[R]evolution |Positron! Records, 1999|
1. Libertad, 2. Carbon Copy, 3. Got To Be, 4. Smash Your Radio!, 5. Transient One, 6. Transient Two, 7. Closer To Me, 8. Wrong, 9. Vibrator, 10. Autoloader, 11. Strange, 12. Bring You Down (Take You Higher)
[R]evolution, also called 5.0., is the fifth Sister Machine Gun studio album. It was published in 1999, and it's a crucial release in the career of Chris Randall, since it is the first SMG album to be published on his own label: Positron Records, with the catalog number POSI003 (the previous two albums in its catalog are his side-project Micronaut and Eco-Hed, the Van Christie House Project).
I don’t know if it's the air of the end of the millennium, or the fact of publishing it independently that may have affected his freedom of expression (his albums were previously published by Wax Trax!/TVT Records)... in fact this album is far better than the previous.
The inspired artistic vein appreciated in the past on songs like "Cocaine Jesus" (from The Torture Technique) finds ample space here. Randall keeps his distance from expected and repetitive industrial rock songs, and makes us sit in a cozy salon velveted by enveloping songs that enchant us with his persuasive voice (which recalls Matt "The The" Johnson's pitches, whereby he shares many musical influences).
This is also the last album that sees the collaboration of Die Warzau (here, in the guise of Abel Garibaldi and Van Christie), since future publications will become almost entirely a solo project, even with the collaboration of Miguel Turanzas. [R]evolution is in effect a watershed between the previous publications, and the large catalog offered in subsequent years, where Randall is sinking their creativity in music history, as if it were the beginning of a second career.
The atmospheres go from Blues & Jazz to Alternative Rock and Funky. In this dimension Randall feels at home, and I think that digging through the notes of these great songs can be found the first source of inspiration of his sound: Jim Morrison. (Try to believe: rewind, only on the CD version, the first track, "Red", of the previous album Burn... you will discover a great cover of "Strange Days" by The Doors.) It isn't exaggerated, Randall carries the Doors from the sunny shores of Venice Beach of the '60s, to the Industrial atmosphere of Chicago of the Wax Trax! days.
It's reductive to analyze of almost every single song. The context that prevails on this album is a unique atmosphere, sexy, charming, even when there are certain songs that deserve a closer look to elaborate on accurately.
The album starts with "Libertad", a remarkable psychedelic intro (4:07 minutes), whose charming atmosphere explodes into "Carbon Copy" and the subsequents "Got To Be" and "Smash Your Radio!" three great Rock'n'Roll songs. And here we are on the top, the highest point reached by Chris Randall with SMG, the beautiful suite "Transient", consisting of "Transient One" and "Two" on this album and then resumed with the remaining parts Three, Four, Five and Six on the Transient 5.2 EP. Sublime; there are no other words to describe it, it's the perfect meeting-point between different musical genres. High class music, to be listened to while sitting in an armchair, sipping a Martini cocktail.
Nate Lepine's sax is valuable in "Closer To Me", a sort of reinterpretation of "Fever" by the divine Peggy Lee (singer and actress, famous in the '40s and '60s), while "Wrong", like "Strange", is distinguished for being one of the most catchy songs of the album.
"Vibrator" thanks to the graceful backing vocals by Shara O'Neil, delights and enchants the listener as if it's the song of a mermaid, and then ends a'la Emerson Lake & Palmer! "Autoloader" sounds very similar to The Chemical Brothers or The Crystal Method techno sonorities, without ever abandoning the soul of the album. The last song "Bring You Down (Take You Higher)" closes with a nice sax solo by Nate Lepine.
It's an exceptional and beautiful album that can satisfy even the most discerning listeners with its perfect blend of psychedelic rock of the '60s & '70s, Blues, Jazz and Industrial Rock. Do yourself a favor and buy this album.
(Marco Gariboldi. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)
Metropolis |WaxTrax! Records, 1997|
1. This Metal Sky, 2. Desperation, 3. Temptation, 4. Think, 5. Living Without You, 6. Torque, 7. White Lightning, 8. Everything, 9. What Do You Want From Me, 10. Admit, 11. Bitter End, 12. Cut Down
Veteran Chris Randall returns with another Sister Machine Gun album, titled Metropolis. Coming from a wide influence of genres, Randall has incorporated his past experiences into a solid album.
The title track — "This Metal Sky" — has Randall's wife Lisa speak some sort of propaganda-sounding script. She discusses manipulation, control, judgment, and a bunch of other shit that doesn't really click in. Upon hearing all of that gibberish, I was expecting a concept album. But as it turns out, Metropolis is not a concept album.
Since we're on the subject of lyrics, I'll start the review there. Most of the lyri--…well, wait. ALL of the lyrics are pure angst: Stress, hate, depression, regret, confusion, and the likes. I suppose the theme had fit well for SMG's previous 3 albums, but when part 4 came along, it became old. Fast.
Despite the lyrics coming off as dusty and old, the music itself evolved yet again. The guitar riffs, electronic leads, and stiff drums are present as usual. Other new genre influences can be found in the songs "Living Without You" (funk reappears again), "Think" (techno grooves creates the song), "Admit" (Randall blends in piano and string instruments), and others. Yet, a song such as "Torque" even goes back to SMG's 1994 release. Randall's quick voice, a noteworthy guitar riff, and a frenzy of electronic noises would fit perfectly in 1994.
Metropolis is a solid effort by Sister Machine Gun. Even though the lyrics have gotten dull, the music itself has not. Randall can a pretty damn creative individual in certain areas, and as time has proven, he can evolve Sister Machine Gun to the next level. (Xenerki)
Sins of the Flesh |WaxTrax! Records, 1992|
1. Sins of the Flesh, 2. Why Not, 3. Degenerate, 4. X-Rated Movie, 5. Don't Let Me Down, 6. Not My God, 7. Night Returning, 8. Life, 9. Addiction
Formed in 1989 (or 1990 according to some sources), Sister Machine Gun is the creation of Chris Randall out of the industrial-based city of Chicago. Their debut effort, Sins of the Flesh, was released in 1992 on the famous WaxTrax label, thanks to Randall's buddies at KMFDM.
Now, as I just said, 1992 is the year for Sins of the Flesh. Keep that in mind, considering the majority of this album sounds like as if it'd be in 1989. It was hard for me NOT to compare this album to Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine album from 1989. I wouldn't call Sister Machine Gun a ripoff of Nine Inch Nails, but the similarities are defiantly present.
The title track "Sins of the Flesh" (and multiple other songs) features constant electronic beeps, a soft verse-hard chorus pattern, and a drum machine that was built in the 1980s. All of those are present in Nine Inch Nails' 1989 song "Head Like a Hole." As I said, it's hard to avoid the similarities.
Other songs such as "X-Rated Movie" and "Why Not" sound almost exactly the same. Throughout the album, the songs become more repetitive and similar, such as the two songs mentioned above. Yet, other songs such as "Not My God" have a different vibe to it. Even though it still features the effects mentioned above, it has some sort of "groove" to the song (on a side note, if you can find the Killjoy Mix or the Video Version of this song, it's worth the search).
"Night Returning" is a quick nod to 1980s Killing Joke, considering the keyboard lead and dark vocals that are within the song. The dark style in the song is interesting, but it does get boring after 2 minutes. There just isn't much diversity within the song to keep it afloat.
All in all, Sister Machine Gun's debut album isn't much to give for. The repetitive songs are an instant turn off, and it's just not creative enough for constant playthroughs. (Xenerki)
The Torture Technique |WaxTrax! Records, 1994|
1. Salvation, 2. Sacrifice, 3. Negative, 4. Krackhead, 5. Wired, 6. Cocaine Jesus, 7. Brother Bomb, 8. Nothing, 9. Torture Technique, 10. Iron Sun, 11. Heaven
After the near-horrid debut effort by Sister Machine Gun, their sophomore album, The Torture Technique (TTT) is released. If you managed to pickup Sins of the Flesh (or read my review on it), you'd notice that the album wasn't very heavy and seemed repetitive. Well, thankfully, TTT is a much different album. One interesting note is that Levi Levi (My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Die Warzau), Jim Marcus (Skrew, Die Warzau), Van Christie (Final Cut, Die Warzau), and James Woolley (Nine Inch Nails, Die Warzau) all help out Chris Randall (the brain of Sister Machine Gun) on the album. Technically, this can be considered a Die Warzau spinoff album!
In general, the songs are a lot heavier. The album can even be considered industrial metal. The opening track, "Salvation," proves that point. The guitar riff that explodes in the song is a real in-your-fucking-face punch. Randall's voice fits TTT a lot better than Sins of the Flesh. Towards the end of the song, a frenzy of industrial noise and electronic beeps introduces the next song, "Sacrifice." "Sacrifice" seems to have a problem in terms of mastering: The volume on the instruments seems out of place.
Another odd thing I have to mention is in the song "Nothing." From 02:40 to 04:30, the same damn thing is repeated. The same line, the same instruments, the same EVERYTHING. Yeah, it'd sound alright if it didn't last almost 2 minutes. That song almost drove me insane. No, really, it literally did. I was driving my car while listening to the song and I thought the CD was on repeat or something.
"Wired" — the album's lead single — is similar to "Salvation." An exploding guitar riff, Randall's now-suited vocal style, and a hard-sounding drum creates the song. "Cocaine Jesus" is also worth mentioning. The song has a real low and almost progressive rock-like influence on it. It's extremely trippy.
As previously mentioned (and I'll say it again in case you can't be arsed to read up): Towards the end of a song, a frenzy of industrial noise and electronic beeps introduces the next song. I said that for "Salvation." Well, that exists for EVERY song on the album. In times such as "Salvation" to "Sacrifice," and "Krackhead" to "Wired," it sounds good. But any other time, it seems like the noises were rushed, and it just doesn't sound too good.
Overall, TTT is a huge improvement for Sister Machine Gun. Some minor flaws exist, but the rest of the album definitely overshadows the flaws. (Xenerki)
The Torture Technique |TVT/Wax Trax!, 1994|
Salvation, Sacrifice, Negative, Krackhead, Cocaine Jesus, Wired, Brother Bomb, Nothing, Torture Technique, Iron Sun, Heaven
It's rather not original album because the sound is based on the ventures which can be found also at Pig, Sheep on Drugs and a bit on Gravity Kills, Machines of Loving Grace or Stabbing Westward albums. There were a few songs stucked in my memory tho, to mention for instance Cocaine Jesus kept in subtle and even erotic mood. I liked Wired as well, reminds me early Ministry music. The Iron Sun song matches 'industrial rock' term totally. Unfortunatelly this album shows also the fact how easy it was to found a band and make industrial rock music in the middle of the 90's. It was possible to use simple equipment and simple samples in creation of songs which could be put in a shelf labelled 'industrial rock'.
( Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz
. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)
Burn |WaxTrax! Records, 1995|
1. Red, 2. Overload, 3. Hole in the Ground, 4. Disease, 5. Burn, 6. Dispossessed, 7. Better Than Me, 8. Snake, 9. I Don't Believe, 10. Inside
Coming off a bumpy road of albums from Sins of the Flesh to The Torture Technique, Sister Machine Gun continues to walk on that road with their third album Burn. To summarize, Sister Machine Gun had an extremely repetitive and pop album, then a diverse and heavy album. To change up styles yet again, Burn combines both and adds a more — I can't believe I'm saying this — funk influence.
So, what we got on our hands is an industrial funk rock album, similar to what Die Warzau once was. "Red" and "Overload" will appeal to those funk fanatics. "Hole in the Ground" draws up memories from The Torture Technique with its cool guitar riffs (if you can find the Video Version of the song, go for it).
"Burn" is a lot more slow-sounding and is Sister Machine Gun's most recognizable song so far. The majority of the song is soft and relaxed, except the chorus, which takes the heavy guitar riffs of Sister Machine Gun, yet toned down.
Unfortunately, the majority of the album has the same fate that Sins of the Flesh had: Repetitiveness. Although "Hole in the Ground" is more metal, and "Snake" has a jazz influence (what the fuck?), the rest are similar, industrial funk-wise.
Although Sister Machine Gun has finally found their own sound in the industrial world, it's not diverse enough to hold on to. (Xenerki)
Influence |Positron! Records, 2003|
To Hell With You, Another One Down, Influence, Clean, The Death Of Me, Everything Else, Motivator, Entropy, Everybody, Denial, Antagonizer Prelude, The Antagonizer
Wow! The newest Sister Machine Gun release has a very neat charm coming from, as well dancable as predatory and even a bit dirty sounds. I liked Clean song developing in an interesting way the more closer to the end we are. It doesn't have any culminating point but it flows easy and Chris Randall murmurs in a way his voice becomes one yet more instrument. Besides Clean there is a song I love a lot I mean Everybody, which stands very dynamical in the end. Even though it includes repeating patterns it doesn't become dull after a few auditions.
There is a very dancable song The Death of Me which caused a few batteries of my mp3player die ;) Pumping beat, simple lyrics and the foot can't stop hitting the ground ;) Another top shit is Motivator, kept in Gravity Kills or Machines of Loving Grace music style a bit, besides it matches industrial rock music term perfectly. Pay attention to Denial (simple but charming) and dynamical Antagonizer two way cool songs suitable for the parties.
To sum up, it's a very interesting album where industrial rock ingredients are mingled with dancable accents.
( Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz
. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below)