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Death Factory – Machinen untter Kontrolle

Remember that last bastion of modern human permanence in George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead?  Sure you do; that seemingly impenetrable fortress that protected Capitalism’s last stand against a world that had been obliterated by the zombie apocalypse.  That small corner of existence that allowed the old world’s rich to stick their head in the sand and ignore the crumbling ruin of a civilization that waited and threatened their mortality only minutes away.  That small area was dominated by a glass tower known as “Fiddler’s Green” — a tower that, outside of the film’s own philosophical implications, has come to be synonymous with the music of Death Factory for me.  Not only is the man behind the music, Michael Krause, highly influenced by the grinding lo-fi gorefests of the late 70’s / early 80’s, but he has a particular Pink Floyd-ish disdain for the system in which we’re forced to live in the contemporary era of existence — an attitude that is summed up perfectly with the track that mirrors my thoughts, “Shatter the Glass Tower”.

Obviously this aesthetic approach fits right in with No Visible Scars, a label which has long been known to cater to these exact influences, and this retro appeal shows up everywhere on this release, from the artwork to the construction of the tracks itself.  Death Factory’s sound is exactly what the name of the project implies; vast areas of violent industrial noise that are textured by trademark rhythmic pulsing and against-the-grain background fuzz that slowly evolves over time into different manifestations in the same style as Merzbow (minus the spastic noise fluctuations) and with the same uncomfortable, foreboding spirit of Controlled Bleeding.  Sporadic moments in the music develop as distorted sharp frequencies that signal change within the music and often dissipate the background textures.  The most interesting elements that make up the tenebrous patchwork of Death Factory’s music are both the complex rhythms that can appear with sudden vigor as well as the vintage synth of tracks like “Manifestation of Fear” that take on multiple moods within seconds; a strange approach used at the climactic end of the track perhaps to match the surreal nature of the film that it was made in tribute for, Phantasm (1979).

Is it original?  Not really.  Does it have anything to say?  Again, not really, though as mentioned before, the artist’s distaste for the world surrounding him mirrors much of the same endless, cyclical struggle that the common man is pressured by every day in this country, and that distaste shows its face through Krause’s fascinations and his violent aural constructions.  Primarily though, this is a man who is paying homage to and exploring his roots through experimental music, and that makes this a niche album in an already niche genre.  Whatever that spells out for you is up to your perspective, but I can’t help but feel that the artist missed out on adding another layer of personal depth to the release by exploring the space between those influences and his perspective of the real world.  The potential for something very unique is there, however.

Track List:

01) Machinen Untter Kontrolle
02) Manifestations of Fear (Version 3)
03) Empire of Sickness
04) Shatter the Glass Tower
05) Devolve-Shatter the Glass tower (Part 2 Powermix)
06) Bulldozer (Live Trio 2007)
07) Demitri’s Dilemma

Rating: 3.5/5
Written by: Sage
Label: No Visible Scars (US) / SCAR024 / Pro CD-R
Industrial Noise