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(Pat Hawkes-Reed, 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.

(David J Opdyke, Ambientrance)

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.


In finest pseud fashion, The Wasp Factory define themselves as :"...to 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.

(Keith Elcombe, 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!

(PJ, Darker Than the Bat, interviews The Chaos Engine's Lee H)

PJ : Describe the music you make for people who have never heard of you.
L : We've always described ourselves as 'aggressive pop' and I'm still going for that - disturbed industrial but with annoyingly catchy songs. The new album was designed to sound like Ministry covering Covenant … or was it the other way around…?

PJ : Where did you get the name of the band?
L : It was the first rude thing ever said about the first ever computer.

PJ : Where do you get your ideas for the songs on Escape Ferocity and what are they about?
L : Either personal experiences or by being informed by the work of others, be they authors, film-makers, fictional characters or serial-killers... I use these as starting points and then allow the lyrics free rein to explore the extremes of these subjects. On this album the songs are mostly about the destruction of everything you believe in and the birth of something new by the channelling of aggression. That's not to say it's a concept album, it's just that all the songs are about pushing outside of accepted norms and the strength that comes from challenging your beliefs.

PJ : What's your favourite song and why?
L : On Escape Ferocity I like the hardest and most gentle tracks the most - Jesus Christ V2.0 has some of the best lyrics I've written so far but still kicks ass on the dancefloor and Naphephilia is one of the most atmospheric and engaging things we've done to date. I'm also really proud of some of the shorter musical sections on the album too.

PJ : In what way has the addition of a second guitarist to the bands line-up changed the sound?
L : We go chug-chug-chug a lot more now... we can keep the power of the songs going whilst Huw concentrates on making filthy noise and it means we're a lot less reliant on the backing synths than we were. We even did an all-acoustic set to launch the album to prove the point.

PJ : Can you tell us more about the first guitar solo on a Chaos Engine album ever?
L : It just seemed appropriate for the song... I was listening to a lot of old Pop Will Eat Itself and on the 'this is the day...' album there's a lot of way-out guitar, so I thought we'd give it a go, and on that track (Broken Children) it just seemed to fit perfectly. We've always had a 'never say never' attitude to what goes into the finished track - if the sound of a man playing a ukelele in a dustbin works, we'll sample it and add it to the mix...

PJ : What is the idea behind all the different little pieces between the tracks?
L : I hate people who put CDs on random play.

PJ : What makes Escape Ferocity the next step in the history of The Chaos Engine?
L : It's getting closer to the ideal we had for the band, and on this album we got to explore a lot more of the sonic territory that was out of our grasp before. I still want things to be more extreme and unexpected in the music and I'm looking forward to moving on with new material already.

PJ : Can you tell us something more about the songs Escape Ferocity and Jesus Christ V2.0.
L : Jesus Christ V2.0 was written after I read the Unabomber's Manifesto. You should go hunt it down... I was surprised by how much of his treatise makes sense. And who else overturned the money-lender's temples? So it's just written from a viewpoint where whether someone does good and evil just depends on whose side you're on. Escape Ferocity is about becoming the ubermensch through deviant sexual behaviour. It may or may not be semi-autobiographical.

PJ : Are you already thinking about a follow up?
L : Absolutely. There were a lot of tracks that didn't suit the mood for this album that got abandoned and I want to explore those fully - it'll either be an EP / single following on from the album with more experimental work or it may be a full album, but it should be ready for release this time next year.

PJ : When and where are you touring to promote the album?
L : We've got a UK tour going on from September-October 2002 and we're planning US and European dates for early 2003.

PJ : What do you do besides making music?
L : All my activities are music-based. Aside from the band I run the label Wasp Factory Recordings, DJ and sound engineer. To unwind I like to blow stuff up and shoot things. Sometimes on a computer, sometimes not...

PJ : Could you give a reaction on the following? Beer.
L : My drug of choice...

PJ : Concerts.
L : My pressure-valve...

PJ : Wasp Factory.
L : My family...

(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."