Dec 2011 28

The Pain Machinery - Auto SurveillanceThe Pain Machinery
Category: EBM / Industrial
Album: Auto Surveillance
Stars: 3
Blurb: Old-fashioned EBM showcasing a greater emphasis on structure and songwriting, though it may not be readily apparent.


Often described as the missing link between street punk and EBM, The Pain Machinery has for nearly two decades lingered on the fringes of the underground, creating a uniquely raw and unbridled style of hard-hitting electro/industrial befitting the band’s name. With Auto Surveillance, the band’s first release on Complete Control Productions, Anders Karlsson and Jonas Hedberg take a dramatic turn in their development to a less chaotic sound, emphasizing structure and songwriting without sacrificing the edgy qualities that brought them recognition over the years.

Strangely enough, Auto Surveillance is a remix companion to the band’s forthcoming album, Surveillance Culture, with “Twilight” and “Exit Strategy” presenting the only original tracks. The sound of screeching metal underscores a pulsating bass loop on “Twilight,” a pumping rhythm pounding away as Hedberg’s distorted vocals sing with a blistering melody that actually gives the track a bluesy quality despite its overt EBM predilections. “Exit Strategy” shares a similar cadence of throbbing synth sequences and beats tailor made for the dance floor, Hedberg’s voice whispering subtly yet not totally venomously, the overall ambience of the song reminiscent of Front Line Assembly early material.

Without hearing the original versions of “Hard Cash,” “Armed!,” and “Grinder,” all the listener can do is gauge the strength of the different versions against each other, making for a dubious listen that may or may not work in The Pain Machinery’s favor once Surveillance Culture is given a later listen. “Armed!” is presented in three versions, all of which showcase the song’s classic EBM sound, the vocals shouted in a style evocative of Douglas McCarthy. The same can be said of “Grinder” with its aggressive vocal and wobbling acid bass loop. Of the mixes of “Hard Cash,” Severe Illusion’s Sober Mono mix is perhaps the noisiest with grating beats and distorted loops, while the Testarossa and Necro Facility remixes turn the song into throbbing disco, adjusting the repetition into a bouncy bass line that while surely be a hit in any DJ’s set list. However, it is the cover of ‘Hard Cash” by Ragged Bones that steals the show as it closes the album out, turning the song into a jangly, swingy blues rock song that sounds a bit like Elvis Presley covering Screamin’ Jay Hawkins; it’s a wonderfully off-kilter addition to the album that demonstrates the subtle songwriting ability of The Pain Machinery.

Again, it’s difficult to determine the quality of a remix release without hearing the originals, leaving this writer a tad perplexed as to what to think about Auto Surveillance. If “Twilight” and “Exit Strategy” are anything to go by, then it’s fair to say that The Pain Machinery is succeeding in honing the music to a subtle style of songwriting driven as much by raw, noisy force as by melodic restraint. The full depth of this development remains to be heard on Surveillance Culture, but until then, Auto Surveillance at least should sate the palate of those fans yearning for some good old-fashioned EBM.
Track list:

  1. Hard Cash (12” Mix feat. Ted Barley)
  2. Armed! (Jouni Ollila Remix)
  3. Grinder (Ted’s Acid Mix)
  4. Twilight
  5. Armed! (The Weathermen Remix)
  6. Hard Cash (Severe Illusion Sober Mono Mix)
  7. Grinder (12” Mix)
  8. Hard Cash (Necro Facility Remix)
  9. Armed… to the Teeth!
  10. Exit Strategy
  11. Hard Cash (Testarossa Remix)
  12. Grinder (Mix 2)
  13. Hard Cash (Sebastian Rivas Acid Rave Remix)
  14. Hard Cash (Performed by Ragged Bones)

The Pain Machinery Website
The Pain Machinery MySpace
The Pain Machinery Facebook!/pages/The-Pain-Machinery/33091406443
Complete Control Productions Website
Complete Control Productions Facebook!/pages/Complete-Control-Productions/102259786503970
Complete Control Productions Twitter!/C_C_Prod
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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