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Dead Animal Assembly Plant [reviews]
Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz | Detailed or mini-review submissions: song, EP/album | Suggest an artist
All My Heroes Are Dead |self-released, 2012|

01. Then There Was Silence, 02. Brumal, 03. In Furnace, 04. All My Heroes Are Dead, 05. Monster, 06. Fumes, 07. Tragedy For One, 08. Rust Jesus, 09. A Capella Medication, 10. Deeper, 11. Surrogate (bonus track)

"In 1915 tragedy struck the small town he called home when all the livestock took some unexplained fatal disease. The ever resourceful Schröder turned to the only available meat. The townsfolk."

Portland, Oregon seems to be fertile ground for industrial, goth and electronic music to manifest. Several well known industrial bands originate throughout the pacific northwest of the United States and Canada. Dead Animal Assembly Plant (DAAP) is a collaboration of musicians from Bound In Oblivion (Johnathan Case, Zach Wager), NVEiN (Eric Bergen), Particle Son (Vex March) and Travis Geny.
Dead Animal Assembly Plant is inspired by a fictional horror story set up in the XIX century about a once successful German butcher who had gone bankrupt by the name of Wilhelm Schröder.
The musicians who comprise DAAP wear the ominous clothes of a butcher with bloody meat-esque painted faces and prosthetic torso coverings which make their live shows quite a disturbing experience. In fact, this kind of music demands visual aesthetics such as costumes or additional short films to enhance the live performance at their shows.

Two years after releasing their debut Niblets 'N' Giblets / Strip Off Your Skin EP, DAAP comes back with music and stories that the fans of ohGr or Skinny Puppy should dig right away. There's no doubt the band has earned their place to be labeled as 'industrial', where the link has been made not only by the use of synths, samplers and cold mechanical auras, but also by instruments such as the musical saw (idiophone). Moreover, Zach's vocals may recall a listener to the implicative articulation of the demonic Pinhead from Hellraiser. This horror movie character has been as attractive and inspiring for the electro/industrial music scene as radioactive contamination.

The opening track entitled "Then There Was Silence" gives a pre-taste of what sort of atmospheres will surround the listener over the course of the following 50 minutes. Noisy electronic and somewhat echoing vocals supported by clear, phat, yet terrorizing beats may very well drill into one's skull.
On the other hand, "Brumal" sounds more organic thanks to the distorted guitars as well as repetitive and syncopated vocals. The third track on the album called "In Furnace" includes many more experimental tunes as well as effects and quite sado-masochistic moods. The song lasts no longer than two minutes, but it could have sounded even more disturbing if it were to continue further.

If you've ever listened to the music of Bound in Oblivion, you will find this connection in "All My Heroes Are Dead" as well. Shattering and repetitive rhythms are enriched by synths reminiscent of Pretty Hate Machine, NIN era song techniques that give the overall track quite a danceable spin.

"Monster" may either be called the best or the most confusing song on this album since it sounds as if there are three compositions in one. The arrangements are based on the rhythm, however they are spiced up with a dense layer of vocals as well as a variety of environmentally placed tunes.

The song "Fumes" may truly bring up mind-alarming pictures. This track would be a perfect fit to movies such as Saw, Silent Hill, The Human Centipede or Hostel, where the negative character in the minds of the killers were soaked with the sickest, most sadistic, yet extremely surreal ideas. Moreover, it's the perfect composition in which to use the musical saw I mentioned above, due to complex arrangements that puzzle the listener from the very beginning.

"Tragedy For One" sounds arrhythmic at first, then turns into a rhythmic drive still filled with crazy sounding samples and suggestive, Nivek Ogre-esque vocals. Normally it would be a danceable track, but due to a variation of sporadic noises and labyrinthian structures - it is not. Similarly, "Rust Jesus" recalls of early Skinny Puppy music with its scary vocals combined with electronic and rhythmical tunes. Surely, you will feel the power of 90's era industrial, however well modernized here.

The following track called "A Capella Medication" stands out as far too electro with its frequent oontz beats. It's a basic song that includes an electro/rave party setlist, but it becomes less valuable when held in comparison to songs such as "Monster" and "Rust Jesus". On the other hand, "Deeper" turns out to be non-standard. This is a song rich in experimental arrangements and distracting samples that make it feel cold and mechanical with the vocals additionally whispered in like a madman's poetry.

The last song on the tracklist entitled "Surrogate" sounds emotional. These noisy sounds will attack your ears with a variety of effects because there's a lot of things going on at the same time. They match the entire composition, although they stay far from harmony and balance even though the rhythm appears in following segments of the song. "Surrogate" is only available on the free version of this album (to download at DAAP official website at the moment), but not on the CD.

The music on All My Heroes Are Dead needs specifically crafted minds to dig it. These compositions are based on sonic contrasts as well as arrhythmic and disharmonious arrangements so they can turn out raw and difficult. The song titles definitely represent messaging, but the album should be listened to a few times to understand the entire picture properly. Musical inspirations seem to flow from experimental works by Foetus and Nivek Ogre, but also modern industrial, beat-driven arrangements. DAAP mentions Nine Inch Nails, Raymond Watts (Pig) and Tom Waits amongst their influences, but the new self-released album brings dark energy with strong references to to the sound of Skinny Puppy, Hilt and classic Front Line Assembly.
The bands stage image combined with their theatrical performances and high quality music production will draw the attention of a specific demographic of targeted listeners. DAAP was also recently invited to take part in an interview for a documentary about the horror subculture in 2012. This should explain their ideas and the overall interests drawn towards the band pretty well.

To sum it up, if you're into experimental industrial music with a horror feel to it, you'll love this release. However, if you prefer solid verse-chorus-verse structured songs, this release will make your mind totally exhausted. All My Heroes Are Dead is not what the industry would consider to be categorized as having the usual hit potential, but the scary audio-visual and art-related experiences this band defines are sure to find their mark.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, July 31th, 2012. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens)

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