Ultimately, there is going to be a happy ending for Chemlab. For the original Bad News Bears of the mid-nineties electro-industrial scene, everything is gonna turn out okay. They’re not gonna win the big pennant, mind you, but they’ll give it their best. Too fucking funny. Capsule history: Bright young hopefuls with a fabulous T-shirt slogan (Fuck Art. Let’s Kill.) were just brutally torpedoed by label incompetence and label death. A sad tale, yes, but by no means a unique tale in the world of music as commodity. Invisible label head Martin Atkins played benefactor to Lab leader Jared Louche, dusting him off and giving him an outlet to create dandy new music, Covergirl. Oh yesss, but I guess the premature end of Chemlab still weighed quite heavily on his mind. In interviews, Louche would constantly reference the band and his helplessness during their demise. In steps Atkins again, letting Louche fling a bunch of unreleased, rare, and remix tracks at the listening public like a bereaved mother, as if to say, “Here it is, you bastards! Look what you killed!” And if superlative metal rag Terrorizer is to be believed, a reunion is in the work as well. There you go, a classic tale of triumph over adversity.
Which only leaves us with one question: does Suture live up to the bright promise? Well, it’s a fine slice of spiteful agit-dance, very familiar in a sense. Sorta Nitzer Ebby, but then, I probably just pissed someone off by fucking up the chronology. Nitzer Ebb if they were glue sniffers? And really proud of their drug intake? The mid-paced scary ass stuff is the best; I could do without all the guitar-y, dance-y raveups. “Chemical Halo” is pretty spectacular, and almost half as piss-stained and debauched and unbalanced as they wanted to be. Which is great, because y’know, they’re snotty punk kids, not Keith Richards or whatever. “Filament” is fabulous for its grimy immediacy, a bit Suicide-ish, always superlative. Hey, “I Still Bleed” and “Black Radio” are like that, too! Damn, if only those KMFDM remixes weren’t in there, I’d be faced with some prime scuzz filth•
Invisible Records, PO Box 16008, Chicago, IL 60616, http://www.invisiblerecords.com