Check the video of the LP for sale:
Check the video of the LP for sale!
Label: Peaceville [The band were among the first acts to be signed to Peaceville Records]
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Genre: electronic, Rock
Style: Rhythmic Noise, EBM, Industrial, Doom Metal… Metal-oriented Industrial
A1 Saturation 4:52
A2 Crystalization 2:39
A3 Blasphemer 3:32
A4 Tortured 6:34
B1 Adrenalin 4:01
B2 Ritual 7:20
B3 Symptom 3:33
Producer – Hammy
Recorded at Pier Hill Studio, Southend.
Contains printed inner-sleeve with lyrics.
SONIC VIOLENCE “Jagd”/”Casket Case” LP/12″
Pounding, dirty, heavy sonic onslaught in the vein of Godflesh but more driving and less monotonous. “Jagd” is a solid LP whose musical theme appears to focus on power comparable to the heavy assault gun (Jagdpanzer) from which it derives its name. “Casket Case” is a Peaceville “dub” 12″ basically a 7″ worth of new material with studio-extended versions of old songs add to sell as an LP. Heavy shit regardless. Peaceville Records
Originally published in Profane Existence #10 (April 1991)
A Jagd edge, slowly dragged over your torso – 87%
I adore Godflesh’s seminal debut. Since then I’ve been on a hunt for other Industrial bands to carry the torch. I’ve found some other good stuff, but most of it, despite being highly competent, fails to truly excite me in an original way as Streetcleaner did. Sonic Violence is one of the very few exceptions to this.
The band formed in the eighties, and released this and two EPs without much delay. After that their sound changed to a more synth based one, and they soon dropped off the face of the map. They seem to be a rather unknown band, and I’ve only heard them mentioned once on any sort of forum. The music is Industrial metal in the vein of the aforementioned Godflesh, but is at once punkier, and bleaker than that of the other band.
Generally I’d start a review with the guitars, as they seem to be the keystone of most albums, but that’s certainly not the case here, so I’m going to discuss the drums. They generally play very slow, and very simple, beats to devastating effect. The tone is absolutely massive, and they’re drenched in succulent reverb. They never speed up, and never do any fills, instead simply pounding your head in with merciless, repetitive and unchanging rhythms. They’re not aggressive in the slightest, but they’re monolithic, and they’re even more powerful due to the lack of emotion. The guitars are almost always employed in a percussive role, save for one or two more lead based songs scattered throughout the album (which make almost no use of the transient, stabbing, and harsh harmonics that Godflesh were so fond of, yet manage to sound almost equally harsh). These roles generally involve incredibly tight, simple power chord riffs that bludgeon the listener with all the passion of a collapsing metropolis. The bass, like in Godflesh, almost always locks in perfectly with the drums. Due to the guitars more constrained role, however, it rarely deviates from them, although when it does it’s quite powerful. The tone is distorted and menacing, as well as prominent, although it’s not blatant.
I’ve mentioned before, and elaborated on in my Godflesh review, why I love Industrial. It’s not because it’s aggressive in any way, for there is no lust or hate to be found here. No, it’s due to the utter lack of emotion and mechanical coldness that’s displayed. The entire thing feels like an unstoppable machine, slowly grinding towards you. Nothing you do will ever change it. You can rally if you want, you can shout and you can try to fight, but none of it will have the slightest impact. The machine won’t ever even know that you exist.
Sonic Violence exhibits this trait in spades. The riff work is repetitive and inorganically static to the degree that there’re frequently one or two riffs at most in a song, and everything is absolutely crushing. About two thirds of the songs on the album are simple, slow, ponderous and punishing grooves that never let up, while the others are only slightly faster and are nearly as desolate. Things like synths are even experimented with twice, namely on Saturization, the intro, where they peacefully play until an industrial riff comes to pave over them. In the same vein, Tortured (Dub) is one of the most effective tracks on the album. It consists of an operatic beginning, followed by a devastating, pounding riff in which the guitars drop out and come back in again and again in a great display of simplistic and mechanical precession. Later in the song the synths appear again, and offer a wonderful contrast.
The vocals are something I’m rather torn about on this album. They’re the primary contributor to the punk influence, and while not al that different than those on Streetcleaner or several other Industrial albums, I don’t like them nearly as much. They seem too clean, and perhaps slightly too human at times, although they’re generally fine. When they become harsher, such as on Tortured (Dub) I find them to work better. The lyrics are a general cry against the decadent, and doomed ways of modern society. They’re incredibly simple, but achieve eloquence in their very lack of it, and work quite well. An excerpt from Ritual is as follows: “For devotion/Read: mutual abuse/To bind together/The love prostitutes.”
As I’ve alluded to several times, one of the album’s most obvious features is repetition. Within songs this works brilliantly, although it can work less well on a cross-album scale. For instance, at least a third of the tracks start with a drum intro. Still, it’s effective at building the mood, and isn’t a big issue.
The pacing, on the other hand, is rather bewildering. About two thirds of the tracks, as I’ve mentioned before, are of the simpler, slower and less varied variety, among them songs like Adrenalin, Ritual and Symptom. Others, such as Crystallization and Blasphemer, serve to add contrast to the aforementioned style by being slightly faster and more active. Only…it doesn’t work due to their placement on the album. With the exception of the utterly bleak first song, all of the more active tracks are placed back to back, followed by all of the slower ones being next to each other. I suppose the band might have been attempting to showcase a gradual decline in motion within the music, but I feel that it would have worked far better for them to be interspersed. As it is, the last half feels like an incredibly long, effective song, but you’d have quite a bit of trouble with picking out any one track, something that could’ve been avoided quite easily. The last three tracks were apparently added on later, to bolster the length of the CD, I suppose, and while they’re no different from the others in quality, I think they might’ve worked better as a separate EP or something along those lines. They’re generally slightly rawer, and I’d say that the drums are slightly more active. Besides which, by far the most climactic moment is the ending of Symptom, and the original ending.
Sonic Violence create a stunningly bleak and heavy soundscape. The music isn’t perfect, but it’s great Industrial, and if you like Godflesh or any other band in the genre, it’s worth picking up without a doubt. At the moment this is probably my second favorite Industrial album, so consider it recommended.