REVIEW: Chaos Engine - "More Songs About Sex & Angels"

By Pat Hawkes-Reed
Live Photos by Pat Hawkes-Reed

Chain Border

More Songs About Sex & AngelsChaos Engine are from Cheltenham, in England. I first saw them when I moved to Cheltenham almost 6 years ago...they were a two-piece at the time...Lee and Huw, with their guitar, synths, samples and wonky mic stand. Over the years, they have had a few different bass players, and, at one point in time, a live drummer. Their sound has been honed and polished and has mutated according to the input of the other members. This CD was done when Kelly was their bass player. She has left the fold due to outside obligations and they are now a four-piece.

Chaos LiveAngels of Ruin is a new version of the song on their previous album. It's got that Chaos sound...melodic and crunchy/industrial all in one song. Parasitic Love is a dandy song live...I like this song a lot, but having experienced it in a venue, this is a pale copy of the intensity you get when hearing this done live. Euphoria makes me want to dance, plain and simple. It reminds me of a fighting-drunk Underworld.

Photocopied Love Song is a slow love-song ballad (!) with an acapella break. This is so unlike the Chaos Engine's style, it surprises me every time I hear it. Bitter Taste has a far eastern swirly feel to it. I kept expecting to hear sitars and tablas join in at any moment. A Second Chance At Illness another slower, quieter song. Angels of Ruin (Freudstein Mix); once again, those Freudstein boys have made someone else's song a bit like theirs...with all those twists that give the song a horror film soundtrack type style. The vocals are more of an instrument than a human sound, adding to this twist. 888 (Shok's Reblend) takes the original and turns it a bit u pside-down with a drum 'n bass feel.

Angel of Ruin (Jefferson's Beef on the Bone Mix) slows the original and changes the time signature as well. If not for the drums, it could be a tad ethereal. Protein (Sneak's Happy Robot Mix) is *very* Sneaky Bat (see Sneaky Bat Machine or Goteki for the reference). Angel of Ruin (Inkubus Sukkubus Mix); it's only been a matter of time that Chaos Engine joins their sound with the other well-known (in goth/industrial circles) Cheltenham band. This version has a bit of a church organ/celtic sound with soaring female vocals behind the main vocals. A strange blend that works quite surprisingly well. Angel of Ruin (Solomon Kane Mix) has a very deep, grinding sound; very industrial compared to the original.

And the cover songs: Kids in America; a delightful cover of the Kim Wilde song of the early 1980's, given a bit of an appropriate industrial sound. The background vocals are done by local goths-mostly members of a goth mailing list and drinkers at a local pub who were able to make it to the studio that night. Barbie Girl; I don't know how popular the original of this by Aqua was in the US, but it was quite big in Europe. Once again, Chaos Engine takes a song, shakes it a bit and gives it a twist to make it theirs. Real fun to dance to in a club! Ace of Spades; what can I say? It's a classic and they do an admirable job in keeping it a classic with an industrial sound rather than just heavy metal.

I do recommend Chaos Engine to all and sundry. This CD gives the listener an idea of the band as well as their label-mate's styles, and should encourage you to purchase any of their full length album releases. See the Wasp Factory website for ordering info.

Contact Information:
E-Mail: chaosengine@custodian.com
Web: http://www.chaosengine.com

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