KnifeLadder is the project of John Murphy, who has played percussion for such seminal industrial music acts as Death In June and SPK. Understandably, then, KnifeLadder showcases a clear preference for the primal, sometimes abrasive sounds of the early industrial scene. Even the band's title can be traced to a late '70s Non seven-inch. Given that Murphy is a percussionist, drums play quite a large role on this album, ranging from the slow march of the instrumental "Hymn" that opens the album to the metallic clanging tension of "Just Desserts." There's also some bass and guitars present, drenched in distortion of course, and, intriguingly enough, a grating squeal that might well be a saxophone, brassily shrieking its way over the layers of feedback and sledgehammer beats. The Boyd Rice influence extends beyond the band's name, and the growls belted out over buzzing distortion and plodding drums on "Born Under Fire" bear more than a passing resemblance to Non classics like "Total War," albeit with more modernized production values. "Suffer In Silence," meanwhile, calls to mind the early work of Swans with its misanthropic shouts and thunderous tribal percussion. This isn't to say that KnifeLadder is purely derivative, of course, and they're even capable of melody at times. "Chimera" features some actual singing, as opposed to yelling, although it also adds still more feedback, just in case you might somehow be confused enough by the presence of tunefulness to mistake this for a pop song or something. Mighty and nihilistic, this isn't for the faint of heart, but if you're disillusioned by the dance music scene and find yourself longing for the days when Throbbing Gristle and Test Department spat in the face of rock instead of trying to co-opt its audience, you'll most definitely enjoy the antagonistic clamor of KnifeLadder.
Visit Knifeladder on the Web at http://knifeladder.darkkart.com.
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