CD: Cryonica Music CRYCD019 [2006]

Born Under Fire
Just Deserts
Suffer In Silence
Head Of The Serpent  
The World Tears Its Heart Out
Harm's Way
The Spectacle

"The Spectacle" is the first release to be sent in for review from the Cryonica Music label. Which comes as a bit of a surprise considering their list of acts, including Void Construct, Inertia and the mean machine of Spahn Ranch… a personal favourite of mine, so I do harbour a little hope that this review won’t dampen the spirits and they’ll submit more of their roster for critical appraisal.

KnifeLadder are the Industrial equivalent of the super group Cream. I’d even go as far as saying that John Murphy can pound the drums on an equal with Ginger Baker. You may have to ask your parents about Cream. I forget just how old I really am. The group comprises Andrew Trail (Inertia, Anti Valium), Hunter Barr (Anti Valium, ISS) and John Murphy (SPK, C93, Last Dominion Lost, Shining Viril, Whitehouse, DIJ…and others too many to mention).

This nine track release sees our Industrial heroes following on from their scuzzy workouts on the "Document Three" split release [read review here]. Track 1: ‘Hymn’ is the perfect lead off track. All pounding percussion, wild squealing, swirling noise and chanted vocals. The sub 7 minute track could have gone on more and I wouldn’t have been disappointed. Brilliant stuff. Track 2: ‘Born under fire’ starts with a sample before tailing off into Splintered / Cable Regime territory with heavy guitar effects and more squealing (I’m racking my brains but I’m buggered if I can figure out the instrument used) and some deep hardcore vocals over more rampant drumming. Track 3: ‘Just Desserts’ takes a more tribal approach musically with some truly excellent wordplay that I can identify with. Track 4: ‘Suffer in silence’ is more heavy duty drumming over swathes of electronic weirdness and way over the top vocals as if the singer only just found out he has only hours left to live. Track 5: ‘Head of the Serpent’ is a more calmed downed affair where the tune and words blend beautifully. Track 6: ‘The World tears its heart out’ is one of the most evocative pieces of music that starts all Swans like before sounding like DIJ has just burst into the party. Magical. Track 7: ‘Chimera’ goes all wobbly blobbly electronically over an ethnic beat with crystal clear vocals and heavy bass line. Track 8: ‘Harm’s Way’ is possibly the strangest / hardest song on the recording. Moving into distorted noise and submerged vocals… and obligatory stomping percussion… it’s a virulent maelstrom of feedback and white noise. Track 9: ‘The Spectacle’ ends proceedings with an absolute blast of improvisatorial styled workout where the rhythms go demented and the others let rip with everything they’ve got. Glorious noise to end an absolute glorious recording.

With these nine tracks KnifeLadder have cemented their reputation as one of the leading lights in post Industrial music. Their music is varied enough, moving seamlessly between genres, and you would have to be overlay critical to fault any of the tracks. Which I’m not going to be. The label states that "The Spectacle" is basically for fans of TG, SPK, Whitehouse and current power electronic music which I disagree with to a certain degree. I’ll accept the SPK influences. Maybe even TG at their more musical moments… and they did have them. But Whitehouse and power electronics is a big no-no. KnifeLadder will appeal more to those into Industrial rock and ethnic / tribal music with occasional touches of DIJ because, unlike the whole power electronics genre, this is music that isn’t going to scare the living crap out of anyone who stumbles upon it. The words that are spoken / sung over the intense music have a depth to them that separates them from these factions. Just desserts indeed. KnifeLadder are the post Industrial super group that are the cream of the crop. Don’t miss out on this essential release.


[Knifeladder] / [Cryonica]

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Other Reviews:

Naevus / Knifeladder: [Document Three]

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