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Damage Manual | One | review | electro | industrial | Lollipop

The Damage Manual

One (Invisible)
by Lex Marburger

Martin Atkins has my nomination for being the Greg Ginn of the early 21st century, i.e. appearing on just about every release on his Invisible label. There is one difference however: He doesn't suck. (Apologies to Mr. Ginn. I did indeed like Black Flag [who didn't?], but once the famed slop-guitar man turned to jazz-punk, it was all over.)

Anyway, snide comments aside, Atkins seems to always be able to pull off good product, and The Damage Manual is no exception, pulling in Jah Wobble (bass; PiL, Invaders of the Heart), Chris Connelly (voice; Ministry, RevCo), and Geordie Walker (guitar; Killing Joke). OK, now that we've got the credentials and introductions out of the way, let's talk about the music. Of course, Wobble's bass is instantly recognizable, a heavy dub sound that covers the floor, dripping into the cracks of a song, tying up loose ends while presenting an ominous flavor. Connelly's voice is also recognizable -- hell, all the guys in The Damage Manual have easily identifiable sounds. Atkins' proto-industrial drumming, Walker's damaged guitar noise, Connelly's rants and howls (and a decent David Bowie impersonation)... Why didn't anyone think of this combo sooner? References to be made would have to include old (very old) PiL, old Killing Joke, old Pigface... uh oh... I'm giving the impression these guys are throwbacks, and only referencing their old bands... Well, hell, it's true tho'. Even though you can pick out the identifiable elements in each song, no one's heard stuff like this in years. Many years. So many years, I'm starting to feel very old. Eh, fuck it, they're older. But the music hasn't aged. It's the sound of post-punk industrial music. The Damage Manual has returned to the source material for disenfranchised children and come back with arms full. I really hope the industrial suck bands around today take notes of this, or something. Just when you thought everything had been looped to death, and they were breeding kids to sing like they have distortion boxes implanted in their throats, along comes a disc that's actually listenable. And that's a relief. They could've given us more than an EP though.
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