Roughhausen Electro-Industrial, Metal Roughhausen Roughhausen is the latest project from Jeff Stoddard, who has previously featured in bands such as Decree, Will and the eponymous industrial legends, Front Line Assembly (having worked with Rhys Fulber and Bill Leeb on the Caustic Grip 1990 release). Consequently, I had high expectations for this promo release. In Roughhausen, Jeff seems to be focusing more on his older punk-esque influences rather than the more contemporary style people may be familiar with when they think of Front Line Assembly, at least these days. Heavily distorted vocals (to the point of the words being pretty hard to actually pick out) seem to be the order of the day, along with low dragging guitars reminiscent of Cubanate, although with a more subliminal aggression than the full-on aural assault the latter band are known for. The first two tracks, '[Sic] Fuck' and 'Gut', prominently feature the chaotic drum signature of older industrial and grindcore, with equally cacophonous use of discordant electronic samples. It's not terribly imaginative, and I found these first two tracks pretty hard to listen to; it's simply far too chaotic, and the aforementioned indiscernible vocals don't help any. Things do begin pick up halfway through with 'Control' - it's got a good, low-down electronic backing, and the guitar style changes from a ceaseless barrage of noise to a more controlled style which fits in a lot better with the song as a whole. More use is made of different tones, effects and breakdowns, making 'Control' much more listenable than the first two tracks. The vox elements are also improved with the use of some backing chorals, but the main vocals are still a bit indiscernible. Much the same can be said for 'Pinned Man', which again discards the relentless drum styles of grindcore in favour of a more rhythmic beat and makes heavy use of sweeping, low-toned electronic samples and vocoded vocals more in keeping with the electro-industrial style most people today are going to identify with. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is personal preference, but it definetley makes the sound more accessible. The final track, 'Systemic', is the one I was truly impressed with, and more than makes up for the disappointing harshness of the first few tracks. For a start, this is an instrumental piece; a wonderful, soulful electronic soundscape which makes a perfect finish to the album. The keys to the forefront of the sound are hauntingly beautiful, while the distorted, sweeping backing provides the perfect vehicle to carry the track forward; think along the lines of FLA tunes such as 'Fragmented' and 'Civilization'. The drumming too reaches it's peak on this track, being danceable without sacrificing the variation that keeps it interesting. Overall, I find it hard to put a score to this album, primarily because the style of most of it is a bit far off my usual taste. I think it's a good example of the harsher, older industrial metal style, but I feel that focusing on this for the first few tracks may put a lot of people not familiar with this style off (if I hadn't been reviewing the album, I might not have persevered with it as much), particularly if you're more used to an overall smoother, polished sound. This would be a real shame, as some of the tracks are very good and clearly a lot of work has went into the album; it just would have been better had this been spread over the whole release, rather than being concentrated in a few tracks. For fans of bands like Cubanate, Razed In Black, KMFDM and early Puppy or FLA, I would recommend this, but newer entrants to the industrial scene may find it's harshness and seemingly deliberate unpolished sound a tad much. 350
Brutal Resonance

Roughhausen - Roughhausen

6.0
"Alright"
N/A
Electroracle
Released 2011 by TinderBox Records
Roughhausen is the latest project from Jeff Stoddard, who has previously featured in bands such as Decree, Will and the eponymous industrial legends, Front Line Assembly (having worked with Rhys Fulber and Bill Leeb on the Caustic Grip 1990 release). Consequently, I had high expectations for this promo release.

In Roughhausen, Jeff seems to be focusing more on his older punk-esque influences rather than the more contemporary style people may be familiar with when they think of Front Line Assembly, at least these days. Heavily distorted vocals (to the point of the words being pretty hard to actually pick out) seem to be the order of the day, along with low dragging guitars reminiscent of Cubanate, although with a more subliminal aggression than the full-on aural assault the latter band are known for.

The first two tracks, '[Sic] Fuck' and 'Gut', prominently feature the chaotic drum signature of older industrial and grindcore, with equally cacophonous use of discordant electronic samples. It's not terribly imaginative, and I found these first two tracks pretty hard to listen to; it's simply far too chaotic, and the aforementioned indiscernible vocals don't help any.

Things do begin pick up halfway through with 'Control' - it's got a good, low-down electronic backing, and the guitar style changes from a ceaseless barrage of noise to a more controlled style which fits in a lot better with the song as a whole. More use is made of different tones, effects and breakdowns, making 'Control' much more listenable than the first two tracks. The vox elements are also improved with the use of some backing chorals, but the main vocals are still a bit indiscernible.

Much the same can be said for 'Pinned Man', which again discards the relentless drum styles of grindcore in favour of a more rhythmic beat and makes heavy use of sweeping, low-toned electronic samples and vocoded vocals more in keeping with the electro-industrial style most people today are going to identify with. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is personal preference, but it definetley makes the sound more accessible.

The final track, 'Systemic', is the one I was truly impressed with, and more than makes up for the disappointing harshness of the first few tracks. For a start, this is an instrumental piece; a wonderful, soulful electronic soundscape which makes a perfect finish to the album. The keys to the forefront of the sound are hauntingly beautiful, while the distorted, sweeping backing provides the perfect vehicle to carry the track forward; think along the lines of FLA tunes such as 'Fragmented' and 'Civilization'. The drumming too reaches it's peak on this track, being danceable without sacrificing the variation that keeps it interesting.

Overall, I find it hard to put a score to this album, primarily because the style of most of it is a bit far off my usual taste. I think it's a good example of the harsher, older industrial metal style, but I feel that focusing on this for the first few tracks may put a lot of people not familiar with this style off (if I hadn't been reviewing the album, I might not have persevered with it as much), particularly if you're more used to an overall smoother, polished sound.

This would be a real shame, as some of the tracks are very good and clearly a lot of work has went into the album; it just would have been better had this been spread over the whole release, rather than being concentrated in a few tracks. For fans of bands like Cubanate, Razed In Black, KMFDM and early Puppy or FLA, I would recommend this, but newer entrants to the industrial scene may find it's harshness and seemingly deliberate unpolished sound a tad much.
May 28 2011

Thomas Gass

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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