Gothic Industrial Madness
by Scott Hefflon
Wow, now this is really something… This three-hour, 40-song DVD video collection compiles the VHS collections Industrial Revolution 1 and 2 and Gothic Industrial Alternative Visuals, if that means anything to you. And seeing as this collection lists for $25, that’s a pretty damn fair price for this many videos that’re probably kinda hard to find otherwise.
While there’s skimpy information in the booklet and no press kit (Cleopatra, natch), there’s a certain flow to this thing if you care about such things. Not that it’s so marked, but it appears Revolution 1 starts us out with some historical industrial, and this segues somewhere along the line into Revolution 2, which captures the Golden Age of Industrial (or at least when many had the illusion the genre would gain mainstream acceptance and we could stop trying to explain what industrial music was before sighing and just saying “like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry” cuz that’s all that ever made it out to the suburbs), and then, rather abruptly, the focus shifts to classic Gothic (sounds redundant [insert snide comment here], but there’s a world of difference between old school reverb-drenched British Goth rock and new school eyelinered long-hair patsies skipping around and looking loopy and intense).
To reiterate, 40 videos… Some are artsy, some are live, some blend both. Some are wildly pretentious, some could be MTV videos (if MTV still gave a shit whether we “heard it here first”), some are crappy live performances. Most of the material is from the mid-’90s (there’s actually some helpful info in the Select a Song menu, including release dates and record label – whoda thunk?), and some of the videos are the industrial tech-oriented geek stuff we all know and love about industrial. For anyone clueless enough to think Static-X or any nü metal bozo invented, well, anything, a quick look at Frontline Assembly, Razed in Black, Chemlab (always liked “Codeine, Glue and You” and this is the first time I’ve seen this video, and I do this for a living!), Birmingham 6, or Noise Box (an angry Black rapper with industrial distorted vocals, that goddamn air raid siren all early hip hop used, and chugging metal guitars – these guy’d have a chance at the big time if they were packaged properly today) and you will quickly realize where they got their over-the-top ideas and imagery. Nü metal simply dumbed it down and jacked it up so the meatheads wouldn’t feel threatened by a bunch of limp-wristed artsy fags who can program computers and afford nice equipment (and lacey clothes). Put it this way, Die Krupps is a band most’ve heard of cuz they’re basically just bad metal with some “industrial sounds” thrown in amidst hair-tosses, and ditto with the surprisingly skippy Killing Joke who Metallica lifted liberally from, and not just that one cover.
Again, 40 videos for $25. Although a lot of this is bound to be, ya know, useless to the average music fan, anyone curious about what that whole mid-’90s industrial phase was all about, well, here it is, in all its ’80s glory. Cuz really, now that every inbred redneck shitheel has email and a cell phone, this kind of avant techno art stuff seems kinda, ya know, like those early Stones and Alice Cooper videos with the pulsing lava-lamp colors in the background. Ohhh, psychedelic, duuuude… But I’d never seen Foetus or Einstürzende Neubauten or Pigface or Psychic TV or Throbbing Gristle videos and now I have. Oh, I get it now…
Other pioneers and piefighters: Clock DVA, Penal Colony, William Burroughs, The Electric Hellfire Club, Spahn Ranch, Laeather Strip, Chrome, Cubanate, KillSwitch…Klick, Test Dept, X-Marks the Pedwalk, Pygmy Children, Digital Poodle, Stiff Miners, Godheads, Rosetta Stone, Christian Death, Mephisto Waltz, Nik Turner, Eva O Halo Experience, Big Electric Cat, Executive Slacks.