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True industrial chaos - 70%

doomgrind, October 1st, 2007

When I saw Roadkill Sodomizer listed as 'industrial black metal' I thought it would be black metal with industrial elements, but once I listened to their debut demo, 'Killing' Machine', I realised that this is not industrial BM like The Axis of Perdition, which was my initial pre-listen comparison, but black industrial - obscure black metal elements fused with industrial cacophony.

This isn't the beat heavy industrial that the genre label implies; the music has a really chaotic industrious sound to it. Songs like 'Empty' and 'Warfare' are industrial in the sense that they convey an atmosphere filled with images of harsh, drab landscapes completely covered in factories and smog. All songs have an uneasy, heartless feeling to them; it's like an audio equivalent of wandering aimlessly through grey, drab cities with strange noises and unfamiliar sights assaulting your senses.

The music initially sounds pretty flat and low-fi; MIDI keyboards and drums, occasional guitars, harsh noises and low growls, black metal screams thrown together in an apparently thoughtless manner. But upon further listening it's apparent that everything was done that way intentionally to create that harsh, industrial vibe; the flat, dry sounding MIDI instruments are much more representative of the monotony of an inustrial society than warm, rich analog tones. The music has very little to do with black metal. Flitty keyboard tinkling that sounds comic at first combined with solid, pounding synthesized noise form the base of the music, with industrial infused black metal blast beats buried under the cacophony making appearances in songs like 'Sybian Torture', a murky, bassy, obscure track with only the constant programmed cymbal ticking to cling onto and keep you from being completely immersed in the sickness of it. Vocals, used as another instrument to add to the industrial madness of the music, are usually distorted screams, or like on 'Technophobic Dillusions', are tortured, alien growls and moans blurting out disturbing nonsense. There's an eight-and-a-half minute harsh noise track at the end of the demo, and listening to it seems like a melodic respite after the mess of fast-shifting noise and obscurity of the previous five tracks.

This isn't going to please many people; it's anti-music and amelodic in nature, and a lot of people aren't going to 'get' this demo. If your tired of bands claiming to be industrial and want something that conveys that feeling of bleak hopelessness and looking for something to grab onto, or are looking for something 'sick' or unusual, then Roadkill Sodomizer is for you.

You're going to hate this - 50%

Noktorn, March 22nd, 2007

I don't think most metal bands know what 'industrial' means. Industrial isn't a drum machine, or heavy 4/4 beats, or a vaguely totalitarian sound. Industrial is a feeling, an atmosphere, and emotion that infects us all but is difficult to grasp. However, it seems that most metal bands see the former qualifications as what makes something 'industrial' in nature, resulting in a bunch of bands that are no more industrial than any other black or death metal band, but using a drum machine. It's a very rare occasion that I see a metal band with a real grasp of what industrial is.

Roadkill Sodomizer is one of those bands. This isn't 'industrial black metal'. This is pure black industrial. This is a band that understands that industrial is about hate a hopelessness and grasping at straws in a decaying world. A song like 'Empty Voices' IS industrial, what it is as a genre and as a statement: an affirmation of every man's theory that, yes, there is something wrong with the world, and no, you really CAN'T change it. There's very little metal in this band. Instead, this is raw black metal stripped of its roots in Venom plus industrial stripped of its roots to anything at all. A high degree of similarity rests between this and the early work of Germany's Black Tribe; stripped down, disintegrated, noisy psalms of rickety, twisted construction.

Little is 'traditional' about this music. Primary voices: raw black shrieks, drum machine, MIDI keyboards. Other elements are infrequently used: a bit of guitar or background ambiance, but these three elements make up the bulk of the music here. 'Killing Machine' is dangerously amelodic and somehow still lacks even the slightest semblance of logical rhythm. I suppose this sort of thing isn't surprising with a member of Enbilulugugal heading half of it, but this is a genuinely terrorizing music, seemingly amateurish at first glance, but actually very carefully constructed. The cheap microphone and archaic keyboard samples weren't selected for no reason: they mesh in some manic, disturbed fashion with the fast, perpetually changing machinegun blast under the generic, unhinged 'melody' that forms the top end.

This is not enjoyable music. There's clearly something wrong when the most pleasant thing on a CDr is the hidden, untitled eight minute noise track after the 'real' stuff. But there it is: all the whirring and buzzing and clicking of that track is somehow easier to cope with than something like 'Sybian Torture''s up-and-down stream of consciousness; at least here there's something to grab on to, even if it's just the minimalist shift of textures. You're going to hate this demo. There's nothing good about it. This is probably the reason why I love it.