Before KoRn and Skrillex started fucking each other, there was a time when guitar riffs and technology didn’t make you want to kill yourself. Many-a-motherfucker were combining heavy shit with iron laborers banging on rail-posts (listen to Obituary’s-World Demise for a taste of what’s up). But while most people remember Ministry’s-Psalm 69, I’d like to take some time to remember the ones that slipped past most radars and ended up on several homeless guys’ harddrives.
Meathook Seed – Embedded
Let’s start at MOST IMPORTANTLY. If I got my balls kicked for every time I dropped these guy’s name to close friends, my body would fucking explode. Take members of Napalm Death and Obituary and add a shit ton of samples from a 1920s steel mill and you got yourself a GOD DAMN GENRE CLASSIC. Everyone knew exactly what they were doing on this album, and from start to finish it shows. Mitch Harris and Trevor Peres combine forces for some of the most slamming and eclectic riff concoctions known by man while Donald Tardy lays down beats like Zues would if he tried out for DMX’s band, right after killing them all and dealing with Hades to bring them back as Floridian white trash. If you play guitar, and especially if you play in a heavy band, you owe it to yourself and others to listen to Meathook Seed’s Embedded for inspiration. The next album lacked the Obituary members. It was terrible.
Also, Donald Tardy is all about saving stray cats in Tampa (http://www.obituary.cc/helpcats.html). What a guy.
Pitchshifter – Desensitized
While Pitchshifter is by no means an obscure name amongst the genre, this record should’ve been right up there with the Nine Inch Nails and Ministry hits. Instead the band followed this solid release with some terrible, terrible records, which began to clog up used record stores everywhere, leading most people to write the band off completely. Though this album is repetitive, it is everything it needs to be. Great vocals and heavy guitar with great use of ambient noise; a perfect soundtrack for cyberpunk inspired living (and by this I mean getting stoned and playing video games). You can even catch one of the songs bumping in the background of the Eddie Furlong classic, Brainscan (a great film in its own right with a decent soundtrack).
One of my favorite bands and definitely one of the most overlooked, Killing Joke has been around since 1978 and is still currently active. Their sound has changed over the decades and in the mid 90s they took a harder and more industrial approach with their return album, Pandemonium. While their is a lot of repetition, specifically in the beats, Jaz Coleman’s vocals and Kevin Walker’s riffs are unique and refreshing enough to make this record, and the band, a timeless artifact in music history. Yeah, I said it. One of my favorite industrial-esque tracks of The Joke’s is one remixed by long time super-fans Nine Inch Nails (listen here). Pandemonium is another, start to finish, well executed album, the likes of which are few and far between.