last updated: 16th february 2004


MORE SONGS ABOUT SEX AND ANGELS, (Pat Hawkes-Reed, Legends Magazine)
ESCAPE FEROCITY, (David J Opdyke, Ambientrance)
ESCAPE FEROCITY, (Keith Elcome, Hard Wired)
GUITING POWER IN SHOCK, (The Gloucestershire Citizen)
Wasp Factory Album Launch - Underworld, December 3 2000 (The Rattler,Meltdown Magazine)

MORE SONGS ABOUT SEX AND ANGELS, Pat Hawkes Reed for Legends Magazine

Chaos Engine are from Cheltenham, in England. I first saw them when I moved to Cheltenham almost 6 years ago... they were a two-piece at the time... Lee and Huw, with their guitar, synths, samples and wonky mic stand. Over the years, they have had a few different bass players, and, at one point in time, a live drummer. Their sound has been honed and polished and has mutated according to the input of the other members. This CD was done when Kelly was their bass player. She has left the fold due to outside obligations and they are now a four-piece.

Angels of Ruin is a new version of the song on their previous album. It's got that Chaos sound... melodic and crunchy/industrial all in one song. Parasitic Love is a dandy song live... I like this song a lot, but having experienced it in a venue, this is a pale copy of the intensity you get when hearing this done live. Euphoria makes me want to dance, plain and simple. It reminds me of a fighting-drunk Underworld.

Photocopied Love Song is a slow love-song ballad (!) with an acapella break. This is so unlike the Chaos Engine's style, it surprises me every time I hear it. Bitter Taste has a far eastern swirly feel to it. I kept expecting to hear sitars and tablas join in at any moment. A Second Chance At Illness another slower, quieter song. Angels of Ruin (Freudstein Mix); once again, those Freudstein boys have made someone else's song a bit like theirs... with all those twists that give the song a horror film soundtrack type style. The vocals are more of an instrument than a human sound, adding to this twist. 888 (Shok's Reblend) takes the original and turns it a bit u pside-down with a drum 'n bass feel.

Angel of Ruin (Jefferson's Beef on the Bone Mix) slows the original and changes the time signature as well. If not for the drums, it could be a tad ethereal. Protein (Sneak's Happy Robot Mix) is *very* Sneaky Bat (see Sneaky Bat Machine or Goteki for the reference). Angel of Ruin (Inkubus Sukkubus Mix); it's only been a matter of time that Chaos Engine joins their sound with the other well-known (in goth/industrial circles) Cheltenham band. This version has a bit of a church organ/celtic sound with soaring female vocals behind the main vocals. A strange blend that works quite surprisingly well. Angel of Ruin (Solomon Kane Mix) has a very deep, grinding sound; very industrial compared to the original.

And the cover songs: Kids in America; a delightful cover of the Kim Wilde song of the early 1980's, given a bit of an appropriate industrial sound. The background vocals are done by local goths-mostly members of a goth mailing list and drinkers at a local pub who were able to make it to the studio that night. Barbie Girl; I don't know how popular the original of this by Aqua was in the US, but it was quite big in Europe. Once again, Chaos Engine takes a song, shakes it a bit and gives it a twist to make it theirs. Real fun to dance to in a club! Ace of Spades; what can I say? It's a classic and they do an admirable job in keeping it a classic with an industrial sound rather than just heavy metal.

I do recommend Chaos Engine to all and sundry. This CD gives the listener an idea of the band as well as their label-mate's styles, and should encourage you to purchase any of their full length album releases. See the Wasp Factory website for ordering info.


ESCAPE FEROCITY, David J Opdyke for Ambientrance Magazine

If you're looking for something a little more energetically sinister, you'll not want to escape The Chaos Engine's ferocity... a pounding combination of industrialectronics with various rock stylings, seeming to reflect both "new" and early metal (but maybe that's because lead screecher Lee H O'Chaos has got a bit of an early-Ozzy timbre sometimes, like in the hard-rawking title track...). Semi-ambient moments exist, briefly, in the 0:48 glimmer/glare of Atomised (and a few later experimental interludes), which is immediately followed by the danceable assault of introspective Nerve Opera and the alternately thundering then (somewhat) subdued Rebellion Lite and later, by relatively mellow/melodic Naphephilia.

Raging electrons stir through Custom Built For Anger with vocals counterplayed by twinkling synthleads. Ruffly weirdness of The First Law of Averages (0:12) continues into The Second Law of Averages, a short vocal deconstruction-and-arrhythmic-noise piece. Sick, Broken, Happy manages to keep up a buoyant beatiness that lives up to the latter part of its title. Go Offline (4:59) concludes with an anti-computer-life rant. Way off my usual radar screen, but a pleasantly jolting (64.5-minute/23 track) diversion with more-than-expected intelligence; rated a B as such. Buzz over to the Wasp Factory hive.


ESCAPE FEROCITY, Zeitgeist Magazine

In finest pseud fashion, The Wasp Factory define themselves as :" one degree or another as sitting in the many grey areas where alternative rock meets contemporary electronica."

This is the third album album proper from the Chaos Engine, tragically named after some old dodgy computer game.

Surprisingly liked by the goth community, the Chaos Engine actually specialise in industrial techno rock crossover like the lamentable Pitchshifter, firmly allying themselves to the Front 242, Cubanate,Front Line Assembly et al camp.

This CD, however, does make attempts to stretch the concept taking in chunks of power metal and ambient, with 23 tracks.

The Chaos Engine are happy to fire their musical loads all over the landscape, and are a refreshing change in the homogenised and stereotypical world of industrial music. We like.


ESCAPE FEROCITY, Keith Elcome for Hard Wired

Remember when Industrial music was just that - "Industrial"? Remember the days before it became drenched in 'just for the sake of it' samples, and laced with sequenced keyboards? Well, if you do, and yearn for those days again, then this is your lucky day - "Escape Ferocity" is a piece of traditional British Industrial music served up with slabs of 'in your face' attitude and guitars.

Weighing in with twenty three tracks (causing me to initially think "Wow! They've been busy!"), but only fourteen of which are actual tracks (the others being 'fillers' between the tracks themselves.), "Escape Ferocity" is a tour-de-force of modern Industrial styles, cradled in a traditional package.

Tracks such as "Me and My Army" and "Custom Built For Anger" show just what this album is about (giving the present day Industrial scene the wake up call it deserves by wet towel flicking it in the goolies!), while "Nerve Opera" and "Naphephilia" are more thoughtful tracks (the latter could almost be classed as a ballad), portraying a deeper emotion in the music and song writing.

Okay, there are samples and keyboards in there too, but they only enhance the music that the guitars give power to.

I can find no duff track on this album - it's 'take it or leave it' attitude is honest and works well. I'd be hard pressed to name a favourite track too - they all have their qualities, but if hard pressed I'd have to mention "Nerve Opera" and "Go Offline", purely for lyrical content.

If you're already a fan of Chaos Engine, then you WILL like this album. If you're new to the fold and looking for a departure from the electronic flooding of the EBM scene, then there's enough here to get your teeth into. Go and buy this and help secure the future of the British Industrial scene, or lock up your children, Chaos Engine have come for them!


GUITING POWER IN SHOCK, The Gloucestershire Citizen


GUITING Power has been branded 'the seat of all evil' by a Cheltenham songwriter.

Lee Holder, vocalist with anarchist-punk band Chaos Engine, has penned lyrics about the small Cotswold village on his new album, Escape Ferocity.

He believes its residents, who may look innocent, are hatching sinister plots.

Villagers are bemused. They say they are ordinary people who enjoy fundraising for good causes.

Mr Holder, who wrote the track called The Guiting Power Institute For Supreme and Unnecessary Evil, said the hamlet gave him a sense of pervading evil.

He said: "It's a horrible little village. It's so polite. There must be something horrible going on.

"There is a lurking menace. It's one of those typical middle-England pleasant places where there's an organisation for Bond villains to retire to."

Mr Holder, 31, said the village harboured secrets from the past.

He said: "Guiting Power is a quaint rural village besieged by tourists.

"There's a church built by the Knights of the Templar. They were a freemason-like band of ex-military men who were accused of devil worshipping around the 14th century.

"The Catholic Church burned a lot of them at the stake.

"I think today's residents could have various ways of tripping you up and making you suffer."

The song's lyrics, on the Wasp Factory Recordings label, are:

"Running with scissors, playing with knives, a thousand small ways, for endangering lives. You can't be careful all of the time, if it looks accidental, it isn't a crime."

Guiting Power parish clerk Jim Hunter said: "No one has mentioned anything about evil spirits. I lived there for 20 years and now live in Winchcombe but not because there was any evil menace lurking there."

Resident Martin Smith said: "The villagers are good people. We always manage excellent fundraising and work together very well."



(The Rattler,Meltdown Magazine)

In the bravest move of the night (besides introducing themselves as "The Skin Engine", that is!), Lee Chaos and G Skinflower decide to open their sets with one of the latter band's folkier numbers - just G on the guitar/backing vox and Lee on vocals. This naturally leaves a lot of people scratching their heads but it sounds awesome nonetheless. Their voices really go well with each other and the song itself reminds me of Radiohead's rare good bits. The rest of The Chaos Engine, along with R Skinflower, file out shortly afterwards and burst into a two-bass/two-guitar version of the superb but oft-neglected early Skinflowers song "Thrillseeker" and it sounds KILLER! It's so difficult to pinpoint just *what* it sounds like but with ten extra strings than are normally used, it definately gets a ballsier 'rock' vibe going which escalates into the utterly *FURIOUS* assault of "Employee Of The Year" sounding bigger, meaner and downright harder than *EVER* before (God, I sound like a DAZ advert -"Now with 20% more noise!")! Lee, clearly ecstatic from the massive 'beefing up' of the Chaos Sound, is flinging himself everywhere, getting ridiculously into it whilst G Skinflower ("He used to be such a nice boy" ;)) clearly is enjoying his transformation into 'Rock God', which becomes more apparent as he throws off his guitar and trades vicious lead vocals with Lee in one of his own songs that sounds crushingly heavy and surprisingly (due to the use of a drum machine) very rhythmic. Major credit to them for not letting the programmed percussion get lost under a haze of guitar. I shudder to think how bruising it would've sounded with live drums!

After a truly crushing reworking of "Purge" that sounds like Ministry at their best and most brutal, the crowd-pleasing (and now *way* heavy) "888" fills the dancefloor up before (unpredictable as ever) they finish with a 6 or 7 minute 'space rock' version of the Skinflowers "I Don't Need More Money, I Need More Time" featuring THREE guitars (Lee, Kelly and G), one bass and the amazing Dr Who-esque talents of Huw Chaos on the keyboards! Rar! Corking stuff. It's a great song anyway with an truly astounding chorus (again, think of the *good* parts about Radiohead without the whining) but morphed into this monster of a rendition it sounds even better. Epic is the word I'm looking for. Undoubtably 'The Skin Engine' are the hardest to define collaboration on the bill tonight and this in itself is a massive compliment. There's bleeps but there's serious rock. There's techno but there's also metal. There's unquestionably a seriously punk attitude going on, but hang about, didn't they just play about seven minutes worth of space rock? And wait a minute, they opened with a folk song!


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