What can you really be expecting out of a collaboration between famed musical innovators like Al Jourgensen and Ian MacKaye? Leaving that question easily answered, Pailhead's Trait is a combination of Jourgensen's mid-'80s Ministry-infused industrial soundscapes and the politically tinged and aggressively shouted vocals of Fugazi's MacKaye. Surprisingly enough, the results are quite listenable and even produce some standout material. The opening "Man Should Surrender" is an aggressive melding of metallic pounding and distant reverb-soaked rants, and the bass-heavy "I Will Refuse" slowly but surely evolves into a near hardcore anthem complete with fast guitars, a spacy breakdown, and some rapid snare drum effects. Pailhead was clearly a fun project to work on for two musicians who were allowed to make some music outside of their respective genres, and though their actual output was rather minimal, the record still stands as a bizarre time capsule of aggressive musical fringes from the 1980s. Both of the band's central culprits have moved on to much heavier and more complicated projects in the time since Trait's recording, but it's still a fine example of how the intermingling of styles can result in something surprisingly powerful and a lot more notable than yet another rock/rap record.
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