Saturday, December 10, 2005

Metabolist – Hansten Klork (Drömm Records. 1980)/Thomas Leer/Robert Rental – The Bridge (Industrial Records 1979)

I’ve been revisiting a couple of old favourites this past week.

Metabolist were one of those bands that shone brightly and briefly during the Wild Planet era of D.I.Y. music makers and are sometimes lumped in with the interchangeable crop of industrial music-types…that is, if they are remembered at all. They recorded a full-length LP (Hansten Klork), a couple of cassettes, two 7”s and less than a handful of compilation appearances before vanishing. They should be the subject of a reissue campaign along the lines of the equally worthy Eric Random or The Homosexuals.

Perhaps the desired reissue campaign is unlikely as the music of Malcolm Lane, Anton Loach, Shaiga Simon Millward and Mark Rowlatt (not forgetting ally Jacqueline Baily) is colder, starker and bleaker than most of their contemporaries. Certainly the line-up of guitar, bass, sax and drums provided a bare-bones/dead-eyed soundtrack to a grim audio landscape.

Leer and Rental’s album for T.G.’s label sounds as good today as it did when I first slit the shrink wrap and dropped the stylus on the first track Attack Decay. The Bridge is split in two, with jagged (and oddly catchy) songs on the ‘A side and late-night ambient soundscapes of the ‘B and the result is pure gold from start to finish. What’s remarkable is how much they do with so little…vocals, guitar and a Wasp synthesizer and a home studio.

Buy, beg or borrow copies of these albums and you won’t be sorry, not if you have the slightest interest in irony and fashion-free post-punk sounds.

Al Telstar
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