Dec 2011 28

The Pain Machinery - Surveillance CultureThe Pain Machinery
Category: EBM / Industrial
Album: Surveillance Culture
Stars: 3
Blurb: Infusing new wave and acid house into traditional EBM, The Pain Machinery produces a very catchy album of old-fashioned electro.


Anders Karlsson and Jonas Hedberg have been skating the edges of industrial music for nearly two decades with The Pain Machinery to create a style that is as raw as it is aggressive. With their newest material, the band has taken a turn toward a more structured style that has produced some of their catchiest material yet in the form of this sixth album, Surveillance Culture. No less forceful than past output, The Pain Machinery displays a finely crafted mix of influences, from the gritty repetitiveness of acid and rave with the subtly emotive melodies of new wave, all filtered through a distinctly overdriven EBM framework that keeps the energy level high from beginning to end.

If Duran Duran and Nitzer Ebb were to have a sonic lovechild, it might sound like Surveillance Culture. One need only listen to the way Hedberg’s guttural vocals take on the higher registers on songs like “Shine” and “Armed!” to hear similarities to Simon Le Bon, all the while with that punk-like energy that Douglas McCarthy has exhibited since That Total Age. This is also especially evident on songs like “The End Game” and “Hell,” but credit should go to Hedberg for actually infusing a sense of melody as he bellows atop the monotonous loops of distorted synths and pumping rhythms. Traces of The Human League and Depeche Mode are as easily detectable as Front Line Assembly and DAF. Deep bass resonates throughout as only vintage analog equipment can, demonstrating further The Pain Machinery’s propensity for old-school production on Surveillance Culture. Bass lines like those on “Acid Breakdown” and “Surrender” threaten to destroy your speakers with their caustic drive, while “Hate Me Now” takes a much sparser route that underscores the levity of the lyrics.

Overall, The Pain Machinery does not break any new ground with Surveillance Culture, yet does take a strident leap toward a more varied and structured sound. Despite the repetitive sequences throughout, there is indeed a sense of actual songwriting at play, highlighted by the vocal melodies that play atop the subtle layers of noise and electric bass and beats. Surveillance Culture is definitely old-fashioned in every best sense of the term, making for a danceable and catchy album that will hopefully foreshadow even greater diversity on future releases.
Track list:

  1. Shine
  2. Critical State
  3. Never
  4. Hard Cash
  5. Acid Breakdown
  6. The Grudge
  7. The End Game
  8. Grinder
  9. Hell
  10. Armed!
  11. Surrender
  12. Hate Me Now
  13. Playground
  14. Moving Walls

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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