30th April 2017
Review by Victoria Fenbane
Photos by Jo Blackened
On a bank holiday Sunday in Islington, Armalyte Industries gathered together five industrial acts. Ranging from nineties veterans to new blood this was an eagerly anticipated 5 hours of gritty pounding sounds. Headliner Cubanate back after twenty years, supported by nineties techno-industrial duo Emperion, new blood Kanga, Scots Je$us Loves America and opener Cease2Xist.
Those in the venue shortly after the doors opened, were treated to the best opening act I have seen in years.
Cease2Xist have been around since 2010, but I have not seen or heard of them before.
Such a powerful punch to start the event, and an indication of the quality of performances to follow. Cease2Xist’s industrial-electro KMFDM/Die Krupps vibe benefitted from crystal clear sound.
The guys on stage are not phased in the slightest by the audience being thin on the ground and gave it their all.
I recommend catching them live if you can!
Je$us Loves Amerika from Glasgow, do gritty electro-industrial with a political slant.
They have built up a loyal fan base since their debut release in 2002 and the venue quickly filled up in time for their set.
After being blown away by Cease2Xist I found it difficult to get excited about Je$us Loves America’s angry brand of industrial. However, they went down well with the crowd, many of whom were familiar with their material.
To me, it started to sound the same after a few songs. Not their fault, I had been spoiled by such a good start to the event.
They had great stage presence and a lot of fun with the photographers in the photopit!
Up next, was KANGA from LA. A solo producer/songwriter but live she is joined by Matthew Setzer (London After Midnight/Skinny Puppy etc) on guitar.
KANGA was a surprising, yet exciting addition to the otherwise British line-up, and the newest act on the bill. KANGA’s debut album has been well received, and there were many there excited as me find out how the music translated to a live performance.
Musically it was even better live, but her vocals were rawer.
Backed by visuals for a flawless presentation. The best way to describe the sound is a female NIN.
The inclusion of a cover of Gary Numan’s ‘Metal’ gave a hint to the influences of this exciting new act.
The frustratingly short set closed with ‘Vital Signs’, gaining many new fans and increasing the devotion of those already followers.
Next up was Empirion.
To be honest, I was not looking forward to their performance. I, like many others frequenting goth/industrial clubs in the late nineties know them for the dance floor hit ‘Narcotic Influence’ where the lyric ‘Drugs taking their lives away’ is repeated throughout.
I had also seen Empirion perform at Infest 2015 and just couldn’t get into their set. This time when they came on stage to stand behind a desk with an Empirion banner draped across the front, and not a microphone in sight, I was ready to be bored silly, but much to my surprise I enjoyed it!
I was entranced by an hour of techno accompanied by a great light show for the crowd, whereas the stage itself remained in complete darkness.
The set got a bit much to stay with at times, but duo even managed to make their knob twiddling entertaining. By the time we reached the epic climax I had discovered I like actually like techno and had forgiven Empirion for Infest.
After having already experienced a chunk of high-quality performances that evening, it left me wondering if Cubanate would stand up the to hype and not be overshadowed by the previous acts. Cubanate released their first album of what I like to call ‘proper industrial’ back in 1993. Their best known industrial techno hits are probably ‘Body Burn’ and ‘Oxyaceylene’.
The latter was featured on the PlayStation racing game Gran Turismo, which introduced the band to a younger generation. Some too young to have caught the band before they went on hiatus.
The crowd was a mix of seasoned Cubanate fans and those curious to see them live for the first time. Tonight Cubanate are promoting their recently released ‘Brutalism’; best of album, so a set stuffed with classics was guaranteed.
These classics were performed with power, Marc Heal’s vocals just how you’d want them to be and the music was spot on, powerful, gritty guitar, infectious beats, and angry music. Cubanate’s later breakbeat infused sound didn’t go down with about a third of the crowd, I included. I have just never got into drum and bass.
Cubanate have come back at just the right time to remind us that they were pioneers of a sound which is back in vouge with bands such as 3teeth.
‘Oxyaceylene’ had everyone singing out loud and probably like me remembering getting out my teenage frustrations on the dance floor singing ‘I’m gonna break you, I’m gonna make you pay’.
I had to dash home, so missed was sounded like an epic industrial afterparty at Cubanate’s studios. Amazing gig, well organised and a well thought out collection of artists. More events from Armalyte Industries, please!
1. Lord of the Flies
5. Body Burn
6. The Horsetrader
10. Kill or Cure
13. Ordinary Joe