AlterCulture's headline band step up to bat with their second CD. Mindless Faith's Manifest Destiny shows the band growing better at their industrial, EBM-tinged sound. At first listen, I wasn't very impressed filing it with the "more industrial" releases. But this is a CD that requires repeated listens, and as you further explore the work of brothers Jasin and Chris Sevanick, along with live player Paul Green, you are drawn into an infectious, riveting ensemble of grungy guitars, impressive keyboard layouts and, this is the part that you won't pick up on after a single spin - the placement of such intricacies within the music that create a truly insurmountable sound experience. For example, the perfect use of minimal guitars in Descent to force the content into your brain. The openings of Vultures and Incubation which set the mood for the barrage to follow. Awesome arranging is going on here. Another way to put it, it's like a good book where you notice something cool and new every time you read it while still not really being able to put your finger on what that thing was as clearly as you'd like.
Mindless Faith take a garage-industrial, very dirty sound and turn it into an awesome experience. I said in my recent Spiral Dance* editorial column (Midnight Ramblings) that if a band isn't going to do something new or fresh, they had better at least do that something WELL. Listening to Mindless Faith, you might not find all that much that is truly new or fresh. But it is good. It's DAMN good industrial. I'm glad they're doing it because all the other bands that were doing it (i.e. KMFDM, Ministry, etc.) are too busy sucking huge chunks of ass for me to want to listen to what they're making these days.
To add to the aplomb, AlterCulture provided a data section on the CD for us computer geeks which contains the video for All These Years. I've already had the video on VHS as I stated in my review of the label's sampler CD, Distention, some time back, but a lot of rivethead points has to be given to these guys for bundling this on there like that. Then again, it's AlterCulture - they always do cool shit like this. But I thought I'd mention it anyway.
Now before I go into the details of the tracks herein, let's jump back to my review of Distention** so I don't repeat myself. It seems I went into Strained, All These Years and Rat Race there, so you can check that out for more on Manifest Destiny tracks. This time around we'll start with Stars & Stripes & Satellites. Hearkening to or quest to get off this used-up planet, Stars & Stripes & Satellites is a grinding song with an infectious keyboard riff and repetitive, but meaningful lyrics.
Descent (Our Way Down) is also a favorite of mine. Opening with a windy chant that rolls into a series of rhythm pulses and drum beats, it's one of those dancefloor must-haves. Guitar licks are controlled and appear on an "only when necessary" basis to crush the lyrics into your skull. Lest you think all Mindless Faith can do is stomp around with spikes on their collars, I bring your attention to So Much For Salvation. A gloomy, floaty piece with another one of MF's trademark infectious melodies. And finally, I must know where the sample for CandyThoughts came from - assuming it is a sample and not one of MF's own. It's a little piece of angst-filled poetic perfection. The following instrumental features garbled toy-piano strains and heavy soundscapes adding a dark-scene macabre to Manifest Destiny - as if these boys needed any more macabre in their scene.
Grungy, garage-style industrial stompage. Mindless Faith create another infectious (I keep using that term - it just fits), cyberpunk barrage. Don't none of you pansy asses tell me you're a rivethead without having Manifest Destiny nestled somewhere on your shelf. It just wouldn't be right and, depending on my mood, I might kick 'ya.
- find me under Word
** Reviewed in Legends #95, February 2000.
Post: AlterCulture Records, 45 W. 21st St., 4th Fl., New York, NY, 10010