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Econoline Crush [reviews]
Affliction |EMI, 1996|

1. Nowhere Now, 2. Blunt, 3. Wicked, 4. Emotional Stain, 5. Close, 6. Blood in the River, 7. Cruel World, 8. Lost, 9. Slug, 10. Sycophant, 11. Affliction

You like Canada? You like industrial rock (well, you should be if you're reading this)? Well, both elements are present in the major label debut of Econline Crush, a Canadian industrial rock band.

Formed in the early ‘90s out of the ashes of a crappy synthpop act that would only be entertaining if I was tripping out on LSD with Vanilla Ice, Econoline Crush proved to be a bigger step for all band members involved. Led by vocalist Trevor Hurst, their major label debut effort is textbook industrial rock. But by all means, that isn't bad.

The opener, "Nowhere Now", proves to be a real slammer. The heartfelt in-your-face guitar riffs that are present throughout the song give off a good groove to the track, combined with Hurst's interesting and broad vocal range. "Blunt", the next song off of the album, will surprise Nine Inch Nails fans without a doubt. An interesting thing that popped up during the song is the same exact sample used for Nine Inch Nails' song "Sin" 5 year earlier. I'm not an electronic keyboardist expert, but I sort've cocked my eyebrow that Econoline Crush didn't even attempt to distort, reprogram, or even change up the sample. I just found that odd.

The band also tries to take a slower side with "Emotional Stain". It seems like one of those songs that you'd chill on the couch to, and it's a nice change of direction from the hard-pounding guitar riffs found 3 songs prior.

Econoline Crush, as stated previously, is textbook industrial rock: Guitar-driven songs, melodic (or sometimes angry) vocals, various electronic samples, and the usual verse-chorus-verse-chorus lineup. But, as stated previously again, that isn't bad. Songs such as "Close" and "Cruel World" have their own elements to contribute to the textbook. "Close" manipulates the guitar line to give off an interesting effect, combined with Hurst's melodic vocal range yet again. "Cruel World" has a kickass bass line that would fit perfectly inside of a dance club (or your speakers, I suppose). Unfortunately, the band had run out of ideas for a few songs in terms of being textbook. "Blood in the River" and "Sycophant" come to mind. Songs like those just can't match up to the rest of the album, and thus becomes dull.

The end of the ordeal is what caught me on surprise when I first listened to the album. The title track, "Affliction," showed Hurst's softer side initially. A smooth and melodic flow, and a soothing piano start the song. It later builds up to Hurst's pissed off vocals, and a frenzied guitar line, and ends back to where it started. Simply put, "Affliction" is one of the best endings to an album I've heard in my time.

Overall, the album cover is what SHOULD appear on an encyclopedia page for industrial rock. It's a perfect example of the genre, and if you're a newcomer to the genre, then Affliction is what you should be checking out. If you're not, then you should be grabbing it anyway. (Xenerki)

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