Shotgun Messiah

Violent New Breed

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The last -- and definitely the best -- Shotgun Messiah release, Violent New Breed is a little-known industrial metal gem. After making a name for themselves as a pop-tinged hair metal band with a talent for crafting hook-laden yet somewhat derivative music, bassist/vocalist Tim Skold and guitarist Harry Cody entered the studio sans drummer to create a follow-up to their minor breakthrough, Second Coming (which featured the rock radio hit "Heartbreak Blvd."), and created a record that sounded absolutely nothing like their earlier work -- or really anything that had been released up to that time. During approximately this same period, White Zombie was also working on a similar Ministry-influenced, yet more song-driven, sound, but Shotgun Messiah deserves credit for creating the first purely song-driven industrial record built as much around traditional rock song structures and vocal melodies. These records boasted absolutely no keyboard-driven, repetitive breakdowns that referred to the genre's dance roots à la Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and others from the Wax Trax set. In many ways, Violent New Breed is more rock and more punishing than White Zombie's Astro-Creep: 2000, and it was released first. From the initial pulverizing strains of "I'm a Gun" through the record's fourth track, "Enemy in Me," Shotgun Messiah was setting an entirely new standard for crushing, mid-tempo metal that has rarely been matched (industrial or otherwise.) The second half of Violent New Breed sputters a little as slightly gentler pop-metal strains and lesser slow-tempo tracks diminish the powerful statement made during the first part of the disc. Many fans of industrial metal probably avoided this record at the time of its release due to Shotgun Messiah's silly, commercial rock history, but those fans should reconsider the decision should they be lucky enough to spot Violent New Breed during a visit to the record store. To those obsessed with the minutia of metal history, this might actually qualify as an important disc, with its brutally fat, eight-note grind that set a new standard for mechanical heaviness.

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