Jun 2011 16

Cover Image
Chemical Distance
Category: Indie Rock / Drum & Bass
Album: The Pain and the Progress
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: Chemical Distance’s debut proves the consensus on what’s industrial rock is as vague and contradictory as ever.


Chemical Distance is a band from Manchester, New Hampshire that was formed in 2009 by instrumentalist Otto Kinzel. Originally destined to be a solo vehicle for Kinzel, he soon enlisted the aid of several studio musicians, eventually leading to the involvement of Michael Hauptly-Pierce on vocals and Matt Connarton on bass. Kinzel is a veteran of a number of obscure industrial metal groups from his home state, and his influences reside heavily among bands such as Ministry and KMFDM. While the band publicly stated that they intended The Pain and the Progress to be a heavy industrial rock record, beyond the occasional use of electronics the album couldn’t be further away, both in style and substance. Chemical Distance has instead taken a much goofier and sillier rock approach that is more reminiscent of groups like Mr. Bungle or Sweaty Nipples.

Probably the most obvious example of this style is the first full-length song on the disc, “The Carnival.” A frenetic and poisonously upbeat song, Hauptly-Pierce obnoxiously proclaims all of the wonders and facets of visiting a carnival, but the song makes more sense as a metaphor introducing the band’s music to their perspective audience. Another notable track is “Red Queen’s Race,” which takes a softer and more personal and emotional tone and showcases the greater range and dynamism the band is capable of. Musically, Chemical Distance is rough but adequate, while lyrically they’re smooth and well written. The songs avoid repetition and the subject matter is just as diverse. However, one issue this writer has is with the singer, Hauptly-Pierce. His performance has too much of a happy-go-lucky radio announcer vibe in it to feel sincere, and you can’t help but feel your mind invaded with the image of him grinning from ear to ear while he’s singing, regardless of which track you may be listening to. Another issue is the physical CD packaging for while it’s a self-released work, it is still rather cursory and low quality; good enough for a demo, but if this is what they’ve been trying to sell to the public, they should reconsider. In an era where many people no longer buy physical copies, it doesn’t make any sense to release an ugly and amateurish looking product.

By no means a great record, but not terrible either, there’s a potential audience for this style of music, and the band can write and compose well enough. One would encourage them to either take their “fun rock” angle all the way or abandon it altogether in favor of a more serious direction.
Track list:

  1. The Pain
  2. The Carnival
  3. Old Man
  4. Sugar
  5. The Protector
  6. No “Real” Friends
  7. Red Queen’s Race
  8. Life’s Blood
  9. The Golden Child
  10. Envy
  11. Eternal Buzz
  12. Thanks for Asking
  13. Progress

Chemical Distance Website http://chemicaldistance.com
Chemical Distance MySpace http://www.myspace.com/ottokinzelmusic
Chemical Distance Facbeook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chemical-Distance/114562088572580
Chemical Distance Twitter https://twitter.com/ottokinzel
Bluntface Records Website http://chemicaldistance.com/bluntfacerecords.cfm
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
CD Baby
Brian Backlash (BrianBacklash)

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