1 of 1 thought this review was well written
OK, who the hell is this review about? This is an Australian band who made a bit of a dent in the music scene during the 90’s. Those from Oz who frequent this site will no doubt be aware of the radio station Triple J and their yearly release Hottest 100, a yearly music poll voted by listeners. On 1996s release, which saw another Australian band Spiderbait come in at number 1 to edge Tool out and relegate Stinkfist to second place, at 69 (he he) Insurge made it on the list with Political Prisoners. This is how 90% of people who have even heard of these guys will know them. A couple of other songs got some airtime like Speculator and Time Bomb. Then like lovely dream it was all over. Not to be heard in the mainstream media since, they have only released one other album of which I have not sighted or heard.
This does not paint a promising picture for the music or seem to justify my score, does it? There must be something more to this.
It seems Insurge is a protest band, or at least discuss political issues through their music. During the 90’s economic globalisation was spreading and it seems they were against it, corporations, and big business. Also topics such as GM foods, pollution, sustainable industries, and consumer culture rate a mention. What about musically, what are these guys about? They can be described as industrial hard rock, as they utilise guitars, bass, drums, sampling, programming, keyboards, and what they call “industrial percussion” (I think this refers to them hitting garbage bins and stuff). So with the scene set;
Speculator blasts onto your speakers. A heavy riff with keyboards and other electronic sounds in the background attack your ears. The vocalist’s voice moves through talk-singing, to a raspy yell and is rather effective. The chorus is the winner on this track, with the intensity raising somewhat with a fat sound and plenty of layers. This song is all about the little man working his ass off on a farm to sell his coffee beans to a big company and extra dollar per ton is the difference between living and dying to him. One of my favourite songs of all time…
This leads straight into Time Bomb which is a chance of pace, being a slow chugging song. There are some trumpet-sounding notes in the chorus and through out the song. This one is catchy and toe tapping, and you find yourself singing “do the time bomb” later to yourself. I.M.F. is next, which stands for International Mother F*ckers. This one is a lot quieter than the last two, and has a catchy palm muted guitar riff repeated throughout. Samples of a baby crying and men talking are a little annoying at times, but provide mood for the topic of starvation in underdeveloped countries.
Next is Political Prisoners, which made all of the waves on radio. This is actually one of the weaker tracks on the album being super repetitive and not as many layers of sound as the last tracks. Also, the sings talks (talks talks) for most of the song, so it sounds like a bit of a sermon. The next three songs are a little forgettable, otherwise known as filler, with #5 being very slow and sonically sparse compared to those before it, #6 downright annoying with its disjointedness and jump through different genres, and #7 being a so-so rock song. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t terrible songs, it seems the message became the focus on these songs and the music taking a back seat, it’s a shame they put them one after the other.
Getting into the guts of the CD 51% is another standout. It has a minimalist verse with the drum beat and singing dominating your listening with a nice bassline in the background. The choruses increase in intensity throughout the song, with the first barely rising above the verse, and by the third one the song has built to explosion point. Some good examples of the industrial percussion in this track too. Backing straight up is Another Day, and with other songs making the air it hard to understand why this one didn’t. Starting with a siren, then static, the songs tears its way through the noise. Rather similar to the last song, there is a quiet verse and a thumping chorus. The siren sample returns for the chorus with other layers of sound such as a miny guitar solo, the rubbish bins happening again, and yelling/singing from the vocalist. Very Ministryish in its sound.
Another filler for #10, it isn’t even close to being a good song. The vocals are distorted, the drum beat is annoying, and the noise behind it is crap. It seems it was their flaunt with hip hop, and it didn’t work. Not So Free makes you delve into the end on the CD. The drumming is the standout on this track. Not knowing much about drumming, he seems to roll across all the toms for almost the whole song and it rocks. This is another of their slower songs, and starts off pretty bare, but finishes shining with plenty of noises and layers to interest you. The last song is filler again, well I suppose not. There’s a message in it, but more talking, a few notes on a guitar and the rubbish bins. They should have finished with the track before.
So with 5 out of 12 songs filler why does this get such a high rating. The other 7 are awesome songs which range from the hard rocking the mellow. If you want to get into the lyrics they are included in the book, but if you don’t they are sung well and fit the songs well.
-Layers of sound
-Individual performances on guitar, drums, bass, and singing
-Hard to find (I got mine off ebay)
If you do want to check them this album was released on Warner Music. That may help…