CD title: The Man Who Couldn't Stop
Reviewer: DJ Kantrip
"If Industrial is dead, I'm fucking the corpse." That statement sums up the latest Caustic album, The Man Who Couldn't Stop, perfectly. Inspired by James Joyce's epic length novel Ulysses, The Man Who Couldn't Stop takes from every sub-genre of Industrial music, and adds Caustic's special blend of self-deprecating humor and tongue in ass cheek mockery to it all. Coming in at about 76 minutes over 18 tracks, this is easily Matt Fanale's most ambitious piece of work to date.
Its hard to pin this album down to a single style or sound, because over the 18 tracks Fanale takes the listener over a rather colorful landscape of Industrial music as well as his own artistic growth. It is very easy to compare several of the tracks to certain influential artists and bands, but there are clear nods to Caustic's own discography as well. The opening track "Failing at the School of Life" sounds like it comes from the rage filled Booze Up and Riot, while "Man-E-Faces" revisits the more autobiographical style of writing on ...And You Will Know Me By the Trail of Vomit. The album also features songs that explore completely new musical territory. "Ghost Like Swayze" is a slow sensual track that lacks any of Caustic's trademark clumsy rage or crass humor. "We Never Learn" stumbles into a bizarre fusion of Industrial and Ska with its jazzy bass and perky synths. Finally “Internet Model” features the talented Unwoman on cello over Twilight Zone-esque distorted keys and backing vocals by Dana Pellebon.
The album also features songs that pull from the era of experimental and raw industrial rock. Elements of bands like Foetus, Pigface, Cop Shoot Cop, and Einstürzende Neubauten can be heard on “Laugh Like Mutants”, “The Man Who Couldn't Stop”, “Stains on the Coattails”, and “Suck Me Dry”. These songs are full of jagged and distorted drums, snarling guitars that shift into high pitched keening, and savage vocals that deliver lyrics with the impact of a one inch punch. It's on these songs we see the raw and vulnerable side to Matt Fanale. I have never heard his anger and frustration more pure on any album than I have here.
For fans of the more electro side of Industrial, you needn't feel left out. Caustic exhumes the corpses of Frontline Assembly, Sheep on Drugs, and KMFDM and adds them to his love pile for this album. "Bigger Better Faster NOW!!!", "Graver Guru", and "Bury You Alive" are surefire club hits that average around 140 beats per minute, have lots of catchy hooks and samples, and mix well with some current artists like Straftanz, or Uberbyte. Then there is "Bleed You Out" featuring Android Lust. With its clean sounding synths, a dark sensual beat, and Shikee's breathy vocals, this track will find a happy home in a BDSM club, or mixed into a set with some old Traci Lords or Battery. If you like bands like Noise Unit, Velvet Acid Christ, Accessory, or Decoded Feedback, then you will enjoy "Collide with Me" with its dark trance synths, samples clipped from movies, and Caustic's sinister sounding vocals. In short, if you want some awesome angry club candy, then this album delivers it in spades.
Of course the key element to any good Caustic album is the humor in it. In writing this review I found it very hard to break down the album for serious analysis, without mentioning any of the shots that Matt Fanale takes at himself or the Industrial music scene. And there are a lot of them, and before anyone gets butt-hurt over it, just remember that if you can't laugh at yourself then you may be taking yourself too seriously. I won't go too much into this aspect of the album because I am no expert on humor and there are some in-scene jokes that I may not get that others may. All I will say is that make sure you listen to all the lyrics on this album, as there are some beautiful gems hidden in them.
In summary, Matt Fanale promised fans that this would be his most ambitious album to date, and he was not lying. The Man Who Couldn't Stop brings all the rage, humor, introspection, and jackassery that Caustic has become known for into one place, giving fans, both new and old, a comprehensive listen to what makes Caustic tick. Everything Caustic has been and wants to be is explored in these 18 tracks. The raw punk industrial sounds, the club tailored dance tracks, and even the songs that defy all preconceived notions about Caustic. With other artists, an album of this caliber is often hard to follow up, but in the case of Caustic, I have no fears that whatever comes next will be no less awe-inspiring as this album. This album has easily become one of my Top 5 albums of the year and I hope it has for you as well.
5 out of 5 Stars
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