, this album is an impressive body of work. It’s very cleverly put together too, in so much as, there are guitar driven classic heavy metal sections, and synth driven sections, with influences from Wax Trax right up to Neue Deutsche Härte, but you don’t even notice the change between the two, because they’ve been so well melded together.

As you may, or may not know, about 10 years ago I began to lose my hearing, which, as a musician, sucks massive balls! I wear hearing aids, which luckily help improve the top end of my hearing, where my main problem is, but it can still be hard to pick out individual lyrics within songs, because of all the other sounds going on. So, here’s the way that listening to this album went for me. It’s all crunching, and beaty, and hellishly groovy, and I’m having a real good old time, bopping away, getting into the groove, imagining lots of smoke machines/foam blowers/PVC/glo-sticks/lasers etc, and just funking out to the drops… and then I start reading the lyric sheet that we’ve been sent with the promo material…HOLY HELL in a hand cart they’re dark! To give you an example, the opening lines of the opening track, ‘Tendril and Blade’ are:

‘Sweet Sasha turned 14 and the gift she would receive,
would cause a lifetime of self-loathing and rage.’

It’s all in there. Abuse, guns, S&M, murder, depravity, madness, the Holocaust…but it’s all brilliantly narrative, with descriptive language that connects and comments more on the emotions, rather than the physical acts, which add an element of creating your own mental imagery and backstory to go with each song. It’s very clever.

Musically wise, synths are very definitely the king in CMCHL STR8JCKT’s sound. We get a variety of vocal styles, from clean singing, to growls, and spoken word. It’s very atmospheric, however you can’t get away from the classic guitar and percussive sounds of Heavy Metal, that hang about in the periphery. It’s hurting my brain trying to describe this properly, so let’s just go with ‘it’s great’! It’s interesting, it’s different, it pushes boundaries, and does something outside the norm, which is a huge gamble, but when it pays off, it’s sweet. And the gamble has definitely paid off for these guys. So, to sum up, and to follow the band’s lead in the concept of vowels in words being so last century, DRK PRGRSSN = FCKNG GR8. CHMCL STR8JCKT = FCKNG MNTL GRVY – LV THM!

‘Destroyer’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Tendril And Blade
02. Texas
03. 1911
04. Chosen One
05. Destroyer
06. Death Of Lucille
07. Wrecking Machine
08. Capesius
09. Syrinx Is Gone
10. Harpy
11. Sacred Rope
12. Gonna Die
13. Invisible Sun
14. Somber Town
15. Ode To Peckinpah (Bloody Sam)
16. Fantasy Biohacker Mix
17. Baphomet Missing In STARS Remix

LINE-UP: (This took some bloody hunting out I can tell you, so I hope it’s right!)
Kevin Snell – Synths/Programming/Lead and Backing Vocals
Mike Cairoli – Guitars
Ian Omega – Percussion/Backing Vocals
Scott Luckman – Synths/Backing Vocals

LINKS:

Chmcl Str8jckt Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Skold – Dies Irae

Dies Irae Album Cover Art

Skold – Dies Irae
Cleopatra Records
Release Date: 05/03/2021
Running Time: 38:18
Review by Wallace Magri
9.5/10

Tim Skold is well known as a multi-instrumentalist, synth programmer plus a highly requested composer and music producer. His first musical journey was around 1987 with the Swedish Glam/Sleaze Metal band Shotgun Messiah, that recorded three albums and, by the way, the last Shotgun Messiah’s release, “Violent New Breed” (1993), was one of the very first Industrial Glam/Rock albums to date. After splitting Shotgun Messiah, Tim Skold launched himself into a solo career, releasing “Skold” in 1996, and right after that, he was invited to join KMFDM.

For those who are not that familiar with Industrial Rock/Metal Music, KMFDM is an institution in that genre. They were one of the pioneers on turning the noisy-non-commercial Industrial’s original proposal (search for Throbbing Gristle on google) into a more electronic Heavy Oriented sound, once they realized that it would be a cool idea to sample really extreme heavy guitar riffs and repeat them to the limit, until it becomes a wall of sound that fit just fine with the Industrial noisy beats and raging vocal performances.

Tim Skold collaborated on KMFDM’s 1997 album “Symbols” and remained in the band for “Adios”, released in 1999. After leaving KMFDM he started to produce and compose with Marilyn Manson and ended up playing bass guitar on “The Golden Age Of Grotesque” (2003) and also composed all the songs, programmed the samples and produced Marilyn Manson’s 2007 underrated album “Eat Me, Drink Me”. On that album there were lots of good guitar licks and solos, performed by Tim Skold. On ‘Evidence’ I heard the best guitar solo ever, on a Manson album (I am sorry, John 5…).

Anyway, after being fired from Marilyn Manson, Tim Skold went back to his solo career for good, releasing “Anomie” (2011), “The Undoing” (2016) and “Never is Now” (2019). On those albums, Skold flirted a lot with Electro Synth Industrial and relegated the live guitar element to a second place role.

“Dies Irae”, on the other hand, is another kind of monster. “So let me start from the beginning, because that will help you understand”*. Skold’s fifth album is mostly built over ferocious live guitar riffs, as heard right in the first song, ‘Dirty Horizon’. That reminded me of Mercyful Fate’s ‘Don’t Break The Oath’ NWOBHM Satanic Music (which was my favourite bedtime nightmare music, in my messed up childhood back in the 80’s).If you enjoy those kind of guitar oriented Metal songs, but also accept some dark-electro ambience in the seasoning, just listen to ‘This Is The Way’, and tell me what you think about that kick ass guitar solo in the middle. On ‘Unspoken’ Tim Skold has, arguably, performed his best guitar solo to date (* By the way, I’ve taken the first verse of the ‘Unspoken’ lyrics to help me to introduce my impressions on the album)

After listening to “Dies Irae” a bunch of times, it felt like Tim Skold is in his best shape ever, delivering the kind of music that he helped to create along with KMFDM and mostly in the Marilyn Manson years, from whom he inherited that peculiar singing technique. So, beware, because Tim Skold’s vocals are something that the listeners need to get used to. Don’t expect something like King Diamond here because he sings in a constant growling and distorted style, for the purpose of expressing his feelings through his viscera.

On ‘Terrified’, Skold explores in its perfection that sort of “singing technique” and it really gives me Goosebumps, especially while he sings the melancholic chorus: “I am not afraid of dying/I am fucking terrified”. Follow that by listening to the post-electro-punk ‘Love Is A Disease’ and keep going with ‘As Above so Below’ and ‘Kill Yourself’.

On ‘Silicon Dreams’ he invocates his best David Bowie’s melodramatic approach in the pre-chorus, that fit just fine with Industrial Rock/Metal music. I am afraid to say that David Bowie ruled the crazy minds of all those “cyberpunks and crypto-anarchists”, such as Skold, Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson, allowing them, in silicon dreams, be kings and queens, through their noisy machines, while worshipping Baphomet (*adapted from the ‘Silicon Dreams’ lyrics and listening to Bowie’s “Black Tie White Noise”, from 1993, right now).

The fact is that “Dies Irae” has many exciting moments and shows that Skold is delivering the goods to keep his relevance in the growing EMB/Gothic/Industrial scene. If you enjoy this kind of music, just push the play button and I am sure that you are going to enjoy the guitar work, the production, mixing and the excellent choices of programming and layers of noise that provides the songs a good taste of gloomy ambience that defines the general aesthetic of the album.

‘Dirty Horizon’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Dirty Horizon
02. Unspoken
03. The End Is Near
04. Terrified
05. Love Is A Disease
06. This Is The Way
07. Silicon Dreams
08. As Above So Bellow
09. Kill Yourself
10. Goodbye

LINE-UP:

Tim Skold – Guitars, Vocals and Programming

LINKS:

Skold Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Wallace Magri and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.