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Album Reviews

From Okie Load Fanzine
April 1997, Volume 2, Issue 4

Demo 1 Review


Last month I reviewed the 2nd cassette in this series. This is the first one because I liked to be backwards. Slugwrench is the one-man project of Jason Shepherd, a man with a mission--create some new and bizarre music. Now I don't know if that's his mission--I just made it up, but these tapes are an original, compelling lot.

The three unnamed songs on this tape are probably what might be called techno-industrial. They all include distorted lyrics and a chaotic mix of keyboard and otherworldly sounds. The first song, which I'll call "Inside," because of the repitition of that word, is certainly a danceable one, but with an industrial NIN-like force in the vocals. "Take Cover," another made-up song title (see I'm always trying to put form to content) is the next song that starts with what sounds like a VW trying to start and then an AM-like radio voice seems to be threatening nuclear attack (well something like that). TAKE COVER is the essence of this music. And then the water drips and the vocals clear, and a caged-in feeling ensues with the lyrics: "I can't find a cure for this disease of loneliness." More AM-radio noise and then bed-springs start popping.

Third song I'll call "Borg" because this one starts with an almost traditional sounding drumbeat and undistorted vocals, but that soon changes. Eventually there's this sound like a piece of metal flapping on Mars. And then a jackhammer and the whisper of voices in static. Lyrics from the first song repeat here: something about 'it's inside of me.' So that made me think of Star Trek and the part-human, part-machine enemies called the Borg, who go around telling the Treksters, "We will assimilate you now."

Slugwrench's music is like the Borg: an interesting assimilation of human and electronics. But I don't expect Jason has the same evil intentions the Borg always had! In fact, the whole tape seems to describe a fight between man and machine.

The tape, along with the second demo, is available at Mohawk Music, Starship, or Studio 66. Write to Jason at Intolerance Records.

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