Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Greater Than One - Index

Year: 1990
Genre: Industrial - Dance

Highlight Track: "Dubkiller"
Weak Track: "Metal"

Index is a nice meditative EP from electro-industrial pranksters Greater Than One that focuses more on the electro than the industrial and tones down their usual reliance on mile-a-minute samples by instead doling them out with restraint. I am tempted to call this their ambient EP if not for the inclusion of the track called "Metal" which features a pretty ripping guitar sample loop. Unfortunately "Metal" is also the album's weakest track; so the song is kind of a let down for fans of guitar use in industrial music.

"Metal" is a weak track because it begins with a grandiose orchestrated sound and then launches into a great abrasive guitar attack that ultimately repeats itself into oblivion. The track ends with no payoff whatsoever. This is extremely disappointing coming from a band that made some of the best sample orchestras of the late 1980's.

Fortunately for us the rest of the EP makes for great listening. As I mentioned before Index is ultimately more ambient (or background) than Greater Than One's other releases but that's not exactly a strike against it. GTO are very good at making cool sounding electronic music and this EP is an excellent example of their 'cool' factor. Especially the track "Dubkiller" which simulates the effects of shooting-up with sound. It is an industrial-ambient oddity that works on every level by first hypnotizing the listener and then waking them up with a final finger snap of sampled Christian radio. The listener is then left with the unsettling after-effects of processing all of the subliminal suggestions made by the song's subdued yet subversive samples.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Forced Reality - 13 Years Of Forced Reality

Year: 2000
Genre: Oi!

Highlight Tracks: "Backbreaker", "15 Pints (And I'm Still Standing)", "Blood Is Thicker Than Water"
Weak Tracks: "The Flag Is Mine"

Forced Reality were an enigmatic Oi! group from Connecticut in the 1980's who reunited for a few years beginning in 1999. During their reunion they recorded this live 'best of' album that also includes the two new songs "Backbreaker" and "Felon Love". I bought this Oi! gem when I saw them play at the DC Superbowl of Hardcore in 2001.

13 Years of... is a great album from start to finish. The band rip through an extremely tight set recorded live at Boston radio station 88.1 WMBR. Forced Reality sound like the spiritual precursors to the Dropkick Murphys. Like the Dropkicks, Forced Reality's version of Oi! is a tighter, more traditional, rock-n-roll sound than sloppier British Oi! bands like Peter & The Test-Tube Babies or Cockney Rejects. Forced Reality's lyrics are a lot more in spirit with the Dropkicks as well. This is American Oi! for American skinheads and the songs are much more about brotherhood and a hard day's work than about politics or senseless beer-fueled destruction. Therefore the album is less an aggro piece than it is a an excellent sing-along album for a late-night at the bar with your crew. Particularly the album's highlight track "15 Pints (And I'm Still Standing)" which is without question Forced Reality's finest moment.