Dark Machine Nation, “Hail of Iron”

Sometimes there’s so much agony, suffering, and destruction all around us that one has to lean into it, smash our heads into the deepest depths of depression and angst, to create something of enduring resilience out of this mess. And we need very much need that these days. Dayton, Ohio’s Dark Machine Nation smashes new and archival material together for “Hail of Iron” in an intense onslaught of industrial hardcore, breakcore, and violently blistering harsh noise.

It is very much literally and sonically like an explosion of shrapnel from DMN’s storied catalogue, maiming and brutalising your whole conscious existence.

“NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US!” he roars during a rare and relative break in the noise on “Mandatory Alienation Protocol,” a garbled noise-rap nightmare that sizzles with cut-up samples and blown-out kicks. It sends the same chills down my spine as I felt the first time I heard Godflesh growling on “Christbait Rising,” but so much more immediate. (After all, unlike the Godflesh track, I was very much alive when Hail of Iron was released.)

You’ll find yourself bouncing along to manic gabber breakdowns and then switching on a dime to a slow and despairing industrial slog. Imagine Ministry, Venetian Snares, and clipping. (the latter of whom recommended this to me) having a bloody dance orgy where they impale and disembowel each other… and you’re maybe halfway there.

This torturous journey of greatest hits is mercifully combined into one unbroken hour, so you’ll have to strap yourself into a straitjacket and keep your ears forcibly open with a speculum to endure this album. And it’s worth it.

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