October File

Our Souls To You

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On Our Souls to You, the October File try something different than before: they offer songs with two different mixes. There are mixes by John Mitchell, and there are mixes by Justin Broadrick of Godflesh fame. It's interesting to see how Broadrick handles himself on "Crawl," "Corporate Invasion," "Dredge," or "Falter" compared to the way Mitchell handles himself on those same songs. The Broadrick mixes, it turns out, have a rawer quality than Mitchell's more polished mixes -- a quality that recalls early hardcore and really brings out the pre-'90s influences in the October File's industrialized, punk-minded hardcore/alternative metal attack. But whether it's Mitchell or Broadrick, there is never any doubt that this is one angry band. When it comes to politics, social issues, and the state of the world, the October File aren't just somewhat angry -- they are incredibly angry -- and they do plenty of venting on "Love Is a Warm AK47," "September" (not to be confused with Earth, Wind & Fire's 1978 hit), and other caustic, incendiary rants. This two-CD set is not only protest music, it is also musical catharsis, and the October File obviously realize that punk, metal, hardcore, and industrial all have their place when it comes to expressing rage and blowing off steam. The surprising thing about Our Souls to You is the fact that even though it is a longer album than 2007's Holy Armour from the Jaws of God, it is also a more consistent album; Our Souls to You lasts 83 minutes, and it never runs out of steam. The listener might feel exhausted after those 83 minutes -- music this dense and abrasive doesn't exactly go out of its way to soothe the listener -- but they're 83 minutes of vitality and excitement.

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