Released prior to the split between cEvin Key (of Skinny Puppy fame) and Mark Spybey (from Zoviet France and Dead Voices On Air) due to artistic differences, The Eyes of Stanley Pain is perhaps more accessible than their previous releases. Although Key's Skinny Puppy roots permeate the sound, The Eyes of Stanley Pain (along with the simultaneously released remixes, Sidewinder) marks a remarkable progression from them, making it perhaps the most cohesive Download material at the time of its release. Some of the material moves from something remarkably more coherent compared to earlier releases, featuring danceable tracks such as "Possession" and "Outafter," without sacrificing the intense electronic experimental sound usually associated with the band. Other tracks provide the surreal contrast of soft melody and the methodically haphazard use of sharp sound ("Base Metal"), while yet others provide an unexpected mix of both (such as "Collision"). As for musical structures and ideas as to what music should actually sound like, Download continues to throw it all out and invent their own as they go. Added to all this is the haunting presence of guest vocalist Genesis P. Orridge, hailing from one of the earliest industrial acts, Throbbing Gristle, and more recently, Psychic TV. This range and diversity of elements creates a depth not present on earlier releases. At once accessible and musically very challenging, The Eyes of Stanley Pain has definitely become one of the benchmarks of the industrial style, and is probably the first album any listener, new or old, should investigate when exploring Download's experimentation with electro sound.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Theo Kavadias