X Marks The Pedwalk

X Marks The Pedwalk

retrospective 88-99


Long touted as “Europe’s answer to Skinny Puppy,” X Marks the Pedwalk has been both honored and restrained by this label. The prestige of being compared with Ogre, Key, and Goettel is self-explanatory, however, the downside is that X Marks was often dismissed and ignored as an independent artistic entity on the mere basis of a record company promotional tactic. I say, no more!

Metropolis Records and I think as one, apparently (expect when it comes to reissuing London After Midnight’s back-catalogue. Bad record company! Bad! Straight to bed with no dessert!), and with retrospective 88-99 , Sevren Ni-Arb and his collaborators will finally get the accolades they deserve as a vibrant and enduring musical force. For over a decade, they’ve been producing both absolutely excellent hook-ridden EBM and bloodthirsty minimalist industrial/noise. This record is the testament to that canon. But first I want you to listen to “Drawback” and drop your aggro-rocker pretensions for a few minutes while you drown in Mazzy Star-goes-synthpop atmospherics. It’s the masterpiece of the record, and this is a fucking solid record! Sevren enunciates every word like the bastard son of Edward Ka-Spel with gorgeous female backing vocals and dub-like percussion. My favorite aspect of this records is the less-is-more aesthetic practiced within — they don’t throw in every possible synth effect AND the kitchen sink, and they don’t litter the song landscape with needless horror-film samples — the songs have room to breathe and flow. I’m also pleased that none of the material sounds particularly dated, and it sounds like the band is using much of the same equipment, there’s a timeless feel.

If you feel like drawing the shades and dancing, there’s “Facer,” “Monomaniac (Mix),” and “Wipe No Tears.” Being the miserable bastard I am, I prefer the more primal horror-scapes of “Primal Illusions,” “I Promise You a Murder,” and “Arbitary Execution.” And when retrospective 88-99 ends with an anthem-for-the-new-generation like “Sweep Hand (Timeless),” you just have to sit back and wonder what YOU’VE been doing for the last ten years.

Metropolis Records, P.O. Box 54307, Philadelphia, PA 19105; http://www.metropolis-records.com

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