Full Frontal Lobotomy 
Artists: Various Artists 
Label: Flaming Fish Music  
By: Jeremy Choi 

This is perhaps one of the best industrial music compilations to come out in years. As the first release from the Canadian-based Flaming Fish Music, Full Frontal Lobotomy is an eclectic mix of sixteen underground and independent industrial bands, gathered from near and far, each with its own distinct sound and scope. Some of the bands like The Way Sect Bloom and Audio Paradox have appeared on other compilations, while others like Autovoice are not as well-known. This record is considered by many to be a follow-up to REX's Electro-Shock Therapy industrial compilation of 1995.  

Full Frontal Lobotomy begins with an offering from Angst, entitled "Sex Song." The song, an appropriate lead-off track, confidently relays the message that this record is not your typical industrial compilation. With the catchy sounds of a flute and the continuous switching from discernible vocals to distorted projections, "Sex Song" underscores the one element of this compilation that is particularly impressive--the sheer diversity of these sixteen acts. "Sex Song" is not only an unusual track from a musical perspective; the lyrics also point to subject matter which is uncommon for an industrial tune. The following excerpt seems more likely to come from a current Lush song than from an industrial band:  

But the girl had nagging doubts 
No matter how badly she wanted to believe  
Can't seem to invite a man over these days 
Without giving him something to get him to leave. 
In contrast, the following track by Tempestuous All, "Dead Man Walking" (influenced by the film of the same name), is one in which a KFMDM/Klank-style of driving guitars and programmed drums is showcased. Abstain offers more of a distorted-guitar, heavy bass drum beats style which drowns out the whispered and hushed vocals in their track "Control". The Way Sect Bloom's "Under my Skin" bears vocals that are, at times, strikingly similar to Trent Reznor. Cybershadow's "Social Condition" (birth version) is one of the spookier tracks on Full Frontal Lobotomy, with vocals that sound like Gremlins arguing with one another and music that could be comfortably slipped into a video game sound module; all of this is set to introspective lyrics about an individual contemplating and evaluating their understanding of social concepts. "Ageless," from Audio Paradox, has hints of an earlier-Front 242 influence, with pinches of Meat Beat Manifesto instrumentation added in the music. Cult of Jester's track "Gana," heavily inspired by the film Stand and Deliver, has a very pronounced army boot-camp-like drum track with a drill-sergeant vocalist who complements the music perfectly.  

While the majority of the acts here are from the U.S., there are two imported acts on Full Frontal Lobotomy, November Commandment and Autovoice. November Commandment's track "A Second or A Thousand Years" is worth mentioning, not only because the vocalist's voice bears an uncanny vocal delivery to that of Dave Gahan, but also because of a somber, yet melodic, style of industrial from this Swedish band.  

One of the biggest treats on the compilation can be found in Global Wave System's track "Smog". This is essentially the first time that they've reared their heads since releasing "Life=Death" almost four years ago. The "Smog" track appears to be a more reflective and introspective instrumental offering, bringing to mind some of Skinny Puppy's more "mellow" moments and hints of the ambient sounds of The Tear Garden. The song builds to a rousing climax and then ends suddenly.  

A final notable is the presence of Thymikon and EnGrave. Both of these acts produce an unorthodox industrial sound, opting to go with soundscapes and, for the most part, the omission of vocals. Thymikon's track "Nipsis" (which incidentally is the title of their album) reveals stylistic musical influences of the Eastern Orthodox church, with often echoed and somewhat cryptic voice samples as a backdrop. The only lyrics found in the song are repeated by an almost indiscernible voice:  

The night will shine  
Like the day 
And in the darkness  
He calls your name 
Enclave is stylistically similar, though their track "Eiserner Vorhang" is much more instrumentally-based with a noticeable absence, for the most part, of drum tracks. Enclave's sound, considered "electro-darkwave" by some, can be likened to that of the Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus, as well as an apocalyptic and gothic Jeff Johnson. "Eiserner Vorhang" (the Iron Curtain) is heavily instrumental, creating an ambient and ethereal atmosphere, almost as if they were recording the score for The Omen or The Prophecy 

Bearing impressively drawn cover art to complement the music, this disc is a definite necessity for folks who love industrial music, whether as a purist or as a fan of the many hybrids that have developed over the years. Be forewarned though, with only 1,000 copies of the CD pressed, Full Frontal Lobotomy may not be around for long.  

Full Frontal Lobotomy is available from: 

Flaming Fish Music 
9 Koidern Ave. 
Whitehorse, Yukon 
Y1A 3N7 
Canada 

 

I bought this with real trepidation. A compiliation of twelve unknown industrial bands, I expected cheap basement quality, but the production is excellent, and these are obviously talented groups that we might otherwise have never heard. Little industrial is released nowadays, but Full Frontal Lobotomy is a must have under any circumstances. --Shari Lloyd 

 

 

I don't "get" industrial, probably because my own career has been post-industrial so I never developed an appreciation for factory noise. I don't dance, either. Nonetheless, Full Frontal Lobotomy is a well-rounded introduction to the genre and exhibits a lot of talent. I'd need a lyric sheet to assess the project's spiritual value, but you could let your teenager play this for days behind closed doors without fear of self-annihilation. --Linda Stonehocker 

  
Copyright© 1997 The Phantom Tollbooth