All tracks by Dave McAnally. Produced by Sean Payne at South Street Dungeon and Glitch Mode HQ. Mixed and mastered by Sean Payne and Brad Huston at Glitch Mode Recordings in Chicago, IL. Artwork by Jim Marcus. Released on Friday 2 December 2022.
For fans of KMFDM, Ministry, Front Line Assembly
Derision Cult is an industrial rock/metal project by Iowa-native, Chicago-based solo artist and multi-instrumentalist Dave McAnally. Mercenary Notes pt 1 (2022) appears to be the project’s sixth release.
I do like a solid slab of industrial music—Apollyon Sun, Circle of Dust, Crowforce, Die Krupps, Godflesh, History of Guns, Killing Joke, Ministry, Murder Inc, Nine Inch Nails, Prong, Throbbing Gristle, Twenty Ripped Angel. I am delighted to add Derision Cult to this list, not least because Godflesh are one of my all-time favourite bands and here is Godflesh (and Jesu) frontman Justin K Broadrick remixing the final track on the album.
“The year hope failed” (track 1) starts this particular industrial machine with a solid Ministry-influenced rocker that gallops along at a rapid pace infused with some meaty Circle of Dust-style guitar riffs.
After the introductory vocal samples, “Life unlit” (track 2) bounces along with a steady groove. It’s a subtle song, but has really grown on me as one of my favourites on this album.
“Deaf blood (feat. Chris Connelly and Reeves Gabrels)” (track 3) is an interesting song that fuses two very different styles. The opening has a distinct The Cure feel (Reeves Gabrels has been a guitarist with The Cure since 2012). Once the vocals kick in, the song has a very strong Murder Inc. feel which isn’t surprising given that Scottish-born, now-Chicago-based vocalist Chris Connelly is singing.
“Slaves rebuild” (feat. Reeves Gabrels) (track 4) has a dark and foreboding feel. A bass riff steadily trundles beneath a cacophony of sampled voices and sorrowful guitar lines before fading to black.
“Bastards of the world” (track 5) channels more Al Jourgensen-influenced riffs and vocals, wrapped around a steady stomp that pounds its relentless way from start to finish.
“Mercenary” (track 6) has an almost film incidental music feel to it. It’s a subtle, underplayed track heavy with spoken vocals. A steady reprieve from the heavy industrial onslaught that has come before. There is something gently hypnotic and relaxing about this track.
There follows two remixes of tracks 1 and 4.
“The year hope failed (Cyanotic Mass Communication Mix)” (track 7) takes the opening track and reduces the intensity somewhat. This is industrial-lite.
As the man behind industrial giants Godflesh and shoe-gaze heroes Jesu, Justin K Broadrick could have gone one of two ways on his remix of track 4, “Slaves rebuild (Justin K Broadrick Fleshmix)” (track 8). Somehow he manages to find a path somewhere between the two while keeping the integrity of the brooding original. This might better be renamed “Slavestate rebuild” … see what I did there?
I love discoveries like this. Each week as I sift through the hundred or so submissions that I receive for reviews, I make my selections based on only a few seconds listening to a random track from an album or EP. Like sifting for gold, I occasionally discover absolute gems like this. (Was that a mixed metaphor?)
My all-time favourite industrial album is Streetcleaner (1989) by Godflesh. It is my number one album to listen to when I want to get into the zone, to write or to code. I do wonder if this album might join it.
While there are very obvious nods to the big machines of the genre, this album isn’t just a rehash of the greatest hits of Ministry, Godflesh, Circle of Dust and Murder Inc. There is an integrity to this album and, remarkably given its ultimate mechanical influence, a deep humanity infused in this release. More of this, please. Derision Cult is definitely one project to keep an eye on.
Review score: 95%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Derision Cult’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Derision Cult. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Derision Cult for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.