music without comparing it to something familiar is difficult.
It’s convenient to have a frame of reference to convey your
thoughts. And when so many new bands sound precisely like
so many preceding bands, it makes our job that much easier.
To make it vague, Factory 81 is like a well-Tooled Korn machine.
How’s that? And while the basic elements of this band may
not bring anything original to the table, some of the intricacies
of their music are astoundingly fresh. I would dare say they
are usually better than the bands they borrow from, for what
that’s worth. The inventive rhythms and layering hold your
attention from song to song. And the tight musicianship is
notable is Andrew Cyrulnik’s amazing, and sometimes even humorous
drumming. He is more than a timekeeper. His drums are an emotive
element as sure as the tune. Singer Nathan Wallace’s lyrics
range from pseudo-spiritual Live prose, to crass ranting.
The story behind "Peace Officer" doesn’t garner the rage that
gave birth to the song. "Hey, I know if I choose to look this
way, Johnny’s gonna bust my balls. He’s got a hard-on for
freaks like us, you get over it." Nothing mind-blowing lyrically,
but like the listener, he’s focusing on his nasal faux Indian
Tool vocalizations, switching them up with Bizkit scraps.
He’s most disturbing feigning harmlessness in "Belligerence."
Like the Weirdos with a vocoder. Screaming "You’re not my
friend" takes the piss out of the screaming, though.
Strawberries" provides a catchy Killing Joke jungle
rhythm. It’s fast, but not especially hard. A real departure
that is very stirring, giving up heaviness for anticipation.
Sound layers are carefully maintained in "3 O’clock Love
Letter" until the aural assault is upon you. The music
is well conceived and executed. By the time "Ephedrine" and
"Diary Of A Serial Killer" hit, it’s far too late to screw
up the flow.
a deceptively sweet guitar lick on "Cheese Wheel." The
vocals take an intriguing roller-coaster maneuver. This is
the most single-worthy track. The intensity sways and breathes.
Eastern guitars join the increasingly off-key nasal passage
to India for "Sludge." Lovely toms punctuate the ringing
guitars. It’s the most intelligent song offered. By now the
rage-rap portions are background, and the instruments take
81 produced Mankind themselves, much to their benefit.
Separation between sounds, and the mature playing are great.
The lyrics are crybaby stuff. Maybe when Nathan has a little
more real trauma under his belt, we’ll see some sparks. He
has promise and ideas. The fancy vocalizations should wait
until you get down basic crooning. Then there’s the played
O’clock Love Letter
of a Serial Killer
Officer (black & blue mix)