Various Artists

Hymns of Steel

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The debut compilation from the Machineries of Joy label, Hymns of Steel (named for a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury and owned and distributed by COP International) is packed with underground industrial dance music of the darker gothic variety. This is synth and drum loop music with big beats, alienated lyrics, and dark themes. It's like the people who made this music stopped listening to Depeche Mode after Violator, Ministry after Twitch, or Nitzer Ebb after its debut platter Nope, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that. The music here is, for the most part, top-notch, tough, completely interesting, and full of mysterious twists and turns. Listen to the killer über-tempo of Astma's "449 Bullets," Tyske Ludder's industrial retake of the three little pigs story in "Betrayal" (which also quotes Clint Eastwood), and "Schwermetall" by Rathmann & Schaefer, for some low-end machine burp and splooge. The music is austere, dark, ugly, and wonderful, for the most part. Check this one.

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