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Ministry

Ministry is an American industrial metal band from Chicago, Illinois.

Ministry was founded in 1981 by Alain Jourgensen (also Alien Jourgensen or Al Jourgensen for short) in Chicago as a pure synth-pop project. In the middle of the 80s the sound changed, influences from industrial and EBM were added. A few years later, using rhythm guitars, the industrial metal style that Ministry is known for was fully developed, culminating in style-defining albums.

At that time, Ministry consisted of Paul Barker (bass) alongside Al Jourgensen. In addition, Ministry was a central part of a wide network of musicians from various bands, which resulted in a number of side projects (including releases with members of Front 242 as Revolting Cocks; with the Dead Kennedys vocalist Jello Biafra as Lard; and with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails as 1000 homo DJs). In addition, Jourgensen was involved in the Skinny Puppy album Rabies, whose style he decisively and clearly influenced.

The subtitle of their song Psalm 69 (The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs) quotes a play on words from “Magick” by Aleister Crowley.

The band Ministry is identified by the Jourgensen’s character, who attracted attention through frequent drug excesses. He has been reanimated twice because of cardiac arrest due to heroin use. But he has overcome this phase and satirized with the cynical album title The Dark Side of the Spoon, derived from Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.

Of note is Jourgensen’s political engagement against the Republicans. Ministry’s reference work Psalm 69 (1992) is peppered with original speeches from, among others, George Bush Sr., which are integrated into the songs in the form of samples. Jourgensen also uses this stylistic device on other albums. The 2004 album “Houses of the Molé” contains samples of speeches by George W. Bush. Many Bush’s speeches can be found in the album Rio Grande Blood, especially in the song by the same name.

In May 2006, Jourgensen announced that, following the upcoming world tour, he would immediately begin work on what is likely to be his last Ministry album (working title: The Last Sucker) and would then focus more on his newly founded label.

On October 20, 2007, bassist Paul Raven was found dead in his home in France, near the Swiss border. Raven died of a heart attack and was 46 years old.

On June 10, 2008, the band broke off a concert on their farewell tour in Hamburg after the audience had thrown (sometimes full) cups at the group and the band’s crew members.

On June 24, 2008, a fan under the influence of drugs attacked the band with tear gas during the show in Toulouse, France, after which the concert was interrupted for 15 minutes. After the perpetrator was caught by the band’s truck driver and handed over to the police, Al Jourgensen insisted on continuing the show.

On July 19th and 20th, 2008 Ministry gave what they said were their last concerts at the Tripod Club in Dublin, Ireland.

However in an interview with the American Metal Hammer, Al Jourgensen announced the return of the band and the work on a new album, which would be called Relapse and which should be released for Christmas 2011. However, it was not released until March 23, 2012.

Guitarist Mike Scaccia died, presumably of a heart attack on December 23, 2012 while performing at the Rail Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

I took pictures of Ministry at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall where they headlined the concert. Their opening acts were Hanzel und Gretyl and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult:

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Bands

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, also just called Thrill Kill Kult or TKK is an industrial rock band from Chicago, Illinois.

Thrill Kill Kult is the name given to the band by Frankie Nardiello, who was Ministry’s light technician on their 1986 tour. Frankie wrote his first songs with Alain Jourgensen, the charismatic frontman of Ministry and one of their songs was called “Thrill Kill Kult“. On this occasion, with Alain Jourgensen on guitar and Harry Rushakoff on drums, Nardiello formed the group Special Affect, a project that was never to come. Soon after, Nardiello and a friend Marston Daley worked on the music for a movie Hammerhead Housewife and the Thrill Kill Kult, a movie that never found a broadcaster. Although it hasn’t been released, Wax Trax! Records published the soundtrack of the film as a maxi containing three tracks.

Under the pseudonyms “Groovie Mann” (Nardiello) and “Buzz McCoy” (Daley), they officiated as My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. Since their first 3 tracks were selling well, they were offered a deal on a full album. Named “I See Good Spirits and I See Bad Spirits“, the album was released in 1988. Loved by both independent radios and DJs, the album brought the band a following that loved as their music so their stage performances.

Thrill Kill Kult’s second album, Confessions of a Knife, remains to this day one of the best sellers of the Wax Trax! Label, and influences many groups, especially with the titles “A Daisy Chain 4 Satan” and “Rivers of Blood, Years of Darkness“.

The occult elements, including Satanism, which were an integral part of their music, have evolved in recent years and the group has reoriented to the “shady” disco sounds. Their 1991 album Sexplosion! tends towards psychedelia, house rhythms and towards what will be the basis of their music to come.

The latest albums have expanded on these sounds and also explored new directions, such as in 1995 with the release of Interscope of Hit & Run Holiday, with which they combine the electronic signature of the Kult’s with psychedelia, surf rock, and reminiscences of garage rock from the 1960s, but still contemporary sounds like those of The B-52’s.

Nardiello and Daley recruited Thomas Thorn (Buck Ryder) to synthesize and administer samples for the band’s first tour. For their live performances, the group has also surrounded themselves with “The Bomb Gang Girlz“, singers who do the second vocals and backing vocals. Among the singers were Jackie Blaque, Rhonda Bond and Kitty Killdare.

Thomas Thorn soon left TKK to found his own group, The Electric Hellfire Club (which embraced the overtly evil themes developed by My Life with the Thrill Kill), although he claims to be the one who introduced dark sounds to TKK. It is more than likely, however, that Thorn’s statements were not meant to be taken seriously, as his involvement in the creative process on TKK’s early albums was minimal.

Among the many touring musicians who played with My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult were singer Lydia Lunch, bassist Levi Levi, guitarist William Tucker, Chris “Curse” Mackey of the Evil Mothers and Grim Faeries, Lady Galore of the famous Lords of Acid (who appears under the pseudonym Cherrie Blue in TKK), and a large number of artists, sound technicians, musicians and filmmakers. At the creative level however, it is the duo Nardiello and Daley who remain at the heart of the creations both in terms of album recordings and live performances.

The Sexplosion! Tour in 1991 brought the band notoriety. At one point in the show, a man dressed as Jesus on his cross, presented a black dildo between his legs, while a woman simulated a fellatio. This controversy has caused anger and sparked protests in a number of places in the United States, while helping to raise the profile of the band.

Thrill Kill Kult have left Wax Trax! Records following their third album, Sexplosion!. The Interscope Records label, having realized the potential of the group, signed TKK, reissued Sexplosion! and released their most popular alternative radio hit, “Sex On Wheelz”, (Factory QC recorded by Marty Munsch). Their next two albums, 13 Above the Night and Hit & Run Holiday, were recorded with Interscope before their departure from the label in 1996. The album A Crime For All Seasons, was released on Red Ant Records.

In 2001, the album The Reincarnation of Luna was released on their own label Sleazebox Records and was distributed by Invisible Records. The band accompanied the title Luna with an album Golden Pillz: The Luna Remixes, as well as a live album called Elektrik Inferno. Rykodisc then became the new label of the group and released a compilation of Dirty Little Secrets rarities, and a project Gay, Black & Married.

I took pictures of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult when they opened for Ministry after Hanzel und Gretyl at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall on October 1, 2004:

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Bands

Hanzel und Gretyl

Hanzel und Gretyl is an American metal band formed in New York in 1993 by Kaizer von Loopy and Vas Kallas.

Kallas had previously sung with Cycle Sluts from Hell, among others. After joining with Kaizer von Loopy, the two took on the roles of the two protagonists from the well-known fairy tale Hanzel und Gretyl, and moved the plot into the future. The intent was to represent a facet of the fairy tale in each album release.

After the release of their Demos Children’s Music (1994), a song appeared on the compilation COP International Chaos. Energy Records took notice of the group and signed them up in 1995.

In 1995 the album Ausflippt (Energy Records) was released, and the band played concert with Ginger Bread (bass) and Pat 5000 (drums). Between 1995 and 1996 Hanzel und Gretyl went on a tour as a support band for Marilyn Manson.

In 1997, Transmissions from Uranus was published. The band then toured both as headliners and with greats like Prong, Slipknot, Rammstein and Rob Halfords Fight. 9D Galactic Center appeared on the soundtrack of the film Mortal Kombat 2 – Annihilation that same year.

A live performance at the MTV Video Music Awards 1997 made the group known to a wider audience. Despite this brilliant start, the group was unable to expand their success because their label Energy Records went under.

It was not until 2002 that Hanzel und Gretyl found a new label with Metropolis Records. Über Alles was released in 2002, and Anna K. (Drain STH) and Jon Osterman (Into Darkness) joined the band as touring musicians. In 2004, album Scheissmessiah was released and the group toured as the opening act for Ministry along with Mark Barker as the new drummer.

In 2006 the EP Oktötenfest 2006 was released, and the band toured as headliners through the USA. Next album, titled 2012: Zwanzig Zwölf was released in 2008. In 2010 the band played at the M’era Luna Festival in Hildesheim, Germany..

In 2012 the album Born to be Heiled was released, followed by Black Forest Metal released in 2014. In 2017, Kaizer von Loopy released the debut album Reichstar under his solo project Kyzrwölf, which stylistically ties in with the music of Hanzel and Gretyl. In 2018 the band released the album Satanik Germanik, which continues the style of its predecessor.

Hanzel and Gretyl initially mixed elements from industrial rock with breakbeat and drum-and-bass rhythms. With the album Über alles, the music became significantly more metal-heavy, the breakbeats took a back seat in favor of conventional rock structures and powerful double-bass fills. The current style can be described as a mixture of alternative metal, industrial metal and influences of the new German hardness. The band often uses samples, for example from political speeches, or excerpts from songs by Kraftwerk (I am above everything).

In their lyrics they often use German words (especially in Über alles, Scheissmessiah and 2012: Zwanzig Zwölf) and clear symbols from German history. In the album 2012: Zwanzig Zwölf, “Sieg-Heil” samples were used.

I took pictures of Hanzel und Gretyl when they opened for My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and Ministry at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on October 1, 2004:

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DJ Dervish

DJ Dervish is an Edmontonian with passion for electronic and industrial music. He used to guest DJ at New City Liqwid Lounge, and host Gothic Debauchery Balls.

I took pictures of DJ Dervish when he opened for Left Spine Down and Sangsara:

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Bands

Sangsara

Hailing out of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, Sangsaga was an alternative music band playing a mix of electronica with specific focus on industrial rock.

The name of the band – Sangsara (sometimes spelled Samsara) – derives from the Sanskrit word for the opposite of Nirvana. Whereas the latter signifies the state of being free from suffering and the cycle of reincarnation, the former describes the world of suffering and dissatisfaction connected to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

I took pictures of Sangsara at New City Suburbs in Edmonton, Alberta when then opened for Left Spine Down:

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Bands

Left Spine Down

Left Spine Down (also known by the acronym LSD), is a band based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. LSD plays a style of music called cyberpunk that fuses the sounds of industrial, metal, punk and electronica.

The band featured Jeremy Inkel of industrial music legends Front Line Assembly and Noise Unit, and also Denyss McKnight, the former bassist of Vancouver punk band the Black Halos.

Left Spine Down released their first album titled “Smartbomb EP” in June 2007, and it was met with a positive reception from fans and critics around the world. The EP was produced by Chris Peterson of Front Line Assembly/Noise Unit/Unit 187.

Their full-length release “Fighting for Voltage” saw the band combine efforts with mastering by Shaun Thingvold of Skinny Puppy/Strapping Young Lad/Lamb of God/K-os, as well as again with earlier mentioned Chris Peterson

The album was released in Canada on April 22, 2008 by the Canadian label Synthetic Sounds and distributed in Canada by Indie Pool. In the USA, the album was released on September 23, 2008 by Bit Riot Records/WTII Records.

On March 3, 2009, LSD released “Voltage 2.3 Remixed and Revisited” with one original song, covers of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissing” and Joy Divisions’ “She’s Lost Control.“, and remixes of music by Tim Skold, KMFDM, Revco, Combichrist, XP8, Download, 16 Volt, The Birthday Massacre, Angelspit, Led Manville, and DJ? Acucrack.

The group toured intensely in North America with Revolting Cocks, SNFU, 16 Volt, Rabbit Junk and Chemlab, and opened in concert for groups like The Birthday Massacre, Combichrist, DOA, Genitorturers and Front Line Assembly.

In May 2011, Left Spine Down signed with Metropolis Records. They released a second album “Caution” on August 23, 2011. The album was produced by Dave “Rave” Ogilvie and features the group as a quartet, compared to previous albums which featured them as a sextet. At the end of 2011, Nivek Ogre of ohGr – side project of Skinny Puppy, announced a North American tour comprising nine dates with Left Spine Down.

In 2012, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult announced a special 25 years tour with 30 American dates alongside Left Spine Down.

I took pictures of Left Spine Down in October 2008 at New City Suburbs in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:

I also filmed and put together a live video of Left Spine Down’s hit song Last Daze:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KWA4DL-_wM

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Bands

KMFDM

KMFDM is a German industrial metal group formed on February 29, 1984 to perform as part of the opening of an exhibition of young European artists in the Grand Palais of Paris.

KMFDM is an acronym for the deliberately nonsensical and grammatically incorrect German phrase Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid (No Pity For The Majority).

Since its formation in 1984, musicians from different countries of the world, including Germany, Great Britain, Sweden and the USA, have worked with the band. The singer and front man Sascha Konietzko comes from Hamburg, Germany, which is why some album titles, music titles and lyrics are partly or entirely in German. The band’s trademarks are album titles made up of five characters as well as the interweaving of the band’s name in the lyrics.

The original founding members were Sascha Konietzko and Udo Sturm. Sturm however had no musical aspirations so Konietzko joined forces with Raymond Watts and drummer Klaus Schandelmaier, later known as En Esch.

After trying Aggrotech and recording three albums (What Do You Know, Deutschland ?, Don’t Blow Your Top, and UAIOE) with European labels, KMFDM began their relationship with Wax Trax! Records in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1989, KMFDM joined Ministry on their promotional tour for the album The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste. Together they toured the United States until the end of 1989. After concluding the tour, KMFDM prepared to work on what would be their fifth album, Naïve released in 1990. Günter Schulz joined the band for the album.

By 1991, KMFDM, in particular Konietzko, settled in Chicago, USA. In 1992, the band released their sixth album – Money, after which WaxTrax! Records became part of the TVT Records label, where KMFDM released their most famous albums: Angst in 1993, Nihil in 1995, and Xtort in 1996, the lattest becoming their best-selling album, with more than 200,000 copies sold.

With Konietzko settled in Seattle, the group released Symbols in 1997, featuring Tim Skold and Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy, and Goodbye in 1999, which would see the departure of the founding members Günter Schulz and En Esch due to “irreconcilable differences”, and a temporary dissolution of the band.

Konietzko, together with Tim Sköld and Lucía Cifarelli, created the group MDFMK and released their self-titled album in 2000. Meanwhile, En Esch and Günter Schulz formed the group Slick Idiot and released the album Dicknity in 2001.

KMFDM reappeared reformed in 2002 with the album Attak under the Metropolis Records label, with a line-up more oriented to playing as a group, unlike the previous era, in which each member contributed their different creations and collaborations to put together an album.

After Attak, Skold left the group to join as bassist and co-producer of Marilyn Manson. 2002 saw the remastering and re-release of the debut album Opium.

In 2003, the WWIII album was released, which contains songs with more political lyrics than previous albums, including criticism of George Bush, the wars in the Middle East and the US immigration policy. In 2005, KMFDM released Hau Ruck – an album implying a return to the analog equipment and included first forays singing in other languages.

Album Tohuvabohu was released in 2007. It’s a word derived from the Hebrew tohu va bohu which means “without form and emptiness” or “complete chaos and confusion“. This was followed by album Blitz released in 2009, WTF ?! released in 2011, Kunst released in 2013, Our Time Will Come released in 2014, Hell Yeah released in 2017, and Paradise released in 2019.

As a little trivia – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, perpetrators of the Columbine High School Massacre, were fans of KMFDM. On his website, Harris posted the lyrics to “Son of a Gun“, “Stray Bullet” and “Waste“. In some of their videos they are seen wearing KMFDM t-shirts.

I took pictures of KMFDM on October 9, 2004 at Starlite Room in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The opening act for KMFDM was the electronic duo DJ? Acucrack:

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Bands

Imperative Reaction

Imperative Reaction is an American electro-industrial band, active in the gothic scene since 1996.

The band was founded in 1996 by Ted Phelps and David Andrecht, two former members of the band D.N.A (Digital Neural Assault).

After three years spent searching for their own technical style to suit the tastes of the band members, in 1999 Imperative Reaction released their first album entitled “Eulogy For The Sick Child“; the album was successful in the United States and a few months later it was also distributed in Europe thanks to the record company Zoth Ommog Records. The same year Pendragon, the label that released their first album, was bought by Metropolis Records.

In 2002 Imperative Reaction released Ruined, which contributed a lot to the media attention in the band, and in 2004 the album Redemption marked the shift of the band’s style towards a more aggressive imprint, and led Imperative Reaction to embark on numerous tours, also as an opening act for VNV Nation.

From 2000 onwards Imperative Reaction have composed remixes for many artists of the EBM scene such as Assemblage 23, XP8, God Module and Combichrist.

While the first album is more EBM sounding, with their second album Imperative Reaction have outlined their own style, characterized by 4/4 dance rhythms, by full-bodied synth bass lines and at the same melodic tempo that resemble those of Electro house, revolving around scratchy keyboard leads and Phelps’ rock voice.

A style often associated with Futurepop, it has also been described as “an Industrial metal reinterpreted by an Electro purist”.

At present, Imperative Reaction’s lineup consists of Ted Phelps (vocals), Clint Carney (keyboards), Trevor Friedrich (drums), and Adam Vex (keyboards / guitar).

I took pictures of Imperative Reaction at New City Liqwid Lounge in Downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:

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Icon of Coil

Icon of Coil is a Norwegian futurepop and EBM group. The band emerged as a solo project by Andy LaPlegua of the Combichrist fame, who teamed up with Sector 9 founder (currently oo Moonitor and Zombie Girl) Sebastian Komor to perform live. With the release of Shallow Nation, the band’s first single, Komor joined the band full time. In 2000 Christian Lund joined the live line-up. In that same year the band’s debut album, Serenity Is the Devil, was released, which climbed to number one on DAC (Deutsche Alternative Charts). Soon after, Lund became a stable member of the band.

Shallow Nation, released in early 2000, sold out the first thousand copies after just 2 weeks, resulting in a deal with the Norwegian label Tatra Records. At the same time Tatra Records released the compilation Sex, Goth and Electronics, in which Icon of Coil contributed an exclusive version of their song “Repeat It“.

The audience seemed to enjoy the melodic and energetic sound of IOC, fused with Andy’s hypnotic voice and the band grew and became successful. One Nation Under Beat debuted in the Top 20 of the DAC-Chart (Deutsch Alternative Chart), spent 8 weeks reaching number 3.

After the release of the first full album Serenity Is the Devil in November 2000, which reached number 3 on the DAC-chart, the band went to Germany together with Beborn Beto. The audience responded well to IOC, earning the band a spot on the Synth / Industrial scene.

Before long, the album crossed the Atlantic and was released in North America by Metropolis Records. On March 29, 2001, the band flew to Chicago and then from one city to another, sleeping in hotels, sometimes at the homes of their promoters.

The song “Situations Like These” which would later appear on the Seren EP was performed live for the first time to an incredibly enthusiastic audience, making the tour a huge success. Then after playing Slimeligth and Astoria II (Electrofest) in London, the members had a short break before tackling the Filled Summer festival in Europe.

During the tours, the band found time to write material for their second album, The Soul is in The Software, which was released in April 2002 and remained number 1 on the DAC-Chart for several weeks. That year, IOC played at 2 festivals: The Dark Jubilee Festival in London, and later as the Sunday headliner at Synthpop Goes the World in Toronto, Canada.

The summer ended with a successful show in Leipzig, Germany, at the Wave-Gothic Treffen. Other festivals IOC performed in were CSD, Zillo Festival, Xtreaktor Festival, Eurorock, Infest and M’era Luna.

Situations Like These became a huge hit and the band was set for a second tour (this time on a Night Tour Bus) in North America with VNV Nation. The tour began in Chicago on November 16. IOC, VNV Nation and the rest of the bands continued to Canada passing through Hollywood, where they did their 15th show in front of about 900 people at the Palace. The 4 week tour ended in Edmonton, Canada, with a great show and a huge party.

In 2004, their third album, Machines Are Us, continued with repetitive, hard hits, empathetic lyrics, hymn-like melodies and clean synth sounds. Not to be displaced or forgotten, Icon of Coil released their remix album Uploaded And Remixed at the end of 2004, which included new remixes of songs from their first 2 works and 2 exclusive tracks.

I took pictures of Icon of Coil at New City Liqwid Lounge in downtown Edmonton, Alberta. Canada in 2007:

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Bands

Combichrist

Combichrist is an aggrotech and industrial metal music project formed in 2003 by Andy LaPlegua, who is also the founder and singer of Icon of Coil, Panzer AG, Scandinavian Cock and Scandy.

Born as Ole Anders Olsen on September 15, 1975 in Fredrikstad in Norway, Andy LaPlegua, is currently based in Tennessee, United States.

Combichrist is one of the most representative groups of the alternative electronic music scene worldwide. Their sound has taken on different nuances throughout their career, but always with a distinctive electronic tinge.

In 2003, Combichrist released the EP Kiss the Blade. Shortly afterwards came the first full-length album The Joy of Gunz. The album contains mostly instrumental tracks consisting of aggressive beats and samples from movies, something that is not unusual in the genre. In 2004, the EP Sex, Drugs and Industrial was released.

2005 was the year that the band began to define their style of music as TBM (Techno Body Music) with the release of the song “This is TBM” on the compilation album Techno Body Music volume 1.

In 2007, What the Fuck Is Wrong with You People? was released, becoming a best-selling album on both Metropolis Records (USA) and Out of Line (Europe) labels.

During the 2009/10 tour, Combichrist accompanied Rammstein as the opening act for their concerts, which greatly increased their popularity.

In 2013, Combichrist released the album No Redemption, made specifically for the game DmC: Devil May Cry. This album contained more of an industrial metal and metalcore sound, which was something they would keep on their two albums after – We Love You (2014) and This Is Where Death Begins (2016).

While on tour following the release of the album We Love You, Andy proposed to his girlfriend Layna and she excitedly accepted.

In 2013, Combichrist released the album No Redemption, made specifically for the game DmC: Devil May Cry. This album contained more of an industrial metal and metalcore sound, which was something they would keep on their two albums after – We Love You (2014) and This Is Where Death Begins (2016).

I took pictures of Combichrist at New City Suburb in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: