STABBING WESTWARD — Ungod (review)

STABBING WESTWARD — Ungod album cover Album · 1993 · Industrial Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
aglasshouse
Ungod is the debut album by the Chicago-formed American industrial metal act, Stabbing Westward, released in 1993. Being the first release by the band since their 1990 demo release of "Iwo Jima", the band had taken very much time to develop a sound that appealed to them. A three year gap in recordings may seem a little ridiculous; I sure thought it was when I did some research on the band, but after listening to the album I have come to release that it was time very well spent.

After a few years of me listening to acts like Godflesh, Pitchshifter and Ministry, I have come to know industrial metal as an extremely experimental genre, with several different sounds and tempo fluctuations that coincide with heavy metal guitars and bass (along with other instruments). But the main thing I gathered was that metal was embedded into the techno-like experimenting to make for still brutal but more artful grace in the way it was played. Much of industrial metal boils down to a computerized lead on a rotund and often dark metallic richness. Stabbing Westward takes it a bit differently.

In fact, this album is on the verge of being alternative metal, because it's less electronic rhythms combined with metal, and more heavy metal that use different electronics to help the guitars and other instruments along, filling in gaps that they wouldn't usually fill alone. It's very interesting to listen to not traditional industrial all the time- sometimes a more commercialized, streamlined approach is in fact the best way.

Some highlights of the album that I would suggest is 'Lies', with very angry lyrics mixed with industrial, very cliche but it is a very familiar territory for the genre. 'Throw' succeeds it, and is actually much better. Industrial experimentation has gone down quite a few notches to make way for heavier chords and bass/drum lines, but is quite good. 'Violent Mood Swings' takes the cake for my favorite song on the album and perhaps by this artist. It combines experimentation and quick riffing to make for a piece that is just right on the ears. The fantastic album closer 'Can't Happen Here' brings a more instrumental piece as opposed to an angry, heavy, and pounding one. Although it might seem a little 'mainstream', it is enjoyable, as I said before, if you use an open mind while listening.

Given the throngs of industrial metal artists I wouldn't criticize someone to need a lot of a push to give something like this a chance. But in earnest I would highly suggest you give a listen to these guys. They are definitely worth their salt.
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