The Damage Manual is a sort of supergroup of industrial rock. Chris Connelly from Ministry on vocals, Geordie Walker from Killing Joke (about whose former members I seem to be writing a lot lately) on guitar, Jah Wobble from PIL on bass. Martin Atkins, who has played with all of the above, not to mention Nine Inch Nails, rounds out the quartet on drums and loops. Industrial itself is a kind of “superstyle” of punk, electronic, hard rock and dance, and this sounds like a pretty good example of it, well played, written and produced. But did I like it? I think it’s good. I’m going to hold on to it. That I’m looking forward to switching it in my player for some jazz should be taken more as a sign of the gradual mellowing of my taste.
Buried somewhere beneath the drum loops and dub bass, the scratching, static and stammer is-believe it or not-the potential for some bouncy pop. Most of the vocals are distorted and low in the mix, with the exception of” Leave the Ground,” on which Connelly does one of the best David Bowies I’ve ever heard, further convincing me that Bowie is the single most influential rock singer of the past 30 years.
There is more going on here than just random anger, which is the downfall of many a lesser “industrial” artist. The players are in their late 30s and early 40s, which means both that they’ve got their chops down pretty good, and that they have a more to say than “I hate you, dad! I hate you!” (which is also the downfall, etc). They hold the attention and reward curiosity.
>1 is their debut EP, containing 5 tracks and two remixes. It’s also an enhanced CD ROM, but I’m afraid that as I just discovered my CD ROM drive seems to be broken, I am unable to bring you the news on what that looks like.