I’ll say it: it’s tough to find good industrial metal nowadays. Obviously, we have Author & Punisher, but who knows when Tristan Shone will come out with something new? (On a side note, Melk En Honing is pretty great.) We could always fall back on bands like Nine Inch Nails and Godflesh—both of whom are technically still active, but have sporadic output at best and are more on the “metal” (or rock in Nine Inch Nails’ case) side of the spectrum musically. On the other side of that spectrum there are acts like Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly that are okay, but not fantastic, in my opinion—they have have some cool moments, but it’s tough to listen to an entire album by one of them without being bored.
However, there are albums that still kick some major ass in the industrial gamut. Sterilizer is yet another one man industrial project headed by musician/artist Brandon Duncan. Unlike a lot of other one-person groups, however, Sterilizer manages to capture both the visual and audible sound we expect when we hear the term industrial metal, almost perfectly straddling the fence between electronic and metal music.
The first thing that attracted me to Sterilizer is Duncan’s use of imagery and symbolism. The album cover he uses for his self-titled debut is relatively simple, but evokes the idea of a future society where people are punished by castration. The incomplete symbol of Venus (or Mars, depending on how you look at it) and the overall dark, grainy look of the cover definitely conjures this image to mind. Musically, though, Duncan blends guitar and industrial sounds to make a disturbing and hard-hitting album. The machine squeals on “Domination” are intense, almost reminding me of some of Trent Reznor’s more glitch-based work, and the machine-gun-like use of percussion and guitar on the intro track “Vasectomy” are just crazy to listen to.
The only problem I have with this project is that it has a pretty short runtime. The eight tracks on the album (or, I guess EP?) add up to a measly 24 minutes. In Sterilizer’s defense, however, those 24 minutes are used incredibly well, celebrating just about anything you could ever expect from industrial metal, from disturbing samples of screams to noisy sounds that seem to have come out of William Gibson’s worst nightmares.
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