Houses Of The Mole – Ministry

In the mid(ish) 90s I was travelling around London and occasionally looking in record shops, as we still called them. I was minded to find some Ministry when Smiff told me about a son called Jesus Build My Hotrod. It was a great song, fast and heavy but not metal. I found it interesting. I’d not yet really got into industrial music, that was to come about ten years later.

Houses Of The Mole is not that stuff. It’s a later album I bought, just because it’s Ministry. It’s a political album about the horrifying aspects of George W Bush’s presidency. It’s worth listening to but it’s not a classic.

M’era Luna 2015

Smith and I travelled to Germany to a music festival over the summer. We searched many festivals to find the right one for price, distance and bands, although that wasn’t the order of the criteria. We settled on M’era Luna, a gothic/industrial festival that takes place on an old British Army Air Corps airfield near the town of Hildesheim, just south of Hanover.

On the Friday we traversed the channel via a train that carries cars [just imagine! a train that can carry cars! UNDER the sea! We humans are ingenious!] and headed to Germany. We used just a Sat Nav device, neither of us had a proper map. France, Belgium and the Netherlands were all pretty boring and we longed for some hills or vague scenery. The world kept track of our journey via twitter.

The route took us on the ring roads of two large towns and the traffic slowed a lot around them, hindering our progress! Once in Germany we travelled fast on the autobahn although we did have a detour around the northern edges of Dortmund as the sat-nav didn’t quite warn about a lane change on a slip road in time and then the next junction was closed. Dortmund looked like the edges of any town.

The temperature was hitting 32 Celsius along the way and finally we arrived at the airport near Hildesheim. 500 miles, 1 tank of diesel and plenty of snacks and LOTs of music.

We only just managed to find somewhere to put up the tent. There wasn’t a great deal of space left in any of the campsite. Our spot was furthest as could be from the main festival area, but reasonable close to toilets and leaving on the Sunday.

That evening we wandered the festival area, drank some alcohol already purchased from a service station and went to the disco hangar. There was some pretty good music played and it was good fun.

After a good sleep we awoke to find that the air bed had stayed up and was really comfortable. We both went about our routines to get ready to leave our tent area. I needed to satisfy my caffeine addiction and stave off withdrawal symptoms by finding more caffeine to ingest. Just as we were getting dressed Andy managed to puncture the airbed. It slowly deflated. We found a repair kit and tried to stick on a patch. We would have to wait 6 hours before we knew whether it had worked.

I found coffee. I also found some food. The weather for the Saturday was meant to be slightly overcast with a chance of rain showers. It had rained quite heavily in the early morning but the ground was so dry from the scorching summer that it didn’t really create any puddles or mud. Shortly after the sun had arisen the whole place was dry. Once we were ready we headed to the festival area to check out the shops, food places and mediaeval village (with food places and shops). It was also a good chance to see how the arena and hanger were set up so we knew where toilets, drink entrances, exits etc.

There now follows a list of bands we saw with comments about them if I can remember them. It is a good few months since the festival while writing this, unlike my detailed descriptions about Download.

  • Nachtgeschrei
  • Versengeld (with person playing the hurdy gurdy and another on bag pipes)
  • Speilbann
  • Coppellius (who played some Maiden covers in the style of mediaeval rock)
  • The Other
  • Frozen Plasma (half of this band is Reaper which is good, but Frozen Plasma were a bit dull)
  • Lord of the Lost
  • L’ame Immortal
  • Aesthetic Perfection (3rd or 4th time seeing these and they were awesome)
  • In Strict Confidence (surprisingly ok even with a female singer)
  • Blut Engel (just no)
  • X-RX this band replaced Suicide Commando who had to pull out of the weekend. They were good and I liked it, but left to see . . . .
  • Rob Zombie who just blew the competition away and was professionally brilliant.

Sunday started with the search for caffeine and then food. The air bed did not stay inflated and so the night was reasonably uncomfortable. We had decided we would probably leave M’era Luna that evening and then drive as far as we could home before kipping in the car. The bands on Sunday were:

  • Private Pact (a bad goth, stand still, band)
  • Schwarzer Engel getting better, quite thrash, goth and heavy.
  • Unzucht were just a great band with heavy thrash riffs and a great guitarist.
  • Dope Stars Inc. were good but looked as though they had just come from the 80s!
  • Tying Tiffany was the surprise of the weekend. They started slow and boring but from the third song onwards it was full of energy and heavy. Just a great find for the summer.
  • Assemblage 23 dull. very dull.
  • Rotersand a great band, a great show and really put previous band to shame. I loved it.
  • Nachtmahr were slightly disappointing. It’s hard to pin point this. Their music is very good. But live, they just didn’t capture the mood. It was almost boring, even with two women acting out a fetish scene it was dull. Can’t quite figure it out.
  • Nightwish we said we would stay for two songs but managed just a half of one song. We then drove towards the UK.

A strange thing about the German crowds is that if you had your spot to watch from everyone stayed in that spot. No-one moved when a band appeared. There was no crush at the front. Andy and I were in the second row for a number of bands on the Sunday and there was room to dance, moved around and no crush. This was actually refreshing and pleasant. It made the weekend a much more enjoyable event that had there been the UK crush.

It was easy to leave the festival as the final band hadn’t finished. The roads were clear and we made fast progress across Germany and then the Netherlands. We agreed between us that we would stop at the first rest area we found after midnight. It was fascinating to see how the landscape changed from central Germany to the low lands. Flat and straight is pretty much every road after Germany. We stopped at some services about 1km before the Belgian border. I think we slept ok.

The Monday we woke, I found caffeine and then we drove towards Calais. We arrived at the tunnel way before we were due but we paid some extra money to be on an earlier train. This was worth it as it meant I got home before my family left for other things.

The excitement of the weekend continued to the Monday evening as Combichrist played the O2 Islington thing.

Burning Red – Machine Head

This was the first Machine Head album I bought and I can remember driving in a car somewhere with Andy Smith with this on in the background. I think it was about the time I lived in Brentwood. Much like the previous review it’s a very good heavy album. Well worth listening. On first play I got confused by song number 8 as I knew the lyrics and melody of the vocals! somewhat worrying for an album I hadn’t heard before. Only when the chorus came in did I realise it was a cover version of “Message in a Bottle”.

Burn My Eyes – Machine Head

This is one of two Machine Head albums I bought while I was living in Brentwood. The sound is rather more industrial and heavy than a lot of the other stuff I listen to. It’s good stuff, somewhere on the way to Nine Inch Nails and Slipknot.

The guitars are heavy, the drumming pumps and the vocals are dark. It’s very good winter music. I do suffer a little with Old Dog syndrome with this album. Not to take anything away from the album, it’s just a bit too new for proper song selection. I listened to it this morning in the car and remembered all the songs. It’s good.

The Blackening – Machine Head

Years ago I bought the Burning Red album by Machine Head and was impressed with the dark sound. I remember I was living in Brentwood at the time so this was 1999 or so. About a year ago I decided to buy another Machine Head album. I got this one. It’s alright. It sounds the same as the first one I got and is good for a run or winter music.

Big Sexyland – Revolting Cocks

The continuance of the transformation started by such electronica bands as Throbbing Gristle. The Revolting Cocks took samples and an industrial sound a little further and produced an album of lovely political songs that challenge perceptions of music.

Personal highlights:

  • 38
  • Union Carbide
  • No Devotion

This band led into Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and todays shouty metal. It’s very good.

Astro-Creep: 2000 – White Zombie

There are two versions of this album. This one and the remix. The remix has a far more interesting cover but let’s move on.

This is a really good album and the start of me heading into a more industrial sound rather than the clean produced stuff that I had previously liked. I don’t think there are any bad songs, although I don’t listen to it enough to know the names of all the songs. One of the issues with playing music on the iPhone is that I generally don’t know what the song is called. Back in the days of proper records I would read the dust cover from top to toe and make sure I knew the name of every song.

Highlights are:

  • More Human Than Human
  • Electric Head
  • Real Solution #9

“Real Solution #9” has a sample of one of the Charles Manson killers giving an interview about her victim on TV in the 80s. Interesting use of counter culture.

Rob Zombie and Marylin Manson toured together recently and I considered going but £60 for seeing two bands I’m not that fussed about seemed a lot of money. I didn’t go.