“Cold Meat Industry: Live in Australia” is a DVD of a concert filmed over two days in Melbourne, Australia in 2006. Most of the artists on this DVD will be familiar to fans of the ambient / industrial scene and those who like Cold Meat Industry’s releases in general. The artists who contribute to this release include Raison d’Ętre, Bocksholm, Brighter Death Now, Shinjuku Thief, Manticle, Deutsch Nepal, Atomine Elektrine, Frozen Faces, and Isomer. There were a few surprise artists for me such as Frozen Faces who I had not only never heard, but also had never heard of before. I can safely say that this is a very strong DVD and even if you aren’t familiar with all of the acts, as long as you know and like some of them you will be fine.
The DVD opens with Raison d’Ętre who I would hope needs no introduction. Peter Andersson presents two tracks that I think might be some of his strongest material. Dark and bleak, they offer everything you would want in a dark ambient piece. In comparison to a lot of his other music, I found these songs to be pretty minimal without as much musical keyboard or the chanting that haunts so many of his songs. While I like the trademark sounds that make Raison d’Ętre what it is, I also enjoyed this variation in style. If you have heard his album “Metamorphyses” which I felt marked a change in his style then you would know what I am talking about. The visuals of abandoned factories among other things are strong and suit the music well. I think this is one of the best segments to the DVD and is almost worth buying for this alone. If you are a fan of Raison d’Ętre I would find it hard to believe you would be disappointed.
Bocksholm was an artist that I had not previously heard and it is a collaboration between Peter Andersson of Raison d’Ętre and Lina Baby Doll of Deutsch Nepal fame. They play two tracks of well-written and well-performed industrial music. Nothing fancy here, but it does the job. If you like some of Anderson’s harsher side projects such as Panzar, there is a pretty good chance you would like this also. This however shares almost nothing in common with Deutsch Nepal, and I am not sure how fans of that would react to this. If you have heard Frozen Faces that is yet another side project by Lina Baby Doll and liked that style, then this would be worth giving a try.
The other highlight on the DVD for me was the inclusion of Brighter Death Now, who was not only one of the first artists within the genre that I ever listened to, but also remains one of my favourites to this day. I admit that I always liked the death industrial side of BDN more such as classics like “The Slaughterhouse”. I still really liked newer material like “Obsessis”, but it never quite caught me the same. I found it great that Roger has been able to mix both styles on newer releases such as “Kamikaze Kabaret” (one of my favourites of his), which is exactly what we get on his section of the DVD. Having double the material on “Cold Meat Industry: Live in Australia” as everyone else, it is broken up into two parts: the first set is more death industrial and the second set is nosier power electronics. No matter what material you like more by BDN, you will be happy with the songs picked. The visuals were good and the editing done afterwards with laying images overtop was particularly well done, specifically on the death industrial portion of Roger’s material.
The Shinjuku Thief material is so good that I am going to have to seriously re-evaluate my opinion of this artist. I have heard some songs by Shinjuku Thief here and there, but had never been overly impressed or all too interested. The combination of the music with the best visual performance by any artist at this concert just blew me away. While I was watching it, I kept thinking how the term “artist” truly applies. This is someone who has really put together an entire performance and thought everything through, clearly realizing the importance that visuals add. That is not to say that the other artists on the DVD are lacking, because they aren’t. There was just something about this performance that really impressed me. I am sure fans of his music already will love this if they buy the DVD. This is closely tied for my favourite set on “Cold Meat Industry: Live in Australia”, and that is saying a lot considering I did not really enjoy Shinjuku Thief’s music going in.
Manticle is an up and coming artist in the death industrial scene that I had never heard of. As of this DVD’s release, he was still working on his first full-length album according to the information provided o the DVD. Visually Manticle’s set was interesting as he was dressed up with a giant bird mask on. Instead of just relying on a video like the other performers, he had an actual stage show that featured some sort of futuristic female and some other generally indecipherable characters. While the novelty was neat, it never really went anywhere and ran its course fairly quickly as it seemed that there really was not too much the performers could do, especially given the limitations by the characters they were supposed to be. To be honest, I am still not really sure what they were actually doing for the most part on stage. Nonetheless, it was still interesting enough for the duration of two songs. Musically, Manticle is good; dark and heavy death industrial with no vocals and no frills, just the music. I actually like my death industrial like this. It is not a genre that should be over elaborate in my opinion and Manticle does a good job of constructing death industrial like it should be.
I have never liked Deutsch Nepal. Sorry. After watching this DVD I still do not like Deutsch Nepal. It is hard for me to review this part of the DVD, as I just don’t have a lot to say. The videos he chose to show were decent and went fine with the music. Not uncommon for Deutsch Nepal, there were a lot of his vocals overtop the music (which is one of the things I do not particularly like). Musically, it was Deutsch Nepal. I will say this: I have heard enough releases of his over the years to have a pretty solid idea of his musical style. If you like already like Deutsch Nepal, then you will like this material and it is one more reason you should own this DVD. If you do not already like his music, then you probably won’t like this either. Even so, there is so much other material on here that it shouldn’t matter.
My feelings on Atomine Elektrine are somewhat similar to Deutsch Nepal. If you do not know, it is yet another side-project by Peter Andersson from Raison d’Ętre. While I generally like his work, this project is one of my least favourites by him. It presents a very laid back style which I quite often like (I am a huge Sleep Research Facility fan), but I could just never get into Atomine Elektrine. The visual performance was extremely good though, even if some of the patterns reminded me of screen savers or the visuals in media programs like Winamp or Windows Media Player. Either way, the overall effect was cool but Atomine Elektrine’s style just does not really work for me. Much like my comments regarding Deutsch Nepal, if you like Atomine Elektrine then you will definitely like the performance on this DVD.
Frozen Faces is yet another side-project by Lina Baby Doll from Deutsch Nepal, which I actually quite liked. This is definitely harsher and rougher than Deutch Nepal and also contains fewer vocals. Clearly in the realm of death industrial and noisier electronics, this shares more in common with Bocksholm. This starts out as very dark and minimal death industrial that is very reminiscent of Brighter Death Now in some of his calmer, more subdued yet dark moments. Eventually the music picks up its pace and becomes a lot louder with drums and even a little guitar. The end result is a song that is a little more in your face than the first five minutes or so would have you believe. This is a solid portion to the DVD but nothing that will astound you. With some of the really strong material on “Cold Meat Industry: Live in Australia”, this is a worthy addition.
The final artist is Isomer who has a couple releases already. His style is a little hard to define, as it does not really fit one categorization. Initially the music relies heavily on drums to form the backbone of the song and has somewhat of a martial industrial feel, but that disappears long before the song(s) end. The one aspect of Isomer’s music that remains relatively constant throughout is a consistent use of keys / synths to carry the music along. I guess if you are into a somewhat “lighter” style of ambient / electronic artist, you might like this. If it weren’t for Atomine Elektrine, this would seem fairly out of place though. Overall, not really my style but it is not bad.
The presentation of the artists performing their material is top notch. I was a little worried before watching “Cold Meat Industry: Live in Australia” that the footage would be low quality as so many live videos are, but this is crisp and clear. The sound is absolutely perfect and is as if it came from a CD. The editing is one of the best parts and whoever was in charge did an excellent job. There is a perfect blend between the artists performing, the footage that they are displaying, and anything in between. There are lots of interesting visual effects such as things fading overtop of others while switching between the different footage that it never gets boring to watch, which can happen sometimes when you are watching people play music on a DVD (for me anyways). As usual, Cold Meat has put out another solid release that you should probably buy. But, if I have one complaint it would be this: why are there no special features? Even something as simple as the complete discographies of all the bands with links to their websites and some photos would have been nice. Why not something a little more elaborate such as interview with the artists before / after their performance to see what they thought? I am sure there are a million other things that could have been done too. Maybe we just get too spoiled when we buy a DVD these days since everything seems to come with about a million special features, but it would have been nice to see something on “Cold Meat Industry: Live in Australia”. That aside though, this is a very good DVD of a live concert with top-notch production and music. If you like even a couple of the acts on “Cold Meat Industry: Live in Australia”, I would suggest grabbing it while it is available.